(Pocket-lint) - Keyboards are a personal preference, gaming keyboards equally so. A good quality gaming keyboard can make all the difference when you're in the heat of battle. The best mechanical keyboards not only offer extra key travel, but a choice of tactile response and actuation force that can be customised according to your needs and preferences. You might prefer a silent keyboard, but there's also something to be said for loud and accurate Cherry MX Blue keys.
Gaming keyboards are often built to last, with rigorous testing to ensure every key can handle the years of use and abuse they're going to be put through. Making the right purchase means you can be sure that even if you're an angry gamer, you're going to have a keyboard that lasts and continues to be accurate for years to come.
These high-end gaming keyboards also include features that allow for the handling of multiple keypresses at once, recording custom macros and user-specific lighting profiles. These features make a big difference to how you work and play with your keyboard.
We've put a range of keyboards to the test to hunt down the very best and help you decide which one is right for you.
Looking for more general keyboards? Be sure to check out our other guide:
Best overall gaming keyboard
Corsair K95 Platinum XT
- Aircraft-grade brushed aluminium frame
- Braided USB cable with USB passthrough port
- Six dedicated macro keys (now with Elgato compatible S keys)
- Multimedia keys and volume wheel
- Cherry MX RGB Speed Silver, brown or blue key switches
- Detachable padded leatherette wrist rest
- Swappable textured gaming keys for FPS and MOBA games
- RGB backlighting customisable on a per-key basis
If you're willing to pay a hefty price for your gaming keyboard and you want only the very best then the Corsair K95 Platinum XT is likely your best bet. It's one of the most expensive gaming keyboards around, but it's also one of the most feature-packed keyboards we've seen.
It's built with an obvious focus on quality; a high-end gaming keyboard with all the features a gamer could want. An aircraft-grade brushed aluminium frame, USB-passthrough connectivity, convenient media and macro keys, easy profile switching and decent RGB lighting too.
The Corsair K95 Platinum XT uses Cherry MX RGB switches with a choice of options that includes Speed Silver (45g actuation, 1.2mm distance), Brown (55g actuation force, 2mm distance) and Blue (60g actuation force, 2.2 distance). This gives you a choice of sound and response, it also means there's an ultra-fast level of activation that's comfortable for everyday typing as it is for gaming.
Simple highlights for us here are the swappable textured gaming keys. You can pop out the Q, W, E, R, A, S, D and F keys and swap them for textured alternatives included in the box. These mean, even with the lights off, you can be sure you have your fingers in the right place when gaming.
The Corsair K95 Platinum XT uses full RGB lighting with per key illumination and wonderful RGB goodness. It also has a lighting strip across the top of the keyboard is split into sections that can be individually lit with specific colours.
If you want only the very best then the Corsair K95 Platinum XT is likely your best bet.
This is a high-end gaming keyboard with all the features a gamer could want. An aircraft-grade brushed aluminium frame, USB-passthrough connectivity, convenient media and macro keys, easy profile switching and decent RGB lighting too.
Highlights include swappable textured gaming keys. These include the Q, W, E, R, A, S, D and F keys which replace standard ones to ensure you have your fingers in the right place when gaming.
The Corsair K95 Platinum XT uses full RGB lighting with per key illumination and wonderful RGB goodness. It also has a lighting strip across the top of the keyboard is split into sections that can be individually lit with specific colours.
Most customisable keyboard
Glorious PC Gaming Race GMMK
- Fully modular hot-swappable key switch design
- Compatible with Gateron, Kailh and Cherry key switches
- 100 per cent Anti-Ghosting, 1000Hz polling rate
- Full NKRO
- Raised key, minimalistic design
If you love the idea of a mechanical gaming keyboard, but aren't sure what to get in terms of key switch options, then the Glorious PC Gaming Race GMMK may well be for you. This is a fully modular keyboard that includes a hot-swappable design that means you can change the key switches yourself, even while it's plugged in.
This is fantastic for the simple fact that, usually when you buy a keyboard you choose a switch type (from three or so options) and you're stuck with your choice. If after you've purchased you realise it's too loud, doesn't actuate fast enough or doesn't give you the feedback you were expecting then you either have to put up with it or buy something new.
