One of the biggest advantages of PC gaming is the level of precision that comes from playing with a mouse and keyboard, and that has led to a cottage industry of keyboards specifically built around the needs of gamers. It also means you need to do some discriminating shopping to help identify the winners from the losers and not waste your money on a keyboard that isn’t suited to your specific gaming needs.
Our guide will provide you with an analysis of 10 of our favorite contenders for the best gaming keyboard of 2021, but we’ll also dig deeper than that to make sure that you have all the tools and resources you need to pick out the features and hardware that matter the most to you.
Best Gaming Keyboard for 2021:
- Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Gaming Keyboard
- KINESIS Gaming Split Mechanical Keyboard
- Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard
- HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Gaming Keyboard
- Logitech G413 Backlit Gaming Keyboard
- Das Keyboard X50Q Gaming Keyboard
- Cooler Master MK850 Gaming Keyboard
- SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL Gaming Keyboard
- Dell Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard
- Asus ROG Strix Gaming Keyboard
1. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum Gaming Keyboard
A Versatile and Tactile Gaming Peripheral
Just about any feature you could hope to find in a gaming keyboard is present in the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum. You may find yourself paying a bit of a premium here, but the K95 RGB Platinum is without a doubt one of the very best gaming keyboards.
The incredibly versatile lighting system and dedicated macro keys on the K95 RGB Platinum are complemented by the ability to store up to 8 megabytes of profiles. If you want a gaming keyboard that can work capably with all of your favorite games, that memory will really go a step beyond. Thanks to the Cherry MX Brown switches, the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum delivers a quiet but tactile typing experience.
2. KINESIS Gaming Split Mechanical Keyboard
Unique Design with Seemingly Endless Customizability
There's no other gaming keyboard quite like the Kinesis, and we mean that in the most literal sense. This gaming keyboard can split in half, providing you with a far more personalized playstyle and allowing you to create an ergonomic experience that's suited to your unique posture.
All of the keys are fully programmable, and you're given just as many options - if not more - for adjusting the lighting colors and effects. This gaming keyboard uses Cherry RX Blue switches - a decision that results in a clickier finger feel with a great sense of responsiveness.
3. Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard
Affordable and Durable with Some Serious Functionality
Razer is a name synonymous with quality gaming accessories, and they've managed to produce a more budget-oriented keyboard with the Cynosa while still delivering on some of the better gaming features expected of the brand. The Chroma interface gives you access to millions of different colors, and this gaming keyboard can even sync up with any existing smart lighting in your home.
The anti-rollover and anti-ghosting capabilities are pretty impressive here, too. You can execute up to ten commands at the same time without having to worry. It's a durable keyboard too, rated for a life of 80 million clicks and backed by a two-year manufacturer's warranty.
4. HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Gaming Keyboard
The great thing about the mechanical keys that Cherry MX offers is that there's a style for practically any type of gamer. Even the best gaming keyboards often come with limited options, though. The HyperX Alloy Elite, by contrast, allows you to pick from Cherry MX red, blue, or brown switches, all for roughly the same price.
Regardless of the Cherry MX mechanical switch type you choose, you can count on some solid build quality on the keyboard itself. It's constructed from sturdy but lightweight aluminum, and the comfortable but detachable wrist rest brings a softer and gentler texture to its surface.
5. Logitech G413 Backlit Gaming Keyboard
A Seriously Durable and Versatile Piece of Kit
Logitech is a company that's all about producing results. Just like many of their other peripherals, the G413 is all about providing the fundamentals at a decent price point. In this case, it's one of the best gaming keyboards for under $75. The Romer-G mechanical switches are highly responsive and durable, and a full bank of function keys is included in lieu of dedicated macro buttons.
The keyboard itself is constructed from an aluminum and magnesium alloy, allowing for a higher level of durability. The keys themselves are raised off the keyboard, giving you easy access to the switches and making routine cleaning a breeze.
6. Das Keyboard X50Q Gaming Keyboard
German Engineering with Sophisticated Features
German engineering doesn't just apply to cars - at least not if Das Engineering has anything to say about it. The X50Q isn't exactly flashy in design, but the quality performance regarding just about every important metric means that this mechanical keyboard will work just as well in the office as it will when synced up to your gaming rig.
The best selling point here is the support for applets - miniature applications that can perform sophisticated functions in a wide variety of software when properly programmed. If you like to get meticulous with your gaming macros, then this could be the ideal gaming keyboard for you.
