The Best Gaming Keyboards for 2022

If yous’re a gamer, you probably take your option of gaming keyboard very seriously. And you should.

When your keyboard doubles as your game controller, it’s more than just a tool for typing. It is to you what the katana is to a samurai (or to a cyborg ninja): an extension of yourself, your interface with the digital earth. If you care most PC gaming, it pays to know what makes a keyboard great, what differentiates one from another, and what’south on the market today. We’ve rounded up the best keyboards you tin purchase, forth with a brief guide to help yous find the one that’due south right for you.


Switch Information technology Up! Understanding Mechanical, Dome, and Scissor Switches

Well-nigh higher-cease gaming keyboards these days use mechanical switches, which pair each fundamental to its own spring-loaded switch. They are designed to provide superior audio and tactile feedback. Many of these switches use so-called “MX” mechanisms from a visitor called Cerise, and are identified by color (MX Black, MX Chocolate-brown, MX Blue, MX Red, and so on), each with a slightly unlike design, tweaked to provide a specific experience and sound while typing.

Which switch you want depends on what types of games you play, and what else you exercise with your computer. Cherry MX Black switches have the highest activation force, which makes them platonic for games in which yous don’t want to take to worry nigh accidentally hitting a key twice. This, though, can give them a strong experience that’southward not well suited for games that crave nimbler response, then for those types of titles you lot may prefer pilus-trigger Cherry MX Carmine switches. If either is likewise extreme for you, there’s a compromise candidate in Cherry-red MX Brown switches: They accept the same actuation force every bit the Red variety, but add a tactile bump to assist with typing. If you need a keyboard that can switch back and along between hard-core gaming and traditional work tasks, this is the kind to look for.

Crimson isn’t the only switch maker in town, though. Decent Cherry MX imitations from makers such every bit Kaihua populate some budget mechanical keyboards. Also, some mass-marketplace keyboard manufacturers have developed their own mechanical switches as an alternative to Cherry’s. Logitech’s Romer-1000 switches are available on many of its gaming keyboards, and the company claims they take a longer lifespan (up to 70 million keystrokes) and a shorter travel distance than Carmine switches. Razer, likewise, has fabricated a proper name for itself with its Green (tactile and clicky), Orangish (tactile and silent), and Yellow (linear and silent) key switches. What’southward more, the green tri-serpent company now has an optical (“Opto-Mechanical”) key switch that uses a light beam to detect a keypress rather than a standard metal contact signal. (For lots more than about mechanicals, see our picks for our favorite mechanical keyboards.)

Razer Keyboard in Closeup

At the lower terminate of the gaming keyboard market place, y’all will still observe boards that make utilise of “rubber dome” switches, which employ little bubbling in a silicone membrane, the material beingness the spring behind the switch. The result feels mushy and requires a full printing with each keystroke, slowing down the speed at which commands tin be entered. A slight variation on this is the scissor switch, which also uses a silicone membrane for springback but has a slimmer profile and adds a stabilizing “X”-shaped mechanism below each fundamental. Scissor switches are almost often plant on laptops, but a few low-profile gaming keyboards use them.

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Play tricks It Out: Keyboard Backlighting and Customization

Features that would be unimportant on a regular keyboard take on new significance when adapted to gaming. Backlighting, for instance, is not merely a way to illuminate keys in a dark room. For gamers, newer twists on the old backlight include adaptable colors, and multiple lighting zones with separate backlight areas for arrow and WASD keys, highlighting the most frequently used control keys. Some gaming keyboards even have individual-primal backlighting, which lets you personalize the color of each key, one by 1, as you run across fit. (This is often referred to as “per-key RGB,” equally opposed to zone-based RGB, in which you can assign colors to key clusters or areas.)

RGB Keys With Numpad Closeup

Another customizable characteristic is the swappable keycap. Because mechanical switches are physically separate from the keycap itself, with some designs you can remove and swap out the keys’ tops for others that characteristic molded sculpting, texturing for meliorate tactile control, or differently colored plastic. Some keyboards offering simply swappable WASD keys, while others may include pointer or number keys that you can alter out.

