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Best mechanical keyboards in 2022

A selection of the best mechanical keyboards on a grey background
(Image credit: Future)

The best mechanical keyboard offers a sublime typing experience. You won't just find them sleek to use, you'll actually want to type on these keyboards. They feel good and happen to sound pretty great too. Mechanical switches are in another league to even the best membrane options, and of course they'll be great for gaming, too.

You may find you have to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles that the best gaming keyboards (opens in new tab) have if you want to save monto type on these keyboards. They feel good and happen to sound pretty great too. Mechanical switches are in another league to even the best membrane options, and of course they'll be great for gaming, too in a store. Most mechanical keyboards are on display in the computer section for you to test out, and see what all the fuss is about.

The supreme feel of mechanical keyboards comes down to their key switches. There are tons of different types of mechanical switches. The key switch (opens in new tab) spectrum is vast and caters to a variety of tastes. From loud and tactile, to quiet and spongy, each has a different feel. Our guide can help you determine which might suit you best, and you can often find keyboard switch samples (opens in new tab) if you're invested but want to check them out first.

In the meantime feel free to peruse the list below, where we've jammed the best mechanical keyboards we've tested over the years. These made us feel super productive, and many are the keyboards the PC Gamer hardware team uses in the office today. If you find that price is a barrier, and it will be with the more premium mechanical keyboards, our best cheap gaming keyboards (opens in new tab) guide has some great options for those on a budget.

Best mechanical keyboards

The best mechanical keyboard for typing

Specifications

Switch: Cherry MX
Size: Full size
Backlight: None
Passthrough: None
Media Controls: Volume controls
Wristrest: None

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful
+
Built to a very high standard
+
Will outlive most PC builds
+
Colour-matched cable
+
PBT keycaps

Reasons to avoid

-
No Play/Pause/Skip keys
-
DIP switches don't work on mine
-
Look elsewhere for RGB backlighting

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.

The One 3 looks absolutely stunning and it's a dream to type on.

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.

You can pluck switches out of the Ducky at will. (Image credit: Future)
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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 (opens in new tab).

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2. Das Keyboard 4 Professional

An iconic mechanical keyboard design

Specifications

Switch: Cherry MX Blue, Brown
Size: Full size
Backlights: No
Passthroughs: Yes
Media controls: Dedicated
Wrist rest: No

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive modern design
+
Lots of features
+
Simple and straightforward
+
Proven Cherry MX switches 

Reasons to avoid

-
No backlights
-
Feet aren't very grippy
-
Only two switches to choose from

Productivity doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Neither do you have to put up with a budget membrane that came free with your work PC just to look professional in the office. Those who want a bit more style and a few more features from an otherwise down-to-earth keyboard can opt for the Das Keyboard 4 Professional. 

Das Keyboard devices have been floating around the best mechanical keyboard lists for ages, and for good reason. Stylistically speaking, the Das Keyboard 4 Professional strikes a delicate balance between professional and flashy. Its weighty metal front plate helps function and form, planting the keyboard firmly on your desk while keeping it looking sharp. Where other keyboards use small volume rollers, the Das includes a large tactile volume knob decorated with eye-catching red chrome accents.

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional strikes a delicate balance between professional and flashy.

But aesthetics aren't what put Das on the list. Performance did. Designed for typists first, the Das only comes with the clicky Cherry MX Blue or the tactile Cherry MX Brown, two of the most popular switches for typing. Cherry MX Brown is especially favored as a great all-around switch for typing and gaming, thanks to its silent actuation and tactile bump.

Though we'd recommend the Cherry MX Blue switch if you don't need to keep your keyboard clacking down to a minimum. The Blue switch is loud as heck, but it's so responsive and feels great under finger for typing quickly and accurately. We love it, and Brown switches are a bit hot or cold; some people love them, others find it a bit grainy. Blue it is, then.

You get all these goodies for $169, but don't expect premium keycaps, backlights, or stable elevator feet. The elevator feet are especially irritating since they don't grip as well as they should—otherwise, the Das Keyboard 4 blends essential features and excellent typing performance into a stylish package. It's by no means as fully featured as what we'd expect from a gaming keyboard, but we're here for mechanical operation and construction. The Das Keyboard 4 has that in swathes.

3. Filco Majestouch 2

A barebones, reliable typist's keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Cherry MX Black, Blue, Brown, Red
Size: Full size
Backlights: No
Passthroughs: No
Media controls: No
Wrist rest: No

Reasons to buy

+
No-nonsense design
+
Good selection of Cherry MX switches

Reasons to avoid

-
The absolute basics and not much else

The Majestouch 2 is to typing as water is to thirst: they both represent the most straightforward solutions to an underlying problem and are equally bland. It's boring, but it is still one of the best mechanical keyboards for pure typing. That's because it's a purely mechanical upgrade to your bog standard office board, so if you're used to one of those and want something mechanically better but not much different, the Majestouch 2 is it.

