5 Best Keyboards For Emacs – Ultimate Guide

Emacs is a text editor with several built-in commands to automate work. Using emacs greatly boosts your productivity when it comes to typing long word documents or thousands of lines of code.

You will finish projects more quickly than usual. However, this has a second-order effect of spending more time behind the keyboard.

The faster your work the more time you will dedicate to completing projects. And because you will spend a lot of time typing.

Keyboards can make or break your productivity and in most cases cause joint pains.

But, how do know which keyboard is best for such purposes? In this article, we list the best keyboards for emacs.

What The Best Keyboards For Emacs?

  • PFU HHKB
  • Kinesis Advantage2
  • Durgod Tauros K310
  • Mistel Barocco MD770
  • Anne Pro Kinesis Freestyle2


Position
First Place
Runner Up
Best Budget
Snapshot
HHKB PFU Professional Hybrid Type-S PD-KB800BS
Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard (KB600), Black top case, Cherry MX Brown Switches, QWERTY keycaps
KINESIS Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard w/ VIP3 Lifters for PC (9" Separation) (KB820PB-US)
What You Need To Know About The GPU

A minimalistic keyboard that provides excellent typing experience.

The ultimate ergonomic keyboard.

A solid budget keyboard for emacs.

Prime
-
Rating
Position
First Place
Name
Snapshot
HHKB PFU Professional Hybrid Type-S PD-KB800BS
What You Need To Know About The GPU

A minimalistic keyboard that provides excellent typing experience.

Prime
-
Rating
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard (KB600), Black top case, Cherry MX Brown Switches, QWERTY keycaps
What You Need To Know About The GPU

The ultimate ergonomic keyboard.

Prime
Rating
Position
Best Budget
Snapshot
KINESIS Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard w/ VIP3 Lifters for PC (9" Separation) (KB820PB-US)
What You Need To Know About The GPU

A solid budget keyboard for emacs.

Prime
Rating

Last update on 2021-09-22 at 11:21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Preview
Name
 
HHKB PFU Professional Hybrid Type-S PD-KB800BS
PFU HHKB
Kinesis Advantage2 Ergonomic Keyboard (KB600), Black top case, Cherry MX Brown Switches, QWERTY keycaps
Kinesis Advantage2
Durgod Taurus K310 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - 104 Keys - Double Shot PBT - NKRO - USB Type C (Cherry Red, Grey)
Durgod Tauros K310
Mistel BAROCCO MD770 RGB LED Backlit TKL Split Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Blue Switch, Ergonomic Keyboard with Orange Letter PBT Double Shot Keycaps for Windows and Mac, Macro Support, ANSI/US
Mistel Barocco MD770
KINESIS Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard w/ VIP3 Lifters for PC (9' Separation) (KB820PB-US)
Kinesis Freestyle2

Best Keyboards For Emacs Reviewed


Pros

  • Excellent typing experience
  • Well-built
  • Minimalistic & compact design
  • Quiet compared to other mechanical keyboards

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No backlighting
  • USB Type-C cable not included

Interface and Type: USB Type-C and Wired, Bluetooth and Wireless Keyboard backlighting: None | Palm Rest: None | Type: Mechanical

One of the most popular Emacs keyboards in the community. The PFU HHKB blends a minimalistic design with an excellent typing experience thanks to its key switches.

A well-built keyboard which is evident by the price tag with wired and wireless connectivity.

In wireless mode, the PFU HHKB has long battery life – 3 months with power-saving mode and 1.5 months without it. This is not a rechargeable keyboard but uses AA batteries.

Wireless mode, on the other hand, requires a USB Type-C cable that’s not included in the package. Now for remapping, this keyboard allows every key to be remapped to your choice.

This gives you control over how the layout should be or key output. Furthermore, the PFU HHKB uses Topre switches.

Compared to the Cherry MX switches the Topre switches have a nice snappy tactile feedback. A great quality to have for extended typing sessions and quiet.

To sum it all up, the PFU HHKB might not be for everyone. It’s a pricey keyboard with no backlighting and doesn’t come with a USB Type-C cable in the package.

You can get keyboards that provide these at a far less price. However, the compact design, quiet topre switches (great for long typing sessions), and the benefit of you being able to remap every key make it worth the price.

Especially if you need the best keyboard Emacs where these functions are very important.


