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. 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. 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. This keyboard features Razer's linear optical switches, which are incredibly responsive due to their very low pre-travel distance. While these switches are great for gaming, general typing can be a bit more challenging, as these switches don't provide any tactile feedback, making it hard to tell if a keystroke was registered. Also, some people may find them a bit too sensitive, causing more typos than usual. The keyboard is decently comfortable to type on and there are two incline settings, but it doesn't come with a wrist rest.
One of the great features of this keyboard is its excellent build quality. The frame feels solid, with a mix of plastic and aluminum, and the doubleshot PBT keycaps feel great to type on. The stabilizers could be better, although rattling only happens on a few keys. This keyboard has full RGB backlighting and the keys are individually-lit. You can set a macro to any key through Razer's Synapse 3 software; however, there are no dedicated media controls or dedicated macro keys for MMO games.
With its linear switches, typing noise is fairly minimal and shouldn't be bothersome to others around you. There's onboard memory to store profiles if you need to move to another computer, and there's a cloud sync option as well, although it requires an account with Razer. Overall, if you like the smaller form factor of TKL keyboards, this one is a fantastic option.
If you need a TKL keyboard that offers a better typing experience than the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition, check out the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL. It comes with SteelSeries Brown switches, which have a tactile bump but don't generate a lot of typing noise. They also have a much higher pre-travel distance, which helps with typing accuracy, as their actuation requires a more deliberate key press. This keyboard is packed with amazing features as well, such as its dedicated media controls, USB passthrough, and a customizable OLED screen. It has full RGB backlighting and there's a very comfortable wrist rest included. You can customize the keyboard through SteelSeries' Engine software, which allows you to reprogram keys, set macros, and customize the backlight. It's compatible with Windows and macOS; and although the software isn't available for Linux, all keys function properly.
If responsiveness is more important to you, then the Razer is a better choice; otherwise, the SteelSeries offers a better typing experience for general productivity tasks and it has better compatibility with various desktop operating systems.
The best wireless keyboard for gaming that we've tested so far is the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED. This is an incredibly versatile keyboard with great features and outstanding connectivity options. It can connect via its wireless unifying USB receiver or through Bluetooth, and it lets you pair to 2 devices at the same time for easy multitasking. It has dedicated media controls and macro keys for MMO games, as well as full RGB backlighting and profile switching buttons that are easily accessible. It operates on a built-in rechargeable battery, which is rated to last for 30 hours with its backlight at maximum brightness, although this is not something that we test for.
This keyboard features low profile proprietary switches and there are three different types to choose from: tactile, clicky, or linear. We tested the tactile variant, which provides feedback without producing a significant amount of noise, making it suitable for quiet offices. The typing experience is decent, but the short travel distance of these switches can lead to more typos. It's fairly comfortable to type on for long periods, and most people shouldn't be bothered by the fact that it doesn't come with a wrist rest, given the low profile nature of the keyboard.
Unfortunately, while it's great that there are dedicated macro keys, they're the only ones that can be programmed. On the bright side, the backlighting can be customized for each individual key and Logitech's G HUB software has a clean interface that's easy to use. So if you're shopping for a wireless keyboard that offers outstanding gaming performance and tons of customization options, you should consider this one.
The best gaming keyboard for MMO games we've tested so far is the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT. This is a large keyboard that you can get in three types of genuine Cherry MX switches: brown, blue, or speed. We reviewed the Cherry MX Blue variant, which offers tactile feedback along with audible clicks. These switches feel light and responsive, although they can get quite loud, so they're not the most ideal if you plan on using it for work in a quiet office. Ergonomics are good; it has one incline setting and comes with a plushy wrist rest.
Of course, the most important feature for MMO players is the column of dedicated macro keys. You can program them through Corsair's iCUE software, which is well-designed and offers plenty of customization options. It also allows you to customize the keyboard's full RGB backlighting, as well as create and save multiple profiles. There's onboard memory to save profiles too in case you need to switch computer, and if you regularly stream, this keyboard has full integration with the Elgato Stream Deck.
This keyboard has dedicated media controls, a USB passthrough, and it comes with extra textured keycaps for FPS players. It feels incredibly well-built, the keys are stable, and the doubleshot PBT keycaps will keep the key legends from fading over time. All in all, if you play MMO games often and you need the dedicated macro keys, you should check this keyboard out.
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; this 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.
05/06/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
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.