Your keyboard is your primary connection to your PC, because it’s the part that you touch the most. That means getting a better one can yield a more immediately noticeable difference than even upgrading your CPU (opens in new tab).
A gamer’s keyboard choice is arguably even more critical. You need something with instant response time and tactile feedback to stay at the top of your game.; But you also need something that’s comfortable to use for long gaming sessions. Appealing design choices to accompany your rig wouldn’t hurt either.
Whether you’re battling through an FPS, exploring an open world, or you just want a better typing experience all around, check out the best gaming keyboards we’ve tested below. They deliver an exemplary combination of responsiveness, features and style.
When searching for the best gaming keyboard, remember the following:
- Mechanical or bust? Most gamers probably aren’t even considering a non-mechanical keyboard — for good reason. Only mechanical keyboard switches offer the tactile feedback, precision, and accuracy most gamers need, and membrane switches feel gummy and unresponsive by comparison. Recently we’ve been seeing more and more optical keyboards, which are technically mechanical, but use light instead of force to actuate. Optical switches still feel a little unsatisfying to type on but offer speedy actuation (often adjustable) that many gamers may appreciate.
- RGB or not? All RGB lighting is not equal. Per-key RGB lets you program each key’s color individually, while zone lighting limits your customization to just a few areas o the board. You can save a little money by getting a keyboard with a single-color backlight, but you’ll miss out on a spectacular light show. If you opt for something with no backlight at all, make sure you’ll be gaming in a well-lit area or are a touch typist.
- Full-size, tenkeyless, or smaller? Tenkeyless boards drop the numpad, 65 percent boards eliminate navigation keys, and 60 percent boards also cut the arrow keys. Some users, such as MMO players, want every possible key (and more), while others prefer a smaller keyboard to clear up desk space.
Most Common Switches
Clicky Tactile: Blue, Green, White
Quiet Tactile: Brown, Clear
Linear (quiet and go straight down): Red, Silver
Pick Your Switch
The best gaming keyboards use a number of different mechanical switch types that determine the feel and sound of each key press. There are even new ones coming out all the time, such as the Cherry Viola switch. The type of switch you choose depends on your personal preferences for typing and gaming.
Best Gaming Keyboards You Can Buy Today
The HyperX Alloy Origins’ compact and quality build makes it the best gaming keyboard for mainstream gamers who just want to get down to gaming. It’s comfortable, with a premium look and feel from its keys to its frame and vibrant RGB lighting. If you’re familiar with linear switches, which are quick but offer little feedback, you’ll feel right at home with this keyboard’s red switches. We’ve also tested the clickier version with HyperX aqua switches, which are available on Amazon (opens in new tab)and HyperX’s store (opens in new tab).
For over $100, you can find gaming keyboards with more luxuries, such as media control buttons, a USB pass-through port (for easily plugging in another accessory, like your best gaming mouse (opens in new tab)), and more advanced software. But what the Alloy Origins does offer, it executes excellently.
Read: HyperX Alloy Origins review (opens in new tab)
Patriot Memory is better known for its RAM (opens in new tab)and storage than its peripherals, but the Viper V765 provides a key feel that’s second to none — in an attractive, affordable package. It’s been a while, but the Patriot Viper V765 is still a good budget option with plenty of functionality. It’s one of the rare keyboards to come with Kailh Box White switches, which actuate faster than regular Blue or Green switches thanks to their slightly reduced travel (3.6mm versus 4mm). The keys are the most responsive we’ve tested and make one of the most pleasant click sounds you’ll find anywhere.
If Kailh Box White switches aren’t enough to convince you the Viper V765 is worth buying, it’s got plenty more going for it. This full-sized keyboard has an aluminum surface with tapered edges that give it a futuristic look. The vibrant RGB keys offer dozens of different light combinations — and you don’t even need to install the software to access most of the RGB effects. The keyboard also features media keys, which are more often seen on pricier boards, as well as IP56 water and dust resistance.
The Viper V765 currently sells for $90 (opens in new tab), cheaper than most competitors with similar features. We wish it had taller flip-out feet and a slightly better app, but the V765 is still our favorite budget-friendly gaming keyboard.
Read: Patriot Memory Viper V765 review (opens in new tab)
The Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate has just about anything y ou could want from an affordable, pre-built gaming keyboard. It’s a little pricey with an MSRP of $219, but it’s still cheaper than custom-built enthusiast boards — which it rivals in quality. It’s also got a flashy dot matrix LED display (the “AniMe Matrix”) — a unique piece of bling you won’t find on other boards.
