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- 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.
Choosing an excellent keyboard that meets your gaming demands isn’t as easy as you may think. There are a lot of them out there to sift through, from big-name offerings to bargain-basement alternatives you’ll only find on Amazon. That’s not to mention the different types and sizes you must choose from. You have your work cut out for you, especially if you don’t already know the kind of keyboard you need.
Luckily, we are here to help you narrow down your choices. The final decision is still yours, but we’ll make it easier by testing them ourselves and highlighting the best gaming keyboards we found on this list. We’ve also included a short yet detailed guide to choosing the right gaming keyboard just below to help you figure out exactly the kind of keyboard that’s best for the kinds of games you play.
Just looking for something cheap in general? Cyber Monday deals are still ongoing. Models from Razer’s BlackWidow and Logitech G’s Lightspeed lines have seen deep discounts in the past.
You should be able to find a premium gaming keyboard that’s within your budget this year. In the days leading up to these sales events, we’ll help you do just that. In the meantime, be sure to check out our top picks for every need and even budget. Whether you hit that buy button now or are here to window-shop so you know what you want when Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrive, you’ll find something that’s a perfect fit.
Here are the best gaming keyboards of 2021
- Best gaming keyboard overall: Corsair K100 RGB
- Best mechanical gaming keyboard: Razer BlackWidow V3
- Best optical gaming keyboard: Roccat Vulcan Pro
- Best customizable gaming keyboard: Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
- Best TKL gaming keyboard: Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro
- Best mini gaming keyboard: Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed Phantom Edition
- Best wireless gaming keyboard: Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless
- Best gaming keyboard for less than $50: Corsair K55 RGB
A decent and comfortable gaming keyboard is crucial to any PC gaming setup. Gaming peripherals generally don’t go on sale much outside of specific events, namely ongoing Cyber Monday deals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed Phantom Edition earns our highest regard for a mini gaming keyboard because of its high polling rate and ability to store up to 50 custom key profiles for use with several games.
Pros: Very small form factor, fast performance, multiple connectivity options, robust build, floating keys appearance
Cons: No dedicated arrow keys, steep learning curve
The Corsair K65 RGB Mini was our previous top choice for a mini keyboard, but it’s been since toppled by the extremely versatile Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed Phantom Edition. The Corsair K65 RGB Mini remainsan impressive piece of kit, especially to hardcore and pro gamers who need its ultrafast polling rate of 8,000Hz and onboard memory that stores up to 50 profiles. However, the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed Phantom Edition is the mini keyboard for the rest of us who need versatility and comfort just as much as we do power. This 60% gaming keyboard boasts a 1,000Hz polling rate and on-board memory that lets you store up to 5 profiles, which is more than enough for most non-pro gamers.
It combines those capabilities with the versatility of having three different modes of connectivity, something that the fully-wired K65 doesn’t offer. What that means is that this mini gaming keyboard will let you connect it to your gaming PC or laptop via the Razer HyperSpeed Wireless (2.4 Ghz) dongle, Bluetooth, or the detachable USB-C cable. And, all of them are almost equally reliable for gaming.
There’s also a solid-keycap version of this keyboard, but we do adore the version with Phantom keycaps, which gives it the illusion of having low-profile floating keys and, in effect, letting that gorgeous RGB shine even brighter. For comfort, there’s a tapered design that angles down towards your hands as well as an incredibly plush, mini ergonomic wrist rest. Though this wrist rest is sold separately, it’s more than worth its $20 price, so much so this author uses it for all her keyboards, even the non-gaming ones.
Rounding all that out are the keyboard’s fully programmable keys, on-the-fly macro recording capabilities, and an 80-million-keystroke lifespan.
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.
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.
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.
More so than gaming PCs or laptops, the ideal gaming keyboard for one person isn’t necessarily going to be the same for another. It highly depends on a number of factors, including gaming preferences, budget, space, and comfort. So, let’s try to narrow yours down for you:
Type of switches
Most high-quality gaming keyboards opt for mechanical switches, of which there are also several subtypes: linear, tactile, and clicky. Do bear in mind that different manufacturers have their own names for these subtypes – Razer, for example, calls its own mechanical switches Green (tactile and clicky), Yellow (linear and silent) and Orange (tactile and silent). This means that choosing the mechanical switch you like most is actually a bit more involved, and for that, you should check out our Guide to Mechanical Switches.
But, then there are keyboards that use optical switches, which tend to have faster actuation and longer lifespans in general. Of course, with these two types of switches competing against one another, this isn’t necessarily a hard and fast rule. There are mechanical switches out there that now have just as long of a lifespan as optical ones, for example. And, while most people prefer the feel and feedback that mechanical switches offer, some optical switches have managed to deliver that same satisfying feel.
Finally, some gaming keyboards – usually the budget ones – come with membrane switches, which have very little tactile feedback but tend to be cheaper and can allow the keyboards to be waterproof.
Size, layout and form factor
There are a lot of full-sized gaming keyboards out there, which is likely the type of keyboard most gamers have. But, in recent years, manufacturers have come to realize the value of smaller ones.
TKL, or TenKeyLess, gaming keyboards were the first to really hit the mainstream, abandoning the number pad and other miscellaneous keys most people don’t need for gaming use to save space.
Then mini – or 60%, 65% and 75% – keyboards hit the shelves, offering that extremely compact and portable form factor to gamers with smaller spaces and setups. These are definitely ideal if you have a small or already overcrowded desk. However, these have really steep learning curves. You will be sacrificing small luxuries like having easy access to your arrow keys, which means you’ll have to take time to program or learn shortcuts before diving into your games.
Whichever size/layout you choose, you’ll find some thick ones and some with very thin profiles. These come with their own advantages and disadvantages as well, which means that the right one for you greatly depends on your comfort level and, to an extent, the size of your hands.
For most gamers, a wired connection is still king, which is true in some ways. You don’t have to worry about battery life or your connection getting cut in the middle of a pivotal game moment.
However, wireless gaming keyboards have come a long way in terms of performance, accuracy, and connectivity. Choose one of the best wireless options out there, and you’re pretty much guaranteed the same quality as their wired counterparts. And, these tend to also have very long battery lives. The only thing is that you do have to remember to charge it once in a while.
When it comes to gaming keyboards, performance is key, no matter the type of games you typically play. However, there are also different levels of performance ideal for different types of games. An 8,000Hz polling rate might be the dream, for example, but realistically, a 1,000Hz one should be more than enough for gamers not playing at pro levels. And, keyboards with 1,000Hz polling rates tend to be cheaper.
Make sure to get something with N-key rollover and anti-ghosting features if the games you play tend to require a lot of button-mashing, fast presses, or macros, as these ensure that the keyboard registers every single key your press, no matter how fast in succession you do them.
The most basic keyboards tend to be minimal in features, but pricier ones come kitted out with things like onboard memory to store profiles and macros in, dedicated media controls, fully programmable keys, and an included wrist rest. Before you hit buy, make sure you know which features are vital to you so you can choose the gaming keyboard that offers them.
There are so many excellent gaming keyboards out there that narrowing them down to eight has been tough. We’ve considered models like the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition, the SteelSeries Apex 3, and the HyperX Alloy Origins 60, all of which are incredible in their own right. It’s just that our picks above simply did it better.
It was also hard to knock off previous picks like the Corsair K65 RGB Mini and the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum, but for varying reasons, we’ve had to give them up to make space for newer and perhaps slightly better entries.