The 8 best gaming keyboards of 2021

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Pattern of best gaming keyboards, including Corsair K65 RGB Mini, Razer Huntsman V2 Analog and  Corsair K100 RGB
  • Gaming keyboards can make or break your game, so we rounded up the best for you to choose from.
  • The best gaming keyboard overall is the Corsair K100 RGB, combining sheer performance with a deep feature set.
  • We’ve picked out the best mechanical, optical, and mini keyboards too, meeting every PC gamer’s need.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

When it comes to choosing a gaming keyboard – or even just narrowing down your choices, you might have your work cut out for you. Not only are there several types and sizes encompassing all price points, but every keyboard manufacturer boasts several models and versions as well.

We’re here to make it easier to find the best gaming keyboard for you. We’ve found and tested the best gaming keyboards for every need and even budget. More of an optical switch fan? We’ve got the best out there. Prefer a traditional mechanical keyboard? We found the one lauded by most gamers. Working with a small space? We have our pick of the best mini keyboard as well.

Of course, the final decision is still yours, which is why we’ve also included a short yet detailed guide to choosing the right gaming keyboard just below our list. When you’re done going through our picks, be sure to read through that. By the end of this guide, you’ll know in your gut the one that’s a perfect fit.

Here are the best gaming keyboards of 2021

The best gaming keyboard overall

The Corsair K100 RGB is the best gaming keyboard overall for its combination of performance, features, and build.
The Corsair K100 RGB is the best gaming keyboard overall for its combination of performance, features, and build.

If you’re looking for a premium experience, the Corsair K100 RGB brings sheer performance that is only surpassed by its feature set.

Pros: Solid construction, top-notch performance, a host of great features

Cons: More expensive than most, takes up space, bulkier than others

Competitive gamers want the best, and the Corsair K100 RGB is the best. But, even if you’re more about getting the most features for your money, this gaming keyboard is also a win. 

We’ve used it on games like Marvel Avengers, Death Stranding, and Cyberpunk 2077 – and it really delivers on performance. Touting Corsair’s impressive OPX switches and Axon Hyper-Processing technology, it boasts a 4,000 polling rate, 1 millimeter (mm) actuation point, and the N-key rollover with anti-ghosting. That means that it’s as fast as it is responsive, which matters in games where every fraction of a second and every key press count. 

The Corsair K100 RGB is also one of the most robust and premium feeling gaming keyboards we’ve ever tested. You just know it’s going to survive years of button-mashing and pounding, as well as resist everyday wear and tear, swimmingly while staying elegant-looking and comfortable to use. 

What gives the Corsair K100 RGB even more value, however, is its host of incredible features. Corsair really took advantage of its sizable footprint by stuffing it with a whole bunch of useful features. 

There are extra media keys and six dedicated macro keys on top of its already fully-programmable design. There’s also a very accessible control dial that lets you cycle through five different functions and adjust their settings.

Passthrough charging via its USB port allows you to attach another device to your rig. And, its RGB lighting is also grouped into 44 zones, so you can get as creative as you’d like without spending too much time on customizations.

To really make it worth your money, Corsair also gave it an 8MB onboard memory so you can create up to 200 key remap, macro and RGB lighting profiles that you can take with you.

K100 RGB (button)
The best mechanical gaming keyboard

Delivering excellent value, the Razer BlackWidow V3 is deserving of the best mechanical gaming keyboard title.
Delivering excellent value, the Razer BlackWidow V3 is deserving of the best mechanical gaming keyboard title.

Touting premium features without the premium price, the Razer BlackWidow V3 is a terrific and affordably priced mechanical keyboard.

Pros: Great value, solid build, a whole lot of customization options

Cons: Sizable form factor, wrist rest is not comfortable, minimal keycap curvature

If there’s one thing the Razer BlackWidow V3 proves, it’s that those features we don’t pay much attention to really do matter. The minimal curvature in its keycaps and lack of foam on its wrist rest make this keyboard an adjustment to use, especially if you’re upgrading from something that keeps your fingers and wrist resting nice and comfortable.

Still, this full-sized keyboard is much-lauded and for good reason. Those green or yellow mechanical switches are not only very precise and solid with a rating of 80 million keystrokes, but they’re also extremely satisfying to use. In fact, we love typing on this keyboard as much as we love gaming on it. Of course, it’s in gaming where it really shines, boasting a 1,000Hz polling rate and N-key rollover that allows its performance to be as responsive and accurate as its pricier rivals. 

