Mechanical keyboards are becoming all the rage. They differ from the keyboards normally found in laptops or at department store checkouts as they use aptly named 'mechanical switches' to register keypresses. Mechanical switches consist of moving parts, often a spring and metal contact points, that complete a circuit, but not all mechanical switches are the same. There are many different types that offer different typing sensations and sounds, but most switches can be characterized as linear, clicky, or tactile, with tactile being the most common for typists and linear switches being the most common for gaming. Clicky switches are popular among enthusiasts as they offer a satisfying and distinct click that lets you know when a key's been registered. For more information on switch types and their properties, you can check out our article here.
Essentially, when choosing a mechanical keyboard, everything boils down to personal preference, and with so many options on the market, you're guaranteed to find a keyboard that checks all the boxes.
We've tested over 185 keyboards, and below are our recommendations for the best mechanical keyboards. If you're interested in a mechanical keyboard for a specific use, check out our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards and the best keyboards for typing. Otherwise, if you're on a tight budget, you can check out the article for the best budget mechanical keyboards.
The best of the best that we've tested is the Keychron Q6. This keyboard is like a Cadillac for your fingertips, boasting an incredible design with high-quality parts right out of the box. It's gasket-mounted, meaning the circuit board is suspended within the frame. So, when you type on it, the typing doesn't feel stiff and instead, there's a bit of bounce that feels satisfying. Plus, this design makes space in the case for not one but two layers of sound-dampening foam, which reduces the ping and rattle from the switches and stabilizers for a quiet and acoustically pleasing typing experience.
The incredible part of this already incredible unit is the range of customization and reparability. Each unit comes with an included toolkit that has all of the tools you need to deconstruct the keyboard. If you want to add more foam for an even quieter typing experience or replace a switch that malfunctions, you can easily do it yourself without having to contact customer service. Everything, from the keycaps down to the case foam at the bottom, is interchangeable, so you can get a bespoke unit that best suits you.
While we mention the full-size Q6 here, it's the sixth keyboard in Keychron's extensive Q lineup. There's a Q keyboard in every size, from the programming and typist-friendly Keychron Q2 to the TenKeyLess Keychron Q3 and even the split-key, ergonomically styled Keychron Q8. Regardless of which size and model you spring for, you can rest assured you're getting a top-of-the-line typing experience that you can keep for years, altering it and customizing it as you go.
If you're a bit intimidated by all the potential customization options of the previously mentioned Keychron Q6, check out the SteelSeries Apex Pro. This pre-built unit only has one switch type, but these aren't your ordinary mechanical switches. The OmniPoint switches inside use magnets to register keypresses rather than a fixed physical mechanism. Due to this technology, you can adjust the actuation point, or sensitivity, of every single one of your keys.
In practice, this means if you want super sensitive A and D keys for movements while gaming, you can set the actuation point for 1.5mm into the keypress. Or, if you'd prefer a deeper actuation point for typing, you can change that too. While the actuation point is one of the—no pun intended—key features of this keyboard, there's a whole host of other features, like incredibly low latency, USB passthrough to plug in a headset or mouse dongle, a nice wrist rest, volume knob, and even an OLED screen in the top right corner to display gifs, system or keyboard settings, or even a picture of your mother if that's what you want.
Though Razer is mostly known for their gaming peripherals, the Razer Pro Type Ultra is designed for office use, meaning it prioritizes comfort and office functionality but keeps the split-millisecond latency that Razer's known for, making it a versatile choice for both work and play. In terms of its office features, it has a comfortable, detachable wrist rest and soft-touch covering on its keycaps to provide extra grip. It's also a wireless unit with a battery life of over 200 hours when you turn the backlighting off.
