This read will help you find the best manual typewriters in the market. They may not be as popular as they were some decades ago. However, they still have a large following. In fact, you’ll be surprised by the number of people who are always on the lookout for the right piece. Some simply like the authentic nature of manual typewriters, which allows you to come up with a unique piece of work. Others have gotten used to the machine hence find it hard to take on a newer option. You’ll also find users who love collecting the pieces. And although they may not use it much, they still desire a piece that works right and is high quality.
There are still many options in the market, and knowing how to go about the search and buy process is critical. You don’t want to buy a ‘lemon’ that never works right. You also don’t want to burst the ‘bank’ on a poorly crafted and an unreliable piece. Also, like most other people, you may lack adequate information and knowledge. In the best manual typewriters review, we will show you products that are worth acquiring.
Best Manual Typewriters in 2020 List
Last update on 2020-04-06 (UCT) / Affiliate links / Price / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
#7. Smith Corona XL 1500
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By: Smith Corona
The Smith Corona XL 1500 was a popular typewriter back in the day. It’s still a common choice even today. It was loved for its basic and simple nature, which made using it simple. It didn’t matter if it was your first time. Firstly, the unit comes in a small and compact size. This suits it for most spaces, even the tiny ones. Also, it will take up minimal space allowing you more space on your desk to place scripts and other things. Secondly, the buttons are well spaced and Chances of you missing a button are very minimal, even for people with large fingers. This saves you from having to do lots of editing and correction due to mistakes. Thirdly, the keys are very responsive. Hit them once and they transfer the imprint on paper. Moreover, you don’t need to use lots of force to do this.
Another reason that makes this a go-to choice for most people is good and clear letters and numbers. It’s very easy to see them on the keys. This aspect is also seen when they are transferred on paper. In fact, people who have used this typewriter say that it’s amongst the best when it comes to clarity. We love how basic the unit is. You don’t need to clean it regularly. It also doesn’t need regularity maintenance and is a high-quality piece that should serve you well for a long time.
#6. Manual typewriter gray
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If you wish for the best manual typewriter, you’ll appreciate this unit by Royal. The brand is among the respected in the market and was /is known for producing high quality and reliable pieces. It’s a functional piece that produces good results and is also easy to operate. You, however, will need some time to get familiar with the layout and keys. It’s a small and compact piece and takes up minimal space. In fact, it’s among the smallest in terms of size. This allows you it use it on a congested or small desk. You get a full-size keyboard consisting of 88 symbols and 44 keys. These are good enough for most applications. The carriage is 12.5 inches, while the maximum print width is 11.6 inches.
The unit features a solid ABS housing, which is lighter than most options out there. This improves portability and handling. And despite the lighter weight, it still very sturdy and durable. Moreover, it feels very firm and solid and will stay in the same location without any movements. It’s a solidly built unit that handles the job well and environmental aspects. You won’t need to struggle carrying it since it comes with a nice sturdy carrying case. Besides, this case protects the keys, buttons and the unit in general from bangs, abrasion, dust, moisture, and more. It’s a tough piece that will last for years with proper handling. Besides, it won’t need too much attention.
#5. Smith Corona – Classic 12 Typewriter
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By: Smith Corona
It’s not strange to find a Smith Corona product in the best manual typewriters reviews. This clearly shows that the brand is well respected. In fact, there are several pieces in this review and they all enjoy good comments and opinions from both consumers and experts. Like the rest, it’s fully manual and will prove useful in many situations. You can use indoors or outdoors without a problem. It comes in a classic design, which is eye-catching. And thanks to its lighter weight, in comparison, to most others, you’ll have an easier time moving around with it. It feels solid thanks to the high-grade ABS material. This allows it to put up with the use, handling, small accidents, and the elements too. Besides, it endures the motions and vibrations well to deliver good consistent results.
