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 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. Taking your needs into consideration when looking for the best keyboard for gaming, 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 tested over 90 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 keyboard for gaming we've tested is the SteelSeries Apex Pro. It's a full-size mechanical board that features unique omnipoint switches, allowing you to customize the actuation point and the actuation force to suit your taste. This means you can set a shallow actuation point to increase the responsiveness for gaming, or set a higher one to improve typing accuracy for productivity tasks. These switches are linear, so they don't provide any tactile feedback when typing, and they don't cause much noise.
In addition to its great typing quality, it has an incredible number of features. It has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, dedicated media controls, and an OLED screen that you can customize to show anything you want. There's a USB passthrough that you can use to charge your mobile devices, or you can use it to plug in another peripheral like your mouse, giving you greater control of the cord so you can move the mouse freely. You can reprogram or set a macro to any key, but unfortunately, it doesn't have any dedicated macro keys for MMO games.
SteelSeries Engine software offers tons of options, and it's available for Windows and macOS. You can customize the backlight and the OLED screen, reprogram keys or set macros, and you can save as many profiles as you want. It works on Linux, but you won't be able to customize it because of the lack of software support. Despite that, this is a feature-rich keyboard that should satisfy casual and serious gamers alike.
If you prefer switches that provide tactile feedback, then check out the Razer BlackWidow Elite. Like the SteelSeries Apex Pro, it's a full-size keyboard that comes with tons of features. The unit that we tested has Razer Orange switches, which are comparable to Cherry MX Browns; however, it's available with Razer Green (tactile and clicky) and Razer Yellow (linear and silent) switches as well. It's comfortable to type on, it's easy to press the keys, and it feels incredibly responsive. It provides clear tactile feedback, and it makes very little noise. It has dedicated media controls, USB passthrough, and full RGB backlighting. Every key is programmable, and customization is done via Razer's Synapse 3 software. Unfortunately, there's no software support for macOS and Linux, but most keys function as they should on those operating systems.
Overall, the SteelSeries is a better choice as it has more features and is more customizable; however, if you prefer tactile switches, the Razer is an outstanding alternative.
The best gaming keyboard in a TenKeyLess size that we've tested is the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition. It has an excellent build quality, made out of hard plastic and an aluminum plate, and it feels very sturdy despite its slight flex. Although it has a fairly high profile and doesn't come with a wrist rest, it still feels comfortable to type on and shouldn't cause fatigue when typing for long periods of time. It also has two incline settings to help you customize the height to your needs.
This keyboard uses double-shot PBT keycaps and Razer Linear Optical switches, which feel very light and responsive. Through the Synapse 3 software, you can program any key on the keyboard, and it has a game mode hotkey that disables the Windows Key function for seamless gaming. Each individual key is backlit with full RGB lighting and can be customized with its own color.
Unfortunately, because it has a very low actuation point, some keystrokes might be registered unintentionally. Similarly, the spacebar is very sensitive as the keyboard registered a keystroke when we hit our desk. It's also only available with linear optical switches, but if you want a compact alternative that has a clicky optical switch option, consider the Razer Huntsman Mini. Overall, the Razer is the best TKL option for gaming that we've tested.
If you're looking for a more versatile keyboard, check out the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL. This TenKeyLess keyboard doesn't have as many incline settings as the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition, but it comes with a comfortable wrist rest and is more versatile since it's available in a variety of switches. The variant we tested uses SteelSeries Brown switches, which are quiet and shouldn't be bothersome in a quiet office environment, but the keyboard can be louder if you choose the clicky variant. Additionally, unlike the Razer, the SteelSeries has dedicated macro keys that are great for programmers, and the keyboard is fully compatible with macOS.
If you want a keyboard that has linear keys and has more incline settings, go with the Razer, but if you want a keyboard that comes with a wrist rest and has linear and clicky switch options, get the SteelSeries.
