Tested: The Best Keyboards For Raspberry Pi In 2022


A Raspberry Pi requires a few accessories to get started. The keyboard is often overlooked as you can use any USB keyboard. But I can tell you from experience that it’s an important decision. In this article, I’ll share some of my best picks for each usage.
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You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on your Raspberry Pi keyboard, the ones listed below cost less than $50 and are excellent choices. I tested all of them, and I can now confidently share them with you in which case you decide to get them.

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Rii R8 Mini Keyboard: The defending champion

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As you can see in the picture, my Rii R8 keyboard (Amazon) has been used for a long time. I bought it at the same time as my first Raspberry Pi (2018), and I have rarely used another keyboard since (except for my desktop usage test and a few other occasions).

It’s a tiny keyboard, but it includes all the features you may need:

  • There is a small touchpad on it, so you don’t need a mouse.
  • There are two keys to emulate the left and right click (especially useful when you need to hold the click).
  • It’s wireless through a USB dongle, so it works on any operating system.
  • There is a battery inside, which lasts a very long time.
    I don’t even have to charge it every month, and I use my Raspberry Pis almost every day.

I did all the tutorials on RaspberryTips with it, so I can guarantee it works right away on the first boot with any distribution, even the more exotic ones.

The main issues will be comfort and typing speed. It’s fine for me, as I generally don’t type a lot. I do the initial configuration and that’s it. If I need more, I will generally switch to SSH to control the Raspberry Pi (or VNC for desktop OS) and use my laptop for the end of the tutorials.

You can charge it with a simple micro-USB cable

If you need to type more or use the mouse a lot (like for desktop usage, programming, etc.), it’s probably not your best option. This is why I tested a few other options for you.
To make your choice easier, here is a summary of my opinion about the Rii R8 Mini keyboard:

ScoreComments
Comfort1/5Small touchpad, takes time to find some keys.
Will sometimes repeat letters for no reason.
Features4/5Nothing fancy, but works in any situation.
Typing speed1/5Don’t expect to type fast with this format.
Price4/5The cheapest option on this list.

You may think that I don’t give an extraordinary score for a keyboard I used for over 4 years, but if like me, you don’t really care about the typing speed, I can’t recommend it enough. I don’t have as much experience with the other options listed below, so it’s a sure bet if you don’t use your keyboard a lot.

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Interested? Get yours on Amazon or check the link for more details and reviews.

A Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard: The challenger

I always travel with a Raspberry Pi and keyboard in my backpack, so the size of the keyboard is important to me. That’s why I decided to include this alternative in this article, even if it’s a no-name product, it comes with a few interesting features on paper.

It’s a foldable keyboard, meaning it doesn’t take space when folded but should be comfortable enough to type more. There is a touchpad on it, and another interesting feature is that it’s Bluetooth compatible (so you don’t need a USB dongle).

It comes with a short user manual and a USB cable

The Bluetooth was interesting to me because it means you can use it with different Raspberry Pi systems, without having to switch the USB dongle from one Pi to another each time. The Bluetooth association is pretty straightforward on most distributions. For example, on Raspberry Pi OS, you’ll find the Bluetooth icon in the top-right corner, and it will detect this keyboard easily:

Just click “Pair” to associate it. It will then work all the time, directly on boot, as soon as the keyboard is powered on. It’s more complicated with a Lite or Server version, as you need to use a few command lines that are not intuitive at all (bluetoohtctl, etc.).

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After testing it on a few distributions, I decided that it was not for me. It’s great if you use a couple of Raspberry Pi or SD cards, but if you reinstall from scratch every day, you have to configure the Bluetooth connection each time. And you need another keyboard to do this (you can use the USB cable for the initial configuration, but you can’t pair the Bluetooth with the cable plugged).

Power on the keyboard and press the Bluetooth button to put it in pairing mode. USB cable available.

So, it’s not for me, but there are still some great points with this foldable keyboard:

  • It’s compatible with any device, including smartphones (tested on Windows, Android, and iOS).
    So, if you are traveling and are interested in adding a keyboard to your iPad, for example, it’s a good choice (you can’t use any other keyboards listed here with an iPad).
  • Overall, the typing comfort is decent. It’s close to a traditional keyboard, with the advantage of being foldable. It moves a bit when you type, but it’s fine, at least the layout is the same as on a traditional keyboard.
  • The touchpad is a bit small, but at least there is one, so you don’t need a mouse with you all the time.

Here is a quick overview of my review of this foldable keyboard for Raspberry Pi:

ScoreComments
Comfort2.5/5Correct, but the keyboard is flat and the touchpad is a bit small.
Features3/5Foldable. Bluetooth.
Not convenient if you regularly change OS.
Typing speed2/5A good compromise between size and speed, but not the fastest.
Price3/5Same price range as the other options.

Overall, this foldable keyboard is average on all my criteria. It’s a good choice if you travel and need something smaller than a traditional keyboard and tends to use the same Raspberry Pi setup all the time.

Interested? Get yours on Amazon or check the link for more details and reviews.

