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(Pocket-lint) - Keyboards are a personal preference, and gaming keyboards are 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 also 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 something to be said for loud and accurate Cherry MX Blue keys, too.
Gaming keyboards are often built to last, with rigorous testing to ensure every key can handle the years of use they're going to be put through. Making the right purchase means you can be sure that you're going to have a keyboard that lasts and continues to be accurate for years to come - even if you're an angry gamer.
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.
What are the best gaming keyboards?
- Logitech G915 TKL
- NZXT Function MiniTKL
- HyperX Origins 60
- Ducky One 3 TKL
- HyperX Alloy Elite 2
- Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro
Best overall gaming keyboard
Logitech G915 TKL
- Comfortable low-profile keycap and switch design
- Awesome battery life
- Multiple connection options
- High asking price
The Logitech G915 TKL is a fantastic tenkeyless gaming keyboard that's easy on the eye, beautifully crafted and designed to be compact without compromise.
It has 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).
Dedicated media keys, a volume wheel and macro keys built into the function keys make for a very user-friendly finish.
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.
The result of all this is one of the most comfortable and capable keyboards we've used.
Other gaming keyboards to consider
We've tried plenty of keyboards, and there are a lot of options out there.
We've tested options with little and small designs, swappable switches, insane features and more. You don't have to spend the earth to get a great keyboard to game on, so keep reading to discover our recommendations for other options.
NZXT Function MiniTKL
- Fantastic features for the money
- Upgradable with ease
- Side buttons are oddly placed
The NZXT Function MiniTKL is an interesting keyboard - and one that defies the norm with features you don't often get at this price.
It has a standard bottom row layout, hot-swappable key switch design, per-key RGB lighting, onboard profiles and lighting and much more.
This is a great looking keyboard that's comfortable to use for writing, but also great for gaming on, too. It's fully customisable and upgradable, but, even as standard, it's fantastic.
HyperX Origins 60
- Great aesthetics including custom spacebar design
- Comfortable linear switches
- Might be too small for some
The HyperX Origins 60 is a nifty little keyboard with a lot going for it. It boasts a solid aluminium backplate, detachable USB-C cable, PBT double-shot keycaps and a nifty design that includes a custom space bar and satisfying RGB lighting.
Highlights of this keyboard include HyperX's own red linear switchers which not only actuate faster than Cherry MX Reds but also are more comfortable to use for gaming and working. The Origins 60 also boasts reprogrammable keys (and at function level) via the NGenuity software, making it very flexible.
Ducky One 3 TKL
- Unique colourways
- Amazing acoustics
- Hot-swappable switches
- Programming macros can be confusing
The Ducky One 3 might not scream gaming like some of our other options, but its performance and build quality can't be ignored. Plus, it's less likely to raise eyebrows in an office setting, which can come in handy, from time to time.
The Ducky One 3 is available in a variety of unique and eye-catching colourways, all featuring the highest-quality double-shot PBT keycaps and Cherry MX switches. The switches are hot-swappable, too, so if you like linear switches on your WASD keys and tactile elsewhere, you can make it happen.
Everything has been fine-tuned on this board from the lubrication and balance of the key stabilisers, to the way the board sounds. That's right, Ducky has used foam and rubber inserts to ensure that this keyboard has the perfect typing sound - a feature that's not common on keyboards in this price range.
If you need macros, it is possible on the Ducky One 3, but the lack of software makes it confusing - so MMORPG fiends may want to look elsewhere.
HyperX Alloy Elite 2
- Pudding keycaps as standard
- Superb RGB lighting
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 heavyweight 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 through 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.
Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro
- Comfortable low profile design
- Raised keycaps give excellent RGB
- Keys are noisier than other options
If looks matter but you also want a keyboard that's a pleasure to use then take a look at the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro. It's stunning in Arctic White and boasts a premium finish and excellent key programmability.
Like the G915 TKL, it's low profile but it also boasts Titan Switch Optical switches which means you got an accurate response and reliable design that'll keep going for ages.
This keyboard has some of the best RGB we've seen, and is a real head-turner.
Other gaming keyboards we've considered
The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching products before recommending our best picks to you.
We've considered a range of factors when it comes to putting together this list of the best gaming keyboards to buy. Naturally, this includes all the things that you might consider - the size and layout of the keyboard, the features and specifications, what you can do to customise the keyboard after you've purchased, and more.
Many of the gaming keyboards we've seen didn't make this top list - not because they're not great, necessarily, but because we're trying to keep this list short and useful for you. There are still other keyboards we've tried and loved that we'd recommend. Those include:
- Corsair K100 RGB
- SteelSeries Apex Pro
- Razer Huntsman Mini
- Corsair K65 RGB Mini
- Corsair K70 RGB TKL (Champion Series)
What to consider when buying a gaming keyboard
There are a few different things to consider when buying a gaming keyboard. Some features can make a big difference to your experience and whether you're happy with the keyboard once you've purchased it.
There are a number of different keyboard sizes to choose from. You'll find these referred to in different formats sometimes with a name, other times by the number of keys on the keyboard.
A full-sized keyboard, for example, is sometimes known as a 104-key. These keyboards have everything you need, including the Numpad and sometimes extra things like dedicated media keys, macro keys and more.
Tenkeyless (aka TKL or 87-key) keyboards are popular choices for gamers generally as they remove the Numpad which gives you more room on your desk. This is ideal as it gives you more space to move your mouse around. However, if you use your keyboard for productivity reasons these keyboards aren't ideal.
Switches can make a big difference too. There are many different keyboard switches out there. Far too many to cover in this article but it's worth knowing the main ones you'll find on a gaming keyboard:
- Red switches (often Cherry MX Red)- these switches are favourites for gamers as they're quiet, require very little actuation force and have a "linear" response that's consistent and smooth
- Blue switches (often Cherry MX Blue) - these are preferred if you're mostly going to be typing a lot. They need more force (harder press) to actuate and have a louder sound to them. As such they're described as "clicky".
- Brown switches (often Cherry MX Brown) - these are a middle ground between red and blue switches. They're quieter than blue switches but have a tactile feedback
- Optical switches - high-end keyboards now have optical switches. These register your keypresses by breaking a beam of light rather than using a traditional mechanical switch. They're more accurate and last longer.
How you connect your keyboard to your gaming PC can make a difference. Generally, a wired keyboard is preferable for the same reasons as a wired mouse. A wired connection ensures you have a solid connection and lower system latency.
If you opt for a wireless keyboard then make sure it has a 2.4GHz wireless connection. Many wireless keyboards offer both Bluetooth and wireless connectivity options. Bluetooth will help with battery life, but 2.4GHz wireless ensures a more stable and lower latency connection.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life. We've gamed on these keyboards, we've worked with them, we've tried all the different settings, we've recorded macros and tested out the different actions.
We've also spent hours playing and working with different games to make sure they work as they should and don't let you down - all while poking all the settings to see what works best.
We've then selected the best based on all the features and the price to ensure it's good value for money, too.
As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each keyboard is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.