6 Best keyboards for Vim in 2023


6 Best keyboard for Vim in 2023


vim keyboard


What is Vim?

To answer this question, I want to reiterate what I said at the beginning of this article: “Vim is an editor that takes a very unusual approach to code editing, not to mention plain text.

Vim has several “modes” and switching between them changes the function of the keyboard keys (for example, the W key in Insert mode, which, not surprisingly, lets you type the letter w, but in Normal mode it lets you move the cursor forward by one word). With this approach, the keyboard is used both to enter characters and to move through the text. In other words, you don’t need the mouse when you work in Vim.

This is very good when you want to be able to “switch” between editing and reviewing code. This is the way programmers usually work. If you have never used Vim to work with program code before you never even noticed how much time it takes to take your hand off the keyboard and reach for the mouse (or the trackpad), then move it to where you want it, and finally put it back on the keyboard to start typing (a lot of time in general).

Of course it takes some time to get used to Vim. And it is not a direct replacement for an IDE or an editor like VS Code. But we can say that Vim can speed up your work considerably if you know how to use it. Besides, it is interesting that its simpler counterpart is Vi, the standard text editor of most Unix-like systems, working in the terminal.

6 Best Keyboards for Vim in 2023: Reviews and Recommendations


Vim, the powerful and versatile text editor, is a favorite among developers and programmers for its efficiency and customizable features. However, to truly harness Vim’s potential, you need a keyboard that complements its unique keybindings and commands. In this article, we’ll delve into the top six keyboards for Vim enthusiasts available on Amazon in 2023, considering their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.


First Place: Das Keyboard 4 Professional

Das Keyboard has long been known for its exceptional build quality and the Das Keyboard 4 Professional is no exception. With its Cherry MX Brown switches, this mechanical keyboard offers a tactile, non-clicky experience that’s perfect for Vim users. The dedicated media controls and USB 3.0 hub are added bonuses, making it an excellent all-around keyboard.


  • High-quality build with an aluminum top panel.
  • Tactile and responsive Cherry MX Brown switches.
  • Optional customizable keycaps.
  • Dedicated media controls for convenience.
  • USB 3.0 hub for connectivity.


    • Pricey compared to other options.
    • No wireless connectivity.


Runner-Up:KINESIS Freestyle2

The KINESIS Freestyle2 is an ergonomic split keyboard designed to provide users with a comfortable and customizable typing experience. It’s engineered with a unique split design that allows users to adjust the distance and angle between the two keyboard halves to suit their individual needs. This keyboard is an ideal choice for those who prioritize ergonomic comfort and a customizable layout.


  • Ergonomic Design: The split design of the KINESIS Freestyle2 promotes a more natural typing posture, reducing the risk of strain or discomfort in the wrists and shoulders.

  • Adjustable Configuration: Users can customize the keyboard’s layout by adjusting the separation and tenting angles, allowing for a personalized and comfortable typing experience.

  • Quiet and Tactile Keys: The low-force, quiet, and tactile membrane keys make for a pleasant typing experience while minimizing noise, making it suitable for quiet work environments.

  • Mac and PC Compatibility: The Freestyle2 is compatible with both Mac and PC systems, offering versatility for users who switch between platforms.

  • Slim Profile: With its slim and lightweight profile, this keyboard is highly portable and can easily fit in a laptop bag, making it convenient for on-the-go use.

  • Plug-and-Play: No software or drivers are required for installation; simply plug it in, and it’s ready to use.

  • Durable Build: The keyboard is built to withstand daily use, with high-quality materials that ensure longevity.


  • Learning Curve: The split design may take some users a while to adapt to if they are accustomed to traditional keyboards, potentially impacting typing speed initially.

  • Price: The KINESIS Freestyle2 tends to be pricier compared to standard keyboards due to its ergonomic design and customization options.

  • Limited Key Travel: Some users who prefer keyboards with deeper key travel may find the membrane keys less satisfying in terms of tactile feedback.

  • Non-Mechanical Keys: While the membrane keys are quiet, they may not provide the same tactile feel and durability as mechanical switches, which some users prefer.

  • Bulkier Than Standard Keyboards: Even when adjusted to a compact configuration, the split design can still be bulkier than standard keyboards, potentially requiring more desk space.


Best Budget: Keychron K3 Ultra-Slim

The Keychron K3 Ultra-Slim is a compact mechanical keyboard designed for users who seek a blend of portability, style, and tactile typing experience. With its sleek, low-profile design and a variety of switch options, it caters to both office professionals and gamers looking for a versatile input device. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of the Keychron K3 Ultra-Slim.


