When shopping for the best gaming keyboard, it's hard not to be confused by all of the options and switches available on the market right now. Some models 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 it might not be for everyone. Taking your needs into consideration when looking for the best keyboard for gaming, it's also important to consider the build quality, your preferences in terms of switches, and how comfortable the keyboard is for long gaming sessions.
We've tested over 105 keyboards, and here are our recommendations for the best keyboards for gaming. See also our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best wireless keyboards.
The best full-sized gaming keyboard that we've tested is the SteelSeries Apex Pro. It's a mechanical board that features unique OmniPoint switches, allowing you to customize the pre-travel distance to suit your needs. This means you can set a lower pre-travel to increase the responsiveness for gaming or set a higher one to improve typing accuracy for productivity tasks. These are optical switches with a linear feel, so they don't provide any tactile feedback when typing, and they don't make much noise.
It feels very well-built and solid, and it has good ergonomics thanks to the magnetic wrist rest. It also has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, dedicated media controls, and an OLED screen that you can customize to show you almost anything you would like. The SteelSeries Engine software is available on Windows and macOS and lets you set macros to any key you want. There's also a USB passthrough that you can use to charge your mobile devices or to plug in another device such as your mouse.
Sadly, it doesn't have dedicated macro keys, which may be disappointing for some gamers. Also, even if it works on Linux, you can't fully customize it because of the lack of software support on this OS. However, it's fully compatible with both Windows and macOS. All in all, this is the best gaming keyboard available in a full size that we've tested, and it should satisfy casual and serious gamers alike.
If you prefer switches that provide feedback, consider the Razer BlackWidow Elite. Although it isn't fully compatible with macOS and you can't customize the pre-travel distance like the SteelSeries Apex Pro, it provides better typing quality and is available in a variety of switches. You can get tactile Razer Orange, clicky Green, or linear Yellow switches, and the Orange switches we tested provide nice tactile feedback and are light to press. It has dedicated media keys, a volume control wheel, and a Windows key lock button. It also feels very well-built, and gamers should appreciate all the customization options, such as programming the RGB lighting or setting macros. Unfortunately, the companion software is only compatible with Windows, but at least there's onboard memory, so you can save your settings on it and use them when you switch to any other device.
If you want an outstanding gaming keyboard with unique optical switches and the possibility to customize the pre-travel distance, get the SteelSeries, but if you prefer tactile switches and don't need software compatibility with macOS, go with the Razer.
The best TenKeyLess keyboard for gaming that we’ve tested is the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL. It’s a wired-only model that feels very well-built, with an aluminum top plate that provides rigidity and no sign of wobbling or rattling. The ergonomics are also good, thanks to the detachable wrist rest and adjustable incline setting, and typing on it shouldn’t cause any fatigue, even after extended periods.
It has an outstanding set of extra features, such as dedicated macro keys and media controls, and an OLED screen that allows you to change your settings and profiles without having to minimize your game. It also has full RGB backlighting that’s perfect for those gaming in a dark room. Our unit uses tactile SteelSeries Brown switches, which require very little force to actuate, but due to their relatively high pre-travel, they may feel less responsive. It's also available with SteelSeries Red or Blue switches, so you can choose according to your own needs.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any Windows key lock to prevent you from minimizing your game accidentally, and there isn't any NumPad either, though this is normal with TKL models. However, it has outstanding software support with plenty of customization options to make the most out of your keyboard. All in all, this is a fantastic gaming keyboard and the best TKL option we’ve tested.
The best wireless keyboard for gaming that we've tested is the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. This full-sized mechanical board is almost entirely made out of plastic, but it also has an aluminum plate that exhibits very little flex. It has a straight design with two incline settings and a detachable wrist rest, making it comfortable for long periods of use. You can pair it with up to three devices at once via Bluetooth and its proprietary receiver.
The variant we tested uses clicky Razer Green switches that feel very light to type on. They don't require a lot of force to actuate, and they give loud clicky feedback when a key is registered. If you don't like clicky switches, it's also available with linear Razer Yellow switches, which should feel lighter and should be quieter. Through the companion software, you can customize the full RGB backlighting, reprogram the volume control wheel, and set macros to any key you want.
