The Best Vintage Keyboards in 2021

Your keyboard isn’t just an instrument to help you put words onto your computer screen. It’s also a piece of equipment that you’re going to have to look at a lot, especially if you work from your computer. That’s why it should have a style that matches your taste, and if you’re into a vintage design, well, there are plenty of keyboards out there that will help you blend the past with the present to get an amazing instrument that looks retro but performs like a marvel of modern science.

We’re going to help you find the perfect vintage keyboard to add just the right stylistic flair to your workstation, gaming rig, coding center, or music hub.

Carry on reading to see our full list of the best vintage keyboards, followed by a recap breaking down what makes each product on our list stand out. Or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.

What Should You Look For in a Vintage Keyboard?

Before you buy anything, you need to know what you’re looking for. That’s why we’ve added this rubric that details the exact criteria we used when evaluating our top keyboards. We believe in transparency, and we want you to be able to easily follow along with our list and understand our thought process. By the time you finish reading this section, you’ll feel like an expert ready to critique all the top products out there, and you’ll be able to conduct your own further research if you so desire.

Criteria #1: Style – I’m a pretty practical guy, and I’m usually more about function than form, but since we’re specifically looking for vintage keyboards, this list is going to prioritize style over everything. We want to help you find a keyboard that matches your exact taste. Of course, while we can’t know what your tastes are, we can make sure to detail the vibe and aesthetic of every keyboard on our list. Whichever decade you’re pining over, we’ll find the perfect nostalgic keyboard for you.

Criteria #2: Performance – Your keyboard is still a tool that needs to accomplish its practical function. That’s why we want all of the keyboards on our list to be up to a certain standard in terms of performance. We’re looking for the best mechanical keyboards that have all of the right specs for you from the number of keys to the actuation distance and force to the physical size of the keyboard. We want to find something that puts beauty and brains all into one keyboard.

Criteria #3: Extra Features – Every keyboard is going to have some small quirk that sets it apart from the pack. That can be an array of hotkeys and media controls, a design that’s flexible in terms of input method, hot-swapping capabilities, or anything else under the sun. After all, just because you’re looking for a vintage keyboard doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some more modern comforts. And we do want you to have a keyboard that performs just as well as it looks.

Criteria #4: Price – We’re not here to make you spend a ton of money for no reason. Meeting this criterion is less about being cheap and more about justifying your price. We’d rather buy an expensive product that’s cheaper than it should be than waste money on a cheaper product that isn’t worth the money and that will just break on you or not perform well.

Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Vintage Keyboards

We measured the specs of the top products on the market against our listed criteria to see how they held up and if they’re worth buying. We then checked customer reviews, blog posts, and “best vintage keyboards” articles to see if the products on our list performed as advertised. 

And without further ado, here is our list – tailored to your specific needs – of the best vintage keyboards. 

#1: Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard (Best Value – All-Purpose)

Our list starts off with the classy and sleek Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard. This keyboard is sure to make you feel like you’re Ernest Hemingway hammering away at the next great American novel. It has a beautiful wooden typewriter style that will give the perfect vintage look to your workstation, and it comes in 6 different color schemes, so you have your pick of the bunch and you can make sure that you walk away with the keyboard that’s perfect for your desired aesthetic.

The tactile key switches even feature a click that will sound just like an old-fashioned typewriter, but they have the added modern twist of a backlight to help you write page after page late into the night. This typewriter-keyboard also offers a sturdy metal frame that’s sure to last for years, and it has an adjustable height so you can make sure it’s a perfect fit for your typing habits. Finally, it comes in the full-sized style with a number pad included, and it has a frame of 18 x 6 x 1 inches and a nice weight of 4 pounds that will give you some stability.

This beautiful vintage keyboard is the perfect mixture of beauty and function, and it’s an amazing addition to anyone’s workstation. The Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard is featured on multiple lists of the premier vintage mechanical keyboards, and it boasts a slew of positive reviews on Amazon thanks to its sleek design and quality performance.

It’s a bit expensive, but it’s sure to turn some heads and impress your guests at home or at work. Its performance and durable and beautiful frame definitely justify the price. It’s just about the best value out there in terms of what you’re getting, and that’s why the Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard was an easy choice to be our number one pick.

#2: Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Inspired Retro Mechanical Wired & Wireless Keyboard (Best Overall Keyboard)

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Our number one pick probably isn’t for everyone, or I’d have way less to write about. If you decided to pass on the Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard, and if you’re the kind of customer that’s willing to splurge to treat yourself to the best product out there, then you’ll have to check out the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Inspired Retro Mechanical Wired & Wireless Keyboard. This beautiful vintage keyboard costs a pretty penny, but it has some features that the true connoisseurs out there just won’t be able to say no to.

Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Authentic Typewriter Design

If you like the typewriter design of the Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard, then you’ll absolutely love the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Inspired Retro Mechanical Wired & Wireless Keyboard. While our top-ranked keyboard has a nice faceplate that resembles a typewriter, this Qwertywriter product goes the extra mile and really looks like the instrument of choice for 19th-century novelists, all the way down to the upward slant on this keyboard. The beautiful black chrome and the elevated lever-styled keys will give you the perfect vibe to get you in the zone as you write your next masterpiece.

Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Tablet Stand

The perfect blend of vintage and modern, the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Inspired Retro Mechanical Wired & Wireless Keyboard comes with a built-in tablet that will let you bring a modern twist to this beautiful typewriter keyboard. The bottom line is that our once-secondary devices like our phone and tablet are becoming so powerful that a lot of users really don’t even need a computer anymore. The only part that’s missing is the keyboard. And since this machine features wireless capabilities, you won’t need any extra wires or awkward extensions to connect your iPad or any other tablet to the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Inspired Retro Mechanical Wired & Wireless Keyboard. The future is here, and it’s inspired by the past.

