The best gaming keyboard does more than produce satisfying clickety-clacks. The right keyboard can supercharge your fingertips as you type out your next great Tweet or that sassy email to your colleague that probably should have stayed in drafts. Its response, features, and price make the best gaming keyboard special.
Not all gaming keyboards are created equal, and you need to consider many different features when shopping for one. Do you want media controls or volume wheels? What kind of keycaps do you like? Oh, and we haven't even gotten to keyboard switches yet. Thankfully, we have a handle glossary explaining the most common keyboard terms at the bottom of the page. The one gaming keyboard that simply does it all is the Wooting Two HE.
The other thing to consider is the keyboard size. The option of a 60% gaming keyboard or going tenkeyless (TKL) will give you more room for larger mouse swipes if you play competitive games online while clearing up some desk real estate. A full-sized keyboard is more likely to come packed with more bells and whistles like media controls and cool little LED displays.
Below we compiled a list of the best gaming keyboards for every PC gamer. We have tested them vigorously in our home and work life. And we've also tested out the best cheap gaming keyboards for anyone on a budget looking for further options than those budget boards listed below.
Where are the best gaming keyboard deals?
In the US:
- Amazon - Savings on PC gaming peripherals
- Walmart - Still some good savings on Razer mice and keyboards
- Best Buy - Up to $105 off your next mechanical keyboard
- Target - Budget gaming keyboards up to $40 off
- Staples - Discounts on Microsoft ergonomic and gaming keyboards
- Drop - Save up to 35% on enthusiast keyboards
In the UK:
I've been a fan of Wooting's keyboards for quite some time now. Prior to this review, I'd looked at both of its previous first-rate keyboards, the Wooting One and Wooting Two, and loved what I saw. That makes today's new arrival even more exciting, as the Wooting Two HE, the company's latest and greatest, should already have the makings of a fantastic mechanical keyboard, but also has to live up to my absurdly high expectations.
Thankfully, it absolutely does.
If you look no further than the black faceplate and keycaps of the Wooting Two HE, you might wonder what the fuss is about. I don't blame you, the Wooting looks decent, but it doesn't appear too different from the mechanical gaming keyboards we've learned. In fact, it's a little more boring than most in appearance, with some nowadays taking 'extra' to a whole new level.
The Wooting Two HE offers analog key control: if you depress a key, say the W key, rather than send a simple on/off signal to your PC, the keyboard will measure the full range of that key's motion. That means you could alter your range of movement between walking and running in a game without the use of a controller or even have some semblance of control in a driving game without an analog stick or wheel. That's great for games like GTA V, where you're often switching between running around, driving, and even flying.
That's a concept we've started to see from bigger brands, though as far as I'm concerned it was Wooting that initially brought this concept to bear with a usable and affordable product in the Wooting One.
The Wooting Two HE differs from the Wooting One and Wooting Two in how it measures analog input, however. Where the older Wooting boards relied on optical Flaretech switches, the newer HE board uses the Lekker switch, made by Wooting with popular switch maker Gateron, and relies on the Hall effect (hence Wooting Two 'HE') to achieve analog input.
The Hall effect relies on the power of magnets. There's a magnet within the stem of every Lekker switch, and by measuring the magnetic force of that magnet as it moves, through a Hall effect sensor on the keyboard's PCB, the Wooting Two HE is able to accurately track the full depression and return of the mechanical switch.
Wooting generally does a great job of living up to expectations, though. The keyboard is solid, well-built, and comes with a two-year warranty. If a switch breaks, you can swap it out, as the board is hot-swappable. That's one benefit of there not really being all that many mechanical moving parts with a magnetic Lekker switch, and another is that there's less to break in the first place.
That's what I've loved about every Wooting keyboard I've looked at so far, and no more so than the Wooting Two HE: they're not built on a great concept; they deliver it. Even if you think you're sold on the analog movement of the Wooting, and it can be limited in scope depending on your preferred games and genres, there are many other great reasons to love it beyond that.
Read our full Wooting Two HE review.
