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Best Gaming Keyboard 2022: mechanical, budget, 60%

We go over the best keyboards for gaming

Updated: Jun 21, 2022 1:55 pm
Best Gaming Keyboard

If you want to have the best gaming experience, then make sure your gaming keyboard is up to par. A bad input will only lead to frustrating moments from victory!  So just like a wireless mouse or gaming headset, finding the best gaming keyboard can literally be the difference between winning and losing. To win at any level, from casual gaming sessions with friends on the weekends all the way up to competing against world-class players in tournaments and competitions can be difficult without a top-tier keyboard.

There are so many options available with a plethora of switch types, features, and sizes to pick from, it can be a difficult process to choose the right one for your needs. You also have the additional choice of having customized per-key RGB lighting, and macro and media keys on the more premium gaming keyboards.

the best gaming keyboards

Whether you have a budget PC or a high-end gaming rig, it is essential to get good-quality peripherals. Opting for a premium gaming keyboard brings guaranteed quality from some of the most reputable manufacturers. Rest assured all the gaming keyboards in this article all have excellent build materials, quality construction, value, and features (and that goes for the budget picks too).

We know it can be hard to sift through all of the marketing tricks and find what’s right. So we tested every keyboard on our list – there are options that will cater for everyone from mechanical TKL boards (for those who want extra weight) or 100% RGB premiums with backlit keys to budget models. Additionally several will come with both ANSI and ISO layouts,  some also allow upgrades by placing them onto desk mats which helps reduce impact even further

Whether you’re looking to buy your first gaming keyboard or need an upgrade, these are the top picks for 2022.



How we choose

Whether we’re reviewing new monitors or the best GPU on the market, choosing the right hardware can always be a tricky task.

It requires hours of product research, performance benchmarking, and reviewing user feedback to get anywhere close to a definitive conclusion on what to recommend.

If you aren’t tech-savvy and struggle to put the time aside to go through the above requirements, you may end up purchasing a keyboard that simply isn’t right for you.

Fear not though, friends! Here at WePC, we like to take the stress of research away, and transform the whole process into an easy-to-follow, complete buyers guide. That’s right, our team of PC enthusiasts has done all the hard work for you!

How we test

Testing the products we recommend is a huge part of the overall selection process in our best of guides. It’s a way to make sure what we recommend is, without a doubt, the best option in its specific category.

To be sure a product is “the best,” it must show excellent performance in our tests, and display better qualities and features than the competition it faces.

Most of the products we recommend here at WePC have gone through a strict testing process that involves everything from the price and performance, to build quality, efficiency, and aesthetics. Each product is pushed to the limit to see how it performs in numerous different scenarios before being placed in one of our guides. Read more on how we test gaming keyboards

Doing this enables us to provide you with the most accurate review of how the product performs and, ultimately, whether it’s worth your hard-earned cash.

Things To Consider

Before jumping into a keyboard purchase, there are a few things to consider. Keyboards vary in almost every way you can think of, from different sizes to different features. Choosing the right one can actually come down to several factors, not just one.

In this section, we are going to look at a few of the possible variables you may come across to help you make a more informed decision.

Sizes

The first thing to think about when buying a gaming keyboard is selecting the right form factor for you. Do you want a full-sized keyboard with all the standard keys on? Or maybe a Tenkeyless keyboard to save space?

A full-sized board is exactly what it says on the tin and features the number pad to the right as you would expect. Full-sized keyboards also have extra room for fancy features like volume bars and dedicated media keys, so bear this in mind.

Keyboards Size Comparison

Keyboards have had some really interesting form factors developed, and you can often see sizes range from 40% to 100%. Tenkeyless keyboards (TKL) offer computer enthusiasts all the joys of a great keyboard, only at 80% the size of a full board. Essentially a TKL board doesn’t have the number pad on the side, saving room and giving you a more versatile small form factor.

Of course, you can go even smaller to a 60% sized keyboard too. The 60% keyboards are similar to TKL except they lose the function keys at the top and squash your function keys and arrow keys closer to the letters on the board.

If you want something even smaller than that, you can go 40%. However, at this size, you are limiting the number of key binds you can have for your games. With a 40% board, it may be pocket-size, but they often won’t have arrow keys or number keys, and a lot of your function buttons are squashed into peculiar places.

cherry mx blue switch 1

Switches

So you may have heard a lot of talk about switches when hunting for your next keyboard. Switches are the main feature to almost every mechanical keyboard, and they are essential to consider as each switch has a different characteristic – including feel, actuation pressure, and responsiveness.

