Whether you need a keyboard with RGB backlighting for dark room gaming or just want to give your setup a personal touch or some flair, it's clear that the RGB craze is still going strong. From the most expensive keyboards on the market to budget options, it's possible to find a keyboard with great RGB backlighting and excellent customization options.
We've reviewed more than 30 keyboards, and below are our recommendations for the best RGB keyboards that are available for purchase in 2020. For other options, see our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards.
The best full-size RGB keyboard we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Apex Pro. It's a wired mechanical keyboard with an excellent build quality, and it comes with a comfortable wrist rest that attaches to the keyboard magnetically. It uses proprietary linear omnipoint switches that provide a light typing experience and shouldn't cause any fatigue over time. You can customize the actuation point to your liking through SteelSeries' Engine software, which is great if you prefer a lower actuation point for a responsive gaming experience, or a higher one to avoid unintended keystrokes from being registered, which helps with typing accuracy.
This keyboard comes with some extra features that are quite convenient, such as a dedicated media control key, a volume rocker, and an OLED screen that you can customize to show whatever you want. Also, you can customize the backlight of each key individually or just choose from one of the available presets. There's also a USB passthrough that you can use to charge your mobile devices or to plug in another peripheral such as a headset. Unfortunately, the Engine software is only available on Windows and macOS, so Linux users won't be able to customize the keyboard, though all the keys function properly.
On the whole, this is a feature-packed keyboard that should satisfy most gamers.
If you play a lot of MMO games, go with the Corsair K95 RGB PLATINUM XT. It might not offer the ability to customize the actuation point of the switches, but it has dedicated macro keys that the SteelSeries Apex Pro doesn't have. This can be very useful for quick access to certain spells and abilities in-game. This keyboard also has doubleshot PBT keycaps which feel very durable and is a nice upgrade from the previous Corsair K95 PLATINUM, which had ABS keycaps, just like the SteelSeries. The Corsair is also available in a wider variety of switches, so you can easily choose the ones you prefer. It also comes with a nice and plushy wrist rest.
Overall, the SteelSeries is better and offers more customization options, but if you need the extra macro keys, then go with the Corsair.
The best tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard with RGB backlighting that we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL. This keyboard's smaller footprint is great for small desks or for anyone who needs more room to move their mice. Like the SteelSeries Apex Pro, it has an excellent build quality, doubleshot keycaps, and it comes with a magnetic wrist rest if you need the extra support. SteelSeries' proprietary switches aim to provide a similar typing experience as Cherry MX Brown switches; however, they feel a bit mushy and their tactile bump isn't as pronounced. Typing noise is fairly quiet, though, so you shouldn't have any issues using it in a quiet office environment.
This keyboard has plenty of features to satisfy even hardcore gamers. It has individually-lit RGB backlighting, dedicated media controls, and a USB passthrough to plug another peripheral or to charge your mobile devices. Every key can be reprogrammed or set to macro, and the keyboard has onboard memory to store profiles if you want to use the keyboard with another computer. SteelSeries' Engine software is where most customizations are done, and it's fully compatible with Windows and macOS. Linux users won't be able to fully customize the keyboard, though all keys function as intended.
The keyboard is a bit of a dust magnet, so it may require regular cleaning. Nevertheless, if you're a fan of TKL keyboards, this one is a great choice.
If you find the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL still a bit too large, there's an even more compact option, the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. It's a wireless Bluetooth keyboard with mechanical switches, full RGB backlighting, and programmable keys. It has an excellent build quality, with doubleshot PBT keycaps that feel great to type on. Its Gatreon Brown switches feel slightly smoother and mushier than standard Cherry MX Browns, but you can also get this keyboard with your preferred type of switches. Unfortunately, the keyboard has a fairly high profile and doesn't come with a wrist rest, so typing on it can be a little fatiguing after a while. On the bright side, this keyboard can be paired to multiple devices simultaneously, which is great for multitasking; and it's highly customizable through the ObinsKit software, though it's only available for Windows and macOS.
Overall, the SteelSeries is a better keyboard and has more features, but if you want a truly compact keyboard with few compromises, go with the Obinslab.
The best budget RGB gaming keyboard we've reviewed so far is the Redragon K552-RGB. It's a wired tenkeyless keyboard with impressive build quality despite its budget price. Its clicky mechanical switches are similar to Cherry MX Blues, which provide satisfying tactile feedback. Typing on this keyboard feels light and responsive, but the typing noise can be bothersome if you use it in a noise-sensitive environment. Sadly, it doesn't have any customization software, so all customization needs to be done on the keyboard itself. That said, you can still customize the backlight of each key individually, though the process can be a bit complicated. Also, without software support, you won't be able to save different profiles or set any macros.
The keyboard has a high profile, but it doesn't come with a wrist rest if you need the extra support. There are hotkeys for media control, and there's also a Windows lock key to prevent accidentally minimizing your game. While this keyboard works with all desktop operating systems, some keys don't work on macOS.
Although this keyboard doesn't have tons of extra features, it's still a great choice if you want a basic budget mechanical keyboard with great RGB backlighting.
The best membrane keyboard we've tested so far is the SteelSeries Apex 3. This keyboard has nice zone RGB lighting which can create a nice rainbow effect without seeing the zones' delimitations. It's a very solid keyboard that comes with a nice wrist rest, which is identical to the one found on the higher-end SteelSeries Apex Pro as well.
It features rubber dome switches that are fairly easy to press, although they have a significant bump to get to the actuation point. It has a nice overall typing quality and is great for people who don't like the feeling of mechanical switches. This SteelSeries keyboard is also compatible with the SteelSeries Engine Software, which gives you access to a few customization options like lighting, keybindings, and macro programming.
This keyboard is one of the best options if you're not into mechanical switches, and it offers a better typing experience than the mushy-feeling Razer Cynosa Chroma.
03/23/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
03/02/2020: Changed some picks as we tested more products.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best RGB keyboards for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
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 keyboard is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.