Our experts have been busy, they’ve been out and tested the best gaming keyboards on the market.
If you’ve spent a small fortune on a gaming rig, you don’t want to have to rely on a shoddy keyboard.
Even with relatively little investment, you can buy a gaming keyboard with mechanical switches, offering USB pass through, and even with full RGB backlighting to really pimp your gaming setup.
A keyboard is vital for everything from typing emails to gaming.
You don’t even necessarily need a gaming specific keyboard – if you only play Facebook games, or even the occasional round of DOTA, then you can probably make do with standard office peripherals, but if you spend hour after hour at the PC, you will appreciate the tactile feedback, love the programmable macro keys, and may find use for the USB pass through.
You can also give your desk a creepy glow thanks to backlighting available in a gamut of colours.
Unfortunately, there are dozens of supposedly great quality options out there, so how do you know which are the best gaming keyboards and which are just an unnecessary waste of cash?
How To Choose A Gaming Keyboard
The first step in choosing the best gaming keyboard is to determine how you use your keyboard.
If you spend 90% of your time sending emails and typing Word documents and a few hours a week gaming, you won’t need anything more than a cheap gaming keyboard.
Consider whether you want something with hairline keys that register a click as soon as you breathe on them, or whether you want to avoid the accidental clicks that come from delicate switches.
Choose between a membrane and mechanical gaming keyboard. Unless you’ve got enough money to blow a few hundred pounds on a peripheral, you will also need to consider your budget.
Below are some of the most important, and potentially least important, features of a keyboard.
Membrane Or Mechanical?
Although the majority of gaming keyboards are now mechanical, you will still find that some of the cheaper options still use membrane switches, also referred to as dome switches.
A membrane keyboard uses two soft pieces of membrane, one attached to the keys, and one attached to the board.
As you press a key, the two pieces of membrane connect, and an electrical charge is passed through.
Membrane keyboards are cheaper, and this is really the only benefit they offer, although they are more than enough for standard office and email use.
In contrast, a mechanical gaming keyboard uses a mechanical switch under each key.
Mechanical keys offer weighted key presses, give tactile feedback, and they provide more precise control compared to
They also tend to cost a lot more than membrane keyboards.
If you are buying a mechanical keyboard, and you really should be if you’re looking for a serious gaming unit, then you should be aware that there are different types or grades of switch.
Most manufacturers use switches manufactured by a company called Cherry MX. These keys are graded according to resistance levels, noise levels, and sensitivity levels, and are graded according to colour:
- Red – Red switches are the most recent addition to the lineup. They have a low actuation force, so a relatively light touch will be enough to register as a click. These have become commonplace in gaming keyboards, and are one of the most frequently used colour in this type of peripheral.
- Brown – Brown switches have the same low actuation force as red switches. However, the brown switches differ from red because they are less clicky. Hitting the key won’t wake the rest of the house or alert colleagues to the fact that you’re having a quick round of Fortnite during your lunch break. These switches have become as popular as Cherry red switches, if not more so.
- Black – Black switches are the original Cherry option. They have a high actuation force, so while you won’t quite have to clobber them to register a key press, they are a lot harder to press than other colours. This might not be a bad thing, if you want to avoid accidental key presses and double presses. They are more commonly used in RTS games, but are not usually considered appropriate for typing because the level of force required can quickly lead to typing fatigue.
- Blue – Blue switches are uncommon in gaming keyboards, preferred by typists because they use a combination of plunger and slider to create a more obvious click. This is especially suited to touch typists that need speed and tactile feedback.
Other colours do exist, including green switches which are commonly used for space bars and have a very high actuation force.
Cherry switches are used by many keyboard manufacturers, and even those that do not use switches by this manufacturer, grade their keys according to the Cherry MX scale.
Macro keys are programmable keys that are not usually found on typing or office keyboards.
The user can assign a series of commands to a single key, which is great for farming or mining in RPG and MMORPG titles.
Some models have no macro keys, while MMORPG specific models can have anywhere from 4 to 20 keys.
Ideally, the macro keys should be dedicated keys; if you have to hold down the function or control button in order to use these buttons, they are not providing the benefits they could.
Wired Or Wireless Gaming Keyboards?
There are essentially 2 options when it comes to how keyboards connect to the PC – USB or Bluetooth.
Even a cursory glance of the best gaming keyboards will show that the majority of the market is made up of wired keyboards.
Wired models have no danger of lag and you don’t have to worry about charging before you can spend an evening at the monitor.
On the other hand, though, some gamers love wireless models because you are not tied to the desk; you can game from anywhere in your room, although if you’re in the midst of a serious session, you are unlikely to want to sit 12 foot away from your monitor. There’s also the benefit of less desk clutter, doing away with the wire.
