Choosing the best gaming keyboard for your new PC setup is one of the simpler choices when it comes to buying accessories, and some gamers will just want to get a cheap, no-frills basic keyboard to save money.
Then there are those who want to spend a little more time researching in order to get a proven, good gaming keyboard that has the extra features you’re after.
If that sounds like you and you’re all about maximizing your gaming experience, in this buying guide we’ll cover what you need to know to choose the best gaming keyboard as well as list our current top recommended, best gaming keyboards for different budgets.
Having a good gaming keyboard by your side can help you be faster and more efficient during certain games, it can make something as boring as typing feel like an art, and it can really add to the overall aesthetics of your build if you get matching LED lights.
For eSports and professional gamers, having the best gaming keyboard suddenly becomes a lot more important as you want the best tools to give you an edge that you can get over your competition.
Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboards
The best type of keyboard for gaming is one that has mechanical switches, as opposed to silicone membrane switches which are of lesser quality, don’t feel as good, and give you less tactile feedback.
There are also what’s called scissor-switch keys, which are mostly used on laptop keyboards but are present in some desktop ones too, and they’re silicone membrane as well but better quality and more stable.
But yeah, mechanical keyboards cost more but are worth it if you have the budget for it, but if you’re on a super tight budget and are willing to accept (and don’t care about) having a low-quality keyboard then go for it as there are plenty of more important things to put your money towards for a gaming setup.
Getting a more expensive and higher-quality keyboard is more of a luxury if you have the budget left over for it.
Backlit Gaming Keyboards
Another feature of keyboards targeted at the gaming crowd is backlighting. There are two types of backlit gaming keyboards; ones that display a single color, and those that display multiple colors with customizable effects.
If you play in the dark this lighting does have a practical use so you can see where you’re pressing, otherwise, it’s all down to preference and how much you want to spend as backlit keyboards can have a significantly bigger price tag compared to non-backlit models.
But if you do get one, make sure it matches up with your PC and other peripherals; having a green-lit PC case, a blue LED mouse, and a red LED keyboard would look kinda strange.
Gaming Keyboard Macro Keys
Some gaming keyboards boast extra programmable keys, which you can assign to certain moves or functions in the game.
Most gamers won’t need this feature as they’re mainly aimed at MMO gamers who want to easily access certain moves and combinations in-game, but the extra keys can also come in handy with competitive shooters and RTS games.
Keyboards may come with a few macro keys, and some with many such as 18 or so to micromanage all sorts of things in your game, but they’re usually quite a bit more expensive and larger.
Make sure you have a use for these keys and have the space for a larger keyboard before spending the extra money on a fancy keyboard.
How to Buy a Gaming Keyboard?
If you like to play games on your PC, you could just buy a $20 office keyboard and call it a day. Of course, you could also go to a fancy steakhouse and slather your meal in ketchup, or play the complete works of Beethoven through a smartphone speaker.
The fact is, if you want to get the most out of your gaming rig, you’ll need some quality peripherals to go along with it. A keyboard is absolutely vital for work, play, and everything in between.
Still, there are dozens of keyboards on the market that claim to enhance your gaming experience. Which ones really well, and which ones are just overpriced digital typewriters?
Whether you’re building your own machine or looking to upgrade over the peripherals that came with a pre-built computer, a good gaming keyboard can streamline your gameplay, increase your effectiveness and make something as routine as typing feel like a real accomplishment. Here’s how to pick the best keyboard for your setup.
Keyboard variations tend to be a bit more restrained than their gaming mouse counterparts, but there are still a few important considerations before you start your search. The first thing you’ll want to do is determine how you spend your PC gaming time.
Are you hooked on the eSports scene, or do you prefer single-player adventures? Will a dozen extra buttons help your MMO raid party, or is the extra space required for a Numpad cramping your style?
The first thing you should determine is whether you need a gaming keyboard at all. If your PC gaming is restricted to the occasional round of League of Legends or following the episodic Telltale Games releases, a high-end peripheral with expensive switches and fancy lighting is probably not going to enhance your experience that much.
Likewise, if your PC is just a way to play the latest console port titles, you’d be much better off investing in a good controller than a top-of-the-line keyboard.
