A good keyboard is more than a utility for typing a text document (such as this one) or carrying the conversation on your popular tweet. If you are someone who plays a lot of games on your PC, a good keyboard that bends to the will of your play style is essential. Sadly, this is an area many players neglect, using off-the-shelf, cheap keyboards that breaks faster than Fortnite loads the next match or just aren’t as fast or efficient as the best gaming keyboard can be.
Now, you must be wondering why one should get a gaming keyboard specifically when, arguably, there are plenty of high-end work/office keyboards from Logitech and others that seemingly provide similar features. While those keyboards are definitely efficient for office use, they’re not designed to rank you in Overwatch 2. For that, you will need a gaming keyboard (ideally a mechanical keyboard) that provides faster performance, more customizability, and latency-free gaming, that standard keyboards are not designed to do.
Using a gaming keyboard over a standard, non-gaming one has several benefits. If you opt for a wireless gaming keyboard, you will benefit from a lag-free (and faster) 2.4GHz wireless connection instead of relying on Bluetooth. This means that you will not face any connectivity issues or a sudden drop in performance while you are trying to scale the leaderboards.
For wired keyboards, the increased polling rate and anti-ghosting features will ensure that every key press is registered no matter how many or how fast you press a key. Other features include programmable macro keys, hot-swappable switches (linear/tactile/clicky), per-key RGB lighting, and on some boards, additional modding features to improve the overall sound profile and typing experience of the keyboard.
Now that you know you need a gaming keyboard, how do you decide on one? There are tons of variables that go into picking the best keyboard. From its layout (100%, TKL, 75%, 65%, 60%, and maybe even 25%), typing feel, switches, and constructions, to additional features like dedicated macro keys, media keys, polling rate, connectivity options, and more.
There are a ton of options out there, offering a mix of features and functionality that you should keep in mind – after all, a well-performing and fully-featured keyboard that caters to your specific needs can make all the difference between coming at the top of the leaderboard, or at the bottom.
In my expert review, I have rounded up my top picks for the best available keyboard, which should help you narrow your choices and guide you towards gaming dominance. I also have a list of the best gaming mouse and best gaming headsets if you want to upgrade your entire setup.
Best Gaming Keyboard
- 1. Asus Azoth
- 2. Mountain Everest Max
- 3. Razer BlackWidow V4 Pro
- 4. Asus ROG Claymore II Wireless
- 5. Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Series
- 6. HyperX Alloy Origins 60
- 7. Razer Huntsman Mini Analog
- 8. SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless
- 9. Roccat Vulcan II Max
- 10. The Shrimp Model 1 Gaming Keyboard
- Best Gaming Keyboard FAQs – Frequently Asked Question
1. Asus Azoth
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: Bluetooth, 2.4Ghz, Wired | Layout: 75% | Mechanical Switches: Prelubed ROG NX Red, Brown, Blue | Hot-swappable: Yes | RGB: Yes
- Great build quality and sound dampening
- 5-pin hot-swappable PCB
- OLED screen
- Excellent DIY kit
- North-facing LEDs
- ROG NX switches are not the best
Asus’s latest entry into the mechanical keyboard is far different from what the company has released before. It’s one of the first mainstream gaming keyboards that leans heavily towards the enthusiast-grade keyboard market with a bunch of new additions and features that are usually not found on other gaming keyboards.
The Asus Azoth is a 75% mechanical with many features that would make any enthusiast keyboard builder’s ears perk up. First of all, it comes with a silicone gasket mount, which gives the keyboard a little bit of flex to give it a sort of cushiony feel when typing. A gasket mount keyboard is extremely revered in the keyboard circle and it is possibly the best way a keyboard can be mounted for optimal performance and the best typing experience.
Also included are three layers of foam for sound dampening. Asus has gone above and beyond to reduce any hollowness and pinging sound from the keyboard thanks to the multiple layers of foam – one of which is from Poron – which, with the right kind of switches and keycaps, gives the much alluring “thock” from the keyboard.
