A person typing in Braille using a Braille keyboard

How to Choose the Right Braille Display in 2024 as a Blind Person


Do you struggle with finding the correct Braille Display? Are you overwhelmed with the options that are out there? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are familiar with Braille keyboards or exploring the tactile world of Braille code for the first time, this article is designed to enlighten and assist.

Braille displays are invaluable tools for accessing written content in Braille, providing both independence and enhanced interaction with digital devices for the visually impaired. In this guide, we'll help you explore the best choice for your needs, whether it's for personal use, education, or professional settings.

Join us as we navigate through the essentials of selecting a Braille display that enriches your daily life and fulfils your specific requirements.

What are Braille Displays

Let’s start with the essentials, what are braille displays? Braille technology has evolved significantly, offering three distinct types of devices to cater to diverse needs: Braille displays, smart displays, and notetakers.

Each type is designed to enhance the digital interaction for Braille users, whether they're connecting to other devices or operating independently. Understanding the differences among these can significantly influence your decision when choosing the right Braille display for your needs.

Braille Display

A Braille display is a device that connects to computers, tablets, or smartphones via USB or Bluetooth to provide a tactile Braille output of screen content. Primarily used for reading, these devices can range from simple models that display Braille only, to more complex units with a Perkins-style keyboard for Braille input.

Most include navigation keys and cursor routing buttons, essential for efficient interaction.

Smart Display

Smart displays integrate the basic functionalities of Braille displays with additional features like internet connectivity and multimedia support.

They act as standalone tools that enhance accessibility by allowing users to manage applications and online content directly from the device, catering to more dynamic and versatile usage scenarios. A good example of this is the Inside One by Inside Vision. 


Braille Notetakers are advanced Braille devices designed for comprehensive content creation and management. Equipped with Braille keyboards, these tools enable users to take notes, manage files, and perform tasks independently, without the need for additional devices.

They are particularly valuable in educational and professional settings where mobility and functionality are paramount.

How does a Braille Display work?

A Braille display operates by translating digital content from devices like computers, smartphones, or tablets into tactile Braille, which users can read through dynamic Braille cells.

Each of these cells consists of pins that can rise and fall to create characters. This is achieved using the braille code, which utilizes six or eight-dot configurations to represent the braille alphabets and numbers. This tactile feedback allows users to visually interpret the text on the screen through touch.

Moreover, these displays are often equipped with a braille keyboard, allowing users not only to read but also to input text and navigate through various applications seamlessly.

The number of Braille cells on a display can vary, affecting how much content a user can access at any given time. This capability is a vital consideration in determining what is a good braille display, as it directly impacts usability and efficiency in everyday tasks.

Visually impaired user reading in braille, felling the dynamic braille cells

Why would you use a Braille Display?

Braille displays are essential tools for individuals with visual impairments, offering a range of functionalities that significantly enhance daily life and learning. Here are several reasons why using a Braille display can be beneficial:

  • Accessibility in Education and Work: A Braille display allows users to access a wide range of written materials and documents essential for educational and professional environments. This includes books, emails, and work-related documents, making them accessible in Braille instantly.
  • Privacy: Using a Braille display in public settings avoids the need to isolate yourself with headphones and keeps private messages from being broadcasted audibly, maintaining your privacy in social settings.
  • Learning and Literacy: Regular use of a Braille display promotes literacy by allowing users to regularly engage with braille code, including braille alphabets and numbers. This is essential for developing reading skills and enhancing spelling and grammar knowledge.
  • Spelling Accuracy: A Braille display enables you to review and correct texts you've written, catching spelling errors that are not noticeable through speech synthesis. For example, it's easy to misspell names when relying solely on auditory feedback.
  • Customizable Experience: Considering what is a good Braille display often involves evaluating the ability to customize features such as the Braille code used (six-dot or eight-dot), the feedback intensity, and even the layout of the Braille keyboard, catering to personal preferences and specific needs.
  • Preservation of Word Image: Braille reading allows you to feel the words as they are written, preserving the "word image." Unlike listening to the text, Braille lets you perceive spelling and structure directly, essential for names, long numbers, or titles. It also provides a more engaging reading experience than a monotone computer voice and often helps with better retention of information.
  • Effective Typing: Equipped with a Braille keyboard, these displays allow you to type directly on the device, enhancing efficiency. Many find typing on a Braille display more comfortable than on flat smartphone keyboards or even external keyboards, avoiding the errors common with voice-to-text inaccuracies.
  • Ease of Navigation: Braille displays simplify navigation with straightforward commands, making it easier and clearer than using a computer keyboard or smartphone gestures.

