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The Best Gaming Keyboards of 2022

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Editor's Choice Product image of SteelSeries Apex Pro
Best Overall

SteelSeries Apex Pro

Not just a gorgeous design, this keyboard is the customization king, enabling you to tailor every aspect for your gaming needs. Read More

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Customizable key actuation
  • Per-key RGB lighting

Cons

  • Expensive
2
Editor's Choice Product image of Roccat Vulcan TKL
Best Tenkeyless

Roccat Vulcan TKL

Great build quality in a smaller form, this mechanical keyboard ditches the number pad, but has plenty of features. Read More

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Bright lighting
  • Volume knob

Cons

  • No wrist rest
3
Product image of Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO

Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO

Currently
Unavailable

A pleasure to type on for work or play, this stunning gaming keyboard offers lots of customization options. Read More

Pros

  • Aluminum board looks great
  • Bright lighting
  • Dedicated media keys

Cons

  • Hard wrist rest
  • No USB pass-through
4
Editor's Choice Product image of Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard

Logitech ditched the number pad on this keyboard, prioritizing compactness. We like its performance and build quality. Read More

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • No number pad
5
Product image of Whirlwind FX Element V2 - Red Linear

Whirlwind FX Element V2 - Red Linear

This keyboard boasts a premium design with a choice of key switches, but the real highlight is reactive lighting. Read More

Pros

  • Advanced reactive lighting
  • Very durable
  • Great performance

Cons

  • No dedicated media keys
  • No cable management

If you're serious about PC gaming, a quick, comfortable keyboard is a must-have. A step beyond the standard, the best gaming keyboards offer traits that can elevate your gameplay.

Features like mechanical keys with quick, reliable travel and more generous key spacing are standard these days. Fully configurable lighting, cable routing, wrist rests, and long-term durability may also factor into your choice. Some manufacturers are now even using hot swappable boards for changing out mechanical key switches.

Our absolute favorite gaming keyboard is the flawless SteelSeries Apex Pro (available at Amazon) . This mechanical keyboard has a svelte aluminum design, a magnetic wrist rest, bright RGB lighting, incredibly deep customizability, and an OLED screen. It also comes in a smaller 60% version. Don’t worry, though, if you don’t fancy our pricey best gaming keyboard pick, there are many other options with different feature sets at various prices.

SteelSeries Apex Pro
Credit: Reviewed.com/Simon Hill

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a feature-packed, mechanical, gaming keyboard that's a joy to use.

Best Overall
SteelSeries Apex Pro
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: Full-sized, 104 keys
  • Key switches: OmniPoint

Even though the SteelSeries Apex Pro is a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, it doesn’t take up too much room on the desktop. (There is also a tenkeyless version, and the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless is even smaller at 60% of the original.)

The build quality is top class, with a matte black aluminum board and an incredibly comfortable, soft-touch wrist rest that connects to the Apex Pro magnetically.

There’s a small OLED at the top right, along with a clickable roller and a large key that serve as dedicated media controls. You can make the OLED display your gamer tag or even a GIF animation, but it also offers some welcome feedback on your chosen settings and profiles, so you don’t need to tab out of your game to tweak things.

The headline feature here is the OmniPoint switches. Not only does SteelSeries claim that they’re more responsive and durable than conventional mechanical keyboard switches, they also offer customizable actuation points. This means you can configure your preferred sensitivity level, from the lightest of touches to a deeper press. It doesn’t change the feel of typing on the keyboard (which is excellent by the way), but it does change when the key press registers.

Since you can set sensitivity per individual key, it allows you to dampen certain keys you find yourself accidentally pressing, but leave WASD super sensitive, for example. Take the time to set up different profiles for work and play, and even for individual games, and you will feel the benefit. Accurately typing on this keyboard is a breeze, and it’s relatively quiet for a mechanical board.

