One of the great things about gaming is the fact there is a rig and peripheral for everyone. Whether you are searching for the best gaming keyboard for the road or a full-sized beauty, rest assured there is an option out there for you.
How to Choose the Best Gaming Keyboard
The first question you’ll want to ask yourself is the same question that comes into play with all gaming peripherals. What types of games do you play?
While a high-end RGB mechanical keyboard is easy on the eyes, you may want to spend more money on a good gaming mouse if you are a casual gamer or play the occasional shooter. If you spend most of your time with MMOs, you will definitely need a trusty keyboard on hand.
Mechanical or Membrane Keyboard?
This one is easy. If you want the best gaming keyboard, pick up one that’s mechanical. This style has individual “switches” that sit under each key. When you hit a key, the switch instantly sends that information to your PC. It’s simple and very effective as it allows you to type quicker and with more accuracy. In gaming, accuracy and responsiveness are crucial.
Keyboards sporting a rubber-dome system are typical and what you’ll generally find with PC bundles. They are cheaper to produce and use rubber domes and switches to create a circuit which sends a signal to your machine. They are quieter and lighter than their mechanical counterparts but don’t offer up as much tactile feedback.
Another significant difference lies in the design itself. Mechanicals keyboard will last considerably longer which make them a worthwhile investment for serious gamers. On the flipside, they cannot deal with liquids the same way a membrane keyboard can which means a split soda will bring your night to an end rather quickly or do serious damage.
If you are already sold on the idea of a membrane keyboard, you can skip this section it’s all about the switches. Cherry switches are by far the most popular brand around, and what you will find in top of the line gaming keyboards. They use a color-coded system which lets you know what to expect from their keys although gamers only need to focus on a few select hues.
- Red – These switches are smooth and responsive with very low resistance. They aren’t as loud as others, and ideal for some gamers although there’s no tactile bump.
- Black – This is another excellent linear switch for gamers and much firmer than the reds. The actuation force is set to 0.60 N whereas it’s 0.45 N on the Red, Browns and speed Silvers.
- Brown – If you prefer a tactile switch that’s similar to the Reds but with more resistance, the Cherry Brown MX switches are well worth a look. They are also the best option for consumers that game and work from their rigs.
- Blue – These have low resistance and are loud switches which give you an audible click. Fans of tactile keys will appreciate the Blues, especially if you’re a chatterer that enjoys in-game conversations or Discord groups.
- Green – The Cherry Red Green switches are similar to the Blue ones but are considered high resistance. This tactile key is popular, but not as prevalent as the Reds or Blues in gaming keyboards.
While there are other colors to consider when it comes to mechanical switches, these are the ones you’re most likely to encounter. Other manufacturers have also copied their system, so look for the Cherry moniker when colors are involved. They are the leader for a reason.
Whether you’re spending $50 bucks or $150 on a gaming keyboard, you want it to look cool. It needs to be comfortable to use as well, but not many gamers want a basic black keyboard when all their friends rock RGB systems. When it comes to the design, the first thing to focus on outside of its overall appearance would be the lighting.
RGB lighting is the most popular option in the gaming world today, and something you will find on all the best gaming keyboards. The differentiating factor lies in the software and how easy it is for you to customize the lighting to suit your needs. Some manufacturers handle this better than others, and shoddy software is not something you want to deal with.
As for the ergonomics, all the best gaming keyboards are built for comfort and speed. Just how comfortable it is for you depends on your style. We can’t help you with your posture, but a good wrist rest will help keep those fingers fresh during gaming sessions that last into the wee hours of the morning.
Wired or Wireless
This is an area that boils down to personal preference although there are a few factors that may sway your decision between a wired or wireless keyboard. The main advantage of wired models is the fact they don’t require batteries and are simply more responsive. You will never need to charge them up or cut a gaming session short when the juice runs out.
Technology has advanced to the point where manufacturers can make “reliable” models although the best wireless keyboard still can’t hold a candle to wired ones. In a nutshell, unless you detest cables or want to go wireless to game on the big screen, we highly recommend getting a wired keyboard for gaming.
