When shopping for the best gaming keyboard, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the choices. Should you go mechanical or non-mechanical? Do you want a full-size model, a TenKeyLess (TKL) variant, or maybe a compact size? Generally speaking, most gamers lean towards mechanical keyboards as they typically feel sturdier and more responsive and come in many different switch types with unique characteristics. However, they're usually more expensive and may not be the perfect choice for everyone.
Full-size options are great if you plan on using your keyboard for work and play, while TKL and compact sizes get rid of some parts of a full-sized keyboard, so they take up much less space on your desk. Another crucial aspect to choosing the right great gaming keyboard is latency, which largely determines how responsive-feeling a keyboard is. It's also important to consider how comfortable a keyboard will be to use for the length of your gaming sessions.
We've tested over 150 keyboards, and these are our recommendations for the best keyboards for gaming. See our picks for the best keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best wireless keyboards.
For wired options, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is the best gaming keyboard we've tested. It's an outstanding, high-end keyboard with a unique feature that lets you adjust the pre-travel distance of each key. It has very low latency, all keys are macro-programmable using the SteelSeries Engine software, and it has onboard memory for saving custom settings.
It also has dedicated media keys, full RGB backlighting, and even an OLED screen where you can make settings or lighting adjustments directly on the keyboard. As for its flagship feature, you can customize the pre-travel distance of individual switches. Setting it higher can mean better typing accuracy, but for gaming, you can lower the pre-travel for some of your most important or heavily-used keys, like the WASD keys, to give them a quicker, more responsive feeling in-game.
Unfortunately, because the switches are linear, they don't offer any tactile feedback, which may not be ideal for users who also want to use this keyboard for a lot of productivity tasks or typing. It also comes with a comfortable wrist rest, but it's prone to attracting dust. All said, though, this is one of the best mechanical keyboards for gaming and is a great choice for anyone who loves to optimize their gaming experience.
The best gaming keyboard for MMOs we've tested is the Corsair K100 RGB. It's a high-end keyboard with a detachable cushioned wrist rest, two incline settings, and a build quality that feels very sturdy overall. All of its keys are macro-programmable, including the volume wheel and all the media keys, and it has a row of six dedicated macro keys on the left.
The unit we tested has linear Cherry MX Speed switches, which feel very light and have a significantly low pre-travel distance. Coupled with this keyboard's exceptionally low latency, they provide a very responsive feeling during gaming. This board also has an 8000Hz maximum polling rate, which further contributes to a more responsive-feeling experience, though using this feature is very taxing on computers, and some gamers may not notice much of a difference compared to lower, standard polling rates.
Unfortunately, while the majority of the keycaps are PBT plastic, the macro keys and the extra keycaps included in the box are ABS keycaps which can be slippery and prone to showing oil from fingers. Also, while this keyboard is available with linear Corsair OPX switches, it isn't available with any tactile switch types. Altogether, this is keyboard offers great comfort for a gaming option with loads of macro possibilities for serious MMO gamers.
The best wireless gaming keyboard we've tested is the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. You can use this full-size model either wired or wirelessly, and it can pair with up to three devices simultaneously via Bluetooth or its proprietary receiver. It has incredibly low latency and should feel very responsive while gaming. It's a little higher over a Bluetooth connection, but that's a normal limitation of Bluetooth technology.
You can remap functions, set macros to any key, and customize the RGB backlighting on a per-key basis using the customization software. It also has dedicated media keys, a volume control knob, and a Windows lock key to prevent you from accidentally minimizing out of your game. While we tested the clicky Razer Green switches, the keyboard is also available with linear Razer Yellow switches.
Unfortunately, it comes with ABS keycaps, which are prone to developing shine from the oil on your fingers, and some keys don't work on macOS. Also, the software is only available on Windows; however, it does have onboard memory, so you can save settings and use them on a computer that doesn't have the software installed. All in all, this is an outstanding gaming option if you want a full-size keyboard with exceptional wireless versatility.
If you feel that bigger isn't necessarily better, you'll want to take a peek at the Obinslab Anne Pro 2, which is the best mechanical keyboard for gaming we've tasted in a compact format. It's a 60% compact keyboard that takes up very little space on your desk. Its frame is plastic, but it feels very sturdy, and it has high quality, doubleshot PBT keycaps with a matte finish.
It has exceptionally low latency over a wired connection. However, you can also connect it wirelessly via Bluetooth, which is great for productivity but not something we recommend for gaming as the latency is much higher over a Bluetooth connection. The unit we purchased has tactile Gateron Brown switches that don't require much force to actuate, but the pre-travel is slightly higher than other mechanical switches, which some gamers might be disappointed with. That said, it's also available in a wide variety of other switch types, including linear switches, which many gamers prefer for their responsiveness.
