fbpx

Best gaming keyboard 2021

Specifically tailored to the needs of a PC gamer, the best gaming keyboards offer improved build quality, a range of mechanical switches, ergonomic designs, anti-ghosting, and N-key rollover, as well as software-based features to extract the most from the hardware. That makes it crucial for the most immersive gaming experience and the fastest response.

The best gaming keyboard for your setup depends on your gaming habits, your available desk space, and your budget. If you have only a little bit of money to spend, you can get something decent; if you’re willing to dig deep, you can get a nearly perfect peripheral that will last for years and years to come.

THE BEST GAMING KEYBOARDS YOU CAN BUY TODAY

DAS KEYBOARD X50Q RGB
The best gaming keyboard for most people

REASONS TO BUY
+ Gamma Zulu mechanical key switches
+ Premium, aluminium build
+ Strong RGB brightness
+ Full N-Key Rollover

REASONS TO AVOID
– Slightly odd font choice
– On the pricey side
– Isn’t raised up at much of an angle

With a stunning, premium build, incredibly high-grade Gamma Zulu mechanical switches made by renowned Japanese maker Omron, and a raft of high-end premium features, the Das Keyboard X50Q RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is, in our opinion, the best pound-for-pound gaming keyboard in the world.

The aesthetic (unlike many gaming keyboards) is understated and exudes class, while the aluminium top plate adds a sturdy weight and luxe feel under the fingertips too.

Then when you throw in a tidy gaming mode indicator and ability to disable windows keys, an extra-long braided 2-meter cable, soft-touch coated palm rest, and a built-in control knob, too.

ROCCAT VULCAN TKL PRO
The best gaming keyboard without a number pad

REASONS TO BUY
+ Incredibly responsive
+ Beautifully bright RGB lighting
+ Compact

REASONS TO AVOID
– High-priced compared to other TKL options
– Very loud switches

The Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro is a big-time keyboard in a small body, thanks to being tenkeyless. The headline here is Roccat’s optical switches, which use beams of light to detect a press instead of mechanical movement. Oh, it still has a deeply satisfying (and very loud) click but offers ludicrous speed for its response times.

It results in a keyboard that’s very high-priced considering it’s missing a bunch of keys, but it definitely feels like a worthy investment – both as a physical object and in how it performs during games.

The bright LEDs within each key only add to the feeling of quality. They’re stronger than most of the competition, and you can even supplement them with having your PC play a sound every time a key is pressed, like a laser blast.

RAZER HUNTSMAN ELITE
The best premium gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Revolutionary optomechanical switches
+ Impressive focus on RGB backlighting
+ Mature and minimalist design
+ Incredibly fast typing performance

REASONS TO AVOID
– Expensive
– Needs two USB ports for power

Razer continues to push the envelope when it comes to PC gaming peripherals, including one of the latest additions to its keyboard range – meet the Huntsman Elite, which is our top recommendation if money is no consideration in your purchase.

The keyboard’s big selling point is the daring decision to combine optical sensors and mechanical switches to create Razer’s own ‘optomechanical’ switches. The difference in speed is impressive, to say the least, offering an unbeatable level of input speed and latency reduction.

With a lovely array of RGB lights across those hybrid switches and enough customisation options to make even the hardest of hardcore players happy, this is a beast of a peripheral for ardent PC gamers. It also makes for a silky smooth typing experience should you want to double it up as a regular ‘board as well.

CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL CHAMPION SERIES
The most customisable TKL gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Per-key RGB lighting
+ Tournament Switch
+ Detachable USB cable

REASONS TO AVOID
– Expensive to buy
– Day-to-day typing takes getting used to
– Slightly larger than the most compact TKL keyboards

If it’s a more compact form factor you’re after, then a tenkeyless keyboard is what you should be hunting for. It does away with the number pad to give you more desk space. The Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Series is one of the best there is.

It is slightly bigger than some other TKL keyboards, but that’s to make room for the handy media controls along the top including the volume roll. What’s really great about this keyboard is its speed, with an 8,000Hz polling rate, it’s about 8x faster than most other gaming keyboards. Plus, the keys are sturdy and quick to use as well, making this keyboard perfect for fast-paced esports.

