Best mechanical keyboards for Mac

Move to mechanical.

Image via SteelSeries

Gamers and other professionals often prefer mechanical switches for their feel and durability. Instead of a mushy feel like membrane keys, mechanical switches can have a linear, tactile, or clicky feel to suit users’ needs. Mechanical keys also have uniform actuation points, and users can typically decide on the feel they prefer. 

Some mechanical switches have a linear feel, and others have a clicky or tactile feel. Users can even choose between regular switches and silent variants, which are better suited for crowded offices. 

Those who like to tinker can get a mechanical keyboard with hot-swap functionality. Hot-swappable keyboards allow users to replace the switches at will without soldering or desoldering. 

Many mechanical keyboards are designed for Windows but can work on Macs. Some keyboards are specifically designed for Macs and have a slightly different layout. For example, Mac keyboards replace the Windows key with an Option key, and the backspace key is renamed as the Delete key. Some Mac keyboards also have the function keys going all the way up to F15 instead of F12 like on Windows keyboards.

These are the best mechanical keys for Mac.

Best overall

SteelSeries Apex Pro

Image via SteelSeries

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a full-size keyboard that handles everything from office work to gaming. It’s known for its impressive build quality and innovative features like the OLED screen and adjustable per-key actuation.

Most mechanical keyboards allow users to pick from a range of switches, but the Apex Pro is only available with one type of adjustable switch. The Omnipoint switches on the Apex Pro mimic the linear feel of Cherry MX Red switches but allow users to customize the actuation point. Users can program each switch to have its own actuation point between 0.4 and 3.6 millimeters.

Another unique feature of the Apex Pro is the OLED screen sitting in the top right corner. This OLED screen gives users access to customization settings, including the profiles and macros, without using the SteelSeries Engine 3 app. Users can also upload custom images and have them displayed on the screen.

The build quality of the Apex Pro is top-notch, and SteelSeries pulls out all the stops to make it comfortable. It has a sturdy aircraft-grade aluminum frame with a built-in USB 2.0 passthrough. Comfort features include a huge magnetic wrist rest and dedicated media keys. Users can configure the per-key RGB lighting, profiles, and macros with the SteelSeries Engine App if the OLED screen is uncomfortable. 

SteelSeries’ Apex Pro has a lot to offer. It has great build quality and nifty features to make it stand out from other gaming keyboards. Despite all its features, the Apex Pro has Windows-based keycaps, which might put off some mac users. It’s also expensive and only worthwhile for buyers who’ll use all its features.

Best office keyboard

Macally Backlit Mechanical Keyboard for Mac

Image via Macally

Some users prefer a more subtle keyboard that works well in an office environment. Macally’s backlit mechanical keyboard for Mac may look like a standard white keyboard, but it has some advanced functionality like adjustable backlighting and mechanical switches. This keyboard is designed for Apple, so it has Mac legends.

Compared to the other keyboards on this list, the Macally is only offered with one switch type. It comes with Kailh Brown switches, which are a clone of the Cherry MX Browns. The Brown switches are known for their slight tactile bump and minimal sound. These switches need 45 grams of actuation force and have a pre-travel distance of two millimeters. The Brown switches can be used for gaming, but they are more commonly preferred for typing and programming.

Another selling point of the Macally is the adjustable backlight. There’s no multicolor RGB lighting, but users can set the white backlighting to three different levels. The lighting can stay off during the day, and users can switch it between low, medium, and high settings when it’s dark.

The Macally keyboard has limited features compared to the Apex Pro. However, it occupies a different category than the SteelSeries offering and targets users looking for a subtle keyboard with solid build quality. At around half the price of the Apex Pro, the Macally succeeds in its purpose and provides decent value.

Best hot-swappable keyboard

Keychron K6

Image via Keychron

Some users prefer to choose their own switches and change them out themselves. Keychron’s K6 has hot-swap and wireless capability. It also has a 65-percent form factor to save space and make it easier to transport.

The hot-swap functionality allows users to install the switches they prefer. Users can choose between various switch brands and connect them to the PCB without soldering. If the users want to swap out the switches later or use a combination of different switches, it’s also easy to do.

Many gaming keyboards use the 2.4Ghz wireless band, but the K6 only works on Bluetooth. A Bluetooth connection can be unstable for competitive gaming, but it should be fine for single-player games and office work. One of the benefits of Bluetooth is its compatibility with many devices like iPads or iPhones.

Compared to the other keyboards listed here, the K6 has the most customization options. Buyers who aren’t swapping out the switches can choose between Gateron Mechanical or LK Optical switches in Red, Brown, and Blue variants. Keychron also gives users a choice between a standard white backlight, an RGB backlight, or an aluminum frame with RGB lighting. Users who need more support can also grab the wooden wrist rest.

The K6 is in a similar price range to the Macally keyboard, but it has way more bells and whistles. It’s up to buyers to decide if they prefer a compact keyboard with hot-swappable switches and Bluetooth connectivity or a full-size office keyboard with a subtle design that gets the job done.

Best user-friendly keyboard

Das Keyboard 4 Professional for Mac

Image via Das

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional is another full-size keyboard targeted at Mac users. It’s offered with multiple switch types and has many convenience features, making it easy to use. Instead of Mac legends, it replaces the Windows and Fn keys with the Das logo. 

Users can choose between two switch variants in the Cherry MX range, including the Blue and Brown variants. The tactile Brown switches need 45 grams of force to actuate with two millimeters of pre-travel. Cherry MX’s Blue switches have a tactile feel with audible clicks. They require 50 grams of actuation force and have a pre-travel distance of 2.2 millimeters.

When it comes to design, the 4 Professional has some tricks up its sleeve to improve its functionality. It has two USB 3.0 passthroughs so users can connect their mouse or charge their mobile phones directly off the keyboard. Another nifty feature is the magnetic foot bar that doubles as a ruler. There are also dedicated media keys with an oversized volume knob on the top left corner. 

Despite all the convenience features, the 4 Professional is lacking in certain areas. It has no backlighting, so it may be difficult to use in dark environments. For a keyboard of this caliber, the lack of a wrist rest is also a bit disappointing.

Das Keyboard’s 4 Professional boasts several standout design elements. There are many user-friendly features, and it has excellent build quality. However, it’s let down by the limited range of available switches, lack of backlighting, and absent wrist rest.

Best compact keyboard

Glorious GMMK compact

Image via Glorious

Those looking for extensive features without spending much may consider the Glorious GMMK Compact. This compact keyboard has a 60-percent design that’s great for gaming and on-the-go writing but not for heavy-duty office work.

Like the K6, the GMMK Compact has hot-swap capability. Users can add and remove the switches they prefer using the provided switch puller tool. Buyers who prefer a single switch type can choose between an extensive range of Kailh and Gateron variants. Some of these include the Gateron Reds, Clears, Blues, and Kailh Black, White, and Silver options.

The GMMK Compact also allows users to choose between different keycaps. Buyers can select ABS double-shot keycaps in black, white, or two-tone keycaps with either a black top on a white housing or a white top on a black housing. If users prefer PBT keycaps, they can choose between colors like Olive Green, Ocean, Arctic White, and Pastel. This keyboard hasn’t got mac legends, but the Windows icon is replaced by the Glorious logo. 

Apart from customization options, this keyboard has other impressive features like excellent build quality. It has a durable aluminum top plate and a detachable USB cable. Considering its reasonable price, the GMMK Compact punches above its weight and delivers great value. 

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