With consoles only getting more expensive with each new release and the popularity of building your own personal computer increasing by the day, it only makes sense that computer gaming has seen a huge increase in attention. Whereas a console needs a remote to function, a computer needs two things: a keyboard and a mouse. But how do you know which gaming keyboard is best? There are all sorts of features and design choices to pick from, not to mention factors like best budget keyboard, best under $100, best keyboard and mouse combo, and so on. Let’s take a look at the best of the best below.
It’s the question that’s probably on your mind right now: What’s the difference between a gaming keyboard and a regular keyboard, and why does gaming require a special keyboard in the first place? The truth is that a gaming keyboard isn’t a requirement for gaming, but it’s certainly a huge convenience.
Gaming keyboards give computer gamers the ability to easily access the most common keys and buttons they’ll need for gaming. These include volume controls and play/pause, the space bar, the WASD keys, and more. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the best keyboards for gaming — best budget, best under $100, best keyboard and mouse combo, best wireless, best sounding, best portable, and best overall.
- Best Overall: Corsair K100 RGB Optical
- Best Budget-Friendly: G.Skill KM360
- Best Modular Keyboard: Drop CTRL
- Best for Portability: Anne Pro 2
- Best Sound: Drop ALT
- Best Keyboard and Mouse Combo: Corsair Pro Wired Gaming Bundle
- Best Wireless Connectivity: Logitech G915
Best Overall: Corsair K100 RGB Optical
- The Corsair K100 RGB is the pinnacle of Corsair keyboards, offering the cutting-edge performance, style, durability, and customization that gamers need to stand above the rest
- The centerpiece of your gaming setup, the Corsair K100 RGB boasts a refined design bolstered by a durable aluminum frame, dynamic per-key RGB backlighting, and a 44-zone three-sided LightEdge
- Powered by Corsair AXON Hyper-Processing Technology, enabling Corsair’s most advanced gaming keyboard experience by delivering up to 4x faster throughput with native 4,000Hz hyper-polling and 4,000Hz key scanning, while simultaneously driving up to 20-layer lighting effects
- A programmable iCUE control wheel gives you command over backlighting, media jogging, and more through Corsair iCUE software, customizable to perform actions in games and applications
Of all the gaming keyboards available today, the best overall is without a doubt the Corsair K100 RGB Optical. Equipped with a red-green-blue backlight, a USB hookup, dedicated media controls, and a detachable wrist rest, the Corsair K100 is the favorite of computer gamers the world over for a reason. Its highly responsive optical switches and high-quality build are just two specs that help make it the best of the best.
The Corsair K100 RGB Optical is quite large and comes with its fair share of software, meaning you’ll need to make room on both your physical and virtual desktop to get the most out of this mechanical keyboard. It’s also important to mention that the Corsair K100 is still functional as a standard keyboard for when you aren’t using it to game. Typing doesn’t feel weird or unnatural with this keyboard at all. All in all, it goes above and beyond the basics to deliver the best overall gaming keyboard on the market today.
Best Budget-Friendly: G.Skill KM360
Now, not everyone can afford an expensive gaming keyboard with all those extra bells and whistles. Some people prefer a gaming keyboard under $100 that can still deliver all the features of an expensive mechanical keyboard without that high price point. With many of the more expensive options coming in at $200 or more, it’s worth looking at the best budget keyboard for gamers unable or unwilling to shell out the big bucks.
Coming in at well under $100, the G.Skill KM360 is our pick for the best budget gaming keyboard. Affordable, reliable, and lacking those bright and bold RGB backlights, the G.Skill KM 360 delivers a functional mechanical keyboard that works well for gaming or for casual usage at a fraction of the competitors’ prices. There’s no wrist rest, no passthrough, and the backlight only comes in white, but it works great and it’s under $100 — What more could a gamer on a budget ask for?
Best Modular Keyboard: Drop CTRL
- PUT YOURSELF IN CONTROL: Our flagship, the CTRL combines quality construction with feature-loaded functionality. A versatile tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard designed with input from the Drop community, it raises the bar for mechanical keyboards.
- PREMIUM ENGINEERING: Constructed with a solid aluminum frame with a built-in switch plate and magnetic legs, the CTRL is rock-solid and ready for any setup.
