Best Gaming Keypads in 2021 inc Razer Orbweaver & Tartarus

We find the best gaming keypads with and without joysticks

WEPC Best Gaming keypads Featured image 01

Last Updated:

After researching 9 gaming keypads and testing 5 by spending 32 hours of extensive gaming and productivity work, we have confirmed that the Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB is the best gaming keypad this 2021. It has every premium feature a gaming keypad should have and is also the most comfortable to use for gamers with bigger hands. Gamers with smaller hands can still use the Orbweaver just fine but we found that the Razer Tartarus is better suited for gamers with smaller hands. Read on to find out why.

Our Top Picks

01
Editor's Pick
The Best Gaming Keypad
02
Expert Pick
The Best Mechanical Gaming Keypad
03
Versatile Pick
Gaming Keypad With Detachable Wrist Rest

Best Gaming Keypads: First Look

01
Editor's Pick
The Best Gaming Keypad
Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

0 /5
Editor's Rating

If you’re extra, then the Orbweaver and its mechanical keys and full RGB backlight support are for you!

Everything about the Razer Orbweaver is premium.

In fact, this gaming keypad is the most high-profile solution in the market. The wrist rest can be adjusted accordingly to address all types of gamers. This removes any kind of stress there is when gaming. This also comes with mechanical keys that provide a nice tactile response.

02
Expert Pick
The Best Mechanical Gaming Keypad
Razar Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

Razar Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

0 /5
Editor's Rating

Different strokes for different folks, that’s what my momma always said and that’s what the Tartarus embodies. It is equally as extra as the Orbweaver, but in its own way.

The Razer Tartarus may be premium just like the Orbweaver, but just about everything else is different. The size, number, and arrangement of keys, wrist rest, and key type are all different. The keys may be backlit like the Orbweaver but this has membrane keys to suit the needs of those who prefer a more silent tactile experience.

It has a very specific feel and function that fits perfectly for users that don’t like the Orbweaver. In fact, this accommodates gamers with smaller hands better than the Orbweaver.

03
Versatile Pick
Gaming Keypad With Detachable Wrist Rest
4. Razer Tartarus V2

Razer Tartarus V2

0 /5
Editor's Rating

With more keys, a scroll wheel, and a detachable wrist rest, the Razer Tartarus V2 stands to make a solid improvement over its predecessor.

The regular Razer Tartarus has 25 programmable keys but the V2 has 32. To top that off, you have a scroll wheel for a more customized experience. If you don’t fancy the wrist rest, the Tartarus V2 allows you to completely detach the entire thing

04
Budget Pick
The Best Budget Gaming Keypad
5. Delux T9

Delux T9

0 /5
Editor's Rating

A budget gaming keypad for budget gamers. Oh, and its symmetrical design works well for the forgotten 10%: lefties.

Don’t worry, just because it is a budget pick, doesn’t mean it isn’t deluxe. Literally.

There are 3 macro keys on the sides– great for hardcore MMORPG players. If you’re wondering why it has a symmetrical design, it’s because this works well for lefties, too!

05
0 /5
Editor's Rating

How We Choose

We spent 68 hours researching, collecting data, and comparing keypads before we eventually settled on keypads that were worth testing out.

We also checked what professional gamers were using and what their preferences were so we could narrow down the initial list of gaming keypads we’d like to test.

After hearing and reading various personal experiences, feedback, and preferences, we decided to get 9 gaming keypads to try out and we narrowed it down to 5 based on our tests.

Disclaimer: The gaming keypads we tested were purchased using our own money. They were not sent to us to make biased opinions or feedback.

How we Test

For the actual testing, we have:

  • 2 casual gamers
  • 1 hardcore FPS player
  • 1 hardcore MMORPG gamer
  • 1 professional graphics designer

All 5 gets to test each gaming keypad for a hefty amount of time to find

  • The most adjustable gaming keypad
  • The easiest to use
  • The most ergonomically designed gaming keypad
  • The best user experience for serious MMO players

We have their answers in our conclusion section, so be sure to check that out below.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Gaming Keypad

Analog Stick

Okay. Analog sticks are good for something: movement, since they allow users to forego WASD for a thumb-only movement option.

Additionally, for people coming from a console gaming background, using an analog stick for movement comes much more naturally. While it’s not perfect, it does have its benefits, especially with this form factor.

RGB and Backlighting

Second up is backlighting. Most of the options on this list offer some form of backlighting, whether it’s basic LED backlighting, partial RGB backlighting, or full RGB backlighting.

Basic LED backlighting essentially just illuminates your keys with one color only, typically white. This applies to the entire keypad.

Partial RGB backlighting functions similarly, but allows you to choose most of the colors in the spectrum to backlight your entire keypad.

Full RGB backlighting allows you to choose almost all of the colors in the spectrum to backlight your keypad. Not just in one color, either– in varying colors, sometimes even on a per-key or per-group basis.

