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split mechanical keyboard

10 Best Split Mechanical Keyboards – 2021

If you’re in search of the best split mechanical keyboard then you’ve come to the right place.

Unlike traditional keyboards, split mechanical keyboards are designed with ergonomics in mind for a more natural, typing posture.

Two of the main benefits include being able to type at a shoulder width apart, as well as the ability to tent (tilt) each half up at an angle.

In this post, we will cover the best split mechanical keyboards on the market right now.


What is the best split mechanical keyboard?

10. Koolertron Split Mechanical Keyboard

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: X
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

This split keyboard from Koolertron has a versatile design, appearing almost as two mechanical keypads put side by side. Due to having a mini-USB port on each of the halves, what’s great is that you can actually separate them and use them independently if needed, as well.

Constructed entirely from plastic, the overall quality of the board is good, feeling sturdy with a fair bit of heft. On top are a set of 1.5mm PBT key-caps, however, these are a bit cheap/ smooth. Unfortunately, the supporting stabs are noticeably loose and do have some rattle out of the box.

Considering this is a split mechanical keyboard, there’s not much going on in terms of ergonomics (apart from being able to move the halves independently). The boards sit flat to the ground and lack any adjustable feet. Instead, they just have four rubber pads that prevent each half from slipping.

For switches, the Koolertron comes with either Gaterons or Cherry MXs. Depending on your preference, there’s a choice of Blacks, Browns, or Reds. Both switch-brands are great for gamers wanting to hammer away at their keyboard, as well as those working in offices.

Lastly, you will appreciate that all 89 keys can be individually customized, assigned, and programmed with minimal difficulty. This is achieved using the SMKD62 software. Once configured, it will then automatically update and store any changes made on the keyboard’s built-in MCU.

All in all, it’s a decent board that functions as it should, however, it does lack some quality features.

Pros
  • Good build quality
  • Highly configurable
  • Easy to disassemble
  • Key-pads work independently
Cons
  • Micro USB
  • Braided cable quite short
  • No adjustable feet
  • No backlight

9. CORE MECHANICS Split Mechanical Keyboard

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: X
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

One of the most sophisticated split keyboards on the market today, the Core Mechanics has a clean and simple aesthetic with a sleek set of PBT key-caps. Besides the design, the best thing about this keyboard is the ability to disconnect, reconnect, and configure it any way you like.

Aside from four additional macro keys on the left-hand half, the QUERTY layout has a standard symmetrical split. In total, four layout layers control the macro keys (and the rest of the keys). These include the default layer, plus three reprogrammable dual-layers

Due to being physically chunky, the build offers great sturdiness. All the materials (from the synthetic ABS plastic to the integrated metal components) are top-tier and provide excellent durability. As a result, you won’t ever have to worry about damaging it in the future.

A pair of magnetic palm rests bring provide the comfort to the board. The wrist rests have good height to support faster typing without letting carpal tunnel creep in later down the line. Unfortunately, they do lack some padding but they are still very comfortable nevertheless.

The Core Mechanics comes equipped with mechanical Matias quiet-click switches. These are Comparable to Cherry MX Brown’s but with a slightly better response and a more pronounced tactile bump. The sound they produce is almost silent, which makes them very satisfying to type on.

Overall, this is one of the best budget split keyboards for general use.

Pros
  • Good build quality
  • Magnetic palm wrests
  • 4 Programmable layers
  • Flip up feet
Cons
  • Quite thick design
  • Little padding on palm supports
  • No tenting

8. Mistel BAROCCO MD770 RGB

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: ✓
Software: X

The Mistel MD770 RGB is a lightweight and portable, split mechanical keyboard. It has a compact 75% layout with 85 keys, including a full set of arrows. Additionally, it supports Bluetooth wireless capabilities, RGB backlighting, and programmable macros and key-remapping.

At just 1.35 inches tall, the MD770 has a lean design. A sizeable bevel runs around the top of the case. Moreover, a large rounded chamfer removes extra bulk from the underside of the enclosure. The case itself is made from plastic with a rigid 1.5mm steel top plate.

Underneath the board, you will find three circular holes for attaching the feet and a dipswitch. The holes allow you to tent/ increase the angle by screwing on the removable “nipple” feet. While the dip switches are useful for Mac users who might want to change some of their key positions.

As far as the typing experience goes, the board sounds kind of hollow so you’re probably going to want to line it with some foam. On the plus side, the PBT caps are excellent and the stabilizers have minimal rattle. For key switches, the Mistel MD770 is available in a range of Cherry MX’s.