Pros

  • Very durable
  • Great ergonomics
  • Built-in remapping program
  • Great typing experience

Cons

  • Learning curve
  • Pricey
  • No backlighting

Interface and Type: USB and Wired | Keyboard backlighting: None | Palm Rest: None | Type: Mechanical

The king of ergonomic keyboards. The Kinesis advantage2 is a pricey device but the advantages are certainly worth it. Let’s look at the downsides first.

The Kinesis Advantage2 has an unusual keyboard layout. Traditional keyboards are horizontal with keys running from the left to right and arranged mostly following the QWERTY design.

But, the Kinesis Advantage 2 doesn’t follow the traditional layout. The keyboard has been divided into two islands of keys with each island tilting at an angle of 20 degrees.

Plastic separates both islands with some of the keys sitting at the bottom right of the island of keys. This is definitely not the usual arrangement of keys in keyboards.

Because of this layout, the keyboard has quite a steep learning curve.  You will spend a considerable amount of time learning it but worth it in the end.

Furthermore, the Kineses doesn’t come with any backlighting. Disappointing a pricey keyboard doesn’t come with it.

Now for why the Kinesis Advantage2 is an excellent keyboard overall.

Ergonomics for this keyboard is the greatest benefit of owning it. If you type a lot or spend a majority of your time typing.

Then this keyboard will prevent you from getting wrist pains or even reduce wrist pains if you are suffering from it.

The angle of tilt of the island of keys makes you type in such a way as to prevent wrist pronation.

Typing becomes easier on your wrists and shoulders. Combine that with a comfortable seat and table. You won’t experience joint pains when typing.

The Kinesis Advantage2 has a built-in remapping feature and the program is easy to use. A useful feature when used for emacs.

Moreover, it’s well-built made from durable plastic that doesn’t flex. The Kinesis Advantage2 is pricey and might take some time to get used to.

But, the excellent ergonomics and durability make up for its price. We highly recommend it as the best ergonomic keyboard for emacs.


Pros

  • Affordable Solution
  • Doubleshot PBT keycaps
  • Quality Built and Design
  • Different Switch Variants

Cons

  • Limited or No Backlight
  • No Palm Rest
  • Poor Companion Software

Interface and Type: USB and Wired Keyboard backlighting: None | Palm Rest: None | Type: Mechanical

The Durgod K320 is a wired keyboard that provides an excellent typing experience. And perfect for those who do not need a keyboard with RGB lighting.

Compared to other keyboards in this article, the Durgod Taurus is on the cheaper side.

The design is much similar to old keyboards and the build quality is durable.

It’s made of solid plastic, and the keycaps are made of PBT plastic, but both feel very nice to touch. There is no keyboard flex or wobble when place on the table.

Now for the typing experience, the Cherry MX Brown switches and the PBT plastic keycaps don’t cause any pain or fatigue while typing.

However, it’s still not as comfortable to type on compared to ergonomic keyboards.

Remapping is a needed feature if you are going to use a keyboard for emacs. And the Durgod Taurus doesn’t lack one.

Although it’s limited in functionality you can remap any keys of your choice. You just need the software to stay open when doing key remapping.

Overall, Durgod Taurus K320 is a great keyboard with Doubleshot PBT caps and Cherry MX mechanical switches that provide an excellent typing experience.

You can easily remap keys and the affordable price makes it a solid option.

We highly recommended the Durgod Taurus if you are on a tight budget but require a good keyboard for emacs.


Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Easy to program
  • The split design makes it ergonomic

Cons

  • Pricey
  • RGB doesn’t turn on whiles two halves are connected
  • Takes some time to get used to

Interface and Type: USB and Wired Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Palm Rest: None | Type: Mechanical

If you don’t prefer the traditional ergonomic keyboards. Then split mechanical keyboards are great options. In this case, the Mistel Barocco MD770.

A well-built keyboard made from plastic with a good amount of weight to it. The Mistel Barocco MD770 is a 65% keyboard that utilizes double-shot keycaps.

This type of keycap lasts a very long time and the legends never wear off. Underneath the keycaps are the Cherry MX key switches (the keyboard has brown) that are known for their consistency in providing a pleasant tactile and typing experience.

The key switches also give you the option of swapping it with blue, red, black, etc. One of the biggest benefits of the Mistel Barocco is how easy you can program it.

You have four layers – the first stock layer that cannot be remapped with the remaining three that are remappable.

