When it comes to building a gaming rig, most people only care about the internal hardware components (CPU, motherboard, graphics cards etc) that will make their games run faster and look better.
There's nothing wrong in this approach.
Who likes a game stuttering due to CPU bottle-necking, after all?
But once you install these components and play your favorite games, you'll realize that your ability to play these games better is equally important.
In order to play these games better, you'll need a gaming keyboard (in addition to a gaming rodent, of course).
Let me clarify at the start this these peripherals won't necessarily make you a better player. In fact, I won't recommend anyone these gaming peripherals unless he/she plays some specific-genre games (such as MMO, and FPS) regularly.
Instead, these peripherals are better suited to some games, they don't make your hands tired after a continuous period of gaming, and they have some other features which certainly gives you a competitive advantage.
Apart from this, you can think of it this way: You don't wear cheap shoes with a premium suit, do you?
The same happens here. It's just ridiculous to use a $15-keyboard on a 2000-buck gaming rig.
But whenever you search online or go in your local store, all of these keyboards look like same with some very minor differences (most of these differences are gimmicky in nature) and all claim to be comfortable and durable for continuous gaming.
In this post, you'll learn what are the main factors of a gaming keyboard that actually make a difference. So without any ado, let's start.
Do You Even Need a Gaming Keyboard
As I said, you won't need them unless you play games on a regular basis. Also, gaming keyboards and mice are better suited for first-person shooters and MMOs.
So if all you do is playing 2 matches of FIFA 19 every Sunday, then go get a PC controller instead.
Things To Look For In A Gaming Keyboard
If there's one thing all PC gamers will agree upon, it's that (while gaming) the harder you press keyboard buttons, the better your player will perform.
This is the reason why gaming keyboards should've tough build because typical office keyboard won't be able to take this pounding for so long.
Many high-end gaming keyboards come with a metal back-plate that prevents them from bending in the longer run.
But even if your budget isn't allowing you to go for a $150 keyboards, you can check out some cheaper options that are made with tough plastic. These keyboards use ABS plastic which, unlike typical PVC, is a lot more durable.
Membrane vs Mechanical keyboards
When it comes to gaming keyboards, there are two main types: membrane and mechanical keyboards.
In simple terms, membrane keyboards have two soft plastic membranes below the keys and an electric current runs through them in order to make those keyboards work.
Mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, work a lot like the old typewriters. They have a physical switch under each keycap which naturally makes them more reliable, accurate, and comfortable (but also more expensive) than their membrane counterparts.
Other than this, mechanical keyboards also offer way more durability (50+ million keystrokes) than the typical membrane keyboards (1-5 million keystrokes).
Needless to say, a mechanical keyboard should be your first priority when looking for a gaming keyboard. These switches are further classified in different types, like Cherry MX Blue and Cherry MX Red etc. Check this article out to know more about them.
In terms of backlighting, there are three common trends in gaming keyboards: no backlighting, uni-color backlighting, and full RGB backlighting.
Each of these options is subjective, and there's no hard and fast rule over what sort of RGB your keyboard should (or should not) have.
That being said, most gamers play their games at night time (probably in dim light), which makes full RGB keyboards really helpful. Needless to say though, RGB keyboards are pricier than their uni-backlight and no-backlight siblings.
Many gaming keyboards allow you to remap any key available on that board, through their software.
Moreover, these softwares can help you record an entire sequence of keystrokes and assign that combo functionality to a single key on your board.
Sometimes the manufacturers even put un-assigned macro keys on the board just for this purpose.
The number of key presses that can be successfully registered by a keyboard is called the key rollover. In typical keyboards, there's a 1 or 2-key rollover.
It means those keyboards can't register additional keypresses at that moment. This problem (the failure by keyboards to register extra keystrokes) is also known as ghosting.
Most gaming keyboards, on the other hand, come with at least 6-key rollover, which means you can press up to 6 keys at one time, and that keyboard will register each of that keystroke.
Some manufacturers go too much over the board here and offer way more keypresses at a time, but I don't think there's any combo in any game that requires you to press more than six keys at once.
In terms of pricing, there's no definite standard around which you should get a gaming keyboard. Keyboards from bigger brands are often more expensive than the ones from lesser-known brands, even if both of them have almost the same specs.
