• Mon. Dec 11th, 2023

Best gaming keyboard – the top boards in 2021


Jun 10, 2021

Whether you’re a clicky-clacky typist or someone who plays the best PC games regularly (or some combination of the two), using one of the best gaming keyboards can make the world of difference to your gaming and desktop experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re mashing the QWER keys on League of Legends or the WASD keys in Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War, a great, comfortable keyboard can not only reduce the risk of RSI, but also make the whole experience much more enjoyable. If you know what to look out for, it doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet, either!

Whether you’re looking for the best mechanical keyboard or membrane keyboard, in a full-size or compact layout, with full RGB or just simple single-colour backlit, we’ve rigorously tested each and every gaming keyboard that has crossed our desks to help you make a decision. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to spend all day gaming just to test them out…

We’ve picked the best Logitech, Corsair, Razer, and SteelSeries keyboards, as well a host of options from some up-and-coming manufacturers, to help you choose the best gaming keyboard for your setup. The humble keyboard is an intrinsic part of the PC gaming experience, and it’s even now a part of the console experience too, with Microsoft allowing games that support keyboard and mouse on Xbox – and on PlayStation, too.

Oh, and while you’re at it, you might want to pick up the best gaming microphone to ensure your voice remains heard above your new ultra-clicky board.

Here are the best gaming keyboards:

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Corsair K70 Rapidfire

The best gaming keyboard is the Corsair K70 Rapidfire.

Corsair’s K70 boards are the absolute best gaming keyboards we’ve ever used. Since they first launched back in 2013 its been our go-to board for playing all the best PC games, and we haven’t seen much since which has changed our minds. Not even Corsair’s later boards, like the Strafe, or the overly-bling K95 Platinum, have been able to replicate the same mix of simple industrial design and sheer pleasure to use.

They have evolved over the years, but the classic design has remained more or less the same. We’ve picked the Rapidfire edition of the Corsair K70 as the top board because the light touch Cherry MX Speed keys mean seriously hardcore gamers might get a slight boost in actuation speed from their button clicks, and the rest of us don’t have to be so heavy-handed (and loud) when we’re gaming or typing. The Speed switches are almost the same as standard Red switches, just with a shallower actuation point. You can spend a little extra to get the same great board, but with per-key RGB backlighting.

What we like…
Tick Durable
Tick Volume wheel
Tick Cherry MX key switches

Corsair K70 Rapidfire Specs
Number of keys 104-key
Switches Cherry MX
Connectivity Wired
Dedicated media keys Yes

Read the PCGamesN Corsair K70 Rapidfire review for our verdict and score.

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SteelSeries Apex Pro

The best customisable gaming keyboard is the SteelSeries Apex Pro.

One of the biggest hurdles when figuring out the right keyboard for you is choosing the right switch, as you don’t want to pay out the nose for something that doesn’t suit your playstyle. The SteelSeries Apex Pro is one of the first on the market to introduce OmniPoint tuneable magnetic switches to alleviate this problem, making it the best customisable gaming keyboard available.

Aside from being able to fine-tune the actuation of individual keys, there’s plenty to like about the keyboard, from its crisp RGB lighting to a USB pass-through and a volume wheel. We’re still figuring out the full potential of the OLED panel in the top-righ corner, as we recently learned it has the ability to play Skyrim like just about every other electronic device. Officially, though, it’s there to help you adjust your settings and display your Discord messages.

What we like…
Tick Tuneable mechanical switches
Tick Solid build
Tick Comfortable wrist rest

SteelSeries Apex Pro Specs
Number of keys 104-key
Switches SteelSeries Omnipoint
Connectivity Wired
Dedicated media keys Yes

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Topre Realforce R2

The best keyboard for typing is the Topre Realforce R2.

The Topre Realforce is technically a membrane keyboard, so we can’t call this the ‘best mechanical keyboard’, but hear me out. Each individual switch consists of a rubber dome over a coiled spring that makes contact with a PCB. As a result, all of that squishiness from a membrane board is gone and is replaced by a feel like no other on the market.

If it’s the top tier you’re after, you can’t do better than the Topre switch: it’s smooth, quiet, and an all-round pleasure to type on. And with Fujitsu now donning the licensed distributor name badge in the US, this unique board is no longer tough to come by. But you will still be paying a whopping great sum to pick one up – and for that reason, this board is still enthusiasts-only.