Understanding what switches best suit your needs comes down to a few factors, but for the most part, gamers prefer Cherry MX Red switches. Cherry MX Red tends to offer gamers a fast linear option. Red switches tend to have a lower actuation point meaning you have a more responsive keyboard. Exactly what you need when playing those fast-paced competitive esports titles.

Some people prefer to have mechanical purely because of the tactile feel and sound they produce (it can get addictive). Again, using Cherry MX switches as an example, Blue switches offer a clicky tactile feel when you press the key. This type of switch produces a clicky sound notifying you of a keypress, but you also feel the keypress when it actuates.

For a more easy-to-understand comparison between the three main types of switches, see below:

Red style switches

mx red gif

here we see how the MX Red switch operates, you can see here the linear and smooth movement of the stem. Note the absence of the ridge on the slider that was present on the Blue switch, the smooth angle instead of the ridge means the press feels the same through the whole keystroke. This is what we mean when we describe a switch as ‘linear’.

Cherry MX Red specs

  • Actuation force: 45cN
  • Pre-travel: 2.0mm
  • Total travel: 4.0mm

Blue style switches

mx blue gif 1

This gif shows the travel of the Cherry MX Blue switch. You can see the build-up of pressure needed for the slider to overcome the tension on the leaf and slam down to the bottom of the housing, this is also the point at which the keystroke is registered. You can see the ridge on the side of the slider that creates extra resistance.

Cherry MX Blue specs

  • Actuation force: 60cN
  • Pre-travel: 2.2mm
  • Total travel: 4.0mm

Brown style switches

mx brown gif

here we see the brown switch’s operation. Note the similar bump to the blue-style switch, however, the slider is fixed as with the red style. This prevents the clicking sound. They have a higher actuation force than reds, but less than blues, making them an ideal middle ground.

Cherry MX Red specs

  • Actuation force: 55cN
  • Pre-travel: 2.0mm
  • Total travel: 4.0mm

Whatever you decide, don’t worry, most keyboard manufacturers release mechanical boards with multiple switch types to cater for everyone.

Membrane Vs. Mechanical Switches

Membrane and mechanical keyboards differ significantly but only underneath the surface. Gamers prefer mechanical type keyboards because of how durable they are. Furthermore, mechanical keyboards are easy to customize and are considered to be highly responsive.

Mechanical switches often tend to be louder, but there is such a wide variety of switches available that you can dampen the noise level and still benefit from the low actuation force required to press the key.

It is worth noting that membrane boards tend to break quicker due to the membrane layer flattening out over time, resulting in the keyboard becoming less responsive. Mechanical keyboards are easy to disassemble and clean plus when you factor in the sensitive switches they feature; they are a must for gamers.

Aesthetics Vs. Comfort

While it doesn’t have anything to do with performance, aesthetics play a huge part in the selection process. Keyboards with full RGB customization options are preferred these days, and ideally, you’d want one that can be customized to your liking.

You would struggle to find an uncomfortable keyboard, but you will find the more premium boards feature luxury extras like wrist rests and adjustable feet.

Keyboard Switches also factor into the comfort side of things as Cherry MX Reds may offer the ultimate for gaming performance, but they do tend to be quite loud so make sure you get the right ones!

Price

The final thing we need to consider before purchasing a gaming keyboard is, how much are you willing to spend. Price is, more often than not, one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing new hardware and peripherals.

Are you only willing to get a gaming keyboard under $50? Your budget has the ultimate say about this matter, and you must evaluate ahead to make sure you’re investing in the right product.

Popular gaming keyboard features

So, that’s the essential considerations done with. Now we can spare a moment to think about the more extraneous features. These won’t improve your gaming performance, can add some extra visual spice to your setup. Additionally, things like macro keys and media controls can make for a more convenient gaming and general computing experience

RGB lighting

RGB lighting on keyboards is a popular feature on gaming keyboards that allows the keyboard keys to illuminate in different colors. RGB keyboard lighting can be used for aesthetic purposes, or it can be used to help you see the keyboard in low-light conditions. RGB lighting can also be used to indicate which keys have been pressed, which can be helpful for touch-typing or gaming.

There are a few different keyboard RGB lighting technologies available, including LED and EL wire. RGB lighting on gaming keyboards typically requires its own power source, such as a USB port, and it may also require software to control the light effects. It can be an expensive upgrade, but it can also make your keyboard more enjoyable to use and help you type faster with greater accuracy.

