The keyboard you choose is just as important as the rig that you’ve built, the headphones covering your ears, and the mouse that you’re using to snipe targets from across the map.
With the right keyboard, you can keep collecting nerd tears for hours without feeling fatigue or pain in your wrists and fingers.
With the wrong keyboard, you’re going to end up with aches and pains, missing skill shots, hitting the wrong keys, and end up losing when you fought your hardest.
Choosing the best gaming keyboard isn’t easy, though. With so many different options available to choose from, and the price tag that comes with most high-end gaming keyboards, getting a bargain while staying competitive with some of the professional gamers that bless our favorite arenas is a risky endeavor.
That’s where we come in. We’ve ranked 10 of the best gaming keyboards based on their usability, durability, price tag, and reviews from other customers so that you don’t have to risk your hard earned money on a keyboard that is hyped up by marketing propaganda.
To determine which keyboard is the best, we put each of them through rigorous testing in a wide variety of scenarios.
They were tested using basic word processors to ensure that typing on them was easy and comfortable, and then run through the paces in some of our favorite games, ranging from Starcraft 2 to CS: GO, League Of Legends, DOTA2, Witcher 3, and Battlefield 4.
Since keyboards aren’t a one-size-fits-all purchase, we have broken down both the good and the bad of each in our review, so you can make an educated decision on which one may be best for you and how you the game. Now, let’s dig into the reviews.
- 1 Corsair Vengeance K95 RGB
- 2 Razer BlackWidow Chroma
- 3 Thermaltake Poseidon Z
- 4 Logitech G610 Orion
- 5 SteelSeries Apex M800
- 6 Logitech G910 Orion Spark
- 7 Razer Turret
- 8 Roccat Ryos MK Pro
- 9 Corsair Strafe Mechanical
- 10 Division Zero X40 Pro
- 11 Understanding what it all means when choosing your new keyboard
- 12 Conclusion
Corsair Vengeance K95 RGB
Expensive, but worth every dime. The Corsair Vengeance K95 RGB is one of the most expensive gaming keyboards we’ve ever reviewed, but after putting it through the paces we’ve come to figure out that this one is well worth the price tag.
The keyboard is built with aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminum to provide a long lifespan and withstand some of the most brutal punishment you can put it through. If you tend to be heavy-handed, or have a reputation for going through keyboards, this is the right one for you.
Full macro setup
Convenient media controls
High-end build quality
Easy to use software
No USB passthrough
It ships with Cherry MX Red mechanical keys to ensure a lightweight, tactile feel with the highest level of feedback possible. Cherry MX Red switches are known for their loud click and firm springs, making them great for games that reward you for consistent keystrokes and fast reaction times.
The multicolor backlit design can be customized based on the game that you’re playing, so you can highlight essential keys and keep unused keys in the dark. 18 G-keys allow you to program up to 108 different macros so you can perform impressive multi-key actions in your game with a single keystroke. Your competition is going to wonder how you’re so quick.
When you want the full range of customization, the included software also allows you to program every single key to a different function, allowing you to dial in the perfect gaming setup. With onboard memory, the programming settings come with you everywhere you go, so you don’t have to reprogram them every time you change computers or move from tournament to tournament.
This is, by far, the best keyboard out of all of the different slabs we’ve tested. Don’t let the high price tag scare you away, because the Corsair K95 RGB is well worth the money. We know you’ll be impressed with it the first time you use it.
Razer BlackWidow Chroma
Highly competitive pricing, with Razer’s award-winning switches. Razer is known throughout the gaming industry for their high-quality products, and the BlackWidow Chroma line of mechanical keyboards lives up to the reputation that Razer has built for themselves.
Razer went back to the drawing board with the BlackWidow Chroma, redesigning it completely from the ground up. They built the newest model around their award-winning switches that provide an amazingly crisp, tactile feel with responsiveness and consistency that are guaranteed to give you an unfair advantage.
The switches that are built into the BlackWidow Chroma are tested for up to 80 million presses and come with a 2-year warranty to ensure that you’re never let down with this critical piece of gaming hardware.
