The best gaming keyboard 2018

Best gaming keyboards 2018

If you don't have the best gaming keyboard you can find, you're wasting the potential of your PC. It's that simple. All that power and build finesse is nothing without proper control, so picking out the right keyboard is absolutely essential... even if it can seem like an afterthought while you're dreaming of new CPUs or how expensive you dare go on a graphics card. But getting one of the best gaming keyboards can make a huge different to the overall feel of your PC.

The first thing you need to consider when choosing your new keyboard is switch type. You have a couple of options here: mechanical or membrane. Membrane switches rely on rubber domes to provide feedback, while mechanical switches use a spring and a metal contacts to complete a circuit. Most of the best gaming keyboards feature mechanical switches, because this type suits high-response gaming far better. The keys are more responsive, harder wearing, and just feel better to tap than the membrane options. On top of that, mechanical keyboards just look better - like a classic PC peripheral.

Aside from that, there are plenty of other factors to consider, although they're more down to personal preference and minor details. Do you want lighting on the keyboard? How many macros do you use? Is portability a factor? How concerned are you with wires (do you need the best wireless gaming keyboard you can find)? Whatever your preference, we've got a selection of the best keyboards below. We've tested each and every one, and checked out the cheapest prices. Plus, if you're looking for a complete control set-up, we've got the best gaming mouse options too.

HyperX Alloy Elite

The best gaming keyboard

Switch: Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Red | Size: Full size | Macros: N/A | Backlights: Red | Passthroughs: USB | Media Controls: Dedicated | Wristrest: Detachable

Great feature set
Relatively affordable
Red backlight only (no RGB)

The HyperX Alloy Elite sports a simple aesthetic while still packing most of the features we expect out of a quality gaming keyboard. It comes in your choice of Cherry MX Brown, Blue, and Red. What it lacks in a dedicated macro column and RGB backlights, it makes up for with an affordable price and quality design.

The HyperX Alloy Elite leaves no box unchecked in features. It’s equipped with dedicated media controls, USB passthrough, a detachable wristrest, and red backlighting. To up its aesthetics, it also includes an extra set of silver keycaps for WASD and the first four number keys. The board supports full N-key rollover, meaning you never have to worry about key presses not registering.

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

The best gaming keyboard for big budgets

Switch: Cherry MX Speed, Brown | Size: Full size | Macros: 6 | Backlights: RGB | Passthroughs: USB | Media Controls: Dedicated | Wristrest: Detachable

Supurb build quality
Extra set of keycaps
Expensive
Large footprint

When you want to go the extra mile and upgrade to the absolute best of the best, it’s hard to find another option other than the Corsair K95 Platinum.

The K95 Platinum is a big keyboard: its enormous footprint still requires some desk cleaning before it can be nested comfortably. But feature-wise, the K95 Platinum’s got it all. Dedicated media controls and a USB pass-through, a metal volume wheel, RGB lighting. It even comes with an extra set of textured keycaps for the WASD keys.

We also love its detachable wristrest. The rubberized wristpad attaches magnetically and has two contrasting textures: one smooth side and one rough side. Switching sides is as easy as flipping it over. 

Logitech K840

Fantastic Romer-G switches at a budget price

Switch: Logitech Romer-G | Size: Full size | Macros: No | Backlights: No | Passthroughs: No | Media Controls: Function key integrated | Wristrest: No

Actually looks good for a budget keyboard
Durable aluminum front plate
No dedicated macros, passthroughs, or even backlights
Shoddy pad-printed keycaps

Logitech’s proprietary Romer-G switch is where the magic lies. Designed in collaboration with the Japanese switch giant Omron, it was traditionally reserved for Logitech’s high-end boards. Now, they’re served with the budget-friendly K840 for the first time.

Because you’re scoring the Romer-G switch at such a low price point, you’re not going to find any extras on the K840. Nevermind dedicated macros and USB passthroughs, there isn’t even any backlighting. The keycaps also come with cheap, fragile pad printed lettering that's likely to wear off over time.

Redragon K552-N Kumara

Clicky mechanical switches for under $30

Switch: Otemu Blue | Size: TKL | Macros: No | Backlights: No | Passthroughs: No | Media Controls: Function key integrated | Wristrest: No

Acceptable in both looks and build quality
Compact 
Basic in the most literal sense
Loose cable joint 

The ultra low-priced Kumara provides a solid entry point for anyone looking to get into mechanical keyboards on a budget.

Before we talk about what it is, we need to talk about what it’s not. As a keyboard that prioritizes budget above all else, the Kumara is devoid of even the most standard bells and whistles. That means no backlighting, media controls, passthroughs, etc. Switch option is restricted to Otemu Blue, a Cherry MX Blue clone. Its loud click and deafening space bar can definitely annoy those trying to sleep, so play cautiously.

Despite trimming all the features, the Kumara actually feels decently made. It comes with double-injected keycaps and a metal backplate. We wouldn’t call it durable, but it should be able to handle some accidental bumps from time to time. Its only weak point is the loose cable joint. Our advice is to take care when wrapping it up and tugging on it, but we give it a lot of leeway here considering the dirt-cheap price.

Corsair K68 RGB

The most durable gaming keyboard

Switch: Cherry MX Red | Size: Full size | Macros: No | Backlights: RGB | Passthroughs: No | Media Controls: Dedicated | Wristrest: No

IP32 water and dust resistance rating 
Needs to stay perfectly still throughout the cleaning process 

The K68 RGB may look like a standard mechanical keyboard at first glance, but try as you may (or don’t), you probably won’t be able to destroy it with spills, food stuffs, or whatever other particles and liquids that you have in your house. Its secret is an additional rubber layer placed on top of the backplate. In addition, each switch is surrounded with a rubber flood dam to keep liquids out. In case of a major spill, the dams form channels to help guide the liquid out of the bottom of the chassis. The rubber layer also helps to make the mess a little easier to wipe off.

