The keyboard is one of the most important input devices when it comes to PCs. Especially in the gaming area, where gamers often find themselves pressing the keys numerous times, often even several keys at the same time. You shouldn’t expect to become a professional gamer simply by switching from a membrane-best gaming keyboard to a mechanical one, but the latter can bring numerous benefits, especially in the long run.
Over the years, the number of models and versions available has increased dramatically. Many manufacturers have also presented their proprietary switches such as Logitech, Razer, and more recently Roccat, and understanding which is the most suitable for your use, compared to the alternatives already present for years (Cherry MX, Gateron, Khail), can be very complicated, especially for those who approach this world for the first time.
This guide was designed to make life easier for those who approach the purchase of a mechanical keyboard, whether it is the first mechanical keyboard, or for those who want to switch from a basic model to a high-end keyboard. But what are the parameters to take into consideration before?
buying a gaming keyboard?
Main features of a mechanical gaming keyboard
Before starting to understand which model is best suited to your needs, it is good to take a look at the main features of a mechanical gaming keyboard:
indicates the number of keys on a mechanical keyboard. It can be Full that is with 104 keys, tenkeyless (TKL) that is with 87 keys (the numeric keypad is missing), 75% (the arrow keys and quick commands are attached to the letters), and the 60% and 40%, very rare to find in gaming. The choice between the various formats is totally subjective, but TKL keyboards tend to be the favorite of gamers: they take up less space on the desk, allowing you to assume more comfortable positions and have more space to move the mouse.
indicates the arrangement of characters to suit a particular language. The keyboards available on our market have three different layouts: Italian (with L-shaped enter key and with all accented letters), ANSI-US (with the small and large enter key and very large left Shift key), and ISO-UK, which provides the enter key to L, but instead of accented letters, there are several characters. Also in this case the choice between one layout and the other is totally subjective.
keycaps are nothing more than keys (also keycaps). Most keyboards include ABS keycaps, a type of plastic that guarantees good rigidity and resilience, but which over the years tends to wear and become shiny. It’s the cheapest choice, although ABS quality varies between cheaper keyboards and higher-end keyboards, thanks to the addition of several additives that can improve performance. Other sufficiently popular keycaps are those in POM, which are more resistant but also more expensive. Finally, there are those in PBT, the best choice from the point of view of resistance, but very expensive and rare to find as standard on a keyboard, at least if we consider the gaming sector.
they are nothing more than the mechanisms placed under each key. The switches are produced by various companies such as Cherry, Khail, Gateron, Outemu, but also by some keyboard manufacturers such as Logitech, Razer, and Roccat. Each manufacturer has different types of switches on the list, for example, the Cherry MX is available in seven variants all different from each other, as well as the others mentioned. While some switches are better suited than others for gaming (e.g. Red switches versus Black switches), it is inevitable that personal preference plays a major role. The advice is to try – if possible – the switches before buying a keyboard.
#1. CORSAIR K57 RGB Wireless Gaming Keyboard
A normal budget keyboard with a non-changeable RGB backlight. We suggest it for those who want to spend little and are looking for something more than a normal keyboard, a good super cheap keyboard.
Recommended for beginners, play at night, and want the best keyboard for cheap gaming. Available in different versions we point out, in particular, the wired and wireless ones.
• RGB lighting.
• No drivers required
• Cheap feeling USB cable.
• No QWERTY in Europe
#2. Cooler Master Devastator 3 Gaming Keyboard
Cooler Master brings us this extremely devastating kit. It is an attractively priced keyboard and mouse combination. This is a winning combo for those who want to spend little and in one fell swoop complete their gaming PC from our guide.
Available with Red, Blue or Green LED. Not possible to change the color.
The mouse is well made and alone could be worth 47.33$ of the total cost of the kit while on the keyboard we have a couple of perplexities.
The keys are not visible even in broad daylight if the backlight is off and the noise is a bit excessive. No additional key does not make this the best gaming keyboard in this range.
• Number of keys: 88
• Overall Build Quality, OUTEMU RGB Blue Mechanical Switches (50M Actuations), Fully Programmable Keys, 14 Available RGB Effects, NKey Rollover With 100% Anti Ghosting, Keyboard Engine Software (Easy To Use), Available In TKL & Full Models, Price (For Some)
• No USB transit.
#3. Razer Cynosa Chroma
Razer Cynosa is an incredible keyboard offering a full membrane typing and gaming experience, if you are a fan of the pure membrane switch with a soft embrace touch, then the Razer Cynosa might not be the perfect choice for you, but it very well is a keyboard that deserves the highest of the ranks in the world of gaming peripherals.
It provides a smooth typing experience, the low profile membrane keys do wonders when gaming or generally typing. The per-key RGB lighting can be programmed for individual keys or at specified zones, the RGB lights might be a recurring feature in most gaming keyboards, but Razer Cynosa with its RGB setup looks undeniably attractive.
Although Razer Cynosa lacks some obvious features, like a dedicated wrist rest or media controls that are provided by most of the gaming keyboards in the market. a more expensive version of Razer Cynosa is available in the market which provides an additional RGB under-glow, we would prefer you to stick to the base model if you wish to save those extra dollars.