Not so with the GMMK as you can choose from a range of switches from Gateron, Kailh or Cherry to suit your needs, then install them yourself. It's dead easy to do too. There are two tools in the box, one for removing the keycaps, the other for pulling out the pre-installed switches and then you just pop the new ones in. You just need to be careful not to bend the pins as you do so. If you're not sure which keys you'd like, there's a sample pack with 14 different switches you can try to test before you fully commit to a full pack of 120.
Aside from modular design, the GMMK is ace for other reasons too. A solid aluminium frame, snazzy hardware or software controlled lighting, macro capabilities and more make this keyboard very appealing.
It's also available in full size, tenkeyless, compact and even barebones if you want to build it yourself from the switches upwards. Ascend to the master race with the GMMK and you won't regret it.
Most stylish gaming keyboard
Roccat Vulcan 122 AIMO
- Anodised aluminium shell with a low-profile design
- Removable ergonomic wrist rest
- ROCCAT-developed Titan Switches with 1.8mm actuation, 3.6mm key travel
- Ultra-light keycap design
- 1000Hz polling, ROCCAT Easy-Shift[+] technology
- Compatible with Roccat Swarm
- All keys are remappable with integrated macro and settings memory
- RGB illumination with 16.8 million colours
- Programmable on a key-by-key basis
- Multiple lighting options
It might not be to everyone's taste, but the Roccat Vulcan 122 AIMO is, in our mind, one of the most stylish and funky looking gaming keyboards we've seen.
This keyboard features raised, ultra-light keycaps and transparent switch housing which results in a really snazzy look and feel that allows a lot of light bleed both night and day. For RGB lighting fans, the Roccat Vulcan is a real joy, especially thanks to Roccat's AIMO intelligent lighting mode which is a fascinating colour changing system that means the keyboard is always interestingly lit.
This keyboard boasts an anodised aluminium shell with a low profile design that gives it a great finish. It also sports a satisfyingly tactile volume wheel, media keys and other function keys built right into the F keys and an overall satisfying aesthetic.
We're happy to report the keys are comfortable, accurate and satisfying whatever you're doing. This is not a quiet keyboard, but it is a loud, proud and high-quality mechanical keyboard.
We found it to be a joy to use for day-to-day typing, but also powerful and effective during a good gaming session. The travel and actuation levels are satisfying, even for the heavy-handed gamers among us.
The Roccat Swarm software which gives users access to a multitude of settings with every key on the keyboard being reprogrammable. Roccat's Easy-Shift functionality allows you to choose any key on the keyboard and assign an alternate keypress, macro or other setting to it. The possibilities of this seem to be endless and fun to play about with.
The Roccat Vulcan 122 AIMO is a hidden gem of a keyboard that should not be overlooked. It features a much better build quality than other Roccat keyboards we've tested and it's packed full of interesting features that make it a lot of fun to play with.
We really like the quirky low-profile, raised keycap design and the way the RGB lighting works because of this. Other highlights almost certainly include the flexibility of the keyboard thanks to the Roccat Swarm software. The Roccat Vulcan 122 certainly stands out from the crowd and is worth the investment.
Best wireless gaming keyboard
Corsair K57 RGB wireless gaming keyboard
- 2.4Ghz Slipstream wireless, Bluetooth 4.2 LE and wired connectivity options
- Capellix LED with per-key illumination options
- Detachable wrist rest, dedicated media keys, rubber domed tactile keys
- Onboard macro record button
- Anti-ghosting with selective 8-key roll-over
- 10 pre-installed onboard lighting settings with four levels of RGB backlighting
There's a lot to be said for being wire-free. Less mess on your desk, fewer ways for your mouse to get snagged up and convenience and portability too.
This is where the Corsair K57 RGB wireless keyboard ticks lots of boxes, starting with up to 175 hours of battery life as well as connection options that include Corsair's Slipstream wireless technology and Bluetooth 4.0 too.
