Gaming keyboards don’t differ much from standard keyboards—they look similar and use the same layout. The main difference is the inclusion of dedicated multimedia keys, macro keys, mechanical switches, and RGB backlighting.
Mechanical switches are what make a gaming keyboard. They’re more durable than rubber domes (i.e., membrane) and designed to withstand millions of presses. You’ll often find that they have longer key travel distances (how far the key goes down before it’s fully pressed) and even offer different levels of actuation force (how much pressure you need to apply). While most membrane keyboards come with a standard typing actuation force of around 45g, many gaming keyboards follow in the Cherry MX line’s footsteps by offering different colors that represent different levels of actuation force:
- Light-actuating – 30g+
- Medium-actuating – 45g+
- Heavy-actuating – 55g+
Most gaming keyboards come with either full or partial RGB backlighting for an added touch of style. It also helps gamers locate the right keys in dimly lit environments.
Some other features include programmable macro keys that enable you to set up your own shortcuts, dedicated media controls for quick access to audio features, volume wheels instead of sliders for smoother adjustments, USB passthrough for plugging in other peripherals such as headsets or mice directly into your keyboard as well as onboard memory so that you can save custom profiles and specific settings on your keyboard rather than having them stored on your computer.
The Corsair K100 RGB Optical-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a gaming keyboard that has a wealth of features and a premium price tag to match. If you are looking for the best, this is it. This keyboard was designed from the ground up to be super fast, with new optical switches and an insane 1,000Hz polling rate (meaning the input lag will be minimal).
This keyboard also comes with the option of either linear or tactile Cherry MX Speed key switches, which are made by Corsair and use light beams to detect actuation instead of metal contacts like on traditional mechanical keyboards. As a result, this keyboard feels very quick to type on and will make you feel like you’re flying across your keyboard even though you might just be playing like an average player. The optical switches also have amazing durability: they can last up to 100 million keystrokes before failing (although most people won’t ever reach that number), which is almost double what mechanical keys are capable of doing. Additionally, there’s no need for additional space between keys since each switch uses its own infrared diode to sense when it gets touched down; so no matter how small or large your fingers may be-they’ll still work perfectly without any problems whatsoever!
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
It’s hard to find an all-around great gaming keyboard. Some keyboards have crazy designs, but the switches are weird or uncomfortable. Others are comfortable, but they don’t have a ton of features for gamers.
That’s why I like the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog keyboard so much. It doesn’t have dedicated macro keys, and it doesn’t look super crazy with LED lights everywhere. But it has a comfortable palm rest and three different switch types to choose from: optical linear, optical clicky, and analog (the only one with adjustable actuation).
Also important to note: The Huntsman V2 Analog works with Razer Synapse 3 software, which you can use to tweak the RGB lighting on the board however you want—brightness levels are adjustable down to individual keys.
Asus ROG Strix Scope RX
Asus’ ROG Strix Scope RX gives you all the RGB lighting your heart desires, with a few extra gaming-centric features to boot. This tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard features dedicated media keys and a volume wheel for easy control over your music and audio. It has aircraft-grade aluminum construction for durability and heft, as well as a USB pass-through port if you need to plug in some peripherals or charge phones.
The Scope RX also comes with two extra keycaps made of textured plastic to give you more grip when gaming, which might be useful if you find yourself needing to hit F7 or F8 often in games.
If this sounds like the keyboard for you, then it’s time to look at its switches! Asus offers its keyboard with Cherry MX Red, Blue, and Brown switches, each of which feels slightly different depending on whether you’re looking for a tactile bump or audible clicks when typing.
HyperX Alloy Origins 60
The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 is the best keyboard for people who want a bare-bones, no-frills typing and gaming experience. With its speedy switches and low price, this board is a great option for gamers on a budget who don’t need all the bells and whistles.
Its SPEED Silver switches are linear and fast—not great if you’re looking to not disturb your coworkers, but perfect for any type of game where you need speed over precision. These switches also have an incredibly short actuation point of only 1.1mm, which means you can type faster than ever before (if you can keep up).
Logitech G915 TKL
The Logitech G915 TKL is the best wireless gaming keyboard that we’ve tested so far. It uses the Lightspeed wireless technology from Logitech, and it comes with the new GL low-profile switches. They’re similar to keys you’d find on a laptop, but they still have enough travel distance to be comfortable, even for typing all day. There are also three programmable macro keys on its left side, which can be useful in many games. The battery life is impressive, as well. Even if you leave the RGB lighting on, you should get around 40 hours of use out of it.
It’s not a full-sized keyboard like the standard Logitech G915 since it doesn’t have a Numpad or arrow keys on its right side using a tenkeyless design instead. However, this means that there’s more space for your mouse and fewer missed keypresses thanks to its shorter profile. All in all, this keyboard has something for everyone, whether you play video games a lot or just want an excellent and reliable wireless keyboard for work or school use.
SteelSeries Apex Pro
The Apex Pro is a premium gaming keyboard that has an almost-full suite of features, design elements, and performance specs. But it’s not all good news: the Apex Pro costs $199, which very few gamers will be happy to pay. With that said, it’s still cheaper than the Logitech G915 Lightspeed with its low-profile switches, and since it’s a TKL (tenkeyless) board you can save some desk space as well.
The detachable cable is suitable for both portability and long-term desktop use—just remember to keep track of the small attachment that comes with it. It also features OLED smart display capabilities on the upper right-hand side of the keyboard for monitoring your stats or showing media controls during gameplay.
The Apex Pro is compatible with either tactile switches or silent linear switches, but what differentiates this keyboard from others is its actuation point switches: magnets housed under every key let you adjust how much pressure you need to register a keypress. You can choose from 0g to 10g actuation weights to suit any playing style or game type.
The RGB lighting across each individual key can be customized with SteelSeries Engine software (available for PC only)—you can even assign macros to specific keys if you’d like—and has per-key illumination so no two keys have exactly the same color or brightness level. The onboard memory lets you save five different user profiles so your settings won’t be lost when unplugging from one computer and plugging into another, making this particular gaming keyboard great for travel as well as regular at-home play sessions on your own console or PC setup. If a computer isn’t nearby while you’re gaming at home then we recommend investing in an Xbox One controller charging station as well as a PS5 controller charger dock; these will ensure all your gamepads are ready to go whenever you are!
Ducky One 2 Mini (RGB)
The Ducky One 2 Mini can be found online for about $140. It’s a 60% size keyboard, meaning it doesn’t have a number pad, so it’s compact enough to fit into all but the smallest of desks. The most notable thing about this keyboard is that each key has its own RGB backlight beneath it, which can be programmed to display millions of colors and effects in any way you like via an included software utility. Of course, that also means that if you want to play games in the dark or on a dimly lit stage at an esports tournament, you’ll have plenty of light to see by—just don’t sit too close or your teammates might get blinded by your flashy keyboard!
The keys themselves are Cherry MX switches (the brand name for mechanical switches), which many gamers believe provide the best feel and response time.
Keyboards for Gaming Range Between $80 and $230.
When it comes to selecting a keyboard for gaming, you have a lot of options. There are lots of brands and many different prices. The average gamer can make do with the cheaper keyboards that are around $80 or $90. If you want the bells and whistles, expect to pay for them. These top-of-the-line keyboards can cost between $200 and $230.
But before you buy, consider your needs and whether or not there’s something in between that would get the job done just as well at a fraction of the cost.
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