Best gaming keyboards in 2024

The best gaming keyboards on a grey background with the PC Gamer recommends badge.
(Image credit: Future)

When searching for the best gaming keyboard we keep an eye out for features, feel and value for money. Each of the gaming keyboards in this guide deliver on these three points, though we've focused on various price points to cater for any sort of budget.

The best gaming keyboard right now is the Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless. It excels in every aspect—superb mechanical feel and a full-size yet compact design. But if you want to go for something cheaper, we've been absolutely blown away by the G.Skill KM250 RGB, which is easily the best budget gaming keyboard in 2024.

One vital aspect of any gaming keyboard purchase is whether to pick a mechanical keyboard. Generally, we'd say it's always worthwhile considering a mechanical switch over a membrane one. They feel much better for typing and gaming and they're generally quicker. Though nowadays we're seeing more and more specialised switches, such as Hall effect, optical and even induction, which are becoming great picks for competitive gamers due to features like rapid trigger.

Curated by...
Jacob Ridley headshot on colour background
Curated by...
Jacob Ridley

There are few keyboard enthusiasts as enthusiastic as our Jacob. He's been professionally testing for many years now, and has been collecting mechanical key switches like Smaug hoarded gold for years before that. Whether it's Hall effect or straight mechanical, he's poked and prodded more keyboards and switches than any one man should, and is our expert on all things keeb. 

The quick list

Recent updates

This guide was updated on July 10, 2024 to include a brand new category for the best tenkeyless gaming keyboard, which we've awarded to the fantastic Keychron Q3 Max, and best low profile gaming keyboard, which we've awarded to the ROG Falchion RX Low Profile.

The best gaming keyboard

The best gaming keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Pre-lubed ROG NX switches
Size: 96%
Backlights: Per-key RGB
Passthroughs: None
Media Controls: Multi-function wheel
Wristrest: Included
Keycaps: PBT or ABS

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent switch feel
+
Sound dampening that really works
+
Hot-swappable switches
+
Adjustable multimedia control wheel

Reasons to avoid

-
Armoury Crate app is messy
Buy if...

✅ You want the smoothest typing experience: With lubed switches out of the box you don't need to waste any energy with a pot of lube and a paint brush in order to get an immaculate typing experience.

✅ You want the best generalist gaming keyboard: You can find faster keyboards, and definitely flashier ones, but the ROG Strix Scope II 96 is by far the best generalist board and excels at a lot.

Don't buy if...

❌ You want speed or analog features: As fast as most other mechanical keyboards, nowadays you can find faster keyboards than this using Hall effect or optical switches.

The best gaming keyboard is the Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless. It's rare that a keyboard is such an all-round joy to use as this is. There are faster, smarter, even cheaper boards—you'll find all of those recommendations below—but the Strix Scope II 96 Wireless brings together many of the features we're looking for in a modern gaming keyboard.

Firstly, some of the smoothest mechanical switches in the biz. You can pick between ROG-branded NX Snow or NX Storm switches in this board. I've been using the Snow switches, which are your regular linear dealio with an actuation force of 45g, though the Storm switches are a moderately heavier tactile option. These switches alone aren't anything special, but a little lube goes a long way.

A drop of lube on every mechanical key switch makes a surprising amount of difference to the typing experience. Each key press is smooth, consistent, and every thwack produces a glorious clack. This lube is already pre-applied to each switch, which saves you the hassle of opening each one and applying it yourself. We've done that before and it can get messy.

Both of the available switches actuate at 1.8mm, which is pretty snappy, though not quite as snappy as the Corsair K70 Max at its lowest adjustable actuation point of 0.4mm. Similarly, the Strix Scope's polling rate is a mere 1000Hz—slower than the K70 Max at 8000Hz. Not that I noticed that in-game—the Scope II 96 feels extremely responsive.

It's also relatively quiet. The sound of the linear switches reduced to a light pitter-patter by the sound dampening foam, sturdy PBT plastic keycaps, and switch pads. Lubed up, sturdy stabilisers also keep the larger keys, namely the spacebar, quiet.