The Official Raspberry Pi Keyboard: The comfortable

I couldn’t write an article about the best Raspberry Pi keyboards without including the official one. Even if on paper, this product doesn’t have any fancy features, there are still some great points:

  • It’s probably the most comfortable keyboard on this list.
    For example, it’s the only one to have a nice inclination, which is great for desktop usage:
  • This keyboard also includes a USB switch on the back, which is an interesting feature on paper:

    In practice, don’t expect too much from it. The Raspberry Pi can’t handle a lot of USB devices without getting some kind of “Low voltage issue” error. I got the error each time I tried to plug something on it (even if I have the recommended power supply).
    It worked, but it probably slows down the Raspberry Pi when using them.

It’s the official keyboard, so it’s tested with all Raspberry Pi models. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect, I noticed a few issues with this keyboard:

  • It’s a wired keyboard, you need a USB cable plugged into your Pi to use it.
    Not a big deal for desktop usage if you always use your Raspberry Pi at the same place, but something to consider.
  • There is no touchpad on it. You’ll need a mouse.
    Same conclusion, a real mouse is probably better for desktop usage, but not very convenient in other cases.
  • It’s a full-size keyboard. Not ideal if you travel with your Pi.

I think you already understand what I think of this keyboard, but let’s take a look at the scorecard:

ScoreComments
Comfort4/5The most comfortable for desktop usage.
Features3.5/5Good product, but no touchpad and not wireless.
Typing speed3.5/5One of the best choices for long-form typing.
Price3/5Could have been cheaper as there are no extra features.

As a whole, the Raspberry Pi official keyboard is a good choice when you use a Raspberry Pi as a desktop computer, or at least on the same desk all the time. Plug it into your Raspberry Pi, add your mouse, and you have a fast and comfortable keyboard, with the original colors from the Raspberry Pi Foundation :-).

Interested? Get yours on SunFounder or Amazon.

There is a pack keyboard+mouse available, and I recommend ordering it directly, as you’ll need a mouse anyway, and it’s almost the same price.

Rii K18 Plus Wireless Keyboard: The best on paper

My last recommendation in this article is the Rii K18 Plus. I needed another standard-size keyboard to compete with the official one, but with a wireless connection. It also comes with a bunch of interesting features, making it a good challenger on paper:

  • Use a USB dongle, so it works directly on any operating system.
    It’s like the first one in this list, same brand, you won’t have any compatibility issues.
    There is also a USB cable hidden inside it, which is brilliant:
  • It’s a backlit keyboard. You can switch it on and off, and choose among 3 colors (green, blue, and red). Maybe not the most important criteria, but it’s nice to have this option for your coding sessions by night :-).
  • Includes advanced keys, like music control on the top-left:
  • Has the largest touchpad on this list, making it more comfortable to use if you don’t have another mouse.

Overall, I don’t have any major criticisms against this keyboard. Except maybe that it’s not Bluetooth compatible. I noticed on Amazon that a Bluetooth version exists, but as explained previously, a Bluetooth keyboard is not necessarily better.

It’s the bigger one in this list, making it good for typing, but not ideal for travel. So, once again, you have to decide based on your Raspberry Pi usage, not mine. Let’s check the score I gave to this nice keyboard:

ScoreComments
Comfort3/5Comfortable. The keys are a bit too small for me.
Features5/5Backlit, USB cable + dongle, music keys, big touchpad.
Typing speed4/5Great after a bit of practice.
Price4/5Same price range as the others, but more features.

Overall, this Rii keyboard is the best choice for desktop usage if you want a wireless keyboard. With the integrated touchpad and the backlit feature, it will also work well to control a media server.

Interested? Get yours on Amazon or check the link for more details and reviews.

Take the Bluetooth alternative if you are interested. It’s a good thing to have for your main Raspberry Pi, and you can still use the USB dongle when you test other systems.

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What’s the best keyboard for you?

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There is no perfect keyboard for everyone. The keyboards listed here are all great products, but they fit different needs. Do you need to travel with it? Do you need a wireless keyboard? Do you have a mouse or want a touchpad? Etc.

The first thing to consider is the size. As you can see in this picture, there is a huge difference between them:

For nomad usage (travel or even different places at home), I recommend the Rii R8 Mini keyboard if you don’t need to type a lot, or the foldable keyboard if you need something more comfortable.

For static desktop usage, the Raspberry Pi Official keyboard will be the most comfortable, with bigger keys and a more ergonomic layout, as you can see in this picture:

Just switch to the Rii K18 Plus alternative if the wireless feature is mandatory, or if you don’t want to use a mouse. I think it’s the best overall, if you are not always using your Raspberry Pi the same way, the best for all circumstances in short.

Personally, my typical usage is one hour or less on each operating system, using different Raspberry Pi models, and regularly moving from one place to another.
I will probably replace my Rii R8 Mini keyboard with the K18 Plus at home, keeping the mini keyboard to travel, or use the foldable keyboard when I travel with my iPad but without my laptop.
I don’t think I’ll use the official keyboard for now.

I was lucky to not get any bad keyboards in this comparison, so I don’t think you can go wrong by picking any of them, just think about how you use your Raspberry Pi and you should be able to find a good fit. Another option for desktop usage is to use a traditional PC keyboard. In this case, my favorite is this pack on Amazon.

I will let you know after a few months if I change my mind about these keyboards, and you are welcome to leave a comment below if you have other suggestions or experiences with some of them.

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Patrick Fromaget

I'm the lead author and owner of RaspberryTips.com. My goal is to help you with your Raspberry Pi problems using detailed guides and tutorials. In real life, I'm a Linux system administrator with a web developer experience.

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