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The best typewriter keyboards (and why the Qwerkywriter is revolutionary)

Looking for a distraction-free typewriter that can connect to your tablet, phone, or laptop? Our picks for the best typewriter keyboards also include Azio, Freewrite, and more.
Written by Sherin Shibu, Contributor
Reviewed by Amy Lieu
Qwerkywriter | The best typewriter keyboard overall
The best typewriter keyboard overall
View now View at Amazon
Azio Retro Classic | Best typewriter keyboard with backlit keys
Azio Retro Classic
Best typewriter keyboard with backlit keys
View now View at Amazon
Freewrite Smart Typewriter | Best distraction-free writing tool
Freewrite Smart Typewriter
Best distraction-free writing tool
View now View at Amazon
Rymek Retro | Best typewriter keyboard with saddle-shaped keys
Rymek Retro
Best typewriter keyboard with saddle-shaped keys
View now View at Amazon
Huo Ji E-Yooso Z-88 Typewriter | Best colorful typewriter keyboard, best keyboard for gamers
Huo Ji E-Yooso Z-88 Typewriter
Best colorful typewriter keyboard, best keyboard for gamers
View now View at Amazon
Yunzii Actto B303 typewriter keyboard | Best non-mechanical typewriter keyboard
Yunzii Actto B303 typewriter keyboard
Best non-mechanical typewriter keyboard
View now View at Amazon
Show more (1 item)

How exactly do we balance modern convenience with concentration? If you're writing a book or a screenplay or even an article for ZDNET, how can you focus entirely on writing and not get sidetracked by a Google search or a YouTube rabbit hole?

Enter the typewriter keyboard, which takes all of the positives of typewriters, such as isolating your focus and pressing on clicky keys, and adds connectivity to familiar word processors and devices. When you use a typewriter keyboard with your iPad, phone, or laptop, you know that it's time to write -- and the satisfying sounds of your keys will ensure that everyone around you will know it too. 

The leading product in this space is the Qwerkywriter, a gorgeous $250 typewriter keyboard. I reached out to Qwerkytoys in September 2022, asking about a potential demo unit of the keyboard that I could return after testing. My correspondence with their founder and CEO, Brian Min, changed my understanding of the company and the product. 

Min pointed out to me that the Qwerkywriter was the first typewriter mechanical keyboard brought to market, and since then the product has been copied, faked, and "outright patent and trademark violated." Min explained that Qwerkytoys is a small, local, family-owned business based in Northern California, and all of the limited edition keyboards they ship out are hand-assembled. The team does a 19-point onsite inspection of every unit they ship out. 

After understanding the value of the Qwerkywriter, I saved up and bought one of my own, forgoing the need for a tester unit -- and I'm glad I did. In this list, I'll be focusing on high-quality products like the Qwerkywriter, looking at user experience, ethicality, and craftsmanship.

Also: The best assistive tech gadgets to create an equitable workforce

Here are the best typewriter keyboards to fit perfectly on your desk and offer a seamless writing experience.

Pros & Cons
  • Tablet stand supports up to a 12.9-inch device
  • Supports USB-C
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Made of scratch-resistant aluminum
  • Does not have backlit keys, which could be a pro for some
More Details

Features: Operating system: iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows 10 | Connectivity: Wired or wireless | Paired devices: Up to three | Material: Scratch-resistant aluminum | Number of buttons: 83 | Price: $250

This is a gorgeous typewriter keyboard: Aesthetically and mechanically, it's perfect. 

It makes that clicky sound that you want with a typewriter, it's made out of scratch-resistant aluminum, and it has an integrated tablet/device stand that can easily fit devices up to 12.9 inches, including the iPad Pro 12-inch. Most 13-inch tablets will also fit on the stand, as long as the device is less than 5/8 inch thick.

I love that I can see the entire screen of my iPad when it's horizontally or vertically placed in the tablet holder. I have a 9th generation 10.2-inch screen iPad and it's a perfect fit. The keyboard is immediately responsive and a joy to use.