Similar to the SteelSeries Apex Pro, this keyboard only comes with one switch option at checkout. However, you can't adjust the sensitivity like you can with the SteelSeries, which is a bit of a downside since the linear Razer Yellow switches are very sensitive to type on. So while you likely won't feel any finger or wrist fatigue during the day, you might find yourself a bit more prone to typos at first until you get used to the keyboard. Though the smooth keypress feels great for gaming, you might want the resistance of a tactile switch for typing, in which case, check out the Razer Pro Type, the previous version of this keyboard that comes with tactile Razer Orange switches.
No keyboard comes close to the Keychron K10, or the whole K-series, when it comes to price for performance. Despite its budget price point, the K10 offers an incredible typing experience out of the box. It comes with your choice of Gateron G Pro switches, which come pre-lubricated from the factory as a nice added touch that provides an incredibly smooth keypress. The standout feature of this keyboard is the system compatibility and the wireless connectivity. There's a toggle on the top of the board to switch between Windows and macOS systems, and the keyboard comes with system-specific keycaps for the modifier keys.
You can connect this keyboard with up to three devices at once using Bluetooth or use it wired, and the battery life is incredible, allowing you to clock over 200 hours of use on a single charge with the backlighting off. Even though this is a budget model, it does have a full array of RGB backlighting, though it's worth noting there's no companion software to customize it.
What it does have is a light weight and tiny footprint that makes it a great companion for any on-the-go work you need it for. Plus, it's a wireless unit that supports multi-device pairing with up to three devices using Bluetooth, so you don't have to worry about any cables except for its charging cable. However, with a 10-hour battery life, it'll give you enough juice to last the workday. Impressively, this cheap little unit has a hot-swappable printed circuit board, meaning you can pull out the stock switches and replace them with any switch you want to control how your keyboard feels and sounds during use.
Plus, with a hot-swappable PCB, you can replace broken or malfunctioning switches without soldering anything. You can buy a few different variants of this keyboard with different wireless connectivity options and backlighting colors, meaning you can save a bit more money if you don't care about RGB lighting or having a USB receiver.
The solidly-built GLORIOUS GMMK PRO has been a favorite among keyboard modification hobbyists since it first launched due to its high level of customization. Unlike the Keychron Q6, which you can buy fully assembled, this keyboard only comes barebones, meaning you'll have to purchase the keycaps and switches separately. You'll also have to install them yourself, which feels a bit like playing with LEGO, but it can be a bit tedious if you're not into that sort of thing.
Though, it's important to mention that it's not just the switches and the keycaps that are customizable. This keyboard is designed to be taken apart, tweaked, and modified at any level, so you can easily replace the sound-dampening foam inside the case with a different type of foam if you want a certain sound profile. Likewise, you can purchase different top plates, rotary knobs, and cables directly from GLORIOUS to complete your custom look. Unfortunately, you'll also have to buy the tools separately, like a keycap puller and switch puller, as this keyboard doesn't come with them.
Nov 25, 2022: Removed the Keychron K3 (Version 2) as the 'Best For Mac' pick due to discontinuation.
Oct 28, 2022: Minor changes to text for readability and clarity; no changes to picks.
Sep 28, 2022: Replaced the Corsair K100 RGB with the Keychron Q6 as the 'Best Mechanical Keyboard' as the Keychron offers more switch options that are both for work and gaming and a better overall typing experience.
Jul 29, 2022: Overhauled category titles to better align with user expectations. Renamed the 'Customizable' category to 'Best Modular Mechanical Keyboard' category with the GLORIOUS GMMK PRO as the main pick instead of the Keychron Q2. Removed Notable Mentions that were no longer relevant.
Jun 30, 2022: Replaced the EVGA Z15 with the Keychron K4 for consistency across articles; moved EVGA Z15 to Notable Mentions. Added a new category for 'Best Customizable Mechanical Keyboard' with the Keychron Q2 as the main pick.
Whether you're looking for the best compact mechanical keyboard, the best full size mechanical keyboard, or the best TKL mechanical keyboard, the above recommendations are what we think are currently the best options available. 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.