16 Best Gaming Keyboards for 2023
Updated: February 02,2023
Gaming on computers is a unique experience that often requires specialized peripherals like keyboards. In 2021 it’s all about those mechanical switches, RGB lights, and super-fast response rates. We took 16 of the best gaming keyboards on the market at put them through their paces, looking at:
Check out the table below for our quick rundown or read the more in-depth reviews to find the best gaming keyboard for you.
1. SteelSeries Apex Pro
OmniPoint Adjustable Mechanical Switch
These top mechanical gaming keyboards from SteelSeries retail at $200 and we found them to easily be in contention for the best keyboard for gaming. You can set your actuation, program each key’s backlighting individually, and there’s even an OLED display. This SteelSeries keyboard is encased in a premium aluminum frame.
2. Razer Huntsman Elite
Arguably the fastest top-rated gaming keyboard currently on the market, this Razer keyboard leads the pack if actuation and milliseconds of lag are important to the games you play. Naturally, it also comes with Razer’s awesome RGB lighting, so you light up every kill and experience your own health drain.
3. Corsair K100 RGB
This PC mechanical keyboard has all the feel of a regular mechanical but with the literal speed of light. Its low actuation point makes it ideal for gamers where milliseconds count. It has added macro buttons that support stream decks and other applications for complex hotkeys. Did we mention it’s also a backlit mechanical keyboard?
4. Logitech G915 TKL
As a TKL small gaming keyboard, the right-hand numpad has been removed and the entire Logitech RGB keyboard is optimized for the purpose. You’ll also experience some of the best wireless keyboard gaming thanks to its ‘Lightspeed’ technology and only 1ms of input latency. It’s as good, if not better than a lot of traditional wired keyboards.
5. Cooler Master CK530 V2
In contention for best gaming keyboard under $100, the ‘Cooler Master CK530 V2’ ticks all of the right boxes. You get mechanical keys, full 16.7 million color RGB lighting, and cloth-covered palm rest. Its keys are even rated for 50 million presses.
6. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
This Corsair gaming keyboard is full size but frameless, boasting numerous lighting and dedicated modes. It’s also lightning-quick, with 1mm actuation and excellent Cherry MX mechanical switches. You can also define the response time using software depending on whether you’re gaming or doing other less intense tasks.
7. SteelSeries Apex 7
The Apex 7 SteelSeries gaming keyboards let you choose your own type of mechanical key based on the type of clicking sounds and tactile feedback you prefer. With a great 0.7ms response time and numerous extras, like an OLED display, RGB lighting, and profile switching on the fly – it’s an ideal choice for $136.00.
8. Razer Cynosa V2
Probably the best cheap gaming keyboard but with premium features, the Razer Cynosa V2 is for no-nonsense gamers. It’s full size, scratch, and spill-resistant, and has super soft keys for comfortably long gaming sessions. It also has Razer’s patented lighting technology. We consider it one of the best membrane keyboards.
9. Glorious PC Gaming Race GMMK
The world’s most customizable mechanical keyboard gaming enthusiasts can buy. You can choose the size, keyboard layout, macros, and switch technology. What’s more, your selection will usually work out very competitively priced.
10. HyperX Alloy Origins
This quiet mechanical keyboard from HyperX keyboards is aimed at gamers who want a smoother and quieter experience not that of a typewriter-style device. This results in faster actuation and overall response, but also comfort for extended gaming periods. Furthermore, buttons F1 to F4 can be set as complex macros.
11. Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro
If you don’t sit at a traditional desktop or like to be cable-free for tidiness, the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro is our pick for best wireless gaming keyboard. It does this via a virtually unbreakable 2.4GHz wireless signal. That’s without mentioning all of the best gaming features.
12. Logitech G PRO X Keyboard
The simple fact you can remove the USB power cable makes this one of the best choices for gamers that want portability. At $150 it’s also affordable for the range of gaming features available. The TKL design comes with a special mode switch that prevents accidental key presses. This Logitech gaming mechanical keyboard also has switch customization.
13. Razer Ornata V2
Razer™ Hybrid Mecha-Membrane
Razer’s Ornata V2 provides the best of both worlds with hybrid Mecha-Membrane switches. This makes it great for gaming for less than $100 and it’s also the quietest keyboard we’ve reviewed. You also get a detachable wrist rest, dedicated media buttons, and Razer’s patented backlighting.
14. Roccat Vulcan PRO
Titan Switch Optical
A lesser-known brand but offering great value for money. This is the best gaming keyboard at full-size and has it all for $199.99. You get your preferred choice of opto-mechanical switches, with as low as 1.4mm actuation. Plus, it has its own unique lighting engine that syncs with other devices.
15. Corsair K70 RGB MK.2
$159.99 is great value for money for a mechanical gaming keyboard! The Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 also stands out for its suitability for non-gaming as well. You get genuine Cherry branded MX Brown switches that are tactile but not overly ‘clicky’. Plus, RGB lighting is the cherry on top.
16. Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB
This isn’t just a gaming keyboard with wrist rest that’s labeled ergonomic. The FreeStyle Edge is literally separated into two halves so you can position it exactly how you want it for optimum comfort. It also meets the gaming standard and isn’t just for those that struggle with normal keyboards.