There aren’t as many features here, sadly, with Razer putting its focus on making it among the best mechanical keyboards out there. However, it’s not bare-bones either – at that price, it better not be. You’re getting onboard memory for up to five profiles, a multifunction media button, a multifunction roller wheel, and a handy cable routing solution in the back.

Plus, as much as this keyboard belongs in the entry-level category of gaming keyboards due to its more stripped-down approach, it still has a robust set of customization options to match its excellent performance. Via the Razer Synapse software, you can personalize its RGB lighting (though not per-key), program per-key remaps and macros, and take full advantage of Razer’s Hypershift feature that basically gives you a whole new set of shortcuts and key reassignments.

Razer then rounds those out with the BlackWidow V3‘s keycaps and matte aluminum body, both of which feel like they can take their share of beating. Speaking of those keycaps, they’re labeled using a doubleshot molding process, which means you’ll never wear those letters off no matter how much button-mashing you do.

BlackWidow V3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (button)
The best optical gaming keyboard

The Roccat Vulcan Pro is among the best performing and best looking gaming keyboards out there, optical or otherwise.
The Roccat Vulcan Pro is among the best performing and best looking gaming keyboards out there, optical or otherwise.

The Roccat Vulcan Pro packs robust performance and solid build in a beautiful and elegant design. If you’re looking for an optical option, you’ll fall in love with this one.

Pros: Aircraft-grade aluminum body, thin and light, excellent performance

Cons: Hard wrist rest, keypresses may take some getting used to

We cannot deny that we’re big fans of Roccat’s gaming accessories. The manufacturer has a knack for producing luxurious peripherals that masterfully combine robust performance and rugged build with sexier aesthetics. 

The Roccat Vulcan Pro certainly doesn’t fall far from that high-class tree, and is the best performing and best feeling optical gaming keyboard we’ve ever used.

Optical keyboards are generally considered to be faster and more durable than the traditional mechanical ones. However, they tend to also have a bit more resistance. If you’re unfamiliar with optical switches, you should do your due diligence before buying. 

If, however, you are a fan, then the Roccat Vulcan Pro is the one to get. We love the bounce its keys offer, as much as we do the curvature of those keycaps that are incredibly effective in keeping our fingers in place.

Gaming on this thing is a pleasure, which isn’t surprising. After all, it boasts an actuation point of 1.4mm, which is much shorter than other premium keyboards, a 1,000Hz polling rate, and a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 based processor for incredibly fast responses. And, its Titan optical switches are rated at 100 million keystrokes.

As far as features, you’re getting an onboard memory to save five profiles in, a set of mixer-style audio controls, and a detachable wrist rest that magnetically snaps onto the keyboard.

It’s beauty and brains in one, and there’s certainly a lot of beauty here. The floating keys on an aluminum plate aesthetic are designed to let that customizable RGB light up like the Rockefeller Christmas tree. And, even though it is a full-sized keyboard, its 3.20cm-thin profile makes it feel less in your face. So much so you won’t be embarrassed to use this at the office, especially because those keys are also elegantly quiet.

Vulcan Pro (button)
The best customizable gaming keyboard

The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog offers plenty of customizations that make it worth the price.
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog offers plenty of customizations that make it worth the price.

Perhaps the most feature-rich and most customizable gaming keyboard we’ve ever tested, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog makes gaming incredibly seamless and easy.

Pros: Adjustable actuation, dual-step actuation, comfortable wrist rest

Cons: Pricey, a bit of a learning curve with some features, heavy

The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog isn’t what most would call cheap, but it’s also among the best value gaming keyboards out there thanks to its treasure trove of features. 

We’re not just referring to its unbelievably plush wrist rest that magnetically snaps onto the keyboard and makes your wrists feel like they’re resting on clouds or the USB passthrough that offers another port to which you can connect other peripherals or the underglow RGB lighting that extends to the wrist rest. Although those do add to this keyboard’s appeal.

Most importantly for gamers, the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog is incredibly customizable, offering per-key adjustments and remapping like you’ve never seen on other keyboards. Via the Razer Synapse software, you can toggle each key’s actuation point from 1.5mm, which is the default, to 3.6mm, so the keyboard responds to your presses exactly how you want it.

That’s nothing, however, next to the keyboard’s dual-step actuation function, which actually lets you assign two different functions at two different actuation points on the same key. It’s an incredibly nifty feature to have, as it gives you the ability to press fewer keys for similar game actions. 

