The keyboard is your biggest connection to your computer, since it's the part that you touch the most. Therefore, getting a better one can mean a more instantly noticeable difference than upgrading your CPU even. If you're a gamer, your choice in keyboard is even more critical. You need something that can team up with your natural gaming skills and is comfortable for long gaming sessions and typing too. Appealing design choices to accompany your rig wouldn't hurt either.
Whether you’re battling in a first-person shooter or just want a better typing experience all around, the following are the best gaming keyboards we've tested because they offer the best combination of responsiveness, features and styling.
Best gaming keyboards at a glance:
1. Patriot Viper V765
2. Hexgears Venture
3. Logitech G915 Lightspeed
4. HyperX Alloy Origins
5. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT
6. SteelSeries Apex Pro
7. Hexgears Impulse
8. MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile
9. HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini
10. HyperX Wrist Rest
Quick Shopping Tips
When hunting for the best gaming keyboard, remember the following:
- Mechanical or bust: Don’t even consider a non-mechanical keyboard. Only mechanical keyboard switches offer a truly worthy experience.
- RGB or not? You can save a little money by getting a keyboard with a single-color backlight, but you’ll miss out on a spectacular light show.If you opt for something with no backlight at all, make sure you'll be gaming in a well-lit area or are a touch typist.
- Pick your switch: The best gaming keyboards use a number of different mechanical switch types that determine the feel and sound of each key press. There are even new ones coming this year, such as the Cherry Viola switch. The type of switch you choose depends on your personal preferences for typing and gaming.
Here are some of the most common:
A.) Clicky Tactile: Blue, Green, White
B.) Quiet Tactile: Brown, Clear
C.) Linear (quiet and go straight down): Red, Silver
- Full-size, tenkeyless or smaller? Tenkeyless boards drop the numpad, while 65% ones eliminate navigation keys and 60% boards also cut the arrow keys. While some users want every possible key, others prefer a smaller keyboard that gives them more space on their desk.
Best Gaming Keyboards 2020
Best Gaming Keyboard
Switches: Kailh box White (clicky) | Backlight: RGB | Type: Full-size Keyboard | Size: 18.4 x 6.4 inches x 1.1 (46.6 x 20.3 x 4 cm) | Weight: 2.5 pounds (1.1 kg)
Patriot Memory is known more for its RAM and storage than its peripherals, but the Viper V765 provides a key feel that’s second to none in an attractive, very-affordable package, making it the best gaming keyboard for most. It's the only mass-market keyboard we’ve seen that uses Kailh Box White switches, which actuate faster than regular Blue or Green switches thanks to their slightly reduced travel of 3.6mm (versus 4mm on competitors). The keys are the most responsive we’ve tested and even make a more-pleasant click sound than you’ll find elsewhere.
The awesome switches alone make the Viper V765 worth buying, but it’s also a great looking peripheral. The full-size keyboard has an aluminum top-surface with tapered edges that make it look like a metallic space ship. The vibrant RGB keys offer dozens of different light combinations, along with the ability to create your own color patterns. The Viper Software is nothing to type home about, but you don’t even need to install it in order to use most of the lighting effects.
Best of all, this IP56 water and dust-resistant keyboard sells for under $100 (under £70) when most competitors cost a lot more. While we wish that it taller flip-out feet and a slightly-better app, the Viper V765 is our favorite gaming keyboard right now.
Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard
Switches: Low Profile Kailh Choc White | Backlight: RGB | Type: Full-size Keyboard | Size: 17 x 5.5 x 1 inches (432 x 140 x 25 mm) | Weight: 1.57 pounds (712g)
With pleasingly tactile and clicky low-profile Kailh Choc white switches in our review unit (brown and red will also be offered) the Venture is a solid-feeling, pleasing clacker for gaming or typing and the best gaming keyboard for going cable-free. But given the size (17 x 5.5 x 1 inches), we’d like to see dedicated media control keys. And with its full-size layout that includes a numpad, the keyboard isn’t particularly travel-friendly, despite being wireless.
But for wireless usage, the Venture comes with a handy feature. You can pair it with as many as four Bluetooth devices simultaneously (this isn’t an exclusive feature; we’ve seen similar abilities on Logitech peripherals). That means in a snap you can use the keyboard with your desktop PC, your phone, your work computer and then your laptop. Just press FN and the number 1, 2, 3 or 4 on the keyboard to toggle devices.
