It seems that there is always a new accessory that you MUST have every month. With all the new products consistently jammed in our faces, it is easy to get cynical about accessories for your laptop. So is a keyboard cover good for your laptop? More importantly, should you get one?
A keyboard cover is good for your laptop. It protects your keyboard from dust, debris, crumbs, smudges, and other elements that damage your keyboard. However, keyboard covers reduce your typing speed. They may also leave smudges on your screen. There are occasional reports of these covers breaking laptop screens.
There is a lot to think about before you go out to buy a laptop cover. We will cover everything you need to know, including why you should get a laptop cover, how they work, drawbacks, and more.
Why You Should Get A Laptop Cover
Laptop covers are relatively inexpensive. Even so, you must justify the purchase. Having money has never been a good enough reason to buy anything.
Protect The Keys From Damage
The most obvious reason to get the cover is to protect your laptop. A laptop has many components, but the keyboard is the one you interact with most of the time. This continual use makes it prone to damage.
Some of the most common causes of keyboard damage include liquid spills, dust, crumbs and other debris slipping through the keys. Your keys may become harder to push or stop working. A good keyboard cover will protect your precious device from these common forms of damage.
Protect The Keyboard From Fading
The keyboard is made from plastic. Plastic is known to deteriorate over time, especially when exposed to the elements. This may not be a problem if you primarily work indoors.
However, people who work outdoors may notice their keyboard deteriorating faster and losing its color. Consistent exposure to your body oils can also fade the keys. There are few things more frustrating than typing on a keyboard with missing letters and symbols.
Night owls enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with nightfall. Other members of the family may not appreciate the clanking noise of furious typing. Enthusiastic typers can also seem obnoxious in shared workspaces, libraries, and other quiet places.
A cover reduces noise while typing.
Customize Your Laptop
Laptop covers are practical, but they can also be aesthetically pleasing. These accessories come in multiple colors and designs. You can easily find a unique style that expresses your personality. Another plus is your laptop will always be easy to spot among other similar models at the office.
Spills, smudges, and grime are inevitable on your keyboard. The good news is that you don’t have to throw away your cover every time it gets dirty. These covers are easy to clean. You can continue to use the same cover for a long time to come.
How A Laptop Cover Works
A laptop cover works on the same principle as a phone case or a screen protector. It will prevent liquids and debris from getting in between the keys to the sensitive motherboard below. These accessories are typically made from silicone, polyurethane, or plastic.
The protector sits on top of the keyboard. It is designed to fit snugly on the keys. These covers are also easy to install and remove, just like a phone case. Some have flaps with an adhesive that sticks to the bottom of the keyboard. This design helps to secure the cover in place when typing.
Any Drawbacks To Using Keyboard Covers?
There is no such thing as a perfect device, and laptop covers have their share of issues.
Not A Foolproof Measure – A good keyboard cover will protect against minor spills, but it will not make your laptop waterproof. You still have to take necessary precautions against rain, submersion, and other water damage.
Slower Typing – Most people need some time to get accustomed to using a keyboard cover. The most common complaint about these products is reduced typing speed. Sometimes, the keys can also become harder to press. The covers come on and off easily so you can always remove the cover if you need maximum typing speed.
Potential Screen Damage – There is very little space between the screen and the keyboard when you close a laptop. The skeeve may come into contact with the screen, leaving unsightly marks. There have also been occasional reports of the covers breaking the screen after closing the laptop. We highly recommend ultra-thin protectors to get around these problems.
What To Look For In A Keyboard Cover
Shopping for a keyboard cover for the first time can seem like a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know what to look for.
This is probably the most crucial factor. You want a cover that will fit perfectly on your keyboard. A loose-fitting cover makes typing difficult and can be frustrating. Most sellers, especially on Amazon, give details about which models their covers fit. The generic covers fit the common laptop brands, including HP, Dell, and Lenovo. MacBook users would want to make sure that the cover is specifically made for MacBook.
Also, pay attention to the keyboard layout. Check whether you have an EU or US laptop and order accordingly. These layouts have slightly different button locations and button shapes. Alternatively, check with your laptop manufacturer whether they make keyboard covers for your specific make and model.
At the time of this writing, keyboard cover prices range from $6 and $25. The cheaper covers do the job satisfactorily and are available in a range of colors and designs. On the flip-side, these covers tend to be very generic and may not fit your keyboard perfectly. The cheap covers are great for people with kids who like to get on the laptop and don’t care too much about typing speed or comfort.
Frequent laptop users might want to go with the higher end covers. These often fit perfectly. They are available in many unique designs and color combinations. Additionally, you are likely to get useful extras like a touch bar cover or screen cover along with the keyboard cover.
Keyboard covers are typically made from one of two materials. These are silicone and plastic. Plastic covers are cheap but can be loose-fitting and hard to type on. Plastic covers also come in clear color only.
Silicone covers are more modern, have a better fit, are more durable, and are available in more design and color options. Silicone covers are also more comfortable to type and are generally thinner than their plastic counterparts.
Remember what we said about keyboard covers potentially damaging your screen? This often happens if the keyboard protector is too thick. The thickness varies between 0.1 and 0.5mm. You want the thinnest cover you can get so that it doesn’t touch the screen when you close your laptop. Ultra-thin keyboards may be more expensive, but they do not leave marks or otherwise damage your screen.
Are There Alternatives To Laptop Covers?
One alternative that comes to mind is keyboard stickers, also called skins. These are made from super-thin vinyl foil with a laminated top. The stickers work the same way as decals or wallpaper. They have an adhesive underside that sticks to your keyboard.
Laptop stickers are far better to type with. The stickers completely take on the shape of the keys. If done professionally, it can be hard to tell that there is an addition. This low profile also means that the accessory does not touch the laptop screen in the closed position.
These stickers are also highly customizable. You can get custom fonts, brilliant artwork, bilingual keyboards, and much more.
On the downside, keyboard skins do not protect your keyboard nearly as well as a silicone cover. The vinyl may stop your keys from fading but that’s about it. The skin does not protect even from minor spills. These options are great for decorative purposes but not so good for protecting your keyboard.
How To Wash A Keyboard Cover
You may need to wash your keyboard cover every so often. This is an easy job that you can do with regular household cleaning products.
Remove the keyboard cover carefully. Take extra caution not to spill any liquid or debris. Remove the cover from the sides first before lifting in a picking-up motion.
Move to a trashcan or outside and shake the dirt and debris loose from the cover.
Mix lukewarm water and liquid dish soap in a sink or bucket. Submerge the cover and wash with a sponge. Rinse the cover thoroughly under running water.
Dry the cover with a soft cloth and leave it out to air-dry. Re-install the cover after you confirm that it is dry.
You might have heard horror stories about laptop covers cracking screens or causing laptops to overheat.
The latter is a myth since laptops vent from the rear and not the keyboard.
You can avoid the first problem by getting an ultra-thin cover. Alternatively, you can take off the cover each time you close your device. A keyboard cover is an inexpensive investment that will pay dividends, especially for people prone to accidental spills of food and drink.