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The 7 Best Portable Keyboards for MacBooks, iPads, and Other Laptops — Reviewed for 2024

If you frequently work on the go from coffee shops, airports, or the comfort of your couch, you know how frustrating it can be to type on the small, cramped keyboard of a laptop for extended periods. Hunching over your laptop for hours can lead to neck strain, shoulder pain and reduced productivity. That‘s where a high-quality portable keyboard comes to the rescue.

The best portable keyboards provide a vastly improved typing experience compared to most laptop keyboards. They offer better key spacing, superior key travel and tactile feedback, and a more ergonomic typing angle. This allows you to type faster and more comfortably for longer stretches, boosting your efficiency and reducing fatigue.

But with so many portable keyboard options on the market, it can be challenging to find the right one for your needs. That‘s why we‘ve done the research and testing to round up the best of the best. Whether you want the most compact and lightweight keyboard for travel, a full desktop typing experience, or the best overall balance of portability and usability, we‘ve got you covered.

I‘ve personally tested over a dozen portable keyboards with my laptop, evaluating them on critical factors like size and weight, battery life, ease of use, comfort, special features, and more. I‘ll share detailed insights on the top contenders so you can find the perfect option for your workflow.

But first, let‘s dive into the key factors you should consider when choosing a portable keyboard:

Portability: If you plan to carry your keyboard in your laptop bag on flights or daily commutes, portability is paramount. Look for options that are lightweight (ideally under 1 pound) and slim enough to slip into a laptop sleeve along with your notebook. Some of the most portable options fold in half or roll-up for easy packing.

Size & Layout: Portable keyboards range in size from ultra-compact 60% designs to full-size desktop replacements. Consider what size will provide the best balance of portability and typing comfort for you. If you can‘t live without a numberpad or arrow keys, make sure to choose an option with a full QWERTY layout.

Battery Life: The best portable keyboards offer long battery life so you never have to worry about recharging on the go. Look for options with a battery life of at least 1-2 months on a charge. Some use built-in rechargeable batteries while others run on replaceable coin cells or AAs.

Pairing & Compatibility: Most portable keyboards connect wirelessly to your laptop via Bluetooth. Choose a model with Bluetooth 5.0 or later for the most reliable, energy-efficient connection. Some also offer 2.4 GHz wireless via a USB dongle. Check that your pick is compatible with your laptop‘s operating system, whether it runs Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, or Linux.

Typing Feel: A portable keyboard is useless if it doesn‘t provide a pleasurable, efficient typing experience. The best options have high-quality scissor switch or mechanical key switches with adequate key travel (at least 1.5mm) and tactile feedback. Avoid mushy silicone or rubber dome switches.

Extra Features: Some portable keyboards offer handy extra features like backlit keys, built-in stands, multi-device pairing, shortcut keys, and even touchpads. Consider which of these bells and whistles are must-haves for you.

Now that you know what to look for, let‘s jump into my top portable keyboard picks:

Best Overall: Logitech MX Keys Mini

For the ideal blend of portability, typing feel and features, you can‘t beat the Logitech MX Keys Mini. This 60% mechanical keyboard measures just 11.9 x 5.2 inches and weighs a scant 1.1 pounds, yet still provides a phenomenal typing experience rivaling desktop keyboards.

The MX Keys Mini features Logitech‘s Tactile Quiet low-profile switches, which have great key travel and a satisfying, muted tactile bump. The spherically dished keycaps cradle your fingertips for superb comfort. You also get smart backlighting that automatically adjusts to ambient light and turns off when not in use to conserve battery.

With its versatile Bluetooth and Logi Bolt USB wireless connectivity, the MX Keys Mini can pair with and quickly switch between up to 3 devices at once, whether they run Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, iPadOS, Android or Chrome OS. You get up to 10 days of battery life with the backlight enabled or up to 5 months with it off. Recharging is easy via the supplied USB-C cable.

If you want the feel of a high-end mechanical keyboard optimized for portability, the MX Keys Mini is hard to beat. It‘s pricey at $100 but well worth it for road warriors and mobile workers.

Most Portable: iClever BK08 Tri-Folding Keyboard

When portability is your top priority, the iClever BK08 is my recommendation. This clever keyboard features a tri-fold design, allowing it to collapse down to a highly compact 5.7 x 3.5 x 0.5 inches – small enough to fit in a pocket. It weighs a mere 6.3 ounces, making it one of the lightest portable keyboards you can buy.

Unfolded, the iClever BK08 provides a nearly full-size typing experience complete with a full QWERTY layout. The keys are a bit more tightly spaced than on a desktop keyboard and have shallower key travel, but the typing feel is still quite good for such a compact board. You get all the essential function and shortcut keys.