This keyboard comes with either Cherry’s or Asus’ own ROG NX red (linear), brown (tactile), or blue (clicky) switches. Throw in sound dampening foam and a hot swap PCB, and it pretty much covers all the bases.
On the outside, the keyboard features double-shot PBT keycaps and an aluminum plate for durability. You’ve also got dedicated media keys (including a volume wheel), and a genuinely cushiony wrist rest, which is a pain to install but won’t need to be swapped out for something custom.
The only feature this board doesn’t nail is its per-key RGB lighting, which requires fiddling with the clunky Asus Aura Creator app. But fiddling is worth the effort: The AniMe Matrix lighting on this board lets you display custom gifs and images in its upper right corner, and can even integrate with your game to display certain reactions to in-game events.
This is a level of functionality not normally seen in keyboard lighting , and, when taken in concert with a fair price point and a more-than-solid build, it doesn’t even come across as a gimmick. This is a great plank for gamers both traditional and innovative.
The Corsair K70 RGB TKL is expensive but worth it. Its TKL build saves space but feels strong and resistant to damage. Corsair decks out the K70 RGB TKL with dedicated media keys and the ability to change RGB effects without having to download software (though you will need Corsair’s iCue app for deeper customization).
The K70 RGB TKL features doubleshot PBT keycaps that fight off smudges and sweat, so you’ll never miss a beat in-game, and that are enjoyable for both gaming and typing. The board also comes with bonus cheaper ABS keycaps in the box for more style and fun. One caveat: Typing on this board may require an adjustment period for how close the keys are to each other.
Interestingly, the K70 RGB TKL has its own multi-threaded SoC, which allows it to hit an 8000 Hz polling rate — 8 times the polling rate of many of the other keyboards on this page. (But we didn’t notice a difference, not even with an AMD Ryzen 5950X CPU.) More helpful was the bounty of onboard profiles (up to 50), advanced tournament-style feature set, and responsiveness of this TKL.
If you want the same experience as your typical full-sized mechanical gaming keyboard but without wires, the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro is the best wireless gaming keyboard we’ve tested. While many wireless keyboards are built for traveling, the BlackWidow V3 Pro maintains all the size, bulk, and functionality of a full-sized mechanical keyboard — including a premium tactile volume dial, media keys, an aluminum top plate, and doubleshot ABS plastic keycaps.
Razer doesn’t skimp on the BlackWidow V3 Pro: It’s packed with up to four profiles of onboard memory and vibrant per-key RGB lighting. However, RGB doesn’t stick to profiles — advanced RGB fanatics will have to rely on software for pairing RGB, including custom effects, to profiles.
The BlackWidow V3 Pro connects to your computer via 2.4 GHz dongle (which we had no issues with during testing) or Bluetooth (up to three computers simultaneously). With RGB at max settings and no dimming effects, our test unit averaged about 14 hours of battery life — but you’ll get up to 25 hours with RGB using power saving settings. You’ll want to plug in before the battery hits 3%, as power saving settings kick in at that point and the keyboard starts acting a little wonky.
If you’re looking for a more portable full-sized wireless gaming keyboard, the Logitech G915 Lightspeed is fantastic and reliable with low-profile switches that some will enjoy for gaming and others will enjoy for travel. But for a full-sized mechanical gaming keyboard experience, the BlackWidow V3 Pro is the premium choice.
For more cable-free recommendations, visit our Best Wireless Keyboards page.
The Corsair K100 RGB packs more features than most need, including some you’ve probably never even fathomed a keyboard could have. There’s an SoC with multi-threading, a 4,000 Hz polling rate (instead of the usual 1,000 Hz), the debut of Corsair’s homegrown optical-mechanical switches, and an RGB-clad media wheel that’s as fun to use as it is to look at.
The wheel was extra helpful for productivity tasks, such as zooming in and out of Photoshop. It proved less useful for gaming, however, as did some of the other features that make this keyboard so expensive.
The K100 RGB still makes for one of the best gaming keyboards. We could actually tell the difference offered by the optical mechanical switches’ shorter travel and actuation point. Of course, if you’re not into the optical mechanical trend, you can also get this board with Cherry’s Speed Silver switches.
If you’re looking for a splurge solely for gaming, the Corsair K95 Platinum XT is a better option. It’s also expensive, but it offers more gaming-obvious luxuries — such as a macro key bank and support for the Elgato Stream Deck.