The keys placing are good and you won’t strain the fingers and hands during use. The numbers and letters are very clear and this improves its usability. Besides, they transfer the imprints on paper quite effectively. Cases of some sections looking darker or lighter than others are unlikely. You nonetheless need to make sure the ribbon is in good order. The carriage has a decent size and moves smoothly and swiftly. And in comparison to other types, it’s not very noisy. Many consumers love its compact size, which helps to conserve space. Others like the good quality which puts up with the stress better than most. Also, it doesn’t breakdown easily, and therefore, maintenance isn’t a big deal.
#4. Classic manual typewriter black
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The ROYAL manual typewriter comes in a classic retro style that would appeal to you or the targeted recipient. It was a prominent typewriter back in the day and still is even today. We like the simplicity and easy nature that make using it convenient for most people, even for a first-timer. To start with, the device can be found in a little and also portable size, which fits it for the majority of areas, evens the tiny spaces. Additionally, it will occupy very little area allowing you more area on your desk to place other things. We also like how well placed the keys and controls area and this minimizes the odds of you missing a key and then making an error. They work okay for small, medium as well as large fingers.
The keys are very receptive and requires minimal effort. Besides, they transfer the imprint on paper effortlessly. Also, it will be clear as long as you have the right ribbon. It comes with a sturdy metal casing to put up with the use, small accidents, bangs, regular movement, and more. And despite being metal, it’s not a very heavy unit. Moving or carrying it with you is thus not an issue. You’ll find 44 keys as well as 88 symbols, like most units in the market. The 11-inch typing print width is practical just like the line spacing, space bar repeater key, and margin stops. It’s very basic, simple and doesn’t too much cleaning. Besides, it’s effortless to take care of.
#3. Royal Epoch Portable Manual Typewriter with Spool Typewriter Ribbon (2-Pack)
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If you yearn for the best manual typewriter, the Royal Epoch unit should just be what you are looking for. The brand is amongst the most valuable in the market and boasts of quite several top products. Of the many premium quality and dependable items, this one does stand out. It’s a practical item that creates great outcomes and is also simple to operate. It has a shorter learning curve in comparison to others in a similar category. Moreover, it takes up minimal space thanks to the small size, and this enables you to use it ones on a tiny work desk an also boosts portability. You get a nice keyboard consisting of 88 symbols and 44 keys. Besides, the spacing in-between is good enough for most applications, and the carriage operates smoothly.
It features strong ABS housing, which handles the jobs quite well. Moreover, the compact nature enhances mobility and also handling. It really feels extremely firm and also solid and doesn’t move when being used unless you move it yourself. It has a good Impression control lever for better functionality as well as a decent margin tabs stop. Also reliable is the effective release key that works great with the space bar. You also get variable line spacing you suit different preferences and operating it isn’t a challenge. This case safeguards the keys and switches from bangs, abrasion, dirt, dampness, and also more. The tough unit will last for many years with appropriate handling and also it won’t need too much attention.
#2. Royal 79120q Classic Manual Typewriter (red)
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It’s normal to find a Royal product in reviews about the best manual typewriters. In fact, the products feature among the top 5 quite often. And as you may see, there are several options in this review and they all work great. This unit is, however, is among the very best. It gets amazing comments from customers and experts and should give you good service. It’s a compact piece and manual and proves ideal in many scenarios, both indoors and outdoors. It features Pica 87 font, 88 symbols, as well as 44 keys.
Moreover, you also find a practical ribbon selector, variable line spacing, and spacebars repeat key. And thanks to its portable nature, carrying it from one location to another isn’t difficult. It is available in a timeless style, which is quite captivating and also trendy. It feels solid thanks to the metal shell that will tolerate the usage, handling, small bangs, and misuse. Besides, it endures the environmental factors and vibrations well.