Now, three layers of foam might be overkill, and in this case, it could be ‘too much of a good thing’, but thanks to the DIY nature of the keyboard, where you can fully disassemble the top plate, keycaps, switches, and the PCB, it should be relatively easy to make any adjustments according to one’s preferences. After all, not everyone likes a ‘thocky’ keyboard. Some people do enjoy the loud clackiness of a mechanical keyboard, and for that, those sound dampeners might need to go.
The Asus Azoth offers so much customization with the keyboard that it might get you invested in taking it apart and adding third-party switches and keycaps. Thankfully, Asus provides a neat little DIY kit to get started, which includes a keycap puller, a switcher opener, a brush, one small cup of Krytox GPL-206-GD0 to lube your switches and stabilizers, and more.
Getting into the DIY aspect of the keyboard is highly recommended – especially if you have a little more budget – as the keyboard massively benefits from a good set of linear or tactile switches and new keycaps if you are not too fond of the gamer-ish aesthetic of the keyboard. If not, lubing the stock ROG NX switches is also recommended as it will provide a much smoother (and possibly quieter) typing experience depending on which switch type you get (if you get the clicky switches, avoid lubing them altogether to preserve the original sound).
Besides that, the Asus Azoth also comes with three modes of connectivity. You can connect the keyboard using the included USB-C cable, go wireless with the 2.4Ghz USB dongle or hook the keyboard up with your PC’s Bluetooth connection. Regardless of which form of connectivity you choose to use the keyboard with, Asus ensures that the performance will remain lag-free, and the anti-ghosting features will keep you from missing any key press.
The keyboard also features a small 2-inch OLED screen which can be used to play GIFs of your choice (using the Asus companion software) or show vital PC stats like CPU and GPU temperature, display media controls, and much more.
The Asus Azoth is expensive at close to AED 1,000 (US$ 249), but for the features and customizability it offers, it’s not only worth the price but also far less expensive than what similar enthusiast keyboards usually sell for.
2. Mountain Everest Max
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: Wired | Layout: TKL + optional numpad | Switches: Prelubed MountainGG Yellow, Red, Blue | Hot-swappable: Yes (3-pin only) | RGB: Yes
- Excellent build
- Modular numpad with four display screens
- Media Dock is a nice addition
- Poor software
- 3-pin PCB and north-facing LEDs
- Comes with ABS keys
Mountain might be a relatively unknown player in the keyboard space, but its penchant for innovative ideas sets it apart from the rest. Even though it’s been available for some time now, the Mountain EverestMax, is still one of the best options available out there, not only for its incredible performance but also for its unique modular offering. It has magnetic riser feet for height adjustment, as well as full RGB support that can be customized with their BaseCamp software.
The EverestMax is a mechanical Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard with 3-pin hot-swappable functionality (which means you can swap out the stock switches with any third-party ones with a 3-pin connection). The stock configuration of the keyboard comes with CherryMX switches, which are generally good, but we found these switches create a slight pinging sound that may irritate some users.
An easy, albeit pricey fix, is to swap out the switches for any other third-party ones, including Mountain’s own switches, for a better typing experience. We also found that lubing the Mountain switches (in our case, the Yellow linear switches) creates an excellent thocky typing experience, as well as quietens the switches and makes them much smoother.
If you do not want to replace the switches, a quick fix to remove the pinging sound would be to add case foam to the keyboard (which the keyboard lacks). You do not have to invest in any expensive kind of foam either – anything from cotton, masking tape, or some cheap PE foam will work to reduce the overall hollowness of the sound.
The EverestMax also comes with two modular attachments, one of which is a media dock that connects to the front left or right side of the keyboard through a USB-C port. The media dock has a screen on it and can be configured to show the clock, PC stats, media controls, and much more. The second modular attachment is a full-blown numpad with four customizable display screens to aid in productivity or streaming needs. Like the media dock, the numpad can also be installed on the left or right side of the keyboard, giving you the flexibility to set up the keyboard exactly how you want it.
