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 models 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 it might not be for everyone. Taking your needs into consideration when looking for the best keyboard for gaming, it's also important to consider the build quality, your preferences in terms of switches, and how comfortable the keyboard is for long gaming sessions.
We've tested over 110 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 full-sized gaming keyboard we’ve tested is the SteelSeries Apex Pro. It feels very solid and durable, and it has good ergonomics thanks to its detachable wrist rest and adjustable incline setting. It has full RGB backlighting with individually backlit keys, which is great to play in the dark. It's also compatible with the SteelSeries Engine software, giving you plenty of customization options.
It features linear OmniPoint switches that let you set your preferred pre-travel distance. This means you can choose a short pre-travel while playing to increase the responsiveness and then switch to a longer pre-travel to improve typing accuracy while working. It also has a customizable OLED screen that lets you display almost anything you like, and all of its keys are macro-programmable.
Unfortunately, the included wrist rest collects dust quite rapidly, which can be annoying. Additionally, the incline feet open up vertically, so they can involuntarily fold back in if you move your keyboard forward. That said, this is the best full-sized gaming keyboard that we’ve tested. It's full of gaming features that should satisfy both casual and competitive gamers.
If you prefer mechanical switches that provide tactile feedback, check out the Razer BlackWidow Elite. It doesn't have the adjustable pre-travel distance keys of the SteelSeries Apex Pro, but it has better typing quality with low pre-travel distance and good spacing between keys. Our unit has tactile Razer Orange switches, but it's also available with clicky Razer Green or linear Razer Yellow switches, and we expect them to perform similarly. It also has exceptionally low latency and good ergonomics, including two incline settings and a detachable leatherette wrist rest. It has full RGB backlighting bright enough for well-lit environments, and Its companion software allows you to reprogram keys, set macros, adjust lighting, and save custom profiles onboard.
If you want a gaming keyboard with linear switches and adjustable pre-travel, go with the SteelSeries. If you'd prefer mechanical switches with tactile feedback and a better overall typing quality, go with the Razer.
The best TenKeyLess gaming keyboard we've tested is the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL. Despite mostly being made of plastic, it has an excellent build quality, and it features a rigid aluminum top plate and doubleshot ABS keycaps that feel very stable. It also has good ergonomics and includes a magnetically-attached wrist rest. There's only one adjustable incline setting, but this is unlikely to pose any problems for most people, even when typing for extended periods.
It also has full individual key RGB backlighting, dedicated macro keys, and an OLED screen that allows you to change settings without minimizing out of games. Our unit has SteelSeries Brown switches that provide a light and a responsive typing experience with a small tactile bump to overcome before actuation. That said, the keys also have a slightly longer pre-travel than other dedicated gaming keyboards, and some may find the keys feel too mushy. It's also available with linear SteelSeries Red or clicky SteelSeries Blue switches.
Unfortunately, it can't be connected wirelessly and lacks a Windows lock key to prevent accidentally minimizing out of games. That said, it has outstanding companion software that allows you to customize individual key backlighting, program the dedicated macro keys, and save custom profiles either onboard or to cloud storage. Overall, this is an exceptional compact gaming keyboard and the best TKL keyboard for gaming that we've tested.
The best wireless keyboard for gaming that we’ve tested is the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. This full-sized model is mostly made out of plastic, but it has an aluminum faceplate, giving it excellent overall build quality. The ergonomics are also good thanks to the included wrist rest and two incline settings. It has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, which is great for playing in dark rooms.
You can connect it via Bluetooth or with its USB receiver, and you can pair it with up to three devices, easily swapping between them with a switch on the left side. Typing quality is great overall, and it shouldn’t cause any fatigue or pain even after long periods of use. We tested the variant with clicky Razer Green switches, which feel light and very responsive, but it's also available with linear Razer Yellow switches.