If you’re big on customisation, you couldn’t ask for much better than the Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Series. Up to 20 lighting layers and per-key backlighting gives the potential for almost infinite lighting possibilities, and it has a detachable braided cable too.

WHIRLWIND FX ELEMENT
The best gaming keyboard for RGB lighting brilliance

REASONS TO BUY
+ The best RGB lighting in the business
+ Super-responsive typing
+ Nicely constructed from premium materials

REASONS TO AVOID
– No custom key mapping
– No wireless option
– On the pricey side

If RGB lighting customisations are what you want first and foremost from a gaming keyboard, then the Whirlwind FX Element is sure to be of interest. You can personalise the lighting down to individual keys, as well as select from millions of colours, and you’ve also got a bunch of animation effects to choose from too (like a Matrix mode that pulses green).

Added to that, some of the effects tie in with the biggest games on the market, like Call of Duty and PUBG. Even if a game isn’t supported directly, the Whirlwind FX Element will still analyse what’s on-screen and change the keyboard lighting to match.

Besides the lighting effects, which are a lot of fun to play around with, this excels in just about every other area too: the Kailh mechanical switches, the brushed aluminium, the solid, braided USB cable… it’s a fantastic all-around package and definitely worth a spot on our list of best gaming keyboards.

CORSAIR K95 RGB PLATINUM XT
The best alternative to the Huntsman Elite

REASONS TO BUY
+ Fantastic build quality
+ Premium look and feel
+ Excellent RGB lighting and synchronisation

The Platinum XT ticks all the boxes for a premium mechanical gaming keyboard. RGB lighting? Check. Aircraft-grade aluminum? Check. Dedicated media controls? Check. A choice of Cherry MX Speed or Cherry MX Blue switches? Dedicated macro and media keys? Oh yes. But in addition to all these things, there are some extra touches that make it clear that you’re dealing with a premium product here.

The double-shot PBT keycaps feel sensational under your fingertips, as does the textured space bar, and the faux-leather wrist wrest is comfortable and looks good too. Corsair’s iCUE software makes it easy to customise the lighting and sync it with compatible peripherals such as coolers and fans, and you can store multiple profiles for different titles or genres. This is by no means a cheap keyboard but every time you touch it you’ll feel that your money was spent wisely.

AUKEY KM-G12
The best budget mechanical keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Easy to setup
+ The surround light strip is a nice touch
+ Responsive keystrokes

REASONS TO AVOID
– Aukey Blue switches are very loud
– The RGB lights are a little dull

With an aluminium top-plate and plastic base, this keyboard feels solid, though the keycaps themselves do feel a little plasticky which comes with the budget territory. Despite that, this keyboard is responsive with fast actuation.

You will be sure to get your money’s worth as the keys can withstand 50 million presses. Using Aukey Blue switches, the Aukey KM-G12 has a loud tactile click which some might find satisfying, while anyone sitting near you is bound to find them annoyingly loud. There’s a separate number pad, and flip-out rubber feet so you can choose how to place the keyboard according to what you find most comfortable.

The RGB lighting on it is extensive, not only featuring within the characters on the keys but a strip surrounds the sides of the keyboard too. There are loads of illumination settings to cycle through, though it did look slightly duller than on other keyboards we’ve seen.

RAZER BLACKWIDOW V3 PRO
The best wireless gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Lag-free wireless connectivity
+ Comfortable to use
+ Very premium feel

REASONS TO AVOID
– Expensive
– Some software niggles
– Battery life could be longer

The BlackWidow V3 Pro is an uncompromising gaming keyboard without a wired connection. Razer’s custom wireless connection feels no slower than a cabled equivalent, meaning that this gives you all the benefits of wireless and none of the downside.

It’s a full-size keyboard, with media keys and a great multi-function dial, and keys that are noticeably premium, partly thanks to the excellent feel of Razer’s switches (which are available in ‘extra-clicky and loud’ or ‘smoother and quieter’ forms), and partly the keycaps themselves, which resist fingerprint smudges – this is more noticeable and satisfying than you might think.