This keyboard uses Corsair's Capellix LED technology to ensure you still get bold and bright lighting when you need it, but in the most power-efficient way possible.
Other design highlights include a comfortable, detachable wrist rest, easy-access media keys, six dedicated macro keys and more. We also like that it automatically goes to sleep when not in use to save battery and all it takes is a double keypress to kick it back into life.
The K57 keyboard is compatible with Corsair's iCue software and you can program it until your heart's content within that system. It's also designed with built-in, onboard keys to let you use it on-the-fly. You can change the lighting effects with a couple of keystrokes or even do clever things like record macros without even opening the software.
With rubber domed keycaps, we've found the K57 to be quiet and comfortable when working during the day and not too taxing on the fingers when beavering away out our desk.
With anti-ghosting and selective 8-key roll-over, you can mash multiple keys at once and have the keyboard respond as it should. If you're a frantic, serious gamer that demands the best, this wireless keyboard won't let you down.
We really enjoyed our time with the Corsair K57 wireless gaming keyboard. It doesn't compromise in any area. It's comfortable, capable and feature-packed too. It's fully programmable and easy-to-use. The insane battery life means it just keeps going and going and the triple connectivity options basically mean it's easy to snap up and take with you anywhere.
Best Tenkeyless gaming keyboard
Logitech G915 TKL
- Brushed aluminium alloy top case
- Detachable micro-USB cable
- Both Bluetooth and Logitech Lightspeed wireless connections
- Dedicated media keys and volume wheel
- Kailh key switches with choice of GL Clicky, GL Linear and GL Tactile switches
- 1.5mm actuation, 2.7mm travel distance and 50g actuation force
- Low profile keycaps
- Customisable lighting including multi-direction lighting modes
- Full RGB lighting with 16.8 million colour options
- Multiple lighting modes with Lightsync customisation too.
The Logitech G915 TKL is a fantastic gaming keyboard. A tenkeyless gaming keyboard that's easy-on-the-eye, beautifully crafted and designed to be compact without compromise. There are two versions available and the white one is certainly the better looking of the two.
The G915 TKL sports an insane battery life that can get you as much as 135 days of use on a single charge (as long as you don't use the RGB lighting).
It also oozes build quality with a beautiful brushed aluminium chassis and a compact frame. It's designed to take up less room on your desk, but also to be comfortable to use thanks to its low profile design.
The G915 TKL might be small, but it doesn't compromise. Dedicated media keys, a volume wheel and macro keys built into the function keys make for a very user-friendly finish.
This keyboard can also be connected with either a Lightspeed wireless dongle, paired with Bluetooth or used in wired mode. Other simple features include a storage spot for the tiny Lightspeed dongle for when it's not in use - meaning you won't accidentally misplace it.
Aside from good looks, the G915 TKL is also designed to deliver the goods for gaming too. It's built with thin keycaps and key switches that are designed to be half the height of traditional switches and offer 25 per cent faster actuation as well as a better typing experience.
For gaming, we found the G915 TKL to be accurate and responsive, whether wired or wireless.
It's worth noting that using the lighting makes a difference to battery life, but even with it turned on you can still get as much as 40 hours of battery life in wireless mode. We will note though that with it turned off it's a bit tough to see the key lettering, so that might be an issue if you're not a touch typist.
The Logitech G915 TKL is undeniably brilliant in a number of ways. Generally, we're not massive fans of tenkeyless designs. Sure they're compact and portable but they often sacrifice usability in favour of those features, this keyboard is not guilty of that. It's comfortable, beautiful and a joy to use.
Highlights are almost certainly the design aesthetics, satisfying key actuation and the insane battery life. Downsides are the price tag, the potentially flimsy keycap design and the lack of USB-C connection.
Best feature-packed RGB keyboard
SteelSeries Apex Pro
- Aircraft Grade Aluminum Alloy Frame
- Cable management features
- Magnetic Wrist Rest
- Single, multi-action multimedia key
- OmniPoint Adjustable Mechanical Switch (Analog Hall Effect Magnetic Sensor)
- Actuation Point 0.4mm to 3.6mm, 45cN force, 0.7ms response time
- 104 n-key rollover with 100% anti-ghosting
- 100 million keystroke guarantee
- Dynamic Per Key RGB Illumination
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is built with a high-quality aircraft-grade aluminium frame that makes it immediately feel superior to plastic counterparts.
