Last updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
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.
Comparison Table: 15 Best Gaming Keyboards of 2018
Here are the top gaming keyboard picks of this year.
|Redragon K552 Kumara||Mechanical||Greentech Switches|
|Razer DeathStalker Essential||Membrane||Chiclet|
|Logitech G105||Membrane||Rubber Dome|
|Havit HV-KB390L Low Profile||Mechanical||Kailh Blue|
|Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid||Mechanical||Cherry Mx Blue, Brown, Green, Red|
|Razer Ornata Expert||Membrane||Mecha-Membrane|
|G.SKILL RIPJAWS KM780R MX||Mechanical||Cherry MX Brown, Blue, Red|
|SteelSeries Apex M500||Mechanical||Cherry MX Red|
|Corsair Gaming K70||Mechanical||Cherry MX Blue, Red, Brown, Speed|
|SteelSeries 6Gv2||Mechanical||Cherry MX Black, Red|
|Logitech RGB G910 Orion Spark||Mechanical||Romer-G|
|ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro||Mechanical||Cherry MX Blue, Black, Brown, Red|
|Razer BlackWidow Chroma||Mechanical||Razer Green, Orange, Cherry MX Blue|
|Logitech G710||Mechanical||Cherry MX Blue, Brown|
|Corsair Gaming K95 RGB Platinum||Mechanical||Cherry MX Speed, Brown|
Review Section: Our Top 15 List of the Best Gaming Keyboards
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. Without further ado here are the gaming keyboard reviews.
The K552 is hands down one of the best priced mechanical gaming keyboards available. It uses their own custom mechanical switches but a good switch to compare them to tactile-wise is the Cherry MX Green switches. You can hear the audible click sound with these and they are considered medium resistance.
Redragon gives you four backlighting options with the K552. Choose from red backlight, rainbow LED backlight, RGB backlight, or no backlight (and save yourself about $10-20).
The DeathStalker Essential from leading brand Razer is a well-priced option. If you aren’t too fond of the clicky mechanical boards the slim 2mm Chiclet keycaps are a good alternative. Razer argues that less time is needed to actuate these keys, improving reaction time and increasing APM.
Unfortunately the Chroma and Backlit editions of this keyboard really jump up in price. If you can live without the fancy lighting, you still get the quality keys, Razer Synapse 2.0 compatibility, and the Razer polish for under $40.
The Logitech G105 is Logitech’s entry board and comes with clean blue LED backlighting. A big bonus on this gaming keyboard are the 6 programmable ‘G-keys’ found along the left of the keyboard.
You can press up to 5 keys at once without interference or ghosting — not bad. Another neat feature is the game mode/desktop switch. This disables the windows and context menu keys which helps prevent accidental interrupts in the heat of the action.
Weighing in at just over a pound and measuring 13.9 x 5 x 0.9, this is one of the most compact mechanical gaming keyboards available. Fairly priced, you can pick this one up for about $60. While you don’t get full RGB unless you pay another $20 bucks, you do get a nice ice blue backlight color that is sure to please.
This keyboard is plug in play, you can opt to control the backlighting features with key commands (although there is software you can download from Havit’s site if you prefer). This keyboard uses excellent Kailh PG1350 Blue Switches, the latest low profile blue switch for Kailh. 6mm ultra-thin suspended keycaps, 11.5mm switch height, 3mm key travel distance, and 45±10gf actuation force delivers on what gamers need in terms of performance. Overall, this is a well put together package from the lesser known brand Havit.
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.
The Ornata uses Razer’s new mech-membrane tech for its keys. It’s in the middle ground between a squishy laptop keyboard and a stubborn MX black switch. The keys sit about mid height of a traditional keyboard allowing you to register actions in reduced time.
This keyboard comes with an ergonomic wrist rest built in, which helps keep those nasty pains and aches at bay. If it doesn’t sit right with you, it is easily removable. This keyboard is compatible with the Razer Synapse software, allowing you to get data on your gaming as well as control lighting. Chroma runs about 10 more bucks than the standard green backlit version.