I don't like 60% keyboards. That's the sort of admission so early in a review of a new 60% keyboard that might have you questioning my suitability for said review. Plus I'm aware you will have already seen the high score, the award badge, and may now be finding this whole opening spiel somewhat ludicrous. But while every other 60% keyboard I've ever used has been admittedly adorable, they've been utterly unsuitable for actual day-to-day use.
The Mountain Everest 60, however, is just as ickle as the competition, just as cute, and has all the enthusiast keyboard extras you could want, but crucially has the total utility to be your daily driver of a keeb.
Mountain isn't the first to create modular keyboards—Asus even made its own years back—but it's the first to get it right. Offering a solid, secure fit for the modular components, as well as multiple mounting options, makes the whole setup actually useful and not just some marketing gimmick. On its own, though, the Everest 60 isn't modular, but there is a dedicated numpad that can be purchased separately, and it's hot-swappable. Crucially, for me, it will also attach to either side of the board.
If you're still rocking a numpad on the right-hand side of your gaming keyboard then you're just plain doing it wrong. The key benefit of a smaller keeb is that your mouse and WSAD hands are closer together, and switching the numpad to the left means you still get to use the extra buttons and the extra desktop real estate for your gaming rodent.
The tiny right shift key does take some getting used to, but the addition of the cursor keys makes a huge difference to the overall utility of the Everest 60. But that's not the only reason I've fallen in love with the board, however: this thing just oozes quality.
It's easily the best typing experience I've ever had, and is a real joy to use.
The base of the keyboard has a layer of silicone inside it, to add weight and dampen the sound, but then there are also two layers of foam, on either side of the PCB, to again improve the aural experience. Mountain has used genuine Cherry stabilisers on the board, too, but has made sure they're fitted and lubed properly for the Everest 60 to ensure there's no rattle on even the broad spacebar.
And I'm impressed with the Mountain mechanical keyboard switches the company is shipping inside the Everest 60 for the first time. Mountain is also selling them separately, in Tactile 55 (denoting the 55cN force needed for actuation), Linear 45, and Linear 45 Speed (which have a shorter travel and actuation point). I've been using the Tactile 55 in my sample, and they feel great. Really stable, responsive, and factory lubed so there's none of the grittiness you can sometimes get from a tactile switch.
The Everest 60 package isn't completely perfect, however. The main thing that lets it down is—as always seems to be the case with peripherals—the software. It's mostly fine. Mostly. But there are quirks, and the odd little bug I've experienced both in early review testing of the Everest 60, and in my time using the Base Camp software day-to-day with the Everest Max.
All this good keeb stuff does come at a price, however. The Everest 60 is $140 (£110) on its own, while the hot swappable numpad is $50 (£35), making the whole package a lot. There are some bundles, packaging the two together, and ones that include the colourful new PBT keycap range, which can make it a bit cheaper. But not by much.
I guess that's enthusiast keyboards right now, and honestly, there is a feeling of quality to the design and manufacturing of every part of this package—the base, the switches, the numpad, the connections, the keycaps—that makes the pricing almost understandable.
Read our full Mountain Everest 60 review.
Mechanical gaming keyboards can cost a fortune. The G.Skill KM250 RGB's best skill is that it doesn't. In fact, it's nowhere close to costing a fortune, yet it still offers mechanical switches, per-key RGB, hot-swappable keys, and discrete media controls.
Which is why the G.Skill KM250 has my attention, because it is bringing a host of those enthusiast keyboard features without the exorbitant price tag. Right now you can pick up this compact 65% keyboard for just $40.
If you're after a good compact board you honestly don't need more. And if you're looking to get into the enthusiast switch game it's a super cheap base to jam some quality switches into because it's entirely hot swappable.
I will say up front that it is obviously lacking the high-end luxury of sound dampening and super-fancy stabilisers, but those are compromises I'm willing to make for such a supremely cheap keyboard. And honestly, I've experienced far worse stabilisers on expensive NZXT and Razer keyboards in the past.
Unlike the KM360, however, the KM250 isn't shipping with genuine Cherry MX switches, instead it's using Kailh's version of those linear red switches. They're not bad, but definitely not great and, combined with the plastic, undampened chassis you do end up with quite a hollow-sounding typing experience.
