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What is a Keyboard Light?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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A keyboard light is an LED light on a flexible neck that plugs directly into a USB port, commonly used on laptops to light the keyboard in low-light conditions. The light has a bright but small spread, being inconspicuous while doing the job. A keyboard light is useful for seeing the keyboard in order to deliver presentations in darkened rooms, for working at night while traveling, or for using anywhere external lights are unwanted or would disturb others.

The nice thing about an LED light is that it draws very little power. The FlexLite™ keyboard light advertises that it uses less than 90 seconds of battery charge for every hour it provides illumination. Like most models, the FlexLite uses a single LED lamp. Models that use two or even three lights will draw slightly more power.

In most cases a keyboard light works best plugged into a USB port at the back of the laptop, then bent over the top of the display to shine directly down on to the keyboard. When light comes from this direction, there is minimal blockage from the user’s hands, making it easier for those who cannot type by touch, to see they keys.

Mini models like the iLite™ are also available to plug into a side USB port. These extra-tiny keyboard lights have a small inflexible neck bent at 90-degrees to shine directly across the keyboard. While closer to the keyboard than the previous keyboard light and therefore potentially brighter across the keys, depending on USB port placement, some people mind find that the hand closest to the mini keyboard light intermittently blocks the swath of light.

If you need to see the keys more clearly to type, you might opt for a keyboard light with two LEDs like the Nite Key Lite™. While it will draw more power than the single-LED models, it will also provide a brighter swath of light. The manufacturer puts the life of this model at 8000 hours. Not bad considering it will only be used occasionally.

There are several manufacturers of LED keyboard lights so shop around for the best buy. Prices start at under $10 US Dollars (USD) for single-lamp models, and go up accordingly. If you need to light a desktop keyboard, you might consider an internally lighted keyboard instead.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Soulfox — On May 25, 2014

Yet another example of why there is a downside to the trend toward black keyboards. Yes, they may be more aesthetically pleasing than white keyboards and may not show dirt as well as white ones do, but they are awful in low light conditions.

For whatever reason, white keyboards are much more visible in low lighting situations.

By Terrificli — On May 25, 2014

If you have a laptop with a standard keyboard, this is probably your only option if you want a lighted keyboard. Unlike desktop computers, customized keyboards for laptops are somewhat rare. You usually get the specific one made for the computer by its manufacturer or one that matches those specs made by a third-part company.

Even if you can find a customized, lighted keyboard for a laptop it will probably cost more money than you want to spend. If you want a lighted keyboard for a laptop, either get a computer equipped with one when you buy it or drop a few bucks on a USB light to light the keyboard on your current laptop.

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