  • Ultra-Slim Design: The K3 is exceptionally thin, making it one of the slimmest mechanical keyboards on the market. Its low-profile design not only looks sleek but also contributes to a more comfortable typing posture.
  • Wireless Connectivity: The K3 offers both Bluetooth and wired connectivity, allowing users to easily switch between devices or enjoy a wireless, clutter-free workspace.
  • Variety of Switches: Keychron offers a wide range of switch options, including Gateron low-profile switches, which provide a satisfying tactile feedback and choice of clicky, tactile, or linear actuation. Users can choose switches that suit their typing preferences.
  • Mac and Windows Compatibility: It’s designed to work seamlessly with both Mac and Windows operating systems, and its keycaps are conveniently labeled for both.
  • RGB Backlighting: The keyboard features customizable RGB backlighting, allowing users to choose from a spectrum of colors and lighting effects to match their setup or mood.
  • Compact Layout: The K3 includes a compact layout with dedicated function keys and a navigation cluster, preserving essential functionality while saving space.


  • Limited Keycap Customization: While the keyboard supports keycap replacement, the availability of compatible low-profile keycap sets is more limited compared to standard keycaps.
  • Battery Life: The wireless functionality relies on a built-in rechargeable battery. Although it provides convenience, users may need to charge it regularly, especially if they use the RGB backlighting extensively.

  • Build Quality: Some users have reported concerns about the build quality, particularly the key wobble and the overall sturdiness of the keyboard.

  • Price: Compared to other compact mechanical keyboards, the Keychron K3 Ultra-Slim falls on the higher end of the price spectrum. It’s a premium option, which might not be suitable for budget-conscious buyers.

  • Lack of Dedicated Number Pad: This keyboard does not include a dedicated number pad, which might be a drawback for users who rely heavily on numeric inputs.

In summary, the Keychron K3 Ultra-Slim is an attractive option for those seeking a thin, wireless mechanical keyboard with a variety of switch choices. However, it comes with a premium price tag, and users should be aware of its limitations, such as limited keycap customization and concerns about build quality, before making a purchase decision.

Logitech MX Keys

Logitech’s MX Keys is a wireless keyboard designed for productivity. While it doesn’t have the mechanical switches Vim enthusiasts often prefer, its scissor switches provide a comfortable and quiet typing experience. With Bluetooth and USB receiver options, it’s versatile for various devices.


  • Excellent build quality and design.
  • Comfortable scissor switches for quiet typing.
  • Multi-device connectivity.
  • Backlit keys for low-light use.
  • Long battery life.


      • Not a mechanical keyboard.
      • Pricier than some mechanical alternatives.


Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2

The Happy Hacking Keyboard (HHKB) Professional 2 is a cult classic among programmers. Its unique Topre switches offer a distinct typing experience loved by many Vim users. While it lacks backlighting and is on the expensive side, its compact layout and high-quality switches make it a top choice for the Vim purist.


  • Legendary Topre switches for a unique feel.
  • Compact layout optimized for efficiency.
  • Durable build quality.
  • Minimalist design.


    • No backlighting.
    • High price point.


Ducky One 2 Mini

The Ducky One 2 Mini is a compact 60% keyboard known for its high build quality and customizable Cherry MX switches. While it may not be the most budget-friendly option, it offers a great balance of features and price for Vim enthusiasts who value portability and customization.


  • Compact and portable 60% layout.
  • Customizable Cherry MX switches.
  • Vibrant RGB backlighting.
  • Detachable USB-C cable.
  • Durable double-shot PBT keycaps.


    • Limited availability.
    • No dedicated media controls.

Best Keyboard Layout For VIM


The best keyboard layout for Vim largely depends on your personal preferences and typing habits. Vim is a highly customizable text editor, and it’s designed to work well with a variety of keyboard layouts. However, some keyboard layouts are more popular among Vim users due to their ergonomic advantages and the placement of important keys.

Here are a few keyboard layouts commonly used with Vim:

  1. QWERTY: This is the most widely used keyboard layout in English-speaking countries. Vim was originally developed with the QWERTY layout in mind, so most of its documentation and default keybindings assume QWERTY. If you’re already familiar with QWERTY, it’s often easiest to stick with it for Vim.

  2. Dvorak: The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard is known for its ergonomic design, which places frequently used keys under the strongest fingers. Some Vim users find that Dvorak’s layout can be advantageous for text editing, as it minimizes finger movement. However, you may need to remap some keys in Vim to match the Dvorak layout.

  3. Colemak: Colemak is another alternative keyboard layout that aims to balance ergonomic benefits with familiarity. It’s a compromise between the standard QWERTY layout and the Dvorak layout, which can make it easier to transition to if you’re already comfortable with QWERTY.