Best Gaming Keyboards for 2023
- •SteelSeries Apex Pro – Best gaming keyboard for short actuation
- •Razer Huntsman Elite – Best gaming keyboard overall
- •Corsair K100 RGB – Best keyboard for gaming for input response
- •Logitech G915 TKL – Best TKL compact mechanical keyboard
- •Cooler Master CK530 V2 – Best RGB mechanical keyboard under $100
- •Corsair K95 RGB Platinum – Best gaming keyboard for onboard memory profiles
- •SteelSeries Apex 7 – Best keyboard for gaming with OLED display
- •Razer Cynosa V2 – Best membrane gaming keyboards
- •Glorious PC Gaming Race GMMK – Best customizable top-rated gaming keyboard
- •HyperX Alloy Origins – Best value for money mechanical gaming keyboards
- •Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro – Best wireless mechanical keyboard
- •Logitech G PRO X Keyboard – Best mechanical gaming keyboard for portability
- •Razer Ornata V2 – Best quiet gaming keyboard
- •Roccat Vulcan PRO – Best full-size keyboards for gaming
- •Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 – Best all-rounder for gaming and non-gaming
- •Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB – Best versatile and most comfortable gaming keyboard
SteelSeries Apex Pro
SteelSeries Apex Pro
This SteelSeries mechanical keyboard has comfortable magnetic switches and custom actuation. As a top gaming keyboard, it can be picked up for just less than $200. It comes with an ergonomic wrist rest for full palm and wrist support.
The fact that you can fine-tune any of the magnetic key switches is what really makes this keyboard stand out. Using their software, you can change the sensitivity of each key and save it as a profile. This is ideal for hardcore gamers that need extra speed or prefer different setups for different purposes. I.e. One for typing and one for gaming. The actuation point can be as low as 0.4mm!
In a world of chunky gaming keyboards, SteelSeries has dialed things back with a more slender design. It’s minimalist and doesn’t take up much space. Furthermore, the wrist rest can be removed if you’re looking to save even more space or just aren’t a fan of the concept. Personally, we think its soft touch works well for the Apex Pro, especially for long gaming sessions.
The device also has a premium build, which we appreciate considering the price tag. That means high-grade aluminum for the frame and ‘OmniPoint’ mechanical switches. These keys, overall, have a faster response time and actuation point than most mechanical keyboards. Plus, as noted, you have full control. They’re guaranteed for 100 million keypunches and the company promises none of the labelings is going to wear off.
Considering its mechanics, it is a comparatively quiet gaming keyboard, but it still has that lovely key-registered snap.
The Apex Pro also has an OLED display above the right-hand number section. It has several functions, though these are more indulgences, not necessities. That’s not to say they aren’t useful. You can see your actuation settings, brightness, or even set a custom GIF on loop. That’s a new take on the screensaver, though we wouldn’t set this while gaming because it’s just annoying.
This is a wired gaming keyboard, which still means less input lag than most wireless alternatives. It uses a USB passthrough, which is illuminated to help you easily find it. It also means, however, that you’ll need two USB ports to power it.
Part of that is because SteelSeries Apex keyboards love that RGB lighting. You can set it to be a backlit keyboard with a single color or pattern. You can even have a different color per individual key, though this rainbow effect can be a little jarring. We suggest setting it to the vibe of your room or the game you’re playing. You only need to go for a crazy light show if the keyboard is in the background and you’re doing something else.
If you’ve been looking for a premium and programmable RGB mechanical keyboard, it doesn’t get much better than the SteelSeries Apex Pro.
Razer Huntsman Elite
Razer Huntsman Elite
A Razer mechanical keyboard, the Huntsman Elite’s name alone suggests something special. This is one of the fastest and top-rated gaming keyboards on the market. And because of that, it’s also one of the most expensive at around $250.
Its lightning quickness comes from its high-quality mechanical keys. Razer calls these optomechanical. They combine with the company’s patented lighting to give you that RGB keyboard you didn’t know you needed.
The lighting goes all around the edges of the keyboard and the wrist rest, as well as behind every key. It is Razer, so it’s safe to say this is the most advanced RGB gaming keyboard available. It lets the color follow your typing like a wave, can be set to one shade or a pulsing pattern. Plus, you can even choose a color for each individual key. This is all programmable from some easy-to-use software.
Razer has gone for a frameless design, which makes this the smallest and sleekest keyboard the firm has made to date. The meat of the device is housed by anodized aluminum, giving it that premium feel.
Everything is excellently laid out and it has a good group of media keys at the top. These include things like volume, mute, play, rewind, and fast forward. Razer also cleverly uses its light to act as indicators. For example, turning the volume louder gives off a white light that becomes more intense the louder you go. But don’t worry, this is temporary and only while you’re turning it.
As for the wrist wrest, there’s no denying that it’s comfortable and gives support. However, Razer has gone with some metal framing that can actually jab you if you’re not careful, defeating the whole purpose of ergonomics.
Of course, this can be removed entirely, and it’s not a dealbreaker, when its performance is class leading. Unlike traditional mechanical keyboards that use an electrical circuit to process a command when a key is pressed, the Huntsman Elite uses light. So, you have one of the fastest mechanical keyboards available. This equates to 45g of pressure, 3.5mm of distance, and a 1.5mm actuation point. So, whether you’re gaming or typing, you feel in control and quicker than ever before.
There’s a lot of light here, which means it needs much more power than your typical keyboard. That’s why you’ll need two spare USB ports to get the Huntsman going. Wireless does have its perks, but if you’re a gamer staying wired isn’t new. It means no lag and interference.
Overall, this is the fastest RGB mechanical gaming keyboard you can buy and the best Razer keyboard as well. If it meets your budget, we say go for it.
Corsair K100 RGB
Corsair K100 RGB
Lighting is all the rage right now when it comes to gaming and one of the best RGB keyboards on the market is the K100 RGB. This Corsair mechanical keyboard is of the optical variety, which means it uses light and digital sensors as part of the mechanical process.
Some might argue that this is not truly mechanical. Yes, it might not necessarily be what a writer would use. The keys, however, have all the snap and feel of being mechanical, while being fast and fine-tuned for gamers.
For that, you can expect to pay between $199.99 and $229.99 MSRP, depending on the current Corsair deals. That’s a lot for a keyboard, so does it deliver?
To start with - high-quality. Everything from the tray to the dedicated volume roller is metal. The only plastic is the keys themselves, but these are guaranteed for millions of presses and there’s no wearing out of the labeling. There’s also a detachable magnetic palm-rest that’s obviously soft touch and very comfortable.