The best wireless gaming keyboard that we've tested is the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED. It's a full-size option packed with features like dedicated macro keys, multi-device pairing, and full RGB backlighting. It's a superb wireless mechanical gaming board that features three low profile proprietary switches: tactile, clicky, or linear. We tested the tactile variant, which provides feedback without producing a significant amount of noise.
It has outstanding connectivity options. It can connect via its wireless unifying USB receiver or through Bluetooth, and it lets you pair to two devices at the same time for easy multitasking. It also comes with the G HUB software, which allows you to save up to three different profiles, for a total of 15 macros. To switch between profiles, you can use the M1, M2, and M3 buttons at the top of the keyboard.
Unfortunately, while it's great that there are dedicated macro keys, only those keys can be programmed. On the bright side, the backlighting can be customized for each key, and Logitech's G HUB software has a clean interface that's easy to use. Overall, this is the best wireless keyboard for gaming we've tested.
The best gaming keyboard for MMO games that we've tested is the Corsair K95 PLATINUM XT. This wired, mechanical model is an outstanding choice for MMO gaming with an amazing build due to a solid plastic base and a metal top plate. Also, MMO gamers will be happy to know there are dedicated programmable macro keys, and it has full RGB backlighting with a brightness adjuster.
It's available in Cherry MX Speed for quick and linear feedback, Cherry MX Brown for tactile and silent, and the version we tested, Cherry MX Blue, which are clicky. Also, the double-shot PBT keycaps feel stable and much nicer than the Corsair K95 PLATINUM. It's fully compatible with the iCUE software, where you can customize macros, RGB lighting, and program each key. Also, any customized settings can be saved to the onboard memory or the software.
Unfortunately, the nature of the clicky Cherry MX Blue switches means that this is a rather loud keyboard and might be irritating for roommates. The switches also have a high actuation point, meaning it could get tiring if you type a lot in a game's group chat. Also, the iCUE software isn't available on Linux, which means the G1-G6 keys are disabled by default. That said, this is a great choice for MMO gamers.
The best keyboard for gaming in the budget category that we've tested is the Logitech G413. This wired-only, full-sized mechanical option has media hotkeys, and it's compatible with the Logitech G HUB software to program macros onto the function keys. The red backlight can also be customized in the software.
The Romer-G Tactile switches feel like softer Cherry MX Browns and provide a very light bump. Although the switches feel very responsive for gaming, since it doesn't take much force to activate a key, this might increase the risk of accidental keystrokes being registered if you also plan on using it for typing. It isn't very loud, so it shouldn't bother those around you in a quiet environment.
Unfortunately, it only has one incline setting and its keys feel a little stiff, so typing for long periods might get tiresome. If you're looking for a keyboard in a TenKeyLess size that's even cheaper, check out the Redragon K552-RGB. Overall, the Logitech is one of the best mechanical keyboards we've tested and it's a great budget option.
The best gaming keyboard with non-mechanical switches that we've tested is the SteelSeries Apex 3. This full-sized board uses rubber dome switches and feels well built, especially for its price. Its ABS plastic keys are stable and don't wobble at all. In case you want extra comfort, it comes with a magnetically-attachable wrist rest.
It has a 10-zone RGB backlighting that can be customized through the SteelSeries Engine software. Thanks to its hotkeys, you can control the backlighting brightness, set macros, and change profiles directly from the keyboard. It also offers media-control via the scroll wheel and button on the top-right of the keyboard. The rubber dome switches make this keyboard pretty quiet to type on, so it shouldn't bother anyone around you while you're using it.
Unfortunately, the tactile feedback isn't very obvious, so at times it's hard to know if a keypress was registered. Also, the distance before the key is activated is quite high, and although this means unintentional keystrokes are less likely to get registered, it also means that it might get pretty fatiguing if you're typing for long periods of time. Overall, its a decent gaming keyboard if you're on a budget and don't want a mechanical keyboard.
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.
07/09/2020: Added the Glorious GMMK 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 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.