Each of these points highlights the multifaceted benefits of Braille displays, from educational and professional enhancement to personal independence and privacy.

Whether it's engaging with digital content, managing communications, or navigating devices, a Braille display offers a vital accessibility tool for those using Braille alphabets and numbers. 

How to choose the right Braille Display for you

When choosing a Braille display, it's important to consider these six points. They will help you find the perfect one for your needs! You must answer these questions to get the best result.

What are you going to use it for?

Determining the intended use of your Braille display is crucial in selecting the right model. For everyday personal use, a standard Braille display with 40 cells, capable of displaying 40 characters at a time, is often sufficient.

This allows you to comfortably read texts, navigate menus, and use general applications, making it a versatile choice for daily activities.

However, if you're planning to use the Braille display for professional purposes, such as handling large Excel files or managing fast-paced tasks at a reception desk, you might benefit from a model with more cells, such as 80 cells.

A larger display can show more information at once, like showing both a caller's name and phone number simultaneously, which is particularly valuable in business environments where speed and efficiency are critical.

Additionally, specialized configurations can be tailored for specific workplace needs, enhancing productivity with the simultaneous display of multiple data types. These features highlight what makes a good Braille display not just about the hardware, but also about how well it fits into the user's life and work.

Lastly, if you are looking for ways to teach students to use a Braille display. We highly advise this article from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Visually impaired woman reading in Braille using a Braille display with 80 cells.

Will it be used in a fixed location or for travel?

When choosing a Braille display, consider whether you need it to be portable. If you plan to use your Braille display with a smartphone and want the flexibility to take it with you for use on the go, a compact model with fewer cells, such as 14 or 20, is ideal.

These smaller displays are easier to transport and can be used just about anywhere. On the other hand, if your Braille display will stay at a fixed location, a larger model with around 40 cells is typically more practical for stationary use. 

For ultra-portability, consider devices like the Hable One, which fits easily into your pocket and allows Braille input but does not display Braille text.

Will it be used for reading, writing, or both?

When selecting a Braille display, consider whether you'll primarily be reading, writing, or doing both.

Displays with output-only: they are great for reading texts and navigating interfaces.

If you plan on writing or inputting data as well: look for a model that includes a Braille keyboard. Some devices offer comprehensive functionality, allowing for both reading and writing, which is ideal for users who need to interact extensively with their tech in multiple ways.

What devices do you want to pair it with?

Your choice of a Braille display should also consider what devices you want to pair it with. Most Braille displays, equipped with Bluetooth, can connect seamlessly with tablets and smartphones.

If you're using a computer, you can either use Bluetooth or a direct cable connection for stability. For versatility, opt for a Braille display that allows easy switching between devices, such as a computer and a smartphone, with a simple button press.

This flexibility is essential for users who frequently switch between multiple devices.

Which Braille dots and button configuration do you prefer?

Selecting the right Braille display also involves choosing the type of Braille dots and button configurations you are comfortable with.

Displays vary in the Braille code they use, offering either six-dot or eight-dot per cell options. Additionally, consider the tactile feel and layout of the navigation and function buttons—these should align with your ease of use and personal preference for an optimal reading and navigation experience. 

What options are available for Braille displays?

Nowadays there are a huge number of Braille displays available in the market. Below we have a list of the major Braille displays available. This is a subset, but there are many more available. Be sure to check the different options available and ideally to test them in person if you get the chance. 

When is a Braille Display not recommended?