Corsair’s exclusive OPX brand of key switch provides just a 1mm actuation point. This is the distance it takes to register your press, while the key itself will stop at 3.2mm. It only requires 45g of pressure to start this process. Corsair also boasts half a millisecond of response from the point of actuation until your computer recognizes it. That’s fast and also why it must be wired at all times. Since it’s aimed at gamers and gamers sit at their desktop, we see no issue with this.
One unique feature is its multi-use glowing iCue wheel that sits in the top left corner. This lets you control everything from the lighting or your media to in-game or app programmable actions. Adding a Corsair keyboard macro is easy with the six additional dedicated keys. These function as keyboard shortcut options but can be highly programmable. This gives you an advantage in-game by carrying out certain tasks that may take longer at the click of a key.
The K100’s lighting options are endless. You can have per-key lighting, permanently or pulsing as you type. This goes along with 44 other zones of lighting across the keyboard and all three edges minus the palm-rest side.
There’s no doubt that this is fun but can also be distracting. Fortunately, you don’t have to use any lighting at all, but we’d suggest you be a fan if you’re going to pay a premium price for it.
While this option is certainly in contention for best RGB mechanical keyboard, the price won’t be for everyone. These are arguably the best Corsair keyboards available.
Logitech G915 TKL
Logitech G915 TKL
True gaming keyboards have traditionally been wired because there are less input lag and no chance for signal interference. There are a number of wireless gaming keyboards, however, that perform well for a price tag. One of those is the G915 TKL from the ever-trusted Logitech. You can purchase the Logitech wireless gaming keyboard for $230 MSRP.
This time around Logitech has kept things simple and low profile, focusing on function and not flash. At 36.9cm wide it might even be considered a compact gaming keyboard. Indeed, it’s almost 10cm smaller than the regular G915. It has also lost its right-hand numpad and some macro functionality, though you can easily set up macros with the F1-F12 keys. You really aren’t missing too much. You also get to keep dedicated media buttons at the top, including play/pause, rewind, fast forward, and mute. This is accompanied by a nice metal volume roller.
Performance-wise, we were surprised by its wireless capability. Simply plug the dongle into an available USB port (preferably at the front of your computer). Its ‘Lightspeed’ technology will then maintain a strong signal and lag-free experience. As long as nothing is blocking it, you’ll get 1ms of latency, which is up there with a lot of wired competitors.
Even with fast first-person shooters, we didn’t notice any latency when sitting some distance away on the couch. You can switch the signal over to Bluetooth if you prefer, but Lightspeed is most certainly the strongest option if response time is important to you.
Another thing the G915 has managed to keep up with that’s usually reserved for wired keyboards is RGB lighting. Each key has its own LED and even with this turned on battery life is up to 40 hours. That’s an impressive feat, and you can go for even longer if you turn the lighting off.
It uses Logitech LightSync technology, which means 16.8 million possible colors and intuitive software to manage your lighting profiles.
The mechanical keys are also a pleasure to press and you can choose which type you prefer:
- GL Clicky – Giving you a traditional mechanical click sound and some tactile feedback.
- GL Tactile – Giving you a noticeable bump when pressed.
- GL Linear – A smooth almost silent key press. Ideal if you’ve been searching for quiet gaming keyboards.
If you like wireless keyboard gaming because it’s tidier for your desk or you sit further away, this is one of the best gaming keyboards for you. It’s also arguably the best Logitech keyboard for gaming currently.
Cooler Master CK530 V2
Cooler Master CK530 V2
If you’re looking for a budget gaming keyboard that still ticks all of the boxes, performance-wise, then the second generation CK530 from Cooler Master is a solid option. You can pick this up online for just $89.99.
Granted, it’s a little chunkier and less refined than the high-end products on our list, but it’s still loaded with features, including mechanical keys. These are rated for 50 million presses and use technology found on keyboards almost triple the price. The main difference is a slightly higher actuation distance than some, at 1.2mm, with a more noticeable bottom of 4mm. I.e. the keys press down further, more like a regular keyboard. Of course, whichever way you slice it, it’s still fast and great for gaming.
Likewise, as a wired device it has an input latency of just 1ms, so at no point are you going to notice a lag between what you’ve pressed and what you see in-game. In the box, you’ll find a nice 1.8m length USB cable to connect via USB 2.0.
Cooler Master is also offering RGB lighting. It’s not quite as advanced as Logitech LightSync or Razer’s offerings. You do, however, get per-key LEDs with various modes and patterns. We found the kill lighting effect particularly satisfying when playing first-person shooters. The native software is easy to use and can map 16.7 million colors.
We were impressed by the ‘on the fly’ lighting and macro controls, which lets you change the lighting and your macro shortcuts without opening the software at all.
For $90 we were also impressed with the overall build quality. There’s certainly some plastic, but you also get a curved brushed aluminum top plate. The keycaps are also ABS Double-injection and laser engraved, so they’ll never wear out. It in no way feels like a cheap gaming keyboard.
Furthermore, rather than a detachable palm wrist rest, there’s a completely additional cloth-covered foam pad that’s arguably more comfortable than most other keyboards. Despite being cloth there’s no irritation and it is completely non-slip, so you aren’t going to mess up during gaming.
While other keyboards have moved towards a flatter design, Cooler Master has a traditional slant, and this cannot be adjusted by feet. So, if you don’t like your keyboard to be at an angle then you’ll need to look for another model.
In conclusion, the Cooler Master CK530 V2 is easily in contention for best RGB mechanical keyboard under $100, especially if you like something a little more compact at 37cm wide. There are a few hints that it’s not a class-leader but the value for money is superb.
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
The slightly cheaper and older cousin to the K100, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum has a standard MSRP of $199 and is still competing in the high-end of top gaming keyboards.
Design-wise it’s full size but frameless at the sides, with a thin strip at the top for the media buttons and volume roller. You can also toggle lighting and gaming modes from here. At the other end, there’s a detachable palm rest made of rubber. This has been redesigned on more recent models, mainly because it’s not the most comfortable and is prone to scuffs, sweat, and dirt. Still, it’s not difficult to toss it to one side or replace it with something else.
