What are the Best typewriters for writers & novelists

After reading a lot of disappointing and inaccurate articles online about what are the best typewriters to type on or scanning various typewriter reviews online, I decided to prepare a typewriter list of the best typewriters that are suitable for writer, novelist, or poets.  

Kindly note, the list is created based on my experience as a daily typewriter user, repairman, restorer and expert with more than 300 typewriter models reconditioned in our workshop by the time I am writing this article and more than 3000 typewriters already sold after our work on them. On the other hand, the typewriters below should be restored or serviced to the highest standards to be related to this article and top 10 list of best typewriters. So please do not expect a typewriter to effortlessly type and perfectly perform if bought from eBay, Etsy, or even private re sellers of this delicate machine that needs a lot of work to be adjusted to nicely type and belong to this list.

The list will not include any desk typewriters and will contain only portable and semi portable typewriters or desk typewriters.

Therefore, the Top 10 typewriters are the following:

  1. Remington portable 2 Typewriter

One of the most manufactured typewriters in history and one of the uniquely designed typewriters  with a spike key arms that hit the platen In front of you.

What I like about it is its compact design for a pre-1930 typewriter. That can be squeezed inside a special lid and base case.

When properly restored and all its worn washers replaced and the segment flushed from grease or dirt, you will be amazed of how easy it is to type on this typewriter.

My review doesn’t include, Home portables (due to their limited options & and stripped version) but includes compact portables and all Remington portables that has the designs show in the pictures.

Remington portable 2 for writers and novelist

  1. Adler Tippa S Typewriter

Are you surprised? Don't be.. Yes, I believe that Adler Tippa is one of the smoothest typewriters to type on when properly restored.

We prepared more than a 100 Adler Tippa S with the flat frame and we recommend them to young writers and people who doesn’t like to press hard on the keys to get a nice print. This Adler Tippa will do the job with no pain.

Stanley Kubrick, The Director of the award-winning suspense or horror movie, “The Shinning”, as filmed typing the scripts during a behind the scenes movie.

Kubrick used the Adler Tippa S in original yellow colour, that is available by custom order in our online store.

I know that many will not agree with my choice, but I am in love with the Adler Tippa typewriter and believe it has always been underrated typewriter with the plastic frame and light weight.

Stanley Kubrick typewriter during the Shinning behind the scenes.

 Adler Tippa S typewriter used by Stanley Kubrick during the Shinning movie.

  1. Brother Deluxe Typewriter 

Brother Deluxe typewriters, specially the model in the picture below, have always been our most successful typewriter in our shop as they are reliable, smooth, elegant, nicely designed and most importantly, they look amazing with lots of charisma.

I would put this brother typewriter in the top 5 if it wasn’t more modern than other models and I would have wanted it a slightly larger key. Otherwise, you are a winner if you have a restored one of them as they are unbelievably dynamic, compact and beautiful.

My review applies to the models 100, 220, 210 deluxe but does not apply to later models that had the speed spacer.

  1. Remington Victor S Typewriter or Victor T. Similar also to Smith Premier Model 5 Typewriter. 

When the Remington Victor S or Victor T are on your desk, you will love to sit down and just stare at the typewriter as its beauty is just beyond description.

We have been able to restore to perfect at least 15 of the Remington Victor S and T and they have always been fast sellers, eye catching, nice typewriters and unbelievably nice to type on when properly recondition and if you have a new platen fitted.

Keys are like the previously mentioned Remington portable 2, round and curved with less possibility of any stiff fingers.

Personally, love them with large typefaces to get a perfect print & I would always keep them covered as they love dust.

Remington model 5 or Smith Premier Model 5 are mechanically similar to this sexy machine but with different outer frames only. Thus, without hesitation they belong to the list.

Later models from Remington that looks like the Remington Victor S in Matte finish or different names are not included as they are not as reliable and sturdy as the old machines.

Remington Victor S Typewriter in Glossy Black

  1. Smith Corona Super Silent Typewriter (5th Series) & Smith Corona Standard Typewriter or Silent (Flat Topped)

Generally speaking, am not a big fan of Smith Corona typewriters as when typing on them, you feel an echoing emptiness in these machines and that’s doesn’t appeal to me.

But, and a big But, I was amazed to work on certain models that were beyond wonderful.

The model Super Silent on series 5 is great as its perfectly built, compact, sturdy and smooth.

The Silent model is very good, but the Super Silent is exceedingly better when it comes to small details I can personally feel when typing on it.

The Other model I recommend is the pre war flat topped Silent Corona or even the Standard ones. They have been nicely designed, although some do not like them, they are now very popular after the award-winning actor and typewriter collector Tom Hanks sent a Standard Corona typewriter to a young kid in Australia who was bullied in his school because his name, “Corona”. This typewriter might have been with Hanks while  himself and his wife Rita Wilson were in Quarantine after they tested positive for Corona virus or Covid-19.

Smith Corona flat top standard typewriter

Smith Corona Super Silent

  1. Imperial Good Companion Model 1 Typewriter

One of the best ever made British typewriters.

The Imperial Good Companion is our speciality typewriter and we proud our self to be the best to be able to restore and repair in the UK or around the world.

This typewriter just looks beyond perfect. Your eyes can’t stop checking its unique King George emblem and the round keys that will always be soft when typed on.