Read: Corsair K100 RGB review
It’s not a perfect gaming keyboard, but the Hexgears Impulse is the best gaming keyboard if typing performance is your main priority. In fact, using this keyboard with the Kailh Box White switches resulted in our best typing performance yet — surpassing even old-school IBM-style keyboards and others we’ve used with Cherry MX Blue or Razer Green switches.
Hexgears made the bold choice of putting a Blue-style switch under the spacebar only, arguing that the largest key (which most people hit with their thumbs) should be a bit stiffer. At first, we thought that having a different switch under just one key was a weird choice but eventually we found the added resistance helpful. As a result, we enjoyed typing on the Impulse even more than we liked typing on the Viper V765, which has Box White switches under every key, including the spacebar.
You can also grab the Impulse with Kailh Box Brown tactile switches. Better yet — the updated version of this keyboard adds hot swap capability, which means you can easily swap in whatever switches you like without breaking out a soldering iron. The Impulse’s $100 price tag isn’t bad, especially for such an excellent typing experience and extra functionality.
Read: Hexgears Impulse review (opens in new tab)
While the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is one of Razer’s more advanced optical mechanical gaming keyboards, the Huntsman V2 is the best fit for most. It’s expensive, but in addition to premium switches, it’s packed with features, including nice media keys, keys that can be programmed with up to two functions by holding down a designated Razer HyperShift key and 4 onboard profiles that can launch automatically with specified apps.
Its optical mechanical switches actuate by sending a stem through a light beam, rather than via physical contact. These switches have grown more popular for smooth actuation and because they should degrade at a slower rate than standard mechanical switches. We tested the Huntsman V2 with Razer’s 2nd Gen Optical Linear switches, which use sound dampeners. Additionally, there’s sound dampening foam in the keyboard that makes for a very quiet experience with these smooth-traveling switches. The clicky options are also delightfully light (1.5mm actuation point and 45g of force to actuate), making them more appropriate for gaming than other clicky switches.
Plus, the Huntsman V2 caters to the hands with doubleshot PBT keycaps that both look and feel good and a plush wrist rest that’s detachable. This is a premium keyboard through and through.
More: Razer Huntsman V2 review
If you’re willing to spend on a premium mechanical gaming keyboard, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT won’t let you down. It’s one the best gaming keyboards we’ve tested but is expensive, partially thanks to features that some will consider unnecessary.
It’s the latest iteration of Corsair’s flagship K95, and this time Corsair’s upped the ante on luxuries, like double-shot keycaps and a padded leatherette wrist rest. Streamers even get support for Elgato Stream Deck software, which is usable with the keyboard’s six macro keys. That also means you can save $150 on a separate Stream Deck (opens in new tab). Corsair tops it off with familiar high-end mechanical keyboard choices, including a brushed aluminum build, volume wheel, and per-key RGB lighting.
The board comes with Cherry MX Brown (tactile and quiet) and Silver Speed (fast and quiet) switches, but we tested the Blue (tactile and clicky) version. The switches were great for daily typing, but we’d prefer either the quieter or short-actuating switch choices for gaming. There are no linear options, such as Cherry MX Red, here.
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is the best gaming keyboard for RGB, boasting some of the most brilliant per-key RGB lighting we’ve ever seen. The colors pop against the keyboard’s dark gray frame and light up the rest of the chassis. Raised keycaps heighten the experience even more. Plus, software and on-the-fly controls make the possibilities feel endless.
This keyboard also has the innovative ability to set the actuation point for individual keys for a highly custom feel. This is a rare trick and one that the Apex Pro delivers in an effective fashion. There’s also the popular OLED (opens in new tab) screen, where you can display a small image or uploaded GIF. Not only is the Apex Pro highly customizable, it makes doing so easier than even a hot-swappable keyboard.
Those who like clicky, tactile typing should consider something else, because the Apex Pro’s switches definitely have a linear feel. (Though you’ll still hear plenty of noise from banging on the aluminum frame.) If you want a keyboard you can easily put your mark on — literally — look no further.
Read: SteelSeries Apex Pro review (opens in new tab)
If you want the speed and slimness afforded by low-profile mechanical switches, the Logitech G915 Lightspeed is the best gaming keyboard you can buy. This is a premium gaming experience through and through. That means a row of G macro keys for leveraging during battle, dedicated media controls, including an epic volume wheel roller, and even multiple connectivity options. You can go tried-and-true wired, use Logitech’s reliable dongle connection, or store the dongle in the keyboard’s built-in compartment and use Bluetooth. This makes connecting to multiple devices a little easier too.
