Shopping for a gaming keyboard that best suits your needs can be confusing, but we'll keep it simple. The most important factors to consider are the latency (how responsive a keyboard is), switch types (the feeling of the keypress and the noise it makes), and the overall comfort and feel. From there, you can decide if you'd like additional features like RGB backlighting, media controls, or software customization options that help you make your board feel just right for you. Most gamers look for mechanical keyboards as they typically offer lower latency, more features, and better build quality, so our recommendations lean more toward mechanical offerings.
We've tested over 200 keyboards, and below are our recommendations for the best non-mechanical and best mechanical keyboards for gaming. If you're looking for a keyboard that isn't strictly gaming-focused, check out our recommendations for the best keyboards or the best mechanical keyboards. Alternatively, if you're looking for a gaming keyboard on a strict budget, check out our recommendations for the best budget gaming keyboards.
The best gaming keyboard we've tested is the SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL (2023). Note that this keyboard has been on sale for short periods lately, and you may find it around the same price or possibly even less expensive than our upper mid-range pick below. This keyboard stands out for having an adjustable pre-travel distance feature; you can set the sensitivity of your keypresses or even assign two inputs depending on how far down you press your key. Whether you want a nearly instant actuation point for competitive gaming or a longer pre-travel distance for general typing, you can customize each key individually within a wide range to best suit your needs.
This keyboard also includes a detachable wrist rest for added support, a rare feature for keyboards of its size. Speaking of size, if you're interested in this keyboard but looking for an even more compact version to give you the most room for sweeping mouse movements, check out the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini. Or, if you prefer a version that includes a Numpad, look no further than the full-size SteelSeries Apex Pro. Also, if you prefer wireless keyboards so you don't have cables cluttering your desk, most Apex Pro boards have wireless versions available.
At an upper mid-range price point, our recommendation is the Logitech G715. It's a playful keyboard with a plush, cloud-shaped wrist rest, pastel-colored accents, and a nice "underglow" effect from the frosted RGB lighting strip around the unit. Although this board doesn't allow you to change the sensitivity of each keypress like our top pick, the SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL (2023), the very low latency and overall gaming performance are just as fantastic. Additionally, it's a great out-of-the-box unit that requires minimal tweaking or programming to get it to feel just right.
Whether you use it wired with the included USB-A to USB-C cable or wirelessly with its USB receiver, it delivers a responsive in-game experience with no noticeable delay, even if you're playing competitively. You can get this unit with your choice of Logitech's own GX switches in the usual offerings of linear Red, tactile Brown, or clicky Blue, so you can pick the switch feeling you prefer.
At a mid-range price point, we recommend the Corsair K70 RGB TKL. In addition to its outstanding gaming performance, the K70 RGB TKL features excellent build quality with a hard plastic chassis, durable PBT keycaps, and ergonomic kickstands that open sideways, so you don't accidentally collapse them if you accidentally nudge your board. Performance-wise, this keyboard has a maximum polling rate of 8000Hz, which means it reports your keystrokes to your computer much more often than most gaming keyboards.
This feature contributes to this keyboard's near-millisecond latency and provides a very fluid and responsive in-game experience, especially when combined with the light-to-press Cherry MX switches. You can get this keyboard with either classic Cherry MX Red switches or Cherry MX Speed switches. Both switch types feel very light and smooth, but the Speed switches have a slightly shorter pre-travel, making them very quick to actuate.
This keyboard is part of a larger Corsair K70 lineup that features keyboards of different sizes with slightly different features. While we recommend the TKL size here, as it gives you the most space on the side for mouse movements, you might prefer a larger board like the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2, which costs a little more but includes a wrist rest.
If the more expensive options on this list are a bit out of your price range, we recommend the Razer Huntsman Mini as a more budget-friendly model. This board uses Razer's Optical switches, available in clicky or linear varieties. While these switches feel like standard mechanical switches, they use a beam of light to register keystrokes. Combined with how lightweight these switches are, the result is an extremely responsive feeling experience. Like other Razer options, this keyboard offers all the standard customization features with Razer's Synapse 3 software, including macro programming, per-key RGB backlighting effects, and onboard storage for custom profiles.
The build quality is also excellent, and it feels very sturdy, even compared to the more premium options on this list. One of its major selling points is its gaming-friendly compact size that takes up very little room on your desk, giving your setup a minimal look and leaving plenty of room for sweeping mouse movements. Unfortunately, this board has a fairly high profile, like most other options here. It doesn't include a wrist rest, so you may consider buying one separately for the most comfortable gaming experience.
Look no further than the SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL for a cheaper option. Its TenKeyLess form factor leaves you plenty of space on your desk for sweeping mouse movements, and while most options on this list use more mechanical switches, this keyboard has rubber dome switches. These switches are fairly light to press, and they're very quiet compared to most mechanical switches. This switch type is also more resistant to small spills and debris. However, they have a longer pre-travel, making them less responsive.
The latency on this keyboard is higher than on more premium options, so we don't recommend it for high-stakes competitive play, but it's more than suitable for casual gaming in any genre. It also has some extra features that are rare at this price point, including the ability to set macros to any key, dedicated media keys, and a volume wheel. It has RGB lighting, but the keys aren't individually lit, so you only have eight customizable zones. If you'd prefer a more traditional form factor, there's a full-size version of this keyboard, the SteelSeries Apex 3. It's virtually identical apart from its size, but it includes a wrist rest and is typically only a bit more expensive.
The Wooting 60HE pushes the limits of gaming customization, and it's our recommendation if you're an enthusiast looking for the best gaming keyboard you can find. Like our top pick, the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless, the compact Wooting has proprietary switches that allow you to change the pre-travel distance of each key. However, this keyboard gives you a few more millimeters range, from an ultra-sensitive 0.1mm to a lengthy 4.0mm.
But that's only scratching the surface. The software offers additional features that can drastically change how you play your favorite games, including multi-input settings for programming different actions to trigger whether you tap or hold down a key or what Wooting calls a 'rapid trigger,' that eliminates the need for your keys to travel back up to a default reset point like on most gaming keyboards. In other words, this allows you to repeat keypresses more quickly, which can make a huge difference when playing FPS or rhythm games.
On top of it all, this keyboard has an Analog Mode, which mimics the gradual input of a gamepad controller and provides finer control that's ideal for racing games or flight sims. As a bonus, this software has a web version available, so you don't have to worry about excess bloatware on your system. Note that this keyboard isn't available through any major online retailers. Instead, you'll have to order the keyboard from Wooting's website. Lastly, If you're a gamer who needs arrow keys or a numpad, this keyboard is also available in a full-size version called the Wooting 2HE.
Jun 15, 2023: We've confirmed all our recommendations for pricing and availability and replaced the full-size Wooting 2HE as our 'Best Gaming Keyboard For Enthusiasts' pick with the compact Wooting 60HE due to its smaller size that leaves more room on your desk for mouse movements. We've also added the recently-reviewed ASUS ROG Azoth to our list of Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best non-mechanical and best mechanical 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.