You are able to swap out any of the NX Snow switches on this keyboard for keys of your choosing. However, if you don't replace them with lubed switches I will personally hunt you down. Don't do the Scope II dirty like that.

The Scope II 96 is nearly a full-size board—it importantly retains a full numpad—though it's been squished down into a more compact chassis. As a result, the delete key is further away from your pinky than normal. It takes some getting used to, but I've been tapping away on it for a couple of weeks now and I feel I've got typing on the Scope II 96 down to a fine art.

Still, it's been a long time since I've been blown away by a gaming keyboard—so many seemed carbon copies of what Corsair did 10 years ago—but the Scope II 96 is mighty impressive. It focuses on nailing the actual mechanics of a mechanical gaming keyboard. Importantly, it's also great for gaming and doesn't cost anywhere near as much as its smaller, more premium sibling, the ROG Azoth

Read our full Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless review.

The best budget gaming keyboard

The best budget gaming keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Kailh Red
Size: 65%
Backlights: Per-key RGB
Passthroughs: None
Media Controls: Volume wheel
Wristrest: None
Keycaps: PBT pudding caps

Reasons to buy

+
Super affordable
+
Per-key RGB
+
Hot-swappable base
+
Discrete volume dial
+
PBT pudding caps as standard

Reasons to avoid

-
Plasticky chassis
-
Hollow sound
-
Kailh red switches aren't great
Buy if...

✅ You're looking for the best on a tight budget: With features galore and many unexpected additions for this sort of price tag, we've not seen anything better for less.

Don't buy if...

❌ You want the best typing experience out of the box: Without some of the more high-end materials in used in the casing of this keyboard, the typing experience can be a little hollow.

Mechanical gaming keyboards can cost a fortune. The G.Skill KM250 RGB's best skill is that it doesn't. That's why it is our pick for the best budget gaming keyboard in 2024. It's nowhere close to costing a fortune, yet it still offers mechanical switches, per-key RGB, hot-swappable keys, and discrete media controls.

The G.Skill KM250 redefines what it means to be a budget gaming keyboard. Features that were once enthusiast only are right here, for just $40. During a time when PC peripheral prices generally appear to only be increasing, that's important.

If you're after a good compact board you honestly don't need more than what's being offered here. A simple and small frame with Kailh linear mechanical switches, it's a no-nonsense design if ever there was one. Though you'll be pleased to know that it retains one fan-favorite feature: per-key RGB backlighting.

If you prefer you can jam in some higher-end switches and create a lovely little semi-custom build inside the G.Skill KM250 chassis. 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.

The included Kailh switches are not bad, but definitely not great and, combined with the plastic 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%, which makes for a few more useful keys than a 60%. 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. A neat selection.

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 audio 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 best tenkeyless gaming keyboard

The best tenkeyless gaming keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Gateron Jupiter Red/Brown/Banana
Size: Tenkeyless (TKL)
Backlight: RGB LED
Passthrough: None
Media Controls: Dedicated dial
Wristrest: None
Keycaps: PBT (side-printed or standard)

Reasons to buy

+
Ridiculously sturdy
+
Smooth, lubed switches
+
Solid battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite expensive
-
Side mounted keycaps may not be for everyone
Buy if...

✅ You want the complete package: I've tried many tenkeyless keyboards over the years, and none get so much right like the Keychron Q3 Max.

Don't buy if...

❌ You are looking for affordable excellence: The Q3 Max delivers excellence, but it's far from affordable.

A delightful typing experience wrapped in a weighty block of aluminum, the best tenkeyless gaming keyboard has to be the Keychron Q3 Max.

Don't be fooled into thinking the tenkeyless (TKL) gaming keyboard market isn't as competitive as the full-size one. It absolutely is. We've tested heaps of excellent TKL boards over the past few months alone, such as the Razer Huntsman V3 Pro TKL and ROG Azoth—two fantastic keyboards from big names in the industry. and still we've come away most impressed by the Q3 Max.

