The 11 Best Typewriters of 2019 – Buyers Guide

From established writers and acclaimed novelists to budding authors and fans of the written word, typewriters are a piece of equipment that many writers consider, but often don’t end up making the leap to actually getting hold of their very own. And, it’s totally understandable. It’s hard to choose a typewriter, and we’ve put together a guide to eleven of the best.

Choosing the right kind of typewriter can seem overwhelming! It’s easy to get weighed down in manufacturer jargon, or to accidentally purchase the wrong sort of typewriter for you. For example, you may be wanting a light typewriter ideal for transporting to a coffee shop or office. One wrong purchase and you’re stuck with a typewriter that’s too heavy to move!

Please note that, as is standard with many of the older models, these typewriters may require additional parts or replacements. Skip to the FAQ section to learn how to make basic upgrades or replacements to your typewriter, and ensure that you check with the seller (whether Etsy, Amazon, Ebay or otherwise) to outline exactly what is needed or if the product is provided as new.

11 best Typewriters available in 2019

Throughout this guide you’ll find what we consider to be the best typewriters available on the market today. For the purpose of sticking with established sellers, we’ve teamed up with Etsy to ensure that all the typewriters we review and list in this buyers guide come from reputable merchants. You’ll also find links to guides for specific kinds of typewriters available on the market, such as mechanical and ultra-portable versions.

Without further ado, let’s get started with what you came for!

1. Brother Deluxe 1522 (baby blue model)

Brother Deluxe 1552 Image

We’re kicking this guide off with the massively popular Brother Deluxe typewriter range, specifically the 1522 in a beautiful baby blue!

The deluxe typewriter is quirky, light, and small enough to use either as an ornament of for using as the real thing. This modified version comes with a QWERTY keyboard as standard, as well as an updated alignment with a fresh ribbon to ensure no issues. The keys are a perfect size for beginners, and as this is a modern update the keys are not as stiff and rigid as some of the older models (requiring less force).

Spec: 

  • Weight: 4.5kg / 9.92lbs
  • Portable? Yes
  • Carriage: Fits standard up to A3 format
  • Year: 1980

Pros: 

  • Very well priced, and with an exceptionally minimal learning curve
  • Ideal for beginners who just want to cut their teeth with typewriters
  • Makes a fantastic gift for writers or even just fans of literature to use as decoration

Cons: 

  • More experienced typists may find the 1522 lacking a certain challenge which comes with older models

Recommended For: 

  • Perfect for writers who are looking for the best, fairly priced typewriter that is the perfect size for beginners
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2. Olympia SM1 (black)

Olympia SM1 Typewriter image

When most people think of a typewriter, this is the kind of thing they see. The SM1 is a striking vintage typewriter, with this specific model restored in a modern matte black whilst respecting the design and colour ways of the original model.

Despite how bulky it may seem, the SM1 is a portable typewriter, originally of a cream-coloured origin hailing all the way back to the 1950’s; the perfect blend of the old and the new.

The keyboard is slightly different that standard, beginning with QWERTZ, with the Y sitting where the Z should be. The SM1 comes with the ribbon installed as standard so again is ideal for beginners, albeit a slightly more complex machine than the aforementioned 1522.

Spec: 

  • Weight: 8kg / 16lbs
  • Portable? Advertised as such – Not as light as others in this guide
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: 1951

Pros: 

  • A beginners typewriter that looks more standard than some of the modern typewriters, appealing to those looking for typewriter that looks like how they imagine one to be
  • Retro cream replaced with a modern black, fantastic as an interior addition to an office space either as a working machine or ornament

Cons: 

  • Whilst it’s still classed as being portable, the SM1 is considerably heavier than some of the other portable options in this guide

Recommended For: 

  • Will be the typewriter of choice for fans of classic models, who appreciate an older model that has been given a modern update
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3. Corona LC Smith (black)

Corona LC Smith Image

The 1930’s was a pinnacle period for typewriters. At the time, engineering processes and revolutions of industrial proportions were occurring, typewriters and mechanical alternatives to writing were at the pinnacle of development.

