You’re a gamer. You rely on twitch reflexes and split-second decision making. Often times, millisecond differences can decide whether you—or the other guy—comes out on top. Aside from your PC, your mouse and keyboard are two of your most valuable weapons when wading into any virtual arena. They are extensions of yourself, the way you control each and every action. It is important that this control is precise and consistent. Understandably, for the serious gamer, a responsive keyboard is the way to go. However, finding the best gaming keyboard can be tough. No worries, we put together this one-stop-shop, comprehensive resource to provide you with the latest gaming keyboard reviews.
Ultimate Gaming Keyboard Guide
|ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro||Mechanical||★★★★||$$$$||4.5|
|Corsair Vengeance K95||Mechanical||★★★||$$$$||4.1|
|Razer DeathStalker Ultimate Gaming Keyboard||Membrane||★★★||$$$$||3.8|
|Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E.5 Gaming Keyboard||Membrane||★★★★||$$$$||4.3|
|Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Gaming Keyboard||Mechanical||★★★||$$$||4.4|
|Corsair Vengeance K70 Gaming Keyboard||Mechanical||★★||$$$||4.6|
|Logitech G710+ Gaming Keyboard||Mechanical||★★★||$$$||4.6|
|SteelSeries 6Gv2 Gaming Keyboard||Mechanical||★||$$||4.3|
|CM Storm QuickFire Rapid - Tenkeyless Gaming Keyboard||Mechanical||★||$$||4.6|
|ROCCAT Isku Illuminated Gaming Keyboard||Membrane||★★★||$$||4.3|
|Logitech G510s Gaming Keyboard with Game Panel LCD Screen||Membrane||★★★★||$$||3.9|
|Logitech G105 Gaming Keyboard with Backlighting||Membrane||★★★★||$||4.1|
|Razer DeathStalker Essential Gaming Keyboard (RZ03-01060100-R3M1)||Membrane||★★★||$||4.4|
|SteelSeries Merc Stealth Gaming Keyboard||Membrane||★★★||$||4.1|
|SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard||Membrane||★★★||$||4.3|
How do I find the best gaming keyboard for me?
When you’re shopping for a gaming keyboard, there are a few factors you should consider.
There are two main varieties of key-types built into gaming keyboards: mechanical key switches and rubber-dome key switches (which also have a slight variation called the scissor switch). These rubber-dome keys feel mushy when pressed down, but some people like that. Most gamers herald mechanical keyboards as the gold standard but we have included a few interesting non-mechanical keyboard options in our list. To learn more about mechanical keyboards, check out our helpful mechanical gaming keyboard guide. A long story short, each key in a mechanical keyboard is paired with its own spring loaded switch. Many claim that the superior audio and tactile feedback give users an edge.
Features take on a whole new significance with gaming keyboards. Some features provide powerful functionality and when utilized, can likely give you a competitive advantage over your adversaries. This being said, you may be the type of gamer who prefers the no frills, minimalist designs that some peripheral manufacturers offer. Swappable key caps, back lighting, separate lighting zones (such as highlighting the WASD keys), extra programmable keys, statistic tracking, and touch screens are some of the features incorporated into select gaming keyboards. Heck, in a couple years you might be able to get one with a coffee and energy drink dispenser.
The aesthetic is another thing to take into consideration when shopping for the right keyboard. There are those who could care less as long as the keyboard performs well and is responsive. Others, however, want a keyboard that looks good with their gaming set-up. Some gamers want a keyboard that matches the brand of their mouse and others must have the flashy back lighting options. From the industrial design of Logitech keyboards, to the sleek look of Razer keyboards there are a variety of styles out there. Obviously, all of this comes down to personal preference and whether something “looks cool” is a matter of subjective opinion.
If you’re spending a great deal of time on computers for school or work, day-to-day tasks, and entertainment (who isn’t?) the ergonomic factor is something you should seriously consider. Nobody wants a drawn out battle with carpal tunnel that ends up getting them side lined for a few weeks. Take care of those wrists, mate.
Advantages of a Gaming Keyboard
Sure, a good gaming keyboard is not a replacement for having mad skill. But two equally skilled gamers going toe-to-toe with one using high-quality gaming keyboard and mouse while the other is using pack-in cheap peripherals the former is obviously going to have the upper-hand. Here are some of the most notable advantages of using a gaming keyboard.
- Supports concurrent key presses. Most cheap keyboards support, at the very most, 3 concurrent presses. If you’re playing a game like Starcraft 2 or a FPS/Fighter/MOBA where you need to execute multiple commands in the blink of an eye, anti-ghosting technology will ensure every key you press registers simultaneously and accurately.
