Best gaming keyboard 2018

We’ve tested all the top gaming keyboards around with the conclusion that yes, mechanical keyboards are just the best. Obviously

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Best gaming keyboard

The best gaming keyboard depends on what exactly you’re looking for. Whether that’s a full-size or compact board, membrane or mech switch, full RGB or just simple single-colour backlit, we’ve rigorously tested each and every gaming keyboard that has crossed our desks to help you make a decision. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to spend all day gaming hard just to test them out…

We’ve picked the best Logitech, Corsair, and Razer keyboards, as well a host of options from established, and some up-and-coming, manufacturers, to help you choose the perfect gaming keyboard for your setup. The humble keyboard is an intrinsic part of the PC gaming experience, it’s even set to become part of the console experience too, with Microsoft repeatedly claiming official support is coming to Xbox One and One X.

Together with a quality mouse, the gaming keyboard forms the perfect peripheral partnership, one that offers us PC peeps the most accurate and most immediate control system of any gaming machine out there. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rocking even the best controller, anyone playing FPS games on their PC is going to need the level of control you can only get with the classic ol’ WSAD/mouse combo.

But what makes the ultimate in gaming keyboard supremacy? There are essentially two schools of thought on that front: mechanical keyboard or non-mechanical switch keyboards. The first school of thought is obviously correct and the second woefully misinformed. From there it’s just a straight up fight over which different mech-switch type you prefer.

The best gaming keyboards are:

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Best gaming keyboard - Corsair K70 Rapidfire

Winner: Best gaming keyboard

Corsair K70 Rapidfire

Approx. $119 | £103

Vital Stats

A simple mix of industrial design and quality components come together for one of the best gaming keyboards we've come across.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchCherry MX
  • RolloverN-key

Corsair’s K70 boards are the absolute best gaming keyboards we’ve ever used. Since they first launched back in 2013 we’ve been massive fans, and haven’t seen anything since which has changed our minds. Not even Corsair’s later boards, like the Strafe, or the overly-bling K95 Platinum, have been able to replicate the same mix of simple industrial design and sheer pleasure to use.

They have evolved over the years, now fully mech-switched (the original used non-mechanical switches for some of the keys) and offering multiple Cherry MX options and RGB LED backlighting, but the classic design has remained more or less the same since their inception. The simple brushed aluminium base gives the board a robust feel and with the keys floating above it the light bleed from the per-key illumination gives a pleasing under-lit glow.

I’m also a big fan of the discrete media controls too. Too many boards hide their controls behind the F keys, requiring some digital gymnastics to press two distant keys at the same time. In the middle of a game that’s almost impossible to do quickly and/or easily. The large, scrolling volume wheel is the best part about that, and has been copied by many other boards, though never bettered.

I’ve picked the Rapidfire edition of the Corsair K70 as the top board because the light touch Cherry MX Speed keys mean seriously hardcore gamers might get a slight boost in actuation speed from their button clicks, and the rest of us don’t have to be so heavy-handed (and loud) when we’re gaming or typing. The Speed switches are almost the same as standard Red switches, just with a shallower actuation point.

Read our full Corsair K70 Rapidfire review.

Best compact gaming keyboard runner-up - Wooting One Analogue Keyboard

Runner-up: Best gaming keyboard

Wooting One analogue

Approx. $140 | £130

Vital Stats

The Wooting One's analogue action seperates it from the crowd and adds a whole new dimension to gaming.

  • TypeMechanical Analogue
  • SwitchFlaretech Optical
  • RolloverN-key

The Wooting One is unlike any other gaming keyboard currently available. Don’t let the per-key RGB LED illumination fool you, under those keycaps are some of the most advanced mechanical switches on the market. The Flaretech optical switches allow for complete analogue input and, once you’re used to them, they can make a huge difference to your mouse and keyboard PC gaming.

That means sneaking is now possible by lightly holding down the ‘W’ key and steering your way around Far Cry 5 shouldn’t be a jerky, drunk-driving sim experience either. The software that allows you to add in analogue support is smart and well-designed as is the actual keyboard itself. The package gives you a bunch of spare switches you can easily replace yourself if you somehow manage to top their rated 100 million keystroke lifetime.

And it’s only getting better. The Wooting team is committed to improving the board, and have recently added RGB effects to make with the pretties. And what makes all this all the more amazing is that it’s a small team that have brought the Wooting One all the way through from humble Kickstarter beginnings to make a great product.

Read our full Wooting One review.

