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 105 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-sized wired model is a fantastic choice for gamers, thanks to its unique setting that lets you change the linear OmniPoint switches' pre-travel distance to your needs. 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 nice 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 best mechanical keyboard for typing that we’ve tested is the Razer BlackWidow Elite. This wired, full-sized model is a great choice for programmers and office use. It feels very well-built and doesn’t exhibit too much flex, and it also 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 the clicky Razer Green or the linear Razer Yellow switches, though we didn’t test those. 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 keyboard with an ergonomic design, take a look at the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB. It doesn’t feel as well-built and doesn’t have as many extra features as the Razer BlackWidow Elite, but its ergonomics are much better thanks to its detachable wrist rest and the split-board design that lets you position each half the way you want. The Kinesis is a great versatile model, and it’s available with many different Cherry MX switches, so you can choose one that suits your preferences, though we only tested the Cherry MX Brown switches. The keys are very stable, providing a great typing experience, and it has full RGB backlighting. However, the extra features are rather limited, though it does have a few dedicated macro keys. It also comes with fantastic companion software, the RGB SmartSet, that lets you create and save up to nine profiles.
If you’re looking for a great keyboard for typing that feels very well-built and offers many extra features, go with the Razer, but if you prefer one that has an ergonomic design, then the Kinesis is a very good choice.
The best mechanical keyboard that we've tested in a compact size is the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. This compact 60% wireless model feels excellently built, made of sturdy plastic with solid PBT keycaps. It can pair with up to four devices simultaneously via Bluetooth, and you can easily switch between them with the press of a key. You can customize the RGB lighting and set macros to any key with the ObinsKit software.
The Gateron Brown switches on our unit provide excellent tactile feedback, and they don't require much force to actuate. They have a fair amount of pre-travel distance, which means typos should be less likely to happen, but your fingers may get tired after a day of work if you're not used to it. The switches are fairly quiet and should be silent enough for most office environments. If you prefer a different feel, it's also available in a variety of Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh switches, but keep in mind that the typing experience and noise level will be different.
Unfortunately, there aren't any incline settings, it doesn't come with a wrist rest, and the compact size may take a while to get used to. Also, there aren't many extra features, and it doesn't have dedicated media or arrow keys, but at least you can remap some of the keys to perform those actions. Overall, this is the best mechanical keyboard in a compact size, and it's also one of the best wireless keyboards we've tested.
The best wireless mechanical keyboard that we’ve tested yet is the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro. This full-sized model can be used wired or wirelessly, via Bluetooth or its USB receiver, and you can connect it with up to three different devices at the same time. It’s made of plastic with an aluminum faceplate that exhibits very little flex, resulting in excellent build quality.
It also has good ergonomics, thanks to the detachable wrist rest and two incline settings. Our unit uses clicky Razer Green switches, which feel very light and give great tactile feedback, but you can also get it with linear Razer Yellow switches if you prefer. The V3 Pro also offers nice extra features, such as macro-programmable keys, dedicated media keys, and a volume control wheel. You can program all of these and the full RGB backlighting within its fantastic companion software, the Razer Synapse 3.
Unfortunately, the software is only available on Windows, and the Scroll Lock and Pause buttons don’t work on macOS. Also, the board is quite large and bulky, especially with the wrist rest attached, so it may take up a lot of space on your desk. That said, this is an amazing wireless mechanical keyboard that should satisfy most people, and it’s also one of the best gaming keyboards we’ve tested.
The best mechanical keyboard we’ve tested in the budget price range is the Logitech G413. This wired-only model has good build quality, with a nice brushed aluminum finish and very little flex, though the keycaps feel a bit cheap. Despite its lower price point, it comes with some nice extra features such as media hotkeys, a USB passthrough, and macro-programmable function keys.
The overall typing quality is good thanks to the proprietary Romer-G Tactile switches that feel responsive while also having a small bump before actuation. Typing on it doesn’t make much noise and shouldn’t bother people around you, even if you’re in a noise-sensitive environment. It also comes with the Logitech G HUB software, which allows for a good amount of customization and is compatible with both Windows and macOS.
Unfortunately, the ergonomics are only okay, as this is a straight board with no wrist rest and only one incline setting, so it could be uncomfortable to type on it for long periods of time. Also, the backlighting is only available in red, but at least you can easily control its brightness and set some effects within the software. All in all, this is the best budget keyboard that we’ve tested with mechanical switches.
01/15/2021: Removed Ducky One 2 SF as 'Alternative with Dedicated Arrow Keys' and moved it to the Notable Mentions.
12/16/2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
11/26/2020: Added Razer Pro Type as a Notable Mention.
10/30/2020: 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.