The SteelSeries Apex Pro features bright RGB lighting, which is fully configurable on a per key basis. The SteelSeries Engine 3 software is fairly easy to get to grips with. You can set main and meta key bindings, use a macro editor, tweak the actuation force, set up lighting effects and colors, and even load a custom image or GIF for the OLED screen. There’s room for five onboard profiles.

With cable routing left, middle, or right, and a passthrough USB with its own lit-up port on the left, the Apex Pro embodies thoughtful design. Both gaming and typing on this keyboard are an absolute pleasure and nothing offers deeper customization, but the price makes it a serious investment.

Pros

  • Beautiful design

  • Customizable key actuation

  • Per-key RGB lighting

Cons

  • Expensive

Roccat Vulcan TKL
Credit: Reviewed.com/Simon Hill

The Roccat Vulcan TKL loses the number pad, but has everything else you could want in a gaming keyboard.

Best Tenkeyless
Roccat Vulcan TKL
  • Connection: USB-C
  • Size: Tenkeyless, 87 keys
  • Key switches: Titan Linear or Titan Tactile

Some of the top gaming keyboards today are tenkeyless (TKL for short), which means they don’t have a number pad. The Roccat Vulcan TKL matches the larger 120 AIMO on quality, with Roccat’s mechanical Titan switches, short key caps above a beautiful aluminum board, and bright, fully customizable RGB lighting.

It’s a pleasure to type on the Vulcan TKL. Typing at speed is easy and accurate, with precision N-key rollover ensuring nothing is missed. The concave keys have plenty of travel and a very responsive feel. It’s a great keyboard for gaming and relatively quiet, even when the action ramps up. There’s no wrist rest, but Roccat has included extras like a pill-shaped mute key at the top, right alongside a handy volume knob.

Smaller keyboards like the Vulcan TKL are easier to maneuver and much more portable. If you travel with your keyboard, then you’ll appreciate the removable USB-C cable and the onboard profile storage.

Install Roccat’s Swarm software and you can create and save up to five profiles on the board. You can also cycle through a small collection of lighting effects or take the time to create your own. The short keycaps make the lighting seem brighter than other boards.

Pros

  • Attractive design

  • Bright lighting

  • Volume knob

Cons

  • No wrist rest


Other Gaming Keyboards We Tested

Product image of Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO
Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: Full-sized, 109 keys
  • Key switches: Titan Tactile

Featuring a simply stunning design with an excellent build quality and some of the brightest LED lighting we’ve seen, the Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO is an impressive mechanical gaming keyboard. Short key caps float above the anodized aluminum plate, exposing the switches beneath.

Roccat’s “Titan” switches offer plenty of travel, don’t require much force, and feel very satisfying to press; we didn't have a single key-press failure in our time with it. This keyboard is easy to type on at speed, reliable for frenetic gaming sessions, and relatively quiet.

The Vulcan 120 AIMO is a full keyboard with a number pad, so it’s quite big. There’s a detachable magnetic wrist rest that attaches onto the bottom, and it’s the only minor disappointment, as it’s not the most comfortable. The braided cable is permanently attached to the back.

Roccat also offers media controls, and there’s a dial at the top right that can be used to adjust volume or brightness. Each key is illuminated individually, and you have a wide choice of lighting effects.

Roccat’s Swarm software enables you to remap keys, set up profiles for different games, and use macros, though sadly there’s no MacOS support. Swarm also lets you select lighting effects or create your own, with the option to add sound feedback to the keys if you decide that they’re too quiet.

The Roccat Vulcan 120 AIMO is a significant investment, but worth it if you crave a solid mechanical gaming keyboard that will light up your desktop in more ways than one. It’s often on sale, as well, which makes it even more tempting.

