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The best gaming keyboards can elevate your experience with options for customizable RGB lighting and custom macros. Regardless if you're looking for mechanical or membrane switches, there are plenty of options for gamers of every level.
When looking for a gaming keyboard, you'll want to look at what types of switches it uses, which will dictate the overall feel of your keyboard. Mechanical keys are louder and more robust, whereas membrane switches are softer and quieter but can feel less responsive.
Make sure to check out our definitive FAQ if you're curious to learn more about keyboards and how they can work for you.
Various switch options
2 year warranty
Build quality could be better
This mechanical gaming keyboard isn’t the flashiest on the market, but we’re placing it on the top of the list because everything a gaming keyboard needs to do, the CK550 does well. First off, the feel is great: The mechanical switches are clicky and responsive and they are rated for more than 50 million keystrokes, ensuring that you’ll be using this keyboard for many games to come. There are individual RGB LEDs for each key, meaning that you can map the lighting for each key to fit your look. What’s more is you can use the included software to assign those 16.7 million color options to each key individually.
The CK550's looks don’t stop there, because the curved, brushed aluminum top plate is durable, minimal, modern and sleek. There are even on-the-fly control adjustment options that mean you won’t need to stop what you’re doing just to adjust your keymapping. That’s hugely important for a gamer who is moving in and out of games and keeping their focus on leveling up and forward progress. Pair that all with the floating keycaps, a device weight that sits just under two pounds, and the unassuming footprint of the keyboard as a whole, and it’ll make a great addition to your gaming desk.
Excellent proprietary software
Genuine Cherry MX switches
Uncomfortable wrist rest
The K70 is the cream of the crop for Corsairs mechanical keyboard lineup, and it accomplishes this by checking every box you look for in a gaming keyboard. First off, it’s Corsair’s fastest keyboard offering, with Cherry MX switches that give you 1.2mm actuation and really light pressure sensitivity of only 1.5 ounces. This affords you super-accurate control and a 100 percent anti-ghosting guarantee from Corsair (most likely within the warranty term, of course).
But the reason we’re giving this keyboard the nod for our RGB category is that it gives you really advanced CUE support for the ultimate precision in customizing your rig for your gaming. This means that you can set it up to map colors and patterns to whatever section of the keyboard you want. Note, that you’ll need two USB ports and updated Windows OS to support that functionality. Aside from the RGB colors, the thing looks really sleek, too, with aircraft-grade brushed aluminum, giving a really stealthy, industrial look.
Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of durability even during intense gaming sessions. This is on the pricier side of things, but you’re getting a solid level of functionality and customization here.
Compatible with virtually every OS
Can only pair with a single device at a time
The Artek HB030B is a slim and portable wireless Bluetooth 3.0 gaming keyboard that fits perfectly in a backpack or purse and is light on the wallet. The tiny gaming keyboard measures .24 x 9.72 x 5.91 inches and weighs no more than 7.6 ounces.
Big things come in little packages, like the Artek HB030B’s six-month battery life (based on two hours of non-stop use per day) powered by rechargeable lithium batteries. The powerful little gaming keyboard includes seven unique LED backlights with two brightness levels and an auto sleep feature to preserve energy. It’s compatible with Windows, MAC, iOS and Android operating systems and comes with a 24-month warranty with readily available customer service.
Nice feeling keys
Short USB cable
When you absolutely do not want to spend more than $15 on a gaming keyboard, then the Rii RK100+ is your best bet. The rainbow LED backlight gaming keyboard is full of surprises aside from its absurdly affordable price.
The Rio RK100+ isn't necessarily a mechanical keyboard but certainly feels like one by offering a mimicked feeling. Its rainbow LED backlights are adjustable with five different settings for personal preference. When it’s not in use, the keyboard will save energy and enter into a sleeping mode after 10 minutes being idle. It works with Windows operating systems and comes with a 12-month warranty.
Includes RGB mouse
No dedicated software
As with most budget keyboards, the keys on the Vajra are not backlit, however, it does have a few light up sections as a reasonable consolation prize. It also has swappable WASD and arrow keys, plus 12 media keys (which require simultaneously pressing the F key) and 19 keys without conflict. Although it isn’t a mechanical keyboard, it has hybrid membrane switches, which are actually comfortably close to mechanical switches when it comes to tactile feedback. It has a fierce black and red design that has solid construction despite being plastic and is spacious to game with, though it lacks a dedicated wrist rest.
The Redragon S101 also comes packaged with a mouse, which features six buttons, making this budget pick an even better deal.
Impressive build quality
No necessary software
Short wrist rest
Battery life could be better
When gaming, you want the best-secured connection you can get in order to have a quick response time without delay. If you don’t want to go wired, the Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard offers one of the best wireless connections you can get for a gaming keyboard.
The Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard is built with a powerful 2.4 GHz wireless connection using a unifying USB receiver. The keyboard includes a keystroke system that makes typing comfortable and quiet, and it requires no batteries, instead, relying on a quick charge through its micro-USB cable that gives up to 10 days of battery life. The Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard is compatible with Windows operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 10 and comes with a three-year limited hardware warranty.
Per-key RGB lighting
Dedicated media keys
No dedicated macros
No USB pass-through
As far as gaming keyboards go, Roccat is a name that needs no introduction. From their Horde line, all the way to the massive Sova stations, they’ve got some great rigs for the serious gamer. The newest addition — the Vulcan 120 AIMO — gives you that classic build and reliability with some new innovations. This keyboard is plug-and-play compatible with Windows computers (via USB).