Best gaming keyboard runner-up - Roccat Vulcan 120

Runner-up: Best gaming keyboard

Roccat Vulcan 120

Approx. £150

Vital Stats

The Roccat Vulcan's unique design and bright RGB lighting makes it the perfect pick for a gamer with a flair for the aesthetic.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchRoccat Titan
  • RolloverN-key

Roccat has done something not often seen in the gaming keyboard market, it’s created something actually unique. From the floating, pseudo chiclet design of the keycaps to working with TTC to create the new Titan mechanical switch, the Vulcan is a breath of fresh air in the market.

And it’s a great board too. The switches aren’t quite the same as a Cherry MX, but the difference is so slight that the other features of the Vulcan outweigh any mild issues we may have with it.

Read our full Roccat Vulcan 120 review.

Best gaming keyboard runner-up - Ducky One2 Horizon

Runner-up: Best gaming keyboard

Ducky One2 Horizon

Approx. $102 | £105

Vital stats

A simple, sturdy gaming keyboard that will withstand everything you throw at it. Literally.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchCherry MX Red, Blue Brown, Black, and Speed
  • RolloverN-key

If you want a gaming keyboard that could survive a direct hit by a cruise missile then the Ducky One2 is probably going to be your best bet for post-apocalyptic PC gaming. I expect you’ll find one dotted around the West Virginian landscape in Fallout 76.

It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing keyboard around, though it has its own simplistic beauty, and it’s not the most feature-packed either, but it is as solid a board as you’ll find. It has double-shot PBT keycaps (with a few spare in the box) and a double layer PCB to survive the end of those hyper-aggressive Black Ops 4 games.

The no-nonsense styling also feels like the perfect antidote to the slew of over-designed, LED-ridden keyboards that every company seems intent on inflicting on the gaming public.

Read our full Ducky One2 Horizon review.

Best gaming keyboard runner-up - Logitech G810

Runner-up: Best gaming keyboard

Logitech G810

Approx. $120 | £158

Vital Stats

With Logitech's almost unmatched quality control and style, the Logitech G810 is one to beat.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchLogitech Romer G
  • Rollover26-key

If you’re not a fan of the various shades of Cherry MX switch, Logitech offers its own Romer G option. The Romer G switches are a little shallower than the standard Cherry MX switches, though not quite as much as the slightly speedier Speed switches of the Rapidfire. Their action feels a little deadened compared with the Cherry alternative, but that does make them a quieter option.

The G810 Orion Spectrum has a simple, elegant design which makes it my favourite of their mech switch options – the G910 just feels a little showy for my taste. The G810 has similar discrete media controls to the K70 which is always a big plus, too.

Best gaming keyboard runner-up - ErgoDoz EZ

Runner-up: Best gaming keyboard

ErgoDox EZ

Approx. $355 | $299 (standalone)

ErgoDox EZ

The ErgoDox EZ is no regular gaming keyboard, but all its extra features and unique design make it perfectly capable of gaming on.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchCherry, Kailh
  • RolloverN-key

Ergonomic keyboards deserve a little more love in the gaming world, and the ErgoDox EZ is a prime example why. This split ergonomic design not only helps prevents nasty hand and wrist strain, but its beautifully crafted case, removable switch design, and 32 programmable layers all make it one of the best gaming boards in the biz.

Very few regular mechanical keyboards allow you to swap out your mechanical switches at a moment’s notice, but the ErgoDoz EZ isn’t your regular keyboard. Its change it yourself (CIY) PCB allows you to tailor your switches perfectly to your nimble digits. No soldering required.

But it’s the layers of programmable switches that really gives the ErgoDox its gaming chops. Every layer is programmable through the online graphical configurator, which allows you to program the perfect layout for all of your most played games. Once loaded onto the EZ, you can completely remap your keyboard with just a push of a button.

This capable keyboard is one of the most versatile we’ve come across, and its utility is only limited by how deep you dive into its many features. Sure, it’s niche, and it’s not cheap either, but if you want something new and exciting, that will certainly deliver when it comes to gaming performance, you needn’t look much further than the ErgoDoz EZ.

Read our full ErgoDox EZ review.

Best gaming keyboard runner-up - Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2

Runner-up: Best gaming keyboard

Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2

Approx. $166 £155

Vital Stats

Do you need anymore convincing after seeing that wrist rest? It's ludicrously comfortable.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchRazer Green/Orange/Yellow
  • Rollover10-key

Razer utilises its own switches in its gaming keyboards. They’ve got green, orange, and yellow switch options, which are more or less analogous to Cherry MX blue, brown, and silent switches, respectively. The Blackwidow Chroma V.2 is available with your choice of these three switches. We’ve been using the Razer yellow switches, and they are very responsive and pretty quiet compared to similar Cherry MX reds.

