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If you are a gamer you have to take the purchase of a gaming keyboard very seriously. When the keyboard acts as a controller it becomes much more than just a typing tool. It’s the extension of yourself, your interface with the digital world. Thus if you want to game on a PC, it’s worth knowing what makes a gaming keyboard truly good. Below you will find a guide in order to choose the best one for you along with our list of best gaming keyboards.
The gaming keyboard is a vital addition to your gaming setup. These typing devices deliver a smoother, seamless experience — due to their accuracy, speed, and performance — so you can get a competitive edge when playing your favorite titles.
A good gaming keyboard can make a big difference not only when playing games but also for productivity purposes. This is because most office keyboards are not as comfortable and durable. Gaming keyboards usually offer features that cheap office peripherals cannot compete with, such as mechanical switches, programmable keys, multimedia shortcuts, software that allows you to reprogram the keys, and RGB lighting. If you haven’t tried a good gaming keyboard so far, you’ll be amazed by the difference and you won’t want to use a regular keyboard ever again.
Of course, which is the best gaming keyboard for you will depend upon your gaming habits, space availability, and, of course, your budget. Unfortunately, when you first try to choose a gaming keyboard it’s hard not to get overwhelmed by all the options available on the market right now. Gaming keyboards exist in various sizes and only you can decide which form factor is right for you; there are standard keyboards (full-size), tenkeyless ones (TKL, no Numpad), and even super compact models (60%, no navigation keys, and no arrow keys).
Some models use standardized switches such as the famous Cherry MX, while some companies create their own. As a rule of thumb, a mechanical keyboard is better for gaming, but it may not be ideal for you. A mechanical keyboard provides a more consistent and enjoyable typing experience, but a membrane keyboard is quieter and won’t bother your flatmates.
Similarly, a wireless keyboard offers much more flexibility and a cleaner setup, but a wired one can offer more functionality and eliminates the hassle of having to change the batteries or recharge it regularly.
All these factors combined will create the perfect keyboard for you.
We have tried a wide variety of keyboards, identifying the best ones in different categories (mechanical, membrane, wired, wireless, premium, cheap, full-size, TKL, etc.). All that’s left is for you to figure out which is the best for you.
Buying guide: How to choose the right gaming keyboard for you
Everyone has particular needs from a gaming keyboard. Some may prefer a more compact model, while others may want one with a myriad of keys. Similarly, some might love flashy RGB lights, while others prefer a more sober look.
Considering the availability of different types of keyboards, the number of features, and customization options, it can often be difficult for users to decide which one to choose.
Therefore, we have prepared a list of all the key factors that you need to consider before spending your money.
The first thing to decide is the form factor: do you need a standard keyboard or a compact one? If you work with spreadsheets, then you need to have a Numpad; otherwise, you can opt for a TKL model and save some money in the process.
After that, you have to decide on the type of switch. There are several types of mechanical switches, each offering a different feeling when typing. Much of this comes down to personal preference, but some types are better suited to certain tasks (more on that later).
A good fact to keep in mind is that certain features cost more than others. For example, customizable per-key RGB lighting can be very expensive and wireless connectivity even more. Both are good to have but not always worth the price. After all, there are people who do not care about aesthetics while wireless connectivity does not offer a big advantage since keyboards are stationary devices.
Last but not least, be careful when buying a mechanical keyboard from a relatively unknown manufacturer. An inexpensive gaming keyboard may seem like a bargain at first but can have poor build quality and no long-term reliability.
With that in mind, take your time: read online reviews, decide exactly what you want from your next gaming keyboard and make sure your money is spent in the wisest way possible.
There are deals on gaming keyboards almost all year round, so always keep an eye on prices.
Mechanical or membrane switches?
Another thing you need to decide is whether you want a mechanical or membrane gaming keyboard. Generally speaking, mechanical keyboards are better for gaming.
Most high-end gaming keyboards use mechanical switches designed to provide auditory and tactile feedback. Most of these switches use Cherry’s MX mechanisms, which are identified by color (Brown, Blue, Red, and so on) and each one is optimized to provide a specific feel and sound when typing.