The Corona LC Smith is an unapologetically art deco styled piece of kit. This version has been lovingly restored, whilst remaining true to the origin of the LC Smith. This includes a an all black body, a steel and aluminium body blend, and standard QWERTY keys.

Many fans of antiques struggle to get their hand on typewriters prior to the 1940’s as they are so iconic, therefore if you’re looking for a Corona LC as a gift ornament we recommend that you keep hold of the typewriter for as long as you can, and view this magnificent feat of machinery as a more than worthwhile investment.

Spec: 

  • Weight: 4.53kg / 9.5lbs
  • Portable? Yes
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: 1930

Pros: 

  • A restored typewriter from the era that started it all
  • The keys are very pleasing to use, and are not at all clunky as you may expect with vintage models

Cons: 

  • This is one of the more expensive models, based on both the age and the work that has been done to restore the LC Smith to its former glory

Recommended For: 

  • A perfect choice for typewriter collectors looking for a retro machine as part of their portfolio. Also ideal for users who want to invest in an art deco typewriter that can be used by beginners, and is light enough to carry around
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4. Royal Epoch Portable (black)

Royal Epoch Portable Manual Typewriter Image

The Royal Epoch is the ideal combination of retro and modern for beginners both experienced users and beginners alike. A compact model, the keys are styled incredibly similar to a standard keyboard in both looking and feel, and are very light to the touch(which some users feel detracts from the ‘true’ typewriter experience, however it is intentionally done to appeal to the fans of the modern typewriters).

As a modern typewriter, the carriage actually moves along as you type, matching pace ensuring that the typing process is smooth.

Whilst it may be portable it is quite heavy, and is best suited to for use in a home office or workspace where having the Royal Epoch as a permanent fixture is allowed.

Spec: 

  • Weight: 7.6kg / 16.7lbs
  • Portable? Yes (not recommended for daily portability)
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: 2013

Pros: 

  • A finely engineered typewriter that combines modern and classic influences
  • The Epoch is sturdy and built to last, making it excellent value for money

Cons: 

  • Far too heavy for daily portability

Recommended For: 

  • Best suited for fans of classic typewriters who want a machine that offers modern additions, most notably the computer keyboard-like setup of the keys
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5. Silver Reed Silverette 2 (blue)

blue Silver Reed Silverette 2 typewriter image

The compact Silver Reed range of typewriters really are a thing of beauty. Many of the models like this Silverette 2 come packaged inside the case, making this easily the best ‘classic’ typewriter for portability (other than the more standard electronic models).

The keys are a flat standard QWERTY, not rounded like some of the other models in this guide but remaining true to the classic typewriter form.

The small width and insta-portability of the Silverette 2 really is its selling point. As avid typewriter collectors, our writing staff have seen the popularity of the Silverette rise in recent years, mostly due to writers and authors looking for a portable solution that doesn’t cost the earth (or require a lot of work on their side following purchase).

Spec: 

  • Weight: Models range up to 5kg / 11lbs
  • Portable? Yes (not recommended for daily portability)
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: 1980

Pros: 

  • Easily the best, most portable typewriter of the 20th century
  • Iconic blue colouring also makes the Silverette ideal for interior decor

Cons: 

  • Fans of modern typewriters may consider the Silverette 2 to be too retro for their tastes

Recommended For: 

  • Highly recommended for writers looking for the best portable typewriter that is iconic, proven to be reliable, and doesn’t cost a fortune
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6. Smith Corona Corsair (turquoise)

Smith Corona Corsair image

The Corsair is another beautifully compact typewriter, from acclaimed manufacturers Smith Corona. As you can see in comparison to the 1930’s range, the Corsair is a refreshing update that is almost a shrunken down, stylised version of the original Corona typewriters.

Whilst newer, these models are very much still pre-2000 and therefore wear and tear on refurbished items is expected. In our humble opinion, we feel that this is more than fine with a retro typewriter, and only serves to add to the character of the item.

