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Best gaming keyboard 2024: Full size, TKL or mini?

What's the best gaming keyboard for you? We've put TKL, mini, budget and premium options to the test using our experienced fingers to help you choose.

Best gaming keyboard - two RGB keyboards on a colorful pink background

Arming your setup with the best gaming keyboard will make a difference, whether you’re into first-person shooters or epic RPG adventures. Sure, you can technically get by using WASD keys on any old keyboard, but your fingers will thank you if you arm them with high-quality mechanical switches and gorgeous keycaps.

PCGamesN’s peripherals experts have tested a wide range of wireless keyboards, mechanical keyboards, wired keyboards, and optical-mechanical keyboards to bring you a list of the very best. No matter what your budget or preference is, you will find the right gaming keyboard to meet your needs.

Great gaming keyboards will pair well with the best gaming mouse, and will ultimately help bolster your desktop experience. If you’re specifically looking for the best wireless mechanical keyboard, rather than wireless or membrane ones, then check out that guide for a full range of options.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At PCGamesN, our experts spend hours testing hardware and reviewing games and VPNs. We share honest, unbiased opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

Razer Huntsman V2

Best gaming keyboard overall

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Razer Huntsman V2 specifications:
Number of keys Full-size with 104 keys
Switches Razer optical
Connectivity Wired
Media keys Dedicated
Reasons to buy
  • Razer optical switches
  • Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
  • Extremely comfortable wrist rest
Reasons to avoid
  • Expensive
  • No USB passthrough
  • Fixed USB cable

Razer knows a thing or two about keyboards, and the Huntsman V2 is a terrific testament to that fact. Armed with optical switches, delectable doubleshot PBT keycaps, and subtle good looks, this board is a perfect ten in our eyes. It even goes above and beyond by wielding built-in dampening foam, which helps ditch rattling and clattering while preserving pleasing ASMR clicks.

The Razer Huntsman V2 is more expensive than most, and it’s arguably designed with keyboard enthusiasts in mind. Nevertheless, it will still provide any gaming PC setup with accurate and speedy input, thanks to its 8,000Hz polling rate.

That’s going to matter if you’re looking to enhance your skills in the best FPS games, as you’ll be able to swiftly dip, dive and dodge your way to safety during standoffs without worrying about latency. You can even swap out its keycaps to give it an aesthetic edge – a feature that’ll inject a bit of personality into your PC gaming space. It’s one of the best quiet gaming keyboards, and if you can afford it, is well worth the money.

Read the Razer Huntsman V2 review.

Mountain Everest Max

Best modular gaming keyboard

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Mountain Everest Max specifications:
Number of keys Full-size with 104 keys, four display keys
Switches Swappable, Cherry MX, or Mountain pre-installed
Connectivity Wired
Media keys Dedicated via attachment
Reasons to buy
  • Modular
  • Hot-swappable switches
  • LCD macro buttons
Reasons to avoid
  • Wrist rest is a bit thin
  • Collectively pricey, but you can buy part-by-part

We’re a big fan of modularity, and the Moutain Everest Max fully embraces the idea of hot-swappable addons. While many other gaming keyboards out there feature removable switches, the Everest Max supports an additional numpad and media bar, both of which elevate its functionality beyond what you’d expect from standard PC peripherals.

If you’re a streamer, you’re going to dig the optional Mountain Everest Max Displaypad, as it essentially functions like a Stream Deck replacement. Equipped with LCD keys, we reckon the addon’s macro abilities could give Elgato a run for its money, all while taking up less precious surface space by being effectively part of the keyboard’s footprint.

A complete setup will set you back a hefty amount, but the core keyboard comes in at $150. Not unreasonable considering it packs Cherry MX switches and great build quality to boot, and it certainly makes more of a statement than most of its premium rivals on the market.

Read our Mountain Everest Max review.