Keychron isn't a household name, though with more boards like this, and the K2 below, it's going to make one helluva name for itself.

The Q3 Max is crafted out of a piece of thick, machined aluminum. It weighs a whopping 2.045 kg as a result. Don't be put off by that, however. We often find heavier keyboards are sturdier and offer a much improved typing experience over lighter, flimsier boards.

That's the case here. The Q3 Max is a dream to type on. The many layers making up its construction include sound dampening foam, film, a latex pad and more foam. This produces a steady and consistent typing experience that's on another level next to some.

And the sound of it. The Q3 Max sounds divine.

One of the key benefits of a TKL keyboard is that it takes up less room than a full-size keeb. That means lopping off the numpad, hence the name, and usually losing other extraneous features, such as dedicated media keys. However, we've seen a growing trend for keyboard manufacturers of stuffing some sort of media controls elsewhere, and that's exactly what Keychron has done here.

The Q3 Max comes with a knob, otherwise known as a dial, which offers volume up/down, or zoom in/out, or brightness up/down, or a whole lot more. It's whatever you want it to be, within reason, and changeable via the open source QMK firmware keymap tool, Launcher. Launcher is available to use via a browser, which is pretty neat.

Each key on the Q3 Max is fitted with an RGB backlight, which is also controllable via that same dial and the onboard shortcut keys. There are three switches to choose from: Gateron Jupiter Red, Brown and Banana. All three come pre-lubed, which means like the ROG Strix Scope II 96, they're slick to type on.

With wireless functionality across 2.4 GHz via a provided dongle and Bluetooth, or a wired USB Type-C connection, you have a pick of options for connectivity. The battery is a good 180 hours on paper with the backlight disabled, or 100 hours with it on, and in practice we rarely had to reach for the USB cable to charge the Q3 Max.

Though it does cost a fair chunk of cash, which is to be somewhat expected, but doesn't make it sting any less. At least you can be sure you're getting your money's worth. A simply fantastic TKL gaming keyboard and office hero, this really is the complete package. 

Read our Keychron Q3 Max review.

4. The best compact gaming keyboard

The best compact gaming keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Mountain Tactile 55, Linear 45, Linear 45 Speed
Size: 60% (with optional numpad)
Backlight: Per-key RGB
Passthrough: USB Type-C
Media controls: Integrated
Wristrest: None
Keycaps: PBT double-shot

Reasons to buy

+
Great typing feel
+
Reassuringly robust
+
Responsive
+
Optional modular numpad is great

Reasons to avoid

-
Base Camp software remains a minor weak point
-
Overall package gets expensive
Buy if...

✅ You have a small desk: You can save heaps of room by trimming down your gaming keyboard. More room to flick your mice around or just fill with figurines.

Don't buy if...

❌ You're stuck in your ways: It might seem silly but compact keyboards often require learning new typing tricks to do everything you're used to. If you're an old dog and don't want to learn new tricks, stick to a full-size or near full-size board.

The Mountain Everest 60 is the best compact gaming keyboard and cute as hell. It 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 had, and all from a compact design I'm usually not that fussed on.

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.

All this good keeb stuff does come at a price, however. And the numpad accessory is extra. 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.

Read our full Mountain Everest 60 review.

The best rapid trigger gaming keyboard

The best rapid trigger gaming keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Lekker (Gateron)
Size: Full size
Backlight: RGB LED
Passthrough: None
Media Controls: Function shortcuts
Wristrest: Sold separately
Keycaps: PBT

Reasons to buy

+
Analog switches
+
High reliability
+
Hot swappable switches
+
Adjustable actuation
+
Solid app with easy to navigate menus and features

Reasons to avoid

-
Games don't always play nice with analogue switches
-
Analog control takes some getting used to
Buy if...

✅ You want to heavily customise your keeb: There's no shortage of customisation options on the Wooting. From actuation points to double-function key presses, it's all changeable in the excellent app.

Don't buy if...

❌ You want the best mechanical feel: The Wooting's Lekker switches are lovely, but you can find smoother switches elsewhere.