The G915 Lightspeed has earned a popular reputation but comes at a price. Despite its $250 MSRP, there’s no wrist rest, USB passthrough or premium keycaps resistant to smudging. As mentioned in our Logitech G915 TKL review, the smaller version of this keyboard is more affordable (opens in new tab) but foregoes even more luxuries, most noticeably G keys.
But in addition to being a top-notch gaming peripheral, the G915 Lightspeed (and G915 TKL) offers a surprisingly good typing experience for a low-profile keyboard. We’ve tested it with Logitech’s tactile low-profile switches for days and haven’t felt much extra exhaustion or like we were typing through sand, like we’ve suffered through on other low-profile keyboards.
Ultra-compact keyboards aren’t for everyone, but if you have limited desk space or you’re looking for a gaming keyboard that’s travel-friendly, a 60 percent keyboard can be a godsend. You’ll have to give up a lot — number pad, navigation keys, function keys, and even arrow keys — but you’ll barely notice these sacrifices with the right keyboard.
SteelSeries’ Apex Pro Mini Wireless (also comes in a wired version) is the right keyboard.
The Apex Pro Mini Wireless is a sleek, sturdily-built 60 percent keyboard featuring SteelSeries OmniPoint 2.0 switches, which feature both adjustable actuation and dual actuation (much like the Razer Huntsman Mini Analog). Because it’s so small, the Apex Pro Mini Wireless has a slew of default secondary keybinds, which are printed on the sides of the keycaps and activated using SteelSeries SS function key. These secondary keybinds are so intuitive (and can also be remapped, if you want) that you won’t feel limited by the 60 percent layout. The keyboard is highly customizable: Almost every key can be remapped (first and secondary keybinds), have its actuation point adjusted, and have its RGB set – individually.
If anything, the Apex Pro Mini Wireless might have too much going for it — maybe you don’t need an ultra-compact keyboard with every single feature shoved into it (especially considering its premium price point). If you don’t need all of these features and you’d like to spend a little less, try the SteelSeries Apex 9 series, which comes has adjustable actuation, hot-swappable switches, and comes in both Mini and TKL layouts.
It’s hard to find an ergonomic gaming keyboard that’s split, and still has all the gaming features you need (or want). And it’s even harder if you want mechanical switches (let alone quality ones). That’s what makes the Cloud Nine C989 ErgoFS excellent.
Aside from nonstandard Windows key replacement, which you can reprogram, this keyboard sports a standard key layout — making it much easier to adjust to the C989 ErgoFS’s wide, split design. The keyboard comes with your choice of clicky, linear, or tactile mechanical switches from Cherry, as well as dedicated macro keys, a handy control wheels, and programmable RGB. It’s a split keyboard, but the C989 ErgoFS boasts the most sought-after features of the best gaming keyboards.
There are a few caveats: It’s huge, so make sure you have enough room for this large peripheral before you invest. The keyboard only allows for one tenting angle — the default 7-degree slope — and doesn’t have legs. Also, the backlighting is almost mandatory because the keys’ legends are otherwise difficult to read.
But whether you’re new to split keyboards or just want one that’s quality enough to take into the battlefield, the C989 ErgoFS is a good fit.
The Asus ROG Falchion NX packs just about every feature you could need from a gaming keyboard into as small a space as possible. Thanks to its arrow keys, navigation keys, innovative side touch panel and wireless macro recording capabilities, you don’t have to worry about losing functionality with this board, despite its 65% frame.
This board also boasts Asus’ in-house NX switches, which we thought felt noticeably smoother than Cherry MX switches in our review. They also proved a touch louder during our testing, but they should still be a suitable alternative for anyone exhausted with Cherry’s (and its clones’) dominance over the switch market. Red (linear), brown (tactile), and blue (clicky) options are all available here.
This board does have per-key RGB lighting, although customizing it means navigating Asus’ clunky Aura Creator software. Making up for that, though, are other premium features like double shot PBT keycaps and the ability to connect over both a USB-C to USB-A cable and 2.4 GHz wireless.
Add in the side touch panel’s ability to hold up to five gesture based actions, and that makes this an extremely viable board for all sorts of use cases, which isn’t something you can always say about 65% keyboards.
Savings on the Best Gaming Keyboards
Whether you’re shopping for one of the best gaming keyboards we listed above or a different model, you may find some discounts by checking out our list of Corsair coupon codes, Newegg promo codes or Razer coupon codes.