The stock keyboard that comes on a device is usually passable, but always seems to leave one wanting something more. The good news is there is a lot of third party keyboard options and some of them are pretty spectacular. Which keyboard is best for you? We don’t know because everyone’s typing needs are different but in this list, we’ll explore the best third party Android keyboard options and hopefully that helps you find one that’s right for you. If you’d rather watch, we have a video above. Do note the list has been updated since the video came out so the most up to date list is below.
First up on our list is AI Type Keyboard Plus. This is versatile keyboard gives you a lot of options all inside of an eye friendly interface. The various menus in this keyboard app look really well designed, and the keyboard is fairly accurate too. It also tries to compete with SwiftKey in terms of word prediction and it’s fairly accurate. The theming is top notch and it’s worth a shot.
Next on our list is Hacker’s Keyboard. This keyboard app has been around for quite some time and has been consistently popular among its somewhat small, but loyal fanbase. One of the really cool features with this app is that it has the ability to set up a keyboard like you could find on any Windows computer which includes things like the function keys, alt, tab, ctrl, etc. You can resize the keyboard to four rows to make it look like your standard Android keyboard or you can set it independently based on rotation. So if you’re looking for a decent keyboard for portrait mode and a full-sized keyboard for landscape mode, Hacker’s Keyboard will do the job.
Smart Keyboard PRO has been competitor in the keyboard market for a very long time now. While it may not look like much at first, it has improved leaps and bounds compared to earlier versions of the keyboard in terms of functionality. However, one of its hallmark themes is still the Gingerbread keyboard, which may put some people off. It can be themed although the process is a little difficult. It’s a solid keyboard and worth looking at.
Predictive text functionality in SwiftKey is considered some of the best in its niche. It’s also considered one of the best trace keyboards, and there’s even a few small things included that make SwiftKey a great all-in-one keyboard experience, such as stats on how efficient you are when typing and a truck load of theme options. Simply put, SwiftKey is one of the best keyboards you could ever use on your Android device. There are also tablet keyboard options and an option to move the keyboard to one side for use on larger phones.
You’re probably already familiar with Swype, as OEMs have been including it in their smartphones for years. The long-time champion of third-party keyboards is also now available in the Google Play Store for those that may not have it yet. It features wickedly accurate gesture typing and a very clean, smooth interface. This is one of the few keyboards that people prefer to Swiftkey on a regular basis and you can try it before you buy it.
Of course we give the obligatory nod to the official Google Keyboard. This is the keyboard you’ll find on Nexus devices and, technically, qualifies as the stock keyboard. Even so, it has a lot of nice features like gesture typing, sentence gesture typing, and emoji support. It’s free and it’s pretty basic but if that’s all you need, this is all you’ll need.
TouchPal X Keyboard has been around for a while but only over the last year or so has it begun to distinguish itself from the pack. In recent updates, there is now sentence gesture typing, better emoji support and access, and support for 70 languages. Add to that the existing theme options and features and you have a really solid keyboard that’s worth checking out.
Kii Keyboard may not be the most unique keyboard on this list, but it’s still a very solid keyboard. It has the standard features like text prediction, emoji support, some theme elements, and gesture input. It also includes things like multiple keyboard layouts and 80 languages. At first glance it seems like just another keyboard but it is anything but that. If you’re looking for a solid option, look no further.
GO Keyboard suffers from the same stigma as other GO products. Some people absolutely love it and some people absolutely hate it. That said, GO keyboard is a fun option if you like your keyboard to look really busy. There are themes galore along with things like emoji support. The only issue is that it is really busy almost to the point of being cartoony. It is free, though, and that’s always a big plus.
[Price: Free / $0.99]
Adaptxt Keyboard is the last on our list and it’s one of the most unique. It has your standard options like text prediction and emojis so it’s a solid keyboard on its own. Its claim to fame, though, is its theming. You can theme literally every part of this keyboard on your own. So you can change the text color, font, keyboard color (or background if you’d like to use a picture), the trace color, and everything else. It’s an amazing option for people who like to theme. It’s free to try but to get everything you’ll have to pay $0.99 inside the app. For many, it’ll be worth it.
[Price: Free / $3.99]
We intentionally didn’t include Keymonk before because the developer stopped supporting it sometime ago. However, after learning that a lot of people still use the keyboard –including our very own Josh Vergara– we decided to include it here. Keymonk is unique because it is the only keyboard that allows you to swipe with multiple fingers. Unlike Swype and Swiftkey, with Keymonk you can swipe words using two thumbs instead of one which ostensibly allows you to swipe out words even faster and with more comfort. Like many unique twists on the keyboard, it does take some getting used to but once you do, it’s an unusually speedy way to enter text.
[Price: Free / $3.99]
Minuum is a newer keyboard that takes a different spin to typing. Instead of the traditional QWERTY keyboard, Minuum relies on a proprietary keyboard set up that, after you get used to it, can meet or exceed your current typing speed on the traditional layout. Its claim to fame is the ability to take up less than half of the screen real estate of regular keyboards and allow for a more sloppy typing style. It’s unique and if you’re not sure you want to drop the $3.99 on the full version, you can always give the free demo a try to see if it’s for you.
