In PC gaming, it only takes one slip of the mouse or a single unresponsive key on your keyboard to cost you the match. So if you’re serious about gaming, then it’s important to take the time to find one of the best gaming keyboards, one that’s reliable. Ideally, a keyboard should suit your playstyle, and hand size to help reduce muscle strain and hand fatigue. 

The best gaming keyboards often come with adjustable key-travel distance, allowing the user to set the exact speed at which the key will trigger a response on the computer. Additionally, most gaming keyboards come with RGB backlighting, so you can choose the colors and patterns that your keyboard’s light display, so that they match or complement your current gaming setup. Here are our picks for the best gaming keyboards for your next match.

Best Overall: SteelSeries Apex Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Best Budget: CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard
Best Mechanical: Razer Huntsman Elite Gaming Keyboard
Best Combo: Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard
Best Wireless: Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

How We Chose the Best Gaming Keyboards

Methodology

To develop this list, I used my experience from multiple years of building and tweaking gaming setups, while also extensively researching over 30 potential keyboards.  Several of the products that I considered for this list but not selected include the G.Skill KM360 gaming keyboard, the Logitech G213 Prodigy gaming keyboard, as well as a Skytech gaming keyboard, and the Onn gaming keyboard. 

For the purpose of selecting the best gaming keyboards, I focused on the size, shape, lifespan, and keyboard’s interface, as well as the type of keyboard switch. Size and shape are relatively subjective factors. Some gamers prefer full-size, standard keyboards, while others look for mini keyboards that help save desk space. Similarly, the choice between wired or wireless interfaces is typically a more subjective decision, but preferences for both types exist, despite wired keyboards being more reliable for gaming. The most important factor was the keyboard switch (the button beneath the keys). A keyboard’s speed and key response time is affected by whether the keyboard had mechanical, dome, or membrane switches.

Gaming requires quick, reliable controls, so keyboards that enhance the speed and precision of the user, or that demonstrate customizable features that improve the user experience were preferred over similar products.

We further explain how we test gaming equipment here.

The Best Gaming Keyboards: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Gaming Keyboard Overall: SteelSeries Apex Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Adjustable Actuation Switches. SteelSeries

Why It Made the Cut: This powerful gaming keyboard is a full-size option with a built-in OLED display for adjusting settings, accessing Discord, and more making it our pick for the best gaming keyboard overall.

Specs:
Size: Full size
Switch: Omnipoint adjustable
Interface: USB wired

Pros:
Adjustable actuation distance from 0.4 millimeters to 3.6 millimeters
Built-in OLED display
16.8 million colors
Magnetic wrist rest

Cons:
Limited by wired connection 

The SteelSeries Apex Pro has a smart design and suitable size for dedicated gamers who want quick, responsive mechanical keys that can help them cinch the match. Users can adjust the SteelSeries gaming keyboard’s actuation distance from 0.4 millimeters to 3.6 millimeters to increase or decrease the response time of the keyboard. This feature is due to the Omnipoint adjustable mechanical switches, which make this product amazing for toggling from fast-paced first-person shooters (FPS) to slower role-playing games (RPG) that don’t require the same trigger speed.

The Apex Pro features an OLED display with which the user can change settings, check Discord, jump into Spotify, and more. It even has a pass-through port that makes it possible to connect a USB device, like an external hard drive or a jump drive, directly to the keyboard, so it doesn’t take up a precious USB drive. However, if a user prefers to play with a mini keyboard or wireless keyboard, then this wired, full-size product isn’t the best option.

Best Budget Gaming Keyboard: CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

Inexpensive and Effective. Corsair

Why It Made the Cut: This affordable, dome-switch gaming keyboard lets users enjoy hours of fun without emptying the wallet.

Specs:
Size: Full size
Switch: Dome
Interface: USB wired

Pros:
Programmable macro keys and dedicated media keys
Detachable palm rest
IP42 dust and water resistance
Affordable price

Cons:
— Slower response time than mechanical keyboards
Limited by wired connection

This nicely priced CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard is the best budget gaming keyboard because it’s an ideal option for gamers that want to update their setup without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a premium product. The Corsair K55 has multiple color profiles and even comes with a removable wrist support, so users can customize both the look and feel of their keyboard to match their playstyle needs and aesthetic preferences. However, gamers that tend to stick to fast-response games, like first-person shooters (FPS), may notice that the dome-style key switches are not as readily responsive as most mechanical key switches, which means this gaming keyboard may be better for slower-paced games. 