“Full RGB backlighting” is usually what jumps to mind when people refer to RGB customization.

Profiles

Last but not least, the ability to set up your device with a custom profile is important so it doesn’t mess with your normal keyboard bindings. Being able to toggle between multiple profiles also allows you to adjust your needs according to the game you’re playing, instead of needing to constantly reconfigure your controls.

Key Types

Membrane Keys

Mechanical keyboards aren’t as detailed as mechanical keyboards. In fact, they’re very straightforward; they only have 3 parts:

  • Top membrane layer
  • “Holes” layer
  • Bottom membrane layer

What happens when a membrane key is pressed is that the top membrane layer then moves to the second layer or “holes” layer, which then connects to the conductive traces through the pressured bottom membrane layer.

These keys aren’t very popular because of their slower typing speed and lowered accuracy when typing.

Mechanical Keys

Mechanical keys use physical switches instead of membrane layers. When you press a key, a switch is triggered that tells your computer that a key has been pressed.

The switches can also vary greatly and boast different personalities to fit a gamer’s preference. While most of these are loud because of the tactile-designed switches, there are some that aren’t as loud.

Mecha-membrane

The mecha-membrane is a combination of both. You have a soft-cushioned membrane rubber dome paired with a crisp tactile mechanical switch for accurate and swift keystrokes.

A Note on Wireless Gaming Keypads

If you’re here looking for a wireless gaming keypad, you’re out of luck because they don’t exist… currently. If you really need a wireless gaming keypad so you can sit and play games comfortably at a distance, then get a USB wireless hub.

This is very straightforward, really. You plug the wireless USB adapter into your computer and your wired gaming keypad (can be any on this list) to the USB hub. Everything plugged into the hub will then send a signal to the wireless adapter.

Alternatively, there are wireless number pads out there but using them for gaming just doesn’t seem right– at least for me, personally, and probably for most gamers.

The Best Gaming Keypads

01
Editor's Pick
Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB
1200px Razer snake logo.svg

Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

Keys

30

Switch Type

Mechanical

Extra Features

Analog Stick, Full RGB Backlighting, Fully-Programmable Keys

02
Expert Pick
Razar Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

Razar Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

Keys

25

Switch Type

Membrane

Extra Features

Analog Stick, Partial RGB Backlighting, Fully-Programmable Keys

03
Versatile Pick
4. Razer Tartarus V2
1200px Razer snake logo.svg

Razer Tartarus V2

Key Type

Mecha-Membrane

Number of Keys

32

Extra Features

Programmable 8-way directional thumb-pad, Fully-Programmable Keys, Detachable Palm Rest, Thumb pad and Scroll Wheel

04
Budget Pick
5. Delux T9

Delux T9

Key Type

Membrane

Number of Keys

46

Extra Features

N/A

In-depth Review

01
Editor's Pick
Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB
1200px Razer snake logo.svg

Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

Keys

30

Switch Type

Mechanical

Extra Features

Analog Stick, Full RGB Backlighting, Fully-Programmable Keys

Pros

Programmable 8-way directional thumb-pad

Mechanical Keys

Full RGB Customization

Fully Programmable Keys

Multiple Profiles Through Razer Synapse

Cons

Expensive

Synapse Required for Profiles

It’s no wonder that the Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB is the best gaming keypad in 2021, even though it initially released in 2015.

Razer’s proprietary software– Razer Synapse– lets you customize the color, color pattern, reprogram the keys, or just about any customization you could hope for.

Additionally, the Orbweaver has full RGB backlighting, which means each key is individually-backlit and fully customizable. Unlike a lot of keypads, the Orbweaver proudly boasts a complete implementation of this feature.

As soon as we got it out of the box, we could easily tell that the material is  worth what we paid.

Interestingly, we didn’t just find this helpful with most games, we also found it useful for productivity and content creation. In fact, we found a lot of professional content creators use this to make their workload smoother and faster.

Instead of having to press ctrl+c to copy and then press ctrl+v to paste, it can be done easily with 2 keys by mapping the buttons respectively.

The 2012 Razer Orbweaver use Cherry MX blue mechanical switches while the 2014 Razer Orbweaver uses brown and green mechanical switches. This means you get a clickity sound; however, we know some people are annoyed by the clickity sound that’s why the Razer Tartarus is the next entry on the list.

In terms of ergonomics and comfort when gaming, this provides all the adjustments you need to secure a very comfortable experience. Not only can you adjust the wrist rest to be closer or further away from the keys, but you can also adjust the thumb buttons so it will sit perfectly in line with your thumb.

And also, the bottom of the keypad is made of rubber to keep the Orbweaver in place.