Are Wireless Gaming Keyboards Any Good?
While lag does remain a problem with some wireless models, the best wireless gaming keyboards suffer from no discernible lag. They effectively offer the same input as a wired, USB model, but it is still a challenge to find a lot of wireless, mechanical keyboards. It is possible, but your choice will be severely limited if you want both of these features – in our opinion, finding a good mechanical keyboard is more important than finding a wireless one.
USB Pass Through
USB is the go-to choice for connecting peripherals and external devices to your computer. Whether you suffer from a dearth of USB ports on your PC, you have devices with very short USB leads, or you simply want the flexibility of running devices from your keyboard rather than the tower, you can find keyboards that offer USB pass through. This means that charge is passed through a USB socket on your keyboard. You can charge or power devices without having to use your PC.
Whether you suffer from a dearth of USB ports on your PC, you have devices with very short USB leads, or you simply want the flexibility of running devices from your keyboard rather than the tower, you can find keyboards that offer USB pass through. This means that charge is passed through a USB socket on your keyboard. You can charge or power devices without having to use your PC.
It will seem like a gimmick to some, but others swear by the addition of backlighting to their keyboard. Why? Because, apparently, it makes it easier to find the keys you want.
Honestly, if you’re gaming in pitch black, we can see the benefits.
If you don’t have to dim the lights whenever you’re playing DOTA, there probably isn’t a lot of purpose to backlit keys.
With that said, backlit keyboards do look cool, and that will be more than enough reason for some buyers.
There are three basic lighting options – none, single
Full RGB backlit keyboards enable you to choose
You can even have the lights pulse with their own heartbeat, should you so wish. RGB lighting adds a considerable chunk on the price, so unless you really want it, we suggest avoiding this option.
Best Gaming Keyboards 2019
Below are 15 of the best options currently on the market. Let us know in the comments if you have experience with these or any other keyboards.
Razer Huntsman Elite Gaming Keyboard
The Razer Huntsman Elite
This Razer gaming keyboard uses optical sensors and mechanical switches to offer the fastest keyboard on the market.
It is a really comfortable keyboard and has more than enough RGB lighting to light up an entire house.
These features do come at a price. It uses 2 USB cables and you will be hard pressed to find a more expensive alternative, but if money is no option and you want the very best there is, then this is the model for you.
You will wonder how you ever did without optomechanical switches.
+ Optomechanical switches
+ Unbelievably fast operation
+ Incredible RGB lighting options
– VERY expensive
– 2 USB leads required
Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo
The Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo is another keyboard that has eschewed the use of Cherry MX switches, and has actually managed to benefit for doing so.
Roccat uses its own Titan mechanical switches.
Right out of the box, you will notice the incredible anodized aluminium finish – not only does it look beautiful but it gives such a sense of strength and robustness, it might take you a while to get around to actually plugging it in.
Once you do, you are likely to be equally impressed by Roccat’s software, which not only enables you to customise the lighting using a huge array of options, but you can even choose from a selection of typing effects.
The touch and feel of the keys mean that this board is ideal for gaming but also for office and personal use.
Aside from the somewhat hefty price tag, there is very little reason to look elsewhere, in fact.
+ Beautiful aluminium finish
+ Titan switches are excellent
+ Impressive lighting and software
– No feedthrough
Razer Cynosa Chroma
The second Razer gaming keyboard in our list is the Razer Cynosa Chroma, and while the Huntsman Elite carries a hefty price tag, the Cynosa Chroma is aimed squarely at the budget gaming market.
Available for less than £60, this is a membrane keyboard.
It is a really good-looking keyboard and it does away with the multitude of macro keys and other potentially unnecessary features that will put a lot of
However, it doesn’t do away with RGB lighting, and you get an exceptional selection of backlighting options with this board.
Of course, doing away with the extras means that there are no media control buttons and no macro buttons, which may be a deal wrecker for experienced gamers.
With that said, you can program any one of the keys exactly as you wish, so you could always sacrifice one of the function buttons if you wish.
The Razer Cynosa Chroma has its flaws.
Experienced gamers will shun the membrane keyboard, and it concentrates a lot of effort on the aesthetics of pretty lights, rather than providing macro buttons, but if you’re on a budget and you want something relatively basic and intuitive, then this is a great option.
Its near silent operation also makes it ideal for late night gaming.
+ A great quality model for those on a budget
+ Top notch RGB backlighting
– Membrane switches
– No macro or media buttons
Corsair K63 Wireless
The tenkeyless Corsair K63 is arguably the best wireless gaming keyboard on the market, albeit from a relatively small selection.