3. Razer BlackWidow V4 Pro
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: Wired | Layout: Full-Size | Mechanical Switches: Prelubed Razer Green Click, Razer Yellow Linear | Hot-swappable: No | RGB: Yes
- Razer command dial
- Loads of macro keys
- 20 RGB Zones
- ABS keycaps
- Razer Synapse-dependent customization
I think the Razer engineers were assigned one simple goal when making the BlackWidow V4 Pro: Add every Razer innovation known to man in it and make it work. And they did.
The Razer BlackWidow V4 Pro is a powerhouse of a keyboard, and the company’s claim of it being a “battle station” isn’t too far-fetched. What I liked most about the keyboard is that Razer hasn’t simply focused on adding every functionality known to man but also touched on features enthusiast keyboard builders might appreciate. On top of the excellent 5052 aluminium alloy construction, Razer has also included two layers of sound dampening to reduce hollowness and pinging from the keyboard, and given a choice of buying a Yellow variant of their switch which the company claims is “smooth and silent”. This is an excellent bit of addition for those that want a smooth, thocky and silent keyboard.
But that’s not the only highlighting feature on the keyboard- we are only getting started. First up is the Razer Command Dial and eight dedicated macro keys for macro recording on the left side of the keyboard, all of which can be customized and programmed using the Razer Synapse software to do just about anything you want from the keyboard. So be it switching apps, controlling browser tabs, or accessing media controls, the Command Dial rotary performs with ease.
You can also assign up to 100 different backlight modes, each with different functions, to the Command Dial’s rotation. If that’s not enough, the keyboard also includes a full row of media controls on the top-right side that allows you to play/pause media, and also a smooth volume scroller that’s satisfying to use.
Besides that, the keyboard also has an 8,000Hz polling rate, although its need or effectiveness against a standard 1,000Hz polling rate is up for debate. Being a Razer product, it also features RGB lighting and full Razer Chroma support. The RGB lighting extends to the included wrist rest giving the keyboard a cool underglow light show.
The only knock against the BlackWidow V4 Pro is the inclusion of ABS keycaps. For the price, one would expect PBT keycaps, but Razer says that their ABS keycaps feature doubleshot molding which ensures that the labelling will never wear off, so you can take that however you want.
When it comes to a 100% gaming keyboard, there is nothing on the market that can compete with the Razer BlackWidow V4 Pro in terms of value for the buck.
4. Asus ROG Claymore II Wireless
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: 2.4Ghz, wired | Layout: TKL + numpad | Mechanical Switches: ROG NX Red and Blue Optical switches | Hot-swappable: No | RGB: Yes
- Modular Numpad
- Lag-free wireless connection
- ROG NX switches aren't the best
- Not hot-swappable
When it comes to modular gaming keyboard options, the Mountain EverestMax isn’t the only option. The Asus ROG Claymore II offers similar functionality with a modular numpad that can be placed either on the right or left side of the keyboard. However, unlike the EverestMax, it doesn’t come with a media dock dial, and the numpad features plain buttons instead of the aesthetically pleasing display buttons on the EverestMax.
Where the Claymore II beats the EverestMax is with its wireless functionality, offering 2.4 GHz lag-free wireless. The battery life is pretty decent at 43hrs with RGB lighting on, but you can squeeze more juice out of it by reducing the overall brightness of the RGB or completely turning it off (boo!). This is possible because of the 4,000 mAh battery that comes with the keyboard with fast charging that gives 18hrs of uptime in just 30 minutes.
Elsewhere, the Claymore II comes with ROG NX Red and Blue optical switches (which means no hot-swappable functionality), and while they are a decent set of switches, they may not be the best out there. And since you will not be able to remove them to lube them up, you are pretty much stuck with the stock sound of the keyboard.
Besides that, the keyboard also features a solid construction along with PBT doubleshot keycaps that should offer long-lasting durability, as well as a magnetic leatherette wrist rest.
5. Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Series
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: Wired | Layout: TKL | Mechanical Switches: Cherry MX Red/Blue/Speed/Silent, and Corsair OPX | Hot-swappable: No | RGB: Yes
- Sleek design
- Variety of authentic Cherry MX switches
- Tournament features
- Expensive for what it is
The Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Series keyboard, as the name suggests, is built specifically for enthusiast esports players. Corsair has included all the main features to cater to that market: 8,000Hz polling rate (which really isn’t all that necessary for a keyboard) and a dedicated Tournament Mode switch which disables macro activations and cuts down on RGB bling for a distraction-free gaming environment.
The best part about the keyboard is that it offers a variety of switches, including Cherry MX Red/Blue/Speed/Silent, as well as Corsair’s own OPX optical switches if that’s your flavour. Besides that, the K70 TKL Champion Series is an all-around solid keyboard with a compact form factor, dedicated media buttons and a volume scroller.
6. HyperX Alloy Origins 60
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: Wired | Layout: 60% | Mechanical Switches: HyperX Red, Aqua | Hot-swappable: No | RGB: Yes
- Well built
- Macro programmable keys via software
- Cool RGB lighting
- Takes some time to get used to
The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 is a petite take on the company’s popular Alloy Origins lineup, and it looks and performs just as well. The keyboard is simple- there are no extra keys or other bells and whistles to keep the compact size. However, it offers solid performance thanks to the excellent HyperX Red linear and Aqua tactile switches. It also features a full aircraft-grade aluminium body and RGB backlighting, which makes this mechanical a stunning but durable keyboard for competitive use.
7. Razer Huntsman Mini Analog
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: Wired | Layout: 60% | Mechanical Switches: Razer Analog switches | Hot-swappable: No | RGB: Yes
- Analog switches
- Razer Chroma-supported RGB
- Analog switches may not be compatible across all games.
The Razer Huntsman Mini Analog is one of the most innovative keyboards on the list – at least when it comes to the functionality of its switches. Unlike most switches which feature one-step actuation, this mechanical does things differently.
The Razer optical switches are the biggest USP of the keyboard and set it apart from the other 60% keyboards in the market. As the name would suggest, these switches are capable of analog control. This means that the switches send out an analog signal instead of a digital one, allowing users to manipulate the force and distance of a key press on a larger range instead of a linear curve of a standard switch. The analog switches hence can be used as an analog stick on a controller, giving 8-way movement on the WASD keys for FPS and racing games.
Moreover, Razer has also fitted the switches with dual-step and adjustable actuation functionality. The dual-step functionality allows you to execute two commands from a single key, depending on how far you press a key. For example, you can execute two abilities in Overwatch from a single key, one by lightly pressing the key, and the other by fully pressing the key. This adjustable actuation allows users to change the force required for a key to register an in-game command.
You can make the entire keyboard as light as a feather, where even the slightest touch on the keys will execute the programmed command, or make it extremely heavy, where the user must press the key fully down for it to register the command to execute it. Of course, the actuation is adjustable to be anywhere in between, giving the user freedom to set up the keyboard just the way they like.
How useful the analog switches depend on how you use them and if games support them, but if these features sound alluring to you, the Razer Huntsman Mini Analog is an excellent choice.
8. SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: 2.4Ghz, Wired | Layout: 60% | Mechanical Switches: OmniPoint 2.0 switches | Hot-swappable: No | RGB: Yes
- Analog switches with wireless connectivity
- Sturdy build
- Adjustable actuation
- Ridiculously expensive
The SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini Wireless, like the Razer Huntsman Mini Analog, also features unique optical switches that can dually actuate on a single key press. However, unlike the Razer keyboard, the Apex Pro Mini Wireless is a wireless keyboard that brings all the same functionality in a cord-free form factor.
The Apex Pro Mini Wireless is also a 60% keyboard and features SteelSeries’ OmniPoint 2.0 switches that can dually actuate based on the amount of force pressing on the switch. As such, a user can program two commands for a single key and execute them separately by either lightly touching the key or fully pressing it down.