The RGB lighting is controlled by Razer’s software, which has proven to be a little more awkward than some others. The RGB lighting also has a huge effect on the battery life: turn it off and you can get a healthy 200 hours of gaming, but put it on full blast and you’re looking at more like 13 hours. We had it at around 80% and got 30 hours before needing to charge.

TRUST GXT 856 TORAC
An appealing budget gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Background lighting
+ Very affordable
+ Angular metal edging

REASONS TO AVOID
– No wireless option
– Limited customisation
– Not mechanical

Looking for a budget keyboard then the Trust GXT 856 Torac might be exactly what you’re looking for: it’s available for a very affordable price and yet won’t let you down when it comes to gaming or indeed general keyboard duties.

Of course, there are compromises at this price point – you don’t get anything fancy like mechanical switches or accompanying software, and although there is some rainbow LED lighting underneath the keys, you can’t really customise it to any great extent (you just get a couple of modes to switch between).

Without a lot of bells and whistles, the Torac is well designed, with its angular metal edging, and is bound to make an impression on anyone who sees it. The typing experience is good too, with the keyboard able to register up to 8 keypresses at once without getting confused.

RAZER CYNOSA V2
The best budget membrane gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Great keyboard feel
+ Quiet membrane keys
+ Customisable RGB lighting

REASONS TO AVOID
– Do you want membrane switches?

Razer’s Cynosa range is highly rated, and this budget version is a very capable gaming keyboard and a good introduction to gaming keyboards generally. If you’re looking for your first such keyboard this is a really good one to start with.

The Cynosa V2 has a fairly small footprint for a gaming keyboard so it fits pretty much any setup. It has low-profile keys in a membrane design with dedicated media control buttons and per-key backlit RGB lighting, which – like the keyboard macro programming – is controlled by Razer’s Synapse software.

The Razer is as comfortable for typing as it is for gaming, and as it’s a membrane board it’s very quiet no matter how fast you type. While this is a budget board it really doesn’t feel like one when you’re using it. It delivers good cable management to minimise mess, and the Synapse software is straightforward and effective.

GMMK GAMING KEYBOARD
The best gaming keyboard for modular customisation

REASONS TO BUY
+ Fully modular
+ Simple software
+ Robust design

REASONS TO AVOID
– No wireless option
– Rather dull status lights
– On the expensive side

What sets the GMMY Gaming Keyboard apart in this list of the best gaming keyboards is that it’s fully modular: you can configure it with the switches and the keycaps you want, and even mix together different types on the same keyboard if you want. You can also pick it up in a variety of pre-built configurations from Glorious PC Gaming Race, and in several sizes too.

The control you get over the RGB lighting with the accompanying software utility adds to the customisation options here, so it’s very much a gaming keyboard that can be whatever you want it to be. It’s definitely one for the enthusiasts and tweakers, though of course anyone can just plug it in and get going.

CORSAIR K100 RGB MECHANICAL GAMING KEYBOARD
A high-end keyboard that feels super-premium

REASONS TO BUY
+Beautiful build and design
+Dedicated media keys
+Some great extra features

REASONS TO AVOID
– Very expensive for the features
– Not wireless

The Corsair K100 RGB offers a choice of Cherry MX or Corsair’s own OPX switches depending on your preference for feel, all packed into a sleek tank of a body. The typing action is totally top-notch, as you’d expect for the price – combined with the wrist rest and full array of keys, it’s a dream to use.

In terms of features, you’ve got per-key RGB lighting along with strips of LEDs around the edge, you’ve got the great programmable Control Wheel dial, six programmable macro keys, plus dedicated media keys, and a number pad.

HYPERX ALLOY ELITE 2
Everything you could want in a gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Sharp, responsive switches
+ Full set of media keys

REASONS TO AVOID
– Fingerprint magnet
– No wrist rest

HyperX has a fine pedigree when it comes to gaming keyboards, and the Alloy Elite 2 is another winner: it’s very well constructed, with flexible lighting and a variety of dedicated media and volume keys, and it’ll work just as well for general computing tasks as it will for gaming.