Unfortunately, the companion software isn't compatible with macOS, and some of the keys don't work with it either. Also, it takes up a lot of space due to its full-sized design and wrist rest, which may be problematic if you don't have much room on your desk, though you can always detach the wrist rest if this poses a problem. All in all, this is an outstanding gaming model, and it's also one of the best wireless keyboards we've tested.
The best keyboard for MMO gaming that we’ve tested is the Corsair K100 RGB. It feels very well-built, thanks to the metal top plate and solid plastic base, and has good ergonomics, with one incline setting and a detachable wrist rest. The keycaps are made of doubleshot PBT and feel durable, while the incline feet are thick and grippy, preventing the keyboard from moving around.
There are six dedicated macro keys on the board, as well as full RGB backlighting and dedicated media keys. The iCUE software has plenty of customization options and allows you to easily reprogram all the keys, set macros, and customize the lighting. Our unit has linear Cherry MX Speed switches, which provide no feedback but feel very light and responsive. If you prefer something different, it's also available with Corsair OPX optical switches, which are advertised to have an even lower pre-travel distance.
Unfortunately, it has limited compatibility with macOS and Linux, though only the Pause Break, Scroll Lock, and Print Screen buttons don’t work on macOS. Also, because the switches have very low pre-travel, it may cause more unintentional strokes to be registered if you’re not used to it. That said, this is an outstanding gaming keyboard and the best for MMOs among the ones that we've tested.
The best gaming keyboard that we've tested in the budget category is the Logitech G413. It's a very straightforward model that’s fairly well-built with a nice brushed aluminum finish and very little flex to it. It uses tactile Romer-G switches that have a smooth bump for tactile feedback and fairly low pre-travel, giving you a good typing experience overall.
It has a few extra features like media hotkeys and a USB passthrough. It also has individually backlit keys, although the only color available is red. The keys feel light and responsive for gaming, and there’s also a Windows key lock to prevent you from accidentally minimizing your game. The G HUB companion software allows you to customize some settings, such as the red backlighting effects, or set macros, though only the function keys are macro-programmable.
Unfortunately, the ergonomics are only okay, as there's no wrist rest and only one incline setting, so it may get quite uncomfortable after long periods. Also, the ABS keycaps feel a bit cheap, and there's no onboard memory. Nevertheless, this is an excellent budget option and one of the best mechanical keyboards we've tested.
The best gaming keyboard with non-mechanical switches that we’ve tested is the Razer Ornata V2. This full-sized wired model offers good ergonomics with a detachable wrist rest and two different incline settings. It also comes with full RGB backlighting that’s easily customizable and has some nice extra features, such as dedicated media keys, a Windows key lock, and a volume wheel.
It uses Razer Mecha-Membrane switches, which feel a lot like typical rubber dome switches while giving clicky feedback. It offers good overall typing quality, though it may feel less responsive than some mechanical switches as the pre-travel distance is a bit higher. Like most Razer products, the companion software is the Razer Synapse 3, which gives plenty of customization options, such as remapping keys or setting backlighting effects.
Unfortunately, the software is only available on Windows, and some keys like the context menu don’t work on macOS. Also, the switches are loud and may bother people around you if you’re in a noise-sensitive environment. That said, this is an excellent gaming keyboard with unique switches that should please most gamers looking for a non-mechanical model.
01/18/2021: Made the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL the 'Best TKL Keyboard for Gaming', the Corsair K100 RGB the 'Best Keyboard for MMO Gaming', and the Razer Ornata V2 the 'Best Non-Mechanical Keyboard for Gaming'. Moved the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition and the SteelSeries Apex 3 to Notable Mentions.
12/18/2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
10/30/2020: Made the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro the 'Best Wireless Keyboard for Gaming' and added the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED to Notable Mentions.
10/02/2020: Added SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Redragon K552-RGB to Notable Mentions and made Logitech G413 the 'Best Budget Keyboard for Gaming'.
09/04/2020: Added Razer Huntsman Mini to Notable Mentions.
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 gaming 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.