Incredible performance at competitive pricing
Full feature set
Features Razer’s Chroma lighting system
Crisp, tactile feel
Headphone & microphone ports
No linear switch option
The software that Razer ships with the keyboard is easy to install and customize, allowing you to fully configure all 110 keys, along with the additional five gaming keys that provide you full macros with on-the-fly recording.
It also comes with a built-in microphone and headphone jack, so you don’t have to deal with cords getting in the way as you move around, if you’re further from the computer than your peripherals will reach, or they’re on a short leash.
One thing that we would love to see included with the keyboard is a built-in USB pass through, to allow the mouse to be plugged in and help keep all of the cords organized in the same place. While not necessarily a dealbreaker, a USB pass-through is handy to have.
The media keys are easy to reach and convenient when you’re coming up to a part of the game that you know is going to blast your headphones, or you need to perfectly tune the volume to give you the best gaming experience.
Thermaltake Poseidon Z
Best budget gaming keyboard on our list. Other keyboards are more worthy of ranking in the third spot on our list than the Thermaltake Poseidon Z, based on their build quality and their feature set, but the Poseidon Z landed in the third spot largely because of the price tag. It is one of the best bang-for-your-buck mechanical keyboards on the market in 2018.
Before we get too deep into the review, I want to get the negatives out on the table. The biggest downfalls with the Poseidon Z are the build quality, the switches (arguably) and the slickness of the plastic keys and how easy it is to miss a stroke when your palms are sweating.
Now that those are out of the way, there are a ton of redeeming qualities of this keyboard. While Thermaltake used Kailh switches instead of the more popular Cherry switches, to save money, the Kailh switches are still good for millions of presses.
You don’t necessarily have to worry about them giving out on you in the middle of an intense battle. If they do happen to fail, you are backed by Thermaltake’s 5-year warranty and can receive a replacement keyboard.
Extremely affordable price tag
Decent build quality
Full numerical keypad
Windows key disable
Slick plastic keys
This is also one of the few mechanical gaming keyboards that feature a full 10-key keypad. If you happen to type a lot or do number crunching, you’ll quickly learn to appreciate this feature.
At the current price tag, the Thermaltake Poseidon Z is one of the best budget gaming keyboards in the industry, and well worth the purchase if you can’t afford one of the more (double the price) expensive options.
Logitech G610 Orion
Previously considered the best gaming keyboard of the year. 2016 was a big year for the gaming industry, with manufacturers across the board releasing new models and knocking this former keyboard-of-the-year crown holder off its throne.
Even though the Logitech G610 Orion no longer holds the crown, that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a competitor when it comes to getting a solid feature set and good build quality at a price that’s easily affordable on every budget.
The Logitech G610 Orion features a timeless design that looks great on nearly every gaming rig and office computer. It’s built with Cherry MX Brown switches that are the perfect balance between gaming and office use, allowing the keyboard to pull double duty.
If you are going to be using it primarily for gaming, you can opt for the Cherry MX Red switches that provide more tactile feedback.
The Logitech G610 Orion features a timeless design that looks great on nearly every gaming rig and office computer.
Solid set of features
Appealing price tag
Low noise tactile switches
Easy access media controls
Customizable function keys
Lacking inputs for microphone and headphones
No USB passthrough
No onboard memory
It’s built with Cherry MX Brown switches that are the perfect balance between gaming and office use, allowing the keyboard to pull double duty. If you are going to be using it primarily for gaming, you can opt for the Cherry MX Red switches that provide more tactile feedback.
While the G610 Orion has a lot of features that are available on most gaming keyboards, there are a few things that we would like to see. The addition of these extra features would have helped them land higher on our list.
First, we would love to see additional inputs for headphones and microphones, as well as the addition of a USB passthrough that would make it easy to organize cords and keep from being tethered to the desktop that may be located down by your feet.
We would also love to see onboard memory added so that the programming and customizations made inside of the Logitech software will carry over, regardless where you take the keyboard too, or what system you’re playing on.