Other areas to consider
Regardless of your price point, there are a handful of features that should remain high on your shopping list, and the first would be the cable. Ideally, you’ll want one that’s removable or braided USB pass-through is nice to have as well, but both of those features are hit or miss on even the top models.
Something that’s far more common are the feet. You can adjust across the board, but the quality and angles are important. The keys themselves are another area that is frequently overlooked. They should always be sturdy, but some come models with extra keycaps that are colored or textured to give you a competitive edge.
1. ROCCAT Vulcan 100
The Roccat Vulcan 100 is yet another mechanical gaming keyboard with cool RGB lightning (each key separately lit) and high-quality proprietary Titan switches. If you’re a gaming aficionado, you already know that Roccat rarely fails to impress its customers when it comes to gaming gear, and the same stands true for their Vulcan 100 keyboard, that comes with all the bells and whistles one would expect in the current year, to quote a classic meme.
To give you the short version of the story (you’ll get the TLDR in the Amazon package after you buy this bad boy) , the Vulcan 100 features Roccat’s awesome Aimo LED Per-Key Lighting, the company’s in house made Titan switches, which are claimed to be 20 percent faster compared to any of their direct competitors (a bold claim by the way), everything packed in a premium metal chassis. The design is peculiar to say the least, as half the keyboard looks like it’s missing in action, but this weird feature makes it incredibly easy to clean up, which is awesome.
- high-end metal chassis, unique design, impeccable build quality
- stunning aesthetics (more like a love it or hate it thing actually, but we love it)
- excellent Roccat-made mechanical switches (1.8mm actuation point)
- great for both gaming and typing
- very easy to clean up
- brilliant lighting
- no media keys
- lacks USB bypass port
- finicky software
2. Logitech G513 RGB
Next in line, we have a keyboard coming from the crowned-king of gamers worldwide, and we’re talking about the Logitech G513 RGB mechanical keyboard, which makes for an excellent piece of gaming gear that offers amazing performance in a sleek metal chassis with a comfy wrist rest. It’s worth mentioning that the G513 boasts Romer-G Tactile Key switches and fully customizable full-spectrum color lighting per key plus LIGHTSYNC game-driven lighting colors and effects. The Romer-G key switches are advertised to be 25 percent faster in terms of feedback and actuation speed compared to “normie” gear, while the G513’s aluminum alloy top case confers this keyboard a discrete premium look and feel, not to mention durability and resistance to wear and tear.
- super-fast 1 ms report rate makes the G513 ideal for gaming pros
- comes with state of the art LIGHTSYNC RGB technology
- high-end choice of materials include a memory foam palm rest for supreme comfort and aircraft grade aluminum alloy for top case
- solidly built, proper gaming design
- crazy fast and quiet in-house made Romer-G mechanical switches (arguably better than industry’s golden standard Cherry MX Red)
- relatively compact for a full-size keyboard makes it ideal for LAN parties and the like
- very good value for money
- Logitech Gaming Software is great
- no discrete media keys
3. SteelSeries Apex M750 RGB
SteelSeries has been a fan favorite for years, and the company has done an admirable job with the Apex M750. It’s a full-sized keyboard with a metal shell, but one that’s a little light when it comes to flagship features.
The highlight of this keyboard would be the RGB lighting system and the frame. You can set up the system to keep you in the loop countless ways, and the floating key design really allows those colors to pop. The frame ensures the lights and switches stay safe, but they did not use Cherries. Instead, you’ll get QX2, their linear answer to the leader in switches.
When it comes to performance, the SteelSeries M750 won’t disappoint although it will be an acquired taste for some. It’s a bit light on features compared to other models at this range although the lighting and build quality may be an even trade-off for some gamers.
- Easy on the eyes
- Metal frame
- 100% anti-ghosting
- Amazing lighting system
- Basic features for the price
- Lack of media keys
- No pass-through
4. Razer Ornata Chroma
Mechanical keyboards aren’t for everyone, and it can be tough to make the jump. The Razer Ornata Chroma will help ease those transition pains with its hybrid mecha-membrane key system which looks great alongside the company’s Chroma lighting array.