Still considering its solid build and no-frill design at such a low price makes Razer Cynosa a successful gaming keyboard.
● Per-key lighting
● Solid build quality
● No media controls
● No wrist rest
#4. HyperX Alloy Elite
HyperX Alloy Elite employs a simple aesthetic design, offering a premium look and features. With the ability to provide over 16.8 million different flashy color combinations, this board qualifies as a reputable gaming keyboard not just in terms of design dynamics but also performance.
The removable wrist rest ensures that you don’t wear out your wrists playing games or typing for longer durations. Available in the color of your choice HyperX Alloy Elite is still a relatively affordable gaming keyboard that you should consider buying.
The board houses all the features required for a successful gaming keyboard, unlike the Razer Cynosa it has dedicated media controls on the board providing useful shortcuts. The pack includes extra special keycaps for letters W, A, S, and D which can enhance the already aesthetic look of the board. HyperX Alloy Elite is a full-size board containing a much valued separate number pad.
The RGB backlights are immensely satisfying giving it an even more engaging and modern look.
HyperX has launched a couple of products in the market already but of all the other boards we consider Alloy Elite as the best option in its price range.
● Good price
● Impressive design
● Durable build
● Average overall performance
#5. Corsair K100 optical
Some might say that Corsair K100 is the best gaming keyboard available. It is a performance beast and for good reasons, the keyboard has a huge footprint but in terms of offering features and gaming experience, it’s the absolute unchallenged king. From The incredible RGB lighting to the dedicated media controls it is one complete unit providing a premium experience to its users.
The key responses of Corsair K100 are almost perfect, the architecture of the board is optimum for all hand sizes and is designed for comfortable and fast typing, the removable wrist rest available makes possible a more pleasant typing experience. The keys provide just the right feeling upon clicking and the curvature on the buttons is designed to help you in resting your fingers without continuously wearing them out.
Of all the design specifics RGB lighting remains to be the stand-out feature for this keyboard, almost bursting with RGB lights the keyboard provides a more futuristic theme, appealing to all the hardcore gamers out there.
Some might consider Corsair k100 an overpriced gaming keyboard, but with all that it provides, it is very much worth the price tag. For all the gaming enthusiasts who prefer quality over the price, this is the only gaming keyboard that can keep up with your expectations and satisfy all your needs.
● Ultra-responsive keys
● Impressive RGB lighting
● Performance king
● Very expensive
#6. Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB
The upgraded version of Kinesis freestyle Edge is in many ways a step up from its predecessors, with a split design that provides the option to keep the two halves at up to shoulder-width reducing any shoulder or neck strain caused by prolonged usage of average keyboards. The keyboard also has an attached wrist rest which is not detachable unlike the other keyboards we talked about, this increases the overall footprint of the board, but with the split design, the keyboard doesn’t seem to take much space.
The RGB backlighting looks great on the board making it worth the dollar. Kinesis Freestyle Edge has a tenkeyless design, without the number pad it is not a great option for the more general-purpose users but indeed a complete board for gaming purposes.
The high customizability of freestyle edge makes it stand out among other gaming boards, providing storage for at most nine profiles, dedicated macro keys, and the option to be able to modify each and every single key on the board makes it a super customizable board which allows you you to configure your board as you desire.
It lacks separate media controls and stock keycaps are not very long-lasting and wear out after some time in a few cases.
Kinesis Freestyle Edge has its shortcomings but they are not many, and shouldn’t stop you from having this board to take your gaming setup to the next level.
● Split design reduces strain on neck and shoulders
● Highly customizable
● Wrist rest available
● Improved ergonomics
● Relatively expensive
● The wrist rest is not detachable
● Stock Keycaps are not long-lasting
#7. Asus ROG Strix Scope
The Asus ROG Strix Scope is a highly functional board with a compact and highly reliable build quality. The ASUS board lives up to the phrase ‘less is more’ providing most of the basic features with a far from mediocre design.
The keyboard has a matte black surface with brushed aluminum at the corners giving it the sleek underrated look that is rarely found in average keyboards. It has up to 10 RGB lighting presets available which you can change based on your preferences.
The ROG Strix Scope has some interesting buttons that perform shortcuts like, ‘quick toggle’ button that allow you to switch between media controls or standard functions, a ‘stealth’ button which when pressed immediately hides all apps and mutes the audio if there’s any and the wide control button on the board is yet another useful feature that adds up to the overall experience you get from this board.
Although it is a classic fully functional keyboard it still lacks some features that most keyboards provide, the lack of passthrough capabilities, dedicated media controls, and no wrist rest might make it sound like an overpriced computer peripheral but that won’t be completely true as these are after all features of minimal importance and ROG Strix Scope still provides all the major features a gaming keyboard should have at a fair price.
Considering its price range Asus ROG Strix Scope gets the job done and is close to ideal to be used for gaming purposes.
