The Best Gaming Keyboards by Price (Dec 2018)

Adrian B Updated on Oct 21, 2018

You are maybe looking for a new keyboard because you don’t feel comfortable with your current one, or maybe it’s starting to have some stuck keys and you are about to throw it through the window. Maybe you just want to buy your first keyboard for your new badass gaming build.

In any case, you have to make a choice, and this can be a difficult process when it comes to choosing a keyboard based on your needs or likes.

If you are looking for a gaming keyboard you would probably have read about the different key switches available in mechanical keyboards. There are also other customization options like RGB Backlit or macro keys.

Here you will find all the information you will ever need to make a perfect choice that fit your needs.

If you see errors, misleading information, or you just don’t agree with me I would really appreciate your comments so we all can improve this post together. Try to be nice with each other and be collaborative.

How To Choose The Best Keyboard

Keyboard Types

There are two main categories depending on their key types: membrane and mechanical keyboards.

The membrane or rubber dome keyboards are commonly used in laptops. They are pretty silent due to the key’s short activation displacement. And for the same reason, they can hurt your fingers in the long term. This depends pretty much on how you hit the keys. Most of the people tend to press the keys with the fingertips (vertically) and is this movement which can damage your fingers after writing for a long time. If you press the keys more with your finger pads and you spend many hours a day writing or playing games you could use a chiclet keyboard without damaging your hand.

The cheapest option is the rubber dome keyboards, which are also known as membrane keyboards. They are pretty similar to the chiclet models so you can expect them to be silent and comfortable for casual users.

The mechanical keyboards are just another world, or a world itself if you want. There is a wide variety of models depending on the key activation mechanism used. They are not only used by gamers but for writers or programmers or anyone who writes many hours on a daily basis. And as you can expect, mechanical keyboards are way more expensive than membrane models. The downside of this keyboard type is that its keys wear out over time and they can lose its original feeling after a couple of years of heavy use, but this really depends on the product’s quality.

custom-mechanical-keyboard

Mechanical Keyboards Characteristics

Material and Label Printing

The comfort of a key depends primarily on the underneath mechanism, but it also depends on the key’s material. Each manufacturer uses its own material, but in general, the better the keyboard, the better the key feeling. In some cases, the keys are interchangeable, which gives you room for more custom options.

The cheapest keyboards use stickers to label the keys which fade over time. The next quality keyboards level prints the labels via laser, which are more durable. The top notch keyboards use a printing technique called sublimation to inject the ink right into the plastic. This technique offers the most durable labels and the best part is that you won’t notice them.

Mechanisms

Choosing the best switch type for your needs can be difficult, especially when there is such a wide variety. You probably would be asking yourself what differentiates one switch type from another:

  • Tactile or Linear: tactile switches are those which you can feel the moment where the key acts (close the contact). Otherwise, the switch would be linear.
  • Clicky: a switch is considered to be clicky when at the moment the key closes the contact, it produces a sound (a “click”).
  • Actuation Force: needed force to be applied to the key to acting.
  • Peak Force: needed force to full-travel the key. This characteristic only applies to tactile switches.

Choosing the best switch type is entirely up to you. In case you don’t know where to start, the common recommendations for Gamers are non-tactile Cherry Red switches due to their lower noise levels and low actuation force.

Keyboards Switches Types
Type
Clicky
Tactile
Peak Force
Actuation Force
Cherry MX - Black
No
No
-
60 cN
Cherry MX - Brown
No
Yes
60 cN
45 cN
Cherry MX - Red
No
No
-
45 cN
Cherry MX - Clear
No
Yes
65 cN
55 cN
Cherry MX - Blue
Yes
Yes
60 cN
50 cN
Cherry MX - White
Yes
Yes
80 cN
50 cN
Cherry MX - Green
Yes
Yes
105 cN
80 cN
Cherry MX - Speed
No
No
-
45 cN
Razer - Green
Yes
Yes
60 cN
50 cN
Razer - Orange
No
Yes
60 cN
45 cN
Razer - Chiclet
No
No
-
62±2 cN
SteelSeries QS1
No
No
-
45 cN

Buying Guide

The most common switches here for mechanical keyboards are the Red, Black and Brown Cherry MX. The Red Cherry requires less force so they are used in fast games where you need to hit the keys as fast as possible. The Black Cherry is a little tougher and that can help you to avoid unintentional pulsations.

Unless the Red Cherry and Black Cherry, the Brown Cherry is tactile and the required force is between the Red and Black. Those features make the Brown Cherry suitable for both writing and gaming.

Basic – From $10 to $60

The following keyboards covers the casual user’s needs. They do not offer any special feature but they are still good enough for general use.