HyperX Keyboard Volume Roller

A gaming keyboard may have more than to offer than exceptionally well-made keys, adding features like macro-control customization and dedicated shortcut keys. Some go so far as to include entirely new features, such as in-game statistics tracking, text communication to the keyboard, or congenital-in touch-screen displays. Other possible enhancements include rows of dedicated media keys (for adjusting volume, playing and skipping music, and the similar) and profile keys (for toggling on game-specific sets of keyboard functions). Some gaming keyboards likewise have USB laissez passer-through, letting you connect other USB peripherals to the keyboard itself, freeing upward an extra port or two on your PC.

Virtually gaming models offer a 10-key numeric pad, which laptops often lack and is a necessity for anyone who needs to tally numbers or enter information into a spreadsheet. Then-called “tenkeyless” models piece off the numeric pad in the interest of infinite savings and keeping your typing and mousing easily closer together. Bear that in heed if you’re looking at gaming keyboards, equally tenkeyless models are a recent trend peculiarly in that subclass. If you want to go even smaller, 60 percentage keyboards eliminate evenmore keys. Bank check out our sixty pct keyboard guide for everything you need to know about the category.


Interface: USB Wired, or Wireless?

Speaking of USB: Though you may adopt your keyboards to exist wireless, nigh gaming keyboards are wired for a reason. Wired keyboards are snappy, as you don’t take to worry nearly the potential input latency involved in the transmission of wireless signals. With a run-of-the-factory wireless keyboard, you might await some delay betwixt you pressing down a primal and your computer registering it as a keypress.

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Keyboard With Volume Dial

When you’re playing games, especially in the instance of competitive multiplayer titles, it’s critical to keep this lag to a minimum. That’s why many competitive gamers and esports hounds swear past wired only. That said, many of the big players in gaming keyboards offer a few avowed low-latency wireless designs. Merely wireless gaming keyboards remain the exception rather than the norm. (See our picks for our favorite wireless keyboards.)


Evaluating Gaming Keyboard Software

Some other expanse that we consider when evaluating gaming keyboards is the software. These days, well-nigh every gaming keyboard worthy of being called one is tied to an application that lets you assign functions to shortcut keys, create game-specific profiles, and customize on-keyboard lighting.

For these tasks, and a few others, Corsair keyboards utilise a utility called Corsair Utility Engine (iCUE, formerly only CUE). 1 of the best-regarded examples of keyboard software, iCUE boasts a simple interface with a vast assortment of options for personalizing your lath. You can, for example, record your ain custom macros or assign new functions to existing keys. For Corsair keyboards that support RGB, you lot can fifty-fifty utilize the software to stack diverse effects, with the option to preview combinations before applying them.

Corsair iCUE

The latest Logitech keyboards, on the other hand, are compatible with two programs: G Hub and Logitech Gaming Software (LGS). G Hub is the newer interface for Logitech gear, and it offers a more than digestible interface for setting up game profiles, customizing and synchronizing lighting zones, and assigning a second layer of functions to your keys, activated by pressing an assignable G Shift control.

Gaming Keyboard Software

Meanwhile, all Razer keyboards utilize an application called Synapse for personalization. Upwards until G Hub was released, Synapse had ane of the cleanest interfaces of all the keyboard utilities we’ve tested. Like shooting fish in a barrel to learn, Synapse employ menus with options to modify lighting, create profiles, record and assign macro functions, and integrate your Razer hardware with Philips Hue lights for the ultimate coordinated RGB (or “Chroma,” as Razer calls it) experience.

Razer Synapse software

Other software for gaming keyboards exists, such as Roccat’s Swarm, SteelSeries’ Engine, and Cougar’due south UIX. Equally much equally their appearances vary, the purpose and functionality of these programs remain largely the same. Software goes hand-in-manus with gaming keyboards, and one of the key selling points for these peripherals is that you can tweak the way they await and perform to arrange your preferred games, genres, and play style. Competent software helps you lot make ameliorate use of your gear; that’s why the best gaming keyboard manufacturers pour so many resources into developing software and drivers that our analysts deem up to snuff. Look to our reviews for deep dives on the software.