Corsair K55 Core

Best budget gaming keyboard

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Corsair K55 Core specifications:
Number of keys Full-size with 110 keys
Switches Rubber dome
Connectivity Wired
Media keys Dedicated
Reasons to buy
  • Valve for money
  • Simple, clean design
  • Supported in iCUE
Reasons to avoid
  • Membrane keys
  • No gaming specific features

If you’re strapped for cash or looking for something to bridge the gap between two premium gaming keyboards, look no further than the Corsair K55 Core. Where it lacks in gaming-specific features, it more than makes up for in build quality and value.

Rarely will you find an RGB membrane keyboard with an MSRP below $40, but Corsair sets the standard for how to design a budget gaming keyboard and make it well worth the purchase. Better still you’re getting a full-size board here, so the K55 Core makes no compromises on size to achieve its value.

It is fully supported in iCUE, allowing you to play around with the RGB zones and create whatever color pattern your heart desires, and the dedicated media keys give you quick access to what can sometimes be rather awkward function key shortcuts. The value Corsair packed into the K55 Core is hard to ignore, even if it won’t compete with the more expensive options on this list.

Read our Corsair K55 Core review for more.

Drop CSTM80

Best gaming keyboard for modding

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Drop CSTM80 specifications:
Number of keys 88 keys
Switches Gateron Brown or Yellow
Connectivity Wired
Media keys N/A
Reasons to buy
  • Gateron switch choices at point of purchase
  • Highly customizable without costing over the odds
  • Incredible typing feel
Reasons to avoid
  • Gaming performance is nothing spectacular

As keyboard modding becomes more popular, Drop is leading the charge along with a few other brands like Ducky, in creating products that a re simple to customize and make unique. First and foremost, we called the Drop CSTM80 one of the prettiest keyboards we’d ever seen, and praised it’s feel while typing.

The gasket mounting provides a light feel, but there is still plenty of feedback in the mechanical switches to ensure you don’t suffer from any missclicks. It’s also very responsive, but beyond that, the gaming benefits are light, as it’s built for a different purpose and we respect that.

We also highlighted the driverless approach from Drop, meaning you can plug the CSTM80 in without needing to download any additional software. Should you wish to customize the inputs, you can download software, but it is not required under any circumstances.

Read our Drop CSTM80 review for more.

Lofree Flow 100

Best compact gaming keyboard

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Lofree Flow 100 specifications:
Number of keys 100
Switches Kailh Full POM Switches
Connectivity Wireless (Bluetooth) or Wired (USB-A)
Media keys None
Reasons to buy
  • Wonderfully smooth to use
  • Nice and compact
  • Stylishly minimalist
Reasons to avoid
  • Lacks dedicated media keys
  • Wired connection not great
  • Awkward CTRL key placement

Not got a lot of desk space to spare for your gaming keyboard? Well, in that case, the Lofree Flow 100 may be just what you need. It occupies a tiny amount of space but remains a rugged and durable piece of hardware.

One small downside of it being so small is that the CTRL key is slightly awkwardly placed and I often end up accidentally pressing it with my palm when typing. I still love the keyboard, but it is annoying when it happens.

Something that most users will appreciate is just how smoothly this thing works. Writing a sentence on the Lofree Flow 100 is like spreading butter with a hot knife.  You’ll never find yourself having to give a key a second, harder press because it didn’t pick it up the first time, or that the opposite has happened and one press registered twice.

The biggest flaw is probably with the wired connection, which I couldn’t get working properly. I keep it plugged in all the time, which keeps it charged up, but it’s connected to my laptop via Bluetooth, as my device didn’t recognize it when I plugged it in. It’s not a huge problem, since it still works just fine, but an important bit of nuance to be conscious of.

All in all, it’s a well-made keyboard that looks as good as it feels. It may lack dedicated media keys for volume control and so forth, but the keys are hot-swappable (with Kailh Full POM Switches), and I’ve not encountered any latency.  If you’re after something small that you can plug in and play right out of the box, but which offers some decent potential for customization, this could be the one.