Even against the next most boring keyboard on this list, the Filco Majestouch 2 seems lifeless in comparison. It doesn't have any fancy features to boast of, nor does it have a unique trick. Customization is limited to picking your preferred Cherry MX switch from a roster of Black, Brown, Blue, and Red. What you see here is what you get.

The Majestouch 2 is a great starter board or dependable backup.

This simplicity, however, also explains its popularity. As it turns out, some people love no-frills keyboards. Filco stuffed 104 Cherry MX switches into a durable chassis and sold it at $139, establishing the Majestouch 2 as a great starter board or dependable backup. You can find some pretty great gaming keyboards for that price nowadays, however. Or simply more modern offerings.

The Majestouch 2's monotony may be a bit too mundane for even the strictest of typists, and its lack of backlighting can work against it in a dimly lit room. Some users have also complained that the key legends fade too quickly. Still, we're happy recommending the Majestouch 2 for those users that care little for excess or excitement, and instead want a workhorse that will dependably keep typing for years to come. It's simple, straightforward, and doesn't ask too much of your wallet.

4. Fujitsu Realforce R2 RGB

One-of-a-kind Topre switches

Specifications

Switch: Topre
Size: TKL or Full
Backlights: RGB
Passthroughs: No
Media controls: Dedicated volume keys
Wrist rest: No

Reasons to buy

+
Smooth as butter Topre switches
+
Adjustable actuation point
+
Excellently built

Reasons to avoid

-
Better for touch typists
-
Switch feel isn't for everyone
-
Not always widely available outside Japan

Revered by ardent keyboard fans as the ultimate typing switch, the Topre switch (pronounced toe-prey, as it stands for Tokyo Press) rarely appears in gaming keyboards due to its high cost.  The Topre is a mechanical switch for typists first and foremost. It takes some getting used to, but once you get up to speed it is rapid and responsive to type on in a way quite unlike any other mechanical switch available.

Fujitsu is one of the few manufacturers with a catalog of Topre keyboards. We picked the Realforce R2 RGB to represent one of the best typing switches around, but it's also a good form factor for a spot of gaming in either its full-size or tenkeyless form. Though we'd usually recommend other keyboards for gaming alone.

The Topre switch for typing is firm and allows for a rapid typing speed thanks to its quick key return. The switch is sometimes likened to a fancy membrane switch, which is understandable but undersells what the Topre is able to offer. It's squishy like a membrane, but it's not imprecise or sluggish as a result. If this is like a membrane switch, think of it more like the ultimate version of a membrane with few, if any, of the downsides.

You can set the actuation distance for every key individually through the optional driver software.

To please both gamer and typist, the Realforce R2 RGB can toggle between 1.5mm, 2mm, and 3mm actuation distances—the first for fast-paced gaming and the latter two for typing and general use. Fujitsu even reserved a key to cycle through them on the fly. Moreover, you can set the actuation distance for every key individually through the optional driver software. That's not something you can do with most mechanical keyboards, at least not without optical switches like those on the Wooting Two HE (opens in new tab).

Aside from bright RGB backlights, the Realforce R2 has excellent ABS keycaps with double-shot legends. The benefit of the R2 RGB model is that the stems on the Topre switches, which usually require bespoke keycaps, also offer compatibility with the far more popular and widely available Cross Stem design used with Cherry MX and compatible boards. That opens up this Topre board to the wonderful world of custom keycaps (opens in new tab).

Unfortunately, Topre's prestige and novelty have a matching price tag. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Topre keyboard for under $200. The Fujitsu Realforce R2 RGB costs $250 or more, and that still won't net you a metal case or braided cables. For die-hard fans, that's a fair price to pay for their favorite switch. Everyone else should try it in person before swiping their credit card. You either love it or think it's just fine. At least that's our experience in the office getting people to try out a Topre for the first time.

The best 60% mechanical keyboard

Specifications

Switch: Mountain Tactile 55, Linear 45, Linear 45 Speed
Size: 60%
Backlights: Per-key RGB
Passthroughs: No
Media controls: No
Wrist rest: No

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
Best gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Corsair)

Primarily in the market for a keyboard to fulfil your WASD needs? Look no further than our best gaming keyboard (opens in new tab) guide.

The Mountain Everest 60 is just as ickle as the other 60% 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.

the Everest 60 isn't modular like its bigger sibling, the Mountain Everest Max (opens in new tab), 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. And, hell, it's also way more convenient when thrashing your way through a good spreadsheet, too. Those benchmark numbers don't enter themselves, you know.

