When shopping for a keyboard, it can be easy to be confused by all the available switches on the market right now. Some keyboards use standardized switches like the Cherry MX or Kailh, while other companies create their own. Generally speaking, a mechanical keyboard is better for gaming, but they might not be for everyone. When looking for the best keyboard for gaming for your needs, it's important to take the build quality, your preferences when it comes to switches, and how comfortable the keyboard is for long gaming sessions into account.
We've reviewed over 25 keyboards so far, and here are our recommendations for the best keyboards for gaming. Note that we're in the process of testing both the new SteelSeries Apex 3 and Apex 5, and will update this article if they do end up being part of our recommendations.
The best mechanical keyboard for gaming we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Apex Pro. This mechanical keyboard features proprietary linear OmniPoint switches from SteelSeries. These are unique as you can customize the actuation force and pre-travel distance to your preference inside its software. This offers a wide range of settings, from 1mm of pre-travel and 34g of force, all the way up to 3.8mm and 50g of force.
The keyboard also features a nice and customizable OLED screen where you can set any image you want or show some in-game stats with compatible games. Fans of backlighting will be satisfied with the full RGB per-key illumination as well. This is a very well-built keyboard with a nice aluminum body and good ABS double-shot keycaps. It also comes with a magnetic wrist rest.
Unfortunately, some gamers might be disappointed by the lack of dedicated macro keys, but note that all keys are programmable inside the SteelSeries Engine software. The wrist rest is also a dust magnet, but can easily be cleaned. This is an overall unique keyboard that allows you to greatly reduce the actuation force, making it feel very responsive and fast.
If you don't like linear switches and prefer a tactile bump before the actuation point, then go for the Razer BlackWidow Elite instead. It might not offer the actuation force customization available on the SteelSeries Apex Pro, but the Razer has proprietary Razer Orange switches, which resemble typical Cherry MX brown switches. They offer tactile feedback without being noisy like clicky switches. This keyboard also comes with one of the most comfortable wrist rests we've tried, although it's not the most stable one. On the upside, the board is very well-built, features full RGB lighting, and has dedicated media keys for you to control your music when playing. Note that this keyboard is also available in clicky and linear switches, although we didn't test these variants.
If you want to be able to customize your actuation point and make the pre-travel distance as low as possible, grab the SteelSeries, but if you prefer more tactile feedback, then go for the Razer instead.
The best TKL keyboard we've reviewed so far is the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition. It's one of the best keyboards for gaming for gamers that are looking for the fastest actuation point. It features the proprietary Razer Linear Optical switches. They require very minimal force to be actuated and have a pre-travel distance that's around 1mm, which is extremely quick.
The board has excellent build quality and uses high-end double-shot PBT keycaps, which offer great durability. This keyboard also features full-RGB backlighting, which can easily be customized in the Razer Synapse 3 software. It also has a detachable cable, which is great if you like to mod your peripherals, and it's noticeably easier to replace if it gets damaged.
On the other hand, while the keystrokes are very quick and responsive, they might be overly sensitive for some, which can result in unwanted keys being registered. You can even actuate the spacebar by hitting your desk, which shows how sensitive the keys are. It also doesn't feature a wrist rest, which some may prefer having. However, this is one of the most responsive keyboards we've tested so far and is the best keyboard for gaming if you're looking for a TKL size board.
If you want an excellent TKL gaming keyboard, but also plan on doing other things with it like typing text and work-oriented tasks, then go for the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL instead. It might not have the very low pre-travel distance of the Razer Hunstman Tournament Edition, but its tactile feedback is better, which provides a much better typing quality, and it comes with a nice wrist rest. The tactile bump is very small, which means it doesn't require much force to actuate. This keyboard also has amazing RGB backlighting, which bleeds a lot more than the Razer's. It also features the same customizable OLED screen as the SteelSeries Apex Pro. However, it doesn't have a detachable cable, though it's still very well-built.