Read our full Lofree Flow 100 review.

Corsair K65 Plus Wireless

Best wireless gaming keyboard

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Corsair K65 Plus Wireless specifications:
Number of keys 81 keys – 75% layout
Switches Corsair MLX Red
Connectivity Bluetooth, 2.4GHz, Wired
Media keys Reprogrammable scroll wheel only
Reasons to buy
  • Highly customizable
  • Long battery life
  • Tactile typing feel
Reasons to avoid
  • Can be expensive to customize

Corsair casually released one of the best all-around gaming keyboards we’ve seen in recent years in the K65 Plus Wireless. It’s got something for everyone, starting with enthusiasts who love to tinker with switches and keycaps as they’ll find no barriers preventing full customization.

Out of the box, it may be missing hardcore gaming features but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in performance. The Corsair MLX Red switches are super responsive and also have a lovely tactile feel when you hit your typing flow.

Finally, it’s wireless with up to three savable Bluetooth profiles and a steady 2.4GHz connection possible. All this is backed up by a super long batter life, that can be extended if you disable the delightfully muted backlighting.

Read our Corsair K65 Plus Wireless review for more.

Razer Blackwidow V4 75%

Best keyboard for both modding and gaming

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Razer Blackwidow V4 75% specifications:
Number of keys 82 – TKL
Switches Razer Orange Tactile
Connectivity Wired
Media keys Two plus scroll wheel
Reasons to buy
  • Designed for gaming and modding with little compromise
  • Easy to customize and reassemble
  • Responsive gaming performance
Reasons to avoid
  • Could get expensive when adding switches and keycaps

Modding a keyboard is great, not only can it refresh the design, but you can isolate issues that arise and potentially fix them without having to worry about replacing a whole keyboard. The Razer Blackwidow V4 is a great example of trying to appeal to two markets and leaving no features on the cutting room floor.

We enjoyed our time with the Blackwidow V4 75% massively, praising how simple it was to play around with and disassemble while still managing to offer responsive gaming performance. There was always the risk that appealing to two hobbies could create a Frankenstein monster of a mess, but no such outcome is present here.

If you want to give modding a go but retain the core gaming performance, there may be no better option. We would have liked to have more pre-purchase customization options, to prevent the need to purchase new switches and keycaps after the fact, but it’s a small price to pay in the long term.

Read our Razer Blackwidow V4 75% review for more.

How to choose the best gaming keyboards

When looking for the right keyboard (either among those on this list, or elsewhere) we recommend considering all the following points before making a decision:

  • Pricing: We understand that some people are going to have to make a decision exclusively based on what they can afford. If that’s you, you can still find some decent quality gaming-focused keyboards for around $30 (£25) but going much lower than that can bring one too many compromises. Even at that price, the main compromise is you’ll have to miss out on mechanical keys. That means the keys will tend to be not as responsive and not last as long, but that’s why they’re so cheap. At around $50 you can get ‘no-name’ mechanical keyboards that can be decent but you’ll be looking at $70-$80 and higher for mechanical boards from known brands.
  • Gaming keys: Gaming keys were originally the main thing that defined a gaming keyboard. They give you extra buttons to press to fire of macros or other commands, with needing to reassign other keys. These days, there’s less focus on them but some people still prize having dedicated extra keys.
  • Media keys: These are the volume wheels, mute buttons, and play/pause/skip track buttons that some keyboards come with. You can also find some keyboards that come with screens and multi-function dials. They’re all super-useful features though more for general desktop use than actual gaming.
  • Mechanical vs membrane: Membrane or rubber dome keyboards are a cheaper form of keyboard that uses switches where the spring and switch contact is formed by a rubber dome that you press on. Meanwhile, mechanical switches use individual springs and either metal contacts or magnetic or optical sensors to tell when the switch is pressed. Membrane keyboards can be very cheap and quiet but don’t feel as nice, lack customization, and don’t last very long. Mechanical keyboards are more expensive but last ages and can be customized with different switches and keycaps.
  • RGB lighting: Is it an essential addition, or simply a flashy extravagance? That’s for you to decide but some for of backlighting is useful for seeing keys properly in darker environments. Some cheaper boards have only zones of lighting while others have per-key lighting for highly-programmable light shows.
  • Wired vs wireless: It used to be the case that wireless technology wasn’t responsive enough for reliable gaming performance but these days it works great. Wireless keyboards are more expensive, though, and you need to charge them once a week. A simple wired board won’t ever suffer a disconnect or need charging, though.

