Modern mechanical keyboards have become incredibly diverse. They can provide everything from that vintage clicky sound to dead-silent typing and ship in form factors as small as 40% and as large as full-sized and above. Keyboards are available now to suit everyone from hardcore gamers to the most straight-laced, business-focused office worker.
While the most particular mechanical keyboard hobbyists may want to build their own boards (or at least heavily modify an existing board), the larger portion of the potential user base will likely opt for a solution that’s both excellent out of the box and can also be tinkered with down the road.
Here, we are going to look at some of the best mechanical keyboards for power users you can buy right now, within a few respective categories. These are just opinions (users always have their own preferences), but for those that just want to get clacking away and those that are unsure how deep their interest goes, this is a great place to start.
After several tests with various products, we have compiled a list of the best mechanical keyboards for power users below:
- Best Overall: Keychron K8 Wireless Keyboard
- Best Budget Option: iClever Bluetooth Keyboard
- Best small form factor mechanical keyboard: Razer Huntsman Mini Keyboard
- Best full-featured keyboard: Corsair K100 Keyboard
- Best upgrades mechanical keyboard: Massdrop ALT and Massdrop Ctrl Keyboard
Best Overall: Keychron K8 Wireless Keyboard
- Keychron K8, a 87 keys hot-swappable RGB backlight bluetooth wireless mechanical keyboard made for Mac and Windows engineered to maximize your productivity with most popular TKL layout. And let you personalize per-key typing experience without soldering, just pop them in and it’s done.
- Connects with up to 3 devices via the reliable Broadcom Bluetooth 5.1 chipset and switch among them easily for multitasking needs. The K8 is best to fit home, office and light gaming use while connecting with your smartphone, laptop and iPad. It also has wired mode with USB Type-C connection.
- With a unique Mac layout, Keychron K8 keyboard has all essential multimedia and function keys, while compatible with Windows. Extra keycaps for both Windows and Mac operating systems are included.
- The K8 gives the freedom to customize your typing experience with its hot-swappable PCB. With the pre-installed Gateron G Pro mechanical switch providing unrivaled linear responsiveness on the Red switch with up to 50 million durable keystroke lifespan. *The socket of K8 Gateron (Hot-swappable) version is compatible with almost all the MX style 3pin and 5pin mechanical switches on the market (including Gateron, Cherry, Kailh, etc.).
- The K8 can last up to 200 hours with a 4000 mAh big battery, which is one of the biggest in mechanical keyboards. Two level adjustable feet and inclined bottom frame provides a great ergonomic support for long lasting typing comfort. And engineered with more than 15 types of RGB light and comes with different styles (flashing, breathing, or static white etc) which will match up to your mood. Also supports N-key rollover (NKRO) on wired mode or 6KRO on wireless mode.
Keychron K8 Wireless keyboard is an entry point for gamers that is budget-friendly and futuristic for gamers, typists, and hobbyists. It offers a lineup of features typically only found in far more expensive boards from other manufacturers. These include RGB lighting, hot-swap switch sockets, stable Bluetooth connectivity, and epic battery life. In our testing, the wired and wireless connection options add versatility.
The version featured here is the model with a plastic case, RGB backlighting, and hot-swap sockets. These sockets allow mech key beginners to use the board as a platform to experiment. It blends with the massive variety of mechanical keyboard switches on the market today, all with slightly different tactile characteristics, sound profiles, and features.
- Form factor – Tenkeyless
- Connection type – Wireless (Bluetooth) or Wired (USB-C to USB-A)
- Available switch types – Blue (clicky), Brown (tactile), or Red (linear)
- Hot-swappable switch sockets – Yes
Check out Keychron K8 Wireless Keyboard on Amazon.
Best Budget Option: iClever Bluetooth Keyboard
- ERGONOMIC DESIGN & EXQUISITE APPEARANCE -- The iClever Bluetooth keyboard is constructed of the high quality stainless steel and ABS, includes feet that keep it at an optimum slope, which will prevent your wrist from hurting while long sessions of typing. A stylish black colorway gives out sophisticated and attractive appearance to it. The key-set and fabric are matte finished and spill-resistant, helping protect your Bluetooth keyboard against greasy feeling and those sudden coffee accidents.