Even though the G610 Orion may be lacking some features that more expensive keyboards have, at the price tag that Logitech is asking for this keyboard, it’s a great buy if you’re on a budget and won’t necessarily miss the additional hardware or software features.
SteelSeries Apex M800
Professional grade performance. This is one of those keyboards that are an anomaly.
There are a bunch of features that other high-end keyboards don’t have which should have helped the SteelSeries Apex M800 rank higher on the list, especially when you consider the SteelSeries name, but there were a few quirks with this design that caused it to rank so low in our review process.
This is one of those keyboards that are an anomaly. There are a bunch of features that other high-end keyboards don’t have which should have helped the SteelSeries Apex M800 rank higher on the list, especially when you consider the SteelSeries name, but there were a few quirks with this design that caused it to rank so low in our review process.
Let’s address the negatives; then we’ll get to the positives. First, the keyboard comes with new switches that have keycaps that are prone to failing. Most times, the plastic will crack, causing the face to pop off.
Customizable macro keys
Sleek design and profile
Easy to configure software
25% faster switches than Cherry
Swappable rubber feet
Responsive, tactile keys
Lackluster customer service
This doesn’t necessarily render the keyboard useless, but getting replacement caps can be difficult, even though SteelSeries is known for having excellent customer service. Which brings me to the next point of concern for the Apex M800: getting help when you need it.
A lot of customers have reported being forced to jump through hoops when it comes to getting their broken keycaps replaced. On the SteelSeries website, it states that they’re more than happy to send out replacements, but that isn’t the case. Most people reported giving up.
Aside from the flimsy keycaps, though, this keyboard does have a lot going for it. It features a new style of mechanical switches that are 25% more responsive than traditional Cherry MX switches.
They provide enough resistance at the top of the stroke to make everyday typing easy, while the bottom half of the keystroke is effortless, for those times when you’re aggressively pounding the keys during an intense battle.
The SteelSeries Apex M800 is fully customizable and gets shipped with software that is easy to use, which is one of the keyboard’s saving graces and what helped it make it’s way up the list to become the #5 competitor.
If you’re able to get past the flimsy keycaps, it’s a great buy, for the price tag that SteelSeries is asking.
Logitech G910 Orion Spark
Affordable and feature packed. The big question I expect to see from everyone reading this is “why did the G610 rank higher than the G910?”. In theory, the G910 should be an improvement over the prior model G610, but for the sake of our review, this just wasn’t the case. The G610 is a much better gaming keyboard, even though the G910 has more features packed into its build.
When it comes to gaming, simple is always better. So even though the G910 is supposedly an upgrade, we think that, when it comes to gaming, all of the extra features that are packed into the G910 aren’t necessary and take away from the pro-level gaming experience that the G610 delivers, especially when you consider the price tag differences.
With that being said, the G910 does have a few features that aren’t available on other gaming keyboards, like the exclusive Romer-G switches that are 25% more responsive than Cherry MX switches and have a hybrid keypress function.
Arx Control app and smartphone dock
Dedicated media controls
Customizable RGB illumination
Exclusive Romer-G switches
Like the switches on the SteelSeries Apex MX800, the switches on the G910 feature more resistance on the top half of the keystroke, with effortless motion on the bottom half of the stroke. This makes the keyboard great in both office and gaming environments.
The G910 also ships with the same easy to use, fully customizable software that the G610 ships with. It features dedicated media controls and customizable backlighting that allows you to choose the perfect setting for your ultimate gaming experience.
The significant difference between the G910 and the G610 is the included smartphone dock that lets you store and charge your phone while it’s directly in front of you. Is that feature alone worth the difference in price, though? We think not — which is why the G910 ranked #6 in our list.
Making gaming on the couch comfortable. This is the only keyboard/mouse combination that we’re going to feature on this list, but it earned the #7 spot for being one of the only keyboards on the market that are designed to help you get away from the desk and start enjoying PC gaming from the comfort of your couch.
The fully wireless design of the Razer Turret utilizes either Bluetooth LE or 2.4GHz wireless connectivity to ensure lag-free play for up to 4 months at a time, without requiring a charge. When you’re done playing, you can fold the hinge, store the mouse, and combine it with your living room decor.