The K68 has a respectable list of features in addition to its insane tolerance for being mistreated. Though it only has Cherry MX Red as its sole switch option, it does come with RGB backlights and dedicated media controls. But a word of caution: If you do get liquids into the K68, don’t rush it to the sink. Make sure it stays perfectly still as to not shift the liquid over the dams and into the switches.

Read more about the K68 RGB's spill resistance here. 

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

Best keyboard for typing enthusiasts

Switch: Cherry MX Blue, Brown | Size: Full size | Macros: No | Backlights: No | Passthroughs: USB | Media Controls: Dedicated | Wristrest: No

Stylish design with thick alloy faceplate
Comfortable volume knob
Magnetic foot bar provides little traction

When it comes to all things productive, we can’t think of a better keyboard than the Das Keyboard Professional 4. Its intuitive volume dial is satisfying to use and looks damn great. When it’s game time, the handy USB pass-through saves a lot of back-bending when hooking up a controller. The front faceplate extends beyond the base, providing leverage point for lifting the keyboard. The manifold of small details all come together and refines its usability.

But nothing is ever perfect, and the Das is certainly no exception. Instead of flip-up elevator feet, The Das Keyboard 4 Professional uses a magnetic foot bar to prop itself up. It’s a unique (and fun) extra, but it provides almost no traction. The lack of backlights and macros can turn off some gamers, but they may not be as important to typists.

Kinesis Freestyle Edge

Mechanical switches in an ergonomic package

Switch: Cherry MX Brown, Blue, Red, Silver | Size: Full size | Macros: 12 | Backlights: Blue | Passthroughs: No | Media Controls: Function key integrated | Wristrest: Detachable

Tons of macros
Right half conveniently stores away when gaming
Expensive
Lift kit sold separately

The unique Freestyle Edge splits open at the center, with the two halves connected using a 20" cable. This allows the user to freely angle the halves to best cater to their natural hand position. The second half can also be pushed aside when gaming, freeing up some extra space for the mouse. In addition to the included wristrest, we highly recommend purchasing the lift kit to further elevate your comfort. The lift kit raises the two halves at the center, supporting the wrist rotation of your hands.

The Kinesis Freestyle Edge can be outfitted with Cherry MX Brown, Blue, Red, or Silver switches. All models come with blue backlighting. It also carries 12 dedicated macros; a rarity even on premium gaming boards. All keys can be programmed on the fly without having to install additional driver software.

Cooler Master MasterKeys S

Small and compact

Switch: Cherry MX Brown, Blue, Red, Silver, Green | Size: TKL | Macros: No | Backlights: No | Passthroughs: No | Media Controls: Function key integrated | Wristrest: No

PBT keycaps
Fantastic value 
No backlighting
Bare on features 

With a small, tenkeyless design, the MasterKeys S saves space on your desk and frees up room for your mouse hand. It also has keycaps constructed from PBT plastic—the highest grade of keycaps we've seen included in a mainstreaming gaming keyboard. PBT is more durable and rigid than ABS, the thermoplastic most commonly used for keycaps. 

What's under the hood is equally solid. The MasterKeys S uses the full range of Cherry MX switches including the Cherry MX Brown, Blue, Red, Silver, and Green switches. Like all Cooler Master mechanical keyboards, the MasterKeys Pro S can be programmed without driver software. It even supports Dovrak and Workman layouts in addition to traditional QWERTY.

Its only caveat—the lack of backlighting—can be a turnoff to RGB enthusiasts, but we think it's a small price to pay for such phenomenal keycaps. If you want an RGB upgrade, the MasterKeys Pro RGB can be had for a bit more money.

Logitech G613

Free yourself from wires

Switch: Logitech Romer-G Tactile | Size: Full size | Macros: 6 | Backlights: No | Passthroughs: No | Media Controls: Dedicated | Wristrest: Fixed

Best wireless system to date
No backlights
Wristrest is not detachable 
Shoddy pad-printed key legends

The technologies behind wireless peripherals have come a long way, and Logitech's LIGHTSPEED proprietary connectivity is a prime example. During our weeks of use, the G613 never once dropped the connection despite the plethora of wireless devices on desks. It absolutely matches wired peripherals in terms of stability and responsiveness.

The Logitech G613 boasts a column of dedicated macros, media controls, and a comfy, fixed wristrest. Understandably, backlights have been trimmed to save battery. As with all high-end Logitech keyboards, the G613 comes with Logitech's Romer-G switch. This proprietary switch features a travel distance of just 3mm and a subtle tactile bump. Its mild, quiet nature makes it suitable for both gaming and typing—even in quiet environments. 

Razer Ornata Chroma

Membrane feel, mechanical performance

Switch: Razer Mecha-Membrane | Size: Full size | Macros: No | Backlights: RGB | Passthroughs: No | Media Controls: Function key integrated | Wristrest: Detachable

Gorgeous backlights
Heavenly wristrest
Membrane switches, mechanical pricing
A little too plasticy

The Razer Ornata Chroma uses what Razer calls a "Mecha-Membrane" switch. It combines the clicky feedback of the mechanical switch with the traditional rubber dome switch. As the key is depressed, the slider pushes a springy metal leaf against the switch casing, producing a very audible "click". The metal leaf also adds extra resistance for improved tactility. At the base of the switch is a classic rubber dome switch, which is what actually registers you keystrokes.

We never thought we'd love the Ornata Chroma as much as we do. The simple addition of a tactile point and a resounding "click" makes a tremendously improves typing experience. The tactile point completely masks the mushiness of the rubber dome, all the while preserving the cushioned feel when we bottom out the keystroke. 

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