Keyboards tend to work best with first-person shooters, strategy games, and MMOs, so if these are your go-to genres, a better keyboard may be in your future.
Gaming keyboards don’t generally fit into neat price categories. In my experience, every company has a different idea about how much a feature like full RGB lighting or mechanical switches is worth, and will charge accordingly.
There are some very broad guidelines you can use when selecting a keyboard, but these will vary considerably depending on the retailer, sales, and whether there is a newer model about to replace something.
Corsair K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Corsair OPX RGB Optical-Mechanical Keyswitches – AXON Hyper-Processing Technology for 4X Faster Throughput – 44-Zone RGB LightEdge
- The CORSAIR K100 RGB is the pinnacle of CORSAIR keyboards, offering the cutting-edge performance, style, durability, and customization that gamers need to stand above the rest.
- The centerpiece of your gaming setup, the CORSAIR K100 RGB boasts a refined design bolstered by a durable aluminum frame, dynamic per-key RGB backlighting, and a 44-zone 3-sided LightEdge.
- Powered by CORSAIR AXON Hyper-Processing Technology, enabling CORSAIR’s most advanced gaming keyboard experience by delivering up to 4x faster throughput with native 4,000Hz hyper-polling and 4,000Hz key scanning, while simultaneously driving up to 20-layer lighting effects.
- Exclusive CORSAIR OPX RGB optical-mechanical key switches offer hyper-fast input with 1.0mm actuation distance, smooth linear travel, are guaranteed for 150 million keystrokes, and register key presses up to 4x faster than standard mechanical gaming keyboards with CORSAIR AXON.
- A programmable iCUE control wheel gives you command over backlighting, media jogging, and more through CORSAIR iCUE software, customizable to perform actions in games and applications.
|Number of Keys||110|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||19.3 x 3.2 x 9.4 inches|
|Number of Buttons||110|
|Operating System||Mac OS X 10.15 or newer, Windows 10|
Cooler Master MK730 Tenkeyless Gaming Mechanical Keyboard with Brown Switches, Cherry MX, RGB Per-Key Lighting, and Removable Wrist Rest
- Cherry MX switches are 100 percent Genuine switches good for 50 million keystrokes and available in tactile, linear, or click
- Brushed aluminum, compact form keyless design with a slim profile and floating switches
- Rib Backlighting with a light bar illuminates your keyboard with lighting effects in 16. 7 million colors
- Removable magnetic wrist rest for superior comfort during long gaming sessions
- On-the-fly adjustment of settings full control of lighting, macros, and profiles all without the need for software
- 6 Key and N Key Rollover for superior precision every key that is pressed is registered, regardless of speed and so
- CABLE: Detachable braided USB Type-C, 1.8m/70.9 inch
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||14.06 x 5.18 x 1.63 inches|
Razer Huntsman Elite Gaming Keyboard: Fastest Keyboard Switches Ever – Clicky Optical Switches – Chroma RGB Lighting – Magnetic Plush Wrist Rest – Dedicated Media Keys & Dial – Classic Black
- The #1 Best-Selling Gaming Peripherals Manufacturer in the US: Source – The NPD Group, Inc. U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Keyboards, Mice, PC Headset/Pc Microphone, Gaming Designed, based on dollar sales, 2017-2021
- Faster Than Legacy Mechanical Switches: Razer Optical switches use light-based actuation, registering key presses at the speed of light (30% shorter actuation distance than other clicky switches at 1.5 millimeters) with satisfying, clicky feedback
- Ultimate Personalization & Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma: Fully syncs with popular games, Razer hardware, Philips Hue, and gear from 30+ partners; supports 16.8 million colors on individually backlit keys
- Quality, Aluminum Construction: Covered with a matte, aluminum top frame for increased structural integrity
- Ergonomic, Magnetic Wrist Rest: Made of plush leatherette to maximize comfort over extended gaming sessions (with built-in under glow lighting)
- Fully Programmable Macro Support: Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands
- Unrivaled Durability: Supports up to 100 million clicks with a 2-year manufacturer warranty, double the lifespan of most competitor keyboards
|Connectivity Technology||Wired – Attached|
|Number of Keys||3|