You can connect up to three devices at once with the Bluetooth connection, and type away on the keycaps, which have German-engineered Cherry MX clicky switches. In wired USB mode, the Qwerkywriter performs at its best and won't drop any letters or strokes. It didn't drop any letters or strokes for me in the Bluetooth mode either. You can control volume and page control with the scroll knobs on the keyboard. 

The issue that kept coming up with verified Amazon reviewers is that the key labels wore off quickly. So the machine could last for years, but the keys may need to be replaced sooner than that. You don't have to worry about that issue any longer. "We've made significant improvements to keycap fading issues with a new etching procedure," Min wrote to ZDNET. "We also have a warranty second to none and we often replace keycaps free of charge."

The keycaps have better stability, laser etching, and automotive-grade electroplating, creating a unique typing experience.

The Qwerkywriter lasts up to 4 weeks on a single charge. In USB mode, it does not require any battery power to function. It weighs a little less than 3 pounds. 

If you buy the Qwerkywriter on the product site, it's listed for the discounted price of $250 (originally $399). Using a 10% discount code listed on the site (CLASSIC10), you can receive 10% off of your purchase. Shipping takes 1-2 business days, which is comparable to the Amazon shipping time. Amazon is currently running the same discount. 

Pros & Cons
  • Unique finishes
  • Dual Bluetooth and USB modes
  • Adjustable stand
  • Does not have Cherry MX keys
More Details

Features: Operating system: MacOS, Windows 10 | Connectivity: Wired or wireless | Paired devices: Up to three | Material: Leather or wood, aluminum | Number of buttons: 104 | Price: $230

This keyboard had its start on Indiegogo in 2017, where it was marketed as an "industry-first luxury vintage keyboard." It has an aluminum alloy frame and a genuine leather or wood top plate, depending on which style you choose. The backlit keys combined with the unique material choices make this keyboard stand out -- and truly live up to its retro classic name.

Azio has included a clever feature to make this keyboard more comfortable to use. You can adjust the rear pillar-style supports of the keyboard to suit the perfect angle for your wrists. A simple rotation of those supports and voila! A more comfortable typing experience. You get keycaps for Mac-specific keys with the keyboard, which is a nice touch.

The keyboard can connect to your devices through a wired USB connection or through Bluetooth. The keyboard supports Type-C USB charging. You can use it in PC or Mac mode and connect it to your tablet, phone, laptop, and more. It's on sale for $176 on Amazon.

Also: The 5 best ergonomic keyboards

Pros & Cons
  • Can write in 60+ languages with 85+ keyboard variants
  • Longer battery life
  • Sync to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote
  • Delay when between typing and when your text appears on the screen
  • Limited functionality
  • No spellcheck
More Details

Features: Operating system: Internal | Connectivity: Wired or wireless | Paired devices: Syncs to the cloud | Material: Aluminum | Number of buttons: 61 | Price: $649

The Freewrite Smart Typewriter is more than just a typewriter keyboard. It takes all of the positives of old-school typewriters and adds in the positives of modern technology. For example, one plus of a typewriter is that all you can do on it is write. So too with the Freewrite. The device helps you get in the writing flow and focus on writing without being tempted by distractions, like notifications or web browsers. 

So how does it work? The emphasis is on drafting now and editing later, with drafting happening on the Freewrite. The Freewrite display features a small E Ink panel with a front light, so you can use it day or night without any eyestrain from blue light. The keyboard has box brown switches that are durable and clicky, just like the switches on a typewriter. Freewrite wants you to write more, and to write deeply, enjoying the distraction-free interface of the device. 

"At the core of Freewrite's design philosophy is an encouragement to move the writer forward," the "Why Freewrite?" section of the website writes. "Intentionally lacking editing capabilities, Freewrite drafting devices help writers write more, not better. In drafting, quantity trumps quality."

You can produce a lot of words with a Freewrite -- the smart typewriter has an internal memory of up to 1 million words. When you're done with part of a draft, you can export your copy to the software of your choice to free up internal memory. The device connects to Wi-Fi to sync your words to the cloud. It has over 4 weeks of running time if you use it for 30 minutes per day. 