The outcomes are pretty decent and also very professional. This is owing to the keys placing and spacing, which is excellent. You won’t strain the fingers and hands or experience any discomfort or fatigue after long use. The clear numbers and letters boost functionality, whereas the nice carriage makes using the accessory easier. This unit is less noisy than most options out there and is also very portable. Also, it remains firm in use and the good quality tolerates the use and stress well. The tough typewriter can work extensively and the possibility of failure is very low. This is courtesy of the solid built.
#1. Manual Typewriter black
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This is one of the best manual typewriters from the Royal brand as well as in the market. And by just looking at the unit, you can tell that it is serious. It will deliver professional results, works great, can handle demanding jobs well and is also longlasting. Many consumers say that they love how simple and basic it is and this makes operating it easy and simple.
We love the classic styling, which brings back the old days when typewriters ruled. It will not just work well but also bring a new feel to the surrounding. Besides, the black color does standout in many settings. It’s available in a small and practical dimension and suits a majority of the situations. Additionally, it takes up little room and also remains stable on the select point. You, therefore, won’t worry about using it in a small apartment, studio, or even in a cabin.
The keys and characters have good spacing for easy access and also to minimize missing or hitting the wrong key. Moreover, they are very responsive and little effort is all you need. Like most options, it features 88 characters, 44 keys, and a spacebar return key. In addition, it features a 12.5-inch carriage that operates quite well. Also, the 11.6-inch width does work okay in most situations. The typewriter feels very solid and handles the use pretty well. It also has minimal frills for easy learning as well as convenient use. You won’t need to worry about a breakdown or regular maintenance constantly.
What To Ask When Choosing The Best Manual Typewriter
As earlier said, manual typewriters are not very common. In fact, you will need to spend some effort and time looking around. This nonetheless doesn’t mean that you won’t find a good piece. As a matter of fact, you will still find some old pieces that were well-taken care of. And just like in any other product, you need to be armed with a checklist. A good one will have the following questions in mind:
Why do I need it?
People buy typewriters for many reasons. Some will have used it for many years and still prefer it to modern electronic type. They will, in most cases, be looking for a replacement. For such a person, professional outcomes are essential. Some are a little curious about how to works and may want to try it out. For such an individual, a basic unit with minimal frills will suffice. You’ll also find collectors who are more into sentimental value. They want something that is exceptionally clean and still looks as original as can be. Understanding your needs at hand will guide you in regards to where to begin the search and also what to look out for.
What condition is it in?
Since they aren’t as common as they used to be, it’s pretty hard to come by a completely new product. Yes, you may find one, but there are high chances that it may be a replica of an original piece. When shopping around, you should try to ascertain the condition it is in. Usually, honest sellers will let you know everything, both the good and the bad. They’ll mention if there are any missing parts or keys, broken parts, and what it may require to work fine. This helps you to make a decision on whether to buy or not. If it’s a missing key, this is much easier to deal with. However, if it has mechanical issues, then it may prove to be an expensive venture. I case of doubt, you should try to get in touch with the seller.
Is the brand reputable?
Mention a manual typewriter and people who have used them will tell you of the most popular brands. In fact, they will have some names that they can vouch for. You should always pick a unit that comes from a reputable company, as this offers more surety in regards to reliability. Also, you are more likely to find replacement parts for it. This is because there are high chances that a particular product is still being used and the parts are readily available. Some of the notable names include Royal and Smith Corona. Digging deeper, you’ll be able to discover some models that stood out from the top brands.
Steps In Buying The Best Manual Typewriter
1- Examine The Carriage
You should confirm that the carriage moves as it’s supposed to. Usually, due to age, wear & tear, and dirt, some units will have difficulty. The carriage should advance and move backward smoothly. The play should be within specs and not too much. It is important to also confirm that the draw band/drawstring is intact and not broken.
2- Listen For Strange Noises
Typewriters will make some noise during operation. This will happen when punching the keys or moving the carriage. However, you should be wary of the unit that makes odd noises, for instance, metallic or grinding sounds. This is indicative of a worn out part(s) that will most definitely require replacing.
