The best gaming keyboards aren't for everyone, but if you're looking for every competitive advantage, and every niche feature to augment your gaming ability and gaming immersion, then they're well worth considering. From cheap gaming keyboards to the ones best-suited for esports players, we've rounded up all of the options that we recommend for hardcore gamers. The best gaming keyboard for us is the Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate. It comes with a variety of options for customization, as well as true mechanical switches, helping to give you an edge in your favorite games. It's a great option, but there are several other fantastic keyboards that would look great alongside your gaming mouse.
We borrowed some picks from our roundups of the best keyboards and the best wireless keyboards, so there are a lot of favorites here. Before picking anything up, make sure to check our list of gaming keyboard deals to make sure you're getting the best price.
Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate
The best gaming keyboard
- Hot-swappable keys
- 8,000Hz polling rate
- USB passthrough
- Comfortable pleather wrist rest
- Beautiful AniMe matrix
- Software could be more focused
- Expensive for a wired keyboard
Why you should buy this: It's the ultimate gaming keyboard out of the box, and it comes with huge customization potential.
Who it's for: Gamers obsessed with control and customization.
Why we chose the Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate: The Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate is the ultimate gaming keyboard. It's expensive, but it earns its asking price with a slew of unique and useful features. Those include hot-swappable key switches to customize the keyboard how you want, an ultra-fast 8,000Hz polling rate, and a comfy detachable wrist rest.
Undoubtedly, the first thing that stands out about the ROG Strix Flare II Animate is the AniMe LED matrix. You can throw up anything you want on this 320-LED matrix – pictures, GIFs, and even scrolling text. It sits opposite four metal media keys that make even mundane tasks like adjusting your volume feel like you're commanding a battle station.
At $220, the ROG Strix Flare II Animate is one of the most expensive gaming keyboards on the market. You can swap the key switches and caps, though, meaning the ROG Strix Flare II Animate isn't just the best gaming keyboard you can buy, it might be the last gaming keyboard you ever have to buy.
HyperX Alloy Origins Core
The best cheap gaming keyboard
- Aluminum frame and body
- Bright, vibrant RGB lighting
- True mechanical switches
- Full-sized option is more expensive
- No wrist rest
Why you should buy this: It's a cheap mechanical gaming keyboard that feels like a premium option.
Who it's for: Gamers on a budget who still want a quality mechanical keyboard.
Why we chose the HyperX Alloy Origins Core: The HyperX Alloy Origins Core is an unassuming mechanical gaming keyboard, which means one thing: It's cheap. Coming around $80, and often on sale for around $60 to $70, the HyperX Alloy Origins cuts the fluff and provides a sublime gaming experience at a fraction of the price.
All of the essentials are here: True mechanical switches, pre-key RGB lighting, and an aircraft-grade aluminum body. You have the options between linear, tactile, or clicking switches, so you can pick up a model for work, gaming, or anything in between.
The Alloy Origins Core has a lot of goodies, too, including onboard profile storage, macro support, and a detachable USB-C cable. It doesn't come with a wrist rest or dedicated media buttons, but considering the price, the Alloy Origins Core gets a lot right.
Logitech G915 Lightspeed TKL
The best wireless gaming keyboard
- Superb typing experience
- Bright RGB lighting
- Fast wireless technology
- Long battery life
- Bug-free, useful software
- Incompatible with most mechanical keyboard accessories
Why you should buy this: It's a wireless keyboard that's nearly as fast as wired options, and it looks fantastic.
Who it's for: Gamers going for a sleek, cable-free setup.
Why we chose the Logitech G915 Lightspeed TKL: Logitech’s G915 Lightspeed mechanical keyboard offers everything anyone could ever want from a mechanical keyboard for gamers who are willing to invest a little more for an excellent design.
If you do choose to go down this route, it won’t leave you disappointed. From its sleek low-profile aluminum body to the low-profile mechanical switches, excellent per-key RGB lighting, and lengthy battery life (especially considering the vivid RGB), the G915 Lightspeed is a keyboard that will leave you happy for years to come. The battery life, in particular, is excellent, lasting well over a week with the lighting maxed out.
The keyboard comes together thanks to Logitech's Lightspeed wireless technology, which is so fast that it feels like you're using a wire. You also have the option to connect with Bluetooth, making it a great option for a home theater setup.