In addition to its beautiful and functional design, our runner-up keyboard boasts dual-function scroll knobs that control volume and let you scroll through the page, so you’ll never need to awkwardly fiddle with the mouse wheel or the side of your trackpad ever again. You also have top-of-the-line Cherry MX switches. On top of that, the Bluetooth is compatible with up to three devices. If you’re not into the wireless connection, there’s still a wired option to complete the old-school vibe.

Sure, the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Inspired Retro Mechanical Wired & Wireless Keyboard costs more, but this perfect combination of looks and brains is pretty much unmatched. If you want the absolute best and you don’t care how much it costs, splurge for the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Inspired Retro Mechanical Wired & Wireless Keyboard.

#3: Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard (Best for Gamers)

I remember spending hours on end playing Donkey Kong Country on my cousin’s SNES, and everything about that console is pretty much seared into my brain. There might not be a community out there that appreciates nostalgia as much as the gamer community, and if you need the perfect 90s throwback, then the Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard is just what the doctor ordered.

This keyboard features a beautiful SNES-based color scheme that will transport you right back to those weekend all-nighters in your best friend’s basement. Plus, the classic purple-and-white color scheme is a subtle-but-clear hint about who Hyperkin’s target audience is with this keyboard. The Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard comes equipped with Gaote Blue tactile switches, but it’s also compatible with the popular and elite Cherry MX key switches, so that’s an upgrade worth investing in if you really want the perfect gaming keyboard.

Our blast-from-the-pas SNES keyboard also features anti-ghosting keys, so you can press as many keys at once as you like, and they’ll all register perfectly, which is critical for pulling off those complex combos. To cap everything off, the Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard is even one of the cheapest gaming keyboards out there, so you can spend that leftover money beefing up your rig. Host the perfect retro gaming night with the Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard.

#4: HUO JI Retro RGB Mechanical Keyboard (Best Low Cost)

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It’s almost hard to call the HUO JI Retro RGB Mechanical Keyboard a vintage keyboard, but it has those capped typewriter keys, so we’re including it. Besides, the design, while sleek and captivating, almost looks like what science-fiction fans in the 80s thought the 21st century would look like, giving this keyboard a steampunk-like aesthetic. Anyway, we needed a cheap option for those of you out there on a cheaper budget, and the HUO JI Retro RGB Mechanical Keyboard is the cheapest mechanical keyboard you’ll find, vintage or otherwise.

It’s compatible with brown, blue, and white switches, and you can order it to come with the switches you want, but you can always change them later. This budget 70% keyboard features 81 anti-ghosting keys and a dazzling RGB backlight. It’s also nice and durable, and it’s compatible with Mac OS and Windows.

There’s almost nothing else to say, but I will quickly include that this keyboard’s small 12.2 x 4.84 x 1.4 inch frame is perfect for anyone with a slightly cramped desk. If you save your money and buy the HUO JI Retro RGB Mechanical Keyboard, you’ll find yourself wondering why it’s so cheap.

Verdict: Your Best Vintage Keyboards

We’re reaching the end of our list, and you’re hopefully starting to get a good idea of which of our products is best for you. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, not to worry. We don’t want to rush, and we know how important it is to make sure you’re getting the vintage keyboard that’s perfect for you. That’s why we’re going to recap all of our vintage keyboards and focus on their standout features. This way, you’ll be able to see the highlights and really know what each product has to offer for you.

If you want the best value for your money, pick the Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard.

Our top vintage mechanical keyboard comes in at an affordable price and offers the perfect blend of style and function. Its beautiful typewriter-inspired design comes in a whole slew of color schemes that will allow you to pick the option that best matches your office or at-home work hub, and it features practical and aesthetically-appealing tactile key switches that will give you a satisfying “click” sound with every keypress. This is one of the most popular options out there for everyone who wants a vintage vibe and all of the best features. The Azio Retro Classic Mechanical Keyboard should be the first option you consider.

If you need the best vintage gaming keyboard, pick the Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard.

Honestly, one quick at the color scheme of the Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard will be enough to win over a lot of gamers. (Guilty as charged.) But if you’re not as easily convinced, this SNES-themed keyboard also boasts anti-ghosting keys, solid default key switches and compatibility with the top-tier Cherry MX switches. It has the perfect clicking sound that will keep you in the moment. Feel like you’re back in middle school holding your SNESuper Nintendo controller with the Hyperkin Hyper Clack Tactile Mechanical Keyboard. It’s just as good for the newest PC game as it is for retro games on an emulator.

If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick HUO JI Retro RGB Mechanical Keyboard.

Just because you’re not willing to spend a fortune doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a great retro mechanical keyboard. The almost-futuristic HUO JI Retro RGB Mechanical Keyboard with its chrome design and typewriter keycaps is the best budget buy out there, making it the steal of the market. For an insignificant price, you get a beautiful and compact 70% keyboard compatible with some of the best key switches out there in the Cherry MX, and the dazzling RGB backlight is a nice twist on the retro feel. Save your hard-earned cash with the HUO JI Retro RGB Mechanical Keyboard.

That just about wraps up our list. If none of the highlighted keyboards above tickles your fancy, you may be more interested in the absolutely beautiful and top-quality Qwerkywriter S Typewriter Inspired Retro Mechanical Wired & Wireless Keyboard if you’re willing to pay for it.

As a parting note, it may be a good idea to think about the keyboard feature that’s most important to you before you really sit down and start deciding on a keyboard. This will speed up the buying process when you realize that even some of the best products just won’t have the feature you want or need.

That’s all for now. Enjoy the blast from the past with your new vintage keyboard.

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