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 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. See also our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best wireless keyboards.
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 for gaming we've reviewed so far is the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition. It's one of the most responsive keyboards due to its extremely low actuation point and linear optical switches. However, it's not the best keyboard for typing, as it doesn't provide any tactile feedback and some may find it overly sensitive, which can lead to more typos if you're not used to these switches. This keyboard has an excellent build quality, and the doubleshot PBT keycaps ensure that key legends won't fade over time.
This keyboard relies on Razer's Synapse 3 software for customizations. It allows you to customize the RGB backlighting of each key individually, and you can also reprogram or set a macro to any key. You can save profiles on the keyboard's onboard memory or within the software, and there's a cloud sync option as well, though it requires an account with Razer to use it. Sadly, Synapse 3 is only available for Windows, so macOS and Linux users won't be able to take full advantage of its great customization options. Additionally, the keyboard doesn't come with a wrist rest.
On the whole, if you're looking for a responsive keyboard that will last for years, go with this one.
If you want a keyboard that you can also use for productivity, take a look at the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL. It has a higher actuation point than the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition, so it's less likely to register unintended keystrokes, which is great for typing accuracy. Also, the SteelSeries Brown switches have a tactile bump to indicate the actuation, but the keys don't spring back as quickly, making the keyboard feel a bit sluggish. This keyboard comes with tons of extra features, though, including dedicated media control keys, individually-lit RGB backlighting, and an OLED screen that you can customize to show anything you want. Typing noise is very minimal, so it shouldn't be bothersome to those around you, and it comes with a comfortable wrist rest that attaches magnetically.
If you want the most responsive keyboard for gaming, get the Razer, but for a more versatile option, go with the SteelSeries.
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.
If you play a lot of MMO games, the best gaming keyboard we've tested is the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT. It's a very well-built keyboard and it comes with an additional column of dedicated macro keys. While all its keys are programmable, the six extra inputs are great to have quick access to even more abilities. It even feels more high-end and durable than the Corsair K95 PLATINUM since it now has doubleshot PBT keycaps.
This board features full RGB lighting, which can be customized inside the iCUE software. It also has dedicated media keys, which is great to control your music when playing. It also has Stream Deck integration, where you can set specific streaming actions directly on your keyboard. It comes either in tactile MX Blue, tactile and silent MX Brown, or linear MX Speed switches.
However, with the Blue switches, it requires a very high actuation force, which might be fatiguing for some. On the upside, it includes a very nice and plushy wrist rest, making its typing experience noticeably more comfortable. Overall, if you're looking for a keyboard with dedicated macro keys and love the feeling of durable doubleshot PBT keys, this is one of the best gaming keyboards for your needs.
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 SteelSeries Apex 3. This membrane keyboard uses rubber dome switches and comes at a very affordable price. The keyboard is very quiet and its typing quality is decent, but might feel mushy for some that are used to mechanical switches. It also features zone RGB lighting, although its rainbow effect is very good and you can't see the different zones.
The rubber dome switches have a noticeable bump before the actuation point, which requires quite a lot of travel as well, which is expected for membrane keyboards. It's compatible with SteelSeries Engine, where you can create different profiles and customize the lighting to your preferences. The board is very well-built for such a budget option, and it even comes with a nice wrist rest, which is very similar to the one included with the SteelSeries Apex Pro.
On the downside, it doesn't have any dedicated macro keys, but you can program all its keys, so this shouldn't be that much of an issue for most people. This is one of the best keyboards for gaming if you don't want a mechanical one.
03/25/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
03/04/2020: Changed picks as we tested more products. The text has been updated.
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.