Logitech sells the G915 with low-profile clicky, linear, or tactile switches. You're stuck with the included keycaps thanks to the low-profile design, but they're excellent and should hold up for years. If you're not a fan of the TKL layout, Logitech also sells a full-size version of the G915.
Corsair K70 RGB TKL – Champion Series
The best TKL gaming keyboard
- 8,000Hz hyper-polling
- Distraction-free tournament mode
- Durable keycaps
- No wrist rest is included
Why you should buy this: With 8,000Hz polling, MX Speed-Silver switches, PBT keycaps, and more, this is among the best TKL keyboards currently on the market.
Who it's for: The shopper who wants a high-quality TKL keyboard for competitive gaming.
Why we chose the K70 RGB TKL Tournament Edition:
Corsair's latest mechanical keyboard is dedicated to the competitive scene. This model comes with Hyper Axon 8,000Hz polling, which, paired with the speedy Cherry MX Speed Silver switches, makes it one of the fastest gaming keyboards on the market. It also features PBT double-shot keycaps designed to resist wear even with harsh use.
The durable aluminum frame and RGB lighting are great competitive features, but we especially like the tournament switch, which switches to static background lighting and disables macros for maximum focus and accuracy. The keyboard also uses a detachable USB-C cable to manage connections.
With Corsair’s aluminum chassis, excellent RGB ecosystem, fast responses, and dedicated modes, the K70 RGB TKL Tournament Edition offers a surprising number of features for its price and is sure to make TKL fans who have been waiting for the latest Corsair keyboards happy.
Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless
The best compact gaming keyboard
- Hot-swappable key switches
- Excellent iCue RGB software
- 8,000Hz polling rate
- Multiple pairing modes, including three Bluetooth devices
- Reasonably priced
- Battery life is a bit low
- Typing isn't great with the stock switches
Why you should buy this: It's a high-end keyboard with hot-swappable switches, allowing you to dial in the exact feel you want.
Who it's for: Competitive gamers who want to upgrade their keyboard over time.
Why we chose the Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless:
The K70 Pro Mini Wireless is an expensive compact keyboard, but it's worth every penny. For starters, it comes with a full suite of Corsair features, including the excellent iCue software for customization. It also includes low-latency and Bluetooth connections, including pairing with up to three devices at once.
None of that sets the K70 Pro Mini apart, though. It stands out with hot-swappable key switches, allowing you to fully customize the feel of the keyboard. You can mix and match switches if you want, as well as continue to upgrade if your switches wear out over time.
Competitive gamers don't need to worry, either. Corsair included an 8,000Hz polling rate for the best responsiveness currently available, and the 60% form factor means you have plenty of desk space. If you want a compact keyboard that can last a lifetime, the Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless is for you.
Asus ROG Azoth
The best premium gaming keyboard
- Multipurpose OLED display
- Sublime typing experience
- Gasket mount design
- Switch stabilizers
- Switch lubing station included
- North-facing PCB can present keycap issues
- Stock NX switches aren't the best
Why you should buy this: It's arguably the best gaming keyboard ever made.
Who it's for: Gamers who want custom-keyboard quality, right off the shelf.
Why we chose the Asus ROG Azoth:
It's rare for an off-the-shelf keyboard to truly rival the best custom keyboards, but that's exactly what the Asus ROG Azoth did when we put it through its paces. It offers an almost-unparalleled typing experience, a supremely sturdy design, soft and comfortable keycaps, and it's incredibly quiet. The silicon gasket mount helps cushion every keypress without inhibiting accuracy or typing speed, and there are stabilizers on all the big keys, so they feel the same no matter where you hit them.
The switches are Asus' own NX switches, in either linear red, tactile brown, or clicky blue. They're good, but not amazing. Fortunately, this is a keyboard you can easily customize, so you can buy your favorite brand of switches and slot them right in to this deeply customizable keyboard. The wireless functionality is a real treat too, with options for 2.4Ghz and Bluetooth connection making sure you can have a subline gaming space with as few wires as possible. Battery life is great, lasting multiple days of use without needing a charge.
