The best gaming keyboard is the Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate. It comes with a variety of options for customization, as well as true mechanical switches to save you from the horrors of a membrane keyboard. It’s a great option, but there are several other fantastic keyboards that would look great alongside your gaming mouse.
Of course, it’s easy to recommend the most expensive keyboards as the best, but chances are that you aren’t looking to spend as much as $250 on a keyboard. These gaming keyboards balance features, performance, and value, primarily focusing on mechanical keyboards with the click-clack factor we all crave.
Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate
The best gaming keyboard
Why you should buy this: It’s the ultimate gaming keyboard out of the box, and it comes with huge customization potential.
Who it’s for: Gamers obsessed with control and customization.
Why we chose the Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate:
The Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate is the ultimate gaming keyboard. It’s expensive, but it earns its asking price with a slew of unique and useful features. Those include hot-swappable key switches to customize the keyboard how you want, an ultra-fast 8,000Hz polling rate, and a comfy detachable wrist rest.
Undoubtedly, the first thing that stands out about the ROG Strix Flare II Animate is the AniMe LED matrix. You can throw up anything you want on this 320-LED matrix – pictures, GIFs, and even scrolling text. It sits opposite four metal media keys that make even mundane tasks like adjusting your volume feel like you’re commanding a battle station.
At $220, the ROG Strix Flare II Animate is one of the most expensive gaming keyboards on the market. You can swap the key switches and caps, though, meaning the ROG Strix Flare II Animate may be the last gaming keyboard you ever have to buy.
HyperX Alloy Origins Core
The best budget gaming keyboard
Why you should buy this: It’s a cheap mechanical gaming keyboard that feels like a premium option.
Who it’s for: Gamers on a budget who still want a quality mechanical keyboard.
Why we chose the HyperX Alloy Origins Core:
The HyperX Alloy Origins Core is an unassuming mechanical gaming keyboard, which means one thing: It’s cheap. Coming around $80, and often on sale for around $60 to $70, the HyperX Alloy Origins cuts the fluff and provides a sublime gaming experience at a fraction of the price.
All of the essentials are here: True mechanical switches, pre-key RGB lighting, and an aircraft-grade aluminum body. You have the options between linear, tactile, or clicking switches, so you can pick up a model for work, gaming, or anything in between.
The Alloy Origins Core has a lot of goodies, too, including onboard profile storage, macro support, and a detachable USB-C cable. It doesn’t come with a wrist rest or dedicated media buttons, but considering the price, the Alloy Origins Core gets a lot right.
Logitech G915 Lightspeed TKL
The best wireless gaming keyboard
Why you should buy this: It’s a wireless keyboard that’s nearly as fast as wired options, and it looks fantastic.
Who it’s for: Gamers going for a sleek, cable-free setup.
Why we chose the Logitech G915 Lightspeed TKL:
Logitech’s G915 Lightspeed mechanical keyboard offers everything anyone could ever want from a mechanical keyboard for gamers who are willing to invest a little more for an excellent design.
If you do choose to go down this route, it won’t leave you disappointed. From its sleek low-profile aluminum body to the low-profile mechanical switches, excellent per-key RGB lighting, and lengthy battery life (especially considering the vivid RGB), the G915 Lightspeed is a keyboard that will leave you happy for years to come. The battery life, in particular, is excellent, lasting well over a week with the lighting maxed out.
The keyboard comes together thanks to Logitech’s Lightspeed wireless technology, which is so fast that it feels like you’re using a wire. You also have the option to connect with Bluetooth, making it a great option for a home theater setup.
Logitech sells the G915 with low-profile clicky, linear, or tactile switches. You’re stuck with the included keycaps thanks to the low-profile design, but they’re excellent and should hold up for years. If you’re not a fan of the TKL layout, Logitech also sells a full-size version of the G915.
Corsair K70 RGB TKL – Champion Series
The best TKL gaming keyboard
Why you should buy this: With 8,000Hz polling, MX Speed-Silver switches, PBT keycaps, and more, this is among the best TKL keyboards currently on the market.
Who it’s for: The shopper who wants a high-quality TKL keyboard for competitive gaming.
Why we chose the K70 RGB TKL Tournament Edition:
Corsair’s latest mechanical keyboard is dedicated to the competitive scene. This model comes with Hyper Axon 8,000Hz polling, which, paired with the speedy Cherry MX Speed Silver switches, makes it one of the fastest gaming keyboards on the market. It also features PBT double-shot keycaps designed to resist wear even with harsh use.