The magnetic mouse mat keeps your mouse in place even during intense battles. You won’t have to worry about it slipping off the side when you take your hands off of it to press a key on the keyboard or losing track of it when you’re not playing, and the combo is stored.
The slim form factor fits comfortably in your lap, and the chiclet keys require minimal effort to hit — which is both positive and negative. On the one hand, being easy to hit means you’ll likely never miss a key or develop fatigue after putting in long hours.
Designed solely for bringing PC gaming to the couch
Dual wireless connectivity
Foldable hinges make storing easy
Ambidextrous form factor
Hefty price tag
Less than stellar mouse
Chiclet-style key caps
Designed for Razer Forge TV
On the other hand, it’s likely that you may hit more than one key at a time if you’re not incredibly accurate with your strokes and form.
The Razer Turret is also designed to work flawlessly with the Razer TV system, which makes bringing PC gaming to your television easy. You can use it with your desktop system if it’s hooked up to a large enough monitor to play from your couch, or your TV if you route your desktop through a TV out card.
Roccat Ryos MK Pro
Heavyweight pro-gaming keyboard. The Roccat Ryos MK Pro is one of the heaviest keyboards on our list, which works great for keeping it firmly in place when you’re getting into intense battles and need the keys to staying exactly where you’ve left them.
To address some of the negatives with the Roccat Ryos MK Pro, many customers have reported that the LED lights tend to quit working very shortly after purchasing the keyboard. They randomly go out, with no rhyme or reason as to what makes them fail.
Getting a replacement through Roccat can be a difficult process, as many customers have complained that the RMA process is a bear to deal with, and Roccat isn’t exactly forthcoming or honest about the problems that plague the Ryos MK Pro.
While the LED lighting issue doesn’t necessarily affect your gameplay, as the keys will still continue to function, you will want to note that the keyboard itself requires 2 USB ports. This can present problems if your computer’s ports are already tied up.
The keyboard itself comes with dual processors to provide lag-free play and 2 MB of onboard memory that will save your macro functions whenever you move from computer to computer. That means you won’t have to keep reprogramming the keyboard to get the same experience.
Easy-Shift + compatibility
N-Key rollover allows advanced anti-ghosting
Dual 32-bit processors
2 MB onboard memory
Roccat stats display
Choice of Cherry MX switches
Integrated media hub
LEDs tend to live a short lifespan
Generally poor customer service experience
Requires 2 USB plugs to operate
The built-in Easy Shift + functionality lets you effectively turn the single keyboard into a second keyboard with the press of a button. You can program all of the buttons (with the help of the Easy Shift +) to add 110 different keys.
The Roccat Ryos MK Pro is an excellent gaming keyboard at a reasonably competitive price tag if you’re able to get past the fact that the blue backlit LED keys may fail. The LED lights failing doesn’t affect the actual keys, so the keyboard will still work, but the failing LED lights does highlight the build quality.
Corsair Strafe Mechanical
Comfortable gaming, if your keys don’t stick. Corsair puts out high-quality products, but the Strafe Mechanical gaming keyboard happened to fall through the cracks.
A lot of customers have reported that the keys will begin sticking shortly after opening the box, making it hard to get an intense gaming session going that’s free of distractions.
If you happen to have problems with the keyboard, you can expect to jump through hoops before you’re able to get the OK to return it and either receive a refund or have Corsair send you a new model.
Once you get past the negatives of the poor customer service experience and sticking keys, the keyboard does really have a lot to offer.
It’s one of the most comfortable keyboards that we’ve tested, with an amazing wrist rest that keeps your palms and wrists from aching during long gaming sessions.
Huge amount of choices for switches and backlighting
USB passthrough port
Detachable soft-touch wrist rest
Textured and contoured keycaps
Easy to access media controls
Poor quality control
Bad returns policy
It’s fully programmable, so you can adjust the keys and build different macros to how you see fit using the included software. The USB passthrough port extends your computer’s capabilities by providing a spare port in place of the one that the keyboard is tied into.