The Corsair is more commonly used as an ornament; we would recommend making this a mainstay in a home office or for brightening up a drab interior of a corporate office block!

Spec: 

  • Weight: Models range up to 4.3kg / 9.5lbs
  • Portable? Yes
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: Pre-2000’s

Pros: 

  • Ideal as both an interior ornament and a fully working office typewriter

Cons: 

  • The Corsair will not appeal to the typewriter purists in need of a truly retro model (pre-1950’s)

Recommended For: 

  • Writers, businesses and homeowners looking for a practical way to liven up their space. The Corsair also has incredibly smooth, curved keys, making this great for users with small hands or those who do not want a typewriter with a keyboard that conforms to the standard shape.
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7. Mettoy Traveller (green)

Mettoy Traveler

Get a load of the colour on this! The Mettoy Traveller is exactly what it says on the tin; a compact travel typewriter that is as retro as they come. Whilst it is portable, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for a daily commute, purely due to the large components and complications that could arise if transported regularly.

Classed by many as a ‘toy’ typewriter because of its blend of plastic and metal, the Traveller has a faux keyboard which mimics that of early laptops, involving extra keys and a standard QWERTY layout. So, if it’s a toy, why have we included it in this guide? Because it’s fun, and ideal for children to introduce them to the world of the typewriter.

The Traveller is more often than not used as a prop in modern offices and houses, however this is not to say that it cannot be used as a fully functional travel typewriter (which we highly recommend). Please be advised that the typing itself is done with a character dial, hence the ‘toy’ branding. 

Spec: 

  • Portable? Yes
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: Pre-2000’s

Pros: 

  • Ideal as both an interior ornament and a fully working office typewriter

Cons: 

  • Not recommended for writers looking for a ‘proper’ typewriter!

Recommended For: 

  • The perfect typewriter for children who want to experiment with type lettering, without having to use clunky keys. Also makes a great ornament that can still be used as a fully functional typewriter.
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8. Olympia Traveller De Luxe (black)

Olympia Traveller De Luxe image

Whilst we still maintain that the Silverette 2 is one of the best, if not the best typewriter for regular travelling and portable use, the Traveller De Luxe is certainly hot on its heels.

Even from the above photo you’ll see that the Traveller is small, and comes in a crisp white travel case ensuring that you can easily pack up and go. The small size of the Traveller makes it incredibly easy to maintain and look after. With refurbished models you may need to purchase extra ribbons, particularly when travelling, but changing the ribbon itself is much easier with these compact models (certainly when compared with any typewriter that is pre-1950’s). Plus, the fact that this is a 1960’s typewriter makes the size and construction even more unique, especially compared to the standard models of the same period.

The Traveller De Luxe comes with QWERTY keys as standard and is as compact as it gets. If you’ve landed on this guide with the intent of not only finding what we’d consider to be the ‘best’ typewriters, but also those that are more suited to travelling, we suggest either the Silverette or the De Luxe. You can compare specs and sizing below to see which one suits your needs the most.

Spec: 

  • Weight: 4.7kg / 10.3lbs
  • Portable? Yes
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: 1960

Pros: 

  • Great for travelling, light and makes transportation easy with the wraparound travel case

Cons: 

  • May not be sturdy enough as a permanent office typewriter, and not necessarily recommended as a typewriter that will be subjected to constant use and inevitable wear and tear.

Recommended For: 

  • Easily a runner up as the best travel typewriter, fantastic for writers who are regularly on the move
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9. Olympia SM4 1960 (beige)

Olympia SM4 1960 Typewriter

The SM4 is arguably one of the most famous and revolutionary typewriters, used by famous people and writers alike. But we’re not here for a who’s who of the typewriter world… Let’s look at why the SM4 has made this guide, and what makes this writing machine so special!

The keys are what most writers love about the SM4. In the 60’s era of typewriters where companies were introducing lighter and more compact models such as the previously mentioned Traveller De Luxe, Olympia wanted to maintain the true-to-original styles and features of the heavier, pre-50’s machines. The keys are considered as quite heavy and clunky, making a satisfying sound and making the writer feel accomplished at the end of each line.