The durable aluminum frame and RGB lighting are great competitive features, but we especially like the tournament switch, which switches to static background lighting and disables macros for maximum focus and accuracy. The keyboard also uses a detachable USB-C capable to manage connections.
With Corsair’s aluminum chassis, excellent RGB ecosystem, fast responses, and dedicated modes, the K70 RGB TKL Tournament Edition offers a surprising number of features for its price and is sure to make TKL fans who have been waiting for the latest Corsair keyboards happy.
Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed
The best 65% gaming keyboard
Why you should buy this: With a 65% layout, wireless connectivity, RGB lighting, and excellent switches, this is one keyboard that can do it all.
Who it’s for: Small keyboard fans who want dedicated arrow and delete keys paired with wireless connectivity
Why we chose the Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini:
Razer’s Blackwidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed is a small keyboard that can do it all. This board has a 65% layout, which is a smidge bigger than the super-compact 60% keyboards, but this added 5% adds arrow keys, a dedicated delete key, page up/down, and insert, making it a whole lot more practical for everyday use.
Meanwhile, Razer decided to pull out all the stops and stick every good bit of tech into the V3 Mini Hyperspeed, which includes excellent wireless connectivity that can last up to 200 hours. You also have the option between Razer’s Green clicky switches or its Yellow linear switches.
If you have other Razer peripherals, the BlackWidow V3 Mini is even more enticing. The Hyperspeed dongle works with multiple peripherals, so you can hook up a Razer mouse and keyboard while only occupying one USB port.
Keychron K1 SE
The best low-profile gaming keyboard
Why you should buy this: It’s one of the only fully-featured low profile mechanical keyboards on the market.
Who it’s for: Gamers who want a gaming keyboard in disguise.
Why we chose the Keychron K1 SE:
The Keychon K1 SE doesn’t look like a gaming keyboard, but the moment you lay your fingers on WASD, you’ll feel at home. It’s so popular, in fact, that might struggle to find the K1 SE in stock. It’s a wildly popular keyboard, and for good reason.
It comes with low profile switches and a body that’s 18mm thick. You have the option between mechanical or optical switches, and if you opt for the latter, you can swap the switches out with other low profile options. Most gaming keyboards don’t have hot-swappable switches, and that list is even smaller for low-profile options.
Keychon is mostly known for making Mac keyboards, but don’t let that steer you away. The K1 SE comes with key caps for both Windows and Mac, and it supports simultaneous connection on up to three devices (with support for iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Android).
The major caveat with the K1 SE is that it only supports Bluetooth for wireless connection. Although you may be able to get by, it’s best to hook it up with the optional USB-C cable for the fastest response times while gaming.
Razer Huntsman V2
The best gaming keyboard with optical switches
Why you should buy this: It’s an excellent keyboard all around, bolstered by ultra-fast optical switches.
Who it’s for: Gamers who want the fastest response times while playing.
Why we chose the Razer Huntsman V2 TKL:
If you need the fastest response times in games, optical switches are the way to go. Razer’s Huntsman V2 comes with either clicky or linear optical switches that, when paired with a true 8,000Hz polling rate, allow it to respond faster than most other gaming keyboards on the market.
The switches are faster than traditional mechanical options, or more importantly, they’re smoother. They offer the feeling of a mechanical switch with proper lubrication, just without the upkeep. They’re more durable, too, with Razer claiming its switches can last for 100 million keystrokes (double of traditional mechanical switches).
For the Huntsman V2 itself, it’s a fantastic keyboard. It boasts an aluminum frame with foam inside to reduce key noise, and it comes with a comfy wrist rest in the box. That’s not to mention Razer’s excellent RGB support, allowing you to trick out the Huntsman V2 to fit your setup.
The best custom gaming keyboard
Why you should buy this: It’s a wonderfully manufactured, customizable keyboard that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Who it’s for: Custom keyboard lovers looking for something great without breaking the bank.
Why we chose the Keychron Q1:
Keychron’s Q1 comes into the keyboard market as perhaps a slightly unusual player, but it might be one of the best keyboards ever made. From its milled aluminum frame and hot-swappable lubed switches and stabilizers to the RGB lighting, internal damping, and included premium coiled cable, there’s a lot to love about the Q1. Its 75% layout also bodes well for many different workloads, offering a great balance between a small size for gaming, and enough keys to deal with most everyday tasks.