The keys are incredibly quiet, which makes this product ideal for gamers who are tired of the noisy click-clack of mechanical key switches. The keyboard also has an anti-ghosting feature that ensures that keyboard inputs register in-game even if there are simultaneous key presses. This keyboard is a wired option however, so for gamers looking for a wireless device, this isn’t the right product. 

Best Mechanical Keyboard for Gaming: Razer Huntsman Elite Gaming Keyboard

Optimal Responsivity. Razer

Why It Made the Cut: Take advantage of the precise, Razer Opto-mechanical key switch response time instead of getting caught with sticky and unreliable keys.

Specs:
Size: Full size
Switch: Razer Opto-mechanical
Interface: USB wired

Pros:
Light-based optical actuation
Rapid response time
Magnetic wrist rest
Durable aluminum construction

Cons:
Limited by wired connection  

Experienced gamers will love the outstanding speed and response time of the Razer Huntsman Elite gaming keyboard because it uses Opto-mechanical key switches that provide rapid, light-based optical actuation instead of the slower response time of more traditional keyboard switches. The Razer Huntsman Elite Gaming Keyboard is the best mechanical keyboard for gaming because it’s made of tough, durable aluminum, with ABS keys to help ensure that even if the keyboard gets knocked on the ground it won’t sustain any damage. 

Gamers who enjoy using wireless peripheral devices may not like that this product needs to be plugged in to work, but the tradeoff is that this keyboard has a long lifespan that ensures users won’t need to replace this  Razer gaming keyboard any time soon. Each key has its own backlighting, which allows users to customize its light pattern and color from over 16.8 million color choices. Gamers can also take advantage of the included magnetic wrist rest, which supports their wrist and hand during gameplay. For another option, read a review of the Razer Huntsman V2.

Best Combo: Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard

Soft-Membrane Switches. Razer

Why It Made the Cut: Get this membrane gaming keyboard and enjoy quiet, cushioned keystrokes that won’t leave you shaking out lingering finger pain after each match.

Specs:
— Size: Full size
— Switch: Membrane
— Interface: USB wired

Pros:
— Soft-touch membrane key switches
— Individually backlit keys
— Built-in key rollover anti-ghosting feature
— Includes extended gaming mousepad

Cons:
— Slower response time than mechanical keyboards
— Limited by wired connection 

The high-quality Razer Cynosa Chroma gaming keyboard is an excellent option for long-time gamers that prefer the feel and responsiveness of membrane key switches. These key switches help to relieve finger tension and fingertip pain that can set in after playing long matches. In addition to the keyboard, gamers also get to enjoy the included extended-size gaming mousepad, which gives your mouse extra room.

The Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard is a great choice for gamers that tend to hit more than one key at a time when firing commands or performing actions. That’s because this keyboard has a built-in key rollover, anti-ghosting feature that ensures the keyboard inputs register in-game even if there are simultaneous key presses. Personalize this gaming keyboard using the individually programmable backlit keys that can be customized with unlimited patterns and over 16.8 million colors. However, before you make your purchase do keep in mind that the Cynosa is a wired keyboard, and that membrane key switches have a slower response time than most mechanical switches.  

Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard: Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Wireless Interface. Logitech G

Why It Made The Cut: Avoid broken wires and limited space when you make the switch to our pick for the best wireless gaming keyboard.

Specs:
— Size: Full size
— Switch: Logitech GL low profile
— Interface: Wireless

Pros:
— Portable wireless connection
— Durable aluminum construction
— 30 hours of gameplay on a full charge
— Five programmable keys for custom macros

Cons:
— Wireless connections can experience latency delays 

Many gamers like to move around in their gaming chair or even get up and walk around an office or living room while they stay connected to the game. However this isn’t possible with wired peripheral devices. The Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard solves this problem with 30 hours of battery life, despite taking just 3 hours to fully charge. This gives gamers the freedom they want to move around without having to take their hands off the controls. 

The Logitech G915 Lightspeed gaming keyboard is an excellent option for both new and experienced gamers, boasting a quick response time due to the reliable Logitech GL low-profile mechanical key switches. The hardware is made of tough, durable aluminum that helps protect the device if it gets knocked off your desk. This gaming keyboard also features five keys that can be programmed to match the user’s preference, allowing experienced gamers to set custom macros for their favorite titles. It should be noted however that wireless keyboards and other wireless gaming devices can experience latency delays that can make them slower than wired products. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Gaming Keyboard

It’s best not to rush your decision when it comes time to replace your old gaming keyboard. First think about the size of the keyboard you prefer, whether you want mechanical or membrane keys, as well as the interface, lifespan, and the switch type that will work well for you. 