But, having changed out the linear Kailh Red switches for a set of Halo True heavy tactile switches, the difference in the sound is clear. It's not the ultra rich-sounding experience of using the Mountain Everest 60 or Asus ROG Azoth, but it now feels great to type on, dampening or no. It's also at most half the price if you include fancy new switches, and if you've got a headset on you'd be hard pressed to feel the difference.
The board layout itself is pretty standard 65% fare, by which I mean it's my actual favourite gaming keyboard layout. I prefer a compact board—it gives me more space on my desktop, and more space for my gaming mouse, too—but a purestrain 60% means too few keys, and I really need to at least have cursor keys. G.Skill has ensured there's a little bit of spacing between the bulk of the keys and the cursors, and you also get separate Del, PgUp, and PgDn buttons, too.
And a discrete volume wheel. I love a physical, tactile volume control, and it's a genuinely lovely little extra I wouldn't have expected on such an affordable board. It's not just volume up and down, as there's a click down to it which will mute or unmute your machine as well.
I'm honestly genuinely impressed with the package as a whole, and if you want a proper mechanical keyboard experience without paying enthusiast money, the G.Skill KM250 is an outstanding option.
Read our full G.Skill KM250 RGB review.
The Logitech G915 TKL gaming keyboard is a familiar sight for yours truly—I've been using the Logitech G915 for my past 50,000 words or so, and the G915 TKL brings the same wireless technology and sleek design to the fore, bar numpad. With only minor design tweaks and discounts, much of what I think about the G915 also stands for its miniaturized sibling, too.
This should be easy, then. Obviously, the biggest shake-up with the G915 TKL is the lack of numpad and macro keys. The TKL comes in at just 368mm to the full-size G915's 475mm, leaving a bounty of desk space for you to chuck around your mouse. If you're anything like me, that might mean coming to terms with a lack of alt codes, but it's an easy switch for gaming alone.
Macro functionality has been loosely retained with the G915 TKL but has been shifted to a secondary program of the Function keys. This can be flipped via the Logitech G gaming software to prioritize macro functionality first, in which case the Fn key will revert F1-12 back to the original input.
While the USB receiver remains the same tiny device as ever, one of the few changes introduced with the TKL is a small USB storage slot on the underside, built to accommodate the dongle when not in use. Potentially handy for a wireless device as small as the G915 TKL that might actually be carried between places often. You really don't want to lose that tiny dongle, either; you'd never find it.
Even though you'll want to stick with Lightspeed for the most part, thus ensuring the most stable connection, wireless can also be delivered via Bluetooth and is swiftly accessible at the press of a button.
The 40-hour battery life with RGB per-key lighting enabled (a little up from the full-size G915 due to the lack of RGB LEDs) keeps Logi's wireless tech in the good books, too. That's actually a 135-day battery life without lighting enabled, but who's counting?
Read our full Logitech G915 TKL review (that's the slightly smaller version).
Clean looks? Check. Mac and Windows connectivity? Check. Gateron Brown switches? Check. White backlighting? Check. The Keychron K2 has all the makings of a decent little wireless mechanical keyboard that could be great for office use, and for just $69, it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular with a whole load of people.
The last couple of years has led to lots of people taking up new hobbies, and one big one has been the world of building your own keyboard with a case, switches, PCB, and so on. You’ll need to understand what a mechanical keyboard is to do this. In generalists' eyes, the Keychron K2 has marked itself out as a marvelous entry-level keyboard that can act as a gateway into the wider world of mechanicals.
Its design is nicely simple with grey ABS keycaps and a slightly more compact 84-key layout that only skimps out on the numpad and offers a slightly squashed nav cluster. Whilst I’ve previously argued that 60% compact keyboards may be the way to go if you’re a space-saving gamer, the Keychron K2’s 75% offering may make me rethink that decision. For more of an affordable board, the build quality is nicely sturdy with no deck flex and a decent bit of heft. It’s no Model M, of course, but for the price, I don’t have any complaints.