Cherry is not the only manufacturer of mechanical switches, though. You can find decent imitations of MX switches made from Kailh and Outemu (used mainly in cheap mechanical keyboards). In addition, some keyboard manufacturers have developed their own mechanical switches. Logitech’s Romer-G switches, for example, claim to have a longer lifespan (up to 70 million pressures instead of 50 million) and a shorter actuation distance compared to Cherry MX switches. Razer also produces its own switches and also has an optical one (optomechanical) that uses a beam of light to detect key activation rather than the traditional metal contact.
In the low end of the market, you will still find models using membrane switches (rubber dome). In general, these switches are considered less accurate, the typing sensation is more “smushy”, and are slower than mechanical switches – they require to be bottomed out for activation thus slowing down the speed with which you can enter commands. On the other hand, they are usually much quieter and cheaper than their mechanical counterparts.
Types of mechanical switches
The type of switch is probably the most important choice to make when choosing a mechanical gaming keyboard. Most mechanical keyboards tend to use German-made Cherry MX switches, but you will also encounter Chinese brands such as Kailh and Outemu, or in the case of Logitech and Razer switches of their own production. In general, all switches tend to fall into one of two categories: linear or tactile.
Taking Cherry MX switches as an example, Red linear switches are often considered the fastest and best for gaming. Their uninterrupted and straightforward up and down motion (they don’t provide any auditory or tactile feedback) makes them less suitable for typing, but their short actuation point (height at which a key must be pressed before activating and sending an input signal to the PC) makes them a popular choice among competitive gamers. There is also an even faster linear variant, called MX Silver, that has an even shorter actuation point.
Blue switches, on the other hand, are considered ideal for typing due to their tactile and auditory feedback (they are also called clicky, which means they provide an audible click whenever they are pressed), while Brown switches are a kind of middle ground between Red and Blue. They are a bit quieter than Blue (the click is audible but less loud) but when you press a key you also feel a small bump (tactile feedback) confirming the activation.
Kailh and Outemu switches are manufactured in China and are usually found on low-end mechanical gaming keyboards. The most common linear models are Kailh Red and Outemu Red, which are very similar to Cherry MX Red. Both (Kailh and Outemu) also produce their own variants of Brown and Blue tactile switches.
Razer calls their linear switches Yellow, while Green and Orange are their tactile variants. Razer’s Yellow switches are very similar to Cherry’s MX Silver switches, while their Green and Orange ones are similar to MX Blue and MX Brown respectively.
As for Logitech, their nomenclature is much easier to comprehend. They are called Romer-G Linear and Romer-G Tactile (the former are linear and the latter tactile, simple).
The ideal switch for you will depend on the type of games and everything else you do with the computer. Cherry MX Browns, for example, require the same actuation force as the Red ones but add a tactile bump to facilitate typing. If you need an all-around keyboard (good for both work and gaming) this is, in our opinion, the ideal type.
Connectivity: cable or wireless?
Although we all prefer a wireless keyboard, most gaming keyboards are wired for a variety of reasons (signal interference, need charging) but above everything else, because wired models are more responsive since they don’t have to worry about input lag.
When you play, especially competitive titles, it is essential to keep this delay to a minimum (these are milliseconds we are talking about, but once added up, they can make the difference between victory and defeat). That’s why many professional gamers only use wired keyboards. That said, many top keyboard manufacturers now offer low-latency wireless models. Unfortunately, these wireless gaming keyboards are the exception rather than the norm, mostly because of their price.
In our opinion, a wired keyboard is always preferable for gaming.
Looks and customization
Features that are not important on a regular keyboard take on a whole new meaning when it comes to gaming. We all want a keyboard that matches our style. Some prefer a flashy-looking slab, while others want a clean and more elegant look. Thus both the look and layout of a keyboard are part of our list of factors to consider.
Looks mainly concern backlight. Most gaming keyboards are equipped with RGB. These lights are generally customizable and you can program them according to your taste.
In addition, the key layout is equally important. The positioning of individual keys and the distance between them can have a great impact on your gaming experience. Also, the presence of dedicated macro keys or a Numpad can affect your gameplay if you are used to using them.