What we like…
Tick Unique, smooth switch
Tick Smart aesthetic
Tick High quality

Topre Realforce R2 Specs
Number of keys 104-key
Switches Topre switches
Connectivity Wired
Dedicated media keys No

Read the PCGamesN Topre Realforce R2 review for our full verdict and score.

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Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro

The best wireless gaming keyboard is the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro.

Take away the snakehead emblem and the BlackWidow V3 Pro still looks and feels like it’s been kissed by Razer with one crucial difference: the cord has been cut, which aesthetically is more pleasing, and helps you to manage cables.

You might have reservations about wireless peripherals, but things have come a long way from the latency-laden mice and keyboards that made us sacrifice quality for convenience. In fact, the BlackWidow V3 Pro performs just as well connected via its 2.4GHz Razer Hyperspeed dongle as it does when plugged in, and you can even pair it via Bluetooth for greater compatibility. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a true Razer product without RGB lighting, which with Razer’s Synapse software, can sync lighting with games such as Fortnite – lighting up your keyboard in sync with your emotes. Pointless, but fun nonetheless.

What we like…
Tick Choice of 2.4GHz Razer Hyperspeed or Bluetooth wireless connectivity
Tick High-quality Doubleshot key caps
Tick One of the most comfortable wrist rests around

Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro Specs
Number of keys 104-key
Switches Razer switches
Connectivity Wired/Wireless
Dedicated media keys Yes

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Logitech G915 Wireless

The best low-profile gaming keyboard is the Logitech G915 Wireless.

Logitech don’t do flashy peripherals. Despite this prestigious brand’s reputation in the gaming sphere, its recent devices are just as much suited to a professional office environment as they are an esports arena. That’s why we love the Logitech G915 wireless. It’s sleek, low-profile, and perfectly suited to the gaming market rapidly expanding beyond the image of dingy basements and junk food.

With wireless connectivity across Lightspeed and Bluetooth, the G915 helps keep your desk neat and tidy, too. Although that does add some onto the price, which makes this stylish board deserving of the enthusiast label. Nevertheless, if you can swallow that, its low-profile GL switches are a dream to type on and a dab hand at gaming, too.

What we like…
Tick Low-profile
Tick Stunning, simple design
Tick Wireless

Logitech G915 Wireless Specs
Number of keys 104-key
Switches Logitech GL switches
Connectivity Wired/Wireless
Dedicated media keys Yes

Read the PCGamesN Logitech G915 review for our verdict and score.

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Redragon K552

The best budget mechanical gaming keyboard is the Redragon K552.

Buying a really cheap keyboard will often leave you regretting it. A $20 board is likely to very quickly start to lose functionality, whether that’s a few sticky keys or a total meltdown. Spending double that might be a little too much for some, but the Redragon K552 is a great example of a simple design still offering a lot, making it the best cheap gaming keyboard you can get your hands on.

Redragon might not be the first brand you think of when shopping for the a new gaming keyboard but that doesn’t mean it can’t knock about with the best. Sacrifices have been made to achieve the K552’s staggeringly low price, such as a slightly high ergonomic profile, its smaller tenkeyless approach, and the inability to create macros, but you still get nice responsive mechanical switches to better control your movement in the best FPS games, thanks to Outemu switches used being so affordable.

What we like…
Tick Mechanical keyboard under $50
Tick RGB
Tick Choice of Blue and Red switches

Redragon K552 Specs
Number of keys 87-key
Switches Outemu switches
Connectivity Wired
Dedicated media keys No

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Corsair K70 TKL

The best TKL keyboard is the Corsair K70 TKL.

What happens when you take the best gaming keyboard and remove its numpad while not only keeping all its other features intact, but adding to them? You get the best tenkeyless gaming keyboard around.

The Corsair K70 TKL doesn’t have the fancy, debatably unnecessary OLED screen that the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL has, but a full suite of practical media keys more than makes up for it. Couple this with authentic Cherry MX switches, the highest 8000Hz polling rate, and a dedicated tournament switch that ensures you don’t break any competitive rulesets, and you have one of the best compact keyboards around.

What we like…
Tick Compact
Tick Fully featured
Tick Well-built

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL Specs
Number of keys 95-key
Switches Cherry MX Red, Silent, or Speed
Connectivity Wired
Dedicated media keys Yes

Read the PCGamesN Corsair K70 TKL review for our verdict and score.

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Drop ALT

The best compact gaming keyboard is the Drop ALT.

Strategically and ergonomically, it’s always better to place your hands closer together while gaming and tenkeyless isn’t the smallest a keyboard can get. Formerly known as Massdrop, Drop’s ALT is the best compact gaming keyboard because it scales things down to just 65% of its full counterparts.

