Generally, mechanical keyboards are quite versatile, depending on what your preferences are. How they're made differs from other types of keyboards, like 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.
Note that we're currently retesting all of our keyboards for a new test bench update. This means that test results might change, and consequently, our recommendations. We'll continue to update the article, but the picks might not always be accurate until we finish testing all the keyboards.
We've tested over 115 keyboards, and our recommendations for the best mechanical keyboards are listed below. 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 full-size wired model is a fantastic choice for gamers, thanks to its unique setting that lets you change the linear OmniPoint switches' pre-travel distance. This precise customization provides a light gaming experience once you find the right setting for you. It also feels excellently built and comes with a wrist rest that can be attached magnetically.
It has lots of extra features, like a volume wheel and dedicated media keys, and there's also an OLED screen on which you can display almost anything you want. With the SteelSeries Engine software, you can remap the media keys, set macros to any key, and customize the RGB lighting. The software is fully compatible with Windows and macOS, so you can customize it to your liking on either operating system. If you prefer smaller keyboards, it also comes in a TenKeyLess size.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have any dedicated macro keys, which can be disappointing for some MMO gamers. Also, the wrist rest's material attracts a lot of dust. The software isn't compatible with Linux, but on the upside, you can save your settings to the onboard memory and maintain them when you move to a Linux computer. All in all, this is an outstanding mechanical gaming option, and it's among the best keyboards we've tested.
The Razer Huntsman Mini is the best wired mechanical keyboard in a compact size we've tested. Its small size takes up very little desk space, which is great for gamers who need a large surface to move the mouse, and it comes in two colors: classic black and mercury white. The overall build quality is excellent, the keycaps are doubleshot PBTs, but the keys do rattle and wobble a bit. It has per-key RGB backlighting, which you can customize with the software.
While we tested the variant with Razer's Clicky Optical switches (purple), it's available with Linear Optical switches (red) as well. The clicky switches have a short pre-travel distance and are easy to actuate, resulting in incredible responsiveness. They're also quite loud, so it isn't ideal for use in a quiet office environment and might be an issue if you're streaming or on voice chat. The typing experience is excellent, but the layout feels a bit cramped, which might lead to more typos than usual.
Since there aren't any dedicated function and navigation keys, most keys have a secondary function printed on the side, accessible by holding down the 'Fn' key. You can remap or set a macro to any key through software; however, Synapse 3 is only available for Windows. It has a high profile and provides two incline settings, but it doesn't come with a wrist rest. Nonetheless, it's an exceptional gaming keyboard that should please casual and serious gamers alike.
The best mechanical keyboard for typing that we’ve tested is the Razer BlackWidow Elite. This wired, full-size model is a great choice for programmers and office use. It feels very well-built, doesn’t exhibit too much flex, and has good ergonomics thanks to the two incline settings and detachable wrist rest.
Apart from the space bar that feels a bit wobbly, the keys are very stable, and the keyboard offers excellent typing quality that shouldn’t cause much fatigue over time. Our unit uses proprietary Razer Orange switches, which are quiet enough for noise-sensitive environments while also giving good tactile feedback. If you’re looking for a different kind of typing experience, you can also choose clicky Razer Green or linear Razer Yellow switches. The Elite also has some nice extra features like dedicated media keys, a volume wheel, and a Windows key lock, and it comes with the fantastic Razer Synapse 3 software to help you customize it to your liking.
Unfortunately, the software isn’t compatible with macOS, but it has onboard memory, so you can easily save your preferred settings and use them when you switch devices. Also, even though all the keys are macro-programmable, there aren’t any dedicated macro keys, which can be disappointing for some programmers. That said, the Razer is the best mechanical keyboard for typing that we’ve tested.
If you prefer a more comfortable keyboard, check out the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB. It doesn't feel as well-built as the Razer BlackWidow Elite and doesn't have as many extra features, but its ergonomics are excellent thanks to the split design that lets you place each half of the board the way you want. The Kinesis also has two separate wrist rests to make it even more comfortable, and typing on it for long sessions doesn't get too fatiguing, even without any incline settings. Our unit uses Cherry MX Brown switches, with subtle tactile feedback, but it's also available with Cherry MX Red, Blue, or Speed Silver if you prefer. Even though its extra features are fairly limited, it still has hotkeys for media control, and all of its keys are macro-programmable, on top of having a few dedicated macro keys on the side.