3- Check The Platen
A good typewriter will have a solid and nice looking platen. This usually shows its still is in good shape and has been maintained properly. Look out for splits, hardness, flexibility, and color.
4- Check The Frame
You also shouldn’t forget to check the frame as it holds the keys, rails, carriages and other parts together. This requires you taking some time to check for minor and major details. These include dents, bends, pits, chipping, rust, cracks or discoloration. Avoid any typewriter with a bad or repaired frame.
5- Examine The Underside
You’ll be amazed by the number of people who rarely tip the typewriter to examine the under section. They will simply fall in love with the glossy/shiny keys, the smooth-moving carriage, and the clean rails and keys. It’s only later that they will notice the rust and corrosion on the under section. Always tip the machine and check thoroughly.
6- Inspect The Hood
The hood houses quite a number of parts which contribute to the typewriter’s functionality. A faulty or missing part not only affects performance but also the worth of the accessory. You need to confirm that the ribbon advances nicely during typing and lies perfectly flat, all type slugs and bars are there and aren’t broken or damaged, and there is no rust or corrosion.
7- Type On Paper
If you have access to the unit, then it wouldn’t hurt typing on a paper to see how functional and smooth the keys are, whether there is carriage skip, the presence of dirt, and the print quality. Other areas of concern include margin release, the tabulator, backspace and line lock.
NB: As typewriters101 put’s it, there is no perfect typewriter. What may you may like may not suit another person? Also, the suitability will vary with need and individual preference. It’s therefore important to first understand your needs and then have an open mind when searching and comparing different units.
What I Like About Manual Typewriters
A manual typewriter doesn’t require any form of electric power be it batteries or mains electricity. All you need is your able hands and you can type anything. It also means that you can use it almost anywhere since it isn’t restricted by power cords/ wires or lack of a power outlet.
People who are conversant with typewriters will concur with me that the manual type leaves a darker and more legible print. This is because you have to hit the keys harder than the electric type. Other than good and clear prints, many people say the work from a manual typewriter looks more authentic.
Manual typewriters were the original ones and were made when quality was a priority. In fact, if you come across a vintage typewriter or an old piece that is in perfect condition, it will more than likely be manual. The units are known for their high quality since they had to withstand hard usage, especially during key pressing. They are also heavier than their electronic counterparts and will handle misuse better.
Manual type of typewriters is strongly built and will break down less often. They come in basic form, have minimal features, and the parts are made from strong materials. Additionally, they have fewer moving parts meaning lesser parts to be repaired in case of fault or damage. And as experts will warn you, repairing a typewriter can be tricky and should be done by a reputable and experienced person.
Whenever I think about typewriters, what comes to mind is the manual type. They looked quite unique and always brings out the classic appeal. This is certainly the reason why collectors prefer them over the electronic type. Chances of finding a non-genuine manual typewriter are much lower than the electronic type considering the latter is still manufactured in some parts of the world even today.
How To Use A Manual Typewriter?
NB: If you are new to using typewriters you need to first learn some skills. You can seek help from a skilled friend or rely on online instructions and guides. The following video shows you the basics of using the accessory:
The above review has looked at the best manual typewriters currently available in the market. Singling them out from others was a bit of a challenge considering that there aren’t many options out three. Also, the accessory isn’t as popular as it was some years back. Additionally, we did manage to pick out the top pieces. You’ll notice they have a lot in common. For instance, they are all are small and compact and this proves especially handy for people with small spaces. The unit won’t congest the space and also leaves room for other things.
They are tough and reliable courtesy of the durable materials, with ABS plastic being the most common. Moreover, they remain firm on the spot and won’t move, especially when operating the lever. We also choose them for the buttons, keys have good placing, and they also have a good response. You don’t need to apply too much effort when typing. Moreover, the numbers and letters are legible and the carriage moves swiftly. By choosing the best manual typewriter, you’ll have a more natural and more enjoyable experience.