The onboard programming with built-in memory allows you to customize all the key remapping’s and RGB modes. Unfortunately, the interface is quite unintuitive, having a bit of learning curve. Nevertheless, it does support a diverse amount of functions, plus 3-layers of configurations.

To provide fantastic portability, Bluetooth connectivity is another big plus of the MD770. Stable and secure, it can connect up to three devices simultaneously. Upon testing, the lithium battery lasted approximately 50 hours of use (with no RGB) and took approximately 2 to 3 hours to charge.

Overall, if wireless connectivity is most important to you, this is the split keyboard to go for.

Pros
  • Includes full set of key-caps
  • Wireless and portable
  • Large 75% layout
  • On board Memory
Cons
  • Slight delay on left/ right sides
  • Nipple feet non-adjustable
  • No software

7. Cloud Nine C989M

Keycaps: ABS
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The Cloud Nine C989M is a full-size, ergonomic keyboard optimized for comfort during gaming and work. To achieve this, it has a split design that allows users to keep their hands, arms, and shoulders a natural width apart. This aims to eliminate wrist strain and other issues like RSI.

First impressions, the C989M has plenty of weight and offers great quality. Due to having 7° of tenting built into the integrated wrist rests, the plastic chassis is quite beefy and it does not bend or move on the desk. When it comes to using the two halves separately, this is especially important.

To connect the board, a large smart media knob and magnets (for extra strength) dovetail the two halves together. Separating them involves pulling them apart with minimal force. You can then set the angle you want to be working at, as well as the distance between the two sides.

Although the media knob is quite big, it does not get in the way of typing and is a great addition to this board. That gives you control over the volume, backlit brightness, scroll, etc. Apart from this, the layout also features ten useful macro keys on the left-hand side of the board.

All customization is done through the C989M application software. Personally, we find this software very easy to use; giving you control over the modes, macros, and RGB lighting. Gaming mode allows you to disable certain keys; while the macros let you fine-tune the delays and set repeating loops.

Lastly, for switches, the C989M uses Cherry MX mechanicals. These come in a choice of Browns, Blues, and Reds. Thanks to the RGB backlight, all keys and switches light up beautifully. The backlight gives you eighteen selectable patterns plus one static user-definable color scheme.

To sum up, competitive gamers seeking ergonomics and plenty of keys can’t go wrong with the C989M. Not only is it comfortable but it’s also very easy to use.

Pros
  • Solid build quality
  • Multi-function knob
  • Ten macro keys
  • Beautiful RGB
Cons
  • No flip up feet
  • No Windows key
  • Short bridge cable

6. Zergotech Freedom

Keycaps: ABS
Backlighting: X
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: X
Software: X

The Zergotech Freedom is an innovative and effective split mechanical keyboard. Designed for ergonomics first and foremost, it aims prevent and relieve typing pain during prolonged use. One unique way it achieves this is with a pair of frictionless, interchangeable palm rests.

The patented, sliding palm rests are one of the highlight features of this board and how it stands out from the crowd. These prevent your fingers from over-stretching by allowing your wrists to hover around without tiring your arms. This is ideal for those with RSI or other medical issues.

For a familiar typing experience (with a minimal learning curve), the Zergotech goes for a semi-orthogonal layout. As you can see, it aligns the modifier keys that are asymmetrical, while keeping the symmetrical alpha-key rows unchanged. Due to this, it’s very quick and easy to adapt to.

Although the board is only built from plastic, the build quality is definitely premium. To reduce key clack echo and improve acoustics, sound absorbing foam lines the case. Additionally, the cables have double over-moulded strain relief, ensuring it can support its own weight during travel.

Zurgertek have also had the Kailh switches customized specifically for this board. These are modified box browns that sound incredible out of the box. Unfortunately, the key-caps on top are only printed ABS so they may wear out eventually and need replacing over time. 

Another negative of this board is that it does not come with any web-based software. As a result, all macros and programming’s have to configured on-board. This can be especially tedious when you’re wanting to change the layout from Windows to Mac, etc. or anything more complex.

All in all, it’s a solid choice, particularly for those with medical issues. The Zergotech Freedom currently retails at $339.00.

(Image Credit: Zergotech)
Pros
  • 2 sliding + 1 fixed palm rests
  • Premium build quality
  • Excellent switches
Cons
  • Bridge cable quite short
  • Non-detachable cable
  • Semi-adjustable feet
  • ABS key-caps
  • No software

5. KINESIS Gaming Freestyle Edge

Keycaps: ABS
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB is a split, ergonomic mechanical keyboard built specifically for gaming. Engineered for all body types and typing styles, it allows you to separate the left and right halves. When purchased with the external lift kit, you can also tent the sides up at an angle.