There is also a unique lever on the right side of the typewriter which resets all keys. meaning that editing and special characters can be flicked between which was previously a more tedious process.

This is also one of the heaviest (if not the heaviest) typewriter in this guide, as not at all recommended for travelling.

Spec: 

  • Weight: 11.3kg / 24lbs
  • Portable? No
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: 1960

Pros: 

  • Will be perfect as a mainstay feature in an office or apartment, however is best utilised as a working typewriter

Cons: 

  • The SM4 is very heavy and not recommended as a portable writing implement

Recommended For: 

  • Business owners and writers who want a sturdy, classic typewriter that can withstand daily usage
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10. Royal Quiet Deluxe (blue)

Roysl Quiet Deluxe Typewriter Image

Flat keys? Check. Beautiful colour? Check. Unique construction without a clunky setup? Check!

The Quiet Deluxe completely deserves its regal status, based on just its striking looks alone. This is another older model that appeared as the time that compact typewriter were being introduced. A 50’s machine that is slightly older than the other portable’s in this guide, the Royal is fantastically light and surprisingly sturdy typewriter that will appeal to travelling writers and homeowners in need of a unique ornament.

As with many of the compact model, the Deluxe can easily be stored in a travel case and taken where it needs to go with minimal complications.

Spec: 

  • Weight: 5.6kg / 12.5lbs
  • Portable? Yes
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: 1950

Pros: 

  • Great for both portable use and for use as business or home ornament

Cons: 

  • Will not appeal to buyers looking for a clunker, classic typewriter

Recommended For: 

  • Beginners looking for a compact typewriter that looks as good as it writes
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11. Exceptional Olivetti Lettera 32

Olivetti Lettera Typewriter Image

Another one of the most famous typewriters of the modern age, and the last in this guide, the Lettera 32 is revolutionary for the 1960’s era in which is produced.

As the above image shows, the construction of the Lettera 32 is done so in a way that the unique red spools are visible, which also makes ribbon and spool replacements easier and less of a hassle.

The typewriter packs up int o a very tight and compact travel case, whilst maintaining a sturdy construct. The black styling is a love letter to the typewriters of the previous era, whilst the standalone construction takes the Lettera 32 into the future. Overall, a great typewriter for beginners and collectors alike, and the perfect point in which to finalise this guide.

Spec: 

  • Weight: 5.6kg / 12.5lbs
  • Portable? Yes
  • Carriage: Standard
  • Year: 1950

Pros: 

  • Great for both portable use and for use as business or home ornament

Cons: 

  • Will not appeal to buyers looking for a clunker, classic typewriter

Recommended For: 

  • Beginners looking for a compact typewriter that looks as good as it writes
View Price

 

FAQ’s

There are common questions that first time buyers and seasoned typewriter owners alike will have when purchasing a new machine. Whilst each typewriter differs, there are commonalities which relate to every machine that are important ‘need to knows’ when it comes to being able to maintain and, if necessary, repair your typewriter.

How to change a typewriter ribbon

For a complete, step by step breakdown of the process, we recommend referring to the following guides and videos below. Always purchase a supporting manual to your typewriter if available from the seller, and ensure that any repair or replacement process is done with the upmost care and attention:

https://www.wikihow.com/Change-a-Typewriter-Ribbon

Ensuring buyer and seller legitimacy

Legitimate seller on reputable platforms such as Etsy and Ebay will be verified by the platform itself, and reviews can easily be seen for both the products and the store as a whole.

The best way to ensure that sellers are legitimate is to:

  • Ensure that the product description is thorough and not copied from the company’s original product listing (this will ensure that the seller truly knows and understands the product that they are selling).
  • Ask the seller the questions you need to know about the typewriter.

Conclusion

Typewriters, like any hobby or professional product, ultimately come down to a personal preference when making a purchase decision. We implore you to do your own research on the types of typewriters that will suit your individual needs.

Think there are other typewriters we’ve missed off this list? Leave a comment below and if we agree, we’ll get the model added to this guide.