The best gaming keyboard for all play styles
(Image credit: Corsair)
The best gaming keyboard can make a huge difference not just when you’re blasting your enemies online, but in everyday productivity too. That’s because most everyday office keyboards are simply not that comfortable or durable. Gaming keyboards may are pricier, but they also offer features that cheap office peripherals can’t match, such as mechanical keys, software suites that let you reprogram keys and RGB lighting for a little pizzazz.
It’s hard to describe just how much of a difference these features make, but based on my own observations, once you go the gaming keyboard route, you’ll never go back.
Of course, the best gaming keyboard for your setup depends on your gaming habits, your available desk space and your budget. If you have only a little bit of money to spend, you can get something decent; if you’re willing to dig deep, you can get a nearly perfect peripheral that will last for years and years to come. You’ll never game — or type — the same way again.
What is the best gaming keyboard?
While the “best gaming keyboard” very much depends on each user’s situation, there are a few broad recommendations I can make. All of my favorite gaming keyboards have a few things in common: mechanical keys, streamlined designs and RGB lighting. (RGB lighting is not strictly necessary, but it’s one of those things that’s surprisingly hard to give up after you’ve had it for a while. It helps make your keyboard feel like it’s uniquely yours.)
The best gaming keyboard you can buy right now — the best gaming keyboard I’ve ever reviewed, in fact — is the Corsair K70 RGB Mk. 2. This colorful keyboard lets you choose your favorite Cherry MX key switch (I like the noisy, tactile Blues, but you can also get linear Reds, quiet Browns or rapid Speeds), then program your keys and color patterns to suit your favorite games. It’s gorgeously designed and comfortable to use, and years after I first reviewed this keyboard, I can’t think of a single significant thing wrong with it.
If money is of no object, the Logitech G915 is one of the coolest keyboards I have ever used. In fact, it’s my everyday keyboard at work, since I’ve made my desk into a wire-free zone. This stylish accessory is Logitech’s second-ever wireless mechanical keyboard, but it’s better by leaps and bounds than the company’s previous effort. This time, you have gorgeous low-profile keycaps, incredibly responsive switches, a long-lasting rechargeable battery and a full RGB lighting spectrum. The G915 is arguably the future of mechanical keyboards — although you’ll pay an early adopter tax for the privilege.
Razer recently unveiled its lineup of Wireless Flagship gear, including the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro wireless gaming keyboard. While we liked the keyboard’s straightforward design and pretty RGB lighting, its stiff keys and imperfect wireless connectivity prevent us from giving it a full recommendation at the moment. This could change if we’re able to resolve the wireless issues, however.
The best gaming keyboard you can buy today
Corsair K70 Mk.2 (Image credit: Corsair)
- Corsair K70 Mk.2
The best gaming keyboard overall
Key Type: Mechanical | Switch Type: Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Red, Silent or Speed | Illumination: Full RGB | Size: 17.2 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
- Gorgeous design
- Key switch selection
- High-quality components
Every once in a blue moon, I’ll test a product like the Corsair K70 Mk.2 and realize that it has absolutely no significant flaws. This peripheral is the only keyboard to ever earn a five-star review at Tom’s Guide. It’s comfortable and offers a flawless typing experience, thanks to authentic Cherry MX key switches. It’s gorgeously designed and beautiful to look at, thanks to extensive RGB lighting options. But, most importantly, it works wonders in-game, as it parses every command quickly and accurately. You can even set up custom profiles for each one of your favorite games, then select a lighting pattern to go along with it.
From its discrete media keys to its game mode, which prevents you from accidentally tabbing out of a game, the K70 Mk.2 is a delight all around. If you can stomach its high asking price, the K70 Mk.2 is just about the best gaming keyboard you can buy.
- Razer Cynosa V2
The best budget gaming keyboard
Key Type: Membrane | Switch Type: N/A | Illumination: Full RGB | Size: 18.2 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
- Robust RGB lighting
- Profiles and Game Mode
- Reasonable price
- Convoluted software
- Bulky, plain design
The Razer Cynosa V2 is a cheap gaming keyboard that’s suitable for newcomers to the world of PC gaming. This membrane keyboard lacks the comfortable mechanical keys of its more expensive cousins, although it has just about everything else that you’d expect from a full-featured gaming keyboard. The Cynosa V2 features full RGB lighting, a programmable Game Mode to prevent you from accidentally shutting down your game mid-session, discrete media keys and even some handy cable management. If you don’t want to drop $150 — or more — on a keyboard, this is a good place to start.