7. Cooler Master MK850 Gaming Keyboard
Some manufacturers like to slap some RGB lights on a traditional keyboard and just call it a gaming keyboard, but the Cooler Master MK850 is one of the best gaming keyboards specifically because it goes above and beyond expectations. The dedicated media keys and precision wheels on this Cooler Master keyboard can be fully customized to suit your favorite games, and everything can be controlled on the fly without the need for software.
In terms of ergonomics, the Cooler Master is one of the best gaming keyboards because it does something no others can. The aim pad controls on this keyboard from Cooler Master can provide you with some of the most precise gaming available without sacrificing your comfort in the process.
8. SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL Gaming Keyboard
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is one of the best gaming keyboards we've seen in terms of aesthetics. The flat design allows the mechanical keys to really stand out, and the diversity of different RGB zones lets you put together a light show that really matches your unique personality. The aluminum alloy from which the SteelSeries Apex Pro is constructed offers some pretty solid durability, too.
The SteelSeries Apex Pro really sets itself apart with its OLED display. As an integrated command center, it can help you adjust settings for different games as well as for a variety of popular platforms like Spotify or Discord.
9. Dell Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard
The Dell Alienware Pro finds the best balance between professionalism and gaming swagger. The smoothly brushed aluminum frame and beveled corners look great without being ostentatious, and that extends to the keys themselves, which use a rainbow scheme to lend some personality to the design.
But functionality is the real core value that makes this one of the best gaming keyboards. The six adjustable macro keys are all easily accessible along the left side of the keyboard, and the three adjustable heights for the keyboard legs help you find a level of comfort that works for you. There's even an optional palm rest for extended gaming sessions.
10. Asus ROG Strix Gaming Keyboard
Asus takes things seriously with their Republic of Gamers line. This model falls square in the middle of the price range for the best gaming keyboards, but it punches well above its weight class. The Cherry MX red switches should suit the needs of most gamers, but you can choose from practically any Cherry MX switch available today.
Asus has made some pretty smart decisions with the positioning of the keys here. The control keys have been extended horizontally for easier access and higher accuracy, making this one of the best gaming keyboards for players who prefer competitive first-person shooters.
Gaming Keyboard Buyer’s Guide
Looking for the best gaming keyboards but not quite sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place. Our guide to the best gaming keyboards will fill you in on all the important details so you can find a keyboard model that’s perfectly tailored to your specific gaming needs.
One of the big advantages often touted about PC gaming rather than console gaming is that the control scheme of a keyboard offers a higher level of accuracy. When playing games like first-person shooters, that usually tends to pan out especially well. A gaming mouse and keyboard can change how you play in a pretty fundamental way, but a mechanical keyboard can similarly improve your performance dramatically over a membrane gaming keyboard.
Related: You may also like our guide to the best cheap gaming mouse.
If you have the money for it and you’re serious about tracking down the best gaming keyboards, we absolutely recommend that you invest in a mechanical model like the SteelSeries Apex. The inclusion of mechanical switches creates a more tactile experience as well as one that’s more accurate, and all mechanical keyboards come with anti-ghosting and n-key rollover, too. That means that more frenetic typists don’t need to worry about their keystrokes not registering.
There is certainly a place for membrane keyboards. They tend to be more ergonomically designed and are usually significantly cheaper than those with mechanical switches. If you’re a casual gamer, a membrane model should be just fine. If you take your gaming seriously, though, you’ll probably want to make an upgrade to a mechanical model sooner rather than later.
One of the biggest specs of mechanical gaming keyboards listed by manufacturers is the type of switches used in their design. Undoubtedly the biggest and best name on the market is Cherry MX. Cherry MX switches come in a variety of different styles, so there are switches for just about every style of gamer, and they’re equally as worthwhile for people who simply prefer the feel of mechanical keyboards or are aiming for higher levels of productivity. These switches are identified by color.
- Cherry MX Red switches are for gamers who want the least amount of resistance. They’re quiet and responsive but don’t give you much tactile feedback.
- Cherry MX Blue switches represent the opposite of red switches. These keys feel heavy and have a satisfying click to them, so if you want to make sure that every keystroke is fully registered, you can guarantee accuracy with these switches.