Pros & Cons
  • Dynamic backlit keys
  • Scroll knob controls volume and power
  • Use handle to switch between Bluetooth and USB mode
  • Spray painted keycaps
  • Material choices
More Details

Features: Operating system: iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows 10 | Connectivity: Wired or wireless | Paired devices: Up to three | Material: PC+ABS, spray paint, protective lacquer, zinc alloy, aluminum | Number of buttons: 78 | Price: $170

The Rymek Retro typewriter keyboard had its start on Indiegogo, raising $382,983 from 4,606 backers in 2018. The keyboard features saddle-shaped keycaps, Cherry/Gateron switches, and a dynamic backlight. It works across all operating systems and can pair with up to three devices using Bluetooth mode. It has a wired USB connection if you want to use it with your laptop or computer. 

The battery lasts 50 hours before it has to be recharged; in wired mode, of course, the keyboard is not depleted of charge. The backlight effect has five brightness levels from 0-100%, seven light effects, and four dynamic speeds. The scroll knob is an interesting touch -- you can control the volume of your device and even turn your device on or off with the scroll knob alone. There's a stainless steel stent to make sure that your technology is secure while you're typing.

The unique design of this typewriter keyboard makes it worthy of notice. And it being crowdfunded makes it even better.

Pros & Cons
  • Easily configure backlight for brightness, pattern, speed of animation, color, etc.
  • Anti-ghosting keys
  • Keys are durable for up to 50 million clicks
  • Quieter clicks
  • Can only connect to one device at a time
More Details

Features: Operating system: MacOS, PS, XBOX | Connectivity: Wired  | Paired devices: N/A | Material: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), metal | Number of buttons: 104 | Price: $50

This is the typewriter keyboard to get if you want all of the aesthetic benefits -- plus a little extra.

The backlit keyboard has ten preset backlighting colors and flashing speeds for optimum personalization. It's made of ABS and metal, with a matte finish and a gold-plated USB connector. 

This is a typewriter-inspired keyboard that you can reliably use for gaming. It allows you to use multiple keys simultaneously at high speeds, with each key controlled by an independent switch. This means high-grade games with lightning-fast responses. The double-shot-molded keycaps were also created with gaming in mind. The 13 RGB backlighting modes are an added aesthetic touch. You can program individual keys to be different colors or program the entire keyboard to be the same color without software (or with software if you so desire). 

Also: The best silent mouse 

The Huo Ji keyboard is smaller than other options on this list, and it cannot connect wirelessly to multiple devices, but those could easily be pros: You can fit the keyboard on smaller desks, and you don't have to deal with wireless technical difficulties. At this price point, it's impossible to get genuine Cherry MX switches, but these switches are dust-proof and tested for 50 million keystrokes. 

Pros & Cons
  • Built-in tablet and phone holder
  • Trendy color choices
  • It comes with an extra keycap, batteries, and a manual
  • No option for wired connectivity
  • Some reviews mention that there are no instructions in English
More Details

Features: Operating system: iOS, Mac OS, Windows 2000, Android | Connectivity: Wireless | Paired devices: Up to three | Material: Unspecified | Number of buttons: 86 | Price: $55

This compact keyboard with typewriter-inspired keys measures just 14 inches in length; You can pair it with up to three devices and go between them using the FN key and 1, 2, and 3. The built-in tablet/phone holder is 12 inches long, so it can hold most tablets. 

The Yunzii Actto is, above all, aesthetically pleasing. You can choose between mellow pastel colors like sweet mint, baby pink, and ivory butter, or go for midnight or snow white. The style of the keyboard is retro with a modern touch. 

This keyboard does not come with a wire at all -- it runs only on batteries. If you forget to turn it off, it automatically enters sleep mode after 20 minutes. The keyboard comes with an extra red keycap, 2 AAA batteries, and a manual. If you'd prefer a larger keyboard with a numpad, make sure to select the B503 configuration with 104 keys instead of the B303 or B305 versions, which only have 86 keys. Right now, all three configurations are available for the same discounted price of $51.99.