  4. Workman: The Workman layout is designed for programming and typing efficiency. It optimizes key placement for common programming tasks, which may benefit Vim users. Like Dvorak, you may need to remap some keys in Vim to match the Workman layout.

  5. Custom Layouts: Some Vim users create custom keyboard layouts tailored to their specific needs. This can involve remapping keys within Vim itself or using system-level tools to modify the keyboard layout. Customization allows you to create a layout that works best for your particular workflow.

Remember that you can remap keys and customize Vim to work with virtually any keyboard layout. The key to choosing the best layout is your own comfort and efficiency. Experiment with different layouts, and consider factors like typing speed, accuracy, and how well the layout suits your coding and text editing needs. Ultimately, the best keyboard layout for Vim is the one that feels most natural and productive for you.


WASD Keyboards Vim Keys


If you’re looking to optimize your keyboard layout for Vim-like navigation without changing the physical layout of your keyboard (e.g., QWERTY, Dvorak, etc.), you can consider using the WASD keys along with some additional key remappings to mimic Vim’s navigation controls. Here’s a common setup:

  1. Remap WASD to HJKL: In Vim, the H, J, K, and L keys are used for left, down, up, and right movement. You can remap your WASD keys to mimic these movements. You can use AutoHotkey on Windows or xmodmap on Linux for this purpose. For example, in AutoHotkey:

    ; Remap WASD to HJKL w::Up a::Left s::Down d::Right

    In this setup, pressing ‘W’ would act like pressing the up arrow key in Vim, and so on.

  2. Remap Other Keys: To complete your Vim-like setup, you may want to remap other keys. For example:

    • Remap ‘x’ to delete: x::Send, {Delete}
    • Remap ‘i’ to insert mode: i::Send, i
    • Remap ‘esc’ to escape from insert mode: Capslock::Send, {Esc}

These are just some examples of key remappings, and you can customize them to match your preferences. Be sure to choose keybindings that make sense to you and are comfortable to use.

Remember that implementing these key remappings will affect your entire system, not just Vim. So, make sure you’re comfortable with these changes before applying them. Additionally, some text editors and IDEs have Vim emulation modes (e.g., VSCode, Sublime Text, and JetBrains IDEs), which can provide a more seamless Vim experience without the need for extensive key remappings.


VIM by Skeletor 87-Key V3 Custom Mechanical Keyboard – WASD Keyboards


The “VIM by Skeletor 87-Key V3 Custom Mechanical Keyboard” from WASD Keyboards is a custom mechanical keyboard designed specifically for Vim users or those who prefer use a keyboard layout optimized for efficient text editing and programming. This keyboard is inspired by the Vim text editor’s navigation keys and aims to provide a dedicated layout for Vim enthusiasts. Here are some features and details about this keyboard:

  1. Key Layout: The keyboard layout is customized to resemble the navigation keys used in Vim. This means that the H, J, K, and L keys are likely placed in a way that makes them easily accessible for movement in the text editor.

  2. Custom Keycaps: The keycaps on this keyboard are likely customized with Vim-inspired legends. This means the keycaps may have labels or symbols that make it clear which keys are intended for Vim-style navigation.

  3. Compact Form Factor: The keyboard is described as having an 87-key layout, which typically means it’s a compact, tenkeyless (TKL) design. TKL keyboards lack a numeric keypad, which can be preferred by some users for its smaller footprint and portability.

  4. Mechanical Switches: Mechanical switches are known for their tactile feedback and durability. The keyboard likely uses mechanical switches, and you may have the option to choose the type of switches that suit your typing preferences, such as Cherry MX or similar switches.

  5. Customization Options: WASD Keyboards is known for offering extensive customization options for their keyboards. You may be able to choose the keycap colors, switch type, and other design elements to personalize the keyboard to your liking.

  6. Programming Features: Depending on the specific version of this keyboard, it may include programmable layers or macros that allow you to further customize the keyboard’s functionality for your workflow.

Keep in mind that the exact features and specifications of the “VIM by Skeletor 87-Key V3 Custom Mechanical Keyboard” may vary, so it’s a good idea to check the product page or contact WASD Keyboards directly for the most up-to-date information and to see if there have been any changes or updates since my last knowledge update in September 2021.


Choosing the right keyboard for Vim can significantly enhance your coding experience. Each of the keyboards mentioned above has its own set of pros and cons, catering to different preferences and budgets. Whether you prioritize mechanical switches, wireless capabilities, compact designs, or unique typing experiences, there’s a keyboard on this list that’s perfect for you. Make sure to consider your specific needs and preferences when making your decision, and happy coding with your new Vim-friendly keyboard!

Vim keyboard shortcuts


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