The supplied HyperX software makes customisations a breeze, and you can produce some incredibly funky-looking effects from this keyboard… or just keep it simple and subtle, it’s up to you. The solid steel frame and HyperX mechanical switches make for a pleasurable, robust typing experience too.

Comes with USB 2.0 pass-through, anti-ghosting technology, and fun N-key rollover functionality, as well as multi-platform compatibility.

LOGITECH G915 TKL
An excellent wired or wireless compact option

REASONS TO BUY
+ Fantastic typing experience
+ Compact form factor
+ Plenty of lighting options

REASONS TO AVOID
– No number pad on this model
– It’s going to cost you
– Older micro-USB connection

With 88 keys (plus media keys), backlighting colour combinations that run into the millions, a lovely thin form factor, a dedicated volume scroll wheel, instant wireless connection, and optional Bluetooth, and a simple-to-use macro editor, it’s likely that the Logitech G915 TKL is going to attract a lot of fans.

A smaller, more compact version of the also amazing Logitech G915, this ‘tenkeyless’ version is easier to position on a desk and to lug around, but loses none of the typing experience – and that’s great by the way. You get a choice of three mechanical key types with this keyboard, so you can customise it to suit your preferences.

STEELSERIES APEX 7
A great compact mechanical gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Dedicated OLED smart display
+ Compact, minimalist design
+ Dynamic per-key illumination

REASONS TO AVOID
– OLED screen doesn’t add much

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, featuring a host of neat touches to impress gamers – not least the OLED smart display that’s able to deliver information straight from games and apps (including Discord and Tidal).

This being SteelSeries you know the build quality is going to be excellent as always, and the Apex 7 really looks the part: it’s made from Series 5000 aircraft-grade aluminium, with a wide and deep wrist pad that should keep fatigue at bay even over the longest gaming sessions.

Using SteelSeries’ own take on Cherry MX mechanical switches, these keys are good for some 50 million keypresses.

ROCCAT VULCAN 120 AIMO
A great all-round premium gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Silent mechanical keys
+ Incredible build quality
+ Stunning AIMO lighting

REASONS TO AVOID
– No auxiliary ports
– Hard wrist rest

Roccat advertises the Vulcan 120 Aimo as a “precision gaming tool” and, after getting our hands on the board and producing our official Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo review, it’s hard to argue with that.

The Vulcan 120 Aimo is really comfortable to use and boasts a top mix of programmable keys, so it’s handy for both gaming and everyday PC tasks. Its Titan switches are also among the very best we’ve ever placed our fingertips on, with a very linear actuation, super-fast input recognition, and super-light caps combining wonderfully.

Quiet switches aren’t often a quality we put much stock in when searching out the best gaming keyboards, but considering how responsive the bespoke keys are in Roccat’s incredibly impressive Vulcan 120 Aimo, we’re beginning to think we’d like to see them more often.

The keyboard, with its anodised aluminium plate, feels incredibly well built under the fingertips (the board weighs in at a rock-solid 1,150 grams), and with its remarkably bright Aimo lighting engine it’s also one of the most visually appealing boards in our guide.

Powered by a 32-bit ARM Cortex processor, and featuring a sleek detachable wrist rest and lengthy 1.8-meter braided cable, the Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo delivers across the board – it’s a package you must check out if you’re shopping at the top end of the gaming keyboard market in 2021.

And plenty of the judges in the T3 Awards 2020 agreed the 120 Aimo is a gaming keyboard worthy of praise, with it winning the Best Gaming Keyboard award.

STOGA MECHANICAL GAMING KEYBOARD
A great affordable mechanical gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Great-feeling switches for a low price
+ Excellent performance
+ Durable build
+ RGB lighting

REASONS TO AVOID
– No wrist rest
– Plain looks

STOGA uses its own switches rather than a recognisable brand, but it calls its switches ‘Blue’, and they’re pretty much impossible to tell apart from Cherry MX Blues, which is a real testament to the quality STOGA has built into an incredibly low-priced keyboard.

