Generally, mechanical keyboards are quite versatile, depending on what your preferences are. How they're made differs from other types of keyboards, such as ones with rubber dome and scissor switches. Even within the product market, there are many different types of mechanical switches made by various companies. The three main types of switches are tactile and silent, tactile and clicky, and linear and silent. Linear switches are generally good for gaming, and tactile ones offer better feedback while typing. However, it all comes down to personal preference, and thankfully, a lot of options are available in a wide variety of switches to better suit your needs.
We've tested over 90 keyboards, and our recommendations for the best mechanical keyboards are listed below. We have yet to review many professional mechanical keyboards, but we'll update the article once we do. If you're looking for a keyboard to play games, check out the best gaming keyboards. Also, see our recommendations for the best keyboards and the best wireless keyboards.
The best mechanical keyboard for gaming that we've tested is the SteelSeries Apex Pro. This wired, full-sized model is an outstanding choice for gamers. It feels very well-built, with a solid aluminum body and double-shot ABS keycaps that feel durable. The straight design and detachable wrist rest offer good ergonomics, which should make gaming nice and comfortable.
It comes with OmniPoint proprietary switches, which offer linear feedback, and since there's no bump, provide a quiet typing experience. Also, you can set the actuation point in the companion software. It also has full RGB backlighting, and you can choose your preferred lighting option and control the brightness directly on the keyboard.
Unfortunately, there are no dedicated macro keys, which may be a dealbreaker for MMO gamers, and the plushy wrist rest is a dust magnet. On the upside, the keyboard is compatible with the SteelSeries Engine companion software and has onboard memory. Overall, this is one of the best keyboards we've tested.
The best mechanical keyboard for typing that we've tested is the Razer BlackWidow Elite. This wired, full-sized keyboard is a great choice for programmers and office use. It feels quite hefty and doesn't exhibit much in the way of flex. Also, the keycaps are made of ABS plastic and don't feel too cheap to touch. The ergonomics are also good for a straight keyboard, as it has two incline settings and a detachable wrist rest.
It uses proprietary Razer Orange switches, which offer quiet, tactile feedback and can be compared to the Cherry MX Brown switches. It has dedicated media keys, a volume wheel, and all keys are macro programmable. It's compatible with Razer Synapse 3 companion software, where you can customize the RGB backlighting and set your macros. The keyboard also has onboard memory to save your settings.
Unfortunately, this is a wired-only keyboard and can't be used wirelessly. Also, the detachable wrist rest can be slightly unstable, which may result in some awkward typing experiences. While the keyboard is fully compatible with Windows, Razer Synapse 3 isn't available on Linux or macOS. That said, all keys work as intended on Linux. Overall, if you're looking for a versatile keyboard with a great typing experience, the Elite is one of the best keyboards for programming that we've tested.
If you're looking for a more ergonomic keyboard, the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB is a good option. It doesn't have any incline settings like the Razer BlackWidow Elite, but you can buy a 'Lift Kit' separately if you want to raise the keyboard on an incline. Instead, this is a split keyboard, so you can place the two halves any way you want, and it's available in a variety of Cherry MX switches. The typing quality is great, every key is macro-programmable, there are dedicated macro keys, and it has full RGB backlighting. It may take some time getting used to it at first due to its unique design, but once you do, it offers great overall performance.
If you want the best mechanical keyboard for typing, you can't go wrong with the Razer, but if you prefer a truly split, ergonomic option, check out the Kinesis.
The best mechanical keyboard that we've tested available in a compact size is the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. It's a very well-built model with PBT keycaps that feel solid. The dedicated software, ObinsKit, is available on both Windows and macOS and offers a ton of customization options.
It has everything most gamers are looking for and is available in a variety of Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh switches, so you can get the ones you prefer. You can set macros to any key, and even though it doesn't have dedicated arrow keys, you can use the Right Shift, Fn, Context Menu, and Ctrl keys as arrow keys by enabling a feature in the software. It has full RGB backlighting, and the all-black keyboard comes with extra colored keycaps, which helps give a bit of life to the keyboard. Despite its compact size, the typing quality with the Gateron Brown switches on our unit is excellent.
Unfortunately, it doesn't offer much in terms of extra features, and the compact size may not be suitable for everyone. Luckily, it has multi-device pairing with up to four devices, great if you have multiple devices in your at-home office setup. All in all, if you're looking for the best mechanical keyboard in a compact size, you should be happy with this one.
If you prefer a 65% compact keyboard with dedicated arrow keys, look into the Ducky MIYA Pro. The dedicated software isn't available on macOS like the Obinslab Anne Pro 2, but you can get it in different variants, although most of them are purely aesthetic. Our unit has white backlighting, but you can also get it with RGB backlighting. It's also available in a variety of Cherry MX switches, and the Cherry MX Brown switches we tested offer excellent typing quality. It's wired-only, so you don't get the same multi-device pairing as the Obinslab, but that means you won't have to worry about charging a battery. All keys are macro-programmable, and even though it doesn't have dedicated media keys, you can easily set media controls through the software.
All in all, the Obinslab is the best option if you want a compact mechanical keyboard, but if you prefer something with arrow keys, check out the Ducky.
The best wireless mechanical keyboard we've tested is the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED. It's a fantastic full-size gaming model with a unique design. What sets it apart from others is its low profile; the keys have very low pre-travel and travel distances. Our unit came with tactile keys, but it's also available with clicky and linear switches.
The RGB lighting is customizable on every key, and it comes with five macro-programmable keys on the left side. The Logitech G HUB software is user-friendly and allows you to save as many profiles as you need. The wireless versatility is great, as you can connect up to two devices at once and switch between them with a press of a button. Lastly, it has a fantastic build quality, with a metal frame and hard plastic on the back.
On the other hand, typing quality is only decent. It's easier to make typos and doesn't come with a wrist rest. That said, this is an amazing wireless mechanical board if you plan on using it for gaming. It can be a bit expensive for some, but overall, it offers excellent gaming performance, making it the best mechanical keyboard in the wireless category that we've seen.
The best mechanical keyboard in the budget category is the Logitech G413. It's an inexpensive full-sized model with a few good gaming features that should make most casual gamers happy.
It has proprietary Romer-G Tactile switches, which are similar to Cherry MX Brown switches. They have a low pre-travel distance and are fairly light to press, which is great for gaming, and they offer good tactile feedback. The typing quality is good with fairly stable keycaps. It has red backlighting with individually-lit keys so that you can set some lighting effects, and there's a variant with white backlighting. Also, you can set macros to the 12 function keys through the Logitech G HUB software.
Unfortunately, it has limited ergonomics as it just has one incline setting, and typing for long periods can get tiring. It's a well-built keyboard, but the ABS keycaps feel a bit cheap and may shine very easily with regular use. All in all, this is an excellent gaming model that won't cost you much, making it the best mechanical keyboard if you're on a budget.
10/01/2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
09/04/2020: Added the SteelSeries Apex Pro as Best Gaming Keyboard.
08/07/2020: Replaced the ErgoDox EZ with the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB; replaced the Vortex Race 3 with the Ducky MIYA Pro; replaced the Redragon K552-RGB with the Logitech G413.
06/05/2020: Structure change to eliminate most gaming-oriented keyboards to recommend mechanical keyboards that are more geared towards professionals.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best mechanical keyboards 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.