If you want a very well-built keyboard with many extra features, get the Razer, but if you prefer something with an ergonomic design for increased comfort, check out the Kinesis.
The best wireless mechanical keyboard we've tested is the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. This full-size model has excellent build quality thanks to the aluminum faceplate that makes it more solid. It has good ergonomics, with two adjustable incline settings and a detachable wrist rest. It also features full RGB backlighting that's great to work or play in the dark.
It can be used wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth or with its proprietary receiver. You can pair it with up to three different devices at the same time, and switching between them is easy thanks to the switch on the side. The unit we tested uses clicky Razer Green switches, which feel light to type on and give great tactile feedback. It also has remarkable latency and offers plenty of extra features, like macro-programmable keys and a volume control wheel.
Unfortunately, the switches on our unit are fairly loud and could bother people around you, but you can also choose linear Razer Yellow switches, which should be quieter. It's also quite large, especially with the wrist rest attached, so it may take a lot of space on your desk. That said, this is an amazing option that should satisfy most people, and it’s also one of the best gaming keyboards we’ve tested.
If you want something that takes less space on your desk, check out the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. It doesn't feel nearly as comfortable as the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro, and it has fewer extra features, but it's a 60% compact keyboard that's significantly smaller and lighter. The Obinslab feels very well-built, has full RGB backlighting, and is available in a wide variety of Cherry MX, Gateron, or Kailh switches. Just like the Razer, it can be used wired or wirelessly, though it only supports Bluetooth and doesn't come with a USB receiver. However, it's possible to pair it with four different devices, making it even more versatile. Due to its compact size, it has a poor amount of extra features, and more importantly, it lacks dedicated arrow keys, which may bother some people. On the plus side, there's software support for both Windows and macOS.
If you want a wireless keyboard that's more comfortable to type on and that offers a lot more extra features, go with the Razer. However, if you prefer something smaller to save some space on your desk, then the Obinslab is a great alternative for you.
The best mechanical keyboard we've tested in the budget price range is the Logitech G413. This is a simple full-size keyboard that features Logitech's proprietary Romer-G tactile switches. It's impressively well-built with a plastic frame and a brushed aluminum plate on top. The board doesn't flex at all, and it has very grippy rubber feet to keep the keyboard from sliding around. It doesn't come with a wrist rest, but its relatively low profile makes it comfortable to type on without one. It's a wired-only keyboard with a braided cable that ends in two USB-A connectors, one of which is for the USB passthrough.
The Romer-G switches are similar to Cherry MX Browns but with a softer tactile bump. They're responsive due to their short pre-travel distance, although they feel somewhat stiff and might cause some fatigue over time. The other downside is that the ABS keycaps feel cheap and may develop a shine quickly through regular use. Typing noise is pretty quiet, which is great for noise-sensitive environments. There's backlighting for gaming in the dark, although it's limited to a single red color.
Logitech's G HUB software lets you customize the keyboard, and it's available for both Windows and macOS. You can program macros, apply lighting effects, and create custom profiles, but unfortunately, there's no onboard memory to save the settings. Overall, it's not the most feature-rich model, but most people should be happy with it for its wallet-friendly price.
Apr 09, 2021: Minor text and structure changes. No change in recommendations.
Mar 12, 2021: Added the Corsair K100 RGB to Notable Mentions.
Feb 12, 2021: Minor text and structure changes. Replaced Obinslab Anne Pro 2 with Razer Huntsman Mini. Added Obinslab Anne Pro 2 as 'Compact Alternative' to the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro.
Jan 15, 2021: Removed Ducky One 2 SF as 'Alternative with Dedicated Arrow Keys' and moved it to the Notable Mentions.
Dec 16, 2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
Nov 26, 2020: Added Razer Pro Type as a Notable Mention.
Oct 30, 2020: Replaced the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED with the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro as 'Best Wireless Mechanical Keyboard', and replaced the Ducky MIYA Pro with the Ducky One 2 SF as 'Alternative with Dedicated Arrow Keys'.
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 mechanical 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.