The use cases of K2 as both a Windows and Mac keyboard also lend themselves to the fact you can get plenty of different MX-stem keycap sets to completely change the keyboard’s look, be it from Keychron themselves or other places online. In the box, you get a taste of swappable Mac or Windows function keys dependent upon the platform you’re using, which are simple to take off and replace with the bundled keycap puller.
If you’d also like to swap the switches out, the K2 is also available in a hot-swappable form, allowing you to draft in some different MX-stem switches, be they Gaterons or TTCs, or the real thing. Whilst I haven’t used the hot-swappable variant, it’s cool that Keychron offers you the chance to do so.
As for backlighting, my K2 sample keeps things simple with some white lighting that’s nicely vibrant and crisp and offsets the darker keycap coloring nicely. Weirdly, when you first switch the board on and connect it up, it offers a pulsating pattern instead of something more static, and you have to cycle through nearly all the preferences to get to it, which is a bit of a pain. The lighting presets on offer will be familiar to anyone who has ever used a cheap RGB gaming keyboard from Amazon, with your traditional static, ripple, and breathing styles all taken care of, alongside some other, more left-field choices. There are four levels of lighting to choose from too, which means you should find one that suits you with ease.
In essence, the Keychron K2 is a handy entry-level mechanical keyboard, and for $ 69 or so, you can’t necessarily go wrong. Its build quality is decent with a nice bit of weight, and the triple device connectivity is handy if you’re flitting between devices over the course of a working day. With that said, though, sometimes it can feel like a cheap keyboard – light switches with an audible ping and standard lighting presets don’t help it too much in some cases, though.
All in all, though, if you’re looking for an entry-level mechanical keyboard, this is a good choice, especially if you’re working from home and using multiple devices.
Read our full Keychron K2 review.
Ducky has one helluva reputation in the mechanical gaming keyboard world. Even in an age of dazzling keyboards plastered in flashing lights, it's kept up its no nonsense design philosophy (which it calls "Quack Mechanics"—no joke). But even dear ol' Ducky is also leaning into the weird and wonderful a little more; the Ducky One 3 Fuji is prime example of a more stylised and vibrant Ducky at its best.
Look no further than the One 3's wonderfully colourful design for proof. This is Ducky's latest flagship keyboard and it comes in many different colours and styles, but this one is called Fuji. Every key you see in my images of the One 3 is included in the standard Fuji design, which makes it feel like I've received a keyboard with a custom keycap set pre-installed.
Every keycap on the Ducky is made from strong PBT plastic. Unlike ABS plastic, PBT tends to last a little longer, reject stains, and keep its colour-matched legends from rubbing away.
From the superb quality keycaps to the rest of the board the Ducky continues to impress. The blue underbelly of the Ducky contains cable runs for the included (and removable) braided USB Type-C to Type-A cable. The cable on the One 3 Fuji is a perfectly matched shade of pink to the rest of it, of course.
There are also four DIP switches that offer a couple of hard-coded shortcuts for various keyboard modes, however, I couldn't get them to work. I tried unplugging and waiting a little while before trying again, but couldn't get them to do anything at all.
That aside, the One 3 is build like a tank and there's absolutely no flex to it whatsoever. Perhaps it wouldn't love a drop from a high place, but I don't dare to try it with this gorgeous review unit.
You have a wide choice of Cherry MX switches to choose from with the Ducky, depending on where you buy it from. I opted for Cherry MX Speed Silver switches, which are some of Cherry's finest for gaming. They offer a smooth press with only 1.2mm of travel before actuation and a total distance of 3.4mm. The swift actuation helps with the sort of snappy response I want while gaming, while the linear press without a tactile bump or click makes for moderately low-noise operation.
The Ducky barely rattles whatsoever as I'm tapping away at its positively pink caps. The spacebar and enter keys have a certain tell-tale thud to them, but beyond that the switches, including those with stabilisers, are impressively uniform in sound. There's a whole lot of sound dampening going on with the Ducky under the surface, and that satisfying mechanical thud as a result is amicable to my ears for a day's worth of constant typing, or gaming with a microphone nearby.