Gaming on a Mac? You’re not alone, and you have more than options than you used to. Many mouse and keyboard manufacturers now produce Mac versions of their configuration apps so you tin savour all the advantages of customizing your inputs. Our roundups of the best keyboards for Macs and the all-time gaming mice for Macs will help you discover peripherals that help y’all stride up your game.

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So, Which Gaming Keyboard Should Yous Buy?

If you’re looking to fully deck out a gaming organisation, you’ll also desire to bank check out our top-rated gaming mice, monitors, and gaming headsets. Some of these models can work in sync with the keyboard, in terms of lighting and commands, so information technology’s worth reading reviews of these too. Sometimes, the same software tin can control RGB effects or macros on a keyboard and a mouse from the aforementioned manufacturer, keeping you from having to maintain and understand two or more utilities.

Check below for the all-time gaming boards we’ve tested of tardily. Well-nigh are classic mechanical-switch models, merely a few use alternate key types, and so check the reviews for the details. And if you’re in the marketplace for a whole new gaming rig, don’t miss the best gaming desktops and gaming laptops we’ve tested.

Our Selection

Rating

Passthrough Ports

Palm Rest

Onboard Contour Storage

Number of Keys

N-Central Rollover Support

Media Controls

Key Switch Type

Cardinal Backlighting

Interface

Dedicated Shortcut Keys

MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic Mechanical Keyboard

MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic Mechanical Keyboard

Editors’ Pick


Excellent (iv.0)

Review

None Detachable (Separate) 104 Dedicated MSI Sonic Reddish RGB Per-Key USB Wired

Asus ROG Claymore II Wireless Keyboard

Asus ROG Claymore II Wireless Keyboard

Editors’ Choice


Excellent (iv.5)

Review

USB Detachable (Magnetic) 108 Defended Asus ROG RX Optical RGB Per-Primal RF Wireless, USB Wired

Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Series Gaming Keyboard

Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Serial Gaming Keyboard

Editors’ Pick


Excellent (iv.5)

Review

None None 95 Dedicated Cherry MX Crimson RGB Per-Central USB Wired

Fnatic Streak65 Gaming Keyboard

Fnatic Streak65 Gaming Keyboard

Editors’ Choice


Excellent (4.5)

Review

None None 68 Shared With Other Keys Fnatic Speed RGB Zonal USB Wired

HyperX Alloy Origins 60 Gaming Keyboard

HyperX Blend Origins 60 Gaming Keyboard


Fantabulous (4.0)

Review

None None 61 Shared With Other Keys HyperX Reddish RGB Per-Key USB Wired

Kinesis TKO Gaming Keyboard

Kinesis TKO Gaming Keyboard

Editors’ Choice


Excellent (4.v)

Review

None None 63 Shared With Other Keys Kailh Box White (Clicky) RGB Per-Fundamental USB Wired

Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB Split Gaming Keyboard

Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB Dissever Gaming Keyboard

Editors’ Selection


Fantabulous (4.0)

Review

None Integrated 108 Dedicated Logitech GX Brownish RGB Per-Key USB Wired

Corsair K100 RGB Gaming Keyboard

Corsair K100 RGB Gaming Keyboard


Excellent (four.0)

Review

USB Detachable (Magnetic) 117 Dedicated Corsair OPX Opto-Mechanical Switches RGB Per-Primal USB Wired

Razer Huntsman V2 Analog Optical Gaming Keyboard

Razer Huntsman V2 Analog Optical Gaming Keyboard

Editors’ Choice


Splendid (four.0)

Review

USB Detachable (Magnetic) 108 Dedicated Razer Analog Optical RGB Per-Key USB-C

Razer Ornata V2

Razer Ornata V2


Good (3.5)

Review

None Detachable (Magnetic) 110 Defended Razer Mecha-Membrane RGB Per-Key USB Wired

Nearly Jeffrey L. Wilson

Source: https://sea.pcmag.com/keyboards/9616/the-best-gaming-keyboards-for-2020