Unfortunately, it's not the most comfortable option as it lacks an included wrist rest, and there aren't any incline settings. That said, it's a very performant option in a tidy, compact package to leave you with more room for big mouse movements while gaming.
We know some gamers feel the Numpad hanging off the side of a full-size keyboard is just dead weight. If that sounds like you, you'll want to check out the Corsair K70 RGB TKL, which is our pick for the best keyboard for gaming in a (TKL) format. This keyboard is a scaled-down 80% version of the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2. Altogether it feels very well-built, its keys feel stable and well-spaced, and it has thick, doubleshot PBT keycaps.
Its latency is extremely low, and it has a maximum polling rate of 8000Hz, which is much higher than most gaming keyboards and means the keyboard can send electronic reports back to its connected computer more often. Doing so can provide slightly faster response times, but not all gamers will notice a difference with it enabled, and it can eat up a considerable amount of your system resources. Our unit has linear Cherry MX Speed switches, which feel responsive and very light. However, they don't feel completely linear. If you prefer a linear switch, it's also available with Cherry MX Reds.
Unfortunately, it doesn't include a wrist rest, meaning longer gaming sessions may tire out your hands and arms quicker. Also, while it has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, the overall brightness isn't very impressive. That said, this is a very high-performance option for any fans of the TKL form factor.
The best gaming keyboard in the budget category we've tested is the EVGA Z15. It's a full-sized keyboard with a solid plastic base and a brushed metal backplate. It also has a surprising number of gaming-oriented features you'd normally only find on higher-end keyboards.
First and foremost, It has outstanding click latency and should deliver a responsive-feeling gaming experience for gamers of any genre. The unit we purchased has clicky Kailh Speed Bronze switches, but you can also get it with linear Kailh Speed Silver switches, which some may prefer for gaming. It's also hot-swappable, so you can always change out the stock switches. Additionally, you can adjust the RGB backlighting, rebind keys, and assign macros to any key using EVGA's Unleash RGB software.
Unfortunately, the keycaps are made of ABS plastic which can get shiny from the oils on your fingers, and most users will find they aren't quite as comfortable to type on as PBT keycaps. Also, while it has good overall ergonomics and an included wrist rest, the wrist rest itself is made of hard plastic. Despite these minor downsides, this is an outstanding choice if you're in the market for a versatile, mechanical gaming keyboard at a budget price point.
If you'd prefer a non-mechanical option, the EVGA Z12 is the best keyboard for gaming with rubber dome switches we've tested. It's a full-sized budget keyboard and the only non-mechanical model in EVGA's current lineup.
Its rubber dome switches are much lighter to press than most similar switches we've tested. However, they also offer slightly less tactile feedback. Performance-wise, It has decent latency that will provide a responsive-feeling experience for most gamers, but competitive gamers will likely prefer a keyboard with lower latency. While it doesn't have full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, it has zone-lit RGB with five customizable zones. You can adjust these lighting zones as well as reprogram or set macros for any of the keys using the customization software.
Unfortunately, it doesn't feel very sturdy and is made of plastic that flexes a lot. The ABS keycaps also feel cheap as they're slippery and prone to showing oil residue from your fingers. Additionally, it doesn't have an included wrist rest, though EVGA does sell them separately. That said, this keyboard is a fantastic choice if you prefer the feel of non-mechanical switches, and it's much more affordable than many other gaming-focused models.
Jan 20, 2022: Confirmed the continued availability of all products; made no changes to our picks.
Dec 24, 2021: We've replaced the Logitech G413 with the EVGA-Z15 as the 'Best Budget Keyboard For Gaming'.
Nov 26, 2021: We've restructured this article by transforming our alternative picks to standalone categories. New categories based on previous alternate picks include 'Best Wired Keyboard For MMO Gaming', 'Best Compact Keyboard For Gaming', and 'Best Non-Mechanical Keyboard For Gaming'. All categories retain their previous associated picks except for the 'Best Non-Mechanical Keyboard For Gaming' category, where we've replaced the Corsair K55 RGB PRO XT with the currently much less expensive EVGA Z12. We've also added the 'Best TKL Keyboard For Gaming' category, with the Corsair K70 RGB TKL as our pick.
Oct 28, 2021: Verified picks for availability and updated text for accuracy; added the EVGA Z15 to Notable Mentions.
Oct 01, 2021: Moved the Corsair K100 to an alternative to the SteelSeries Apex Pro for consistency; added the Ducky One 2, EVGA Z12, and ASUS ROG Falchion 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.