To be fair, there’s a reason why membrane keyboards are usually very cheap, and the Cynosa V2 never quite transcends its key style. Typing on the keyboard is a shrugworthy experience, and it may not match the input speed of fancier models optimized for esports. Programming the RGB lighting is also harder than it needs to be. But if you’ve already spent most of your money on a fancy PC and need to go light on accessories, the Cynosa V2 is a fine choice.
Read our full Razer Cynosa V2 review.
- Logitech G915
The best wireless gaming keyboard
Key Type: Mechanical | Switch Type: GL Linear, Tactile or Clicky | Illumination: Full RGB | Size: 18.7 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
- Beautiful design
- Robust software
- No wrist rest
- Very expensive
Only time will tell for sure, but I believe that the Logitech G915 represents the future of gaming keyboards. Just as gaming mice and headsets have become increasingly wireless over the past few years, the G915 demonstrates how keyboards can take the same route without sacrificing aesthetics or performance. The G915 is a gorgeous, ultra-thin gaming keyboard that connects to computers via either USB dongle or Bluetooth. There’s no lag; there are no dropped signals. It’s just as quick and responsive as any wired peripheral.
Thanks to low-profile key switches and full RGB lighting, the G915 is both comfortable and visually striking. Its only real downside is that it costs a lot of money. But when you consider that it will save your desk from unsightly wires and last for many years, it could be a great investment.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Logitech also manufactures the Logitech G915 TKL: a tenkeyless variant on the excellent Logitech G915. While the G915 TKL is quite expensive for its size, it’s also an excellent peripheral, particularly because it doesn’t sacrifice features like discrete media keys for its small profile.
- Razer BlackWidow Lite
The best tenkeyless gaming keyboard
Key Type: Mechanical | Switch Type: Razer Orange | Illumination: White | Size: 14.0 x 5.0 x 0.5 inches
- Unobtrusive design
- Decent mechanical switches
- Not too expensive
- Squeaky, cramped keys
- Few useful extras
The Razer BlackWidow Lite is probably the most versatile keyboard on this list. There’s something wonderfully minimalist about its tenkeyless design, simple white lighting and quiet Razer Orange switches. Razer originally pitched the BlackWidow Lite as a keyboard that splits the difference between gaming and productivity applications, and it’s not hard to see why. This peripheral is small, straightforward and relatively inexpensive. It’s also perhaps the most understated accessory Razer has ever produced; the company is usually a little louder than this.
One potential drawback is that the BlackWidowLite’s keys are fairly squeaky before you install a series of rubber O-rings in them. The rings are included, but installation is a slow, painstaking process.You’ll also have to live without a media bar, which is often a boon for productivity users. Otherwise, the BlackWidow Lite can help you excel in a tournament, or in Excel.
- Roccat Vulcan Aimo 121
The most stylish gaming keyboard
Key Type: Mechanical | Switch Type: Titan Switch Linear Red or Tactile Brown | Illumination: Full RGB | Size: 18.2 x 9.3 x 1.3 inches
- Gorgeous design
- Choice of key switches
- Great performance
- So-so software
- Incomplete media bar
When was the last time you got a compliment on your keyboard? When I reviewed the Roccat Vulcan Aimo 121, I had a steady stream of coworkers parading past my desk, telling me how gorgeous my keyboard looked. The Vulcan Aimo 121 features a sleek black chassis with a subtle grain design, on top of which you’ll find brightly colored, translucent key switches and ultra-thin black keycaps. If you set the keyboard up with rainbow lighting effects (which the Roccat Swarm software lets you do), you may find it difficult to tear your eyes away.
Of course, aesthetics alone aren’t what make the Vulcan Aimo 121 so good. The typing experience is quick and comfortable, and the in-game performance is impeccable. You can set up profiles for individual games, and control your music at a tap thanks to discrete media buttons.