The top plate and everywhere else that matters is aluminum and gets our approval as a premium built product. Everything is also non-slip and you can raise the pro gaming keyboard at a sloping angle with the snap-out feet underneath.
If you want something even more luxurious you can pay for different finishes, such as gunmetal or matte black. We personally thought the standard brushed aluminum frame looked great.
With the Platinum, you get six fully programmable macro keys down the left-hand side, in addition to a full keyboard layout. These are ABS Double-injection and built to stop any labeling from rubbing off. They are also mechanical style keys using Cherry MX technology. This results in a minimum force of 45g for each press, which actuates at 1.2mm. They bottom out fast and there’s no lag thanks to the USB wired connection.
The built-in software allows you to increase and decrease speed depending on what you’re doing at the time. For example, if you’re typing up an essay you might want a more traditional response. A hardcore gaming session where timing is everything will want the standard or even faster response.
These can be saved as profiles along with the RGB lighting. When this keyboard was first released the iCUE software was a bit awkward to use, but now things are up to scratch. You get LightEdge keyboard technology, which means multiple colors can emit from the two edges of the keyboard, as well as lighting behind the keys themselves.
The macros are more than just shortcuts, allowing you to store complex in-game actions or tasks in Windows to be enacted at the press of the desired one of six keys. These can also be taken on the go as they are stored within the keyboard’s own 8MB of onboard memory. In other words, you can take your profiles and use the keyboard on a different computer or laptop.
Although it is a slightly older model of a mechanical gaming keyboard, it set the standard and remains on par with the rest of the pack.
SteelSeries Apex 7
SteelSeries Apex 7
At $129.99 we’re headed more towards the mid-range in terms of pricing with this SteelSeries gaming keyboard. While it cannot be described as a compact mechanical keyboard, it’s not as wide as some and the right-side numpad has gone. For the uninitiated, this is commonly called a tenkeyless (TKL) design. In this case, you get a mini OLED display and six macro keys to take the regular numpad’s place.
The Apex 7 uses Steelseries' patented QX2 mechanical switches that you can choose in red, blue, or brown. This isn’t a color option but a preference for the way the keys snap. Red is traditional, making the mechanical clicking sound and is snappy. Blue is even louder, which can be fun but also doesn’t suit the workplace or, say, a home where someone may be sleeping. Brown offers a smoother, quieter, and less snappy experience.
All come with a short actuation point of 2mm, so gamers will get a fast response regardless of how far the keys themselves push in. In context, the 2mm is short by regular keyboard standards but it’s also not uncommon to find keyboards for gaming that have 1mm or less as well.
It was perfectly fast enough after testing shooters and other games that require it. SteelSeries also claim a great 0.7ms response time from actuation to the response on the screen. In short, this keyboard is ideal for gamers.
In the top right you will find a clickable volume wheel and play and pause media button. This sits next to the small 128x40 display, which supports certain status alerts, lets you know when there are new firmware and various info from supporting apps like Discord or Spotify (e.g. song name). You can even simply display an animated GIF.
Furthermore, if you click the volume wheel you can scroll through settings on the display, switch and change profiles. You can also set macros without having to do anything on your computer itself.
The Apex 7 must always remain powered and to enable neat cabling you get a USB passthrough port. This even illuminates white to help you identify where it is if it’s dark.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a gaming keyboard without some form of RGB. SteelSeries has implemented a robust backlighting system that can be programmed on a per-key basis via the supporting software. This means you can have anything from one key glowing red to a whole wave of different colors sweeping across the keyboard.
There’s not much to dislike about the SteelSeries Apex 7. While it’s not a cheap mechanical keyboard, it’s still good value for money when similar products are pushing $200.
Razer Cynosa V2
Razer Cynosa V2
One of the best budget gaming keyboards you can buy, the Razer Cynosa V2 is just $59.99 MSRP. For that, you get a full-sized and traditional layout keyboard with media controls and per-key RGB lighting. It’s also not your average plastic build. You get a durable matte frame that’s scratch and spill-resistant and premium design tweaks - multiple cable routing options and angled feet. For a little extra you can also add on an ergonomic wrist rest.
Perhaps the only place it falters and why it’s priced so much lower than a lot of the best gaming keyboards is that it’s a non-mechanical gaming keyboard. It uses standard membrane switches instead.
That’s not to say these aren’t high-quality or responsive, but if you enjoy that snap and noise, it's lost on this budget gaming keyboard. Instead, they hype each key’s softness, which all things aside, does aid longer gaming sessions from a comfort perspective.
Because it’s not mechanical there are no specs about actuation, but after testing it with first-person shooters we’re pleased to report no noticeable input latency. It’s wired anyway. The difference is all really in the texture and feeling, not necessarily performance.
The media controls are new with V2 and can be found in the upper right section. You get the full set of play/pause, next, back, and volume and down.
As it’s Razer you can expect the full shebang when it comes to lighting and you won’t be disappointed. Each key has its own LED backlight which can be individually customized via the great Chroma studio software. This results in 16.8 million colors (including shades) and several preset effects. For example, pulsing like a disco, back and forth waves, one single color, etc.
Our favorite feature is the range of color presets for specific games. For example, some games will give you a red flash for a successful kill or a pulsing red siren-like effect if you are in low health. Some capture the game’s overall vibe and existing colors on-screen to add further ambiance.
Anyone looking for relatively cheap gaming keyboards that still have most of the bells and whistles needs to give the Razer Cynosa V2 a look. If it wasn’t for the lack of mechanical keys, which is the feature of the day, it would easily be the best budget gaming keyboard we’ve reviewed for 2021. It’s most certainly the best membrane keyboard on the market.
Glorious PC Gaming Race GMMK
Glorious PC Gaming Race GMMK
Don’t let this one throw you off – ‘Glorious PC Gaming Race’ is a brand and does not refer to racing. Their GMMK gaming keyboard is a mechanical keyboard for gaming, overall, not for racing games. With that in mind, it’s well priced at $109.95 and offers a range of sizes and layouts at the same price.
