Correct me if am wrong, but have noticed a rise in the purchase or interest in typewriters. With the invention of the computer, typewriters became less popular. However, in the last few years, I have come across many sites selling all kinds of typewriters. Some will focus on vintage pieces, others on electronic, some on manual pieces while there are those who stock anything that’s in good condition. Believe you me, there is quite a number of people, businesses, and organization that still rely on the good old typewriter. On the other hand, many are purchasing the units to add to their collection. After carefully analyzing the market and comparing the available pieces, I managed to list down the best manual typewriters.
- Top 7 Best Manual Typewriters in 2018 List
- Steps In Buying The Best Manual Typewriter
- What I Like About Manual Typewriters
- How To Use A Manual Typewriter?
Top 7 Best Manual Typewriters in 2018 List
#7 Rebuilt Discontinued Brother AX10 Manual Typewriters
By: Around The Office
This manual typewriter was discontinued sometime back. Nevertheless, there are still models that are available in the market. It’s among the high sort products because of its reliable service. It’s made of strong plastic and other materials and lasts a long time even when used regularly. The sturdy frame and carriage provide good support to different parts and also improve the functionality. The rails, the undercarriage, and other parts look very clean and whereas the simple layout suits different users. The manual typewriter has a dust cover for protection, extra correction tapes, and ribbons.
#6 Smith Corona XL 1500
By: Smith Corona
The Smith Corona name reigned supreme many decades ago when it came to typewriters. You have a chance of experiencing the good service it delivered by acquiring this manual unit. The XL 1500 was famed for its solid built and firmness that saw it withstand the test of time. It feels very sturdy thanks to the top grade frame. The carriage moves swiftly for easy typing while the ribbon together with the keys imprints the letters and numbers on the paper effortlessly. It is professionally designed for best performance and longevity and can handle most work thrown its way. Although it’s a manual typewriter, it is fairly silent.
#5 Royal Epoch Portable Manual Typewriter
Unlike most manual typewriters, typing on the Royal Epoch typewriter doesn’t need lots of effort. Nevertheless, the prints are very clear thanks to the deep dark color. The nice quality is also because of the high-grade ribbon that lasts for a long time. It remains intact throughout the typing and never getting entangled, skip, or stretch. The accessory is built of tough materials to handle even the most demanding work and is also easy to maintain. It has firm keys and comes in a basic design to suit even the beginners. The unit comes with a 2-pack spool ribbon.
#4 Smith Corona – Classic 12 Typewriter
By: Smith Corona
This is classic looking typewriter has been around for many years and still appeals to many people. Some love the good work it relays thanks to the quality built and reliable materials while others love adding it to their collection. It has a simple design and well-placed keys for easy typing and runs smoothly and quietly. Similar to other professional pieces, this unit is made of strong materials and is steady throughout. Inserting the paper, aligning it, and removing it is simple thanks to the user-friendly mechanism. And compared to other manual typewriters on the market, the Smith Corona – Classic 12 is very portable.
#3 Royal Epoch Portable Manual Typewriter
By: Royal Consumer Information Products, Inc
This manual typewriter is well built to handle lots of work. The professional styled unit features firm keys, rails, and platen to help you deliver quality work. It types relatively fast for its age and is also moderately silent. The classic looking accessory feels very solid and stays very firm in the same spot. This prevents unwanted movement and also improves the typing speed.
It features a quality ribbon that produces dark clear print and stays intact even when typing intensely. The well-maintained piece still looks good, works perfectly, and can handle regular use quite well. The good weight and practical design make it a good choice for beginners as well as seasoned typists.
#2 Epoch Manual Portable Typewriter
By: ADLER ROYAL
This manual typewriter is a good example of what timeless quality is about. Although it was launched many decades ago, the unit provides amazing quality. The frame is very strong and sturdy, the carriage moves swiftly, and the keys require minimal effort. It has a robust base to maintain stability and is crafted from strong plastic and metal for long life. The typing speed is amazing for such a small unit and the ribbon is also of high quality. Thanks to the small footprint, this typewriter can be placed on a desk, table, and other places without wasting space. Under proper care, the Epoch typewriter should last for many years.
#1 Royal Epoch Manual Typewriter, Gray
By: Royal Consumer
The Royal Epoch manual typewriter is fit for any user whether a beginner or experienced person. It’s among the smallest manual typewriters on the market and this improves its movability. The gray-colored piece boasts of a sturdy base for extra firmness especially when typing. It has a quality ribbon and firm keys that deliver dark prints on the paper. And compared to other manual types, it’s much easier to hit the keys. And despite the lesser effort, the prints come out amazingly well. The carriage moves quietly and smoothly while the other parts are free of corrosion or rust. With this unit, you will enjoy every typing moment.
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:
Whether you want it for your work or for a collection, it’s necessary you acquire the best piece. You don’t want a nonfunctioning unit or have to dig into your pocket to repair it or replace missing units. You also don’t want to learn later that the piece you bought isn’t genuine or it’s all corroded inside and underneath. Such were some of the reasons that inspired me to review different pieces on the market. As you can see, I have centered on manual typewriters. I looked at the reliability, effectiveness, quality, and worth of the accessory. You can be certain it will not only meet your expectation but also deliver good service.