Mecha-membrane keys are a revamped version of the old rubber-domed keys, but with a twist. That twist is a little switch that makes a “clicking” sound when you press a key. It’s not quite as useful as we’d like considering the keys still bottom out with that click, but a step up from traditional domes. Aside from that, it has a similar style and features set to BlackWidow Chroma V2 – definitely not a bad thing.
- Unique Mecha-Membrane keys
- 16.8 Million color options
- 10-key rollover anti-ghosting
- Comfy wrist rest
- Price compared to mechanical keyboards
- No pass-through
- Lack of extras
5. Cooler Master MK750 RGB
This funky keyboard stands out from the rest due to its design which incorporates floating keycaps. The MK750 can put on quite the light show while the macro system allows you to make adjustments in a matter of seconds.
Cooler Master has produced a quick, capable keyboard in the MK750. It’s mechanical with an RGB lighting system and sports a padded removable wrist rest. The USB-C cable is braided and removable as well. Tech specs for this board include a 32-bit ARM processor, 6/N-key rollover, and a set of purple PBT gaming keycaps.
While full-sized, the company kept the dimensions down on this one so it won’t take up much space on your desk. It’s also suitable for all styles considering it’s available in three different options with Cherry MX Brown, Red or Blue switches. If you don’t dig the floating keycap design and prefer something smaller, the MasterKeys Pro M RGB is a solid tenkeyless device that will wreak absolute havoc in tourneys.
- Floating keycap design
- Excellent lighting system
- Great software
- Durable replacement keycaps
- No Pass-through
- Wrist rest hides the bottom light bar
- Similar alternatives with a better price
6. HyperX Alloy FPS RGB
The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB is yet another classical gaming mechanical keyboard, which unlike others arrives in a relatively compact form-factor, and punches way beyond its weight (read price) due to its high-quality Kailh mechanical silver speed switches and software controlled RGB light. We must mention that the HyperX Alloy FPS RGB uses an excellent solid steel frame, and it’s designed as a highly portable and compact gaming keyboard, which would make for the ideal choice for users on the go (to LAN parties, what else); and yes, you’ll definitely love the detachable cable.
This mechanical gaming keyboard is hard to beat considering the price asked, and it makes for an amazing piece of gear (basically an update of the excellent Alloy FPS keyboard launched back in 2016) designed to deliver in all departments: premium look and feel, great gaming/typing experience and a pleasant design in a compact form-factor. Everything is on the up and up with the HyperX Alloy FPS RGB, except the price, which is on the down-low, all things considered.
- amazing value for money
- feels solid as a brick, and it’s built like a Sherman tank
- comes with plenty of gaming-centric features
- gorgeous design
- compact form-factor
- steel frame
- Kalih Silver switches are more than decent for gaming
- good and bright RGB lighting
- not the best choice for avid typists
- lacks dedicated media keys
7. Razer Huntsman Elite
The Razer Huntsman Elite is a high-end keyboard, built for enthusiastic typists and gamers alike, featuring something pompously described by the company as Opto-Mechanical Switches, and a magnetic leatherette wrist rest, along with other goodies such as Multi-Functional Digital Dial & Media Keys, plus Chroma RGB lighting, hybrid on-board memory & cloud storage, which allow you to access your personalized settings regardless of your location. We know, all these features and tech gizmos sound pretty impressive, but let’s take a “deeper” look.
To begin with, what’s very interesting about the Huntsman Elite is the hybrid technology which combines classic mechanical switches (every typist’s wet dream) with crazy-fast optical technology, thus making for a typing and fragging monster of a keyboard, if it ever was one. The thing is, Razor used an in-house made optical sensor inside each mechanical switch, with an actuation distance of 1.5 mm, which is 30 percent shorter compared to regular mechanical switches, and has 45 grams of actuation force. So what does it mean in real life, you asked? To make a long story short, this elite keyboard delivers a very satisfying typing experience for avid writers, and it’s also amazing for gamers.