Size and Shape

The size of a gaming keyboard typically falls into one of three different categories. These include full-size, Tenkeyless (TKL), and 60 percent. The shape of the keyboard is usually described as unsplit (unibody), partially split, or fully split. Most keyboards are full-size, unsplit products that deliver the classic look and feel of a gaming keyboard. 

If your gaming setup is relatively small, then it may be beneficial to go with a TKL or 60 percent keyboard which reduces the amount of space that you’ll need to enjoy your favorite game. Users that experience pain or discomfort while typing should consider a partially split or fully split keyboard that allows the user’s hands to sit in a more natural position while typing, instead of being angled inwards.

Interface

A keyboard’s interface refers to how the keyboard connects to your computer. Typically a gaming keyboard connects to a computer through a wired USB connection. That said, some products offer a wireless interface, which allows users to get up and move around with the keyboard, instead of giving up control when they want to stretch. 

There are benefits to both styles of keyboards, though most gamers prefer the reliability of a wired connection over the freedom of wireless. The main reason for this is that a wireless keyboard can experience latency delays that could affect gameplay, while wired keyboards don’t typically have this problem.

Rated Lifespan

The rated lifespan of a gaming keyboard is sometimes provided by manufacturers, though many products don’t provide this information. This factor refers to the expected lifespan of a keyboard based on the number of keystrokes it’s meant to support. It’s beneficial to check the rated lifespan of a gaming keyboard in order to have a basic idea of how long the keyboard will last before it starts to show signs of wear. You will need a decent estimate of your daily keystrokes to quantify a basic lifespan. 

Switch Type

A key switch is the term used to refer to the series of components that make up a key on a keyboard. Basic categories include mechanical, dome, and membrane switches, though the types of mechanical switches can get significantly more detailed depending on the purpose of the keyboard. 

Mechanical switches have individual switches under each key that are activated when the user pushes down. These keys can be linear, tactile, or clicky: Linear refers to consistent, smooth movement, tactile keys have a bump in the middle of travel around the actuation point, and clicky keys have the same bump as tactile keys except clicky keys make a sharp “click” sound to notify the user that the key has been successfully pressed. 

Dome switches are a hybrid of mechanical and membrane keyboards. They have soft domes on top of each switch and two circuit board traces under the keys, instead of relying on membrane layers. This design helps to improve the tactile response when the keys are pressed. 

Membrane-switch keyboards are built for affordability and comfort, though they lack extra-fast response time. These keyboards feature two membrane layers underneath the keys that come into contact with one another when the keys are pressed, triggering a response. One major benefit of membrane switches is that they are lightweight and much quieter than both dome and mechanical keyboards.  

FAQs

Q: What size keyboard do I need?
Gaming keyboards can come in several different sizes. These include full-size, Tenkeyless (TKL), and 60 percent. Most gamers use a full-size keyboard, but if you have a smaller setup or you are certain that you have no use for the ten-key numeric pad, then consider opting for a TKL or 60 percent keyboard. 

Q: Are dedicated media controls a deal-breaker?
Some gamers don’t like the idea of having dedicated media controls on their gaming keyboard, but whether this is a deal-breaker or not depends on the preferences of the individual gamer. If you are concerned about this feature, consider looking for a product that either doesn’t have dedicated media control or that can be customized with new presets. 

Q: How do I dispose of a keyboard and mouse?
When it comes time to replace your keyboard and mouse, don’t just toss them in the nearest garbage. Instead take the keyboard and mouse to your local e-waste disposal center where these peripheral devices can be properly disposed of and recycled.

Q: How much does a gaming keyboard cost?
Gaming keyboards aren’t as costly as gaming monitors or high-end gaming routers, but they can still range in price from just $20 for a budget option, to over $200 for premium products. Look for a product that suits your price-point and playstyle to find the best gaming keyboard for your needs. 

Q: Can I recycle my old gaming keyboard??
You can recycle your old gaming keyboard, but determining where will depend on the availability of governmental or community programs near you or whether the company you purchased it from has an in-house recycling program. Here’s more about how to recycle electronics.

Related: Ramp up you performance with one of the best gaming routers.

Final Thoughts on the Best Gaming Keyboards

For its impressive design, adjustable actuation distance, and outstanding features, the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is our top choice. But if you are looking for a more affordable gaming keyboard, then the CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard is a great option with soft, but responsive keys.

Related: Complete your setup with one of the best gaming headsets.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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