As well as a solid frame, the SteelSeries Apex Pro has some really comfortable keycaps and a "soft touch" rubberised magnetic wrist rest that can easily be snapped on and off without much fuss.
This keyboard also sports an OLED Smart Display that can be used for all sorts of things like letting you know which song is playing on Spotify, who's speaking in Discord or just to display your own custom logo or animated image.
The main highlight and biggest draw of this keyboard is the switches. These are OmniPoint Adjustable Mechanical Switches that SteelSeries claims make the Apex Pro the "world's fastest mechanical gaming keyboard". These switches are spaced across the main section of the keyboard (not the numpad etc) and allow you to customise the actuation level on a key-by-key basis within the SteelSeries Engine software.
What this means in practice is you can set them to react to even a featherlight touch. You can make it so specific keys react to just a light brush. They no longer need to be fully depressed but can just be suggestively nudged.
We also love the customisation options for the lighting on the SteelSeries Apex Pro as you can not only set base themes but also layer effects on top of them. So you can, for example, have a multi-coloured keyboard as standard that then responds with different colour waves as you type. This is some of the best and most customisable RGB lighting we've seen on any gaming keyboard we've tested.
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is an excellent choice if you're looking for a high-end gaming keyboard. The ability to customise the actuation, lighting and even key setup on a key-by-key basis makes this a highly tweakable keyboard. It's responsive, intelligent, comfortable and a lot of fun to use.
We're hard-pressed to find things we don't like about this gaming keyboard and it's almost certainly one of our favourites.
Best silent gaming keyboard
Fnatic Rush mechanical keyboard
- Cherry Red MX Silent keys
- Rubberised surface and wrist rest
- Multimedia buttons
- Five profile settings with up to 10 macros at 26 keystrokes per macro
- 50 million strokes guaranteed
- Red backlit keys with on/off and pulsing modes
The Fnatic Rush mechanical keyboard uses Cherry Red MX Silent keys - which means keystrokes are comfortable, quiet and accurate too. The "silent" might be misleading here though, as there is still some noise, but during testing we found these keys to be a lot quieter than the other mechanical keyboards we've tested.
The Fnatic Rush is interesting because it's simple, yet comfortable and practical. The keys and surface of the keyboard, as well as the detachable wrist rest, have a rubberised finish to them is a welcome addition that brings comfort to everyday use.
The design of the Fnatic Rush keyboard also includes two additional USB ports on the back for convenient plug and play with other devices - to charge a phone, for example.
The Fnatic Rush is also very capable. It includes the ability to record keystrokes into macros with up to 26 characters per recording. These can be set up in five profile settings. Each can hold up to 10 macros and these macros can be assigned to any key on the keyboard making it very flexible and easily customisable.
The Fnatic Rush is built for quality, it's designed for eSports and therefore is made to be robust enough to handle transport to tournaments as well as regular use and abuse.
There's no RBG lighting here, but you do get keys that are backlit with a nice red hue. The lighting settings are pretty basic as you can only have three settings for the lighting - on, off or pulsing. But we still found the lighting to be pleasant and easy enough to use.
The Fnatic Rush is a surprisingly capable and enjoyable keyboard to use, both during gaming sessions and for everyday use. It's well worth considering if you want the accuracy of a mechanical keyboard but with quiet keys and a slightly more understated design that wouldn't look out of place on an office desk.
The rubberised surface, large wrist rest and comfortable keystrokes make this keyboard a joy to work with.
Best gaming keyboard for everyday typing
HyperX Alloy Elite 2
- Pudding keycap design
- Heavy-duty robust steel design
- Illumination adjustment, gaming mode and brightness buttons
- Dedicated multimedia keys and volume wheel
- Hyperx Linear Red key switches 45g force, 1.8mm actuation, 3.8mm travel distance
- Multiple lighting options
The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 ticks all the boxes to deliver comfort and usability across gaming and typing, resulting in a fantastic keyboard, whatever you're doing.