Pros

  • Aluminum board looks great

  • Bright lighting

  • Dedicated media keys

Cons

  • Hard wrist rest

  • No USB pass-through

Product image of Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard
Logitech G Pro
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: Tenkeyless, 90 keys
  • Key switches: GX Blue Clicky

The Logitech G Pro boasts a combination of reliable performance, compact size, and simple, robust features. The tenkeyless Logitech G Pro ditches the number pad found on the right-hand side of most keyboards in favor of a more compact design.

While this makes it slightly less ideal for general/office use, it makes it easier to center equidistantly under each hand, which is better for typing and certain game layouts. You're getting fewer keys here compared to most gaming keyboards, but you're also essentially paying for sheer performance rather than a potentially extraneous set of keys.

It may seem odd that the smaller G Pro fetches a higher price than some of the much larger—and perhaps flashier—keyboards on the list, but you're not just paying for portability here. The satisfyingly clicky keys boast reliable, quick travel, and the symmetrical/center-based layout lends typing a sturdiness that first-time users should find very appealing.

The Logitech Pro is great for general typing, and its minimalist design won't offend aesthetic sensibilities if you're looking for form as well as function. The detachable cable and compact design also make it easy to pack away and take on the road.

Pros

  • Compact design

  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • No number pad

Product image of Whirlwind FX Element V2 - Red Linear
Whirlwind FX Element
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: Full-sized, 104 keys
  • Key switches: Gateron Blue Clicky, Red Linear, or Brown Tactile

While RGB lighting has become a standard feature for gaming keyboards, the Whirlwind FX Element takes it to a whole new level. Whirlwind’s Signal software offers a host of lighting effects and integrations for more than 50 top games, including Fortnite, Minecraft, and Cyberpunk 2077. Reactive lighting is designed to boost immersion and enhance gaming experience. For example, the keyboard will flash red when you take damage in Minecraft, white when you open the inventory, and blue when you swim in water.

Beyond the interesting lighting, there’s a brushed aluminum board with a permanently attached braided cable. Full ABS keycaps sit atop Gateron mechanical key switches in a choice of Blue Clicky, Red Linear, and Brown Tactile. Travel is good and it’s very responsive, with a 3000Hz polling rate and anti-ghosting. It’s easy to type accurately at speed and it works well in long gaming sessions, but it can be a little noisy.

The reactive lighting is undeniably cool. You can even have the keyboard mirror the colors on your monitor, but the software has a learning curve. If you want to create your own effects or game profiles, you’ll have to learn how to code them.

There’s also a strange lack of mapping options or macro support, which will be essential for some gamers. Ultimately, this is a quality keyboard at a reasonable price, elevated by the very smart idea of adding utility to lighting that is usually just decorative.

Pros

  • Advanced reactive lighting

  • Very durable

  • Great performance

Cons

  • No dedicated media keys

  • No cable management

Product image of Corsair K60 RGB Pro
Corsair K60 RGB Pro
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: Full-sized, 104 keys
  • Key switches: Cherry Viola

Mechanical gaming keyboards can be expensive, so the K60 RGB Pro from Corsair is noteworthy for coming in under $100 without sacrificing many features. It has an understated style with a dark brushed aluminum board and low-profile keycaps to expose the customizable RGB lighting. (The white plastic surrounds on the switches do detract a little from the look.) It’s also surprisingly compact for a full keyboard, but there are no dedicated media keys.

The Corsair K60 RGB Pro sports Cherry Viola switches (a budget-minded alternative to Cherry MX switches) with plenty of travel and N-key rollover, so every stroke registers. It’s easy to type quickly and accurately with this board. While keys actuate relatively quietly and without too much force, heavy typists may pick up on an unpleasant ring when keys bottom out.

For gaming, the ABS keycaps are a little slippery and can pick up greasy finger smudges. There’s no wrist rest, but it’s worth noting that an extra $10 gets you the SE model with superior PBT keycaps and a wrist rest.

Fans of lighting will appreciate this keyboard. You can use the iCue software to select different lighting effects or set colors on a per-key basis. You can also use Corsair’s software to record macros and reprogram keys, but there’s no onboard storage for profiles. While it doesn’t match some of our top picks, the Corsair K60 RGB Pro is excellent for the price.