The keycaps are comfortable and responsive, designed specifically with FPS and MOBA players in mind. At any given time, you’ll know exactly where you’re at on the keyboard without having to look away from the action.
It’s also built with a gaming-grade circuit board that provides 100% anti-ghosting to ensure that every key you stroke is registered. You won’t have to worry about double presses preventing you from landing the ultimate kill shot.
Division Zero X40 Pro
Futuristic design that delivers an excellent experience. The first time you see the Division Zero X40 Pro, you may assume that it should have been ranked higher on our list.
However, when you realize how hard the software is to use, how the macros aren’t able to hold keypresses when you’re recording them, and that the price Das Keyboard is asking for the keyboard can get you a lot more features in one of the other keyboards we’ve featured, you being to see how it scored so poorly.
It does feature anti-ghosting circuitry that ensures every key you press gets recorded, even if you happen to finger across multiple keys at the same time. This can be a blessing and a curse, but some keyboards simply won’t record the strokes if you hit multiple keys. The Division Zero X40 Pro is different.
It features Alpha-Zulu Tactile switches in a wide variety of resistances and gold-plated circuitry to provide millions of keypresses without failing. The included Yellow switches provide a soft, tactile bump halfway through the stroke, while the Green switches are more stealth-like and deliver a quieter, smoother feel.
It’s also built with a media hub and USB passthrough that allow you to connect multiple devices, like your headphones and microphone, without being tethered to the computer itself. The built-in connectors are gold plated to provide reliable audio and microphone connections.
Alpha-Zulu Tactile switches
Interchangeable top panel
5 programmable macro keys
Built-in media hub and USB passthrough
Gaming mode disables Windows key
6.5ft braided cable with gold connectors
Macros can’t hold keys
Hefty price tag for what you get
Software isn’t exactly easy to use
Unfortunately, you’re only able to program 5 of the keys to contain macros, which is part of the reason that the keyboard scored so poorly on our list of recommendations. That, combined with the software and the hefty price tag kept it from competing with some of the top players for the best gaming keyboard in 2018.
Understanding what it all means when choosing your new keyboard
There are going to be a few terms that you encounter in each review which, if you’re unfamiliar with keyboards, may sound like a foreign language. To help you understand what we’re talking about, here’s a breakdown of some of the more common terms we use:
There are two types of switches underneath the keys on your keyboard: mechanical and digital. There are multiple different types of digital switches, with most of them containing a rubber membrane underneath each key that, when pressed, completes the circuit and makes the keystroke.
Mechanical switches are preferred for most gaming situations and are more accurate when it comes to typing. The most popular type of mechanical switches is MX Brown, Red, and Blue. Each different color of MX switch requires a different level of force to apply the keystroke and has different benefits depending on how you normally game and the games that you’re playing.
The keycaps are the caps on top of the switches, with letters, numbers, F keys, and other various functions. On most mechanical keyboards, you can switch the keycaps to something more favorable to your typing style.
Optional keycaps can be rubberized for a more tactical feel, more domed to provide a better cup for your fingertip, or completely flat to allow easy sliding of your fingertips across the top of the keyboard.
Most mechanical gaming keyboards come shipped with software from the manufacturer that allows you to program macros or sets of keystrokes.
If your game requires you to press multiple keys in sequence, you can build a macro that allows you to hit a single key while the software translates that single key into the multiple keystrokes that you’ve programmed.
This saves you a ton of precious milliseconds when you’re playing a fast-paced game, or when hitting those multiple keystrokes requires you to reach all over the keyboard and takes your attention away from the primary keys you need to stay alive or hit that precious skill shot.
Since gaming keyboards are connected using a USB port, one of the ports on your computer is going to be tied up. Some keyboards come with a USB passthrough built in that acts as a USB hub, allowing you to plug more devices directly into the keyboard.
At the end of the day, only one keyboard was able to take the top spot. After an extensive review process, and comparing our thoughts to what other customers have said, we were able to come to the conclusion that the Corsair Vengeance K95 RGB is the top performer with the most competitive pricing.