How Do I Choose the Best Typewriter?

Misty Amber Brighton

When you are looking for a typewriter, it can be important to decide whether you would like a manual or electric one. A manual typewriter does not require electricity, but might be more difficult to operate than an electric model. When you begin looking for a machine, it can be a good idea to visit reputable repair shops to find a refurbished model. Parts may not always be available, so you may want to find out how easy it is to purchase ribbons or correction tape before you make a selection.

Manual typewriters require no electricity, although they may be a little more difficult to use than electric typewriters.
Manual typewriters require no electricity, although they may be a little more difficult to use than electric typewriters.

If you have never used a typewriter before, you may want to try out different models to see which ones you prefer. A manual typewriter generally requires you to strike the keys very hard, but it may also leave a darker print. An electric machine is typically easy to operate, so you may be able to type faster. Manual units are typically louder, but require fewer repairs than electric models do.

Carriage returns were once featured on typewriters to advance pages.
Carriage returns were once featured on typewriters to advance pages.

Visiting shops that specialize in repairing office equipment can help you find a good typewriter. Look in your local telephone directory to find out if there are any such shops in your area. Many of them offer machines that have been carefully inspected for defects. One of these refurbished models may have been thoroughly cleaned and had some of the parts replaced, so one of these units may operate much like a new machine. You may want to find out if any refurbished units come with a warranty, and under what conditions repairs might be authorized.

Ribbons and cartridges often need to be replaced, so you should make sure you can buy ones that will fit your machine. When you purchase your typewriter, you may want to ask the dealer if he or she carries spare parts for the model you have selected. If the dealer does not stock spare parts, he or she may know of an office supply store or vintage typewriter distributor who might have what you are looking for. Avoid buying a model if parts are not readily available unless you plan to use the machine as a display piece rather than for practical purposes.

Owning a typewriter can allow you to prepare written documents without the use of a computer or printer. It can also be an effective tool for you to use when developing basic keyboarding skills. Since most models are normally inexpensive, investing in one of these machines can be a wise idea no matter what purpose you are buying it for.

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Discussion Comments


I can't imagine using a typewriter anymore, but if I had to choose between one or the other, I would go with an electric one. I have used both of them in the past, and a manual typewriter is very loud and you have to really push down on the keys to get them to type.

We thought we were really something when we started using electric typewriters. My mom still uses an old manual typewriter she has had around for years when she needs to type something up. There is a man in her small town who will even repair this for her if it isn't working properly.

I have given up trying to convince her to use a computer, as she sees no need for it. Even on my worst days when I am having all kinds of computer troubles, I still would rather deal with that than use a manual typewriter.


I know I am dating myself here, but years ago I worked for an attorney and every paper or form of correspondence we sent out was done on a typewriter.

He was notorious for changing his mind on something, so I always had to have bottles of white-out handy so I could type over something he had changed. If you do this too often, it becomes too thick and the typed letters won't show up.

I did have an electronic typewriter when I worked for him, which was definitely better than a manual. Kids today don't have any idea what it is like to re-type a whole document because you can't go back and correct it like we are used to doing now.

I know I was much more careful when I typed something using a typewriter than I am when using a word processor. It was easier to try and prevent making mistakes than going back in and correcting them. I also had to rely on a dictionary because there was no spell check!


When I graduated from high school, I received a portable electric typewriter to take with me to college. Not everyone had their own typewriter, so I felt like I was pretty lucky.

This is really no different than kids receiving a laptop today when they graduate. When I went to college, word processors were just beginning to be used in office settings.

I always had to make sure I had enough ink cartridges. I also had a separate cartridge that I could use for correcting my mistakes. This was much easier and quicker than using white-out.

One time I was typing up a paper that was due first thing in the morning and I ran out of ink in my cartridge. After that I always made sure I had an extra one around.


I haven't seen a typewriter in a store for so long that I didn't even know companies still made them. My parents had a manual typewriter that my dad would use to type up his sermons and class material.

I still remember him pecking away at the keys of that old manual typewriter. He still has it around somewhere and it is probably an antique by now.

With a manual typewriter you don't have to worry about too much going wrong. Sometimes a key would stick or you would run out of typewriter ribbon. My dad had a ribbon that had red ink on the top and black ink on the bottom.

He always kept a bottle of white-out handy too, as that was the only way he had of correcting his mistakes.

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