You can even program a sequence of macros delays. For the ergonomic part, the split design allows you to keep your wrist and shoulders straight.

Unlike traditional keyboards that require a bit of twist to efficiently type causing pain in the long run.

Overall, the Mistel Barocco is a solid split keyboard that is easily programmed. Easy your wrist and shoulders.

The downsides are the price, the fact that you can’t turn on the backlighting when two halves are connected, and takes some time to get used to its ergonomic design.

Still, it’s one of the best split keyboards for emacs.


Where To Buy

[amazon fields=”B0089ZLENA

Pros

  • Awesome ergonomics 
  • Decent wrist rest
  • Great and compact design
  • Hotkeys

Cons

  • Learning curve
  • Pricey
  • Hotkeys can’t be programmed

  • Awesome ergonomics 
  • Decent wrist rest
  • Great and compact design
  • Hotkeys

Interface and Type: USB and Wired Keyboard backlighting: No | Palm Rest: Yes | Type: Membrane

Ergonomics at its finest let’s go over the downsides of the Kinesis Freestyle2 before coming to its benefits.

First, this is an odd-looking keyboard, and the ergonomics are far different from the traditional keyboard.

Although the keyboard layout is the same. You will spend some time getting used to it. Secondly, the hotkeys can’t be remapped including the single Win key.

Finally, it’s a pricey keyboard. Although the benefits of using this keyboard outweigh the price in the long term.

Now for what the Kinesis Freestyle2 gets right – ergonomics, design, hotkeys, and remapping.

Ergonomics is the biggest thing. The split keyboard can be tilted from 0 to 15 degrees.

Pronation of your wrists during typing is one of the major causing of wrist and to some extent shoulder pain.

The Kinesis Freestyle2 reduces that by making your hands assume a natural position because of the tilt.

Reduced pressure and strain result in healthier wrists over the long term. The wrist rest is not bad and quite comfy.

On the left side of the keyboard, you have hotkeys of the most used functions in typing. A press executes the function rather than pressing two or three keys at once.

Unfortunately as said earlier, the hotkeys can’t be remapped. The good news is that other keys are remappable to your choice.

To sum it all up, the Kinesis Freestyle2 is a split keyboard that excels in ergonomics.

As an emacs user who will be spending a lot of time on the keyboard. This device will not only boost your productivity but also prevent wrist pain.


Frequently Asked Questions

Best Keyboard Layout For Emacs

There are 6 types of keyboard layouts. However, only 4 are the best keyboard layout for emacs. They are:

  • QWERTY keyboard layout
  • QWERTZ keyboard layout
  • DVORAK keyboard layout
  • COLEMAK keyboard layout

Buyer’s Guide For Best Keyboard For Emacs

Keys Remapping

Remapping keys is a big thing in emacs. For a keyboard to not have that feature is going to be useless.

Being able to effortlessly remap keys increases productivity and at the same time makes you use keys that were omitted on the keyboard.

Some keyboards come with their own keyboard software that has remapping features. There are also remapping software that will do the job for you if a keyboard lacks that feature.

This is one feature you shouldn’t overlook when getting a keyboard for emacs.

Ergonomics

Typing for long hours can introduce wrist, thumb, shoulder pain, etc. over the long run.

Traditional keyboards mostly cause joint pains because of the way the hands are tilted when typing.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of when you experience pain and numbers in your hand after typing.

Ergonomic keyboards reduce or eliminate joint pains caused by typing by making your hands assume a more natural position.

The Kinesis Advantage2 is an example of an ergonomic keyboard that has an odd layout that eliminates wrist pain.

The ergonomics of a keyboard are important if you type for long hours. You will save yourself from pain.

Budget

Most keyboards are cheap. However, the top-tier keyboards are expensive ranging from USD50-500.

Knowing your budget is crucial in choosing the best keyboard for emacs that satisfy your needs.

For example, a mechanical keyboard with topre switches, minimalistic design, excellent key remapping software, and solid construction can cost USD200 or more.

You need to know features that you can comprise on.

Examples of features that you shouldn’t compromise on are key remapping, ergonomics, and build quality. Backlighting is one of the features you can compromise.

Final Thoughts

Emacs is certainly a very useful software in increasing productivity and using in-built commands to automate work.

And having the right keyboard boosts that productivity especially if it has key remapping software. That’s it for the best keyboards for emacs.

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