A great, if basic, example of this would be to keep the W key’s default forward action at 1.5mm actuation point while assigning the run action as its secondary function at 3.5mm in games like Valheim. It essentially eliminates the need for extra key presses and makes your gaming experience much more seamless, mimicking the dynamism of analog gamepads.

Of course, essentials like customizable RGB lighting, macro recording – which can be done on-the-fly, onboard memory for up to five profiles, media keys, and robust doubleshot PBT keycaps are on hand as well. That’s not to mention its super responsive and accurate performance thanks to its 1,000Hz polling rate, optical switches and N-key roll-over with anti-ghosting.

Huntsman V2 Analog (button)
The best TKL gaming keyboard

Go compact but keep your arrow keys with the elegant Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro.
Go compact but keep your arrow keys with the elegant Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro.

The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro stands out by combining elegance and style with sheer performance and durability, making it our tenkeyless champion.

Pros: Compact form factor, quiet operation, short actuation distance

Cons: Pricey, FN shortcuts take a bit of adjustment, bouncy feedback not for everyone

If you want the best tenkeyless (TKL; lacking a number pad) gaming keyboard, take a look at the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro, which is among our favorite gaming keyboards at the moment.

This optical option takes the classy route with its elegant and stunning aesthetic that features a floating keys approach on a brushed gunmetal finish. The whole thing seems to be designed to allow its customizable RGB lighting to shine brilliantly, which it does even in broad daylight.

Don’t let that elegant exterior fool you. The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro is as robust as they come, boasting aircraft-grade aluminum and optical switches that are rated at 100 million keystrokes.

Speaking of those optical switches, they are Roccat’s Titan optical switches, renowned for not just being durable but also for being extremely responsive. With an actuation distance of 1.4mm, you don’t have to press those keys all the way for them to register — and accurately, we might add. In fact, we’ve typed up a song verse on this keyboard with very light presses, and it did not miss a single key. Combined with its 1,000Hz polling rate, you’ll find this keyboard a huge advantage when gaming.

Because it’s incredibly quiet, you’ll also have the peace of mind knowing that you can game late at night and not piss off your roommate with all the button-mashing. 

Don’t worry about the more compact form factor, either. Its Function (FN) key shortcuts allow for quick access to media controls, settings, or RGB lighting presets, while the Roccat Swarm software lets you adjust keyboard settings, program key remaps and macros, and fine-tune the RGB lighting. There might just be an adjustment period — it’s the price you pay for compactness. However, you definitely won’t be missing out on full keyboard functionalities.

Vulcan TKL Pro (button)
The best 60% gaming keyboard

The Corsair K65 RGB Mini packs a lot of what made Corsair’s K100 RGB special in a miniature but formidable package.
The Corsair K65 RGB Mini packs a lot of what made Corsair’s K100 RGB special in a miniature but formidable package.

The Corsair K65 RGB Mini packs the performance, feel, and customization of the company’s flagship keyboards into this tiny 60% keyboard.

Pros: Very small form factor, fast performance, quality build

Cons: No dedicated arrow keys, software not user-friendly, thicker than most 60% keyboards

TKL and mini keyboards seem to be the latest trend in gaming keyboards, and for good reason. The Corsair K65 RGB Mini, for example, packs most of the quality, performance, and customization of the Corsair K100 RGB in one of the smallest form factors out there – 11.6 x 4.14 x 1.74 inches to be exact.

Performance-wise, it has an impressive 8,000Hz polling rate with a 1.2mm actuation distance, as well as N-key rollover and anti-ghosting. Essentially, it can keep up with you, whether you’re bashing away in Sayonara Wild Hearts or the latest stress-inducing e-sports game.

The Corsair K65 RGB Mini is also fully customizable. You can create a Macro for every key via the iCue software. And RGB customization is versatile, letting you cycle and adjust through a number of presets or use up to 20 different lighting layers to create your own psychedelic effects. Plus, thanks to 8MB onboard memory, you can take up to 50 profiles of customization on the road. All this versatility comes at a price however, since the iCue software comes with a learning curve.

A 60% size keyboard also comes with some inherent drawbacks. Only the most necessary keys are included. However, Corsair was clever enough to include a ton of built-in shortcuts to make up for all the missing keys you would have on a full keyboard. Still, having to press FN plus the H, J, K, or U for the arrow keys makes us miss dedicated arrow keys.

Luckily, there’s not much else to complain about. The Corsair K65 RGB Mini‘s profile might be thicker than other 60% keyboards but it is a tank. It looks and feels top quality from the durable key caps down to the removable USB-C cable.

