Mechanical keyboards are generally versatile for many uses, but it all depends 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.
We've tested over 50 keyboards so far, and listed below are our recommendations for the best mechanical keyboards. We have yet to review many professional mechanical keyboards, but we'll update the article once we do. See our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best keyboards for gaming, and the best wireless keyboards.
The best mechanical keyboard for typing 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 that you can easily adjust for optimal comfort and it comes with a well-padded wrist rest that feels very comfortable. There are dedicated media controls at the top right and a USB passthrough on the side, so you can charge your mobile devices.
There are three types of switches to choose from when purchasing this keyboard: Razer Orange, Green, or Yellow. Our Razer Orange variant feels a lot 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.
If you often work with macros, the good news is that you can record macros on-the-fly. That said, if you want to create or save profiles, then you would 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 fully customize it. All in all, if you're looking for a well-rounded keyboard that offers convenient features and a great typing experience, you should check this one out.
If you worry about the strain you put on your wrists when typing for long periods, there are ergonomic options that can potentially help, such as the ErgoDox EZ. Compared to the traditional layout of the Razer BlackWidow Elite, this may take you some time to get used to. Its split keyboard design lets you position the two halves however you like and both halves have a built-in wrist rest for optimal comfort. All keys are programmable using its customization software, which is available for Windows and macOS. We reviewed a unit that was outfitted with Cherry MX Brown switches, but you can get it in a variety of Cherry MX or Kailh switches to suit your taste. The switches are also hot-swappable, so you can even mix and match different types. There's no backlighting on the model that we reviewed, but you can get a variant that has full RGB backlighting.
If you want a feature-rich keyboard with a familiar layout, go with the Razer, but if you need a keyboard that provides better ergonomics, then the ErgoDox is a better choice.
The best mechanical keyboard in a compact format that we've tested so far is the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. Being 60% the size of a standard keyboard, it's suitable for any computer setup. Gamers will love the excellent RGB lighting and customization on every key, as well as programmable macro keys. A USB-C cable is included for wired gaming, but it can connect to four devices via Bluetooth, and it's easy to switch between each.
Despite being small and compact, this keyboard is well-built with solid plastic as a frame. It's available in a wide variety of switches, but our tested unit used the Gateron Brown tactile switches. It has a low actuation force, making it easier for gaming with this type of switch. The keys are also very stable, giving it an excellent typing experience.
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. This is a great compact mechanical keyboard, and it's also excellent for gaming.
If you need dedicated arrow keys for navigating through text easily, then go for the Vortex Race 3. It might not support full RGB like the Obinslab Anne Pro 2, although there are models that do have RGB backlighting, and it can't be used wirelessly via Bluetooth. On the other hand, the Vortex has a full metal frame that is very sturdy and feels durable. Its wired design also means it's fully compatible with macOS and Linux, and there's no software to download. It offers a great typing quality and it comes with nice PBT doubleshot keycaps. It also has colored keys to make it a bit more stylish.
If you're a fan of compact designs and want to use your keyboard wirelessly, then the Obinslab is a great option, but if you write a lot and need the navigation keys, go with the Vortex instead.
The best mechanical keyboard for gaming we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Apex Pro. This full-size keyboard comes packed with features that are unique and convenient, such as its customizable OLED screen and omnipoint switches. You can customize the screen to show virtually anything you want and it can also show stats like the kill/death ratio in your game. As for the switches, they're linear, so there's no tactile feedback, but what's special about them is that the actuation point is customizable as well; a shorter pre-travel provides more responsiveness, while a higher travel distance is better for typing, as it helps to reduce the number of unintended keystrokes.
This keyboard's build quality is excellent. It has a strong aluminum frame and doubleshot ABS keycaps, which is great for the durability of the key legends. There's full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, dedicated media controls, and a USB passthrough, which you can use to plug in other peripherals or to charge your mobile devices. Every key is macro programmable through SteelSeries' Engine software, but sadly, there aren't any dedicated macro keys for MMO games.
Typing on this keyboard feels great. It requires very little force to actuate the keys and it feels extremely responsive. The keys are stable and the keyboard comes with a nice wrist rest that attaches magnetically. Typing noise is quiet, so it shouldn't bother those around you. On the whole, this is an excellent gaming keyboard, and if you prefer a more compact version, there's a tenkeyless variant.
If you like the SteelSeries Apex Pro but mainly play MMO games, then go for the Corsair K95 PLATINUM XT. You might not be able to customize the actuation point of the switches, but it comes with a dedicated column of dedicated macro keys. These six extra inputs are great for having quick access to even more spells and abilities in-game. While we reviewed the variant with Cherry MX Blue switches, the keyboard is also available in tactile and silent Brown and linear Speed switches. This is a small but nice upgrade from the Corsair K95 PLATINUM, now that it has doubleshot PBT keycaps which should be more durable than the ABS keycaps from the previous model. It has full RGB lighting and you can set your preferred lighting settings inside the iCUE software.
If you want one of the quickest keyboards for gaming, the SteelSeries is one of the best choices we have, but if you need six extra macro keys, go for the Corsair.
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. It has a fantastic build quality, with a metal frame and hard plastic on the back.
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.
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.
If you're looking for a wireless gaming keyboard that's a bit cheaper, check out the Corsair K63. Unlike the Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED, this is a compact tenkeyless keyboard and it doesn't have any dedicated macro keys for MMO games. The backlighting is limited to a single color and it's only available with linear switches, which are easy to press but don't provide any tactile feedback. It comes with a wrist rest if you need the extra support and there's also a compatible lapboard that's sold separately, which is great for gaming from the couch on a big screen TV. This keyboard can connect via its wireless USB receiver or through Bluetooth, and you can pair it to two devices at the same time for better multitasking. There are dedicated media controls, all keys are macro programmable, and Corsair's customization software is available for Windows as well as macOS.
Overall, if you can afford it, the Logitech is a better keyboard, as you can get it with your preferred type of switches, and it has dedicated macro keys and full RGB backlighting. However, if you don't mind compromising on those features, the Corsair is a good alternative that costs significantly less.
The best budget mechanical keyboard we've tested so far is the Redragon K552-RGB. This is a compact keyboard with an impressive build quality; it has double-shot ABS keycaps, giving it a heavy and robust feel. This keyboard is average for overall use, but like most mechanical keyboards we've tested, it's good enough for gaming. This keyboard is available in a variety of clicky blue switches, which offer good tactile feedback but can be noisy for some.
It comes with full RGB backlighting, but because it doesn't have a programmable software, the customization has to be done through the keyboard. Each key is customizable, and there are 18 different lighting effects. The keyboard is also available in eight different styles with various backlight colors, and you can get it in either black or white.
However, it doesn't have a great typing quality because the sound of the tactile click doesn't quite line up with the actuation point. The ergonomics are alright and the high build of the keyboard might require a wrist rest, which it doesn't come with. Overall, if you're looking for a decent gaming keyboard at an affordable price, this is a solid choice.
05/07/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
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.