The 8 Best Gaming Keyboards to Buy in 2017

Buy the top budget, splurge-worthy, portable and design gaming keyboards

Standard keyboards are fine for office work, but to take your gaming to the next level, you need the speed and precision that only specialty gaming keyboards can offer. Gaming keyboards offer higher quality components to give you more precision, programmable keys to put vital controls at your fingertips, backlighting to help you play in a dark room and more. They can be pretty expensive, unfortunately, but the upgrade in quality over a standard keyboard is usually worth it. If you’re in the market for a gaming keyboard, we have the best ones across a wide range of prices and features right here.

The beauty of the Corsair K95 RGB is that every key and button is backlit and can be programmed to glow any color you can imagine – a rare feature among even the best gaming keyboards. It has 18 dedicated macro keys and 16.8 million colors. Gamers will love the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE), a dashboard for customizing all the macros and colors, which also lets you add effects such as changing colors after a keystroke or color waves across the keyboard.

The keyboard is one of the most solid you can find. It’s made of aircraft-grade anodized-brushed aluminum and comes complete with a removable and textured wrist rest that is a treat for your hands. It has Cherry MX RGB mechanical key switches, which give you satisfying tactical and audible feedback, plus 100 percent anti-ghosting full key rollover. It’s not only a masterpiece to look at, but one to use as well.

The Ryos MK Pro is such a great gaming keyboard that it’s a shame to call it a runner-up. The only downfalls: The wrist rest isn’t removeable and the only backlight color option is blue. If those things don’t bother you, then you better take a close look at this mechanical keyboard.

It has eight dedicated macro keys that let you optimize your gameplay, plus not one, but two 32-bit ARM Cortex processors and 2MB of on-board memory to help you manage your customizations. But beyond those eight keys, you can also set up macros for any letter on your keyboard and use it in combination with Roccat's Easy-Shift[+] key to quickly shoot off complex commands. That’s a huge advantage over almost every other gaming keyboard on the market. It also features N-key rollover, which means advanced anti-ghosting, so every keystroke will register regardless of how many others are being pressed. It’s a solid keyboard that feels luxurious, in part thanks to Cherry MX key switches in blue, black, brown and red, and will be appreciated by seasoned gamers and noobs alike.

Opting for a less expensive gaming keyboard means you’ll miss out on fancy features like backlighting and mechanical keys, but there are still quality gaming keyboards out there for cheap if you’re willing to settle for something more plain. The Turtle Beach Impact 100 doesn’t have lights or programmable macro keys, but it does have one thing that sets it apart from cheaper keyboards and that is that the keys feel great and are much more precise than a standard membrane keyboard.

Mechanical keys are usually preferable for gaming because each key is a mechanical switch and is more sensitive, while membrane keyboards use a silicone membrane that requires a full press to activate. The membrane keys in the Impact 100, however, use a new technology that makes them feel and respond like mechanical keys, but at a much lower price. It isn’t quite the same as a mechanical keyboard, of course, but if you want a gaming keyboard on a budget, the Turtle Beach Impact 100 is a solid choice.

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 makes this budget pick an even better deal. As one Amazon reviewer put it, it far exceeds most expectations given the price, but it’s still a budget option so “don’t be disappointed if you are expecting this thing to walk your dog.”

Most gaming keyboards are full-sized, but you usually only ever use a handful of buttons to actually play games. If you want to cut out the clutter and use a smaller keyboard that is a little more portable, the Delux-T9 Mini Gaming Keyboard is just what you need. It is essentially only the keys you can reach with your left hand and nothing else, which means it is small, lightweight and gives you everything you need without having to lug around a full sized keyboard. It can be used either right-handed or left-handed, thanks to having space bar keys on both sides of the unit. It doesn’t have extra features like macro buttons and you won’t be able to type sentences with it, of course, but for most games it has more than enough keys to get the job done and is much cheaper than other gaming keyboard options.

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.

Wireless keyboards and mice are convenient, but the slight lag that is always present in wireless solutions make them less than optimal for fast and intense games. There are a lot of other types of games out there besides just twitch shooters that require lightning reflexes, though, so if you’d like to sit back on your couch and play something a little more easygoing, the Razer Turret is a solid choice.

It comes with a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse – both of which can connect either via Bluetooth or a USB dongle – and the keyboard has a built in mousepad. The mousepad can only be used on the right side, unfortunately, so lefties may struggle, but for right-handed folks the Razer Turret is solid. Battery life is around 40 hours for the keyboard and up to 4 months for the mouse, and both can be recharged with the included dock.

Performance suffers a bit because of the smaller than standard size of both the keyboard and mouse, but once you get used to how everything feels it all works great. There are certainly other wireless keyboards out there, and for less money, but they aren’t really designed with gaming in mind, which is what sets the Razer Turret apart.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how important keyboards can be for regular computer usage, but when you’re gaming, it’s especially vital to have a good one because otherwise you might lose that important match. If you’re a serious gamer and have money to spend, we’d recommend looking at the Das Keyboard Prime 13.

On first glance, the Das Keyboard Prime 13 does not have the flourishes and design prowess of some others on this list. But it does offer supreme competency in everything it does, a minimalist design, and comfort for your hands. Under its black veneer, this keyboard has high-quality Cherry MX Brown switches that give you feedback halfway through a key press. The keyboard also has white LED backlighting with seven levels of brightness, so you can find the perfect lighting while you are playing a game or browsing the Web.

For convenience, it has a USB port at its the top right corner, so you can plug in a mouse, thumb-drive or a phone in a much easier spot than plugging it into a desktop. Oh, and it claims to last more than 50 million keystrokes, so be prepared to have this keyboard for many years before having to replace it.

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