Lastly, there are now keyboards that include futuristic features, such as an integrated touchscreen display to monitor game statistics.
Another area we consider when evaluating gaming keyboards is software. Nowadays, almost all gaming keyboards are accompanied by an app that allows you to assign or change key functions, create specific profiles for each game, and customize RGB lights.
As much as the interface between various software varies, the purpose and functionality of these programs remain largely the same. A competent companion app will help you make the most out of your new device; that’s why top keyboard manufacturers invest so many resources in software and driver development.
Decide on a budget! A price limit can make decision-making so much easier. Therefore, first, calculate how much you are willing to spend, and then look for the best gaming keyboard in that price range.
Typically, good gaming keyboards start at around $50 and can go up to $300. A keyboard with a higher price is obviously better. However, for us, a solid gaming keyboard costs around $100.
Quick tips for buying a gaming keyboard
- Brand: branded gaming keyboards are equipped with more features, have better build quality, but unfortunately cost more. However, since a keyboard is a one-time investment, it is better if you buy a branded one.
- Form Factor: tenkeyless keyboards eliminate the numeric keypad, while 65% ones also eliminate the navigation keys and 60% ones even the arrow keys. While some users want every key imaginable (macro keys, multimedia keys), others prefer a smaller keyboard.
- Ergonomics: extra features such as a wrist rest or height-adjustable feet are essential for a comfortable gaming experience, especially if you intend to game for hours on end.
- Software: efficient software makes the gaming experience so much better. Branded keyboards typically come with a dedicated app that can elevate the user experience.
So, which gaming keyboard should I buy?
Now that you know what to look for continue to our list of best gaming keyboards and choose the best one for you.
These are the best gaming keyboards you can buy right now
Corsair K100 RGB: best premium keyboard
If you want the absolute best keyboard, it’s hard to find a more premium option than the Corsair K100 RGB (Check on Amazon), since it offers features you won’t find anywhere else. Be careful, though, this is a big keyboard: its huge footprint requires a lot of space on your desk.
But from a feature standpoint, the K100 RGB has it all. It packs, in fact, more features than most of us need, including a pair I never imagined a keyboard might have. It is equipped with a SoC with multi-threading, has a polling rate of 4,000Hz (instead of the usual 1,000Hz), uses Corsair’s new optomechanical switches, sports a multimedia knob coated with RGB – which is as fun to use as it is to watch -, dedicated media keys, a metal wheel for volume control, a USB pass-through – perfect for connecting your mouse -, a comfortable and luxurious magnetic wrist rest and, of course, RGB lighting; an exaggerated amount of RGB!
The multimedia knob is particularly useful for productivity tasks, allowing you to zoom in and out in Photoshop, for example. It proved, however, less useful in games, and the same goes for some of the other features that make this keyboard so much expensive, such as its special integration with the Elgato Stream Deck (Check on Amazon).
The most important feature for gamers is its 4,000Hz polling rate, which promises to deliver unmatched responsiveness. In addition, its powerful processor ensures the correct recording of all commands regardless of the complexity of the RGB effects.
During our tests, we also noticed the excellent response of the keys, which are well spaced between them to accommodate most hand sizes, while the mechanical switches offer a satisfying tactile click. While all this seems pretty obvious, it shows that the K100 RGB nails the basics, as well as including some fancy extras, which is why it’s the best keyboard yet.
Obviously, it’s also one of the best gaming keyboards. Its optomechanical switches, for example, offer a markedly better speed and responsiveness. Of course, if you don’t like Corsair’s new switches, you can always opt for Cherry’s MX Speed RGB Silver ones.
If you want the best gaming keyboard, we recommend the Corsair K95 Platinum XT (Check on Amazon), if instead, you want the absolute best keyboard, then the Corsair K100 RGB is the new undisputed king.
Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless RGB: the best portable gaming keyboard
The Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless RGB (Check on Amazon.com) features low-profile keys in conjunction with mechanical switches.
It is a long keyboard due to the presence of 5 dedicated macro keys. Despite this, the G915 is highly portable: its chassis, made of brushed aluminum and magnesium alloy, is incredibly thin. Add to this the new GL switches developed by Logitech in partnership with Kailh, which are ultra-slim but also very responsive, and the total thickness of this keyboard measures under an inch!