You can go full size with a traditional layout or TKL where the right numpad is removed to save space. Plus, there’s a compact completely frameless version, which is one of the best 60% keyboard options on the market.
The one you choose will depend on whether you want to save space, prefer smaller keyboards when gaming or simply have a layout preference. In fact, you can even customize the entire design!
You can choose the size, US or international key layout, the type of mechanical switch, and the color of your keycaps. In total the price is similar to the prebuilds regardless of what you choose. Glorious deserves praise for such a user-friendly approach.
For the sake of this review, we went for the standard full-size pre-built model, which comes with Gateron brown switches. These are described as good for new mechanical keyboard users and all-around use. Instead of a loud click, you get more of a tactile feedback response so you can feel your click register. They also require only 45g of pressure, whereas their Green ‘Clicky’ option provides a loud click and requires 80g of pressure.
For most gaming the lighter and quicker the response, the better. Sound and ‘clickiness’ are more of a personal preference.
All of their keyboards are minimalist with little framing, along with rubber non-slip feet. Although there are no media buttons you can create macros for any key. If you go for customization you can even have different icons printed on these keys. These are all ABS double injected to prevent rubbing off.
Our full-size variety was 44 x 12.9 x 3.6 cm (L/H/W) and came with a non-removable USB cord that needs a USB 2.0 port at all times. You also get a keycap puller tool in case you order new keys later and a full switch puller in case you change the switch type. There’s also one Glorious branded ESC key that’s red and labeled ‘Ascend’ instead.
The GMMK has the full 16.8 million color RGB spectrum for backlighting. This is per key and supports multiple effects without software. The supporting manual will explain, for example, that pressing F1 + ESC will turn off all the lighting. It gets a lot more complex, but the average user will easily pick it up if they desire.
Overall, we were impressed not just by the quality and features of the GMMK but their modular approach to customization. A mid-level priced fully customizable LED mechanical gaming keyboard is a pretty cool option to have out there.
HyperX Alloy Origins
HyperX Alloy Origins
Hyper X’s Alloy Origins mechanical gaming keyboards can be found for a little over $100. They have all the features a serious gamer needs and come with a full-size layout. They don’t take liberties with space though, as there’s minimal framing.
The mechanical switches are of their own Red Switch ‘linear’ variety, which means they have a smooth response without as much click or feedback as a traditional mechanical switch. This is arguably more efficient for gaming rather than typing. They also require just 45g force and actuate almost instantly. The full travel distance is just 1.8mm.
While we personally enjoy a louder click and tactile feedback, functionally these were notably better for intense games like FPSs that need speed and precision. What adds to the experience is the lack of ghosting. This is when the keyboard allows you to press a relevant key to a game even if you accidentally catch one or several other keys. This allows for a quick sensitive response but only for keys, you intend to press.
There is also N-Key rollover functionality, which means you can press as many relevant keys together and have them all register at once. Again, this is ideal for certain games as it ensures you can perform multiple actions at once.
These features can be turned on and off via a game mode, so it doesn’t impact regular use.
Furthermore, while there are no dedicated macro buttons, F1 to F4 can function as such while in-game mode. These can be set alongside the RGB backlighting with the associated software. Colors can be assigned as a whole, per key or in zones/patterns. There are also some dynamic effects that respond to the keys you press or in-game events.
The HyperX gaming keyboard design itself is fairly standard, though there are a few simple features worth noting. Firstly, it must always be connected via USB to your computer or laptop. This is to maintain power and a lag-free input. However, the USB cord is detachable. This makes it portable and easier for storage when not in use.
Secondly, the keyboard isn’t stuck in the flat position. Its adjustable feet can accommodate three different non-slip angles to support your preferred gaming and typing style. All it lacks is its own palm rest.
The Alloy Origins also has a premium build-quality with a durable ‘aircraft grade’ aluminum body encasing the entire keyboard. This isn’t just a plate but pretty much everything but the keys.
Ultimately, for a little over $100, the HyperX Alloy Origins challenges the best gaming keyboard options that cost even more.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro
Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro
When it comes to paying for wireless in the gaming category you can always expect it to cost a bit more. This holds true with version 3 of Razer’s BlackWidow Pro. What you get though is an unbreakable 2.4GHz wireless signal and a good mechanical keyboard for gaming. It gives many wired options a run for their money at $229.99, though we appreciate that this is still at the higher-priced end for keyboards.
Out of the box, you get a nice standard-sized aluminum design, with a detachable leatherette wrist rest. There are also four dedicated media controls above the right numpad. These are all dials, with the biggest controlling volume and the others for pause play and skip. You can configure them for other uses, however. In fact, you can configure every single key via the Synapse Software, including adding macros and managing lighting patterns or per-key colors.
Since this is a wireless mechanical gaming keyboard, it does require a lot of power and Razer promises 13 hours of battery life with RGBs enabled. In our experience, you can almost cut that in half. If you know you’re going to be unable to charge the keyboard, you’ll get a much longer battery life with the lighting off.
As for the mechanical switches, Razer lets you take your pick depending on your personal preference. They have ‘Green’ which gives you that traditional clicky sound but a bit slower actuation. Or, you can go with ‘Yellow’ linear switches, which are smoother, less noisy, and more efficient for gaming. It might be a tougher decision if your keyboard also moonlights for typing work or essays. For straight-up gaming, we’d go with the linear switches for the faster response time.
What’s so good about this Razer wireless keyboard is that you can actually use the USB charging cable to turn it into a wired version if you are having connection issues. While nine times out of 10 the ‘Hyperspeed’ wireless option is perfect, you always have this as a backup. Meanwhile, you can also connect via inferior Bluetooth if you need a Bluetooth gaming keyboard. This is useful if you’re doing less intense gaming or not gaming at all. I.e. you want the lighting or to toggle between up to three devices via Bluetooth, which isn’t achievable via Wi-Fi.
