Whether you’re new to the video game world or a seasoned pro, every gaming enthusiast needs a good quality keyboard. In this guide we’ll look at the best gaming keyboard models out there, as well as everything you need to make the right purchasing decision.
With a wide range of designs available, gaming keyboards allow you to personalize your playing experience, making it more enjoyable. From budget to high end, there are several options out there. Which gaming keyboard is right for you? Which models are the very best out there? Keep reading to find out!
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The Best Gaming Keyboards on the U.S Market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Gaming Keyboards
- 3.1 What is a gaming keyboard exactly?
- 3.2 What is the difference between gaming and regular keyboards?
- 3.3 What type of gaming keyboards are there?
- 3.4 What are switches on mechanical gaming keyboards?
- 3.5 What exactly is the anti-ghosting function on gaming keyboards?
- 3.6 How are gaming keyboards connected?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Mechanical keyboards are highly valued in the gaming community. However, semi-mechanical or membrane keyboards can also be great options depending on your personal preference. These two alternatives are especially useful if you want a gaming keyboard that you can also use in your everyday life.
- It is important to consider the switches of the gaming keyboards you’re looking at; they represent the load required to push a key. One of the most important things to consider is the response time of your keyboard, as it will have the most influence over your gaming experience.
- If you’re a hardcore player or a professional, you will want a highly customizable keyboard. This will allow your playing experience to reach new and unprecedented heights. With several different styles and colors, there is something for everyone.
Ranking: The Best Gaming Keyboards on the U.S Market
The number of gaming keyboards on the market is virtually endless, and we’ve chosen the very best models out there. From budget to high-end products, we have compiled a diverse selection of keyboards all offering good value for money. Regardless of your budget, there is a gaming keyboard out there to suit your needs.
No. 1: NPET Mechanical Feeling Gaming Keyboard
The NPET K10 gaming keyboard is designed for the gamer, office worker, copywriter, programmer, typing teacher, and editor. So if you are someone who spends a lot of time typing on a computer, this is the keyboard for you. The keyboard is designed with UV coated keys, ensuring the characters will never fade. With adjustable light settings, this stylish keyboard is also great for night time gaming.
At only $19.99, it is the cheapest keyboard in our ranking. Despite it’s low cost, this hybrid keyboard includes several high end features such as ergonomic and spill-resistant design, 26 anti-ghosting keys, and 4 LED lighting backlit modes. The keyboard also comes with 2 folding stands keep your hands in a comfortable position, which will improve your typing speed and accuracy. Customers praise this product for being durable and well made for a low price, although some say there is a lack in customization.
No. 2: VicTsing USB Wired Gaming Keyboard
Slightly more expensive than NPET’s model above, at $28.99 this membrane gaming keyboard is nonetheless Amazon’s #1Best-Seller for Mac gaming keyboards. The colorful rainbow backlight features 7 different modes so you can adjust the brightness and speed to your preference, creating the ultimate gaming atmosphere. The innovative anti-ghosting technology allows multiple keys to work simultaneously to provide a fast response time with every move.
Available for both Windows and Mac OS, this keyboard also features medium key hight for a more responsive game play. Customers love this keyboard for its quick response time, as well as its sleek and durable design. This device is built to last, and can withstand hours of gameplay while plugged in.
No. 3: Havit Rainbow Backlit Gaming Keyboard & Mouse Combo
If you’re in the market for a gaming keyboard and mouse, this low cost Havit combo is perfect for you. With a similar price tag to our previous recommendation, this gaming keyboard comes complete with its very own mouse, perfectly designed for gamers. Both the USB keyboard and gaming mouse are simple to use, just “plug and play,” with no additional software or firmware required.
This device by Havit features a gold-plated connector to ensure a stable connection, so you never have to worry about your keyboard disconnecting during a game. With stylish black and white color options, this keyboard is a favorite budget option in the gaming community. Customers love this product for its sleek design, and say it is a great hybrid option for both beginner and pro gamers.
No. 4: Redragon Small Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
While many gaming keyboards tend to have similar features, the Redragon compact keyboard is the most unique in our ranking. With its compact 87-key design, it is great for freeing up your workspace without sacrificing performance and comfort during your marathon gaming sessions. The high-quality mechanical switches are designed for longevity, responsiveness, and durability for the serious gamer.
What separates this gaming keyboard from most is its red LED backlighting for all 87 keys and 10 user adjustable brightness levels. Customers love the crystal clear uniform backlighting and lettering that doesn’t scratch off. The keys are also spill-proof and can be removed in case you need to clean the keyboard after long term use, or simply want to add a personal touch!