The little OLED display in the corner is a nice touch. It's a little gimmicky, but it can display some useful information without your PC's temperatures or fan speeds. You can also have it play custom animations or show whatever text you like, should you wish.
It's an expensive board, but one well worth paying for if you want the best of the best.
Razer Huntsman V2
The best gaming keyboard with optical switches
- Oh-so smooth linear opto-mechanical switches
- Great wrist rest comfort and ergonomics
- Quiet typing
- Tidy design
- Detachable USB-C cable
- No media keys
- Although comfortable, wrist rest has a handful of issues
- No tactile switch option
Why you should buy this: It's an excellent keyboard all around, bolstered by ultrafast optical switches.
Who it's for: Gamers who want the fastest response times while playing.
Why we chose the Razer Huntsman V2 TKL:
If you need the fastest response times in games, optical switches are the way to go. Razer's Huntsman V2 comes with either clicky or linear optical switches that, when paired with a true 8,000Hz polling rate, allow it to respond faster than most other gaming keyboards on the market.
The switches are faster than traditional mechanical options, or more importantly, they're smoother. They offer the feeling of a mechanical switch with proper lubrication, just without the upkeep. They're more durable, too, with Razer claiming its switches can last for 100 million keystrokes (double of traditional mechanical switches).
For the Huntsman V2 itself, it's a fantastic keyboard. It boasts an aluminum frame with foam inside to reduce key noise, and it comes with a comfy wrist rest in the box. That's not to mention Razer's excellent RGB support, allowing you to trick out the Huntsman V2 to fit your setup.
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless
The best gaming keyboard for esports
- Unique Omnipoint 2.0 switches
- Dual actuation inputs
- Perfect size for gamers
- Satisfying typing and gaming experience
- Bluetooth and 2.4GHz connections
- Unnecessarily expensive
- SteelSeries GG is a bit confusing
- 60% form factor limits use cases
Why you should buy this: It's the most adjustable 60% gaming keyboard you can buy.
Who it's for: Competitive gamers who want every advantage possible.
Why we chose the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini:
The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini is an unassuming 60% keyboard, but it has a lot of interesting features beneath its basic exterior. It uses SteelSeries' Omnipoint 2.0 switches, which allow you to adjust the actuation point through software from 0.2mm up to 3.8mm.
For competitive gamers who need split-second reactions, the adjustable actuation makes a huge difference. At its lowest point, all you need to do is feather the switch to register an input, which makes quick double-taps and reactive inputs much easier to pull off.
The Apex Pro Mini is a great gaming keyboard outside of its unique mechanical switches, too. It works with low-latency 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth, or through a wired connection, and SteelSeries' GG software allows you to set up macros, rebind keys, and much, much more.
Glorious GMMK Pro
The best gaming keyboard for customizations
- Very well-built
- 5-pin switch socket
- Programmable knob and macro keys
- Great customization options
- No wrist rest
- No adjustable feet
Why you should buy this: A well-built custom gaming keyboard for enthusiasts.
Who it's for: Gamers who want to dive into the custom keyboards category.
Why we chose the Glorious GMMK Pro:
Custom keyboards allow you to build them in a way that best suits your needs. The Glorious GMMK Pro is one such option and is an excellent choice if you want to build your first keyboard. It's a 75% mechanical keyboard where, apart from the switches and keycaps, you can also change the programmable rotary knob, the USB-C cable, and the included aluminum PCB switch plate. The all-aluminum chassis and base plate ensure a solid build quality, plus you get per-key RGB backlighting, macro-programmable keys, and the Glorious Core software to control everything.
It is a barebones keyboard, so you need to invest extra in switches and keycaps, although the 5-pin socket means you can install almost any mechanical switch option available on the market. The only downside of the keyboard is that it has a tall profile, so it might not be for everyone and there are no adjustable feet nor does it come with a wrist rest.
The cheapest mechanical gaming keyboard
- Incredible price for a mechanical keyboard
- Surprisingly responsive
- RGB lighting
- Looks more expensive than it is
- Lacks customization
- Much cheaper construction than higher-end models
Why you should buy this: It's the cheapest mechanical gaming keyboard you can buy.
Who it's for: Gamers on the tightest of budgets who still want a mechanical keyboard.