What is the best typewriter keyboard?

The Centaurus took the overall best title, as it checks many boxes. It's affordable, offers wired or wireless connectivity, and comes in classic black and a variety of colors. However, it's not the only typewriter keyboard that earned top marks. I chose a variety of options to suit different needs, design tastes, and budgets. This table compares the top options based on price, connectivity, and paired devices: 

Typewriter keyboard

Price (without any discounts)





Paired devices



Scratch-resistant aluminum

A little under 3 pounds

iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows 10

Wired or wireless

Up to 3 at a time

Azio Retro Classic


Leather or wood, aluminum

3.5 pounds

MacOS, Windows 10

Wired or wireless

Up to 3 at a time

Freewrite Smart Typewriter



4 pounds

Syncs to Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote

Wired or wireless


Rymek Retro


PC+ABS, spray paint, protective lacquer, zinc alloy, aluminum

3.34 pounds

iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows 10

Wired or wireless

Up to 3 at a time

Huo Ji E-Yooso Z-88 Typewriter


Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), metal

1.76 pounds


Only wired


Yunzii Actto



2.49 pounds

iOS, Mac OS, Windows 2000, Android

Only wireless

Up to 3 at a time

Which is the right typewriter keyboard for you?

It depends on your needs. I chose options that mirror a classic typewriter in unique ways. The table below can help you determine the right fit:

Choose this typewriter keyboard…

If you want…


Luxurious materials and a smooth typing experience with laser-etched keycaps. Getting started took minutes thanks to the easy-to-follow manual.

Azio Retro Classic

A genuine leather or wood top plate for a unique vintage feel. The backlit keys add a modern touch. 

Freewrite Smart Typewriter

Distraction-free drafting, with no spellcheck or ability to edit -- but all the writing your heart desires. This is the closest thing to a modern typewriter that exists without the immediate need for an additional device.

Rymek Retro

Saddle-shaped keys and a dynamic backlight. This keyboard has spray-painted keys that are shaped in the perfect way.

Huo Ji E-Yooso Z-88 Typewriter

Wired-only connection, plus 13 RGB backlighting modes. You can program individual keys to light up in whatever color you wish.

Yunzii Actto

Wireless-only connection and non-mechanical keys. This compact typewriter-inspired keyboard comes in pleasing pastel colors. 

How did we choose these typewriter keyboards?

I compared different products and chose the best keyboards based on price and the range of add-ons. We chose ones that not only appealed to different design tastes, but also practical uses as well. Would you feel comfortable using metal keys or do you need a keyboard that offers a more traditional feel? And of course, price played a key factor. 

I also wanted to provide an overview of the kinds of typewriter keyboards out there, as well as present the most appealing options on the market right now.

Is a typewriter keyboard good?

The answer to this depends on how much you'll use the keyboard and if it can help focus your time. The appealing element of a typewriter keyboard for me is that I can get into a writing-only headspace and block out other distractions. I also like the look of them. 

Moreover, they're quite versatile with some models offering holders for your tablet or phone. And they offer unique features like backlighting and quieter key clicks. 

Is there a computer keyboard that sounds like a typewriter?

Yes -- a typewriter keyboard! The sound of the keys could be a plus or a drawback depending on if you like the sound of a typewriter. Usually, the typewriter keyboards out there are much softer than a standard typewriter, but they are louder than a usual computer keyboard. 

On the flip side, there are options that are quieter too. This is helpful when working in public or cranking out your creative masterpiece while your family or roommates are snoozing. 

Are typewriter keyboards ergonomic?

Some of them are, and others can be adjusted in height and angle for ergonomic purposes. Keep in mind even with an ergonomic keyboard, you'll need other components to help you maximize the benefit. 

Also: The 5 best ergonomic office chairs

Having ergonomic equipment throughout your home office reduces the strain on your arms, wrist, and back. And it maximizes productivity by lowering fatigue. 

Are there alternative typewriter keyboards worth considering?

Of course. The following products didn't make the top list, but they still have their advantages.

View at QwerkywriterView at AmazonView at FreewriteView at Amazon
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