While you can use the onscreen keyboard to type on your iPad, it can be fiddly, plus it makes typing long pieces a chore. Keyboards for iPads make it much quicker and easier to write reports, articles, emails, or just long instant messages to your friends. To find the best keyboard for your iPad, you'll need to consider a range of features. Do you want a keyboard that connects wirelessly or a wired model? What kind of battery life do you require? Read on for everything you need to know before you invest.
Considerations when choosing keyboards for iPads
Keyboards for iPads either connect directly to your iPad or connect wirelessly via Bluetooth or Smart Connector. Wired keyboards generally plug into the iPad's headphone port. While wires can be inconvenient, wired keyboards don't need batteries since they draw a small amount of power from your iPad to run. Bluetooth keyboards are wireless, but there is the chance of pairing issues. Keyboards that connect via Smart Connector don't require batteries, but they are only compatible with iPad Pros.
Battery type and life
If you choose a battery-powered keyboard, check whether it takes standard batteries (such as AA or AAA) or has an internal rechargeable battery. Standard batteries last longer, but you have the expense of replacing them. That said, some keyboards for iPads with extremely powerful rechargeable batteries can last six months between charges.
Case vs. standalone
Do you want an iPad keyboard that's built into a case or completely standalone? If you tend to use your keyboard on the go, a model that's built into a case will be more convenient, but it might give you an inferior typing experience compared to a large standalone keyboard.
Case-integrated keyboards for iPads tend to be the same size as the iPad they're compatible with, so you'll need to choose the size according to which iPad model you own. They're usually compact and slim for easy portability. Standalone keyboards are often larger and thicker, and they can be used with any kind of iPad.
If your iPad keyboard is backlit, it means you can see the keys in low light. This is a must-have feature if you like to use your iPad in bed at night or in low lighting.
You can find a handful of keyboards for iPads that have an integrated solar panel so that you don't need to charge them. If you're constantly forgetting to charge your devices, this might be a handy feature for you, but solar keyboards cost more than standard battery-powered options.
Although it's not as important as overall functionality, you might want to choose a keyboard that matches the color of your iPad. Black, white, and silver are the most common colors for iPad keyboards, but you can occasionally find them in other hues.
Expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $150 for an iPad keyboard. In the $10 to $30 range, you'll find basic keyboards that are either wired or have Bluetooth connectivity. You'll get a better typing experience from a keyboard in the $30 to $60 range. If you often use your iPad for typing, you might want to splash out for a high-end keyboard that's $100 or more.
Q. Will I need a stand for my iPad to use it with a keyboard?
A. If your chosen keyboard comes with a case, it generally folds to support your iPad in an upright position so that it's easier to look at the screen while you type. For a standalone keyboard, you'll need a separate stand for your iPad.
Q. Which iPad keyboard will give me the best typing experience?
A. Larger and thicker iPad keyboards generally give the best typing experience, but they are less portable than slim, compact models, so you'll need to decide which feature is more important to you.
Keyboards for iPads we recommend
Best of the best: Alpatronix iPad Keyboard and Leather Case
Our take: This reliable Bluetooth keyboard is compatible with iPads 2, 3, and 4.
What we like: Impressive 120-hour battery life. Detachable from case. Comes with micro USB charging cable.
What we dislike: Not backlit.
Best bang for your buck: OMOTON Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard
Our take: You can use this affordable Bluetooth keyboard with all types of iPads.
What we like: Well-built and pleasant to type on. Uses two AAA batteries. Plenty of iOS shortcuts.
What we dislike: Some users report symbol keys malfunctioning.
Choice 3: Nulaxy KM12 Bluetooth Keyboard
Our take: A sturdy wireless keyboard that comes with a quality protective case.
What we like: Customizable case folds to support devices of varying sizes. Metal construction feels rugged, yet it's still lightweight.
What we dislike: Not designed exclusively for iPads so lacking iOS shortcuts.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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