Razer has long dominated the RGB lighting space. So beyond the standard 16.8 million color customizable profiles, you also get 150 presets for games. This means titles like Fortnite and Apex Legends are ready to blast you the most appropriate colors at the right times, for the most immersion.
As Razer keyboards go, they have developed one of the best wireless mechanical keyboard options on the market today.
Logitech G PRO X Keyboard
Logitech G PRO X Keyboard
Not to be confused with the excellent headset of the same name, this Logitech wired keyboard is essentially a 75 percent keyboard with TKL layout. That means compact, with no right-side numeric keypad, designed specifically for gamers. Logitech has also jumped on the customization bandwagon, allowing for every pro-grade mechanical switch to be replaced or changed until you have the perfect setup for you. Not bad for $150 MSRP. Though still not within everyone’s budget and this price isn’t the full story.
Out of the box, you’ll notice its thin, minimal framed design that has three angles to its leveling feet. All that’s missing is some kind of palm/wrist rest for extra comfort.
In terms of TKL layout, the only extras are two light indicators beside buttons for the game mode and on-the-fly brightness changing. Game mode turns off all the keys that are unlikely to be used during gaming. This prevents accidental presses and when combined with the RGB lighting, more focus on the keys you do need to be pressing.
Upon purchasing your Logitech mechanical gaming keyboard, your switch choices are:
- GX Red: One of the best quiet gaming keyboard options, which is linear in response.
- GX Brown: Quiet with tactile feedback, so you definitely know you’ve pressed.
- GX Blue: Loud and clicky like a traditional mechanical keyboard.
From a raw gaming performance standpoint, it’s a toss-up between the first two. If you want to sacrifice a tiny bit of response time for some fun clickiness, then go for Blue.
Either way, you can replace any of the 87 keys with different versions while a full set costs $50. You get the key tool in the box.
If you mix and match on purchase the price can shoot up to $250, so it’s better to have a singular preference. Logitech hasn’t quite got down the customization and modular approach that ‘Glorious PC Gaming Race’ has managed with the GMMK.
Also, in the box is a removable USB cord. This isn’t a wireless keyboard, but it makes for easier portability and storage – something competitive/eSports gamers tend to choose.
Ultimately, unless you go for the Blue switches and don’t need the number pad, this keyboard is not for all-around use. It wouldn’t be very productive in an office. However, gamers get a fast 1ms response rate and a 1.9mm actuation point for the MX Red switches. As it’s wired, lag is not an issue.
The Logitech backlight keyboard uses their LightSync technology, so you can configure every key and sync up with other devices.
Overall, it’s one of the best gaming mechanical keyboards and perhaps the best Logitech gaming keyboard altogether. However, unless you know exactly what you want from it, the price model can be odd and expensive.
Razer Ornata V2
Razer Ornata V2
At $109.99, the Ornata V2 is more affordable than most good gaming keyboard products, yet it doesn’t disappoint in performance or features.
Where it makes its savings is with hybrid Mecha-Membrane keys. This means you don’t get the full benefit of mechanical switches but they’re really not that far off in terms of speed, which is ideal for gaming.
The keys, however, require more force than a lot of other gaming keyboards to get your presses registered. That could be a hindrance in gameplay. It’s definitely something you can get used to but it’s up to you whether you need to spend time missing presses or just go for something that’s suitable right away.
Design-wise, the Ornata V2 is familiar and premium looking. It has an aluminum frame where it counts. There are also some plastic elements and a very comfortable wrist rest that you can detach if you desire.
On the top right, it has dedicated media buttons for forward, play, and back, as well as a high-quality volume wheel.
It’s a gaming keyboard by Razer so you can still expect a full 16.8 million color RGB light show. This can be configured per key via the Synapse software, in patterns, waves, and a multitude of other ways. It also supports dynamic lighting, which means certain games are preset to give off the optimum lighting patterns to set the tone or to reflect certain actions. For example, restoring health might pulse your keyboard green.
If you want a solid gaming keyboard cheap and your budget won’t go higher than $100. Or, you want a quieter keyboard than even the quietest mechanical switches can produce, the Razer Ornata V2 is good. For a few more bucks, however, you can get some of the best mechanical gaming keyboards on the market and have a much better experience while gaming.
Roccat Vulcan PRO
Roccat Vulcan PRO
At $199.99 the Vulcan PRO by Roccat is in contention for best cheap mechanical keyboard, and we say it only because these types of keyboard are rarely cheaper than this. What you get doesn’t pretend to be sleek. You’re looking at a full-size keyboard with extended framing and built-in palm-rest. If you’re making the jump from a regular keyboard it’s an obvious and familiar-looking upgrade but they also make TKL and other more compact sizes under the brand.
If you’re someone that games and does everything else on the same rig, then this is certainly a winner in the size and layout department. The build-quality alone is a treat, with the frame made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The caps are ABS double injected, so they’ll essentially never wear out and the switches are guaranteed for 100 million keystrokes.
As far as being a good keyboard for gaming, you get the choice of a Red Linear switch, which is quiet and smooth, with a low actuation point of 1.4mm. If you prefer some tactile feedback and a bit of a click, then you can go for the Brown Tactile switch. This has a 1.8mm actuation point. Obviously, the red switches are more efficient and faster at gaming because of the lower actuation, but the real-world difference is negligible. Go with what feels best for you.
Like several competitors, these switches are optomechanical, in that they feel mechanical and have all the benefits, but also use optical light for a faster response time. When testing even the fastest and most intense games we couldn’t identify any input lag.
Other features include dedicated media buttons, such as a volume wheel and play, forward and back buttons. And, it wouldn’t be a modern gaming keyboard without some RGB lighting.
Here you get their patented AIMO ‘intelligent lighting engine’. This has the ability to automatically sync with other compatible devices so your whole gaming room is on the same page.