- supremely comfy and ideal for prolonged gaming sessions
- typing feels as natural as Whole Foods
- Razer’s proprietary “opto-mechanical” switches are crazy fast and more reliable (each switch lasts for 100 million presses) compared to regular “metal contacts” rated to 50 million
- Chroma RGB perimeter lighting/per key, includes under-glow in the wrist-rest
- premium built quality
- slick looking and rather unique in its niche
- easy to clean with compressed air due to elevated keys
- the Razer Synapse software is pretty good
- finally, we have a Razer gaming keyboard with dedicated media keys (no kidding either)
8. Logitech G Pro
Logitech pulled out all the stops for the G Pro Keyboard, and it is widely regarded as one of the best gaming keyboards on the market today. It’s built for tournament play and pairs nicely with the company’s G Pro FPS mouse and pad combo as well.
The first thing to note about this keyboard is the size. The Logitech G Pro measures 14.2 x 1.4 x 6, which is compact although it has a nice heft. It’s not going to slide around on the desk, and while it does not have Cherry switches, the Romer-G’s are responsive and similar to the browns. Other standout features to note include a removable braided cord, Game Mode, and an RGB lighting system capable of 16 million colors.
Gamers in need of a tenkeyless board will love this one. While the lack of a numeric pad will turn some away, the trade-off is well worth it if you’re into the tournament scene. It’s fast, portable, and looks great when the lights are on full display.
- Game Mode
- Compact Design
- Great Software
- Onboard Profile
- No USB pass-through
- Lack of macros
- No palm rest
9. HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Gamers that have large desks are going to love the HyperX Alloy Elite. It’s one of the bigger keyboards on the scene and one of the best. It is also an ideal choice if you’re looking to go from rubber-domed keys to mechanical ones.
As the name implies, the HyperX Alloy Elite has an RGB lighting system on board. It can reproduce any color you’d like and allows you to store three profiles for gaming on the go. To say its durable would be an understatement with a solid steel frame and a weight of 3.3 pounds. We’re also fans of the keycaps and the Cherry switches that lie beneath.
The HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is one of the company’s flagship keyboards, so you can expect dedicated media keys, USB 2.0 pass-through, and N-Keyroller with anti-ghosting tech. This keyboard is available in three finishes with your choice of MX switches from Cherry in Red, Blue or Brown.
- Radiant Light Bar
- Steel frame
- Cherry MX switches
- USB 2.0 pass-through
- Size and Price
10. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
This mechanical marvel comes from Corsair and is built to take a beating. It has a brushed aluminum frame for durability and comes with a detachable dual-sided wrist rest for comfort. The K95 RGB will keep your fingers fresh and is the perfect choice for traveling through the Maelstrom or Black Marsh.
The Corsair K95 RGB has everything you could want from a gaming keyboard. It’s responsive and quick enough for FPS games thanks to Cherry switches which come in either Red or Brown. There are a series of G-keys on one side and a gaming keypad on the other. Multimedia controls reside along the top as does a 19-zone light edge which pairs nicely with the RGB backlighting.
If you’re interested in the K95 RGB, there are several bundles to choose from although none are in the budget class. There are keyboard and mouse combos, and you can choose between Gunmetal or Black for the frame. There is really no weak point with this one aside from the price. It’s one of the more expensive keyboards on the market, but we have an excellent alternative if you find that price tag is too steep.
The Corsair Strafe RGB comes with Cherry Red MX keys and is quiet as they are linear in nature. You’ll also get USB pass-through to go along with a full set of keys and a set of MOBA and FPS keycaps. The Strafe has two variants as well with the RGB LED MK2 and a model with Red backlighting.
- Aircraft-Grade aluminum frame
- Cherry MX switches
- 100% anti-ghosting with rollover
- Cue Profiles w/ 8MB storage
- Detachable wrist rest
- Steep price tag