Logitech also lets you choose between several variants: GL Linear, GL Tactile, and GL Clicky. We prefer the last two for gaming since they provide tactile feedback.
In addition, the G915 also sports dedicated multimedia keys, a horizontal dial to adjust the volume, 10-key anti-ghosting, and a Game mode that disables the Windows keys. It is also compatible with the LightSync ecosystem and G Hub software.
You can use it wired or connect it with up to two devices simultaneously via Bluetooth, or using the included dongle that leverages Logitech’s radio technology called “Lightspeed”; gamers should opt for this one since there is no input lag. The battery will last about 30 hours with the RGB lights turned on.
Logitech also sells a TKL version (no numeric keypad). Although the G915 TKL is quite expensive (Check on Amazon) for its size, it is still an excellent peripheral since it does not sacrifice features such as media keys despite its reduced profile that frees up more desk space for the mouse.
Razer Huntsman Elite: the fastest gaming keyboard
This Razer keyboard (Check on Amazon.com) quickly established itself on the market because of its innovative switch called optomechanical. Key activation, rather than via a metal contact, is accomplished using an optical beam, which improves responsiveness.
Razer’s switch feels like a mix between Cherry MX Red and Speed. Note, however, that it is also clicky, like the Cherry MX Blue, thus for some will be rather annoying!
The Huntsman Elite uses a frameless matte aluminum board that exudes premium quality.
The included wrist rest is the best yet: a foam cushion covered in faux leather that is extremely comfortable and magnetically attaches to the keyboard.
The RGB lighting is not limited to the individual keys but doubles with an edge LED strip that surrounds both the keyboard and the wrist rest.
Razer’s Synapse software allows you to customize both lighting effects and key functions, including macros… sadly, this keyboard, has no dedicated macro keys.
Super responsive and pleasant to type on, it is the perfect ally for competitive gamers and probably the most comfortable keyboard on the market, thanks to the fantastic wrist rest.
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog: best analog keyboard
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog (Check on Amazon) is an outstanding gaming keyboard with an analog mode that allows you to program keys to perform two actions with one press or mimic the function of a gamepad’s analog sticks. If you like to tinker with a multitude of customization options, this keyboard will become your new favorite input device.
Combining the latest optical technology with Razer’s analog-mechanical switches — this means that the keys are activated via light (optical) instead of pressure (mechanical) or electricity (membrane) -, the Huntsman V2 Analog offers the best typing and gaming experience than any other keyboard we’ve tried so far, offering an extremely satisfying tactile feedback and a wrist-rest designed for long hours of play (or work).
Designed with first-person shooters, flight simulators, and racing games in mind, the Huntsman V2 Analog achieves its goal via its variable actuation distance. This means that you can use different degrees of pressure to get a different response. In simple words, the deeper you push a key, the faster your character will run in a game.
The most interesting feature, however, is its ability to program keys to have a shorter actuation distance. If you are an occasional gamer, all of this doesn’t make a huge difference. But if you play at a competitive level, a faster key activation could make the difference between winning and losing.
In addition to all that, the Huntsman V2 Analog (Check on Amazon) offers the standard range of functionalities of all other Razer keyboards, including a customization software suite and RGB lighting.
It’s very expensive, but it’s definitely worth it.
SteelSeries Apex Pro: the most versatile gaming keyboard
The SteelSeries Apex Pro (Check on Amazon.com) is the most tasteful gaming keyboard ever created. Its minimalist design, in combination with an OLED display, is only the tip of the iceberg. Aesthetics, design, and mechanical OmniPoint switches provide the perfect gaming experience, whether for FPS or MMO titles. In addition, the activation point of each individual key can be adjusted from 0.4 to 3.6 millimeters.
Of course, there is also full RGB lighting, and thanks to the SteelSeries Engine software you can combine it with other SteelSeries peripherals. You can also use the suite to fine-tune the keyboard and create specialized profiles for every single game and application.