Pros

  • Compact and attractive

  • Fully customizable keys

  • Bright lighting

Cons

  • No wrist rest

  • White plastic switch covers

  • No onboard memory

Product image of Razer Huntsman Mini
Razer Huntsman Mini
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: 60%, 61 keys
  • Key switches: Razer Clicky Optical Switch (Purple), Linear Optical Switch (Red), or Analog Optical Switches

If portability is a major concern for you, but you don’t want to compromise on quality, the Razer Huntsman Mini is certain to appeal. This is a 60% gaming keyboard and easily the most compact keyboard we’ve ever used.

There are 61 keys in total, ditching the number pad, the function row, the cursor arrows and delete. It’s compact enough to easily angle on your desktop for maximum comfort or stow away in a backpack. The USB-C cable can be detached and there’s onboard memory for up to five keyboard profiles.

The typing experience is very satisfying, with great feedback and minimal force required. You can choose between Razer’s clicky purple optical switches or the linear red optical switches. The latter require even less force and dampen the sound for a quieter experience, but cost $10 more.

If you’re using this keyboard with other people around, it’s probably worth shelling out the extra $10. It’s an exceptionally durable feeling keyboard with an aluminum case and tough PBT keycaps that won’t wear or get shiny with secondary inputs printed on the edges.

Whether you’ll miss the keys that aren’t here depends on how you use your keyboard, but you’ll certainly have to get used to shortcuts. We found the lack of arrow keys irritating, though you can press and hold the function key to get the same functions (and others), with available shortcut keys lighting up white.

Speaking of lighting, it can be configured, along with everything else, via Razer’s Synapse software. The Razer Huntsman Mini costs $119.99 with the clicky purple switches or $129.99 with the linear red switches. If you crave a compact mechanical keyboard, it’s hard to do better for the price.

Pros

  • Customizable lighting

  • Very portable

Cons

  • Limited keys

  • Limited MacOS support

Product image of Logitech G413
Logitech G413 Carbon
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: Full-sized, 104 keys
  • Key switches: Logitech Romer-G tactile

Logitech's G413 is highly affordable, but don't let its price dissuade you. The G413 still wields Romer-G keys, a sturdy design, and gives ample real estate for both gaming and typing. Our one pet peeve with the G413—which is available in either silver or carbon finishes—is the spring sound.

While all mechanical keyboards use springs to provide quick, clicky travel, the G413's spring-return noise (a high-pitched metallic ring) is audible to the point of distraction. While this isn't likely to be a problem if you're playing with headphones or a game that's particularly loud/busy, it can be irritating for other use cases. This could be a fault of the Romer-G keys, or simply the G413's design.

However, outside of that nitpick, this is a good choice for the asking price. It shaves off extraneous features and a bit of build quality to undercut the competition, but if you want entry-level, we recommend it.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Sturdy design

  • Plenty of space

Cons

  • Extra-loud key return noise

How We Test Gaming Keyboards

The Tester

I am Simon Hill, and I have more than a decade of experience reviewing all sorts of consumer technology. Before I was a writer, I worked as a game designer for many years and had a serious first-person shooter habit. I work on a computer all day and often play games long into the night, so a good gaming keyboard is essential to me.

The Tests

We use each gaming keyboard for at least three days. We work through a normal day with each keyboard, typing, researching, and running through typical administrative tasks. At night, each product is put through its paces in marathon gaming sessions with a range of different titles, including first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and more sedate management sims. Then all of the keyboards are matched up using a variety of key metrics to find their overall score and rank.