The Keychron Q1 doesn’t cost a fortune and offers options for a full keyset or a bare board depending on your customization needs. In fact, between the build quality of the CNC-milled and anodized aluminum chassis, lubed Gateron switches, and premium coiled USB-C cable, we’re wondering how Keychron isn’t making a loss on these.
Research and buying FAQ
What keyboard layout is best for gaming?
Generally, keyboards come in a standard 104-key layout complete with a number pad. But for gaming, it can be interesting to contemplate smaller keyboard layouts, sacrificing practicality in favor of a more compact keyboard. The primary reason you would want to do this is to clear up desk space for your mouse — having a wide-open space for your mouse next to a small keyboard allows you to play at lower DPI settings and make longer sweeps without running into your keyboard, thus increasing your in-game performance.
A full-size keyboard is a good option if it’s your only keyboard and it will need to double as a work keyboard. Another answer could be that 60% keyboard layouts are the best for first-person shooters, but as they make a lot of sacrifices to meet the compact footprint requirements, TKL (tenkeyless, or num-pad free) keyboards generally offer a more desirable balance of features.
Do keyboard switch types really matter?
In the world of gaming keyboards, switches are all the rave. Generally, mechanical keyboards always take the prize in this category, mainly for the feel of their mechanical actuation. Traditionally, there are three main types of switches: Linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches travel down with equal force along the stroke, whereas tactile switches have a distinct bump on the way down. Clicky switches have tactile travel but also offer a click halfway through the stroke to indicate that they have actuated and sent the signal to the PC.
But by now, there are more switch options than just Cherry MX Red, brown, and blue. These come in low-profile now too, and there is a new MX Speed Silver switch on the market, which is like a linear red switch but with a faster actuation point and lighter travel.
Meanwhile, a lot of keyboard manufacturers are coming out with their own switches, like Corsair’s OPX optical switch. Razer has its own, Logitech has the Romer-G switch on many of its keyboards, and there are third-party switch makers like Kailh and Gateron that provide switches also used in many of today’s keyboards.
Generally, we recommend linear switches for pure gamers and tactile switches for those who type a lot. If you’re only typing, a clicky blue switch can be very satisfying, though your environment might not be quite as appreciative of your click-clacking keyboard if you go down that route, generally leaving the choice between linear and tactile switches.
If your keyboard is still too loud, you can always consider o-rings to dampen the end of your keys’ travel and prevent the loud clacking when the keys bottom out.
Is RGB lighting on keyboards all the same?
Generally, all gaming hardware nowadays comes with RGB lighting, whether that’s something you care for or not. The best ecosystems, such as those from Corsair, Logitech, and Razer, have software that runs on your PC that allows you to get very nitpicky about your lighting effects and allow for support that can sync with other compatible RGB lighting in your setup. Cheaper keyboards may have similar systems but generally rely on on-keyboard lighting profiles that lack any significant customization options beyond a select few effect types and color options.
Additionally, the RGB lighting quality can also vary massively between keyboards. Some have very lackluster implementations that lack vibrancy and brightness, while others offer exactly that. This can depend on the keycap, switch type, and the color of the backplate underneath the switches.
Do keyboard ergonomics make a difference?
We don’t really suggest a truly ergonomic keyboard design for gaming, as the re-positioned keys can be awkward to use for gaming purposes. However, a good keyboard with the right switch type, elevation, and quality wrist rest can do miracles for your typing comfort.
Your posture is also important. Sit too low, and you’ll perch your shoulders up. Sit too high, and you’ll have to carry your arms. A wrist rest is easy to improvise with a towel, but wrist pain can take weeks to recover from. Do yourself a favor and adjust your seat, desk, and monitor to the correct height to ensure you don’t have to miss gaming sessions with your friends.
What is the best gaming keyboard for esports?
Part of this will always be personal preference, but performance can also make a difference. Faster response times and customization are great features for esports. Some players also like more compact 65% keyboards so they don’t have to make larger, more time-consuming movements with either hand, although this can also vary. Our Corsair K70 RGB TKL Tournament Edition pick is a great starting place. You’ll still want plenty of practice with any new keyboard before getting serious about competitive gaming, though.