G.SKILL may not be known for their keyboards such as the likes of Razer and Corsair, but they put together a solid board with the KM780R. You can get the common Cherry MX flavors in this model: red, brown, or blue. Much like some of the Logitech gaming keyboards (without the crazy price), G.SKILL included 6 dedicated macro keys along the left edge of this keyboard.
This also sports audio, MIC, and USB pass through ports. Another neat little feature is the foldable mouse cable holder which sort of functions like a mouse bungee. The brushed anodized military-grade aluminum top plate and crimson back lighting combines to make an overwhelmingly sharp looking gaming keyboard. You can get full RGB, but its going to cost you another $30-40 bucks.
The SteelSeries Apex comes in a few different build options but the M500 is our favorite. The Cherry MX Red switches deliver optimal gaming performance and is the most common switch choice of pro gamers. Each key has its own individual blue LED illumination (no RGB on this one).
Indeed, this keyboard is aimed at competitive gamers and the eSports crowd with its red switched, full anti-ghosting and 104 key rollover. A reinforced steel back plate and robust plastic is built to last. This keyboard is bolstered by the SteelSeries Engine Software, allowing you to program keys, setup macros, and play around with other settings.
Widely considered to be one of the best gaming keyboards of all time, the Corsair Vengeance K70 ($129.99) is a mighty mechanical keyboard with best-in-class construction. The strong, black brushed aluminum chassis cradles a swath of Cherry MX Red mechanical switches, which have fantastic actuation whether you’re sweet spotting the key for multitaps or just typing out a paper. There is just something about that sexy black anodized, brushed aluminum frame that makes it hard not to stare. The keys feel great, and the backlighting is pleasant without being overpowering.
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. It’s an amazing introduction to the world of mechanical keyboards, and may well end your search for a solid keyboard before it even truly begins.
10. SteelSeries 6Gv2
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. The Apex Series comes in both mechanical and non mechanical options. You’ll want the low profile, non-mechanical keys 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.
The G910 Orion Spark is our favorite gaming keyboard appearance wise. Orion Spark’s industrial design really turned out well. The Romer-G mechanical switches are no joke either. They feel like a mushier version of Cherry MX Browns with very short travel distance. If you like the feel of Cherry MX Reds and like long bottoming out travel distance they may not be for you though.
Switches aside, Logitech packs a ton of features into this keyboard. 9 programmable keys instead of the typical 6, dedicated media controls, smart phone dock, two wrist rests, and of course RGB backlighting. Arx control app is pretty cool too and gives you plenty to play around with without interrupting your match.
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
We had to make room for another 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. If you’re the type of person that has to have the best, the BlackWidow Chroma V2 is a serious contender along with Corsair’s and Logitech’s top offerings.
The BlackWidow Chroma V2 is the best and brightest in Razer’s lineup of keyboards. Powered by Razer Chroma tech, you can choose from over 16 million color combinations. Also, choose from Cherry MX Blue, Razer Yellow, Razer Green, or Razer Orange switches. Of course not matter which you choose, it sports a sleek look that is a staple of all Razer products and looks great when coupled with a Razer mouse.
Razer offers this keyboard in a number of product bundles. If you want a mouse mat and mouse, or just one or the other along with this keyboard they offer discounts when you buy them at the same time.
14. Logitech G710+
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
If money is no issue, the K95 from Corsair Gaming is at the pinnacle of gaming keyboard greatness. There’s not any compromises here, you get it all. Plus, if you’ve been itching to try the new Cherry MX Speed Switches, here’s your chance. With an actuation point of 1.2mm, it is Cherry’s fastest switch ever.
The brushed aluminum frame, vibrant RGB backlighting, and gunmetal gray looks rugged and built to last. This keyboard actually has 8MB onboard storage, so you can take your profiles with you without needing to log into cloud software. Functional LightEdge software, 6 dedicated macro keys, 100% antighosting with full key rollover, and detachable wrist rest round out this keyboard nicely.
And one last keyboard from little known company Mad Catz.
Who is Mad Catz and what is this thing? Okay, give us a moment to explain. This is the Batmobile of keyboards. Mad Catz takes keyboard design to the next level with this one. They tried to do some innovation on the traditional keyboard and failed in some areas and succeeded in others. 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? An excellent balance of ergonomics and functionality.
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 of engineering 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
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.