The Difference Between ISO And ANSI Keyboard

When you're on the hunt for a new mechanical keyboard, how it feels and works during everyday use is super important. The design and layout of the keyboard can make a big difference in how comfortable and efficient you are when typing. Among the most common types you'll find are ISO and ANSI keyboards.

Let’s break down what these are and how to pick between them:

What’s an ISO Keyboard?

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. Simply put, an ISO keyboard follows international design rules which include an extra key not found on ANSI keyboards. They also have a bigger 'Enter' key shaped like an upside-down 'L' and located right below the 'Delete' key. These keyboards, with about 105 keys, are mostly used in Europe.

What’s an ANSI Keyboard?

ANSI keyboards, on the other hand, comply with the layout standards set by the American National Standards Institute. This type of keyboard is typically used in the U.S. but has become popular worldwide. The key differences include the shape and position of the 'Enter' and 'Shift' keys.

Understanding the Key Differences:

  1. Enter Key: The 'Enter' key on ISO keyboards looks like an inverted 'L', making it taller. ANSI keyboards have a more rectangular 'Enter' key.
  2. Shift Key: On ISO keyboards, the left shift key is smaller than the right, which could lead to some confusion if hit in haste. ANSI keyboards keep both shift keys large and identical.
  3. Backslash Key: This key sits beside the 'Enter' key on ANSI keyboards and often shares a spot with other keys on ISO keyboards.
  4. Right Alt Key: ISO layouts replace the right 'Alt' key with an 'AltGr' key, which is handy for typing special characters in several foreign languages.

Choosing the Best Keyboard for Your Needs:

  • Budget: If saving money is the goal, ANSI keyboards are generally more wallet-friendly.
  • Customization: ANSI keyboards also provide more options for customization if you like personalizing your setup.
  • Comfort and Ergonomics: If you type a lot, the bigger keys on an ISO keyboard might feel better. If you’re a gamer, the ANSI layout might suit you better because of the longer left Shift key.

Deciding between an ISO and ANSI keyboard depends on what's more important for your typing style and what you're comfortable spending. So consider these points, and choose the one that feels right for you!