I use mechanical keyboards. In fact, I rely on them so heavily that I even travel with one on occasion. Hell, I even made my daily driver from scratch.

Anyway, I’m often asked what mechanical keyboard you should start with if you have no interest in buying a kit or building your own. It’s a hard question to answer because so much about the mechanical keyboard world is personal preference, but… you have to start somewhere, right?

My first notion is to guide you to the Ducky x Varmilo. Get yours with Cherry MX brown switches – a good, middle of the road switch that is tactile, but not crazy loud or offensive.

This makes sense to me as the Ducky board is known for being very well made, but not crazy expensive. Also, the 65% layout is a good transition from a full-size to something smaller and more compact. If you end up liking the 65%, the transition to a 60% will be that much easier… and, that’s really where the magic really starts to happen.

But what if you just HAVE to have a wireless keyboard? What if you just can’t deal with a 65% layout and have no interest in freeing up desk space and simplifying life? There are options. Keychron makes a number of mechanicals with bluetooth and lots of different layouts. All of them are solid options, but I’d probably recommend the K6.

Once you get a hand on what switches you like and what layout you prefer, you can then go further down the rabbit hole with things like aluminum cases (added weight and mass can really improve the substance and feel), lubed and modified switches, and keycap profiles. Just be careful with how far down this hole you fall – it’s very easy to get $500 wrapped up in a keyboard if you aren’t careful. And frankly, there isn’t a lot of sense in that if all you are after is productivity.

Reddit is a good place to start your journey. Good luck.