● Compact and reliable design
● Satisfying keys
● Full RGB backlighting
● No media controls
● No wrist rest
● Slightly overpriced
● Passthrough not available
#8. Razer Huntsman Elite
Razer Huntsman Elite is indeed one of the most elite Razer boards in the market. The optomechanical Razer switch is a technologically fascinating switch that takes the product to another level, it abstains from using the conventional metal contacts and instead makes use of light beams for actuation making it super fast, much faster than most boards that use metal contacts which is a much slower and faulty mechanism when compared to the optomechanical mechanism of Razer Huntsman Elite.
Removing the conventional metal contacts from the overall design makes the keyboard much more durable and reliable for typing and gaming. Apart from that the overall design of the board is impressive too, the detachable magnetic wrist rest is a rare but phenomenal design specific that makes the board portable while also providing comfort for your wrists. It has all the most basic features, with the dedicated media controls, a dial that can be used for various functions, and good RGB backlighting providing over 16 million different color options.
Huntsman elite provides you with the ability to save some preferences, which means even if you change your PC, with the huntsman elite you can revive your preferred settings of the board.
Huntsman Elite will approve to be a completely functional gaming keyboard with an immensely satisfying click thanks to the optomechanical mechanism.
● Impressive switches
● Magnetic wrist rest
● Speedy actuation
● USB passthrough not available
● Mediocre keycaps
#9. Alienware – AW310K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Alienware AW310K-gaming keyboard is a stunningly aesthetic keyboard making you fall in love with its appearance in an instant. Just like the Alienware computers, the Alienware gaming keyboard aims to redefine the boundaries of a gaming keyboard design and performance.
The silver body provides it a unique and futuristic look and when added with the RGB backlighting the board seems to look otherworldly. The gaming keyboard provides smooth and controlled typing and gaming. Thanks to the mechanical switches and N-key rollover on all keys the board has a quick actuation point with greater accuracy.
With the availability of adjustable feet angles and palm rest, it allows you to type for prolonged periods without causing strain in your wrists and wearing out your fingers.
If you are an Alienware fan or have been using their products then you know the quality you will get with this product like any other Alienware device. With the right balance of aesthetics, performance, and breakthrough design specifics all under 100 bucks this might be the best option for you especially if you have an Alienware PC.
● Stunning design
● Great switches
● Plastic material
● No media controls
● Radical design
Things consider when buying a gaming keyboard:
When looking for gaming keyboards you’ll very often come across this term, actuation point is a metric to how much the key needs to be pressed before it will send the input signal to the machine. The higher the actuation point the better it is as the board will be much faster.
A good switch delivers a sharp click sound when pressed, most often right at the point of actuation. This might be an overlooked aspect but it plays a major role when using a keyboard for fast typing.
There are many keyboards presets in the market. A tenkeyless keyboard doesn’t have the number pad on the right. A tenkeyless board might be a turn down for the general-purpose users out there.
A keyboard with debounce mechanism avoids taking multiple inputs if the key is pressed a little longer. This makes typing much more efficient with reduced errors due to multiple inputs.
A linear switch makes sure that the key doesn’t wobble and only moves up and down, this ensures fast uninterrupted typing as without linear switches some keys can get stuck or jammed which is a recurring problem with the average non-gaming PC.
A switch is the most important part of any keyboard it lies under the keys in a mechanical keyboard. The actuation, audible feedback, and the input signal delivery all depend upon the switch.
It’s a part of the switch on which the keycaps rest. The stem has to be functional and durable to be able to withstand the stress on the keys caused by Continuous use.
Frequently asked questions(FAQs)
Are gaming keyboards only used for gaming purposes?
No, not necessarily gaming keyboards are fully functional keyboards performing all the regular keyboard functions along with more curated design specifics and greater performance, although it can be said that average keyboards are not recommended for gaming purposes, gaming keyboards serve all needs from general purpose use to gaming.
Are Mechanical keyboards better than normal switches?
Mechanical keyboards are more efficient and user-friendly than non-mechanical keyboards, they don’t require keys to be pressed all the way down, mechanical keyboards can interpret the input signal with keys pressed halfway; this reduces the work done by your fingers and makes typing less tiresome over a longer period.
How durable are gaming keyboards?
In terms of build quality, gaming keyboards are much better than average keyboards, with the evolution of the industry we are seeing more durable and long-lasting design technologies used for gaming keyboards. The high prices of gaming keyboards ensure one thing that you will be buying a solidly built product with few design faults.
Does the keyboard affect gaming?
It would be a huge mistake to think that gaming keyboards are just fancy fashionable computer peripherals and don’t serve much good. Average keyboards will only weigh you down when used for gaming purposes, with slow keys and less thought-through designs average keyboards restrict you from discovering your true gaming performance.
With gaming keyboards, you get stunning performance taking your gaming to the next level.
In this article, we tried to include the best gaming keyboards that are available in the market for you to buy. All these keyboards employ cutting-edge technology to make possible a more immersive gaming and typing experience.
All the above-discussed keyboards are great devices but it is for you to decide which one is the best for your system. Considering all the available features and footprint offered by the boards it will be easier for you to make the best decision.
We hope that this article proved to be helpful in guiding you to make a better decision for choosing the best gaming keyboard.
Hey, I’m David Currier. I’ve been Gaming building computers and writing about Gaming building computers, gaming products for a long time. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.