But I haven't mentioned the best bit yet: the Ducky One 3 is hot-swappable. A key switch breaks? Swap it out for another. You bought some new key switches online because they looked nice even thought you'll never really see them once they're installed? Just pull the old ones out and slot the new ones in.
Plenty of gaming keyboards are hot-swappable nowadays, but this particular inclusion with the Ducky One 3 really feels like a win overall. You do have to forgo RGB lighting, or backlighting of any sort, with the Ducky. But honestly I don't mind that. The One 3 looks absolutely stunning and it's a dream to type on. Plus it's a bit cheaper than some other flagship boards of this high standard today.
Read our full Ducky One 3 review.
Best gaming mouse | Best gaming chair | Best gaming PC
Best VR headset | Best wireless gaming mouse | Best gaming monitor
The Asus ROG Azoth is the Taiwanese tech giant's first real enthusiast gaming keyboard. And, honestly, it's a doozy. That's a technical term which translates as a quality keeb that ticks all the boxes, then draws in some more at the bottom of the list and ticks those off, too.
Asus is no stranger to mechanical keyboards. I've tested a bunch of its previous ROG mech boards, even its almost smart hybrid Claymore board which got ahead of Mountain in the detachable numpad game, but failed to make it stick. I mean, literally. The floppy attachment of the extra keypad was one of the reasons I hated it so much.
But it's only really ever just dipped its toes into the enthusiast keyboard market. Well, the ROG Azoth is Asus going in with both feet, which is no real surprise given the burgeoning market for high-end custom keyboards.
It is, though, offering everything you could possibly want from an enthusiast keeb. The build quality is absolutely exceptional, and the weight of the Azoth is extreme. And I love it for that. It's also been built with all the pre-lubed, gasketed, dampened trimmings you'll want for that premium typing experience.
And premium it is. The Azoth is a delight to tap away on, even more so now that I've completely replaced all of the supplied ROG NX switches the board shipped with. Not that they're bad at all; the custom linear mechanical switches are Cherry MX Red analogs but do have a nice feel. No, it's just that I've got a bunch of delightful Halo True switches that I bought to go into my Mountain Everest Maxboard. That board's been retired in favor of the Everest 60, and I've left the Mountain Tactile switches in place.
That's one of the must-haves for any keyboard with enthusiast pretentions—hot-swappable switches. Us keyboard nerds love needlessly replacing switches for an infinitesimal difference in feel that even the princess of pea fame would struggle to notice. And the Azoth happily caters to that, and with what I will say is my absolute favorite switch puller bundled into the package. Yes, I actually now have a favorite.
You also get a two-tone OLED display in the top right-hand corner, with a three-way switch that can be customized via the weakest part of the whole kit.
As is its wont, the ROG Azoth relies on Asus' horrible Armoury Crate software, and it just takes…so…damned…long...to do anything. Just switching between tabs in the app or trying to check for firmware updates, oh, it's interminable. And sometimes it just doesn't work at all—particularly when you switch from USB to Wi-Fi and vice versa—and the app will get stuck on a permanent loading animation, tanking all the tweaked profile settings you've saved into it, somehow completely resetting the device. Peripherals software, it's the worst.
The frustrating thing is that once you're in there it does actually offer some pretty handy knobs to tweak regarding the controls or the display. Aside from the requisite LED backlighting controls, you can also adjust the control knob to deliver exactly what you want it to do. As standard, the control has five discrete modes, which you can cycle through via a button on the end of it, but in the app, you can add a customizable sixth and that can be for practically anything. There are three 'buttons' on the switch (up, down, and a click), and each can open a website, an application, further multimedia, keyboard or mouse functions, or even some preset input text.
It's pretty damned powerful.
The ROG Azoth is absolutely the best gaming keyboard Asus has ever released and the best enthusiast keyboard I've ever seen from a properly established brand that doesn't focus on the segment. The utility of the Everest 60 and its detachable numpad still gets my vote, but this is a very close second regarding its day-to-day use. And it will certainly be my new office board... though only if I can swing it with Asus to leave the expensive Azoth with us because the real sticking point is that price.
Read our full Asus ROG Azoth review.
