In recent years we’ve seen our handheld devices become smaller and more powerful. In fact, for many things, tablets and smartphones can almost completely eliminate the need for bulky laptops or desktop computers. But, unfortunately, when it comes to typing, flat screens aren’t quite as effective as physical keyboards.
Luckily, there’s an impressive range of small, portable Bluetooth keyboards available that can transform any device into an almost full-featured computer. The only problem is finding the right one. In this guide, we’ll go over the things you should look out for when deciding on the best portable Bluetooth keyboard for you. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started.
How to Choose a Portable Bluetooth Keyboard – Buying Guide
Finding the right keyboard is going to depend largely on your preferences as well as the situations you plan on using it in. So don’t forget to keep these things in mind when looking at your options.
Size Determines Comfortability and Portability
When it comes to deciding on the size of your keyboard, consider where you’ll be using it, whether it will move often, and how much you plan on typing.
Smaller Keyboards May Leave Your Hands Feeling Cramped
When it comes to portability, the thought is often “smaller is better.” But that can’t be said for portable keyboards. Although smaller keyboards do indeed take up less space, they also give your hands less room to move around the keys and could leave you feeling uncomfortable or more prone to mistakes.
For the most comfortable spacing, look for a keyboard that says it’s full-sized, or about 11 inches wide.
Folding Keyboards Pack Down Smaller but Have Their Own Problems
To save on space without giving up finger room, look for a keyboard that folds in half or thirds. However, these can sometimes come with their own set of problems. For one thing, more moving parts means more things that can break.
Some folding keyboard designs also add in a gap that runs down the middle to accommodate the bend, which could be a problem if you don’t type “properly,” with your right and left hands staying on their respective halves. Folding keyboards are also less likely to have some of the extra buttons and features that non-folding ones do.
If You’re Using It with a Tablet or Smartphone, Look for One with a Built-In Stand
Having a separate physical keyboard for your smartphone or tablet can completely eliminate the need for expensive, bulky laptops. However, screen-only devices can be hard to use if you don’t have a stand to keep them upright.
Getting a separate stand could solve this problem, and it would be helpful if you intend to use it regularly. But if you’re only going to need a stand while using your keyboard, it might make sense to look for a keyboard that has a built-in stand. This way, you have one less thing to carry and one less thing to forget.
Check the Battery Life – Active and Standby
The last thing you want to do is pull out your keyboard to get some work done only to realize that it’s dead. To minimize this risk, it’s important to keep battery life in mind when making your choice, especially if you’re not able to charge it regularly or go for long periods between uses.
Look at both its active battery life (how long it will last while connected and in use) and standby life (how long it will last while on but not in use).
Consider Extra Features Like a Trackpad or Number Pad
If you need functionality beyond what your standard QWERTY keyboard offers, you’re in luck because there are some portable keyboards that carry extra features such as trackpads and number pads.
Having a trackpad on your keyboard could be good for those who like to use their laptops on a stand, while number pads are great for data input. Just remember that the more features a keyboard has, the larger it’s likely to be.
Top 10 Best Portable Bluetooth Keyboards to Buy Online
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of our favorites for you to consider.
10. Lofree Vintage Bluetooth Mechanical Keyboard
Larger Keyboard with Satisfying Clicks
For those less concerned with space and more concerned with the way a keyboard feels, this old school keyboard could for you. It gives incredibly satisfying tactile feedback but is admittedly larger and heavier than your average Bluetooth keyboard.
It’s laid out similarly to an Apple keyboard but can connect to non-Mac devices as well. The rounded keys might take some getting used to, though, and reviewers note that it may not be best for use in libraries as the keys can be relatively loud.
|Size||11.8″ x 5.7″ x 1.2″|
|Battery Life||About 3 weeks of regular use (backlit at 40%)|
9. Chesona Bluetooth Keyboard
Pop Out Stand for Tablets and Smartphones
This handy keyboard comes with a stand that slides out and can accommodate any smartphone or horizontally oriented tablet. The key placement is spacious and easy to comfortably use for hours on end.
Instead of a rechargeable battery, this keyboard takes two AAAs, which adds a bit of bulk but also extends the battery life. It also has an auto-sleep feature that further extends battery life, but some reviewers note that it can be annoying while working.
|Size||11.2″ x 5.1″ x 0.66″|
|Battery Life||30 days active, up to 6 months standby|
8. Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard
Up to Two Years of Power
This keyboard features a deep groove to help hold your screen-only devices. It takes two AAA batteries which can last up to two years of use. It seamlessly switches between three devices and feels nice under your fingers.
The batteries make it a little larger than average, but the extra size and weight is helpful when balancing out any devices in the stand and prevent it from tipping over. However, it is flat and can slip easily into most bags and laptop cases.
|Size||12.2″ x 7.9″ x 1.6″|
|Battery Life||Up to 2 years of regular use|
7. MoKo Ultra-Thin Folding Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
Ergonomically Shaped for Easy Hours of Use
This slim keyboard features an angled folding design that, when laid out flat, puts your hands at an angle that’s comfortable for hours of typing. It folds down to about the size of a smartphone and turns off when you close it, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving it on.