And if you do decide to switch to a wired connection for the utmost confidence in speed, the keyboard comes with a removable USB-C cable. The Hexgears Venture is only available at the Kono store here, but for a board worthy of enthusiasts it's worth the trip to the site.
Read: Hexgears Venture review
Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard
Switches: Low-profile GL | Backlight: Per-key RGB | Type: Full-size, Bluetooth | Size: 18.7 x 5.9 x 0.87 inches (475 x 150 x 22mm) | Weight: 2.26 pounds (1,025g)
If you can’t get your hands on the Hexgears Venture above, the Logitech G915 Lightspeed is another one of the best gaming keyboards for going cable-free. The keyboard offered great wireless performance during our testing. You have the option to connect via Bluetooth or a USB Type-A dongle powered by Logitech's Lightspeed technology. For mainstream gaming, the keyboard seemed as responsive as a wired one. Plus, we never suffered dropouts or issues pairing the device via Bluetooth, and (with the RGB lighting off) it can last for 12 full workdays.
The G915 Lightspeed uses low-profile switches that made us feel light on our fingers, which also stayed comfortable during long gaming sessions. That comes from a 1.5mm actuation distance (total travel distance is 2.7mm). Those who like deeper travel will be left wanting. But you also get five G-keys that are great for in-game mapping and streamers. At this price ($230 as of writing), we wish for more luxuries, like a wrist rest. But for reliable wireless connection and speedy, low-profile gaming, this Logitech is a winner.
Best Mainstream Gaming Keyboard
Switches: HyperX Red (linear) | Backlight: RGB | Type: Full-size Keyboard | Size: 17.4 x 5.2 x 1.4 inches (442.5 x 132.5 x 36.4mm) | Weight: 2.4 pounds (1,075g)
The HyperX Alloy Origins’ compact and quality build make it the best gaming keyboard for mainstream gamers who just want to get down to gaming. It’s comfortable with a premium look and feel, from its keys to its frame and vibrant RGB lighting. If you're familiar with linear switches, you'll feel right at home with this keyboard's red switches. We've also tested the clickier version with HyperX aqua switches, which is available on Amazon and HyperX's store.
But for over $100, you can find gaming keyboards with more luxuries, like media control buttons, a USB pass-through port (for easily plugging in another accessory, like your best gaming mouse) or more advanced software. But what the Alloy Origins does offer, it executes excellently. Additionally, HyperX has a tenkeyless (no numpad) version of this keyboard that's cheaper, the HyperX Alloy Origins Core for $90.
Best Gaming Keyboard Splurge
Switches: Cherry MX Blue (tested), Brown or Speed Silver | Backlight: Pre-key RGB | Type: Full-size keyboard | Size: 18.3 x 6.7 x 1.4 inches (465 x 171 x 36mm) | Weight: 2.88 pounds (1.31kg)
If you’re willing to spend on a premium mechanical gaming keyboard, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT won’t let you down. It’s one the best gaming keyboards we’ve tested but is expensive ($180-$200 at the time of writing), partially thanks to features that some won’t find necessary.
It’s the latest iteration of Corsair’s flagship K95, and this time Corsair’s upped the ante on luxuries, like double-shot keycaps and a padded leatherette wrist rest. Streamers even get support for Elgato Stream Deck software, which is usable with the keyboard’s six macro keys. That also means you can save over $100 on a separate Stream Deck. Corsair tops it off with familiar high-end mechanical keyboard choices, including a brushed aluminum build, volume wheel and per-key RGB lighting.
The board comes with Cherry MX Brown (tactile and quiet), Silver Speed (fast and quiet), but we tested the Blue (tactile and clicky) version. The switches were great for daily typing, but we’d prefer either the quieter or short-actuating switch choices for gaming. There are no linear options, like Cherry MX Red, here.
Switches: OmniPoint adjustable mechanical switches and Gateron red | Backlight: Pre-key RGB | Type: Full-size keyboard | Size: 17.2 x 1.9 x 4.4 inches (436.7 x 40.3 x 139.2mm) | Weight: 2.14 pounds (1 kg)
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is the best gaming keyboard for RGB, boasting some of the most brilliant per-key RGB lighting we've ever seen. The colors pop against the keyboard's dark gray frame and light up the rest of the chassis. Raised keycaps heighten the experience even more. Plus, software and on-the-fly controls make the possibilities feel endless.