While these Braille Displays offer significant advantages for many visually impaired users, they are not universally the best solution for everyone. There are a number of situations where a Braille display is not recommended:

  1. You are new to using Braille: Generally speaking, it takes time to learn to read Braille. Additionally, learning to read in Braille is often easier on Braille paper. 
  2. Financial reasons: Braille displays are expensive. It’s an unfortunate fact that Braille displays can cost thousands of euros/ Dollars. In several countries, there are ways to get funding for your Braille display, but when this is not the case the amount can be out of reach. Luckily there are alternatives at a better price point, with some of the functionality, we talk more about this in the next section.
  3. When you are completely satisfied with auditory feedback: Some people simply prefer audio and do not need any additional means of reading. In that case, it’s probably not a great idea to invest this much into a device you hardly use.

What are the alternatives to a Braille display?

While no device fully replaces the functionality of a Braille display, there are alternative solutions worth considering, especially for users focused on navigation and text input on smartphones or tablets.

One such option is the Hable One. This compact device functions primarily as a Braille keyboard, allowing you to type letters, numbers, and punctuation. Unlike traditional Braille displays, the Hable One does not support text output in Braille but offers voice feedback through your device’s speech function.

It’s equipped with six Braille keys and two additional function keys for space, enter, and backspace. Additionally, it allows you to fully control your screen reader. Allowing you to fully use your phone, without touching it, privately, without a surface, in any situation.

The Hable One is also significantly more affordable and highly portable, ideal for on-the-go typing. To gain a deeper understanding of this technology, read this article. It explains how it works and the situations in which it has been a game-changer for many people!

How to get funding for a Braille display

Braille displays can be a significant investment due to their high cost. However, there are various funding options available depending on your country:

  • Government Grants: Many governments offer grants and subsidies for assistive technology.
  • Non-Profit Organizations: Several non-profits provide financial assistance specifically for visually impaired individuals.
  • Educational Programs: If you are a student, check if there are educational discounts or support programs available.

Below, you will find links to resources that can help you explore these funding options more thoroughly and find the right support based on your location and needs.


Let's review some frequently asked questions you might have now, so you can make a better decision about which Braille display or Braille keyboard is best for you!

Should I learn Braille first?

Yes, learning Braille is essential before using a Braille display. It forms the basis for effectively utilizing the device to read and input text. It is highly recommended to first learn Braille on paper, as this makes it easier! You can read this article where you can find the reasons to consider learning Braille!

How do I start learning Braille?

There are several ways to start learning Braille. If you would like to learn how to write in Braille, you can read this article which will guide you through the process.

If you are interested in learning to read Braille first, there is another article that will also guide you through this process.

If you are a complete beginner and want to know about the Braille alphabet, numbers, and punctuation, and understand the logic behind them, you can read this guide as well.

How much does a Braille Display cost?

The cost of Braille displays varies widely, typically ranging from $800 to over $8000, depending on features like the number of Braille cells and additional functionalities.

How much does the Hable One Cost?

The price of the Hable One varies slightly per region. However it is a lot more affordable than a Braille display. To check the pricing in your region, click on the order button below, select your country and check the current price. 

Can a Braille display connect to any device?

Most Braille displays can connect to various devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, primarily through Bluetooth or USB connections.

How long does the battery last on a Braille display?

The battery life of a Braille display varies but typically lasts between 5 to 20 hours of active use, depending on the model and usage patterns.

On the other hand, the Battery life of a Hable One is around 1 to 2 months with everyday usage. 

Are Braille displays customizable?

Yes, many Braille displays allow customization such as adjusting the Braille dot firmness, configuring button layouts, and selecting either six-dot or eight-dot Braille, catering to individual preferences and needs.

In conclusion, selecting the right Braille display is a crucial decision that can significantly enhance the independence and accessibility of visually impaired individuals. These devices empower users by providing tactile feedback, enabling both reading and writing in Braille.

As technology evolves, it's important to choose a Braille display that aligns with your specific needs, whether for personal use, education, or professional settings. For more insights into making the best choice, consider reading our comparisons and experiences: discover whether the Hable or Orbit is the best fit for you here, and explore how the Hable One could simplify your life in five everyday situations here. Choose wisely and enhance your daily interactions with the digital world.

Hable One vs. Orbit Writer: Which Is the Best?

Android Vs. iOS: Accessibility Features Compared

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