- CHERRY MX BROWN RGB SWITCHES: This CTRL model comes equipped with Cherry MX Brown switches, which have a tactile bump, silent travel, and medium actuation force—great for both typing and gaming.
- HOT-SWAPPABLE SWITCH FUNCTIONALITY. Want to switch your switches? Customize the CTRL with ease thanks to hot-swappable switch sockets, which allow you to swap switches in seconds—no soldering required.
- OPTIMIZED PER-KEY LIGHTING WITH MILLIONS OF COLORS: The CTRL is illuminated with fully customizable RGB backlighting and under-lighting. Set your millions of LEDs to a single color or light them up with custom rainbow wave patterns.
Whether you call it a modular keyboard or a hot-swappable keyboard, this kind of gaming keyboard allows gamers to fully customize their setup in whichever way they choose. The Drop CTRL is (and has been) the best version of this keyboard by a significant margin. High-quality and straightforward, delivering that excellent customization that some gamers need to thrive, the Drop CTRL is a must for those in search of a truly great modular keyboard.
Boasting a frame made of aluminum and a baseplate made of metal, the Drop CTRL’s main deck is super sturdy and comes equipped with a USB passthrough. Beyond this, the hot-swappable feature allows you to incorporate switches from other brands to become even more customizable than before. It’s a one-stop-shop for any modular keyboard user.
Best for Portability: Anne Pro 2
- Minimalistic design doing more with less. Requires less hand movement while still being able to access all the functionalities.
- Compact and Portable . It saves desk space and easy to carry around. Fits right in backpack. Perfect for home, work and on the go.
- Decent bluetooth connectivity enables wireless connection up to 4 devices and switch seamlessly back and forth.
- Revamped obinskit starter software simplifies the way to set up your own key layout, lighting and to create macros.
- The “Magic Fn” on the Caps Lock button makes it easier to utilize the F1-F12 keys while gaming.
Whether you’re gaming on the go or simply want a keyboard that’s easier to move around as you please, it’s worth exploring the best portable gaming keyboards for those who like a little freedom. If this is you, then the Anne Pro 2 is exactly the kind of thing you need. Small, lightweight, compact, and minimalist, the Anne Pro 2 still delivers RGB backlights and programmable keys without all that extra weight or restrictiveness of the most popular competitors.
Boasting Bluetooth 4.0 and eight-hour battery life, the Anne Pro 2 does away with wires and arrow pads and any sort of ergonomic extras that weigh down other keyboards and make them less portable. This makes it the portable keyboard of choice for gamers that want freedom and functionality in one.
Best Sound: Drop ALT
While it might sound surprising to those who aren’t computer gamers, there’s a great number of people who actually like a loud, clacky keyboard when gaming. While Apple and other tech giants work to make their keyboards quieter and quieter, the Drop ALT keyboard is about as loud and clicky as can be.
It’s a nice, sturdy keyboard with an aluminum frame and several different USB ports for optimal convenience and functionality. Beyond these basics, its floating PBT keycaps click like nothing else on the market. It’s the best-sounding gaming keyboard by far.
Best Keyboard and Mouse Combo: Corsair Pro Wired Gaming Bundle
- Includes an RGB gaming keyboard and gaming mouse to kick-start your PC gaming experience.
- Play in confidence thanks to high-quality materials, exceptional build quality, and proven CORSAIR reliability.
- K55 RGB PRO Gaming Keyboard: dynamic five-zone RGB backlighting, six dedicated macro keys with Elgato Stream Deck software integration, IP42-rated dust and spill-resistant design, soft textured detachable palm rest, dedicated volume, and media keys.
- HARPOON RGB PRO Gaming Mouse: lightweight at just 85g, comfortable contoured design, easy plug-and-play setup, 12,000 DPI optical sensor, six programmable buttons.
- Powerful CORSAIR iCUE software makes your mouse and keyboard work together, enabling RGB lighting control, custom macro programming, and fine-tuning of your keyboard and mouse.
Combining the functionality of the Corsair K55 with the efficiency of the Corsair Harpoon, this Pro Wired Gaming Bundle is the best keyboard and mouse combo around. The keyboard is jam-packed with excellent features and the mouse is remarkably reliable, and the combo gives gamers a great deal to boot. Plus, the bundle comes with a mousepad and a headset, effectively elevating the combo from great to unbeatable.