Backlit keys

Backlit keys are becoming increasingly popular on gaming keyboards, and for good reason. Being able to see the keys in low-light or no-light conditions can be a huge advantage, especially in fast-paced games. There are a few different ways that backlit keys can be implemented. The most basic method is to have a single LED behind each key. This provides good visibility, but can often result in somewhat uneven light distribution. A more advanced method is to have multiple LEDs under each key, which can provide a more even light distribution and allow for greater customization. However, this method often comes at a higher price point. Ultimately, whether or not backlit keys are worth the investment is up to the individual user. However, there’s no doubt that they can be a valuable addition to any gaming keyboard.

Macros and media keys

High-end keyboards come with a whole plethora of features. For instance; macro keys can be a huge asset while gaming, multimedia and volume keys offer some extra convenience, and replaceable keycaps can offer a textured feel.

MACRO Keys and MEDIA Keys

Macro keys

For gamers, keyboard macros can be an indispensable tool. By programming a sequence of commands into a macro, gamers can execute complex maneuvers with just a few keystrokes. This can give them a significant advantage over their opponents, who might not have the same level of access to a macro-enabled keyboard. For example, by mapping a key to the “jump” action, the player can avoid having to move their hand from the keyboard to the mouse and back again. This can give them a significant advantage in terms of reaction time.

This can be particularly useful in real-time strategy games, where players often have to issue orders to multiple units simultaneously. By mapping keyboard shortcuts to obvious button placements, players can quickly and easily issue those commands without having to take their hands off the keyboard. Ultimately, keyboard macros can make gameplay more efficient and convenient, giving players a significant edge over their opponents

In addition to gaming, keyboard macros can also be used for productivity purposes. By creating macros for frequently-used tasks, keyboard users can boost their efficiency and get more done in less time. Whether you’re looking to up your game or simply get more done, keyboard macros can be a valuable tool.

Media keys

As anyone who spends a lot of time at their computer knows, keyboard media keys can be a real lifesaver. From controlling volume and playback to skipping tracks and opening your favorite media player, these keys make it easy to get the most out of your music and videos. And best of all, they’re usually built right into your keyboard, so you don’t have to fumble around with mouse clicks or hotkeys. If you’re not already taking advantage of keyboard media keys, there’s no time like the present to start!

Keycaps

Keyboard keycaps are the plastic coverings that sit on top of the keyboard keys. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. Many people enjoy collecting keyboard keycaps because of the different designs available. Some keyboard keycaps are made to look like animals, cartoon characters, or other objects. Others are designed to be more sleek and elegant. There is a keyboard keycap for nearly everyone’s taste. In addition to their appearance, keyboard keycaps also serve a practical purpose. They help protect the keyboard keys from being damaged by dirt and dust. You can get a limitless variety of custom keycaps online these days to help personize your keyboard further.

Wrist rest

If you’re a serious gamer, you know that comfort is key to maintaining your edge. That’s why a wrist rest is such an important accessory. Wrist rests help to keep your hands comfortable while you’re playing, preventing fatigue and allowing you to play longer sessions. They also promote healthy circulation and reduce the strain on your muscles and tendons. And because they’re adjustable, you can always find the perfect position for your wrists. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your gaming performance, invest in a wrist rest today. You’ll be glad you did.

Audio jacks and USB ports

Audio jacks and USB ports are common features on modern gaming keyboards. Audio jacks allow you to connect headphones or other audio peripherals directly to the keyboard, while USB ports provide a convenient way to connect other devices, such as storage drives or webcams. However, if you don’t use these devices frequently, you may not need a gaming keyboard with built-in audio jacks or USB ports.

In addition, some gaming keyboards come with built-in microphone jacks, which can be used to connect a headset or other microphone for voice chat.


The best gaming keyboards 2022

OK, enough foreplay, let’s get to the best bit: The boards themselves

The best of the best

Mountain Everest 60 gaming keyboard

MOUNTAIN Everest 60

Switch type

Pre-lubed Mountain Tactile 55

Form factor

60%

Connectivity

USB Type-C

Hotswappable?

