Skip to main content

Best Gaming Keyboards for 2020

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Your keyboard is your biggest connection to your computer, since it's the part that you touch the most. That means getting a better one can make an even bigger difference in your life than upgrading your CPU. Whether you’re battling in a first-person shooter or just want a better typing experience for productivity, gaming keyboards offer the best combination of responsiveness, features, plus a healthy dosing of style.

Quick Shopping Tips

  • 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.
  • Pick your switch: 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? While some users want every possible key, others prefer a smaller keyboard that has no number pad or one that’s so narrow that it lacks arrow keys.

Best Gaming Keyboards 2020

Best Gaming Keyboard

The Hexgears Impulse is the best gaming keyboard we've tested. 

Patriot Viper V765

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)

Fantastic white switches
Great price
Sleek aluminum design
Mediocre software
Feet are a little short
Hard palm rest

Patriot Memory is known more for its RAM and storage than its keyboards, but the company’s Viper V765 provides a key feel that’s second to none in an attractive, very-affordable package. The V765 is 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.

Read Review: Patriot Viper V765

MORE: Best Graphics Cards
How to Buy the Right Graphics Card

Best Splurge

If you've got dough to blow, this gaming keyboard is a fun investment. 

SteelSeries Apex Pro

Best Splurge

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)

Adjustable per-key actuation points for most keys
5 on-board profiles with RGB and actuation settings
Aluminum build
USB passthrough and some cable management
Questionable long-term typing experience

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is an incredibly customizable gaming keyboard. That includes 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. Plus, the Apex Pro has some of the most brilliant per-key RGB backlighting around. 

Those who like, clicky tactile typing will be left wanting, due to the linear feel of the keyboard’s switches. Although, you'll hear plenty of noise from banging on the aluminum frame. But if you want a keyboard you can really make yours (plus a pretty soft removable wrist rest), look no further. 

Read Review: SteelSeries Apex Pro

MORE: Best Gaming Laptops
How to Buy the Right Gaming Laptop

Best Mainstream Gaming Keyboard

For simplicity and mainstream performance, HyperX's Alloy Origins gets it done.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

HyperX Alloy Origins

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)

Attractive, compact design
Excellent RGB lighting
Three-level rear height adjustment
No dedicated media controls or macro keys
Shorter 1.8mm switch actuation (versus 2mm) feels like a gimmick
NGenuity software could be more intuitive

The HyperX Alloy Origins’ compact, quality build is great 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 (we've also tested the clickier version with HyperX aqua switches, although we haven't seen that version made available online yet). 

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 a gaming mouse) or more advanced software. But what the Alloy Origins does offer, it executes excellently. Additionally, HyperX just announced a tenkeyless (no numpad) version of this keyboard that's cheaper, the HyperX Alloy Origins Core for $90

Read Review: HyperX Alloy Origins

How We Test HDDs And SSDs

Best for Typing

The Hexgears Impulse is the best gaming keyboard for heavy typists. 

Hexgears Impulse

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)

World-class typing experience
Lightweight and compact
Great price
IP65 water resistance
No software
Dull, limited RGB lighting

It’s far from a perfect gaming keyboard, but the Hexgears Impulse (with Kailh Box White switches) offers the best typing performance 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, because 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 Review: Hexgears Impulse

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors
How We Test Monitors

Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard

The Hexgears Venture is the best wireless gaming keyboard for  cable-free thrills.  (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Hexgears Venture

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)

Comfortable, familiar 108-key layout
Kailh Choch white switches are pleasingly tactile
Removable cable and rechargeable batteries
Low-profile switches have minimal benefit in a full-size keyboard
No dedicated media keys or software for RGB controls

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. 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.

Read Review: Hexgears Venture

MORE: Best Gaming Desktops
How to Build A PC

Best Wrist Rest

The HyperX Wrist Rest is the best wrist rest for pairing with your gaming keyboard. 

HyperX Wrist Rest

Best Wrist Rest

Size: 17.5 x 3 x 0.75 inches (44 x 7.6 x 1.9 cm)

Extremely comfortable
Attractive design
A few dollars more than competitors

While you're keyboard shopping, why not improve 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.

Read Hands-on: HyperX Wrist Rest Tested

MORE: All Keyboard Content