As you should expect, some sacrifices have had to be made in order to achieve this. There’s no RGB backlighting, although the blue backlit model does look really attractive, because full RGB would drain the battery life that the board boasts.
On that note, you can expect 15 hours of battery when fully lit, 25 hours with reduced brightness, or 75 hours if you turn the lighting off completely.
The Corsair gaming keyboard is also a tenkeyless model, which effectively means that there’s no number pad, but the layout is exactly as expected, other than this, including the media control buttons on either side of the board.
Corsair uses Cherry red switches, which are light to the touch. If you’re desperate for a wireless, mechanical keyboard, this is probably your best option, and Corsair have done a really good job of keeping the price tag relatively low and battery life up.
+ A wireless, mechanical keyboard
+ Tenkeyless design means small form factor
– Not RGB Backlit
– Fairly pricey, albeit because of its wireless design
HyperX Alloy Elite
The HyperX Alloy Elite is an upgraded version of the standard HyperX Alloy. It costs a little over £100 and it has limited RGB options, as well as a lack of macro programming. However, it also has media control keys, and it has that great-looking frameless design that we have seen from other Kingston keyboards.
Available with a choice of red, brown, or blue Cherry MX switches, you can enjoy the level of feedback, clickiness, and responsiveness you want from your keyboard.
Possibly the biggest gripe with this keyboard is the fact that Kingston have chosen to do away with software – this makes for a simpler setup, but it means no programmable macros to reduce your farming and mining times.
+ Available with red, brown, or blue Cherry MX switches
+ Great-looking frameless design
+ No software so easier setup
– No software so no programmable macros or RGB options
The Logitech G513 is a great gaming board for those that want extra desk space, but still want a fully fledged keyboard that includes a number pad, although you will have to do without media control keys and there are no macro keys either.
The upgraded version of the G413 is a little more expensive, falling in the mid range price bracket, but it looks great without being over the top. It is a backlit RGB unit and it utilises Logitech’s Romer-G Linear Switch, which is widely considered to be even better than the Cherry MX red switch alternative. The G-Linear Switch is especially well suited to those that want to do more than gaming.
While the Cherry red switch can be a bit clicky for typing, the same isn’t true of Logitech’s version. If you want a full keyboard option, a better quality switch than the standard red switch, and enjoy a metal finish design, then the G513 is a great choice of keyboard.
+ Logitech’s G-Linear switches are excellent for more than gaming
+ Great looking aluminium finish
+ Decent features for a mid-range keyboard
– No media buttons
– No macro buttons
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is a high-end gaming peripheral, and it has the high-end price tag to boot. However, if you’ve got the money, you won’t go wrong with the aluminium build, the array of media and macro buttons, and the incredible range of RGB lighting options and settings that are available to you.
It even has its own memory, which means that the keyboard can store user profiles. There are 6 macro keys, which is actually fewer than were featured on its predecessor. There’s also a selection of media control keys including a volume rocker, and if you like RGB backlighting, you will absolutely love the baffling array of colours and lighting options available to you.
If you’ve got money to burn and want one of the best featured keyboards around, this Corsair gaming keyboard is a solid choice for your desktop.
+ Macro and media control buttons
+ Incredible RGB array
+ High quality and robust aluminium design
– Fewer macro buttons (6) than its predecessor
Logitech G213 Prodigy
The Logitech G213 Prodigy gaming keyboard is an entry level model, available for around £40, and offering a decent level of features for the price.
It has full RGB backlighting, as well as media control buttons, but it uses Mech-Dome switches, which are Logitech’s membrane alternatives to mechanical switches. While this is better than a lot of membrane options, it is still not of the same quality as basic mechanical switches, which could be a deal breaker for some gamers.
The keyboard itself is relatively standard looking, except for the fixed wrist support. It would have been better if this could be removed, because it makes the keyboard a chunky option overall. The membrane switches are likely to turn seasoned gamers off, but they aren’t as bad as most non-mechanical options, and it does help greatly reduce the price, which is especially low when you consider the level of RGB backlighting that is incorporated into the board.
+ Really cheap for a gaming keyboard
+ Media control buttons
+ Logitech’s membrane is better than most membrane switches
– It’s still a membrane keyboard
– It’s plastic, it feels plastic, it looks plastic
Corsair K68 RGB
The Corsair gaming keyboard is priced to be mid-range, and if you’re prone to liquid spills and other incidents that might lead to keyboard damage, you will be hard pressed to find a better option.