What You Should Know About Gaming Keyboards

How to Choose a Gaming Keyboard

  • Wired vs. Wireless: Most gaming keyboards are wired, but you can find wireless options. You may prefer a wireless keyboard if you’re not gaming at a desk or you travel often, but battery life will be a problem if you like backlighting. Many wired keyboards are also portable, just look for removable cables to make them easier to pack up. Some gaming keyboards also offer cable routing that can help them fit in with your desktop.

  • The feel: The best test is trying a keyboard firsthand. Think about the feel of the keys, the sound it makes, the spacing, the extras, and the wrist rest. A quality board is likely to be with you for years, so you want something that feels right for you.

  • Extra keys: You can remap all the keys on a gaming keyboard to suit you and even create profiles for different games. Some gaming keyboards include programmable buttons for shortcuts or for macros, which chain together a series of actions. You may also find special media keys and a volume roller or knob useful.

  • Customizable lighting: RGB lighting is an expectation in a gaming keyboard. Manufacturers provide software that will include preset lighting effects, and most enable you to craft your own. The level of customization varies, with some offering per-key lighting and complex layered effects. Simple backlighting is a bare minimum, allowing you to play in the dark.

  • Portability: The size and weight will be a factor if portability is a concern for you. Tenkeyless boards drop the number pad, and some gaming keyboards scale back even further, but be aware that you’ll need to use key combinations to access some functions. Another thing to look for if you want to take your gaming keyboard on the road is the ability to store profiles in its onboard memory.

  • Wrist rest: Support and comfort can be enhanced by the right wrist rest. The best keyboards for gaming have removable wrist rests that attach magnetically. Consider how it will feel in the long term and how it will age.

Terms You Should Know

  • Mechanical switches: With a mechanical keyboard, each key is a spring-loaded switch. They tend to be reliable and durable, but they can also be quite loud to type on. There are many different types of mechanical switches, and sometimes you’ll get a choice of switches for the same keyboard. Different switches will have a different feel and require different amounts of force or travel. You can usually switch the keycaps and customize more elements of a mechanical keyboard.

  • Membrane switches: Employing a simpler construction that relies on a membrane layer on top of a printed circuit board, these rubber-dome switches are much cheaper than their mechanical counterparts. They tend to offer less tactile feedback and have a shorter lifespan than mechanical switches, but they are much quieter and cheaper.

  • Keycaps: These are the plastic covers that go over the top of the switches. You often have a choice of different keycaps with mechanical keyboards, often made of PVC or ABS. While PVC wears relatively quickly, ABS keycaps are more durable and resistant to oils and smears.

  • N-key rollover: Key rollover and "anti-ghosting" refers to how many keys you can press at once before the keystrokes stop registering. If you have N-Key rollover, every keystroke will register, ideal in a gaming keyboard.

  • RGB: This stands for red, blue, green, and means you can change the color of the lights on your gaming keyboard. Most gaming keyboards have some RGB lighting, but the available lighting effects differ across devices and brands. At the top end, you can customize lighting on a per-key basis.

  • Polling rate: This refers to how often your keyboard is checking for key presses and reporting back to your computer. It’s measured in Hertz (Hz). A polling rate of 1,000 Hz indicates that your keyboard is checking for keystrokes 1,000 times per second. A higher polling rate means a faster reaction time, but can drain system resources.

  • USB passthrough: Some gaming keyboards include a USB port that you can use to plug in a mouse, receiver, or another USB device.

  • Tenkeyless (TKL): Tenkeyless or TKL keyboards cut off the number pad section at the end. If you don’t use the number pad, chopping it off can free up some desk space. This also enables you to move your mouse closer, to increase comfort and reduce the risk of strains.

Meet the testers

Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor, Home Theater

@Koanshark

Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews
Simon Hill

Simon Hill

Contributor

@IamSimonHill

Simon Hill is a freelance technology journalist with a decade of writing experience covering everything from smartphones to smart home gadgets. For the last few years, he served as Associate Editor at Digital Trends where he wrote features, reviews, analysis, how-tos, and more.

See all of Simon Hill's reviews

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