Overall, we really liked the Roccat Vulcan PRO. It could easily be $200, and we’d still rate it well. If you want to save a bit of cash with a lesser-known brand, this is it. One of the best budget mechanical keyboard options available.
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2
There are several Corsair mechanical keyboards in their range and this time they’ve managed to lower the price to a respectable $119.99 MSRP. The K70 RGB MK.2 comes with official Cherry branded MX Brown switches. These offer a good middle-ground between gaming and typing because you get a tactile bump but there isn’t an over-the-top clicking sound.
The actuation point is 2mm which is pretty good, and it requires little force. The quieter nature of the switch also means you won’t annoy people in other rooms (or yourself for that matter). You’ll also have no problem with lifespan as these are guaranteed for at least 50 million keystrokes.
Like a lot of Corsair keyboards, the MK.2’s design is frameless at the left and right edges, with a detachable palm rest at the bottom and a strip at the top. Here you’ll find:
- the profile and macro switching buttons on the left
- an illuminated logo where the USB cord comes out
- a mute button on the right.
The metal volume roller is lovely. The whole frame and top plate are high-quality aluminum, while the keycaps are ABS double injected, which means there’s no rubbing off the icons.
Another nice feature is the textured space bar. If that’s an important key to your gaming you’ll love it, though we could understand if you found it annoying while typing a long Word doc.
Then comes the RGB lighting and the once loathed but now loved iCUE software. Each individual key can be programmed, there are preset effects and patterns, and dynamic support. This means games that support dynamic lighting will deliver immersive light effects that fit the colors, mood, or actions of the game.
You can also remap virtually every key, set up three profiles, and easily switch between them on the fly. This is ideal if you have different needs for different games or want one profile for non-gaming and another couple for gaming.
To get practically all of the best gaming features on a premium-built keyboard for $159.99 is rare. While it’s not the best gaming mechanical keyboard, it’s not really far off. Overall, great value for money.
Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB
Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB
One of the most unique products we reviewed for this list is the ergonomic gaming keyboard from Kinesis called the Freestyle Edge. That name refers to the fact that the keyboard literally comes in two separate halves that are linked together by a cable. You can therefore freestyle the position you want it in.
It makes a good choice for one-handed gaming – the kind that finds similar benefits from small one-handed keypads when playing MMOs. While you do your thing with one hand, the other side can be pushed out of the way. Linking cables are available by up to 20 inches, which also adds the possibility for two-player gaming on the same desktop with the same keyboard.
Conversely, there’s nothing stopping you from bringing the two halves closer together for a more traditional experience. Either way, both have high-quality rubber and foam palm rests to support you during long days at your computer.
Their design also allows for a more comfortable and ergonomic experience. It’s suggested that the most beneficial typing position is for the keyboard to be shoulder-width apart. With the Freestyle Edge, you can extend it for this purpose or for conditions or injuries that don’t suit regular keyboard posture.
It uses Cherry MX Brown Mechanical Switches, which require low force and provide tactile feedback. This makes them good for fast and responsive gaming. Furthermore, you can remap every single key. Just use the supplied software or on the fly with the Profile, Macro, and, Remap buttons at the top of the right keypad.
Fancy a light-up gaming keyboard? It has RGB backlighting too, supporting the full 16.8M color spectrum and allowing you to change the light on each individual key. There are also useful presets like a wave, pulse, and rain, if you want a real light show.
While it certainly has a niche market, the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB is an ergonomic and versatile keyboard that has practically all the features a good gaming keyboard needs. Its $199 price tag and overall design, however, won’t appeal to everyone.
What Is the Difference Between a Normal Keyboard and a Gaming Keyboard?
Your average keyboard is usually a pretty good performer if you go for a well-known brand. They are optimized for typing and general use, however, not gaming. The best keyboards for gaming boil down to an actuation point – the time it takes from pressing the key for the keyboard to recognize the action. This, as well as the time it takes from the actuation point to register with the computer and whatever program or game you’re running. This is called response time or input lag/latency.
Regular keyboards are much more forgiving because they generally do not matter when we’re talking milliseconds and millimeters. Intense gamers, however, often require the fastest response possible.
Various technologies, including optomechanical keys, improve actuation points and input lag. They’re nearly always included in good gaming keyboards. In short, gaming keyboards are faster.
They are also more likely to be smaller and offer different key layouts and designs that suit different types of gaming. From a mini gaming keyboard to the best 60% keyboard sizes, to keyboards that come in two separate halves – you’ll find them all under the gaming umbrella.
The most common layout difference is simply tenkeyless (TKL), which removes the numpad numbers. There’s also software to assign specific functions to regular or dedicated keys, called macros. These are shortcuts for gamers to make playing easier and more efficient.
Gaming keyboards also tend to come with RGB backlighting behind the keys and sometimes around the frame. Often seen as a bit of a gimmick, the best RGB keyboard options add extra immersion to gameplay. I.e. Emitting colors that go with the mood of the game or, for example, flashing red if you are losing health.
One difference that may seem strange on the face of it, is that gaming keyboards are more often wired. This helps reduce input lag and wireless signal loss. This boosts reliability and speed. The best gaming keyboard wireless users can pick up is arguably the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. It uses a strong 2.4GHz wireless signal and can hang with the top wired options.
Membrane or Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
A growing number of gaming keyboards are adopting mechanical keys or ‘switches’ instead of traditional membrane keys. The latter connects to one big pressure pad, allowing you to tap the key that corresponds with the related point on the larger pad.
The idea of mechanical keyboards was originally aimed at those who type a lot that would enjoy the click and texture like typewriters. The technology, however, has merged with optical light to create fast gaming keyboards with several advantages. Each key is entirely separate.
Actuation is when the keyboard recognizes a key being pressed. Mechanical switches designed for gaming have reduced the distance that actuation occurs. Using optical light, they have also increased the speed at which the computer itself receives this data. I.e. the response rate or input lag.