The included wrist rest provides the necessary comfort in long gaming sessions. The USB port is very handy for connecting a mouse or headset. And it even comes with a built-in cable management system under the chassis.
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is one of the best gaming keyboards right now but also a glimpse of the future.
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum & Platinum XT: the best
It is Corsair again that takes the first place, with a keyboard dating back to 2017, but one that offers just about everything you can ask from high-end gaming peripheral.
While asserting its gaming pedigree with its RGB backlight, it displays a rather simple and classic look, which will not stand out in an office. Its brushed aluminum finish looks the part and inspires confidence in the build quality of the product.
The magnetic wrist rest is easy to attach, and offers great comfort. Note that it is also reversible, leaving you the choice between a smooth and a rough side.
It also sports a USB port, which is perfect for connecting a gaming headset or mouse.
Its only flaw is that it comes in just two versions: one with Cherry MX Speed and one with Cherry MX Brown switches. Thankfully, typing is reactive and comfortable in both configurations. It also has multimedia and dedicated macro keys.
The asking price is a bit high (Check on Amazon.com), but the K95 RGB Platinum is a complete keyboard with a ton of useful extras.
The Corsair K95 Platinum XT (Check on Amazon) is slightly better than the Platinum. It is available with Cherry MX Blue switches (in addition to Cherry MX Speed and Brown). It also features double-shot PBT keys that offer a distinctly premium feel and better durability. But if these features are not important to you, the Platinum variant is just as good.
HyperX Alloy Elite 2: best RGB gaming keyboard
The Alloy Elite 2 (Check on Amazon) is effectively a more premium version of HyperX’s Alloy Origins (Check on Amazon) and Origins Core TKL (Check on Amazon) keyboards. Instead of an aluminum frame, the Alloy Elite 2 boasts a stronger steel frame, which gives it a bit more thickness and weight to keep it anchored in place on your desk. On the back, we find a braided cable and a USB 2.0 pass-through port for the mouse.
Its RGB lighting is also better, with the addition of a light bar above the function keys and the use of HyperX’s Pudding Keycaps (Check on Amazon) that let the light shine through their translucent sides. The supplied HyperX software makes customization a breeze, and you can create incredibly extravagant lighting effects — you can also save three custom lighting modes on the keyboard itself and switch between them.
It is also equipped with multimedia controls, a volume wheel, and dedicated buttons to adjust the backlight or activate gaming mode, which turns off the Windows Key and other key combinations that might interfere with your game.
Like the Origins models (Check on Amazon), the Alloy Elite 2 uses its own mechanical switches instead of the Cherry MX ones that we find in the original (Check on Amazon). Smooth and fast, HyperX Reds are comparable to Cherry MX Reds, they work just as well and should satisfy most gamers.
HyperX has a great pedigree when it comes to gaming keyboards, and the Alloy Elite 2 (Check on Amazon) is yet another example.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro: best wireless gaming keyboard
If you want to have the same excellent uncompromising experience as your typical mechanical gaming keyboard but without the cable, pick the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro (Check on Amazon).
While many wireless gaming keyboards are built for portability, the BlackWidow V3 Pro is a device with all the heft and extra features of a full-sized keyboard, including a (multi-function) volume wheel, dedicated multimedia keys, an aluminum top plate, and double shot ABS plastic keycaps.
Ergonomics are top-notch thanks to the included wrist rest and dual tilt settings. Typing quality is great and this keyboard shouldn’t cause any fatigue or pain even during long gaming sessions. And Razer didn’t skimp on extras either, including the built-in memory (for up to four profiles) and the vibrant RGB (per key) backlight ideal for gaming in a dark room.
You can connect it via Bluetooth (maximum compatibility) or using the included 2.4GHz Razer Hyperspeed dongle (the wireless connection doesn’t feel slower than a wired one, which means that this keyboard has all the advantages of a wireless model and none of the disadvantages). You can pair it with up to three devices simultaneously and easily cycle between them using the switch located on the left-hand side.
With the RGB brightness at maximum, the BlackWidow V3 Pro will last you an average of 12 hours, but you can get up to 24 hours using the power-saving mode. With the RGB turned off the BlackWidow V3 Pro can last for up to 200 hours!