If you’re still left with questions, we’ve answered a few keyboard-related FAQs below:

Best gaming keyboard: Close up of Epomaker SK61

Do I need a gaming keyboard?

The line between a gaming keyboard and just a decent quality keyboard has blurred in recent years. It used to be that a gaming keyboard was one with extra gaming keys but these days it tends to just mean it has RGB lighting. Ok, we exaggerate. Most gaming keyboards are also optimized for a rapid response whereas non-gaming models might prioritize battery life but leave you hanging when it comes to a crucial in-game moment.

Extra gaming keys can still be useful if you like to fire off complex actions at the touch of a button and don’t want to reprogram other keys. Meanwhile, the other three main factors to consider for gaming are: size, key switch feel, and analog actuation.

When it comes to size, some people just prefer larger keyboards with all the extra features. However, many gamers now prefer smaller keyboards without numpads, as these leave more desk room for your mouse. As for key switch feel, many gamers prefer very light-feeling, linear switches rather than the heavier, more feedback-heavy feel of tactile or clicky switches. Light, linear switches can be easier to press in a lighting-fast reaction situation.

Finally, analog switches provide the ability for keys to function like the analog trigger of a controller. That alone isn’t super useful but the same function means you can assign two trigger points to one switch, have a rapid trigger mode where keys can respond super fast, or you can adjust the height at which the key activates. The latter is useful if you’re someone that tends to accidentally press some keys in some gaming scenarios.

What are mechanical switches?

PCGamesN has a comprehensive guide on mechanical keyboard switches, which will quickly make you an expert on all things clicky, linear, and tactile.

In a nutshell, there are two main types of keyboard switches: mechanical and membrane. The latter are cheaper to make so can be found on ultra-budget boards, plus they can be very quiet. However, they tend to not feel as responsive or last very long. Mechanical switches offer a more reliable feel and response and they last far longer, plus you can swap the keycaps and many boards let you swap the switches too so that you can experiment with different mechanical switches to find the ones you prefer – look for the switches being hot-swappable.

Can a gaming keyboard make you game better?

It certainly can. Gaming keyboards tend to prioritize response over other factors so are less likely to leave you frustrated after a crucial key tap produces no result (or a delayed result) on screen. This is particularly true when it comes to wireless gaming keyboards. Keyboards with mechanical switches also tend to offer a more reliable, faster response than membrane keyboards, though that’s true whether the keyboard is a ‘gaming’ one or not. Meanwhile, extra gaming keys dome people find are a crucial addition while the programmability of gaming keyboards can also help to optimize your gaming setup. Finally, if you do opt for an analog mechanical keyboard, these can really help you further fine tune the exact response of ever key to your needs.

Do I need an expensive gaming keyboard?

Need is a subjective word. If you just want any gaming keyboard to get going, cheap membrane keyboards will still be optimized for quick response and tend to have better-feeling keys than really cheap sub-$20 boards. When it comes to mechanical keyboards, the cheaper models are inherently more basic but will still offer most of the core response feel and reliability of more expensive boards. If you really value complete control, though, top-tier boards offer so much customization and amazing build quality.

If you want more help in building the perfect gaming set-up, read our article on the best gaming PC. Even an amazing keyboard won’t make a difference if you’re using it on a potato that hasn’t even been baked.