Nonetheless, it would be a lie to say there isn’t a membrane keyboard for gaming that has a fast response. The Razer Cynosa V2 is an example of this.
Tweakable with Software
Mechanical keyboards tend to be more tweakable via software or on-the-fly buttons. This includes the ability to change the actuation point, sensitivity, and lighting. Certain modes also lock out unnecessary keys from accidental presses.
Mechanical keys are also more likely to support remapping and the assigning of macros because they are treated as separate entities not fixed points with a purpose already set.
Mechanical keys are a lot more customizable than your average membrane keyboard. You can take out switches, replace them, and mix and match until you find the setup that suits you best. You’ll struggle to do this with a membrane gaming keyboard.
Traditional membrane keyboards have trouble registering multiple key presses at the same time. Those that aren’t registered are described as being ghosted. This is not the case with mechanical keyboards which are good for games that can produce many actions from different keys at one time.
It might be subjective but mechanical keys, regardless of the type, just feel better. They seem more precise and there’s more certainty to the press. A good snap of a mechanical key is a fun experience.
How To Choose the Best Gaming Keyboard
Here's what you should consider before investing in a top gaming keyboard:
The price of the best gaming keyboards we’ve reviewed varies from just $59.99 to $250, with a few good mid-range options at just over $100. The more you spend the more likely you are to get the fastest speeds, high-quality builds, and the best mechanical switches. This is without mentioning good software and on-the-fly tweaks for creating macros, remapping keys, and managing RGB lighting.
The most important specs to look out for the best PC keyboards relate to speed. The lowest actuation points in millimeters and the lowest input lag/response rate in milliseconds make for the fastest experience.
Wired or Wireless?
A wired keyboard maintains a constant connection and therefore doesn’t interfere with gameplay. Imagine you’re about to score the winning goal or are stuck on a battlefield with multiple enemies and you run out of charge.
More than that, wireless keyboards have to rely on a signal, be that Bluetooth, your wireless network, or another wireless technology. These are all prone to momentary interference that can result in poor in-game performance.
Traditionally wireless keyboards presented the problem of input lag. The time it takes for the button you press to register with the corresponding action in-game is slower than a wired keyboard. While most good keyboards for gaming have reduced this to a respectable level, most hardcore gamers are still more comfortable when wired.
It should be noted that if all specs remain similar, a wireless gaming keyboard will cost more than a wired one. This is because it involves more technology.
If you sit further away from your monitor or like to keep a tidier desk, then by all means go for the best wireless gaming keyboard you can find. For the majority of gamers that sit at their desk to play and don’t have an issue with a wire, there’s no point paying for a gaming wireless keyboard.
Size is not a huge factor in gaming keyboards, especially if you will be using it for general use as well. However, there are many to choose from, including regular full size, TKL which removes the right numpad, and then even smaller ones. These vary from 75% to 60%, down to ‘minis’.
If you’re a dedicated gamer and have a separate keyboard for non-gaming, a smaller keyboard may provide some benefit in that you have easier access to the keys you need. If they can be remapped and/or given macros, even better.
Software and Extra Buttons
If you want shortcuts or macros in your games, or the ability to completely reassign keys, you will need a keyboard with good software. More expensive keyboards often come with a dedicated set of macro keys and media keys that can be used on-the-fly. This allows you to switch between keyboard settings profiles without software in-game, while media keys give you a quick way to control volume, going back and forth between playlists, etc.
Whether you need a PC gaming keyboard or the best gaming keyboard for Mac, this page covers 16 of the top-rated products, with something for every kind of user.
At this point, you have probably discovered your match. Which one is it?
Is a gaming keyboard worth it?
If you regularly game on your PC, particularly online against other players, a gaming keyboard is definitely worth the investment. The main benefit is reduced input lag and faster actuation. In layman’s terms, you can press the keys quicker and the computer registers the press quicker, resulting in you being quicker in the game. Using a good gaming keyboard for certain types of game-like shooters or those that are fast-paced, can mean the difference between winning and losing by a split second.
Gaming keyboards also have other features that are both functional and improve gaming, or that are more fun. RGB backlighting the keys with LEDs is a fun and popular feature that has now become so advanced the color can mimic in-game colors and atmosphere. This adds to the immersion and goes beyond just being a gimmick.
What’s more, you don’t need the best PC gaming keyboard to get features like macro keys, media buttons, or more compact designs.
What keyboards do pro gamers use?
There are no special pro gamer keyboards. Pro gamers use some of the options listed above. However, some of the must-have features are macros, the ability to fine-tune each key’s response, and detachable power cables.
What is the best gaming keyboard brand?
Brands that consistently provide great gaming keyboards but aren’t necessarily always the best, include SteelSeries, Razer, and Corsair. No matter what price point, you are sure to get a good result from these brands. Logitech gaming keyboards are also an honorable mention.
All of the products we reviewed meet a high standard even if the brand itself is inconsistent. Brands that just missed out that we didn’t review here were RedDragon Keyboards that have many cheap options. Then there’s Evo whose Core range are some of the best cheapest gaming keyboard choices as well.
Overall, the best gaming keyboard in terms of raw performance and features that we’ve reviewed has to go to the Razer Huntsman Elite at $250. This is closely followed by the SteelSeries keyboards Apex Pro that can fine-tune the actuation point to just 0.4mm.
What is the fastest gaming keyboard?
The best keyboard we have reviewed in terms of speed goes to the Razer Huntsman Elite, thanks to its superior light-responsive mechanical switches. This is the case even though its actuation point is 1.5mm, where others do this slightly sooner. It’s the response time from the press through the circuitry that makes it the fastest we’ve experienced. That said, the differences between the best gaming keyboards and speed is negligible. The Corsair K100 has an input lag of just 0.5ms, while the SteelSeries Apex Pro can have an actuation point of just 0.4mm. All of these are super-fast.
Look out for optomechanical switches if you want speed. These are the ones that utilize light in the mechanical process and tend to be used by the best gaming keyboard products.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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