On average though, 100-150 bucks is the area where you would get the keyboards that provide the most value.
You can get a decent mechanical keyboard in less than 100 bucks too, but for that, you'll have to look away from the top-tier brands among the gaming community (Razer, Logitech etc).
As far as another extreme is concerned (150+), you shouldn't go for those boards unless you have the budget.
Going for the highly-priced keyboards will reduce the money you've allocated for other accessories, which isn't a good thing to do.
Best Gaming Keyboard 2020 Buying Guide
SteelSeries Apex Pro
There is no denying that when you are looking at their current performance in the market, you can easily tell that SteelSeries has been at it with some pretty impressive products. Today, we are looking at their flagship SteelSeries Apex Pro gaming keyboard that has earned quite a name for itself ever since it was released. Why? Let’s find out.
Well, to begin with, it is one of the most beautiful looking keyboards available in the market. While the design is not all that different from the rest of the keyboards available in the market, it still is gorgeous.
The star of the show, however, are the switches that SteelSeries is using in this keyboard that allow you to set custom actuation point for per key. This is certainly one of the most impressive achievements and while it may sound like a gimmick, it is very functional.
Additionally, the switches are very silent, and you also have an OLED display on the top right-hand corner.
My only issue with this keyboard is that there are no dedicated macro keys that many people, including myself, use on a regular basis.
Overall, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is definitely a great keyboard that will certainly shake up the rather stagnant keyboard market.
- The key switches are excellent with custom actuation point.
- They are quiet.
- The keyboard looks wonderful.
- For a keyboard of this price, not having macro keys is disappointing.
Corsair K63 Wireless
Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard 2020
It would be wrong to create a list of best gaming keyboards or any peripheral, for that matter and not include Corsair in the list.
Corsair, for the longest time, has become one of the best keyboard manufactures in the market, and they have released impressive keyboards back to back. This here is no exception, the Corsair K63 Wireless is definitely what most people are looking for.
The great thing about this keyboard is that despite being wireless, it has one of the most solid connections that are as good as wired connection.
It uses genuine Cherry MX switches so if you are wondering about not getting quality, you do not have to think of that. Another great thing here is that since the keyboard is tenkeyless, you can actually use it on the Corsair lapboard as well, and it makes an excellent couch gaming keyboard.
On the contrary, there are some things that I do not like about this keyboard. The wrist rest, although a nice inclusion is flimsy at best.
Overall, I do love the Corsair K63 for the quality it comes with. Not every day you get to see a keyboard this good that is available in the market. It checks most of the boxes, too.
- Wireless performance is top-notch.
- Genuine Cherry MX switches.
- Can turn into a perfect couch gaming keyboard with a lapboard.
- Wrist-rest is flimsy at best.
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
Best Gaming Keyboard 2020 Overall
The thing is that when Corsair came out with the K95 RGB Platinum, they more or less changed the game in the market.
The keyboard was everything enthusiasts wanted and more and even today, the keyboard is one of the most revered keyboards in the market, and the best part is that they can easily make a name for themselves.
That being said, the reason why K95 RGB Platinum is so good is that it actually comes with such amazing lighting.
I mean, I know lighting is only as good as the form of the keyboard is concerned, but look closely, and you will figure out that you are getting something really, really impressive.
The lighting looks absolutely stunning, but that is not all, the keyboard itself is amazing all thanks to the solid build quality that Corsair is known for, the handy media as well as shortcut keys, the 6 macro keys, and not to forget, the Cherry MX switches used in the keyboard. You also get a USB pass-through.
While there are a lot of good things about this keyboard, the one thing that baffles me the most is despite being a flagship keyboard, Corsair is only offering it in MX Brown and Silver switches.
- Excellent lighting.
- Solid build quality.
- A pleasure to use.
- Only Cherry MX Brown and Silver switches are offered.
HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
There is no denying that HyperX has managed to make a name for themselves in a very short time.
They were not well known in the peripheral market but quickly became one of those companies who are doing really good with their products. That being said, today, we are looking at the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB; a great gaming keyboard with a familiar touch.