The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 boasts a heavy-duty, durable and heavy-weight design using a solid steel frame. The top of the keyboard also includes an extra USB 2.0 pass-through input for peripherals (such as a mouse).
This is a mechanical keyboard with soft-touch pudding keycaps. We tried a model with comfortable and nifty red linear switches that are responsible for gaming and quiet for everyday typing too.
The highlight though is the design. Those pudding keycaps let though a wonderful amount of RGB light but not in a cheap or garish way. The various lighting effects are also mesmerising and classy. The keys are programmable on a key-by-key basis using the Ngenuity software where you can layer backlighting effects and add reactive ones in too, resulting in a magnificent looking keyboard.
The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 is a fantastic keyboard with a really fantastic looking design. It can be customised in numerous ways in terms of lighting but also can have its keys reprogrammed individually too with macros and all sorts. A solid design, great looks and accuracy make it a joy to use whatever you're doing.
Best splashproof keyboard for clumsy gamers
Corsair K68 gaming keyboard
- Cherry MX key switches
- 100 per cent Anti-Ghosting
- IP32 dust and spill resistance
- Ultra-durable design
- Multimedia keys, backlighting brightness key, Windows key disable button
- Detachable wrist rest with soft-touch finish
- Comfortable keypress design
If you're the sort of gamer that enjoys snacking and drinking while you play, then you've no doubt worried about what might happen if you knocked your drink over your expensive gaming keyboard. Who wants to spend money on a replacement keyboard, with cash that would be better spent on building your Steam collection.
Along comes the answer to all your woes in the form of an IP32-rated gaming keyboard that's built to withstand spills and messy eating disasters.
The concept of the Corsair K68 is simple enough. On the outside, it's your standard mechanical gaming keyboard with a pretty appealing design. It's not the most elegant or high-end design on our list, but it's cleanly built and packed full of features nonetheless.
Underneath, is where this keyboard really shines. Each key switch is individually protected by a raised rubberised housing that keeps fluids out. Though you couldn't immerse the keyboard in water, it's clear this housing would shield the internal workings from spills and splashes.
If you're wondering whether this design compromises the day-to-day use of the keyboard, we're happy to report it doesn't. In fact, unless you remove the keycaps to have a look you wouldn't even notice the difference.
The Corsair K68 offers a surprisingly comfortable and joyful experience both in gaming and during everyday use. There's no compromise on comfort or quality here and the IP32 housing makes no noticeable difference to the response of the keys.
We're also happy to report the splashproof housing doesn't compromise the lighting effects either. This keyboard lights up nicely without being overpowering.
The Corsair K68 is a superb keyboard that's likely more affordable than most other mechanical keyboards you've considered while being backed by a splash-proofing that'll keep you feeling less on edge while you eat, drink and game.
This keyboard is perfect for a boozy gaming session or just for clumsy gamers who are prone to knocking over drinks or making a mess while they game. With no compromise on design quality, the K68 is a force to be reckoned with and an absolute joy to use.
Best membrane style gaming keyboard
Roccat Horde AIMO
- Comfortable and quiet key design
- Large detachable wrist rest
- 1.8m braided USB cable
- Tuning wheel and easy-access multimedia keys
- Customisable macros and key functions
- Easy shift key switching
- "Membranical" key design with anti-ghosting technology
- Quick-fire low-profile macro keys
- Multi-zone RGB illumination with 16.8 million colours
- Multiple lighting modes including colour wave, snake, fully lit, heartbeat, breathing and AIMO intelligent
The majority of gamers are looking for a mechanical keyboard when shopping for new gaming gear, but not everyone is a fan of the mechanical design. The Roccat Horde AIMO is solution to this problem.
A membrane styled keyboard that's feature-rich and works as well for everyday typing as it does for gaming. The Roccat Horde AIMO is a more affordable keyboard than a lot of the other devices on this list. It perhaps looks mostly plastic and might seem cheap and cheerful at first glance but is actually well-built with a clear focus on quality.