No. 5: Razer Huntsman Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Last but not least in our ranking, here is the Razer Huntsman Elite Gaming Keyboard. Razer is one of the most trusted brands in the video game industry, and some of the very best esports teams use their products. As one of the biggest names in the keyboard-and-mouse game, customers can expect high quality and intuitive design from their Huntsman Elite keyboard edition.
The Razer Hypershift software allows for all keys and combinations to be reprogrammed to execute complex commands, making it the most customizable in our ranking. The keyboard also features an ergonomic, magnetic wrist rest to maximize comfort over extended gaming sessions. With its hefty price tag, this is an investment for both gaming enthusiast and professionals.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Gaming Keyboards
Every gamer knowns that this complex world goes far beyond just playing video games. There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing the right devices, and that includes keyboards. In the following sections, we will answer all of your questions about gaming keyboards to help you choose the right one for you.
What is a gaming keyboard exactly?
At first glance, it may seem simple. This peripheral is basically a keyboard that has been tailored to the needs of video game players. That being said, gaming keyboards are very versatile. If you are someone who spends lots of time typing at a computer, then you too can consider using a gaming keyboard.
From budget to high-end, there are several models available to suit every gamer. In addition, they are often much more durable compared to regular keyboards. They often include stylish options such as LED backlighting and other customizable options.
What is the difference between gaming and regular keyboards?
This goes back to the previous answer. Though gaming keyboard can be used in everyday life, they include a series of additional features compared to regular keyboards. They are designed to improve your gaming experience. These include aspects such as RGB backlighting, macro keys or anti-ghosting technology.
Gaming keyboards are not only for gamers. They can also be used by office workers, writers, editors, and many others. Most regular models are called membrane keyboards, while mechanical ones are more used by gamers. Here’s a quick video comparing two different types:
What type of gaming keyboards are there?
We can identify three main types of gaming keyboards: mechanical, membrane, and semi-mechanical keyboards. Whichever you decide will be based on your style as a gamer. Here is a comparison of the different characteristics of each keyboard:
- Mechanical gaming keyboards are extremely popular among the gamer community due to their excellent quality.
- Their internal structure is based on a large number of mechanical switches.
- Their system offers incredible levels of accuracy and sensitivity, a main reason why they are the most popular
- You can fully customize mechanical gaming keyboards, making them the ideal option for advanced players.
- Their one disadvantage is that they can be particularly noisy.
- These are mainly used by regular computer users, so you may not find many for gaming
- They can be useful for certain types of games
- Their internal hardware uses rubber membranes that receive the keystroke signals.
- Membrane keyboards are generally much quieter than mechanical models, however not nearly as durable.
- Membrane gaming keyboards tend to be cheaper, but often offer less features than mechanical products.
- The best of both worlds with their hybrid structure.
- Their strong keystrokes imitate those of mechanical models.
- They are very accurate, with quick response time
- They tend to be cheaper than mechanical models
- While they are not quite as sophisticated as mechanical gaming keyboards, they are a great option for casual players.
What are switches on mechanical gaming keyboards?
Mechanical keyboards use a mechanism called switches. They offer different levels of response depending on how their categorized. Each type indicates the amount of pressure required on a key to transmit the information to your computer. The five most frequently used categories are known as Cherry:
Cherry MX Black
- It’s the hardest keystroke (80 grams of pressure);
- Its main advantage is that it helps avoid double keystrokes;
- The rigid spring guarantees an equal force in each keystroke;
- They’re a good option for gaming, but not for writing.
Cherry MX Brown
- 45 grams of force
- Its soft touch is considered an ideal for new gamers;
- Since it doesn’t need as much pressure, it’s also a great choice for your day-to-day tasks.
Cherry MX Red
- 45 grams of force. It is silent but its final click is typical of nonlinear switches;
- Their high sensitivity can cause double keystrokes;
- Despite this, they remain a favorite among gamers as they are easy to use
- Most widely used by the majority of models
- You have the option of an improved version, called Cherry MX Speed.
Cherry MX Blue
- 50 grams of pressure needed for each keystroke;
- Generally quite noisy
- The click occurs at the beginning of the keystroke, as opposed to the end;
- Many gamers have said that its usability is similar to membrane keyboards.
Cherry MX Clear
- This system is rarely used;
- It’s a cross between Black and Brown switches;
- Pressure ranges between 55 and 65 grams;
- Their sturdiness gives them an extended useful life;
What exactly is the anti-ghosting function on gaming keyboards?
