Lately, many keyboards have some form of backlighting. RGB backlighting differs from simple backlighting, using a palette of over 16 million colors to help you customize the lighting atmosphere of your setup. While backlighting primarily makes keys easier to see in the dark, RGB backlighting is an easy way to tie your desktop aesthetic together. If you're choosing a keyboard for its RGB lighting, it's important to consider the number and location of its lighting zones, the quality of its companion software, as well as the range of customization features available to you.
We've tested over 215 keyboards, and below are our recommendations for the best keyboards with RGB lighting. This list mostly consists of wired-only keyboards, as RGB backlighting tends to quickly drain the battery on wireless keyboards, especially with custom effects. If you're only interested in wireless models, check out our picks for the best wireless keyboards. For other options, see our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards and the best keyboards overall.
The Corsair K100 RGB is the best RGB keyboard we've tested for true RGB lighting fans. Note that its price tends to jump around a bit, but it's at its best value when it falls to around $200 USD or less. This keyboard has a whopping 44 RGB zones built into the frame and customizable per-key lighting; this is an RGB enthusiast's dream. Using Corsair's iCUE software, you can sync the lighting with any other Corsair devices or hardware in your build for a perfectly lit setup. The keyboard also features a dedicated volume wheel, media keys, a column of macro keys, and a programmable iCUE wheel that you can use to adjust brightness, rewind or fast forward media, scroll through applications, and zoom in or out of windows.
Under the hood, this keyboard boasts a much higher-than-average maximum polling rate of 8000Hz and an effective update rate of 4000Hz. This helps it maintain extremely low and consistent split-millisecond latency, making it a standout choice for casual or competitive gaming in any genre. Not only that, but the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches are optimized for gaming, with an incredibly short pre-travel distance and a light actuation force.
The keyboard with the best RGB lighting at an upper mid-range price point is the ROCCAT Vulcan II Max. Like our best pick above, this keyboard often goes on sale, so we recommend picking it up when it falls around $180 USD. This model is a full-size gaming keyboard with linear or tactile optical switches and unique RGB features. For starters, it has a transparent acrylic wrist rest that provides additional ergonomic support while you're typing and diffuses the colors from the additional RGB lights on the front of the board. This keyboard has 24 keys with an extra dedicated LED that lets you know when secondary functions are active. You can also fully customize the lighting on a per-key basis and sync your lighting effects using the software with other ROCCAT peripherals you own.
If you have a smaller desk or don't need a Numpad and are looking for a smaller alternative, this keyboard comes in a smaller Compact (65%) version called the ROCCAT Vulcan 2 Mini. The Mini is also considerably cheaper, although it doesn't include additional RGB lights on the front or an acrylic wrist rest like the full-size Max version.
If you're looking for a solid mid-range option with outstanding RGB, we recommend the NuPhy Halo96, part of NuPhy's Halo lineup. We've highlighted the largest 96% size option here since it offers the most RGB, but this keyboard is also available in smaller compact 75% and 65% layouts if you'd like more room on your desk for mouse movements while gaming.
This wireless keyboard features a high-profile design with a strip of RGB lighting that encircles the case and RGB lighting for each key. The company also sells acrylic wrist rests that diffuse some of the RGB strip's light around the case. It's also available with several different switch types, though it also has a hot-swappable PCB to change out the switches more easily if the stock units aren't to your preference. Unfortunately, the stock keycaps don't have shine-through legends, making them hard to see in dark rooms, although you can buy shine-through sets from the manufacturer. Like the other options on this list, this keyboard comes with companion software that allows you to adjust the brightness, color, and effects of the RGB lighting, too.
The Razer Huntsman Mini is a great choice if you're shopping for an RGB keyboard on a budget. It has excellent build quality, with a high-grade plastic body, an aluminum top plate, durable double-shot PBT keycaps, and outstanding RGB backlighting that shines brightly through the key legends. You can adjust the lighting's brightness using the keyboard, but you'll need to install Razer's Synapse 3 companion software to set up custom lighting profiles.
The Razer optical switches in the board provide an incredibly light and responsive typing experience, especially when your fluid keystrokes are combined with the keyboard's extremely low latency, making it a stellar option for fast-paced games. You can buy the keyboard with Clicky switches that provide audible, tactile feedback or smooth, lightning-quick Linear Optical switches. However, unlike our mid-range pick, the NuPhy Halo96, it doesn't have a hot-swappable circuit board that lets you easily change out switches later.
The Razer Cynosa V2 is the best cheap RGB keyboard we've tested. While most keyboards at this price point only have zone lighting or can only display one color at a time, the Cynosa V2 has full RGB backlighting and a frosted backplate to diffuse and soften the light shining between the keys. You can use Razer's Synapse 3 software to customize effects and colors, and the keyboard itself has built-in hotkeys to adjust brightness.
Unfortunately, this keyboard lacks gaming features. The slightly high latency makes the board best suited for casual rather than fast-paced gaming. The rubber dome switches require a bit of force to actuate, so they don't feel as snappy and responsive as the optical switches in our best budget pick, the Razer Huntsman Mini. Build quality also lags behind pricier units, with cheap ABS plastic keycaps that easily collect oil from your fingers and a thin, somewhat flimsy-feeling all-plastic chassis.
May 19, 2023: Replaced SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL with NuPhy Halo96 [Halo65, Halo75] as 'Best Mid-Range RGB Keyboard'. Replaced Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition with Razer Huntsman Mini as 'Best Budget RGB Keyboard'. Replaced Razer Cynosa Chroma with Razer Cynosa V2 as 'Best Cheap RGB Keyboard'.
Mar 24, 2023: We've replaced the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro with the ROCCAT Vulcan II Max as our 'Best Upper Mid-Range RGB Keyboard' pick, as the Razer has recently risen in price, and the ROCCAT provides several unique RGB features the Razer doesn't.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best RGB membrane and best RGB mechanical 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.