It is available in two variants: the first one comes with clicky Razer Green switches, which feel light and very responsive. Unfortunately, these switches are also quite loud and thus may disturb people around you. Fortunately, there is also another variant featuring linear Razer Yellow switches that are much more “smooth” and quiet.
The only drawback is that the otherwise fantastic Razer Synapse companion software is only available on Windows, and some buttons do not work on macOS. That said, this keyboard offers exceptional latency and lots of extra features that make it the best wireless gaming keyboard we’ve tried so far.
If you want a more portable wireless gaming keyboard, the Logitech G915 Lightspeed (Check on Amazon) is a great choice and uses low-profile switches that some might prefer.
Razer Cynosa V2: best membrane gaming keyboard
Razer is well known for its premium expensive products, but when it wants it can produce quality devices at a low cost. If there’s one thing that the Razer Cynosa V2 (Check on Amazon) proves, is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on one of the best gaming peripherals.
Mechanical keyboards are expensive and do not always offer a better gaming experience than less expensive membrane keyboards. Surely the mechanical ones last longer but the membrane ones are just as responsive and can have even better RGB light effects than their mechanical counterparts.
The Cynosa V2 is one of the best gaming keyboards, and certainly the best membrane keyboard yet. It improved the design of its predecessor, added even more features, implemented solid key customization, added a new set of multimedia keys, and even featured cable management.
In addition, it offers a 1,000Hz polling rate and N-key rollover while its RGB lighting is spectacular. It also doesn’t fear liquids unlike most mechanical keyboards, so you don’t run the risk of irreparably damaging your precious keyboard if you accidentally spill your drink on it. Its small footprint also means you won’t have a problem placing it on your desk.
Last but not least, being a membrane keyboard is also very quiet. That’s because its keys press on a sheet of rubber, meaning it’s perfect if you don’t want to bother your family or flatmates.
Even if you are no fan of membrane switches, this keyboard could make you change your mind.
Alternatively, you can always opt for the older model, the original Razer Cynosa Chroma, which is even cheaper (Check on Amazon). The differences between the two are the absence of the media keys in the older model, and the brighter RGB lights in the new one.
Razer Cynosa Chroma: a valid alternative
The Razer Cynosa Chroma (Check on Amazon.com) was released at the end of 2017 and has detained since then the title of best membrane gaming keyboard!
The general feeling is obviously less precise compared to a mechanical keyboard, but it is comfortable enough and surprisingly reactive.
Its highlight is the RGB lighting controlled via the Synapse 3 software. The app is one of the best out there and allows you to customize each key and create macros and profiles.
There are no dedicated macro keys, multimedia controls, or even a wrist rest. On the other hand, it supports 10-key rollover technology.
In the end, the Cynosa Chroma is a solid alternative for those who don’t like mechanical switches!
Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB: the most ergonomic gaming keyboard
The unique Freestyle Edge RGB (Check on Amazon.com) opens up in the center, and the two halves are connected via a 20-inch cable. This allows the user to freely tilt the two halves to best fit the natural position of his hands. The right half side can also be completely set aside during gaming, freeing up extra space for the mouse. We also strongly recommend that you purchase the Lifting Kit to further enhance your comfort. The lifting kit inclines the two halves outwards, thus better supporting the natural rotation of your wrists.
The Kinesis Freestyle Edge can be equipped with Brown, Blue, or Red Cherry MX switches. It also features 9 dedicated macro keys, a rarity even on high-end gaming keyboards. All keys can be programmed on the fly without having to install any additional software.
Logitech G Pro & Pro X: best professional gaming keyboard
The G Pro (Check on Amazon) is Logitech’s first “professional-grade” gaming keyboard. This means that it is a premium product intended for competitive gamers.
The G Pro follows Logitech’s new “less is more” philosophy: this keyboard is available only in a TKL (Tenkeyless) version, i.e. without the numeric keypad to maximize the space on tournament counters. It uses Logitech’s Romer-G clicky switches that offer a rather unique typing experience; they have a tactile bump, but also the mushier feel of membrane switches. However, they also boast a low activation force and a very short travel, thus they’re ideal for competitive games.
