The best gaming keyboards on the market in 2019.
When it comes to gaming setups, keyboards aren’t the first device on the wish list. Prebuilt gaming computers come with their own perfectly functional basic keyboard. Basic keyboards will get the job done at the base level. If you need to type toxic comments at that Widowmaker in chat, the standard keyboard that came with your starter PC will get the job done. If you’re looking to use your keyboard for more than in-game harassment and play the game, you’ll want something rated for higher keystrokes.
A gaming keyboard might seem unnecessary. A gaming mouse is certainly a requirement, with DPI ranges, extra, rebindable buttons, and other gameplay enhancing features. A keyboard will have extra features, but they’re almost always bells and whistles. Not that those aren’t fun. They are. But if you need something to WASD around the map, gaming keyboards will feel excessive.
Keyboard Crash Course
Before we get into the list, let’s go over some quick basics. Gaming keyboards, as with a lot of gamer marketed items, can suffer some price gouges. Some of this is understandable. Gaming keyboards tend to be rated for higher keystrokes than a typical keyboard. My starter keyboard wore down rapidly, speaking from experience. It was purely aesthetics, but it was still bothersome. Prices, as a result, can be a bit higher than a basic keyboard. The prices here will vary between $50 on the low end to upwards of $200.
There are membrane and mechanical keyboards. Membrane models don’t make a lot of noise, which is a nice bonus for some. Instead, according to Daskeyboard, they have a membrane that runs through the entire keyboard that, when pressed, makes contact with the keys. The downside is the keys have to be pressed entirely, and there’s no tactile feedback. It’s not a gaming keyboard, but my iPad’s keyboard is a membrane keyboard. After working with mechanical ones, I find the lack of tactile feedback on a membrane keyboard to be a dealbreaker in most situations. Since I have to press the keys all the way, it takes more force on each key to get a result, which results in some more typos than usual. I would hope, however, that gaming membrane keyboards will be more reliable than one for a mobile device.
Mechanical keyboards have switches that make them louder or quieter, especially in mechanical keyboards. I’m a big fan of the loud, clicky keyboards. The most common switches found in gaming keyboards are Cherry MX switches. They come in black, blue, brown, and red. Each color represents the switch’s sound and function. Black and red are soft, blue is very loud, and brown is clicky without being obtrusive.
Some brands have their own switches, such as Razer. Usually, these special switches will fall somewhere close to the Cherry MX ones.
Macros are programmable keystrokes. They’re often frowned upon in multiplayer RPGs and considered cheating.
With some of the terminology out of the way, let’s get to the list.
Best Gaming Keyboards
There are many lists like this out there, like ones from PC Gamer, TechRadar, Tom’s Guide, and PC Mag. I looked over many of these for research, but ultimately let them be merely suggestions to the list I have chosen.
Not everyone needs a wireless keyboard with gold leaf around the edge. Some players want a nice basic keyboard. If you’re in this camp, we have a couple of suggestions for you.
First is the Havit Mechanical Keyboard. This basic beauty has some lovely RGB and a USB cable. It is very basic: no macros, no drivers. Just plug it in and play and you’re ready. It has well over a thousand positive reviews on Amazon. The biggest downside, for some people, is the blue switches in the keys. While Havit used a different kind that isn’t as loud as the Cherry MX switches, these keys still produce a loud click.
The Havit Mechanical Keyboard with RGB backlighting runs for less than $60. Havit also offers other models for less.
A proper rival to the Havit model is the Razer Cynosa Chroma. It does more for less than the Havit model with macro support, RBG backlighting, and a spill-resistant build. It also is rated for 80 million clicks with a two-year warranty from the manufacturer. The Razer Cynosa Chroma is a membrane keyboard and very quiet as a result.
Midrange keyboards are between $100 and $150. I hoped to keep it around $100, but it seems the midpoint is somewhere around $120. Here we have the Razer BlackWidow Elite and the Logitech G513.
Have I mentioned I love Razer? Because I love Razer, and that makes me biased. Razer’s BlackWidow Elite is a newer model of my current BlackWidow Ultimate. It boasts clicky keys with a great tactile response, key-based color response, a plethora of RBG backlight options, media keys, macro support, and so much more. If the loud green switches are too much, Razer has a few models with their quieter orange and yellow options. It also has a cushioned rest for your wrists while gaming. An added upgrade from the BlackWidow Ultimate.
Like other Razer products, it’s rated for 80 million clicks. As a bonus, it is compatible with Xbox One for “basic functionality.”
Logitech G513 is another option for you and a slightly lower cost. The Logitech G513 decided to emphasize the RBG backlighting and customization. It’s flashy with integrated game options. It is a hefty beast, according to many reviews. It offers function keys that can be customized for media or other options. If you’re worried about the volume of the Razer suggested above, the Logitech G513 has linear switches, making it much quieter than the spider-themed keyboard above.
Now I’m not a fan of Logitech devices. They work very well when they work, but as my experience shows, and many of the reviews, they don’t have the longest life. This keyboard keeps that trend alive, judging by the variety of updated reviews.
All the bells and whistles:
There are three top contenders in this category. Technically four, but I’m lumping that fourth with its same brand sibling. All three are excellent with top reviews and some good extra features. The only difference might be the price. Some retail as high as $220.
I may love Razer, but I have noticed Corsair’s top quality products. The K95 offers everything: RBG backlighting for that gamer aesthetic, six customizable keys that can hold macros or other keystrokes, media keys, tactile feedback, and comfortable palm rest for ergonomic perfection.
I don’t have anything negative to say about this keyboard. I don’t own it. Personally, my boyfriend owns the K90, an older model. It holds up and performs well; the RGB color options are enjoyable.
I’ve combined two here because we don’t need me to go on and on about Razer for much longer. The BlackWidow Chroma V2 is a higher-end model to the BlackWidow Elite listed above designed for Esports level gameplay and is an award-winning model.
The Razer Huntsman Elite is similar to the BlackWidow line. It has a different type of switch enabled plus some USB ports allowing players to plug their mouse directly into their keyboards. Razer seems to like clicky keyboards, and the Huntsman Elite is clicky. From my brief time playing with it in the store, I’ve found it’s not as loud nor tactile as the BlackWidow series. The Huntsman Elite is a top seller on Amazon, overflowing with positive reviews. If you’re not ready for Esports level quality, the Huntsman is the choice to make.
Razer rates it for 100 million clicks, the highest we’ve seen so far. It offers a media dial for volume and control plus some extra functionality.
I love SteelSeries products. They’re capable, durable, and reliable. The only downside I’ve seen comes from the drivers. The drivers are picky. They’re not Wacom levels of temperamental, but they’re far from easygoing.
SteelSeries’ Apex Pro keyboard is a quality keyboard that offers the usual SteelSeries durability plus the flexibility and integration to adjust controls through many programs. It works with most games, Discord, and Spotify. It has the usual offers of custom controls, RBG backlighting, and a plethora of good reviews.
All of the models above are worthy choices that would be great for any gamer. It all depends on your needs, wants and most importantly, your budget.
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