One of them is just your type.
Picking the best keyboard is almost like picking the perfect pair of shoes – it largely comes down to personal preference. But if you’re specifically in the market for a gaming keyboard, there can be no debate – you need a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards offer a better typing and gaming experience, are more satisfying to use, and just feel (and sound) cool. Therefore, all the keyboards we’ve evaluated here are mechanical, as that is a baseline requirement for any “gaming” keyboard, in our opinion.
If you’re looking for the best gaming keyboard, look no farther. We’ve combed through all the best mechanical keyboards, wired and wireless, to come up with our picks for the best gaming keyboards for 2017:
TL;DR: These are the best gaming keyboards:
- Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
- G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB Gaming Keyboard
- Corsair K65 LUX RGB
- Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite
- Logitech G613
Money is No Object – Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
Corsair’s flagship keyboard costs a pretty penny at around $200, but it is so worth it. Not only does it have all the high-end features we expect in a top-tier keyboard, but it has arguably the best RGB lighting available on a keyboard today thanks to Corsair’s community of modders and tinkerers uploading their designs. Throw in dedicated macro keys, a sweet volume wheel, bonus textured keycaps, USB passthrough, and an optional wrist wrest, and you have a keyboard that has everything we want. It’s not offered with Cherry MX Red switches, but the Speed and Brown switch options are fine for gamers and daily driving.
Best Bang for the Buck – G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB Gaming Keyboard
This keyboard is a great value because it has every feature you could ever want in a gaming keyboard at an extremely reasonable price, making it a very well-rounded package. First, it’s available with either Cherry MX Red or Brown switches, so it has the most popular types of Cherry switches for gaming or typing. Second, it’s totally loaded with features, including RGB lighting, a spacious wrist rest, six dedicated macro keys, media control buttons with a volume wheel, USB and audio pass-through, and it even has a little plastic arm that holds your mouse cable to prevent it from getting hung up on the edge of your desk. There’s even a set of textured keycaps and a little case for them that snaps onto the edge of the keyboard. Oh and if you like the style of this keyboard but don’t like RGB lighting, there’s an MX version that is the same but with red lights only.
More Great Options
The Best Tenkeyless – Corsair K65 Lux RGB
At $130, Corsiar’s K65 LUX RGB is expensive, but you get what you pay for. Fundamentally, it’s like so many other TKL mechanical gaming keyboards: a plastic base with a metal frame and keyboard deck, Cherry MX switches, 1000Hz polling rate and low-latency response, and full RGB lighting.
But Corsiar goes the extra mile with a few niceties that you usually only find in larger full-size keyboards. It’s got dedicated buttons for volume (sadly, not an analog dial), mute, lighting level, and Windows key lock. It also includes a removable wrist wrest, which is considered heresy by some tenkeyless manufacturers. And it’s got a USB pass-through port on the back.
What’s more, Corsair’s software, while awkwardly designed, is very flexible and powerful. You get extensive control over lighting and key assignments along with the ability to easily download community-made profiles. There’s just one caveat: Corsair uses transparent Cherry MX Red switches to allow the LED lights to shine through. If you don’t like MX Reds (linear action without the “click”), you’re out of luck. That’s the only available switch type.
FPS and LAN Gaming – Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite
Kingston’s HyperX FPS Alloy Elite is a unique entry into the category as it’s designed for people who want a less expensive mechanical keyboard designed strictly for FPS gaming. Highlights include titanium textured keycaps for FPS keys along with a keycap removal tool, and the aforementioned travel bag. Its offered with Cherry MX Blue, Red, or Brown switches and you can choose any color of backlight as long as it’s red. The soft wrist rest is detachable and it includes a handy volume wheel as well as media controls.
Best Wireless Mechanical – Logitech G613
Logitech’s all-new G613 is the first wireless, mechanical keyboard to come to the market, and it’s about time. The only downside is this keyboard strikes that tricky balance of delivering accurate, fast performance while also trying to maximize battery life, which is difficult, and likely the reason there’s never been a wireless gaming keyboard before. So how much battery life does it offer? Over a year, if you can believe that. The only real tradeoff is there’s no RGB lighting, and the wrist rest is permanently attached. As long as you don’t need a bunch of macros, it’s as good as it gets in the wireless gaming world.