The quiet mechanical operation uses Cherry MX red keys, although you can also find a blue switch alternative version too. Until the RGB backlighting is on, you would forgiven for thinking this was a high end office keyboard, which for many of us, is a blessed relief. There’s no USB passthrough on this model, and the textured wrist rest can be easily removed and reattached as required.
Honestly, the primary reason for buying this keyboard is the impressive water resistance and dust resistance that it offers. If this is your 3rd keyboard this year, due to being accident prone with bottles of Coke, then this Corsair K68 RGB is your best option.
+ Media control buttons
+ Water and dust resistant
+ Full RGB backlighting
– Fairly standard keyboard, apart from the water resistance levels
Cooler Master MK850 Gaming Keyboard
The Cooler Master MK850 is a high-end gaming keyboard. If price is anything to go by, in fact, it should be the most feature-packed and high-quality keyboard on the market.
It has full RGB backlit keys, 5 macro keys, and media control keys. The stand out feature of the Cooler Master MK850 keyboard, though, is the
This is a set of 8
+ Aimpad technology could be useful
+ Macro and media keys
+ Choice of Cherry MX keys
– Very expensive
– Macro keys are in a weird place
Are Gaming Keyboards Worth It?
It is worth investing a little extra money in a gaming keyboard; specifically, one that utilises mechanical switches rather than rubber domed switches.
Mechanical keyboards are more responsive and “feel” better, while some gaming boards also offer access to features like macro keys and media control buttons.
If you’re a regular gamer, it is worth the investment, and if you want backlit keys to match your LED PC, you don’t really have any choice.
Will A Gaming Keyboard Make A Difference?
A gaming keyboard won’t instantly or necessarily make you a better gamer. It offers greater responsiveness over rubber domed or membrane keyboards. It also enables you to assign macros to specific keys, in some cases, and these features can improve your gaming experience, but they won’t necessarily improve your score or help you beat your best time.
Can You Use Gaming Keyboard For Work?
A gaming board CAN be used for anything that requires
You should consider the type of mechanical switches that are used when buying an expensive keyboard.
- Cherry MX Red switches are commonplace for gaming, but their lack of tactile feedback means that they might not be ideal for typing.
- Cherry MX Blue switches are considered the best for typing; they make a clicking sound when you hit the keys and they provide tactile feedback when actuated.
- Brown Cherry MX switches arguably offer the best of both worlds. They offer tactile feedback, and a medium force is required to actuate the switch. If you will be using your new keyboard for gaming and working, brown switches, or their equivalent, are probably your best option.
How To Clean Your Gaming Keyboard
A lot of gaming keyboards claim 50 million to 100 million keystrokes before they need replacing.
This means that you will be using your next keyboard for a long time, and no matter how careful you are to avoid spills, the keyboard will gather dust over time, and this can adversely affect your gaming and typing.
- Unplug the keyboard
- Use a vacuum and firmly apply to all keys and the plate itself
- Use a slightly damp microfibre cloth to wipe the keyboard down
- Dry with another, dry microfibre cloth
Sometimes, dirt and grim can get under the keys, so an occasional full clean is a good idea.
- Unplug the keyboard
- Remove keycaps using a puller
- Clean the keycaps using a mild washing up liquid
- Use a cotton swab to clean the individual keys
- While all the keys are removed, use a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dust from the plate
- Dry the keyboard by placing it face down
- Replace all keycaps
Can You Use A Gaming Keyboard On PS4?
The PS4 is compatible with virtually any keyboard, and the process is really simple. In most cases, you should just have to plug the keyboard into an available USB port on the Playstation.
The console should
If you are running out of USB sockets, you can simply plug a USB hub into one of the available ports to extend the number of sockets you have.
Can You Connect A Gaming Keyboard To Xbox One?
The Xbox One is compatible with gaming keyboards and mice, but not all games offer support. Some titles are compatible, but you will need to check each individual game itself, which is also true of the PS4.
However, if you do have a game that is compatible with keyboard use, simply plug your gaming board into the USB port of your console and you should be good to go.
Can You Connect A Gaming Keyboard To A Laptop?
All a mechanical gaming keyboard needs to work is a USB port, and any good gaming laptop will have these in abundance. Simply plug your keyboard into an available USB socket and the laptop should do the rest for you.
Can You Use A Gaming Keyboard On A Mac?
Apple makes a limited range of keyboards, mice, and other peripherals, and although they are good quality, they are not for everybody.
A Mac can be used with almost any keyboard, and should have more than enough USB ports to install your chosen peripherals. Unfortunately, however, it isn’t as easy as just plugging the keyboard into the Mac.
Once you plug the keyboard in, OS X should recognise the keyboard. The operating system will ask you to press certain keys on the keyboard, in order that it can identify the layout of the keyboard.