Why we chose the Reddragon K552:
The Reddragon K552 is an anomaly. Mechanical keyboards are typically at least $60 each, and mechanical gaming keyboards are even more expensive. Our next-cheapest model on this list is priced around $80, making the $40 K552 a true unicorn. At its price, it offers by far the best bang for buck of any gaming keyboard. Its switches are truly mechanical, offering the same kind of responsive feel of higher-end models, but at a much lower price.
It doesn't have per-key backlighting, but it does have RGB backlighting. It doesn't have the best media controls, but they're there. There's no super high polling rate, but the responsiveness of mechanical switches still puts it ahead of most membrane boards.
This is a gaming keyboard that will put you on par with much more expensive options, and it truly looks the part. No one will know that what you're playing cost so little.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, keyboards come in a standard 104-key layout complete with a number pad. But for gaming, it can be interesting to contemplate smaller keyboard layouts, sacrificing practicality in favor of a more compact keyboard. The primary reason you would want to do this is to clear up desk space for your mouse — having a wide-open space for your mouse next to a small keyboard allows you to play at lower DPI settings and make longer sweeps without running into your keyboard, thus increasing your in-game performance.
A full-size keyboard is a good option if it’s your only keyboard and it will need to double as a work keyboard. Another answer could be that 60% keyboard layouts are the best for first-person shooters, but as they make a lot of sacrifices to meet the compact footprint requirements, TKL (tenkeyless, or num-pad free) keyboards generally offer a more desirable balance of features.
In the world of gaming keyboards, switches are all the rave. Generally, mechanical keyboards always take the prize in this category, mainly for the feel of their mechanical actuation. Traditionally, there are three main types of switches: Linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches travel down with equal force along the stroke, whereas tactile switches have a distinct bump on the way down. Clicky switches have tactile travel but also offer a click halfway through the stroke to indicate that they have actuated and sent the signal to the PC.
But by now, there are more switch options than just Cherry MX Red, brown, and blue. These come in low-profile now too, and there is a new MX Speed Silver switch on the market, which is like a linear red switch but with a faster actuation point and lighter travel.
Meanwhile, a lot of keyboard manufacturers are coming out with their own switches, like Corsair’s OPX optical switch. Razer has its own, Logitech has the Romer-G switch on many of its keyboards, and there are third-party switch makers like Kailh and Gateron that provide switches also used in many of today’s keyboards.
Generally, we recommend linear switches for pure gamers and tactile switches for those who type a lot. If you’re only typing, a clicky blue switch can be very satisfying, though your environment might not be quite as appreciative of your click-clacking keyboard if you go down that route, generally leaving the choice between linear and tactile switches.
Most gaming hardware comes with RGB lighting nowadays, whether that’s something you care for or not, so it's no surprise that all of the best gaming keyboards have it too. The best ecosystems, such as those from Corsair, Logitech, and Razer, have software that runs on your PC that allows you to get very nitpicky about your lighting effects and allow for support that can sync with other compatible RGB lighting in your setup. Cheaper keyboards may have similar systems but generally rely on on-keyboard lighting profiles that lack any significant customization options beyond a select few effect types and color options.
Additionally, the RGB lighting quality can also vary massively between keyboards. Some have very lackluster implementations that lack vibrancy and brightness, while others offer exactly that. This can depend on the keycap, switch type, and the color of the backplate underneath the switches.
We don’t really suggest a truly ergonomic keyboard design for gaming, as the re-positioned keys can be awkward to use for gaming purposes. However, a good keyboard with the right switch type, elevation, and quality wrist rest can do miracles for your typing comfort.
Your posture is also important. Sit too low, and you’ll perch your shoulders up. Sit too high, and you’ll have to carry your arms. A wrist rest is easy to improvise with a towel, but wrist pain can take weeks to recover from. Do yourself a favor and adjust your seat, desk, and monitor to the correct height to ensure you don’t have to miss gaming sessions with your friends.
The best gaming keyboard for esports is the Corsair K70 RGB TKL. It doesn't have a number pad, which saves you some room for mouse flicks, and it includes a tournament switch that turns off some extra features to keep your performance consistent during a competition.
If you need even more room for your mouse, the Razer BlackWidow V3 is an excellent 65% keyboard that has an even smaller footprint.
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