Some video games require you to press several keys at once. Regular keyboards only allow you to press one or two keys — up to three if you use CTRL or ALT. If you exceed that number of simultaneous keystrokes on a regular keyboard, you computer won’t receive any signal or will block itself.
This is where anti-ghosting (or rollover) technology comes in. The higher end models will most likely feature 6KRO category — which allows six keys to be pressed simultaneously. Here is a video explaining this feature in more detail:
How are gaming keyboards connected?
Your gaming keyboard will use one out of three types of connectivity. These are: USB, PS/2 and wireless connection. Most gamers do not use wireless connection as it has the possibility of dropping out during game play. We’ve compared the two other types below:
|USB connection||PS/2 connection|
|The computer asks the keyboard for information
Worse option when working with anti-ghosting systems
| The device transmits information autonomously
Best option with higher key rollover
Cannot be unplugged on the fly
Gaming keyboards are fundamental for both professional and amateur players, and picking the right one can give you a real edge in battle. That being said, it is important to choose a keyboard based on your individual needs as a gamer. This is why we’ve detailed the key criteria to evaluate if you want to choose the right gaming keyboard:
- Connectivity and response time
- Mechanical, membrane or hybrid?
- Type of user
As we’ve already mentioned in previous sections, gaming keyboards have several additional features that are specifically designed to be used for gaming. When you find a keyboard that interests you, it is important to carefully evaluate those functions. For instance, you want to now what key rollover is available.
Besides the anti-ghosting system, you will also need to consider the configurability, backlighting or key lock. The latter is particularly useful, as it will prevent you from activating random keys in the middle of crucial games.
Many video game experts believe that these types of devices are just as important as your computer’s CPU. This means that their design is crucial. Your user experience will be negatively affected if you opt for a model whose features do not suit your needs as a gamer. You want to try and avoid this at all costs.
You want to be comfortable while you are gaming, which means taking into account the ergonomics of your keyboard. Then, there’s is the more superficial aspect to consider: the customization. With so many options available on the market, there is a wide variety to choose from. The vast majority of models are highly customizable. That way, you’ll be happy with the quality as well as the look of your gaming keyboard.
Connectivity and response time
No matter the model, if you want to play video games then you will need a keyboard with a quick response time. In that regard, the options available to you generally range from 1 to 5 milliseconds. This tends to only be important to professional gamers, but is still something to take into consideration. Don’t overlook this fundamental aspect!
On the other hand, we have already discussed the various connectivity options out there. Bluetooth keyboards are often used by regular users, however they are generally not the best option for gamers. The USB and PS/2 connections are slightly different. Mechanical gaming keyboard with a PS/2 connection tends to work very well with anti-ghosting.
Mechanical, Membrane or Hybrid?
Which type is better? Do you personally prefer hybrid models? Do you intend to use your gaming keyboard for your daily tasks? Mechanical models are definitely the best choice if you’re an avid gamer. Membrane keyboards are better suited for office work, but this depends on your individual playing style.
Hybrid keyboards, on the other hand, combine the best of both options. That being said, these type of keyboards tend to sacrifice a few key features of each model. It is therefore important to decide based on your personal gaming style.
Type of user
The gaming keyboard you choose will also depend on what type of player you are. If you are a hardcore or professional gamer, mechanical models will be your best option. They are very precise and highly customizable. On the other hand, casual or beginner gamers can opt for semi-mechanical or membrane keyboards.
If you play several times a week, you may prefer the hybrid models. However, it is important that the mode you choose offers great versatility while fitting within your budget. There is no point in purchasing a very expensive keyboard if you don’t play very often. Certain mechanical keyboards may also suit your needs.
Having a quality gaming keyboard is essential for your playing experience. However, this long-term investment can also be useful in your daily activities. We recommend you choose a model that fits your needs as a gamer. Before you buy, take into account all aspects of the keyboard and asses whether or not it is the right one for you.
Don’t forget, quick response time is crucial for regular and pro gamers. Features such as LED backlighting and customization can make a big difference when it comes to your gaming experience. We hope that our shopping guide has allowed you to learn more about gaming keyboards, and help you choose the right model for you.
If that’s the case, feel free to share our article so that others can also learn about the best gaming keyboards on the U.S. market. You can also leave us a comment in the section below!
(Source of featured image: Luliia Mikhalitskaia: 111117309/ 123rf.com)