The BK08 supports Bluetooth 5.1 and can pair with up to 3 devices simultaneously, with support for Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, iOS, and Android. Its rechargeable battery lasts an impressive 90 hours per charge – nearly a month of regular use. Recharging takes 2-3 hours via the included USB-C cable.

Build quality is surprisingly good, with a sturdy aluminum alloy chassis and matte-finish ABS keycaps. Some fold-up keyboards feel flimsy or toy-like – not so with the BK08. The innovative folding design and durable construction make the iClever an outstanding pick for frequent travelers. And at under $40, it‘s very affordable too.

Best for iPad: Apple Magic Keyboard

If you‘re looking for the ultimate keyboard for your iPad Air or iPad Pro, accept no substitutes – the Apple Magic Keyboard is the cream of the crop. This keyboard case uses Apple‘s vaunted scissor switch mechanism to deliver the same responsive typing feel as the latest MacBook keyboards.

The Magic Keyboard attaches to your iPad magnetically and features a unique floating cantilever hinge that allows you to adjust the viewing angle up to 130°. When closed, the keyboard doubles as a rugged case to protect the front and back of your tablet. A USB-C pass-through charging port keeps the iPad charged while freeing up its own USB-C port.

Another standout feature is the large, click-anywhere trackpad, which transforms your iPad into a laptop-like device. Multi-touch gestures work exactly like they do on a Mac, allowing you to swipe through apps, pinch to zoom, and more. The trackpad is considerably roomier and more responsive than those on other iPad keyboard cases.

Pairing the Magic Keyboard is effortless – it automatically connects to your iPad when attached, no Bluetooth required. The keyboard is powered by the Smart Connector on the rear of the iPad, so you never need to charge it separately.

While bulky and pricey compared to other options on this list, the Magic Keyboard provides the most laptop-like experience for iPad power users. If you plan to do a lot of typing and productivity work on your tablet, it‘s well worth the investment. Just make sure to get the right size for your iPad model.

Best Budget: Arteck HB030B

You don‘t have to spend a lot to get a great portable keyboard. Priced under $25, the Arteck HB030B provides superb value. The ultra-slim keyboard measures 9.7 x 5.9 x 0.24 inches and weighs just 7 ounces, making it effortless to take along anywhere.

Despite the compact size and low price, the Arteck offers an excellent typing experience. The low-profile scissor switches have pretty good key travel and a nice tactile bump. Key spacing is similar to most laptops and the layout thankfully includes arrow keys and common shortcuts.

The Arteck supports Bluetooth 3.0 and works with pretty much any Bluetooth-enabled device, including iOS and Android phones and tablets. Battery life is outstanding – up to 6 months per charge under normal use. LEDs on top let you check the remaining battery level with a glance.

As a bonus, you get stylish LED backlighting with 7 selectable colors, something not often found on budget portable keyboards. The backlight turns off automatically after a few seconds to save power. Build quality is solid too, with an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy back plate and ABS plastic keys.

If you need a lightweight, reliable keyboard for occasional mobile use, the Arteck HB030B is an absolute steal. You‘d be hard-pressed to find a better option for the price.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Portable Keyboard:

  1. Customize your experience. Most portable keyboards support a variety of shortcut keys to access your most-used functions. Take some time to learn these and customize them if possible to streamline your workflow. For example, you may be able to remap keys or create macros for frequently-used phrases or commands.

  2. Use the right device. Many portable keyboards work with a variety of devices but are optimized for certain operating systems. If your keyboard supports multiple connections, use it with the device that offers the best compatibility and features. Using the companion software can help you tweak performance.

  3. Adjust the feet. Some portable keyboards have adjustable feet that let you tweak the typing angle for better ergonomics. If yours has feet, experiment with them to find the most comfortable position. A slight negative tilt often works best.

  4. Keep it charged. The last thing you want is your keyboard dying in the middle of an important project. Keep an eye on the battery level LEDs and don‘t let the battery run down too low before recharging. For keyboards with replaceable batteries, always keep spares on hand.

  5. Protect your investment. To prevent damage in transit, always store your keyboard in a protective sleeve or case when not in use. Avoid placing heavy objects on top of the keyboard in a bag. Give exposed connectors or knobs extra care.

With the right portable keyboard, you can stay productive anywhere, anytime without sacrificing comfort or efficiency. Whether you opt for a ultra-compact tri-fold design, a mechanical keyboard optimized for portability, or a laptop-style keyboard case for your iPad, the options on this list are sure to satisfy. Pick the model that best fits your needs and budget and enjoy better typing on the go.