If even mecha-membrane keys don't suit you, and you demand a full membrane typing/gaming experience for whatever reason (no judgement here), the Razer Cynosa is the deck for you. I know there are people out there who prefer the soft embrace of a pure membrane switch, and that's fine—each to their own.
The Cynosa has some of the best feeling, low profile membrane keys I've ever tested, and at a retail price of $60, it is one of the most affordable gaming keyboards out there (well, past a certain threshold of quality). While it may lack some of the features several gaming boards pack in, stuff like a dedicated wrist rest or media controls, it does boast Razer's extensive RGB lighting, which can be programmed on a per-key basis or applied by zones.
Compared to a lot of membrane boards out there, the Cynosa Chroma is still pretty barebones, but coming from Razer you can bet it's heaps cooler than those ones you used to type on at school.
It's a solid, no-frills, nice-looking keyboard that's the best membrane option of a huge range that I've tested. There is a step-up version of the Cynosa available. Still, for $20 extra, the only real addition is under-glow RGB, so unless that kind of 'ground effects' package is massively appealing to you, I recommend you save your cash and invest in the base model.
Best gaming keyboard FAQ
PC Gamer's got your back Our experienced team dedicates many hours to every review, to really get to the heart of what matters most to you. Find out more about how we evaluate games and hardware.
What is the big deal with mechanical switches?
We can talk for hours about the feel of mechanical switches versus membrane switches, but ultimately that's a personal choice. What makes mechanical switches objectively superior, however, is their far extended life span. They can take far more punishment and keep responding long after a membrane switch has collapsed in on itself.
Why do gamers use 60% keyboards?
The main reason gamers will use compact 60% keyboards is because the smaller form factor allows for more space for your gaming mouse. That means you can have to DPI levels in your mouse lower, offering greater accuracy but also necessitating wider sweeping movements.
It also means that your hands resting on the WSAD keys and the mouse are closer together, which in turn improves the ergonomic posture, either when gaming or simply using your computer.
What is the most important thing to look for in a mechanical gaming keyboard?
The switch type is arguably the most important choice to make when picking your new gaming keyboard. Cherry mechanical switches are the most common and most recognizable, but there are a host of alternatives on offer, as well a bunch of upmarket, specialist switches to choose from.
Are dedicated media controls a deal-breaker?
Only you can make that call, but we would suggest that at least having the option to toggle the top row between function and media controls would be our choice. Having a discrete volume wheel can be super useful, however.
What size of keyboard do I need?
Keyboard size is absolutely a defining factor. Full-sized keyboards tend to offer the most features and a Numpad, but if you don't have space, then all of those extras you paid for will be useless. Tenkeyless boards (the ones with no number pad) and compact keyboards can be a great option, too, if you don't care about all the extra bells and whistles or you don't have any use for alt codes (how barbaric!).
Jargon buster - keyboard terminology
The height to which a key needs to be pressed before it actuates and sends an input signal to a device.
A switch that delivers an audible click every time it's pressed, generally right around the point of actuation.
A technique to ensure that only one input registers every time a key is pressed.
The shell that surrounds the internal components of a switch.
The result of the actuation point and reset point in a switch being misaligned. This generally means a key needs to be lifted off further than normal before it can be actuated again.
A switch that moves directly up and down, generally delivering smooth keystrokes without noise or tactile feedback.
A keyboard built around individual switches for each key rather than a membrane sheath mounted on a PCB.
A keyboard on which all the keycaps are mounted on a membrane sheath; when a key is pressed, a rubber dome depresses and pushes against the sheath and PCB beneath, actuating the key.
The component of a switch on which the keycaps are mounted on a mechanical keyboard.
The physical component of a mechanical keyboard beneath the keycaps on a mechanical keyboard. The switch determines how a key is actuated, whether or not it provides audible or tactile feedback with each press, and more.
This is a type of mechanical switch which instead of a physical metal contact switch uses light to measure when actuation takes place. These can be more configurable too, allowing for not just off and on states, but more analog designs, and even dual actions for a single key depending on how far the switch is pressed down.
A switch that provides a 'bump' of feedback every time it's pushed.
A keyboard that lacks the right-hand number pad.