Multiling keyboard is one of those apps that has always drifted right on the cusp of mainstream attention. It’s good enough to be included on this list but hasn’t managed to gain the attention of people like Swype or SwiftKey has. Multiling has a myriad of features including more than 130 languages supported, floating keyboard functionality, theming, a built in calculator, multiple layouts, and gesture typing. There is a new beta out right now that’s free and seems to be better received than its predecessor so that’s the one that we linked but you can always find the original done by the same developer.
[Price: Free / $3.99]
SlideIT is another keyboard app that is very well and can compete with keyboards like Swype and SwiftKey in terms of popularity. It’s been a Google Play Editor’s Choice app and currently sits with over six million downloads. SlideIT has the standard features for keyboards these days, including theming and gesture typing. One of its more unique features is the ability to half type, half-gesture words. So if you’re typing “enjoyable” you can type “enjoy” then gesture type “able” and it’ll know you mean the same word. The predictive text isn’t half bad either.
It was pretty clear upon the release of Fleksy that its sole purpose of existence was to dethrone SwiftKey as the most popular keyboard out there. It has an above average prediction engine that looks at where you hit letters as opposed to the letters themselves which, in theory, is supposed to help figure out what you meant to type. There is also gesture typing, an invisible keyboard feature, and multiple language support. It’s free to use so why not give it a try?
These days keyboards come in all shapes and sizes. You have traditional set ups and some brand new, never before seen set ups that are frequently challenging how we type. There are the big dogs in the pack and the up and comers that are just now starting to make a splash. Therefore if we missed a great keyboard app and you want to tell us about it, leave us a comment down below and tell us about it.
I really like Keymonk, although there’s not much development going on around it (or any at all). It’s a solid keyboard that let’s you “Swype” two-handed.
are there any keyboards that have a single handed function or use with the note 2 and other 5.5 in+ devices
Big Buttons Keyboard is best for single hand operation.
‘AItype FloatNSplit for Tablet’ can have the keyboard fixed to the right or to the left, eliminating the need for two hands.
Try it for Free, and let us know what you think:
Swiftkey now has a compact mode that does just that.
where is TouchPal?
No TouchPal, which has better accuracy than SwiftKey?
touchpal is in there…
It wasn’t there when I posted my comment. The author must have added it in afterwards.
Still enjoy SwiftKey…. If developer added “auto complete features” this keyboard is the CHOSEN ONE o/
Kii is better… And missing. This not a serious exercise.
except kii is the biggest heap of compiled garbage.
where’s keymonk? 2-handed swiping is awesome!
I like trace-type keyboards for portrait typing, but my favorite typing experience for landscape is Thumb Keyboard. The split layout makes me much more efficient, that and the auto-correct is usually spot on for me.
Kii Keyboard beats everyone of these
Been using Kii myself. Tried most of these and liked it the best however, there are a couple I missed.
and the free version is totally useable with no time limit.
I use Kii too, I like the fact it has prediction for Romanian words without diacritics, this is extremely useful when sending an SMS, as letters that are not in the english alphabet add enough data to the SMS to make it change into an MMS (which never really took off here in Romania and cost half an euro each).
Also, they have dual-language support, and gesture input and it’s free, so that makes me happy :).
Play Store ratings are worthless because different apps have different numbers of ratings. It isn’t directly comparable, but I do appreciate that you guys tried to keep the rankings impersonal.
I think SwiftKey and Swype and heads and shoulders above all these other keyboards. They are more developed, but it’s nice to see other mature options available.
manh..touch pal x input is far much better than these
I like Thumb Keyboard. It is very accurate and fun to type on.
wish there was a keyboard similar to note 2 keyboard with 4.1 version of android .
it has nice interface, multiple auto-suggestions , and it has the digits buttons above the other keys.
i’m using it on my SGS3 and don’t get why samsung didn’t put it on this device by default.
Actually the latest version of Swiftkey does in fact allow the number row and has always had multiple suggestions. As a matter of fact, their prediction and swipe engines are based on Swiftkey, so give that a shot.
this is only one feature that i like about it.
you have to try it for a couple of days to see how much the keyboard helps with auto suggesting.
it suggests of emails, contact names, phone numbers, … it can learn from other apps (gmail,facebook,twitter) , it learns from previous types, it shows suggestions when you click on a word you’ve previously written…
all keys also have long clicking features on them. for swiftkey, in hebrew, it shows weird long click characters that i don’t think have anything to do with hebrew.
i even prefer samsung’s theme of the keyboard.
unlike swiftkey, it shows more than 3 suggestions for what you type.
besides, swiftkey is a trial based, no?
don’t get me wrong. i think the choices of keyboards are great, and swiftkey is a decent keyboard, but i still prefer the stock one i’ve installed. sadly, i think samsung has updated it to be worse than what i have, so i don’t think i will be able to install it on newer android versions of SGS3.
Stylus Beta Keyboard is very good too I think, it’s just like the like of the Note 3 Stylus writing pad, but for all phones! It’s very accurate and useful.
