Pros and Cons of Buying a Keyboard Cover for Your Laptop

Laptop keyboard covers are a popular way to protect laptop keyboards (especially on MacBooks). But do they offer protection? If you’re considering buying a keyboard cover for your laptop, check out these pros and cons before you do.

What Is a Keyboard Cover?

A laptop keyboard cover is a thin, custom-molded piece of translucent silicone or other similar material that fits over the keyboard of a specific laptop. The cover doesn’t take up much room, and users can type over the top of the keyboard cover.
Keyboard covers have long been popular among MacBook users, though perhaps less so in recent years. You can find numerous third-party makers selling keyboard covers for all the recent MacBook models.
If you’re a PC user, you may have a difficult time even finding a keyboard cover that fits. Keyboard covers can be hard to find for PC laptops due to the sheer number of unique body styles out there.
People use keyboard covers on their laptops for a variety of reasons. Most do so to keep the keyboard clean and prolong its life. Some do so for aesthetic reasons. While others use one because they like the way the keyboard cover feels (or the way the keys sound when using one).
Before you buy a keyboard cover for your laptop, consider both the advantages and disadvantages of using one.

Pro: Keeps Dust, Crumbs, and Other Debris Away from Your Keyboard

The most obvious reason for using a keyboard cover is to keep your keyboard clean and free of debris. Especially if you’re using an older MacBook with those legendarily bad butterfly keyboards, any bit of dust or debris that gets underneath a key could be a serious headache.
By this metric, most keyboard covers do their job well. Luckily, the keyboard cover catches stuff that would’ve fallen into your keyboard tray or even under keycaps.

Pro: Provides Protection Against Minor Spills

A keyboard cover isn’t likely to save you from major spills or liquid damage, but it can be highly effective over less serious liquid spills. For example, a few drops of coffee or a splash of water onto your laptop’s keyboard would likely mean disaster otherwise, but with a keyboard cover, you’re a bit safer.

Pro: Keeping a Cover On While Typing Keeps Keyboard Oil-Free

Look at any old keyboard, and you’ll see familiar patterns of wear on the key surfaces. Most of this is from the natural oils on the user’s hands over time. MacBook keyboards, with their semi-flat, very matte keycaps, are especially susceptible to oil stains.
If you keep your keyboard cover on while typing, you’ll keep that oil off your keys. (There are some potential downsides to this, though, like that oil ends up on your laptop screen instead.)

Pro: Far Easier to Clean Than Your Laptop’s Keyboard

Last, cleaning a keyboard cover is very easy to do. You can easily remove the cover from your laptop and wash it with warm, soapy water.
On the other hand, cleaning the actual keyboard on your laptop is much more challenging to do well. And don’t even think about trying to sanitize your keyboard.

Con: Makes Typing More Difficult if Not Removed

Keyboard covers can be inherently frustrating things. To get all the benefits from using one, you really need to leave it in place — even while typing. But your laptop keyboard was not designed to have a 2mm silicone skin placed over the top. You have to push through the squish, so to speak, if you want to register a keystroke, making typing even more challenging than it already was on your laptop’s keyboard.

Con: Can Introduce Dirt and Debris if Removed for Typing

Since typing on a keyboard cover is much more difficult, people compromise. What you’ll see a lot of users doing is leaving the keyboard cover on for most tasks but removing it when they need to do some serious typing.
This works, but it has serious drawbacks. Pretty much all the benefits of using one go away when you take it off, for one.
Even worse, when you set your keyboard cover aside, it can pick up dust, hair, bits of food, or whatever else is around. Then, when you put the keyboard cover back on your keyboard, all that junk can settle down into the keyboard.
The keyboard cover itself can actually introduce the stuff it’s supposed to be keeping out.

Con: Can Smudge and Even Disfigure the Laptop Screen

This last con is a big one. No matter how thin, how precisely crafted your keyboard cover is, there just isn’t much room inside modern MacBooks (and other slim laptops) when closed. So, very likely, your keyboard cover will be pressed firmly against your laptop’s screen.
Best case, you’ll end up with fingerprints, oil, and smudges transferring to the screen from the cover. Worst case, you’ll damage or even disfigure the laptop screen.

A Better Way to Protect Your MacBook? Upsie

Although a laptop cover can provide protection against minor incidents, it won’t protect your laptop as a whole. Thankfully, there’s a better way to prolong the life of your laptop: Upsie.
Upsie is the smart way to protect your MacBook, with affordable extended warranty plans that keep your MacBook safe. Upsie’s warranties are often more than 70 percent less expensive than warranties from competitors. In addition, Upsie offers quality protection against damage, defects, and even accidents.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.