- Cherry MX Black switches fall somewhere in between the Blue and Red versions. A gaming keyboard with these key switches is great for titles like real-time strategy games where you need to repeatedly tap buttons as fast as possible.
- Cherry MX Brown switches are the most balanced of the offered by Cherry. They find the ideal balance between typing and gaming, so they’re great if you want a versatile gaming keyboard that you don’t plan on using just for gaming.
Cherry MX isn’t the only option on the market, and they certainly aren’t the only option worth your time despite being the most popular. Kailh is a Chinese manufacturer offering a similar catalog of switches with similar labeling, while brands like Logitech and Razer have their own in-house switch designs. If you’re really worried about responsiveness when typing, then you may be best off checking out different types of switches in person before you make your purchase.
Wireless or Wired
If you ask any pro gamer about the best gaming keyboard, you’ll get a lot of varied responses. What you won’t find is a lot of support for wireless keyboards. While a wireless keyboard can offer a more convenient gaming experience, the fact that the device needs to send a signal wirelessly means that there’s always some level of input lag.
For most gamers, that lag won’t make much of a difference, but serious gamers need every edge they can get. We’ve focused our attention to wired models for our best gaming keyboard list, but you can check out our guide to the best wireless keyboards if you want something that’s cord-free.
Macros are one of the most versatile tools that a gamer can have. Whether you’re looking for a one-button solution for launching a power in Call of Duty, an integrated way to check in on your pals on Discord, or a simple way to perform a complex succession of actions in your favorite MMO, macros can provide a great solution.
Some keyboards offer dedicated macro keys, and we’ve listed these models when possible. But that only tells part of the story. Just because a keyboard doesn’t have keys for macros doesn’t mean that macros aren’t available to you. Models like the Corsair K95 let you exhaustively program all the keys on your keyboard however you want, so you should take a close look at the level of key binding customization a manufacturer offers as well as the quality of their software platform.
Many keyboards also come with dedicated media controls. These provide an easy way to change volume and brightness in-game without sacrificing your sense of momentum, but dedicated media controls can also be reprogrammed to suit your needs.
In a similar vein to dedicated media controls, some keyboards come with knobs or dials that can be reprogrammed for a variety of purposes as well.
The ability to create a laser light show on your keyboard is mostly a matter of aesthetics. After all, having the option to split 16.8 million color options across multiple zones isn’t something that’s going to have much practical use for the average consumer. But if you want to create an experience that’s uniquely your own, there’s no better option than customizable lighting. Razer offers perhaps the most robust lighting options available right now, but they have a lot of stiff competition in the gaming keyboard market.
The fact that many lighting options are so excessive doesn’t mean that lighting can’t be of actual value to typists, though. Backlit keys make it easier to type accurately in the dark, so if you regularly find yourself gaming after hours, you may want to at least track down a mechanical gaming keyboard that offers a preset blue, white or red backlight. Full RGB options probably aren’t a necessity, but do keep an eye out for the level of brightness that the lighting provides. Some RGB lights are designed to be purely aesthetic, while others place a greater focus on functionality.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Gaming Keyboard of 2021?
A lot of what makes the best gaming keyboard comes down to personal preference, but our favorite pick is the Corsair K95. It may be one of the most expensive models, but it’s also easily one of the best gaming keyboards on the market today. Aesthetics fans will love the huge variety of lighting options, and there’s also a whole bank of macro keys backed up by reliable build quality.
Which Keyboards Do Pro Gamers Use?
There’s no single consensus on the best gaming keyboards for pro gamers, but there are quite a few models that are pretty popular. The SteelSeries Apex tends to be popular, but any keyboards in the $100 to $200 range are probably used by at least a few pro gamers.
Is a Mechanical Keyboard Better for Gaming?
Absolutely. The analog design of the mechanical switches means that you’ll feel every key you type, and mechanical keyboards naturally come with anti-ghosting and n-key rollover so that faster typists won’t miss a beat even when playing especially frenetic games.
If you’ve been holding off on seeking out the best gaming keyboard, 2021 could be the year. There are a ton of great gaming keyboards available today, and many of the best and most expensive are currently offered for a price tag well below the retail asking price on Amazon. If you want to buy a new gaming laptop, our guide will help you find the best deals currently available. If you want other accessories to complement the best gaming keyboard, you’ll also find plenty of information elsewhere on our site.If you liked our article on gaming keyboards, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.