If you want the quickest actuation point possible, go for the Razer, but if you're looking for an excellent gaming keyboard that's a bit more versatile for other tasks, then the SteelSeries might be a better option.
The best wireless keyboard for gaming that we've tested so far is the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED. It has a unique low-profile and sleek design with very short keys and a very thin board. For gaming, it connects to its proprietary dongle that uses Logitech's LIGHTSPEED technology. The board features proprietary GL tactile switches, which have a very small tactile bump and a short travel distance.
This keyboard is very well-built thanks to its metal frame and double-shot ABS keycaps. It features two incline settings but it doesn't come with a wrist rest, which might not be needed due to the low-profile design. It also has full RGB backlighting and has dedicated media keys and a wheel to let you control your music without having to alt-tab out of your game. This keyboard also features five dedicated macro keys on the left side of the board, which is great for MMO games.
Unfortunately, its design might not be suited for everyone, especially if you're used to taller and more traditional keyboards. It's also not the best option if you often type text on your keyboard. Nevertheless, this is an excellent and responsive gaming keyboard and its wireless design will help reduce the cable clutter on your desk setup. If you like this unique design, but would prefer a wired connection, check out the Logitech G815 LIGHTSYNC RGB.
For those into MMOs, the best mechanical keyboard for gaming that we've reviewed so far is the Corsair K95 PLATINUM. This wired-only keyboard is very well-built and features a column of dedicated macro keys on its left side. While all keys are programmable, the extra six inputs are very welcomed. It also has a nice and comfortable wrist rest that features a reversible layer for two different textures.
This keyboard has Cherry MX Speed linear switches, which have a very low actuation force and a very short pre-travel distance. This means the keys go straight down without going over a tactile bump, which feels very quick. This is great for MMO players who want to be able to quick-cast abilities as soon as they press down on the keys.
Unfortunately, if you don't like the MX Speed linear switches, the keyboard is then only available in Cherry MX Brown tactile switches, so there aren't many switch options for you to choose from. On the upside, it features excellent RGB backlighting, on top of featuring a strip of underglow lighting. This is one of the highest-end keyboards from Corsair and is one of the best gaming keyboards, especially if you like playing MMO games.
The best budget keyboard for gaming we've tested so far is the Redragon K552-RGB. This very affordable keyboard is surprisingly well-built and features mechanical switches, which is great at this price point. It comes in a variety of clicky, tactile switches, which might not be for everyone. It's also a TKL design without a NumPad, which provides more space for your mouse (see our recommendations for the best gaming mice).
Our unit has Outemu Blue switches, which have a small bump before actuation and require a bit more force to actuate. They provide a very satisfactory audible clicky feedback at each keypress, which can get pretty loud. This keyboard also has full RGB lighting, but since there's no official software, you'll need to make all customization changes directly on the board. On the upside, you can control the backlight of individual keys.
Unfortunately, no software support also means that you can't save different profiles. It also doesn't have a wrist rest, which would have made it a bit more comfortable to use. Nevertheless, this is very affordable for a mechanical gaming keyboard and it offers great overall value.
If you don't like mechanical switches, the best non-mechanical gaming keyboard we've reviewed as of right now is the Razer Cynosa Chroma. It features rubber dome switches that have a fairly big bump before actuation, which gives a mushier feeling to keystrokes than typical mechanical switches.
On the upside, this keyboard is compatible with the Razer Synapse software, so full RGB and macro customization is available. It also features two incline settings to help you find the most comfortable position for you, although it doesn't come with a detachable wrist rest. Unfortunately, the frame's build quality is mediocre and feels fairly flimsy, and the spacebar rattles a bit.
Overall, mechanical keyboards are better for gaming, but they might still not be for you. If it's the case, this keyboard offers a great alternative for people who prefer membrane switches, and it's also very affordable and has great customization options.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best keyboards for gaming for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper product wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no keyboard that is difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our keyboard reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no product is perfect for every use, most keyboards are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them. Be sure to know your key switch preferences before choosing.