Yes, with 3 or 5-pin Cherry-style switches

Keycaps

Double-shot PBT

5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Superb gaming and typing experience
  • Satisfying sound profile
  • Foam and silicon padding make for a tactile experience
  • Vivid lighting
  • Industrial and minimalist design
Cons
  • Buggy software
  • Modular connection is loose

Mountain wasn’t a particularly familiar brand to us when we got word that we receiving a review unit of this board. We were passingly familiar with the Everest Max because of its modular ecosystem of add-ons, but we had never actually had a go on it.

Being fans of the small form factor keyboards here at WePC, we were very excited to try the Mountain Everest 60 out, as it not only has our favorite layout and a modular Numpad, but it comes with a whole slew of custom-level modifications out of the factory. These included clipped stabilizers, lubed switches, and sound-dampening foam too.

This is the main selling point of the Mountain Everest 60. It gives you an enthusiast-level bespoke experience, without the hassle of doing it all yourself. Of course, we were a little skeptical as it takes a large amount of practice and many hours of trial and error to become proficient in keyboard modding, but we were very happy to report that Mountain has nailed the feeling of a custom board with the Everest 60.

This is why it’s won the top spot on this list. We’ve known for years that modding or building a keyboard yourself will produce the best possible experience, but there wasn’t a competitive out-of-the-box product until the arrival of the Everest 60.

You can read our full Mountain Everest 60 modular mechanical gaming keyboard review for more detail about this great keyboard.


Best esports keyboard

Logitech G Pro Keyboard

Logitech G Pro RGB

Type

Tenkeyless (80%)

Switches

Romer G switches

Backlight

RGB

Wrist rest

Not included

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Built to the exacting specifications of eSports athletes
  • Simple and attractive design
  • Durable switches
  • Portable
Cons
  • Macro assignment limited to Function keys

With the Logitech G Pro mechanical keyboard, it appears to be focused on the professional eSports community. The 80% TKL sized board makes this ideal for taking to tournaments and when you combine this with the low actuation switches you get something extremely responsive in-game.

This board is mostly only functional with flashy extras such as dedicated media keys and detachable wrist rest not featuring in this keyboard despite the high price tag. As we expect from Logitech the construction is solid and the design, albeit simple, is actually really pleasing on the eye.

Of course, with low-profile switches like the G Romers, you do lose some of that good typing feel. But if you’re after pure competitive performance, the G Pro line of the keyboards are exactly what you’ll need. But we’d still recommend keeping a board with better switches around if you work from home for a more tactile typing experience.


Best RGB keyboard for gaming

ASUS ROG Strix Flare II Animate gaming keyboard

Asus ROG strix flare ii animate

Key switches

ROG NX Mechanical Switch / Cherry MX switch

Connectivity

USB type-A

Layout

100% full-size

4
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Hotswappable
  • Robust
  • USB pass-through
  • Excellent for gaming
  • Dedicated media controls
Cons
  • ‘Unique’ keycap font
  • Divisive design

When it comes to gaming peripherals, be they headsets, mice, or keyboards, we have to expect the implementation of RGB lighting. People absolutely love all 16.8m colors available from even the cheapest of gaming stuff these days, and so do we. So, we had to include an RGB pick on this list to satisfy the general populace’s craving for colorful lighting and we had no other choice than the Asus ROG Strix Flare II Animate.

Not only does it have some of the most customizable, vivid, and bright RGB we know of, it also takes advantage of ROG’s AniMe Matrix LED display tech. This awfully-named gimmick is fantastic fun as it allows you to display whatever you want via a grid of LEDs in the upper right corner. Additionally, it comes with some presets which are actually useful. For example, it can display a mute symbol or volume level so you know whats going on at a glance.

The Strix Flare II ANimate also features a full complement of media controls in addition to its full-size layout and hot-swappable switches. This means that if you’re happy with the bones of the board, it could possibly be the last keyboard you buy.

Read our full ASUS ROG Strix Flare II Animate gaming keyboard review for all the juicy details.


Best TKL gaming keyboard

Shurikey Gear Hanzo EC V2 001 Mechanical Keyboard

shurikey hanzo

Layout

56% US ANSI

Form factor

TKL

Key switch type

Varmilo EC V2. Choice of Ivy, Sakura, Rose, or Daisy

Connectivity

USB Type-C/Bluetooth 5.0

4.5
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Satisfying Key Switch feel
  • Impressively sturdy construction
  • Responsive gaming performance
  • Effortless setup process
Cons
  • Adjustability is limited
  • Included USB Type-C cable feels cheap

We consider the form factor of the Shurikey Hanzo to be the best version of the TKL (tenkeyless) size. It remains compact, with full arrow keys, but gets rid of less-used keys like home, end, and page up/down. Additionally, it features two knobs for controlling the lighting and volume. They aren’t reprogrammable due to the lack of Software at time of writing, which is a shame, but the board has other positive aspects that more than makeup for it.