Interesting list. I’ve honestly never changed the keyboard on my phone lol
Definitely give SwiftKey a try, and the beta is free fyi
No Thumb Keyboard?
I have Go Keyboard and I hate that it’s so hard to type on.
Google Keyboard FTW
Touchpal simply da best among all!
can you compile one with keyboards that have t9 modes?
The FREE TouchPal X have more function than most paid keyboard. How many paid keyboard apps have “conbined key feature”, manual resize + position, custom theme etc??
touchpal is the best!
Fleksy should definitely be in there. Awesome keyboard for people who hate how much screen real estate most keyboards take up.
I want a keyboard that work with enter key!When i hit enter, to send the message!
I hate how Google Keyboard isn’t available here in Germany. Or is it only my device?
I use google keyboard on my nexus4 and have never had a reason to change it, however on my sony tablet z the stock keyboard caused lag when editing large files and as i do occasional programing on my tablet i needed a keyboard wich is more like my windows one. so i opted for hackers keyboard and it is great! The sepearte numbers row, arrow keys and how much easier it makes copy pasting is a real winner. shift+arrow to highlight then ctrl+c ctrl+v means you only copy the bits you ment to and its a lot quicker then the standard way of doing things.
They’re all so ugly…except for the Google keyboard and maybe Go. I can’t imagine the other ones popping up every time I want to type.
Huh, no love in the comments for AI Type Keyboard? Swiftkey is the greatest on the phone, but AI Type edges it out on tablets. It also has a split and undocked thumb keyboard mode, but it offsets the rows (which makes is easier to type) and has left and right arrow keys on the bottom row (which is incredibly handy). It pretty much has every other feature SwiftKey has.
For some reason i cannot download the Google Keyboard. In my smart phones Play Store it says that the app isn’t available in my country (Austria) and the Play Store within my chrome browser says that my Galaxy S2 isn’t compatible with the app… why ?
Only for owners of old storage-challenged GB phones: I didn’t like the stock LG keyboard only because it lacks long-press numbers on the front. Got those, a speak to text mic, and more with the tiny, fast Gingerbread Keyboard. Really a job done the way LG shoulda done it.
Thumbs Keyboard should be on this list, tons of keyboard options, and themes, split, no split, re-size the regular keys, and/or the number keys. have the number keys on top, or separate, sound click type, and volume, or none, vibrate, or not, and way more options I can’t think of all of them ATM. It REALLY needs to be on this list.
Google Keyboard works the best one for me. It is simple and effective.
Google keyboard seems like the best one. It looks and feels simple and easy to use. It’s also free. I highly recommend this keyboard.
Multilingual Kayboard new beta is the only keyboard I use now, I love it.
Hey joe why didnt you tag this article in app list category. I dont want to miss anything.
Hmm should be there. This is an update of a much older article so it may be down there back on it’s original post date (which I think was like back in December or something). It should be toward the top now :)
What about writing applications for this of us that us phones and tablets to keep notes.
I’ve been using swift key as well Google’s own text input option … very pleased both options… Swiftkey edges it out with its customization options though…. slightly
Ive used just about every keyboard out there minus a few but I would really recommend useing thumb keyboard on a smaller screen but afyer I got the note 2 the standard keyboard works just fine but. When using one handed operation I use thumb.
For UI I love Google Keyboard
Vote for MessagEase. Best replacement for &FITALY
What major advantages and features am I missing by sticking with the standard Google keyboard?
For those who say that they cannot download Google keyboard… Read the required standards though.
I love Swiftkey keyboard:)
Swiftkey is my favorite,then Kii keyboard.
I keep going back to Swiftkey. Not as many customization as some of the others but it’s word predictions and auto-corrections are almost always on the mark. I tried Fleksy, I wanted to like it but its interface is aggravating. Its “swipe up or left to bring up x, y, and z” almost never work the first time. Usually takes 2-3 swipes or more to get it to respond and bring up the right menu or settings.
What, no physical?
Flesky looks really cool! I might give it a go
The comparison between fleksy and SwiftKey misses an uncanny feature of SwiftKey which is to predict words based on proximity of the keys struck to those intended. It is almost always able to translate my gibberish into the word I meant to type.
I quite like TouchPal. Easy to use, resizeable, not intrusive, good prediction. Once you get used to it you can write pretty fast. Also it can handle predictions in 2 languages at the same time pretty well.
SwiftKey does not have its own dedicated edit menu with arrows that can select text, cut, copy, paste, etc. This makes it worthless to me because the stock Android edit functionality is buggy and hard to use. I need a keyboard with a nice dedicated edit menu and that’s not SwiftKey!
Hey Joe, AItype keyboard has gone trough ‘face lifting’ version which is much cool than the one presented.
presents a new experience in typing. It’ll still predicts as good as
SwiftKey, but with all the customization others have all together. it
can swipe, correct by context, predict words based on proximity of the
keys, edit menu with arrows, cut, copy, paste, undo (!) and even
resizing of the keyboard.
Give it a try , and wait for more to come !