You must be an old soul.
Technology is amazing and has made writing more accessible and efficient than ever before. Amazing laptops give us writing tools and unlimited research we can hold in our hands.
But some folks yearn for a simpler time. When a writer had nothing but ideas, imagination, and a typewriter to capture them.
Well guess what. You can still have that writing experience!
If you're looking for a vintage typewriter for writing, you'll find plenty of amazing antique options on eBay. But if you're in the market for something that gives you that raw, mechanical typing feel, with a few modern conveniences thrown in (and something you can buy simply on Amazon!), I've got you covered.
Let's take a look at the best typewriters for writers in 2018.
TL;DR: If you want to skip right to my top pick and the best overall mass-produced typewriter on the market, I highly recommend the Brother SX-4000 Electronic Typewriter. Click the link to learn more about this beast on Amazon.
But if you're not in a hurry, let's start by taking a look at the advantages of typewriters and how to buy the right one.
There's no getting around one simple truth of typewriters vs computers or laptops... Typewriters do far less.
You (usually) can't save a file and switch between documents. You can't seamlessly hop between research and writing.
Some models let you correct mistakes, but it's hard to make wholesale revisions without just starting over.
Still, typewriters do have some advantages over laptops for writers.
There's nothing quite like the clickity clack of typing on a typewriter.
That kind of mechanical feedback helps you feel connected to your work in a way ultra-smooth, quiet computer keyboards sometimes don't.
The atmospheric and emotional effect of writing on a typewriter is hard to quantify, and hard to recreate using anything else.
(Except maybe a mechanical keyboard)
Raise your hand if you've ever been sidetracked from your writing by clicking over to Facebook, checking your email, or scrolling through Instagram.
I know I have!
One of the best things about typewriters is that they force you to be alone with your writing and give it 100% of your attention.
Types and prints in one
It's becoming rare for people to own printers anymore. So when you want a hard copy of your writing, you'll often have to ask a friend to print it for you or pay a shop to do it.
One cool thing about typewriters is that your draft is ready to go in physical form the second you create it!
It's like having a photo album vs only storing photos in the cloud. There's just something amazing about feeling it in your hands in real life.
What do writers need in a typewriter?
Alright, if you're already sold, and you know you want a typewriter for writing your next novel or screenplay, let's dive in to what really matters.
What should a writer look for in a typewriter?
Desktop vs Portable
This is an important distinction.
Do you imagine yourself packing your typewriter up and lugging it to coffee shops or remote cabins for long stretches of work?
Or do you just want to set it up in your home office and type away?
What makes a typewriter portable? Often, it's smaller, comes with a carrying case, and is manual instead of electronic.
Speaking of which...
Manual vs Electronic
The image in your head of the "classic" typewriter is undoubtedly a manual model.
No plugs, no electricity needed. Your own keystrokes power the machine. Write anywhere, anytime.
That's got great appeal!
But electronic typewriters are also really cool and offer some nifty features. They often give you a similar mechanical typing feel but allow you to correct mistakes, spot typos and word misusage, and make small variations in the font.
Pretty cool, right?
Mass Produced vs Antique
There is a LOT of appeal in snagging an old post-war typewriter and using it to write your next novel.
One word of caution, and a possibly benefit to buying something more modern and easily available: You'll need ink ribbons that fit your typewriter, and if you go with an obscure antique model, that might become a challenge.
Though there are universal typewriter ribbons that fit most models.
Vintage typewriters also need a lot of upkeep, can be difficult to service and repair, and may not hold up to serious use.
Just something to keep in mind!
Alright, show me the best typewriters for writers in 2018!
Ready to see my top picks?
Best budget typewriter for writers: Royal Epoch Manual Typewriter
The Royal Epoch is exactly what you imagine when you think of writing on a typewriter.
It's got that gorgeous, classic look, it's totally manual and portable, and it should give you the exact writing atmosphere you're hoping for.
It also comes with a pretty friendly price tag.
Portable vs Desktop: Portable
Power Source: Manual
Read reviews & get the latest price on the Royal Epoch Portable Manual Typewriter on Amazon
Best mid-range typewriter for writers: Royal Scriptor II
Slightly less beautiful than the mechanical Epoch, the Scriptor II brings some other exciting features to the table.
This powerhouse electronic typewriter offers a 20 character digital preview display, which lets you catch mistakes before they're permanently inked onto the page.
A built-in spell check system spots your typos for you, and you can tweak your font by adding bold, underline, superscript, or subscript.
Portable vs Desktop: Desktop
Power Source: Electronic
Read reviews and get the latest price on the Royal Scriptor II Typewriter on Amazon
Best high-end typewriter for writers: Brother SX-4000
Top of the line when it comes to modern, electronic typewriters, the SX-4000 is a real beast.
This thing has it all - LCD preview display, massive spell-check dictionary, bold printing, you name it. Though it needs to be plugged in, the machine is light and comes with a carrying handle for easy portability.
The keyboard is a great blend of mechanical typewriter style with a bit of modern keyboard feel, for a great typing experience.
Overall, it's extremely well made and a powerful performer for serious writers.
Portable vs Desktop: Both
Power Source: Electronic
Read reviews and get the latest price on the Brother SX-4000 Electronic Typewriter on Amazon
Comparison table of typewriters for writers
|Royal Scriptor II||$$||No||Electronic||Tan|
There are tons of great typewriter options out there!
Feel free to browse the auction sites and explore the world of authentic antique typewriters.
Ultimately, if you decide to go with something more modern and mass produced for easy customer support and less upkeep, the above options should be a great starting point.
I hope this helped!
Also check out my guide to the best keyboards for writers in 2018!
Disclaimer: I may receive compensation from products or services mentioned on my site, but I stand by any research, opinions, or advice I offer here.