Logitech MK270 Keyboard/Mouse Combo

Logitech MK270 Keyboard/Mouse Combolaunch

chevron_rightWireless
chevron_right20.6 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches
chevron_rightRubber Dome
Market Price: $21.41
Available on:
Amazon USA
Logitech MK520 Keyboard/Mouse Combo

Logitech MK520 Keyboard/Mouse Combolaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right18.5 x 8.2 x 2.9 inches
chevron_rightRubber Dome
Market Price: $39.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Standard – From $60 to $100

SteelSeries Apex RAW

SteelSeries Apex RAWlaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right20.1 x 8.7 x 2 inches
chevron_rightWhite Backlit
chevron_rightChiclet
Market Price: $49.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
SteelSeries Apex 350

SteelSeries Apex 350launch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right20.1 x 8.7 x 2 inches
chevron_rightRGB Backlit
chevron_rightChiclet
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA
Logitech G610 Orion Red

Logitech G610 Orion Redlaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right17.6 x 6 x 1.4 in inches
chevron_rightWhite Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Brown
Market Price: $89.95
Available on:
Amazon USA
Corsair K63

Corsair K63launch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right14.4 x 6.7 x 1.6 inches
chevron_rightRed Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Red
Market Price: $74.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
G.Skill Ripjaws KM570 MX

G.Skill Ripjaws KM570 MXlaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right6.25 x 17.6 x 1.8 in inches
chevron_rightRed Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Red
Market Price: $69.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
video_library
Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum G7SFL

Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum G7SFLlaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right19 x 7 x 2 inches
chevron_rightRGB Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Brown
Market Price: $139.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
Logitech G413

Logitech G413launch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right17.5 x 5.1 x 1.4 inches
chevron_rightRed Backlit
chevron_rightRomer G
Market Price: $72.40
Available on:
Amazon USA
SteelSeries Apex M500

SteelSeries Apex M500launch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right17.3 x 1.6 x 5.4 inches
chevron_rightBlue Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Red
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2016

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2016launch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right1.6 x 7.2 x 17.7 inches
chevron_rightGreen Backlit
chevron_rightRazer Green
Market Price: $89.99
Available on:
Amazon USA

Pro – From $100

Corsair Gaming K70 LUX

Corsair Gaming K70 LUXlaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right17.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
chevron_rightRGB Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Blue
Market Price: $79.99
Available on:
Amazon USA
Razer BlackWidow X Tournament Edition Chroma

Razer BlackWidow X Tournament Edition Chromalaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right1.6 x 6.3 x 14.4 inches
chevron_rightRGB Backlit
chevron_rightRazer Green
Market Price: $117.95
Available on:
Amazon USA
Corsair Gaming K95

Corsair Gaming K95launch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right19.7 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
chevron_rightWhite Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Red
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA
Gigabyte Aivia Osmium

Gigabyte Aivia Osmiumlaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right21.5 x 2.8 x 14.2 inches
chevron_rightBlue Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Red
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA
Razer BlackWidow Chroma

Razer BlackWidow Chromalaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right7.2 x 18.5 x 1.5 inches
chevron_rightRGB Backlit
chevron_rightRazer Green
Market Price: $195.00
Available on:
Amazon USA
Corsair Gaming K95 RGB Aircraft-Grade Aluminum

Corsair Gaming K95 RGB Aircraft-Grade Aluminumlaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right21.5 x 9.6 x 2.9 inches
chevron_rightRGB Backlit
chevron_rightCherry Red
Market Price: --
Available on:
Amazon USA
SteelSeries Apex M800 Customizable

SteelSeries Apex M800 Customizablelaunch

chevron_rightWired
chevron_right6.8 x 20.1 x 1.6 inches
chevron_rightRGB Backlit
chevron_rightSteelSeries QS1
Market Price: $268.84
Available on:
Amazon USA

Changelog

Added Products

  • May 8, 2017: Corsair Gaming K95, Corsair K63, Logitech G413, Logitech G610 Orion Red
  • May 2, 2017: MechanicalEagle Z-77, Corsair Vengeance K65, Logitech MK520
  • March 18, 2017: Corsair Gaming K70 LUX
  • February 1, 2017: G.Skill Ripjaws KM570 MX, Cougar Attack X3 RGB

Removed Products

  • October 12, 2018: MechanicalEagle Z-77, Corsair Vengeance K65
  • May 8, 2017: Gigabyte GK-FORCE K7, Logitech Keyboard K120
  • March 18, 2017: Corsair Gaming K70

 

How did you find this guide? Do you prefer mechanical or membrane keyboards? Do you use a particular mechanical switch for any reason? Do you have a unique customized keyboard?

Comment Below!
Loading comments