- STABLE BLUETOOTH 5.1 & MULTI-DEVICE CONNECTION -- Pairing with up to 3 devices and switch among them seamlessly with the inbuilt Bluetooth 5.1 technology, the Bluetooth keyboard will keep your desktop clutter-free. Automatically recognizes the system of your device and maps keys, and automatically connects your previously connected devices on your next session of typing, making it a perfect choice for iPad, iPhone, iMac, MacBook, Laptop, PC, Tablets, Smartphone, Windows, IOS, Mac OS, Android.
- RECHARGEABLE BATTERY & ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY TECHNOLOGY -- An incredibly long-lasting rechargeable battery is housed in the Bluetooth keyboard, which delivers up to 90 hours of continuous typing on a single charge. It features environmental protection power saving function to cut back on unnecessary energy usage, which takes the keyboard to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity.
- SENSITIVELY RESPONSIVE & LOW PROFILE KEYSTROKES -- Take a break from typos. The Wireless keyboard features a sleek design and satisfyingly responsive scissor switches for fast and efficient typing, which ensures you won't miss a key when typing e-mails or blogs for hours. The low-profile keys are remarkably tactile and have enough key travel, bringing a whole new level of comfort to your fingertips. The rear is equipped with shock and skid proof pads, offering you perfect typing experience ever
- FULL SIZE & ULTRA-SLIM KEYBOARD -- The iClever wireless keyboard is full-size design and includes numeric keypad which makes typing easier and more comfortable than other keyboards. Its layout is industry standard which features hot keys like Mute, play/pause, backward and forward, volume up and down, helping you to increase your workflow and productivity. The wireless keyboard's slim design (14x4.9x0.15 in) ensures that it can be tucked easily into a backpack or the pocket of your laptop.
The iClever Bluetooth Keyboard is a pretty obvious clone of earlier Apple Magic keyboards. Regardless, it is the best budget option multi-device keyboard for power users as it goes for less than $35. From the hands-on experience, the compact layout is designed to work well with PCs and mobile devices.
We chose this multi-device keyboard from iClever because it comes at a cheap rate and could be found from a reliable manufacturer. The keyboard can switch between three saved Bluetooth connections with the easy-to-spot 1, 2, or 3 keys. Its rechargeable battery should last for weeks, and the Numpad and symbols for both Windows and macOS on the keys are nice touches.
- Form factor – full size
- Connection type – Wireless (Bluetooth)
- Battery – Rechargeable and last for weeks
Check out iClever Bluetooth Keyboard on Amazon.
Best small form factor mechanical keyboard: Razer Huntsman Mini Keyboard
- Faster Than Traditional Mechanical Switches: Razer Linear Optical switch technology uses optical beam-based actuation, registering key presses at the speed of light (15-30% shorter actuation distance than other linear switches at 1.0 mm)
- Ultimate Personalization & Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma: Fully syncs with popular games, Razer hardware, Philips Hue, and gear from 30 plus partners; supports 16.8 million colors on individually backlit keys
- Quality, Aluminum Construction: Covered with a matte, aluminum top frame for increased structural integrity
- Oil-Resistant Doubleshot PBT Keycaps: Made of textured, high-grade PBT for a more durable and textured finish less prone to long-term grime buildup
- Fully Programmable Macros: Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands
Razer Huntsman Mini Keyboard comes in a space-saving design that takes up a minimal amount of desk space to maximize mousing space.
The text editing cluster and arrow keys found on tenkeyless and full-sized boards are not included in Razer’s board. While most of these keys are still available by using the included “fn” modifier key, they’re far less convenient to access. Although, in our testing, 60% form factor makes heavy text editing harder.
For this reason, this keyboard is the only one on the list we’d strongly recommend exclusively for gamers that don’t intend to do heavy text editing on the same PC they game on.
- Form factor – 60%
- Connection type – Wired (USB-A)
- Available switch types – Purple (clicky), Red (linear), or Analog
- Hot-swappable switch sockets – No
Check out Razer Huntsman Mini Keyboard on Amazon.
Best full-featured keyboard: Corsair K100 Keyboard
- 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.