The typewriter has a special mechanism to type on as the key arms hammer at 180-degree angle on the platen that is lower than the keys themselves.

Elegant line spacing lever than no other typewriter manufacturer was able to copy.

When properly restored, types like a dream and will not disappoint you when it comes to a combination of performance and beauty.

In summary, it’s the top typewriter gift you can ever give to someone you love.

 

  1. Olympia SM2 Typewriter, Olympia SM3 Typewriter, or Olympia SM4 Typewriter

It goes without saying, Olympia SM3 is one of the most success typewriters ever built.

Olympia typewriters, German make & design, has always identified in my Workshop as the typewriter that will type for years to come without any issues as they are engineered to outperform any other typewriter from and make, class or model. Yes, I can say it with no hesitation, Olympia SM3, and later the SM4, has always been known to be with you all the way to type a full book or two, a thesis or more, & will keep on going without any issues when you take care of it.

No wonder Woody Allen have always used his SM3 to type a lot of scripts and scenarios. He is known to use it with no cover lid and had it for ages.

The typewriter is made to be typed on for long hours, lots of options, tabs, soft space bar, sturdy line space and frame to make your typing never stop. Don’t forget the tension control, that amazingly and genuinely works on them, compared to other machines, and finally, its clear prints due to their wonderful key heads that print as good as nowadays printers.  

One issue that hinders its chances in my top 3 is its carriage shift and not like the later upgrades on the SM9 typewriters that are basket shifts. so you have to lift all carriage with your shift key, and that is heavier than the basket shift. 

Heavy duty Olympia SM4 typewriter

  1. Olivetti Lettera 32 Typewriter or Olivetti Lettera DL Typewriter (Olivetti Letter 33) 

As we reach our top 3, things get harder as many measures accumulate to add up to the score of the best typewriter to type on for long hours.

Letters 32 ticks off nearly all the boxes for a perfect reliable typewriter to type on for long hours, travel, reliability, smoothness, options, ease to use and most importantly, its flat-topped square keys.

It’s the number one portable typewriter in our list with no competition due to its history of being one of the most used and produced machines thought history and its ability to get your work done on time, any time, and anywhere.

The lettera 32 originally comes in leather like case that securely holds it and they have been made in Italy and Spain. I am a fan of the Italian version s its slightly sturdier than the early Spanish version with small differences.

Later models produced in Mexico and Spain are not as perfect as the early ones but will do the job for sure.

We sold at least 200 of the lettera 32 model or the later Lettera DL that was known to have been used by Francis Ford Coppola to type the award winning, “The Godfather” film series.

I will always recommend it with no hesitation for peace of mind and ability to carry it around where ever you go.  

The portable Olivetti Lettera 32 Typewriter

The Writers like to type on Olivetti Lettera 32 typewriters

Olivetti Lettera DL used by Francis Ford Coppola to writer the GodFather Movie

  1. Olympia SM9 Typewriter ( Upgraded SM8)

Olympia SM9, many ask for this typewriter when not many people are able to identify it. Unfortunately, many re-sellers market the SM8 as SM9 to get a better chance to sell it when if we go into details, the difference is small and not major at all.

We will be preparing a blog about the difference between all SM models later this year but for now, let’s talk about the SM9 magic.  

One of the surprisingly smooth typewriters to type on and the keys are easy to press on without any effort.

On the other hand, SM9 has a basket shift and one of the lightest ever on a semi portable typewriter. It shares this feature with the SM8 and SM7 but have been more popular after a couple of viral reviews.

Will always be on my top 3 typewriters to type on and I will dare to say that it is 98% similar to the SM8 typewriters with TAB Setters from the front. Therefore, an SM8 will perform as good as an SM8 model that came in different colours.

If you have one, make sure its professionally restored, and if you do not have one, try to buy one and enjoy it as Olympia can’t be any better.

Olympia SM9 typewriter is smooth to type on

  1. Hermes 3000 Typewriter

Without any competition, Hermes 3000 typewriter is the best ever made typewriter in history.

You can sit down and try to convince me that it is not the case but I have dived into more than a 70 of these Hermes 3000 and the mechanics are amazing, the smoothness or bitterness of the keys is incomparable and the carriage return is light and easy.

Like a swiss watch, made in Switzerland and works like one, no mistakes,  always on line, perfect prints, no numb fingers and long hours of effortless typing. All you need to worry about is what to type on these beautiful Hermes 3000.

Review included both, the curved model and straight edged models, but doesn’t include the later models made in the 70s.

Review will defiantly include the Hermes Media that as less options but same mechanism.

Hermes 3000 typewriter

 Hermes 3000 Typewriter in Mint condition

Hermes 3000 restoration process and carriage removal.

 

Finally, i would like to remind every one reading this typewriter article that my review is based on genuinely restored typewriters like the ones we rejuvenate in our workshop and this top 10 list is a personal review that i have created from typewriter repair experience. 

With Gratitude, 

Walid Saad

Mr & Mrs Vintage typewriters. 

 

Honourable mentions. 

  • Underwood 4 Bank Typewriter
  • Royal P Typewriter - personally like the later winged covered Royal P
  • Olivetti Lettera 22
  • Hermes 2000

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