- More responsive. Gaming keyboards will reduce the delay between keystroke and action. In high levels of play every millisecond counts.
- Longevity. Many of these gaming keyboards are built to last (about 10x longer than your average keyboard), making the extra cost a worthwhile investment. Most gamers put their keyboards through a lot of punishment and its important that the most used keys stay as responsive as possible. Some manufacturers guarantee their boards for over 50 million keystroke cycles. That’s a lot of keystroking.
- Ergonomically designed. Now, not every gaming keyboard puts ergonomics first (or even last) in their design scheme. Nonetheless, some gaming keyboards do a great job of taking care of your wrists. If you’re someone who likes marathon gaming sessions this is something to seriously consider.
- Tactile and auditory feedback. This is a big factor, particularly for mechanical boards, that assists gamers in feeling and hearing every command being actuated. Some gamers rave about mechanical switches and how they even make typing a more enjoyable experience. We do know this: once someone has tried a mechanical keyboard, they usually never go back.
Gaming Keyboard Reviews – The Top 5:
Like anything, you can get a really nice gaming keyboard if you’re willing to fork out the cash. That being said, we looked at a variety of keyboards at different price points. Any of these gaming keyboards are a great buy.
What can we say? The ROCCAT MK Pro is one of the best gaming keyboards on the market. It is the product of sweet, sweet German engineering. It is ROCCAT Studios’ best of the best. The Ryos MK Pro is a mechanical keyboard available in any flavor of Cherry MX Switches you prefer. It features 3 programmable thumb buttons under the space bar and 5 programmable macro keys that run along the left side of the keyboard. On top of this, Roccat included an easy shift key in place of caps lock, which gives you the ability to give every key on the board a secondary key function. A nice bonus is that your entire configuration (including lighting) will be saved in the 2MB flash memory so using it on multiple PCs is a breeze.
This keyboard is an illumination novelty. The lightning customization is nearly limitless and you can come up with any pattern that suits your fancy. You can have waves, pulsing, blinking zones, or a mix of all the above for complete anarchy… quite literally any pattern you can think up can be programmed into this board. You can even add special effects to each keystroke. All this is done with included software. What’s the point of all this lighting wizardy? Besides seeing the keys at night, we can’t think of one. But damn does it look cool.
Rest assured, none of these advanced features will cost you a bit of performance. The Ryos MK Pro has two 32-bit ARM Cortex processors built into the keyboard. This ensures your macros and all programmed keys stay optimally responsive. These processors also aid in tracking your statistics which you can view with the Roccat R.A.D. application (Roccat Achievements Display).
Is it spendy? Hell yes it is. At $169.99 you better have deep pockets or one heck of a promising eSports career lined up. But then again, this beast is in the ultra-premium category so that price tag comes with the territory.
- Advanced anti-ghosting
- Finger-print smudge proof
- Audio in/out and two USB ports
- Integrated wrist rest
- 1000hz polling rate, 1 ms response time
- 1.8 rear-exit braided cable, 5 Rubber feet
The Batmobile of keyboards. Mad Catz takes keyboard design to the next level with this one. The Strike 5 isn’t just a keyboard. It is a fully modular system that you can set up and customize to meet your own physical arrangement needs. It has 5 separate hardware modules: the main keyboard itself, the LCD Display, a function strip with programmable buttons, the numpad module, and a 3-part active palm rest and two wrist rests. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. What does this mean for your gaming setup? This video shows it better than we can say it:
Oddly enough, it doesn’t feature mechanical keys, Mad Catz opts to use what they call a specially engineered membrane which mimics the tactile feel generated by the mechanical keys. What Mad Catz has tried to do with these keys is match the actuation force of Cherry MX Blue switches and mimic the feel of MX Brown switches. The result? The keys are definitely quieter than keyboards with mechanical switches. They fortunately do not feel spongy and maintain a springy feel that most of us gamers crave. It is an excellent example of membrane input done right.
The matte surfaces, fancy screen, sharp lines, and metal undercarriage give the system an edgy look. The Strike 5 is a fully ergonomic system. Utilizing the different wrists rests will give you peace of mind over your wrists’ health during those extended gaming sessions. If you’re one of those guys who settles nothing short of the latest and greatest, you can pick this exceptional
piece pieces of hardware for one easy payment of about $170.
One thing to note here is that Mad Catz Strike 5 keyboard is over $100 less and is nearly identical to the Strike 7 board minus the touchscreen functionality (though it still has a display module with the same features). So if you can do without the touch capability you can save yourself the 100 bucks. But what the heck, what’s another $100?