However, some reviewers have noted that it may have some issues with pairing on startup, and if you don’t type with your hands where they’re “supposed to be,” you might find the split gets in the way.
|Size||12.6″ x 3.8″ x 0.2″ (6.37″ x 3.8″ x 0.4″ folded)|
|Battery Life||60 hours active, 30 days standby|
6. Arteck Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
Slim, Full Sized Keyboard
This keyboard takes up just two-thirds of the space of a traditional keyboard without compromising spacing and comfortability. It’s just half an inch thick but also features a slight incline to make long periods of typing more comfortable.
It’s made from high-quality materials and offers great value for the price. On top of that, customer support is top notch, so if you ever do have any problems, they’re quick to respond.
|Size||11.1″ x 5.3″ x 0.2″|
|Battery Life||Up to 6 months of regular use|
5. iClever Bluetooth Keyboard
Slim Tri-Fold Fits Anywhere
This keyboard features a tri-fold that’s designed to lessen the length without doubling its thickness. It folds underneath the keys, so you don’t have to worry about any gaps that might affect touch typing.
However, it is on the smaller side even when unfolded, and some reviewers note that the hinges can sometimes get in the way of your hands. So this might be better for those who don’t need to use it for prolonged periods.
|Size||10.3″ x 3.5″ x .5″ (5.7″ x 3.5″ x .5″ folded)|
|Battery Life||90 hours active, 90 days standby|
4. Jelly Comb Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard
Folding Keyboard with Trackpad for Windows and Android
This folding keyboard can be used in either Bluetooth or wired USB mode. It has a trackpad that works with Android and Windows devices and features separate left and right click areas. The keyboard itself works fine with Apple products.
There is a little key shifting to accommodate the left fold, but after a few minutes of typing, even touch typists should be able to use it without any issues.
|Size||11.9″ x 3.8″ x 0.3″ (6″ x 3.8″ x 0.7″)|
|Battery Life||24 days of regular use|
|Extra Features||Trackpad (not for OS X or iOS devices)|
3. Jelly Comb Multi-Device Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
Super Slim, Full-Sized Keyboard
This full-sized keyboard is perfect for those who work a lot with numbers. It can connect to up to three devices with easy switching between them and features comfortable, silent keys.
Because of the number pad, it’s fairly large, which might not make it great for lugging to cafes or coworking spaces. However, it is still thin enough to take on the go, if you need to.
|Size||17.6″ x 5.3″ x 1.4″|
|Battery Life||60 hours active, 3 months standby|
|Extra Features||Number pad|
2. Plugable Bluetooth Folding Keyboard
Uncompromising Folding Keyboard
Unlike most folding keyboards, this keyboard doesn’t compromise anything for the sake of portability. The key layout is exactly as it should be, the bottom hinges don’t get in the way, and it’s solidly built for hours of use.
Though it folds shut with a magnetic closure, it also comes with a protective case that doubles as a stand for your tablet or phone. And while it isn’t exactly loud, it does offer nice audible and tactile feedback.
|Size||11.5″ x 4.6″ x 0.5″ (6.6″ x 4.6″ x 1″ folded)|
|Battery Life||3 weeks of regular use|
1. Nulaxy Bluetooth Keyboard
Portable and Affordable
This keyboard sits comfortably at the intersection of functionality, portability, and value. It’s extremely thin, just a little narrower than a standard keyboard, and comes with a magnetic cover that doubles as a smartphone or tablet stand.
It’s set up to work seamlessly with Android, Windows, and Apple devices and switches easily between configurations. However, the function and number rows have been condensed to save space, which may take some getting used to.
|Size||9.5″ x 5.2″ x 0.2″|
|Battery Life||40 hours active, 60 days standby|
How to Clean Your Portable Bluetooth Keyboard
Portable keyboards are often subject to more mess than a standard computer or laptop keyboard. On top of the messes that come along with being open on top of your desk, they often get tossed into bags without a case and are handled more often. So here are some tips to clean your keyboard.
Start by powering it off. Turn it upside down and give it a firm shake to loosen any debris. Feel free to give it a couple of taps on the bottom side for good measure. Use compressed air to blow off dust. Try tilting your keyboard at a 75º angle while spraying to ensure that the particles come off properly.
For anything stuck on your keys and in the spaces between, use a cotton swab and a bit of rubbing alcohol to give it a good scrub. Do this often to ensure that you’re not getting any major build up.
There you have it–a quick guide to finding the right portable Bluetooth keyboard for you! When choosing a keyboard, it’s all about striking a balance between function and comfort. It’s best to go with one that works for you, which may not always be the fanciest or best-looking.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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