The Best Portable Keyboard for Travel: 40% Ortholinear Keyboards

Introduction: Why Ortholinear Keyboards are Ideal for Traveling

The Ortholinear Keyboard is a newer type of keyboard that is designed to be compact, lightweight, and programmable. It's designed to be the perfect travel companion for those who rely on their keyboards for work or play.

Great Features You Should Look for in a Portable Keyboard

Typing on an Ortholinear Keyboard will feel different at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it. The keys are arranged in a straight line instead of in a curve like most keyboards, so your fingers don’t have to move as much. I'm a huge fan of custom shortcuts and since each key is given the same amount of weight, it makes using macros a lot easier.

The perfect keyboard should have a few features that make it stand out from the rest:

  • Size, weight, and Portability
  • Programable and Customizable
  • Price and availability

Best Options for Budget-Friendly Keyboards: OLKB Planck & Preonic

The OLKB Planck and the OLKB Preonic are both popular options for budget-friendly keyboards. They are both 40% ortholinear mechanical keyboards, but the Preonic is slightly larger with an extra top row of keys while the Planck has 48 keys.

The OLKB Planck and Preonic are both hot-swappable with different base options like the Hi-Pro and Low-Pro. They both run for around $120 - $140 without keycaps and switches.


The latest version of the Planck keyboard supports hot swappable switches, LEDs, a small speaker and even rotary encoders. There are several offerings for baseplates: EOTW (easy on the wallet), hi-pro and low-pro. These keyboards usually come in as a kit with some light assembly required.

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The Preonic keyboard is the Planck's big brother with an extra row of keys for those really missing the number row or want more keys to customize. The newest version of the Preonic is almost identical the Planck in terms of features.

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Best Option for the Travelling Creative: Work Louder Creator Board

The Creator Board is specifically made for creators, designers, and content creators and is perfect for the creator on the go.. Compared to other keyboards, the price tag is a lot higher than others. But what you're paying for is customizabiliy and a company that cares about design. More modules are planned, the creators are proactive with the community. Recently, there has been a contest in the community to design a mousepad to sell in their store.


  • Cusomizable removable modules
  • Up to 6 rotary knobs
  • 236 programmable keys across 4 key layers
  • VIA and QMK configurarable to customize all keys
  • 60% layout

Choose the Right Ortholinear Keyboard That is Right for You

A good travel keyboard is entirely personal. When choosing one, it's important to choose something that will be both comfortable for you to use and which meets your needs in the future. You should take into account whether it'll be used for work or pleasure and consider what additional features you'll need, like rotary encoders.

What's also great about these options is that you can choose your own switches. The OLKB Planck and Preonic offer hot-swappable PCBs, and the Work Louder Creator Board provides a DIY option where you can solder your own switches.

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