The Shurikey Hanzo EC V2 takes advantage of an interesting technology known as electrocapacitive switches. These work by measuring the voltage across two conductive plates that never actually make contact. As the plates approach each other the voltage across them grows, and once it reaches a pre-determined threshold the keystroke is registered by the computer. This effectively eliminates the wear and tear of the switches, vastly improving their lifespan. Additionally, if you have a bit of techy hackerman know-how, you could change this threshold, which allows you to change the pre-travel for switches. This will allow for unparalleled modulation of the overall typing experience.

The most striking aspect of the Hanzo is the design. We were provided with the ‘001’ colorway, which is a grey/yellow color scheme that has a touch of old-school utilitarianism to it and we absolutely love it. If you don’t fancy a keyboard that looks like a JCB digger, they also offer the ‘003’ which is a neon purple/pink/blue vaporware style board, and the ‘002’, which has an industrial brown/green color scheme that reminds us of a military uniform.

For more details and pretty pictures of the Hanzo, check out our full Shurikey Gear Hanzo EC V2 001 Mechanical Keyboard Review for a more in-depth look.


Best budget gaming keyboard

Razer Cynosa V2 Chroma

razer cynosa V2 chroma

Switch

Membrane

Backlight

Chroma RGB Lighting

Wrist Rest

None

Other Features

Media keys, fluid resistant

4
/5
Editor’s Rating
Pros
  • Really comfortable
  • Durable
  • Spill-resistant
  • Reasonably priced
Cons
  • Uses membrane keys
  • No dedicated macro keys

Not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a gaming keyboard, so we had to include a more budget-friendly option. Despite the loss in tactility with membrane keyboard as compared to mechanical switches, membrane keyboards are far less expensive and equally functional. Additionally, you can still retain a lot of the creature comfort on high-end boards without having to spend more than $50.

Enter the Razer Cynosa V2 Chroma. This membrane board has a full suite of media keys and some surprignsly dynamic RGB lighting, despite the fact that it isn’t per-key lighting. It’s also a full-size board, so you have full functionality, making it a perfect board for work and for play.

The most appealing factor of the Razer Cynosa is of course, the price. Coming in at ~$50, its a lot of keyboard for not a lot of money, and ot comes with the great build quality and reliability we’ve come to expect from Razer. Also, the membrane nature of this board means its very spill-resistant. This makes it a great option for those of you like to get on the sauce while gaming. 🍻


Gaming keyboards we’ve tested

Some keyboards may not make it into our best-ofs but you can still check out our full reviews right here.

FAQs

Do I need a gaming keyboard?

If you’re a casual gamer, you may not need a gaming keyboard. However, if you’re a serious gamer, a gaming keyboard can provide you with an advantage over your opponents. In addition, gaming keyboards often come with features that can be beneficial for productivity purposes as well.

What are some of the features to look for in a gaming keyboard?

When choosing a gaming keyboard, you should consider the type of switches, the size and layout, the presence of macros and other special features, and the level of comfort. In addition, you should also decide whether or not you need a gaming keyboard with built-in audio jacks or USB ports..

What is a mechanical keyboard?

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses physical switches to register keystrokes. Mechanical keyboards are often preferred by gamers and typists for their superior accuracy, durability, and tactile feedback. However, they can be more expensive than other types of keyboards.

What is a membrane keyboard?

A membrane keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses rubber domes to register keystrokes. Membrane keyboards are often less expensive than mechanical keyboards, but they can be less durable and less accurate.

What are the best gaming keyboard brands?

There are a number of different gaming keyboard brands available on the market, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some of the most popular gaming keyboard brands include Razer, Corsair, Logitech, and Aukey. However, there is no clear-cut answer as to which brand is best. Ultimately, it will come down to personal preference.

The best gaming keyboard 2022: Final word

Gaming keyboards make up the centerpiece of anyone gaming setup, so it’s no surprise that it’s a super-competative product category. This means it was quite a bit of work to whittle the list down to just a few. But if you’ve got the money, we have no choice but to recommend the Mountain Everest 60 as it has the best typing feel we’ve experienced, and the modular Numpad is a productivity/space-saving gamechanger.

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