In terms of the layout, the Kinesis Freestyle Edge is essentially a 75% form-factor board that is split down the middle. As you can see, the left side of the board does extend this, though, featuring a dual-column of macro keys and a backspace. There are then four profile keys on the right half side.

Thanks to the 4MB on-board memory, you’ll be glad to know that all macro profiles and settings save directly to the keyboard. These are easily configured using the on-the-fly profile keys. Alternatively, you can use the Kinesis SmartSet software, which is also saved onto the memory. 

The macro-recording, key-swapping, and multiple profiles available with this software is fantastic. It allows you to program several key layouts so you can customize your game. Each layout has a limit of 24 macros for a total limit of 300 actions that include timings and delays.

For switches, the Kinesis Freestyle Edge comes equipped with Cherry MX Reds. The MX Reds have a low-force, linear feel, meaning they have no tactile bump or click. On top is a cheap set of ABS keycaps that you might want to replace. All keys are lit up by the stunning 16.8m-color RGB lighting.

Due to only having four rubber pad feet, the board is relatively flat to type on (without the external lift kit). Nevertheless, once you clip on the cushioned palm pads it does provide a comfortable angle. That said, to experience the best possible ergonomics, it is worth paying the extra $30 for the lift kit.

Overall, this is the best, (and most popular) mid-priced option out there for gaming.

Pros
  • High build quality
  • Fast response times
  • Reduces strain
  • Great ergonomics
  • Removable wrist-rests
Cons
  • Tilt kit sold separately
  • Clunky software

4. Ultimate Hacking Keyboard v2

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UHK) is a fully programmable, open-source, split mechanical keyboard for extreme productivity and ergonomics. This board stands out for its ability to extend the usability with four “add-on” modules that attach seamlessly to the inside of each half.

In terms of the design, the UHK goes for a 60% layout with shortened modifier keys on the right half. This provides a more symmetrical split down the middle (unlike the Mistel MD770 above). To help you quickly see what typing mode the keyboard is in, the left half also features a small LED screen.

While most other split keyboards lack a strong connection between the two halves, we particularly like that the UHK snaps together with magnets and pins. This results in a solid connection that does not flop when you pick up the board. The same method is how the add-on modules securely attach.

Available in four different options, the add-on modules are one of the standout features of this board. These options include a trackball, a trackpoint, a touchpad, and a key cluster. The key cluster joins to the left half (and provides three extra keys), while the other modules attach to the right half.

All keys and extra keys (on the modules) are configured using the UHK Agent software. Powerful and intuitive, the software allows for an easy, yet deep configuration with loads of advanced features. Here you can assign multiple functions to any of the four layers of the factory keymap.

Upon purchase, the UHK offers excellent customizability. There are eight mechanical key switch options (including Cherry MX’s and Kailh Box switches). Additionally, there’s five case colors, and users from different regions of the world will appreciate the choice of four typing layouts.

Overall, the UHK is another superb choice for professionals and enthusiasts alike. Unfortunately, it is one of the more expensive options though. Costing $332.75 for the board, $75 for the palm rests, and $60 for each of the individual modules!  

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard trailer
Pros
  • Sleek aesthetic
  • Add-on modules
  • Strong magnetic attachment
  • LED screen
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Right side non-standard key caps
  • Lack of dedicated arrows

3. ErgoDox EZ Original

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The ErgoDox EZ is an open-source design, split mechanical keyboard that originated from an Indiegogo campaign. Developed for enthusiasts and typists after a customizable pre-made board that excels in ergonomics, it provides a more relaxed, convenient typing solution.

For the most comfortable user experience, the ErgoDox EZ optimizes its layout. One way it does this is by choosing an ortholinear layout over a traditional staggered design. That aims to reduce finger travel and unnecessary fatigue when traveling up and down the board.

By separating the thumb keys into their own little cluster, the layout also closely mimics the hand. The thumb area consists of six separate keys that are useful on a regular basis. Much like the modifier keys (that surround the finger area), two of these are larger for enhanced ergonomics.

To improve the ergonomics, each half of the board includes three spring-loaded feet and a custom-molded “wing” wrist rest. The feet allow you to tent/ tilt the angle of the keyboard in relation to your desk. Once set, you can then push the (non-attachable) wrist-rest up against it.

Upon ordering, the ErgoDox EZ comes with Kailh Browns by default, but the option is there to change them to different colors. You also get a choice of printed or blank PBT key-caps. Fortunately, the PCB is hot swappable so you’ll be able to change the switches in the future.