The Blackwidow Chroma V.2 features the same sunk-in design of the first iteration, leaving the slimmer floating design to the Blackwidow X. Unfortunately, the Blackwidow still does not feature media keys, preferring to integrate these with the function keys.

In some ways, the keyboard retains a surprising sleek style thanks to the lack of implemented controls and the clean font, but we have seen many other manufacturers implement these keys in stylish and fitting ways, and for a gaming board, Razer doesn’t have much of an excuse for leaving them out.

Despite this one issue, the Razer Blackwidow Chroma V.2 is a fantastic keyboard, and the included wrist rest is simply superb, making it a great addition to any gamer’s arsenal.

Best gaming keyboard runner-up - Logitech G513

Runner-up: Best gaming keyboard

Logitech G513

Approx. $130 | £139

Vital Stats

For a simple and compact board, the Logitech G513 still has a whole lot of style.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchLogitech Romer G
  • Rollover26-key

And we thought the Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 had a sexy wrist rest… Logitech have fashioned a glorious memory foam palm-cuddler and it makes it feel like you’re typing on air, especially with the new linear Romer G switches. Though sadly there’s no attempt to connect it with the board, which is a pain.

It’s still got the same brushed aluminium aesthetic we liked about previous G413 keyboard, and that gives it a serious, solid look. It makes the keys look like they’re floating above the metallic surface and aids the RGB looks. It’s beautifully engineered and has a more subtle design than most gaming peripherals, which we can’t really help but admire.

There are no discrete media controls on this board, unlike the G810 above, but Logitech’s quality software means you can switch the rarely used function keys around to favour their secondary function first.

Read our full Logitech G513 review.

Best compact gaming keyboard runner-up - Wooting One Analogue Keyboard

Winner: Best compact gaming keyboard

Wooting One

Approx. $140 | £130

Vital Stats

The Wooting One's analogue action seperates it from the crowd and adds a whole new dimension to gaming.

  • TypeMechanical Analogue
  • SwitchFlaretech Optical
  • RolloverN-key

The Wooting One isn’t just a great compact gaming keyboard it’s very nearly the best gaming keyboard around. Those Flaretech optical switches allow you to turn what is normally a very digital controller into a completely analogue device. Who needs those fiddly Xbox controllers now? The keyboard and mouse combo has just got even better.

And so has the Wooting One since its launch. The small team is continually listening to user feedback and updating the device, making it more usable, adding in new features, and delivering wider compatibility.

It’s a great little keyboard, with a genuine unique selling point, and solid software too. Made all the more remarkable because of its humble Kickstarter beginnings.

Read our full Wooting One review.

Best compact gaming keyboard runner-up - HyperX Alloy FPS

Runner-up: Best compact gaming keyboard

HyperX Alloy FPS

Approx. $80 £82

Vital Stats

The HyperX Alloy FPS delivers all the mechanical keyboard you could ever want in a much slimmer form factor than most.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchCherry MX
  • RolloverN-key

There are smaller boards, which miss out the the numpad on the right, but thanks to the way the HyperX team has designed the Alloy FPS its desktop footprint isn’t that much greater than those cut-down keyboards. And for a good many gamers missing the numpad can be a real deal-breaker. That makes it a great option for those craving a more compact design but don’t necessarily want to sacrifice keys.

As a compact gaming keyboard it doesn’t have the discrete media controls I’d normally prefer, instead using modifiers on the function keys, and HyperX have made an odd choice in adding a charging port rather than a full pass-through data and power connection.

As it is, the Alloy FPS still makes for a great compact gaming keyboard, delivering all the mechanical switch control you’d want, with almost all the features of its broader competition. It’s a great first go at the board market and proves to have been well worth the wait.

Best compact gaming keyboard runner-up - Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M

Runner-up: Best compact gaming keyboard

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro M

Approx. $99 | £102

Vital Stats

A full numpad and a compact design? The Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro M proves you really can have it all.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchCherry MX
  • RolloverN-key

Those RGB LED switches are all well and good if you want to paint a rainbow across your board, but if you’re after the cleanest, brightest, retina-searing white then Cooler Master’s MasterKey Pro M has got you covered. This small-scale version also nails the compact design while still retaining a full numpad.

That might seem like some sort of ergonomic voodoo, but Cooler Master have simply ditched the discrete navigation buttons and integrated them in their familiar configuration within the numpad. By virtue of its onboard ARM processor, the Pro M can run sans drivers to give you the full complement of on-the-fly macros and lighting effects without having to wait for the OS to catch up.

The Cooler Master MasterKey Pro M comes with either Cherry MX Red, Blue, or Brown keys. In terms of actual design it’s super-basic but that means it’s also fuss-free, with a detachable USB cable, solid footing and no messing around.