The Corsair K100 comes with a left-side row of additional, customizable macro keys; onboard volume and media controls; and a unique iCue wheel that provides far more control options than any standard keyboard layout ever could.
- Form factor – Full-sized+
- Connection type – Wired (USB-A)
- Available switch types – Corsair OPX (linear optical) or Cherry MX Speed (linear mechanical)
- Hot-swappable switch sockets – No
Check out Corsair K100 Keyboard on Amazon.
Best upgrades mechanical keyboard: Massdrop ALT and Massdrop Ctrl Keyboard
- A COMPACT LAYOUT: The ALT mechanical keyboard is a smaller take on Drop’s CTRL model. It features 67 keys instead of 87. Absent of function keys, it wastes no space—but it still has a full set of arrows and numerals.
- A SOLID BUILD: Constructed with a solid aluminum frame with a built-in switch plate and magnetic legs, the ALT is rock-solid and ready for any setup.
- CHERRY MX BROWN RGB SWITCHES: This ALT 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 ALT 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 ALT 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.
The Massdrop ALT and Massdrop Ctrl Keyboard is best for hobbyists. The CTRL is a familiar tenkeyless option while the ALT is a non-standard 65% board with a unique layout that manages to maintain almost all of the keys you’ll need for heavy text editing, without taking up much more space than a 60% board.
Both feature exceptional build quality, including their machined aluminum cases; bright, built-in, per-key RGB lighting, unique RGB edge lighting; excellent shine-through keycaps; and reliable hot-swap switch sockets.
- Form factor – Tenkeyless or 65%
- Connection type – Wired (USB-C to USB-A)
- Available switch types – Halo Clear (tactile), Halo True (light tactile), Kaihua Speed Silver (linear), Cherry MX Blue (clicky), Cherry MX Brown (tactile)
- Hot-swappable switch sockets – Yes
Check out Massdrop ALT and Massdrop Ctrl Keyboard on Amazon.
How To Pick The Best Mechanical Keyboard: Step by Step
There is a huge variety of gaming mechanical keyboards on the market today, spurred on in no small way by gaming enthusiasts and professionals who prefer them to more typical, rubber-based keyboard options. Here are the basic things to look out for when trying to make a purchase:
- Build quality
- Hot-swap switches
- Connection type
We recommend tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards—which lack a number pad but have all the other keys—because smaller keyboards take up less room on your desk. A smaller keyboard allows you to place your mouse closer to your body, which can reduce strain on your shoulders, neck, and back. We have full-size picks for people who need to use a number pad frequently, but most people are better off with a tenkeyless model paired with a standalone number pad for occasional use. If you want something even smaller, check out our guide to compact mechanical keyboards.
Cheap keyboards with plastic cases and backplates feel and sound hollow when you type, and they can flex when you press too hard on them. A keyboard made of metal or thicker plastic is sturdier and shouldn’t suffer from the same problems.
Pricing is an essential factor that must be considered before deciding on the keyboard option you will go for. Understanding your budget will help shape your focus area when searching for a new keyboard. While some are priced below $50, some can go way above the $200 mark. Further, you might have to sacrifice some secondary features and designs to buy within your budget.
Changing the switches on most mechanical keyboards requires desoldering all the old switches and soldering new ones. On a hot-swappable board, you can simply pull the switches out and snap new ones into place. This is a more recent feature, more commonly found on expensive, high-end mechanical keyboards. But the ability to trade out switches at any time without having to break out a soldering iron is a nice bonus.
Wireless mechanical keyboards are becoming more common, and it’s a feature that many people want. We look for stable wireless connections that don’t cut out, lag, or cause double-key entries, as well as keyboards that can still work in wired mode when the battery runs out. We haven’t yet found an excellent wireless TKL keyboard, but we’ll keep testing new options until we do. In the meantime, take a look at the Other good mechanical keyboards section, or consider a wireless mechanical keyboard with a compact layout.
What To Know Before Buying A Mechanical Keyboard
There are plenty of gaming mechanical keyboards on the market and when you choose your next one, you should consider the desk or space you have available, whether or not customizing keys is important to you, and how much you are willing to spend.
Last update on 2022-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API