The Wooting Two HE is the best rapid trigger gaming keyboard. What the heck does that mean? It means this keyboard employs Hall effect switches to its benefit in competitive games. By measuring when a user releases a key and 'resetting' it faster than would be possible on a standard mechanical switch, this keyboard can improve a user's response time in games like Valorant and Counter Strike.

You need to know how a traditional mechanical switch works before you can truly appreciate rapid trigger. 

Take a Cherry MX Red switch, for example. This will require a set amount of travel (2 mm) and a set actuation force (45 cN) to hit the operating position. This is when the switch's metal contacts meet one another and a signal is sent through the keyboard to your PC and a key press is registered. After which, the switch travels back up and hits a reset point just about the operating position. None of this can be changed as it's based on the mechanical parts within the switch. You could, however, buy different mechanical switches for a different mix of actuation force, travel and reset.

A Hall effect switch is different. 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. Since this isn't predetermined by the switch itself, a user is able to adjust the operating position and reset point accordingly in a keyboard's firmware. 

Other switch types are able to do this, too, including optical and induction. Though right now, we feel Wooting does it best.

Rapid trigger is a feature that intuitively changes the reset point based on each key press. So, when you press a key, the reset point is always engaged the moment you release it. This means you can then depress the key again without having to fully release it each time.

For competitive games, that extra time saved on every key press can be pretty important.

The Wooting Two HE also offers fully-analog controls on each key, which used to be its headline feature before rapid trigger took off in the world of esports. Other cool features include dual actuation and easily adjustable typing and gaming modes.

Rapid Trigger & Actuation Point Explained - YouTube Rapid Trigger & Actuation Point Explained - YouTube
Watch On

Wooting generally does a great job of living up to expectations in other ways, too. 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.

The best budget wireless gaming keyboard

The best budget wireless gaming keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Gateron
Size: 84-key
Backlight: White LED
Passthrough: None
Media Controls: Function shortcuts
Wristrest: None
Keycaps: ABS

Reasons to buy

+
Well-priced
+
Great overall build quality
+
Seamless connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Somewhat scratchy switches
Buy if...

✅ You must have a cable-free connection: You don't actually have to spend loads to ditch wires on the desktop. This keyboard is proof of that.

Don't buy if...

❌ You want RGB lighting: You won't find anything more than white LEDs here, so don't even think about rainbow puke presets.

The best budget wireless gaming keyboard comes from a brand you might not be overly familiar with. The Keychron K2 has all the makings of a decent little wireless mechanical keyboard, however, and it's wonderfully affordable.

The Keychron K2 has marked itself out as a marvellous entry-level keyboard that can act as a gateway into the wider world of mechanicals. Its a simple mechanical keyboard in a 75% format—that's less keys than a full-size board but isn't quite as tough to get to grips with as a 60%.

For more of an affordable board, the build quality is surprisingly sturdy. That's even more surprising when you consider that many keyboard makers pump up prices once they add in wireless connectivity, yet here's an affordable board that's good quality and ditches the cabled connection. It'll connect over USB Type-C and Bluetooth alongside the wireless connection, too.

The only downside from a purely aesthetic point of view is the lack of RGB lighting. You'll only find white backlighting here, which is good for night time use but not much of a light show. Some prefer that, however, and if you're looking to save some money then ditching RGB lighting is one of the easiest ways to do that.

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.

All in all, though, if you’re looking for an entry-level mechanical keyboard, this is a good choice.

Read our full
Keychron K2 review.

The best ergonomic gaming keyboard

The best ergonomic gaming keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Mechanical (Cherry MX)
Size: 95 keys
Backlight: Per key RGB
Passthrough: None
Media Controls: Shortcuts
Wristrest: Built-in
Keycaps: ABS

Reasons to buy

+
Super comfortable to use
+
Fast and feature-packed
+
Lots of macro keys
+
Great for smaller hands

Reasons to avoid

-
Fixed cables are pretty stiff
-
Lift kit is an optional extra
-