Best compact gaming keyboard - Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2 Tournament Edition

Runner-up: Best compact gaming keyboard

Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V2

Approx. $140 £133

Vital Stats

The Tournament Edition Blackwidow V2 comes with a slightly smaller but equally plus wrist rest. Sold.

  • TypeMechanical
  • SwitchRazer Green/Orange/Yellow
  • Rollover10-key

The Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chroma V.2 (…phew) follows the same design as it’s larger sibling, except for the lack of a number pad. The all plastic build is retained from its predecessor, unlike the very pleasing designs of the HyperX and Corsair boards, but it does offer a choice of three mechanical switches – either green, orange or yellow. The switches feel great and well-made, the backlighting is vibrant, and the wrist rest is incredible.

With the lack of media keys a little disappointing, at least the Razer is very compact in return. It’s a great board, and one that we were particularly sad about retiring once the next board was due for review.

 

Best cheap gaming keyboard - Logitech G213

 

Winner: Best cheap gaming keyboard

Logitech G213

Approx. $40 | £36

Vital Stats

You don't have to settle for poor quality when spending less on a gaming keyboard. The Logitech G213 proves just that.

  • TypeMembrane
  • SwitchLogitech Mech-Dome
  • Rollover13-key

Buying a really cheap keyboard will leave you on a hiding to nothing. A $20 board is likely to very quickly start to lose functionality, whether that’s a few sticky keys or a total meltdown. It’s often a bit of a false economy. Maybe spending $50 on a gaming keyboard is still too much, but the Logitech G213 Prodigy is a great example of a more pared back design still offering a lot.

Because of the lower price you’re not getting mechanical switches or a rigid metal frame. Instead, you get Logitech’s own Mech-Dome switches and a resolutely plastic feel. They may be membrane switches but they have the travel and almost the same speedy response of a mechanical switch. In fact, they feel a lot like Logitech’s Romer G switches. However, they’re spongier and feel a little more dead in comparison.

Despite its all-plastic design the G213 is still pretty robust. There is a certain amount of flex if you press firmly in the middle of the line of function keys, but otherwise it feels rather sturdy on the desktop. It also comes with a built-in wrist rest and discrete media controls too. And for you RGB LED fans out there the G213 comes with five lighting zones you can colour to your heart’s content.

The G213 Prodigy might be slightly above what you’d call a budget keyboard, but its still smart design and solid build makes it worth keeping an eye on in the sales especially.

Best cheap gaming keyboard runner-up - Cooler Master MasterKeys Lite L combo

Runner-up: Best cheap gaming keyboard

Cooler Master MasterKeys Lite L combo

Approx. $52 £55

Vital Stats

With both a mouse and keyboard in one affordable bundle, from one of the most respected manufacturers around no less, you can't go wrong with the Cooler Master MasterKeys Lite L combo.

  • TypeMembrane
  • SwitchMem-chanical
  • Rollover24-keys

There’s a tremendous sense of value to this Cooler Master bundle even if the ambidextrous mouse feels a little lightweight. The keyboard itself comes with a suprisingly effective pseudo mechanical switch design. Ok, even writing down Mem-Chanical makes me want to vomit all over this simple, elegant keyboard, but they genuinely feel more robust and comfortable to use than a standard membrane switch. They’re actually very similar to Logitech’s Mech-Dome keys and come with twice the life cycle of traditional membrane switches and a higher click force to hit the actuation point.

The mouse is a little bit of an afterthought, with an Avago optical sensor and a maximum DPI of 3,500. But if you’re looking for a decent package that won’t break the bank the Cooler Master’s li’l bundle is well worth a look.

Best gaming keyboard

No matter your budget it’s always possible to find a quality keyboard that won’t let you down while you’re running and gunning around a game of Rainbow Six: Siege.

And that doesn’t have to mean picking up a budget mechanical keyboard just for the sake of it. A well-built mechanical is undoubtedly the best gaming controller out there, but the Logitech G213 comes out top for budget boards, and that’s because the quality of this membrane board just can’t be matched by anything else in its price range. If you want budget mechanical, however, the Vava blew us away with its clicky switches and simple design.

If you have the budget for something a little more mechanical, however, it’s money well spent in our eyes. The original Corsair K70 is one of our favourite all-round keyboards. It’s solid, well-designed, packed to the brim with features, and its Cherry-made switches are a tried and tested formula that is known globally for reliability.

There’s also the Wooting One for gamers who want some a little more compact. The tenkeyless design of this board cuts down on the unnecessary extras and instead focuses on a design that allows for maximum mouse movement and is easy to carry around. Not only small, however, the Wooting also offers analogue switches, allowing for a keyboard with unique functionality you won’t find elsewhere.