The great thing is that the keyboard follows a very simple and familiar design language that we love. The RGB lighting is brilliantly implemented, and the keyboard is also loaded with game profiles so if you want to get started, you know where to look at.
On the other hand, there are some things that I do not like about this software. For starters, the software is not as detailed and feature-packed as some would like and the build quality is not on par with the price, either.
Overall, the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB keyboard is one of the most beautiful keyboards available in the market. If you are looking for something that has good performance and does not cost a lot of money, this is definitely something that you should check out.
- Looks great.
- Simple and effective design language.
- The keyboard comes loaded with game profiles.
- The software is not as good as we would want.
- The build quality could have used more polishing.
Razer Cynosa Chroma
Best Membrane Gaming Keyboard 2020
As far as gaming peripherals are concerned, the one company that has always been ahead of the curve being Razer.
They have released some of the best looking and best-performing peripherals in the market, and are continuing to do so. Today, we are looking at the Razer Cynosa Chroma, an affordable option from Razer that really gets the job done.
The good thing about this keyboard is that it happens to be one of the more affordable options that are available in the market. I know gaming keyboards from Razer are not always the cheapest, but the story here is different.
Additionally, the RGB implementation is one of the best we have seen and it is not something that you might get at such a price point. Last but not least, Razer has done a really good job at designing this keyboard as the overall build is pretty low profile.
With all the good things aside, the one thing that you absolutely need to know that at the end of the day, it still is a membrane keyboard and that is not something everyone is willing to go for.
Overall, I think that the Razer Cynosa Chroma is something that is pretty good for a starter gaming keyboard by Razer. If you want to own a Razer peripheral and not break the bank, this is definitely a way to go.
- Very affordable.
- The RGB implementation looks amazing.
- The keyboard is pretty low profile.
It is a membrane keyboard.
The thing about Logitech is that for the longest time have been creating some pretty amazing peripherals that have earned quite a name for themselves in the peripheral market and they are not on the verge of slowing down or stopping for the sake of it.
Needless to say, if it is good peripherals you are looking for, Logitech has you sorted, but the Logitech K840 is something different
It is dubbed as the mechanical keyboard for everyone. You see, Logitech has not marketed this keyboard as their gaming keyboard from the G series. Instead, it is a much more subtle nod to something we all love.
The great thing about this keyboard is that for anyone who is looking for something understated, and something that does not scream loudly, this is it. It uses the Romer G switches. The keyboard is good. So you really do not have to worry about any lack of performance.
In all honesty, the only downside of this keyboard is that it is too simple for its own good. For anyone who wants a little bit of flare and still wants the simplicity, that is one thing that cannot be achieved by this keyboard. Therefore, it is really, really important to keep it in mind when going for this keyboard.
- Very simply designed.
- Looks good.
- Great typing experience.
- Can easily be mistaken for a generic keyboard.
- Too simple for its own good.
ROG Strix Scope
Best FPS Gaming Keyboard 2020
The last keyboard on the list that we are looking at is from Asus, specifically from their ROG lineup of keyboards.
Now, here is the thing, Asus does not really need any introduction as they have been pretty consistent with their products and continue to do so. Needless to say, if you are looking for something good, Asus is the one that gets the job done without a hassle.
The great thing about the ROG Strix Scope is that it comes with one of the finest build qualities, additionally, the keyboard uses genuine Cherry MX switches, and the overall design language of the keyboard is pretty good, too. The pricing of this keyboard is pretty decent, too and falls in line with what other keyboards are currently priced at.
On the flip side, there are some issues. For starters, you are not going to get a wrist rest with the keyboard, and the software is average at best.
Overall, the ROG Strix Scope is definitely something that you should go for if you are a fan of Asus’ products or if you are looking for something other than what has saturated the market. With so many gaming keyboards in the market, it is easy to get mixed up in all the rut.
- The build quality is pretty solid.
- The keyboard is responsive.
- We do like the design language.
- Decently priced.
- You do not get any wrist rest.
- The software is average at best.
In conclusion, the one thing that I would say is that the market for gaming keyboards is a lot more different than it used to be.
With so many options available, you can easily get lost in the mix and you might not be able to buy the right keyboard if you are just spending your time wondering what you should opt for and what you should not.