The plastic frame is quite robust, thanks to its steel backplate, and the G Pro also sports a detachable cable. Both these features are designed with professional gamers in mind since they travel a lot and thus need a lightweight but reliable gaming keyboard.
Last but not least, the keyboard is equipped with RGB backlight, customizable via G Hub. Logitech’s software is extremely easy to use and lets you personalize all other settings, and create macros in a rather straightforward way.
And if the GX Blue switches are not to your liking, you can always opt for the Logitech G Pro X, the world’s first gaming keyboard that allows you to replace all the keys with a mix of clicky, tactile, or linear switches, as you see fit, and thus create a truly unique keyboard.
It’s a niche feature, but one that makes the Logitech G Pro X the best eSports keyboard around.
Corsair K63 Wireless: a valid alternative
Again with Corsair, this time with a compact wireless model. The K63 Wireless offers unprecedented portability and comfort, without missing precision.
The keyboard is very compact, thanks to the tenkeyless design. It’s also mechanical, with touch textured keys. It uses Cherry MX Red switches that can improve performance in games since they are very fast and ideal for FPS titles.
It works wirelessly, but the signal is robust and uses secure encryption. The battery can last a full day (with the backlight turned on but dimmed). Sadly it uses monochrome blue LEDs, so no flashy RGB combinations, just some effects.
For the price (Check on Amazon.com) it can be considered a bargain, especially considering the lack of competing products.
Razer Ornata V2: best hybrid gaming keyboard
The Ornata V2 uses hybrid “Mecca-Membrane” switches that combine the tactile feel of mechanical switches with the comfort, mushiness, and convenience of membrane switches. As a result, they are very responsive but also comfortable to use and the keys are positioned at the ideal distance between them for perfect ergonomics.
Although the feel of these hybrid switches will never match that of a mechanical keyboard, they are however incredibly quiet, making them perfect for late-night gaming sessions.
In addition, the Razer Ornata V2 takes advantage of the unused space in the upper right corner of the original version, offering dedicated multimedia controls, including a volume wheel that has left us with a really pleasant feeling.
It also comes equipped with a comfortable, fully padded, wrist rest that attaches to the keyboard via magnets. Last but not least, the RGB lights are fully customizable via Razer’s software.
Hybrid switches or not, the Razer Ornata V2 is definitely one of the best gaming keyboards we have tested in 2020.
Roccat Vulcan 120 & 121 Aimo: the most futuristic gaming keyboard
Roccat has been active for a few years now, but it is only with this keyboard that the brand has truly established itself on the scene of high-end gaming peripherals.
Again, we are dealing with a frameless keyboard, with a stunning brushed aluminum backplate. And although the keys are very thin (just half a centimeter), everything seems solid. With its magnetic and therefore removable wrist rest and retractable feet, it also offers good comfort.
With this model, Roccat has also launched its own switch, the “Titan”. Roccat says that these are “20% faster” than the competition… In fact, we can attest that this keyboard is extremely responsive (even faster than a Cherry MX Red one), and the anti-ghosting technology works perfectly. Moreover, it is rather silent for being mechanical.
It may feature fewer RGB lighting effects compared to a Corsair gaming keyboard, but that’s OK.
The companion software allows you to customize everything and even create macros although the keyboard itself lacks dedicated macro keys.
This is a keyboard perfectly able to compete with the Corsair K70 MK.2 (my personal favorite). It has the same defects (lack of macro keys) and sports the same benefits (comfort, responsiveness, design, etc.). Its software suite can be improved and its price is a tad high but given the opportunity, I would pick this one!
The Roccat Vulcan 121 Aimo (Check on Amazon) allows you to choose between two types of mechanical switches: linear reds or tactile browns (the 120 offers only brown ones).
Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition: best TKL gaming keyboard
A Tournament Edition keyboard is designed for portability. They are significantly smaller than a full-size keyboard and often feature a detachable cable and a minimalist design.
The Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition (Check on Amazon) is a stunning gaming keyboard made for serious gamers. This is a high-end keyboard with Razer’s linear optical switches that react to the lightest touch. Not only are these switches fast, accurate, and satisfying to use, they are also designed to be durable: they are guaranteed for up to 100 million keystrokes!
The other highlights include a detachable USB-C cable and a compact and robust design. Also, the ability to record macros on the fly, with just two keypresses, is simply ingenious.
If you are looking for the best Tournament keyboard, this is it, since its compact size does not compromise its speed or precision.
Asus ROG Strix Scope: best gaming keyboard for FPS lovers
The Asus ROG Strix Scope (Check on Amazon) is a niche mechanical keyboard that caters to lovers of first-person shooters.
It’s a keyboard made for function over form. While it sports Asus’s Aura Sync LED RGB lighting, the aluminum top plate features a sober industrial design. The Scope is a sturdy and good-looking keyboard that works exactly as advertised without fanfare and unnecessary gimmicks. And with a wide range of Cherry mechanical switches to choose from you can buy the one you really prefer.
What really stands out is the extra-wide Ctrl key at the bottom left, which is twice the size of a regular key. In addition, the more compact form factor of this keyboard also means that all the buttons on the bottom row – critical for FPS games – are really easy to reach and press when you need them.
The other noteworthy feature is the “Stealth” key, which is actually the F12 key, and which once pressed instantly hides all applications on the screen and turns off the audio.
The Asus ROG Strix Scope is a discrete gaming keyboard and you can also find it in a TKL version (Check on Amazon) (without the numeric keypad) which is even more compact. Both can be also found in Deluxe versions which add a magnetic wrist rest.
Read more: Asus ROG Strix Scope review: the FPS king
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2: a personal favorite
Released in the summer of 2018, the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 quickly became a bestseller, like the K70 before.
Like its predecessor, it is a frameless keyboard, which makes the keys float. The finish is impeccable, and the black brushed aluminum plate is the most beautiful thing we have seen in a while.
This keyboard comes in five versions depending on the switch you prefer: Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown, Speed, and Silent.
It also features stunning RGB LEDs with amazing effects. The lighting intensity is adjustable in three levels via a dedicated key while all the rest is customized using the iCue software. The companion software is also essential for personalizing all of the keyboard’s functions.
At the top right corner, we find the volume control knob and five multimedia buttons. Corsair also provides a set of spare textured keys (QWERASDF) that can be easier to find by touch while gaming but also annoying when typing.
Last but not least it sports a USB 2.0 port, Full-Key rollover anti-ghosting technology, and a comfortable wrist rest.
Missing only a row of dedicated macro keys, the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 has everything else: it is comfortable to type on, responsive when gaming, has beautiful RGB lights and is completely customizable. Its price is certainly a bit high, but it also offers the best bang for your buck (Check on Amazon.com).
SteelSeries Apex 3: best budget gaming keyboard
The SteelSeries Apex 3 (Check on Amazon) is a very affordable membrane gaming keyboard. It is very quiet and offers a decent typing quality.
It also boasts some impressive features like IP32 water resistance and RGB lighting that will make your gaming experience even more impressive.
It is compatible with the SteelSeries Engine software, where you can create profiles and customize lighting according to your preferences.
This keyboard is very well built for a cheap option. It has standard dimensions and therefore comes with a numeric keypad and dedicated media controls. It also includes a nice wrist rest, which is very similar to the one included with the SteelSeries Apex Pro.
On the downside, it doesn’t have dedicated macro keys but since you can reprogram all the buttons this won’t be a problem for most people.
Overall, the SteelSeries Apex 3 is the best non-mechanical gaming keyboard.
HyperX Alloy Elite RGB: best all-around gaming keyboard
The HyperX Alloy Elite RGB (Check on Amazon.com) sports a simple design and a good price but offers premium features and RGB lighting. You can choose between Cherry MX Brown, Blue or Red switches. It is equipped with dedicated media controls, a USB passthrough, and a removable wrist rest.
It also has an additional set of keys (W, A, S, D,1,2,3,4) with titanium-colored textured keycaps and the handy HyperX keycap removal tool. If you don’t mind the lack of dedicated macro keys, this is the best all-around gaming keyboard.