Unfortunately, the clicky switches on our unit are fairly loud, which may bother people around you. If you're concerned about noise, you may prefer the Razer Yellow switches, which should be quieter. Also, the companion software is only available on Windows, and a few buttons don’t work on macOS. That said, it has outstanding latency and a bunch of extra features that make it one of the best wireless keyboards we've tested.
The best keyboard for MMO gaming that we’ve tested is the Corsair K100 RGB. It feels very well-built, thanks to the metal top plate and solid plastic base, and has good ergonomics, with one incline setting and a detachable wrist rest. The keycaps are made of doubleshot PBT and feel durable, while the incline feet are thick and grippy, preventing the keyboard from moving around.
There are six dedicated macro keys, as well as full RGB backlighting and dedicated media keys. The iCUE software has plenty of customization options and allows you to easily reprogram all the keys, set macros, and customize the lighting. Our unit has linear Cherry MX Speed switches, which provide no feedback but feel very light and responsive. If you prefer something different, it's also available with Corsair OPX optical switches, which are advertised to have an even shorter pre-travel distance.
Unfortunately, it has limited compatibility with macOS and Linux, though only the Pause Break, Scroll Lock, and Print Screen buttons don’t work on macOS. Also, because the switches have very short pre-travel, it may cause more unintentional strokes to be registered if you’re not used to it. That said, this is an outstanding gaming keyboard and the best for MMOs among the ones that we've tested.
The best gaming keyboard that we've tested in the budget category is the Logitech G413. It's a very straightforward model with great build quality, a brushed aluminum finish, and very little flex to it. It uses tactile Romer-G switches that have a smooth bump for tactile feedback and fairly short pre-travel, giving you a good typing experience overall.
It has a few extra features like media hotkeys and a USB passthrough. It also has individually backlit keys, although the only color available is red. The keys feel light and responsive for gaming, and there’s also a Windows key lock to prevent you from accidentally minimizing your game. The G HUB companion software allows you to customize some settings, like the red backlighting effects, or set macros, though only the function keys are macro-programmable.
Unfortunately, the ergonomics are only okay, as there's no wrist rest and only one incline setting, so it may get quite uncomfortable after long periods. Also, the ABS keycaps feel a bit cheap, and there's no onboard memory. Nevertheless, this is an excellent budget option and one of the best mechanical keyboards we've tested.
The best gaming keyboard with non-mechanical switches that we’ve tested is the Razer Ornata V2. This full-sized wired model has good ergonomics thanks to its detachable wrist rest and two incline settings. It also comes with full RGB backlighting that’s easily customizable and has some nice extra features, like dedicated media keys, a Windows key lock, and a volume wheel.
It uses Razer Mecha-Membrane switches, which feel a lot like typical rubber dome switches while giving clicky feedback. They offer good overall typing quality, though they may feel less responsive than some mechanical switches as the pre-travel distance is a bit longer. Like most Razer products, the companion software is Razer Synapse 3, which has plenty of customization options, like remapping keys or setting backlighting effects.
Unfortunately, the software is only available on Windows, and some keys like the context menu don’t work on macOS. Also, the switches are loud and may bother people around you if you’re in a noise-sensitive environment. That said, this is an excellent gaming keyboard with unique switches that should meet the needs of most gamers looking for a non-mechanical model.
Mar 19, 2021: Verified picks and availability; no changes to recommendations. Added Razer Huntsman V2 Analog to Notable Mentions.
Feb 17, 2021: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
Jan 18, 2021: Made the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL the 'Best TKL Keyboard for Gaming', the Corsair K100 RGB the 'Best Keyboard for MMO Gaming', and the Razer Ornata V2 the 'Best Non-Mechanical Keyboard for Gaming'. Moved the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition and the SteelSeries Apex 3 to Notable Mentions.
Dec 18, 2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
Oct 30, 2020: Made the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro the 'Best Wireless Keyboard for Gaming' and added the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED to Notable Mentions.
Oct 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'.
Sep 04, 2020: Added Razer Huntsman Mini 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.