This keyboard also has the innovative ability to set the actuation point for individual keys and an OLED screen that you can personalize with a small image or GIF. Not only is the Apex Pro highly customizable, it makes doing so much easier thab something like a hot-swappable keyboard.
Those who like, clicky, tactile typing should consider something else, due to the linear feel of the keyboard’s switches. Although, you'll hear plenty of noise from banging on the aluminum frame. If you want a keyboard you can easily put your mark on (literally), look no further.
Best for Typing
Switches: Kailh Box White | Backlight: RGB | Type: Full-size Keyboard | Size: 17.25 x 6 x 1.6 inches (43.8 x 15.2 x 4 cm) | Weight: 2 pounds (918 g)
It’s far from a perfect gaming keyboard, but the Hexgears Impulse (available with Kailh Box White switches here) is the best gaming keyboard if your priority is typing performance. In fact, typing on this keyboard is the best I've ever experienced, surpassing even my old-school IBM-style keyboard and others I’ve used with Cherry MX Blue or Razer Green switches. And at a starting price of just $79 for the more-attractive white/gray model, the Impulse won’t break the bank.
Hexgears made the bold choice of putting a Blue-style switch under the spacebar only, arguing that the largest key (which most people hit with their thumbs) should be a bit stiffer. At first, I thought that having a different switch under just one key was a weird choice, but I found the added resistance helpful. As a result, I enjoyed typing on the Impulse more than on the Viper V765, which has White switches under every key, including the spacebar.
Read: Hexgears Impulse review
Best Gaming Keyboard for Typing
Switches: Kailh Choc | Backlight: RGB | Type: Full-size Keyboard | Size: 17.1 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches (435 x 141 x 34mm) | Weight: 1.5 pounds (700g)
If you can’t find the Hexgears Impulse above, the MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile is another one of the best gaming keyboards for those who prioritize typing. Its low profile Kailh Choc switches brought back memories of typewriters with its shamelessly loud clicks. We also liked the fast response, which made our fingers want to get moving even faster.
It’s not the perfect keyboard. In fact, we found the stiffer shift key to be a hindrance and the stiffer spacebar to affect our ability to use it rapidly while gaming. On top of this, the accompanying software doesn’t download properly at the moment, so RGB and other customization is limited.
However, this clacker is also cheaper than most of the others on this list. It has the speedy switches that gamers need with a design they like, plus a typing experience that made us feel nostalgic and eager to get to work.
Best Small Gaming Keyboard
Switches: HyperX Red (linear) | Backlight: Per-key RGB | Type: 60% keyboard | Size: 11.9 x 4.3 x 1.6 inches (302 x 108 x 40mm) | Weight: 1.3 pounds (599g)
If you’re looking for a mini keyboard for gaming, the HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini (available here on May 12) is one of your best options. Linear switches are popular among gamers obsessed with speed, as the lack of tactile bump allows for smooth actuation. HyperX’s Red switches cater to this audience even more by offering 3.8mm total travel and actuating at 1.8mm, compared to Cherry MX Red’s 4mm total and 2mm actuation point.
The downside is the HyperX Red is the only switch option for this keyboard, so there’s no tactile or clicky options. Other versions of the Ducky One 2 Mini have more switch options, as well as some more colorful designs.
Keep in mind that this is a 60% keyboard, meaning there’s no numpad or navigational keys. Macro programming is a breeze though. Ultimately, if you’re a linear gamer / typist seeking a small keyboard, this clacker won’t disappoint
10. HyperX Wrist Rest
Best Wrist Rest
Size: 17.5 x 3 x 0.75 inches (44 x 7.6 x 1.9 cm)
Why not pair the best gaming keyboard with the best wrist rest, improving the experience with amplified comfort? Most keyboards come with hard, unpleasant wrist rests -- if they come with one at all. If you're looking to give your keyboard a boost, the HyperX Wrist Rest is our favorite in this category,
With the smoothness of cooling gel wrapped around a core of memory foam, HyperX's wrist rest offers the perfect balance between softness and support. It has a subtle, but stylish, design featuring a black cover with bright red stitching and a nearly invisible HyperX logo. No matter which keyboard you have, this product will upgrade your typing experience.
More: All Keyboard Content