Besides that, this mechanical features an aircraft-grade Series 5000 metal top plate to give the keyboard heft and toughness to withstand rage and slams- it happens; we have all been there, no shame. The built-in stabilizers are well-fitted and do not rattle around the chassis; however, it could have used some more lubing as they are quite noisy. Because of the nature of optical switches, the keyboard is not hot-swappable, so you will have to lube them up using innovative DIY tricks like filling a syringe with lube and squeezing some inside the stem, or using a brush or toothpick to do the same.
The Apex Pro Mini Wireless works on both 2.4GHz wireless and Bluetooth connections, as well as in wired mode with the included USB-C cable. You can program the entire keyboard using the Steelseries GG software, which not only allows per-key binding but also gives you access to “meta bindings”, that unlock a second layer of binded keys.
Since this is a wireless keyboard, battery life is an important aspect to touch as well. SteelSeries claims around 30hrs of battery life on the Apex Pro Mini Wireless, but you can squeeze more out of it by turning off the RGB (where’s the fun in that?). The battery life is decent for a week’s play but that pales compared to other wireless keyboards on this list that offer far more hours.
SteelSeries wireless offering is excellent but it is also pricey. However, if you want the dual-actuation feature in a wireless form factor, it is one of the few options available in the market.
9. Roccat Vulcan II Max
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: Wired | Layout: Full-size | Mechanical Switches: TII Optical Red, Brown | Hot-swappable: No | RGB: Yes
- Gorgeous design
- Easy Shift+ functionality
- Floating keycaps and RGB adds oomph
When you think of gaming keyboards, a handful of brands come to mind, such as Razer, Steelseries, Logitech, and HyperX. But Roccat is one such company that has been slowly climbing the ladders to dethrone the top dogs in the business with terrific innovation, and in the case of the Vulcan II Max, making one of the most beautiful-looking keyboards ever.
The gorgeous aesthetic is achieved with a unique floating keycap style that only features the top part of the keycap, leaving the rest of the translucent switches to bring the RGB bling. While the keycaps may not be the best to type on (there is too much spacing between them), the splendid light show they allow is fantastic. If you don’t care about anything else except blinging out your desktop setup, there is nothing better than the Vulcan II Max.
But this keyboard is not just beauty without brains. It’s a 100% keyboard that features Titan II optical mechanical switches that can be purchased in TII Optical Red linear or TII Optical Brown tactile variants. Both the switches offer a 1.4mm actuation distance and 45g force- the only difference being the sound profile.
The Vulcan II Max also features Easy-Shift+ functionality that unlocks a second layer of programmable keys. Each of the secondary functions is highlighted by its own dedicated LED to indicate exactly which function is enabled and is being executed. There is also a full row of dedicated media controls, as well as a translucent detachable palm rest that is enabled with RGB as well.
The overall construction is solid, too, thanks to the aluminium top plate. However, the rest of the keyboard is made of plastic. It’s not a great combo, but it’s largely an industry standard and doesn’t mean it’s any less durable than an all-around metallic case.
For nearly a thousand dirhams, the Roccat Vulcan II Max is insanely expensive for what it is. But look, it’s so pretty!
10. The Shrimp Model 1 Gaming Keyboard
Gaming Keyboard Features
Connectivity: Wired | Layout: 25% | Mechanical Switches: Gateron G Pro Yellow linear switches | Hot-swappable: No | RGB: Yes
- Funky design
- Extremely ergonomic
- Gateron Pro G Yellow switches
- It can only be used for gaming
- Full price for half a keyboard
The Shrimp Model 1 gaming keyboard is one of the whackiest products on the list, but don’t scratch it off your wishlist just yet. Yes, the keyboard only has 25 keys in total, and yes, for AED 299 (US$ 80), you won’t be able to type a full sentence on it or even write ‘GG’ in chat after a good online match.
