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 60 keyboards so far, 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 typing that we've tested so far is the Razer BlackWidow Elite. This is a full-size keyboard with an unassuming design that fits well in any professional setting. Its full matte black finish is devoid of any gamer aesthetic, and although it has full plastic construction, it feels sturdy and well-built. It has two incline settings where you can easily adjust for optimal comfort and a well-padded wrist rest that feels very comfortable.
There are three types of switches to choose from when purchasing this keyboard: Razer Orange, Green, or Yellow. Our Razer Orange variant feels like Cherry MX Brown switches, which provide tactile feedback without making too much noise, great for quiet office environments. The keys are well-spaced and stable, but there's a little bit of wobbling on the spacebar. Overall, the typing feels light, responsive, and shouldn't cause any fatigue over time. Also, there are dedicated media controls at the top right and a USB passthrough on the side so that you can charge your mobile devices.
If you often work with macros, the good news is that you can record them on-the-fly. That said, if you want to create or save profiles, you need to use Razer's Synapse 3 software, which is only available for Windows. Those on Linux and macOS can still use the keyboard, as most keys do function properly; you just won't be able to customize it fully. If you're looking for a well-rounded keyboard, and one of the best mechanical keyboards for typing, that offers convenient features and a great typing experience, you should check this one out.
If you're looking for a more ergonomic keyboard, then the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB is a good alternative. 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 how you want, and like the Razer, it's also available in a variety of Cherry MX switches. 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 this keyboard 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 keyboard, then check out the Kinesis.
The best mechanical keyboard in a compact format that we've tested so far is the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. This 60% compact keyboard feels very well-built with a solid plastic frame, and it looks sleek in most computer setups. The unit that we tested included Gateron Brown switches, but this keyboard is also available with multiple varieties of Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh switches. The keys are also very stable, giving it an excellent typing experience.
While it's designed for gaming, its ability to reprogram every key with macros and good compatibility makes it great for programming as well. Gamers will also love the excellent RGB lighting, with each key being individually backlit, and a full RGB and brightness setting, with a white inside frame to help reflect light.
Unfortunately, due to its small size, ergonomics aren't very good, and typing on it for a while may start to feel uncomfortable. There are also no arrow keys, so the W, A, S, D keys act as substitutes with the Fn key, and the backlighting still isn't bright enough for well-lit rooms. This is a great compact mechanical keyboard, and it's also excellent for gaming.
If you want a compact 65% keyboard with dedicated arrow keys, then check out the Ducky MIYA Pro. Our unit doesn't have RGB backlighting like the Obinslab Anne Pro 2, as it has white backlighting with individually-lit keys, but you can also get an RGB variant. It's also available in different styles with a wide variety of switches, and our unit has Cherry MX Brown switches. They're fairly light to press, but the pre-travel distance is a bit higher than most other keyboards with Cherry MX Brown switches we've seen. The typing quality is great and all keys are macro-programmable through the dedicated software, and overall, it's a really well-built keyboard. Even though it doesn't come with a wrist rest, the keyboard has a low profile, so you shouldn't need one.
All in all, the best mechanical keyboard in a compact size we've reviewed so far is the Obinslab, but if you prefer a compact 65% keyboard with dedicated arrow keys, check out the Ducky.
The best wireless mechanical keyboard we've tested so far is the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED. It's a fantastic full-size gaming keyboard with a unique design. What sets this keyboard apart from others is its low profile, so the keys have very low pre-travel and travel distances. Our unit came with tactile keys, but it's available with clicky and linear switches as well.
Like most gaming keyboards, the RGB lighting is customizable on every key, plus 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 also great, as you can connect up to two devices at once and switch between them with a press of a button. Lastly, the keyboard 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 the keyboard doesn't come with a wrist rest. That said, this is an amazing wireless mechanical keyboard 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 we've seen so far.
The best mechanical keyboard in the budget category is the Logitech G413. It's an inexpensive full-sized keyboard with a few good gaming features that most casual gamers should be happy with.
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 too as the keycaps are fairly stable. This keyboard has red backlighting with individually-lit keys, so 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 it could get tiring typing on this keyboard for long periods. 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 keyboard that won't cost you much, making it the best mechanical keyboard if you're on a budget.
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.
07/09/2020: Updates to the text but no changes to recommendations.
06/05/2020: Structure change to eliminate most gaming-oriented keyboards to recommend mechanical keyboards that are more geared towards professionals.
04/16/2020: Replaced Logitech G613 LIGHTSPEED with Corsair K63 Wireless.
03/05/2020: Switched the K95 PLATINUM for the K95 PLATINUM XT.
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.