The first new feature is central: They’ve designed their new Titan Switch to be tactile, quick, and precise, offering a sturdy click and 3.6mm of key travel. They’ve surrounded those beautiful new key switches with a tough aluminum top plate that is built to both survive normal wear and tear, and even offer some degree of drop protection. The other new feature here is the updated AIMO lighting engine, giving you long-lasting LEDs in each key, plus the choice of 16.8 million different color options to customize your setup. There’s also an ergonomic wrist rest that includes a control wheel for volume and light adjustment, and even customizable macro keys that can be individually programmed to your needs. It’s a top-of-the-line keyboard if you have the means for the price tag.
Excellent RGB lighting options
Not genuine cherry switches
Most gaming keyboards have some sort of back lighting these days, but not all backlighting is created equal. If you want the brightest and most colorful keys that are integrated into the actual games you’re playing, and just plain coolest looking gaming keyboard overall, the Razer Black Widow X Chroma wins hands down. It functions like a champ, thanks to reliable and precise mechanical keys, but the real attraction here is the Chroma backlighting with 16.8-million total customizable color options. The backlighting can be customized however you like, but many games will also have built in presets to light up the keyboard in specific ways just for that game like matching character colors or changing color to show ability cooldowns in MMO games. The Razer BlackWidow X Chroma turns keyboard backlighting into an art form and is definitely the coolest looking gaming keyboard on the market.
"This is one of my personal favorite keyboards explicitly because it features raised keycaps. This does little to affect the overall feel of the keyboard but makes it incredibly easy to clean. Having the keycaps raised away from the body leaves little space for dust and other detritus to collect." Alice Newcome-Beill, Associate commerce editor
No wrist rest
In general, finding a decent gaming keyboard and mouse combo isn’t the way to find the best quality of either device. That said, this combo from HAVIT makes the cut.
First, the keyboard's responsiveness is good, though not quite as premium as higher-dollar mechanical switches. The manufacturer claims you can press up to 19 keys at once without registering conflicts, which means you’ll have decent use of the keyboard for quicker gaming with no ghosting. There are 7 different colors of LED backlights — red, green, blue, yellow, purple, cyan, and pink — that offer breathing and cycling effects. Again, not as many color options as some more expensive units, but still not bad for the price.
The mouse also offers color cycling, and it operates at up to 3200 DPI for decently smooth action. The mouse has a durable braided cable with a gold-plated connector and micro-switches that all seem to have a satisfying click. The HAVIT isn't the fanciest of systems, but if you’re an occasional gamer looking for a starter pack that gives you both a keyboard and a mouse, it's a good place to start.
Choice between linear and tactile switches
Excellent wrist rest
Slick minimalist style
No dedicated macro or media keys
RGB lighting not as bright as it could be
Though Logitech is more often known for their wireless business keyboards, the G513 (offered in a few switch configurations) is a great decently priced option for those who can live without all the bells and whistles delivered by more gaming-oriented brands.
This configuration comes with GX Blue mechanical switches that offer a tactile feel and even give you a longer life than many other keys (Logitech claims almost 40-percent more life, to be precise). It includes Logitech’s latest, most immersive RGB backlight technology offering up to 16.8M different shades of customizable color. Add that in with Logitech’s Lightsync tech which lines up colors with 300 different games, and you have a beautiful-looking keyboard that can be customized to your favorite title.
The chassis is built with 5052 ultra-durable-grade aluminum, meaning the device itself won’t break down easily from longer, harsher use. There are assignable function keys with dedicated gaming features and a reliable, high-speed USB connection for lower latency. They’ve even thrown in a USB pass-through in case you want to hook a mouse up straight to the keyboard.
The Cooler Master CK550 may not share the same prestige as some larger brands, but this RGB gaming keyboard still packs in tons of features without breaking the bank.
Our expert reviewers and testers evaluate gaming keyboards the same way they do keyboards in general, but they place a bigger focus on gaming elements. For gaming keyboards, we pay a lot of attention to design, looking at the class of keyboard it is (full-size, tenkeyless, 60 percent etc...), the key layout, the quality of the keycaps themselves (ABS, PBT doubleshot), and the switch type, actuation force, accuracy, and noise level.
Additional gamer-specific elements we like to see are media controls and RGB lighting. To test, we use the keyboard for a mix of gaming and productivity, playing various games across different genres and also use it in Google docs or word to type. Finally, we take into account the price and compare the keyboard and its features to the competition to make our final judgement. Most of the gaming keyboards we review are purchased by Lifewire; a few newer releases are provided by manufacturers, but have no impact on our objective evaluation.
Alice Newcome-Beill currently has over 5 mechanical keyboards at home, fully aware that she is only capable of using one at any given time. She has reviewed keyboards for PCMag and PC Gamer. Her favorite switch color is silver.
Switches - While plenty of gaming keyboards offer a variety of mechanical switches, each with their own distinct feel, plenty of gamers also enjoy the simple, discrete feel of membrane switches as well. Switches are generally a subjective decision rather than an objective one, the right switch for you is purely a matter of personal preference.
Layout - Some keyboards take a less-is-more approach by ditching the Numpad and sometimes the function keys. But others include nice quality-of-life features like dedicated media and macro keys. This decision typically is based on your budget but also what you're looking to get out of your gaming keyboard.
Software - Some keyboard manufacturers support proprietary customization software, giving you tons of options for changing RGB lighting or remapping keys. Some gaming keyboards omit this software, but still allow for a small degree of customization.