Lastly, like us, you will love the advanced software. The software is completely reprogrammable and gives you up to 32 layers on an easy-to-understand graphical configurator. Since it is a web-based configurator, no coding is necessary, making it effortless to get started with.

In short, the ErgoDox EZ is a top product that currently retails at $324.00.

ErgoDox EZ An Awesome Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard
Pros
  • Ergonomic design
  • Large modifier keys
  • Ortholinear layout
  • Three adjustable tent/ tilt feet
  • Advanced software
Cons
  • Not fully backlit (over thumb area)
  • Standalone wrist rests
  • Expensive

2. ZSA Moonlander

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The ZSA Moonlander is an open-source keyboard for serious gamers, developers, and enthusiasts who care deeply about their craft. This board is essentially a side-grade of the ErgoDox EZ, with a design that refines some important elements to make it more streamlined and minimalistic. 

When compared to the ErgoDox EZ, the Moonlander has a very similar layout, but there are some noticeable changes. For starters, the ortholinear layout removes the “large” modifier keys around the edges in favor of 1u key-caps. Moreover, the six thumb keys are now condensed into four.

The design of the actual board itself is also quite different. To lower the height and reduce some of the bulk, it goes for a low-profile case with floating key-caps. Furthermore, the three feet have now become one, and both the wrist-rest and thumb rest connect to the body for greater adjustability.

Overall, the changes are largely positive and make for a much more portable board. Now that the wrist-rest is connected, users won’t have to worry about it separating from the body. Moreover, being able to fold the wrist rest for transportation is ideal, something not possible with the ErgoDox.

Apart from the design and layout changes, the Moonlander offers similar features to the ErgoDox. This includes a hot-swappable PCB (with mechanical switches), RGB backlighting, and advanced software. One difference though, is that the RGB backlight also manages to light the thumb keys.

Overall, those searching for a more slim, mobile version of the ErgoDox EZ, should instead consider the Moonlander. The portability is going to cost you an extra $40 though, as currently the Moodlander retails on their website for $365.

ZSA Moonlander Split Keyboard - Unboxing
Pros
  • Ergonomic design
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Replaceable thumb clusters
  • Fully RGB backlit
  • Advanced software
Cons
  • Only one adjustable foot
  • Expensive

1. Dygma Raise

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The Dygma Raise is a fully programmable, ergonomic mechanical keyboard developed to enhance comfort, health, and performance. This board stands out for its 60% layout (that has the ability to split into two halves), along with its intuitive “8-bar” dual-layer spacebar.

Designed with a low-profile that Integrates palm rests (and has removable palm pads), the Dygma Raise excels in ergonomics. The board raises 18mm at the back and tilts at a gradual 3° angle to the front. To help with this transition, the bottom row of switches (on the 8-bar) are all low profile.

Similar to the Kinesis Freestyle Edge, the Dygma Raise does require you to buy a separate lift kit in order to tent the angle. Unfortunately, the price is quite steep at $79.00. However, this is entirely optional. The kit provides four different titling angles, ranging from 10 to 40 degrees.

Besides being able to split and tilt the keyboard, one of the main ergonomic benefits of the Dygma Raise is the “8-bar” space bar. Having more keys in the area is especially useful. Not only does it give you quick access to more keys, but it also helps remove workload from the rest of your fingers.

When combined with the incredible Bazecor software, the 8-bar midsection really helps push your workflow and gameplay to the next level. All of the keys in this area are fully rebindable (as well as the rest of the keyboard) so you can get incredible functionality with far less movement.

For re-mapping keys and customizing the RGB lighting, we particularly like the software that has an easy UI configurator. This allows up to 10 personalized layers with dual-functions and combo keys. Gamers will also love the ability to create complex macros that save onto the on-board memory.

To sum up, the Dygma Raise is our chosen split keyboard, giving you everything you need to be super productive. If you can afford the $319.00 for the unit, plus the $79.00 for the feet – this is the board to go for. If not we highly recommend the lower-priced Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge.

Dygma Raise - the world's most advanced ergonomic mechanical gaming keyboard
Pros
  • Ergonomic design
  • Lightweight and portable
  • 8-bar dual-row spacebar
  • Beautiful RGB lighting
  • Advanced software
Cons
  • Tilt kit sold separately
  • Expensive


We hope you found a split mechanical keyboard on this list.

Click here for the 17 best 65% Mechanical Keyboards!

Click here for the 21 best Hot-Swappable Keyboards!








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