Our favourite thing about the Drop ALT isn’t its size, though; it’s the fact that switches are hot-swappable, meaning you can try any combination of switches so long as they share a Cherry MX profile. This does add to the cost of the keyboard, but you can consider it an investment as repairs are often as easy as popping in a new switch.

What we like…
Tick Compact
Tick Hot-swappable switches
Tick Well-built

Drop ALT Specs
Number of keys 67-key
Switches Cherry MX/Halo/Kaihua
Connectivity Wired
Dedicated media keys No

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Wooting Two

The best analogue gaming keyboard is the Wooting Two.

We’ve seen a number of analogue keyboards released recently, such as the Razer Huntsman V2 Analogue, but the Wooting Two is our favourite analogue board. Under its illuminated keycaps are some of the most advanced switches on the market. The Flaretech optical switches allow for complete analogue input and, once you’re used to them, they can make a huge difference to your mouse and keyboard PC gaming.

They give you full control in games where you’d otherwise be limited to a gamepad and thumbsticks. But even analogue functionality aside, there’s plenty included to put this board amongst the top gaming keyboards around, such as fantastic build quality, support, and software. And what makes this product all the more amazing is that it’s from a small team that has brought the Wooting Two all the way through from the humble Wooting One Kickstarter to what’s before you today.

What we like…
Tick Analogue action
Tick Tough and reliable
Tick Great support

Wooting Two Specs
Number of keys 104-key
Switches Flaretech optical switches
Connectivity Wired
Dedicated media keys No

Read the PCGamesN Wooting Two review for our full verdict and score.

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ErgoDox EZ

The best ergonomic keyboard is the Ergodox EZ.

Ergonomic keyboards deserve a little more love in the gaming world, and the ErgoDox EZ is a prime example of why. This split ergonomic design not only helps prevents nasty hand and wrist strain, but its beautifully crafted case, removable switch design, and 32 programmable layers all make it one of the best gaming boards in the biz.

This capable keyboard is one of the most versatile we’ve come across, and its utility is only limited by how deep you dive into its many features. Sure, it’s niche, and it’s not cheap either, but if you want something new and exciting that will certainly deliver when it comes to gaming performance, you needn’t look much further than the ErgoDoz EZ.

What we like…
Tick Ergonomic
Tick Layering functionality
Tick Detachable USB-C cable

Ergodox EZ Specs
Number of keys 76-key
Switches Cherry MX/Kailh
Connectivity Wired
Dedicated media keys No

Read the PCGamesN ErgoDox EZ review for our full verdict and score.

What are mechanical keyboard switches?

Here’s our handy video ‘crash course’ guide on mechanical keyboard switches. PCGamesN also has a full guide on mechanical keyboard switches.

YouTube Thumbnail

Gaming keyboard buying guide

It doesn’t matter whether you’re rocking the best controller, anyone playing FPS games on their PC is going to need the level of control you can only get with the classic ol’ WSAD/mouse combo. Remember – you’ll also want to pair your new keyboard with the best gaming mouse you can find. But what makes the ultimate in gaming keyboard supremacy? There are essentially two schools of thought on that front: mechanical keyboards or non-mechanical switch keyboards.

The first school of thought is obviously correct and the second woefully misinformed. From there it’s just a straight up fight over which different mech-switch type you prefer.

No matter your budget it’s always possible to find a quality keyboard that won’t let you down while you’re running and gunning around a game of Rainbow Six: Siege.

And you’ll find a lot to love even below our best gaming keyboard, the Corsair K70 Rapidfire. That doesn’t have to mean picking up a budget mechanical keyboard just for the sake of it, either. A well-built mechanical is undoubtedly the best gaming controller out there, but the Redragon K552 comes out top for budget gaming keyboards, and it offers great mechanical switches for the lowest possible price.

If you have the budget for something a little more mechanical, however, it’s money well spent in our eyes. The original Corsair K70 is one of our favourite all-round keyboards. It’s solid, well-designed, packed to the brim with features, and its Cherry-made switches are a tried and tested formula that is known globally for reliability.

There’s also the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL and Drop ALT for gamers who want some a little more compact. Both designs cuts down on the unnecessary extras and instead focuses on a build that allows for maximum mouse movement and is easy to carry around. Not only small, however, the Drop ALT also offers how-swappable switches, allowing for a keyboard with unique functionality you won’t find elsewhere.

Gaming keyboard price list

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