It's packed full of features and key functionality. Including everything from five low-profile macro keys to easy-access multimedia and function keys, as well as buttons and dials for adjusting volume, tweaking lighting, brightness, colours and more.
One of the highlights of this keyboard is the inclusion of Roccat's Easy-Shift functionality. This allows you to remap the primary function of individual keys to another keypress or setting too. This means you can theoretically program different settings for different occasions - one layout for gaming and another for writing and surfing.
The Roccat Horde AIMO is designed to fit in a specific category of keyboards somewhere between traditional keyboards and mechanical gaming keyboards. To this end it has been designed with so-called "Membranical" key technology, which is superior to classic membrane style keyboards in terms of gaming capabilities, but quieter and more comfortable than a mechanical keyboard for everyday use.
These keys offer a midway travel actuation point which results in a much more precise and responsive keystroke compared to classic keyboards. The anti-ghosting technology ensures that all keypresses are registered and you're never left hopelessly mashing keys and wondering why they aren't working.
The Roccat Horde AIMO represents an interesting choice if you're looking for a new gaming keyboard. It's cheaper than many of the other options on this list, especially the high-end mechanical keyboards, but it doesn't scrimp on quality or features as a result.
Best keyboard for sofa gaming
- 4-metre USB cable with built-in USB 2.0 passthrough
- Customisable mouse and wrist surfaces
- Removable padding
- Roccat SWARM compatible with Easy-Shift[+] customisation options
- Multimedia and hotkeys included
- Membrane keys
- Anti-ghosting optimised with 1000hz polling
Sometimes a bit of comfortable sofa based PC gaming is just what the doctor ordered. There's nothing quite like slouching on a couch with your favourite game in front of a large TV.
The Roccat Sova is a larger-than-usual keyboard built with comfort and practicality in mind. This is a brilliant gaming lapboard which allows you to take the precision of keyboard and mouse play into the living room. With a large surface for your mouse and a compact keyboard layout designed to fit nicely on your lap, it appears as the ultimate middle ground.
Highlights to this keyboard include four large padded feet that sit underneath the board and fit nicely onto your lap while you play. We found this to be remarkably comfortable during gaming sessions, wherever we were sitting. It also has four-metre long breakaway USB cable, which we found was long enough to stretch across the living room with ease. There's no need to rearrange the room in order to play games with this keyboard.
With two USB passthrough ports also present, you have the options to plug other devices in from afar too. Attach your mouse and even a gaming headset to the keyboard and you've got all your gaming needs catered to in one swoop. An included mouse bungee, docking rail and cable channelling mean you can keep everything neat and tidy too.
The Roccat Sova is a membrane style keyboard which makes it comfortable and quiet to use - ideal for living room play where other people might be relaxing and not wanting to hear the click and clack of a mechanical keyboard.
Looks-wise, the Roccat Sova features classic Roccat blue backlighting adjustable in six different brightness levels. It's fairly no frills but good enough considering the price.
This is a brilliant keyboard for those looking for something comfortable to use in their living room. It's fairly understated compared with other keyboards on this list, but it doesn't need all the bells and whistles as it's designed to do one task and it does that well. We were surprised just how comfortable and easy to use this lapboard is.
Other keyboards to consider
Razer Huntsman TE Tenkeyless
- Linear Optical Switch with 40 G actuation force
- Razer Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
- Standard Bottom Row Layout
- Detachable USB-C Braided Fiber Cable
- Razer Synapse 3 enabled, Chroma backlighting
- N-key roll-over with built-in anti-ghosting
The Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition is an impressive bit of kit. For serious gamers, this is a high-end keyboard with Razer's Linear Optical Switches that only require the lightest touch in order to actuate. These switches are not only fast, accurate and satisfying to use, they're also designed to be durable - guaranteed up to 100 million keystrokes!
Highlights of this tenkeyless keyboard also include a detachable USB-C cable, compact and robust design as well as everything you'd expect from a gaming keyboard. On-the-fly macro recording with just two keystrokes is nifty too, as is the subtle per-key RGB lighting that you can customise in Razer's Synapse software.