K65 RGB Mini (button)
The best wireless gaming keyboard

The Logitech G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB’s wireless performance makes it deserving of the title.
The Logitech G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB’s wireless performance makes it deserving of the title.

Beautiful and incredibly thin, the Logitech G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB is the best wireless gaming keyboard for its impressive wireless features and performance.

Pros: Great performance, incredibly thin profile, long battery life

Cons: Expensive, no numeric pad, not all keys are programmable

The Logitech G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB is one good looking keyboard, with its thin floating keycaps, brushed aluminum alloy top, round multimedia buttons, and beautiful RGB lighting. 

It doesn’t just go by looks alone, however. Despite being one of the thinnest gaming keyboards out there, it also feels robust, its aluminum alloy top case supported by a steel-reinforced base. Meanwhile, its GL switches feel like they can take their share of button mashing.

There are a lot of other things to love here. Though it may not have an expansive feature set, it does come with its share. Those dedicated media keys, all round in shape, as well as the volume dial, are definitely useful additions. Meanwhile, the dedicated wireless, Bluetooth, game mode, and RGB brightness buttons are a boon to multitaskers who either use two devices at once or want to go from being productive to gaming in seconds.

Because, honestly, you’ll love using this keyboard for typing up documents and writing those work emails as much as you would gaming with it. Combining a 1 millisecond response time and 1.5mm actuation distance with its satisfying tactile feedback, it’s just as comfortable to use for work as it is responsive and accurate for gaming.

Of course, being our top wireless contender, there are a few noteworthy things here. It has two connectivity options — one via its Lightspeed USB receiver, the other via Bluetooth. This is something we often see with Logitech’s wireless keyboards, but it isn’t something we often see with wireless gaming keyboards.

While Logitech didn’t specify its Lightspeed USB receiver’s range, we’ve used this keyboard six to seven meters away from the laptop it’s connected to in another room with the door closed, and it didn’t miss a single keypress.

G915 TKL Tenkeyless Lightspeed Wireless RGB (button)
The best gaming keyboard for less than $50

The Corsair K55 RGB may be cheap, but its performance and features prove that it can hold its own against its more expensive rivals.
The Corsair K55 RGB may be cheap, but its performance and features prove that it can hold its own against its more expensive rivals.

The Corsair K55 RGB may cost less than $50, but it still looks like a fully-featured gaming keyboard and boasts many of the same features.

Pros: Cheap, RGB lighting, customizable keys

Cons: Keys aren’t mechanical, not fully programmable, 

This is the third time Corsair has featured on this list, though for good reason. Not only does the company build excellent top-tier keyboards, it also builds great affordable keyboards for the gamer on a budget. The best of those is the Corsair K55 RGB, which comes in at less than $50.

The Corsair K55 RGB, as the name suggests, offers full RGB lighting, making it look much more expensive than it really is. It also boasts a total of six programmable buttons, which can be programmed through the same great software you’ll get with the K95 Platinum. It also has dedicated media controls, and well-built keys.

So why is the keyboard so cheap? Well, those keys may be well-built, but they’re not mechanical keys, and as such, they may not be as satisfying to press or durable as other gaming keyboards. 

Still, that doesn’t make this a bad keyboard, it’s just something to keep in mind.

K55 RGB (button)
Our methodology

When it comes to buying computer peripherals, gamers often need something a little higher quality than everyone else. After all, when you’re gaming, every millisecond counts, and the feel of a keyboard and mouse can have a pretty major effect on a gamer’s performance. Those are the things we test when deciding whether or not a particular gaming keyboard is a worthy addition to this list.

In terms of performance, we typically see what a gaming keyboard does in the face of the latest popular games, playing a good mix of game genres on it. For example, we tested our most current picks above on AAA games, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Resident Evil Village, as well as lower-budget but equally popular titles, like Valheim and It Takes Two. Of course, since most people often just use the same keyboard for productivity as they do for gaming, we’ve done our fair share of typing up emails and articles on these picks as well, which also helped us gauge each one’s comfort level, tactile feedback, and overall typing experience.

We also make sure to test the software every keyboard utilizes for customizations, especially when it comes to macros, remaps, and RGB lighting. After all, many gamers rely on those supporting apps to improve their gaming experience. Naturally, if a gaming keyboard is wireless, we test its range and amount of latency as well, typically by taking it as far as we can from the PC it’s connected to or in another room and using it like we normally would. Finally, we test specific features as well — for example, if a keyboard has some specifically for MMORPG and MOBA, we make sure to utilize such features for such online multiplayer games.

Read the original article on Business Insider