Being Cherry MX Blue-style switches means you get some real resistance and a very satisfying and unmissable click. Great for precision, but undoubtedly noisy, so factor that into your plans. Otherwise, this is a no-nonsense keyboard – it’s tenkeyless and its lacking media keys, but it has to get to a cheaper price somehow. Its build also isn’t as premium as expensive models in the sense of it being aluminium or something else extremely solid, but there’s no question of it feeling flimsy. It’s built to last, just not from expensive materials.

And there is RGB backlighting still, of course, but it’s not programmable. If your focus is on a great feeling for playing or typing and less on extra features, this is one hell of a buy.

ASUS TUF GAMING K3
Strikes a balance between price and features

REASONS TO BUY
+ Speedy and responsive
+ Included wrist rest

REASONS TO AVOID
– Lots of competition
– Not the cheapest
– Slightly suspect software

The TUF Gaming K3 keyboard brings with it the build quality and reliability that you can usually expect from Asus, alongside the very flexible lighting controls with the free Windows software, you can create a whole host of lighting effects on this keyboard (even lighting up keys as you press them if you want).

With anti-ghosting tech deployed on the Kailh mechanical switches, Asus says they’re good for around 50 million keystrokes. Whether you’re in the middle of some intense gaming action or simply trying to compose an email, you can rely on the Asus TUF Gaming K3.

There’s a USB 2.0 pass through here, which is a nice extra touch, and a thick, premium USB cable that won’t easily get dislodged. Add in macro keyboard programming and dedicated media keys, and this is a keyboard that impresses in just about every department and that includes the price bracket that Asus has put it in.

TRUST GXT 830-RW AVONN
The best gaming keyboard on a super tight budget

REASONS TO BUY
+ Incredibly affordable price
+ ‘Rainbow Wave’ illumination

If you want some of the style and functionality of a gaming keyboard but also want to spend as little as possible, give the Trust GXT 830-RW Avonn some consideration – for really not much money at all you get a keyboard that looks the part, feels solid to game with, and has some customisation options included, too.

The build quality and materials don’t quite hit the premium levels that you might find on some other keyboards, but the Trust GXT 830-RW Avonn certainly doesn’t disappoint. The membrane keys are firm and responsive, with plenty of travel (and you can press up to six at once), while the 140-centimeter (55-inch) cable is plenty – just plug it into Windows (or macOS) and you’re good to go.

The keyboard illumination is the real star here, though, considering the price: the 104 keys are backed by what Trust calls a ‘rainbow wave’ of colour, which you can of course customise in terms of both colour and brightness. It looks very sharp in reality, and add in the 12 dedicated multimedia keys, and it’s a gaming keyboard that won’t let you down.

CORSAIR K63 WIRELESS
The best gaming keyboard for a wireless, mechanical gaming setup

REASONS TO BUY
+ Reliable wireless signal
+ 128-bit AES encryption mode
+ Premium build quality

REASONS TO AVOID
– Pricey
– Palm rest is just OK

Corsair’s new K63 Wireless is leading the charge in wireless gaming. Its 1 ms ultra-fast connection uses a 2.4 GHz optimised wireless setup for a true PC gaming experience, with low latency even if you’re playing at a distance from your machine.

You get the clickety-clack goodness of some Cherry MX Red switches (with gold-plated contacts, no less), a full set of RGB backlights, and plenty of media keys to keep you in control. The keyboard has 15 hours of use on a single charge.

LOGITECH G413 CARBON
A great budget mechanical gaming keyboard

REASONS TO BUY
+ Precision Romer-G lighting system
+ Robust build quality
+ Low price point

REASONS TO AVOID
– No media keys
– Been on the market a while now

Logitech has plenty of high-end gaming models to offer you (see the Logitech G513 for proof of that), but there are also the likes of the G413 Carbon to help you into the PC gaming mechanical switch party without torpedoing your bank balance.

For around half the cost of many of the keyboards, you’re getting a slick actuation point of 1.5mm, making its mechanical keys super precise and accurate (perfect for twitch gaming experiences such as MOBAs or MMORPGs).

With Romer G switches makes a fine alternative to the Cherry MX, with each one sitting in a sturdy, aircraft-grade aluminium alloy chassis for some minimalist style on your desk.

A great budget mechanical gaming keyboard option, especially for gamers who like an understated, mature design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook
YouTube
YouTube