While the keyboard isn’t mechanical and the mouse is a pretty basic, entry-level model, the Corsair Pro Wired Gaming Bundle gives gamers the keyboard and mouse combo they want at a price that they can afford.
Best Wireless Connectivity: Logitech G915
- LIGHT-SPEED wireless delivers pro-grade performance with flexibility and freedom from cords. Creates a clean aesthetics for battle-stations. Delivers 30 hours on a single full charge.
- LIGHTSYNC technology provides next-gen RGB lighting that synchronizes lighting with any content. Personalize each key or create custom animations from ~16.8M colors with Logitech G HUB software.Actuation force: 50 gram
- Low Profile mechanical switches offers the speed, accuracy and performance of a mechanical switch at half the height. The GL Tactile switch produces a discernible bump at the point of actuation. Comes in 3 options: GL Tactile, GL Linear or GL Clicky.
- Beautifully crafted, the G915 uses aircraft-grade aluminum alloy to deliver incredibly thin but rigid and durable design.
- Enjoy 30 hours of game time on a single charge. Low battery warnings at 15% on the keyboard battery LED and via pop-up notification in the Logitech G HUB software. Quickly recharges in 3 hours.
When opting for a wireless keyboard, the last thing you want is a product that robs you of features simply because you’re cutting out wires and pass-throughs. The Logitech G915 understands this perfectly, giving gamers a full RGB keyboard with great functionality and spectacular battery life in one.
The Logitech G915 also boasts five macros keys and a set of dedicated media controls, further elevating an already great wireless gaming keyboard. Not clunky yet not flimsy, the Logitech perfectly balances its slim design with its dense weight to become the best possible wireless keyboard imaginable.
Determining the Best Gaming Keyboards
When determining the best gaming keyboards, you need to figure out exactly what it is you’re looking for. With so many features and design options to choose from, considering your particular specs will make all the difference in your final choice. For most buyers, this boils down to four key things:
Gaming keyboards are known for their exclusive features that help give gamers the advantages they need to game like a pro. Some of the most popular features to look for include macros keys, LED backlights, mechanical or modular keys, and extensive warranties to protect your device should you happen to game too hard. Be sure to take a look at these features (and any other features that might make a difference to you) before you make your pick.
The design of the keyboard itself is another important factor to consider before making your choice. Are the keys big, small, or somewhere in between? Are they loud or quiet? Can they be swapped out or customized? Does the keyboard come equipped with a wrist rest? These design options will be a great help in guiding you toward the best gaming keyboard for you.
While it might sound obvious, price is going to play a huge role in the keyboard you ultimately pick. With some priced under $50 and others coming in at over $200 or more, know your budget and be ready for sticker shock. You might also want to be prepared to sacrifice design and features to stay within your price range.
Last but not least is functionality. What good is your gaming keyboard if it isn’t functional? Think about how the keyboard responds to your fingers, how it reacts to how hard or soft you press the keys, how long the battery lasts, how bright the backlights shine, and so on. These aspects of a keyboard’s functionality play an important role in your final decision.
What to Know Before Buying a Gaming Keyboard
Before you buy your gaming keyboard, you should know that no two keyboards are exactly the same, and some games might require a different setup than others. (For instance, an FPS is going to play differently than an MMORPG.) Don’t be afraid to do lots of research on the kind of games you’re going to be playing the most and go from there. There are plenty of articles out there online on the best keyboards for specific game genres, and there are just as many forums where other real users can casually compare and contrast brands and models. If you want, you can also examine the keyboard’s return policy before buying. That way, if it doesn’t end up feeling right, you can always return or exchange it for another.
Using the Best Gaming Keyboards: What it’s Like
Once your gaming keyboard of choice arrives on your doorstep, you should anticipate a week or two of troubleshooting and getting accustomed to the particular brand or model you chose. This is especially true with clicky or sensitive keys, as they can take some time. Once you start to get a feel for the keyboard, you can expect to settle into it and start to master it once and for all. Still, it might take some time to get to that point, and you should expect to face several days of finding your footing. If you give it some time and still feel that it’s not right or that you’re struggling to get used to it, don’t be afraid to make a return or exchange if you can.