But if you can look past some of its obvious drawbacks, there is a lot to like from this offering. The Shrimp Model 1 may look clunky, uncomfortable and pointless, but it’s far from that. The keyboard is largely marketed towards casual gamers that want to add a bit of flair to their gaming setup. However, I don’t see a reason why a serious competitive player can’t take advantage of the keyboard as well. Due to its small size, it frees up a lot of desk space for low-DPI mouse users, allowing more surface area to line up your shots instead of bumping into the sides of the keyboard and readjusting frequently.
What’s more, the Shrimp Model 1 also looks so cool. You can get the keyboard in a variety of colourways, but the Bomber version is my personal favourite. The myriad of colours and the funky street art on the included wrist rest add so much pop and flair to even the most mundane and industrial PC setups. And it’s great to show off on streams if you regularly take your days and nights on the Twitch radio waves.
As much as it looks like it, the Shrimp Model 1 is far from a gimmick. Despite what you might feel about it, the keyboard performs just like a normal keyboard would. It also feels familiar and is extremely ergonomic despite only featuring 25 keys. Once you start gaming with it, the worry about missing keys entirely goes away, as it just feels like a normal keyboard.
The Shrimp Model 1 is also sufficiently decked out for a mechanical keyboard. It features super smooth and nicely thocky Gateron G Pro Yellow switches. The keyboard is not hot-swappable so you will be stuck with the stock switches. The keycaps, though, are replaceable, and any third-party keycaps that support the Cherry profile should work well. Extra features include “cool gadgety knobs” that allow you to control volume and RGB lighting.
I do wish the Shrimp Model 1 was priced slightly cheaper because it definitely is a novelty product.
Best Gaming Keyboard FAQs – Frequently Asked Question
Which is the top keyboard for gaming
Every user will have their preference as to which gaming keyboard they will like best. There is no one-size-fits-all for keyboards (or any gaming peripherals). However, there are some things you should consider before deciding which gaming keyboard you should buy, such as wired or wireless connectivity, hot-swappable functionality, macro keys and size. Once you have a list of requirements, scroll up for my suggestions on the best gaming keyboard.
Which is the best mechanical keyboard for gaming?
There are several great options to choose from. The best mechanical keyboard for enthusiast gamers that want to tinker around with the keyboard would be either Asus Azoth or Mountain EverestMax. Otherwise, the options from Razer, HyperX and Steelseries will also deliver good results.
What is the fastest gaming keyboard 2023?
Any keyboard with anti-ghosting and a higher polling rate should be fast enough for competitive gaming.
Where are the best gaming keyboard deals?
Online retailers like Amazon and Noon.com have routine deals of gaming accessories, including keyboards. Also, check out our Best Tech Offers to score some good deals view on these headsets.
What is the most important thing to look for in a mechanical gaming keyboard?
The things to look for in a mechanical keyboard would be its form factor, the type of switches used, hot-swappable functionality, wireless/wired performance, and other features like adjustable actuation force, macro keys, media controls, etc.
Are gaming mechanical keyboards really better for gaming?
Yes, gaming keyboards make a huge difference for gamers as it provides additional features and latency-free performance over other work/office keyboards.
Can I use a regular keyboard for gaming?
You can use a regular keyboard for gaming, but for the best experience, you will have to invest in a good gaming keyboard (preferably a mechanical gaming keyboard for customizability) that will provide a host of features that will aid you in your gaming experience. Things like anti-ghosting, high polling rate, programmable macro keys, and other features will enhance your gaming experience by a lot, and these are features you won’t be able to find on a regular keyboard.
Is it easy to change mechanical switches on a keyboard?
Yes, it is very easy to change the mechanical switches on a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard. To change a switch, you will need a keycap puller and a switcher puller, with which you can pull out those two components and swap in a new switch on the available socket on the keyboard’s motherboard. For the best mechanical keyboard experience, you will want to invest in a switch that best suits your requirements, which will help take your gaming experience from good to great.