- 24 programmable keys
- Full RGB backlighting, 16 million color variants
- Interchangeable WASD and cursor keys
- Integrated TeamSpeak Functionality
- 2 USB ports
- Graphical Interface to program keys/fine tune settings
Logitech has been in the computer peripheral business for a long time, and it definitely shows in their first mechanical gaming keyboard product, the G710+. It is definitely one of the best built gaming keyboards out there with an industrial look and feel that is just plain solid. It is a pretty spendy keyboard, but Logitech packs in a ton of extra features. It has 6 programmable “G” keys on the left edge. When Logitech says programmable, they mean it. These keys can be configured to perform 18 unique functions per game. Whether that be complex macros, single key commands, or even Lua scripts is completely up to you.
Logitech chose to go with Cherry MX Brown switches which make this keyboard a joy to type with. The keys are tactile, with non-clicking key switches resulting in relatively quiet mechanical keys. The backlighting system is very functional and straightforward, with one zone for the WASD and arrow keys and the other zone for the rest of the keys. The backlight color is an off-white color which can be adjusted to off or one of the four different brightness levels.
A detachable palm rest and key rollover/anti-ghosting round out this keyboard. If you’re someone who’s big on programmable features, a fan of Logitech gear, or your just looking for something to match your snazzy Logitech mouse this premium keyboard fits the bill. At $120 the price isn’t anything to sneeze at, but for the money you’re getting one well-engineered gaming keyboard that is built to last.
- Integrated USB 2.0 port
- Game/desktop mode disables Windows and context menu keys
- One-touch media keys
There is just something about that sexy black anodized, brushed aluminum frame that makes it hard not to stare. Matched with red backlighting, Corsair has crafted quite the visually appealing board. The K70 is a mechanical keyboard offered with Cherry MX Red, Blue, and Brown switches. It sports 6 helpful dedicated multimedia keys. The contoured WASD and 1-6 keys assist gamers in finding the right keys and minimize keystroke mistakes.
Backlighting can be tweaked key-by-key so you can choose to light up any selection of keys you want with a deep red glow. The lightning configuration is stored to the keyboard’s internal memory so your light maps will be carried over to different systems. Of course, Corsair has included full key rollover and full key matrix anti-ghosting so input is 100% accurate even if you’re mashing out that consistent 200+ APM. The keyboard is completed with a textured removable wrist rest.
Even though Corsair is relatively new to manufacturing gaming peripherals they got this one right. High quality components. Simple design. The K70 delivers great performance and most gamers couldn’t ask for more.
Pleasing minimalists everywhere, this mechanical TKL keyboard is the most compact keyboard in our 5 best gaming keyboards. One of the arguments behind a keyboard design without a numpad section is that it provides more space for your mouse and allows a more ergonomic body position (shoulders are able to be more comfortably positioned). Think what you will, the bottom line is sometimes it’s just nice to free up extra desk space and maintain a clean minimalist look.
The great part is that this small keyboard doesn’t sacrifice anything when it comes to quality. It sports lazer etched key-caps, N-Key rollover functionality, 6 extra key caps, multimedia shortcut keys, and a removable USB cable. Also, a big selling point for us is that CM offers this keyboard in all 5 different Cherry MX Switch variations. Check out what is a mechanical keyboard if you want to learn more about these switches. If your looking for a no frills keyboard worthy of competitive gamers, look no further. At about $80 the CM Storm Quickfire is an extremely attractive value proposition. ‘Nuff said.
We are a big fan of SteelSeries products and you definitely can’t go wrong with one their keyboards. The 6Gv2 is a high quality, solidly built keyboard that comes in two different versions: a cherry red and cherry black switch verison, both considered two of the best switches for gaming. They don’t come with many features, but performance wise they are pro gaming quality. With an $80 price tag to boot, many gamers have made this there keyboard of choice.
SteelSeries also recently came out with the Apex Gaming Keyboard. We love the unique design. It is a huge keyboard with extra-large keys. Additionally, it is more feature rich than the 6Gv2. While it is not a mechanical keyboard, it is still worth a look. Especially if you’re used to a laptop keyboard and like the feel of flatter keys. It comes with an impeccable software suite called the SteelSeries Engine which makes macro creation and managing configuration profiles a cakewalk.
We had to make room for a Razer product. They hold a special place in our hearts and while they do throw a lot of money into marketing all their gear, most of it backs up the hype. The BlackWidow is a great product if you’re looking for a keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches. Of course, it sports a sleek look that is a staple of all Razer products and looks great when coupled with a Razer mouse. Why didn’t we select the ultimate edition? Well for the extra $50 all your getting is backlighting and headphone/usb ports. If that’s worth $50 to you its your call. Either way, your going to get one of Razer’s best and most popular products.