That extra mouse space is the main reason 60% boards can have a place in gaming, but, at least for me, the traditional lack of cursor keys makes them incredibly frustrating to use full-time. Mountain obviously thinks so, too, and has squeezed them into the right-hand side of the board, squishing down the right shift key and adding in a del key as well.

It's easily the best typing experience I've ever had.

The original Everest Max is reassuringly solid, and feels good to type on. But the Everest 60 feels sooo much better. 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.

So the Mountain Everest 60 meets our needs as gamers and as gamers with jobs, which is what we want out of a mini 60% mechanical keyboard.

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. Thankfully, once you've set your preferred RGB lighting layout, and maybe picked a few macros, you can pretty much just ignore it and get on with enjoying the experience of an outstanding gaming keyboard.

All this good keeb stuff does come at a price. However, the modular nature also means you don't have to go for everything right away. Pick the base board, then grab a numpad some other time if you find it makes sense for you. And then later on maybe pick a mineral PBT keycap set, or some new switches if you feel the need for a change. Because if there's one thing I'm confident of, this board will be with you for many, many years to come, it's certainly earned a place on my desktop.

Read our full Mountain Everest 60 review (opens in new tab).

The best analog gaming keyboard

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Analogue 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
-
Analogue control takes some getting used to

The Wooting Two HE is the best gaming keyboard, so unsurprisingly it's also great for typists. Many of its awesome analog features are gaming-centric, but not all, and you'll find a great deal of use in its adjustable actuations and clever macros to level up your typing.

Essentially, the Wooting works like this: 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. This is especially useful in games that blend gameplay that best suits both analog and digital inputs on a regular basis, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA V, or Mass Effect.

A gif showing how the Wooting Analogue input functions

The Wooting measures the entire key press. (Image credit: Wooting)

Wooting helped usher in the analog age of gaming keyboards, and it's still ruling the roost with every new keyboard it designs. The latest, the Wooting Two HE, uses magnets and the Hall effect to achieve what is an incredibly accurate analog movement across every key on the keyboard. And because every key is analog, you can use the analog functionality to your advantage in heaps of interesting ways.

The Wooting Two HE differs from the Wooting One and Wooting Two in how it measures analogue 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 analogue input.

In the Wootility v4 (opens in new tab) software (amazing), a game will need to register this switch actuation as either DirectInput or Xinput. That means you'll largely want to set your left analogue stick up, down, left, right to your WASD keys on the Wooting, in order to replicate the best bits of analogue controller movement.

Of all the peripheral-specific applications out there, and boy are there a lot of them, I don't mind the Wootility one bit, either. It's simple, well put together, and has only improved since I last used it. It puts some other larger manufacturers to shame with how easy and smart-looking it is, in fact.

If you want heaps of customisability, this is the gaming keyboard for you.

Do you want to have your entire moveset mapped to a single power key in-game? It's certainly possible. You could chain skills, moves, or spells in-game by applying them all to a single keypress. Or if you're really accurate, have a key do two different things depending on how far you press it.

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 itself 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.

The Wooting Two HE is analog at its very best, and if you want heaps of customisability, this is the gaming keyboard for you. There's also the superb Wooting HE60 (opens in new tab), which we're big fans of but it is admittedly not for everyone due to its compact size.

Read our full Wooting Two HE review (opens in new tab).

Best mechanical keyboards FAQ

Which keyboard switch type should I choose?

It's entirely up to personal preference with keyboard switches. If you love a noisy keyboard, go for the clicky kind. If you like a spongier feel, go for linear switches. Or, if you prefer some feedback with your keypresses, go for a tactile switch. 

It's possible to order keyboard switch tester packs from some suppliers, so if you want to try some out before you fork out, it might be a good idea to grab one of those.

Check out our mechanical keyboard switch guide (opens in new tab) for a more in-depth look.

Jargon buster - keyboard terminology

Actuation Point
The height to which a key needs to be pressed before it actuates and sends an input signal to a device.

Clicky
A switch that delivers an audible click every time it's pressed, generally right around the point of actuation.

Debounce
A technique to ensure that only one input registers every time a key is pressed.

Housing
The shell that surrounds the internal components of a switch.

Hysteresis
The result of the actuation point and reset point in a switch being misaligned. This generally means you need to release the key further than usual would before it can be actuated again. 

Linear
A switch that moves directly up and down, generally delivering smooth keystrokes without noise or tactile feedback.

Mechanical Keyboard
A keyboard built around individual switches for each key rather than a membrane sheath mounted on a PCB.

Membrane Keyboard
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.

Stem
The component of a switch on which the keycaps are mounted on a mechanical keyboard.

Switch
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. You can read a detailed explanation in our complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches (opens in new tab).

Tactile
A switch that provides a 'bump' of feedback every time it's pushed.

Tenkeyless
A keyboard that lacks the right-hand number pad.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.

With contributions from