02
Expert Pick
Razar Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

Razar Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

Keys

25

Switch Type

Membrane

Extra Features

Analog Stick, Partial RGB Backlighting, Fully-Programmable Keys

Pros

Programmable 8-way directional thumb-pad

Fully Programmable Keys

Multiple Profiles Through Razer Synapse

RGB Customization

Cons

Only Partial RGB Customization

No Mechanical Keys

Synapse Required for Profiles

Expensive

The Razer Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB is a popular but expensive option.

If you aren’t that fond of mechanical keys, but still want a premium Razer Orbweaver, then this might be the gaming keypad for you. This has membrane keys that give you a less noisy tactile experience without compromising the premium benefits.

It has just about the same physical features but with a more solid wrist rest. You can only adjust the wrist back and forth, however.

Because this has fewer keys than the Orbweaver, gamers with smaller hands can easily navigate through and press all the keys. Even with the Orbweaver set to the smallest adjustment, the Tartarus is still more convenient for gamers with smaller hands.

Unlike the Orbweaver, this only had partial RGB customization. Instead of being able to customize individual keys, you can only choose one color for the entire board depending on the profile you have selected at the time. While you can set keys to toggle or rotate between colors, this doesn’t provide the RGB experience that most modern consumers expect, especially at this price point.

The Razer Synapse, the software you use to customize the colors and reprogram the keys, can be a little annoying to mess around with, especially if it’s your first time.

And like the Orbweaver, you also have an 8-way thumbpad that offers more option to do a keyboard mapping and customization.

03
Versatile Pick
4. Razer Tartarus V2
1200px Razer snake logo.svg

Razer Tartarus V2

Key Type

Mecha-Membrane

Number of Keys

32

Extra Features

Programmable 8-way directional thumb-pad, Fully-Programmable Keys, Detachable Palm Rest, Thumb pad and Scroll Wheel

Pros

Tactile Mecha-Membrane Keys

Programmable 8-way directional thumb-pad

Multiple Profiles Through Razer Synapse

Has a Scroll Wheel

Fully Programmable Keys

Cons

Not As Ergonomic As The Original Tartarus

Synapse Required for Profiles

As the name suggests, the Razer Tartarus V2 is the upgraded Tartarus.

You can see at a glance that this is very much similar with the original Tartarus but there are a few differences here and there.

Let’s start with the 2 most obvious differences you can’t unsee:

  • Number of keys
  • Scroll Wheel

Aside from having more keys, the Tartarus V2 utilizes a rather different set of keys. These aren’t the ordinary membrane or mechanical keys: these are Razer mecha-membrane keys. It’s essentially a combination of both mechanical and membrane keys. It gives off the tactile feel of a mechanical key but it does so silently, like a membrane key.

The full RGB lights can be adjusted respectively with the use of Razer Synapse – just like the original Tartarus.

This gaming keypad with joystick also has another unique feature: a scroll wheel.

We found this great at first, but after a while, the novelty wore off and we preferred the mouse scroll wheel for in-game functionality and only ended up using this for volume adjustments.

The wrist rest of the Tartarus V2 can also be detached. This is something the original Tartarus can’t do and it can be adjusted into two different positions to suit your preference and comfort.

If you have a smaller hand, remove the wrist rest (as seen in the image above) and place it closer to the keys. Alternatively, place it further away from the keys if you have a larger hand for best comfort.

To top that off, the material of the wrist rest is also covered with a leather cushion.

One flaw that we found in the ergonomics department is the fact that this has more keys than the original Tartarus. Some of you may find this a plus, but gamers with smaller hands may find this a negative since they will have to extend their fingers to reach the new set of keys.

Despite having more functionality, it’s surprising that this is actually cheaper than its predecessor by nearly $50.

04
Budget Pick
5. Delux T9

Delux T9

Key Type

Membrane

Number of Keys

46

Extra Features

N/A

Pros

Very affordable

Perfect for Lefties

Comes with Multimedia Keys

WASD Keys Highlighted in Red

Only Has Key Lighting

Cons

No LED backlight

No Analog Stick

It may be the cheapest on our list but this actually offers double the function… technically.

Here’s why:

You’ll notice there are two red keys at the bottom part of the keypad. These are space keys and if you’re wondering why there are two of them, it’s there to accommodate not just right-hand users, but also left-handed users. Lefties will finally be able to play games conveniently!

Although you have a whopping 46 keys to play with, it doesn’t really give you the functionality you’d expect since some of the keys aren’t easily accessible. For instance, it’s cool that it has the 4 WASD keys, but one analog stick can do the same thing while freeing up other fingers, which is invaluable.

The placement of the keys aren’t really accommodating since you have to move your hands to actually press the keys. Also, these aren’t programmable keys, which will completely defeat the purpose for many gamers.

In fact, this is more like a one-handed gaming keyboard than a gaming keypad– which is alluded to in the title of its Amazon listing– so saving for a budget keyboard might be a viable alternative.

This does have a comfortable wrist rest but unlike many of the other candidates on the list, these can’t be adjusted.

Even though this does not have an LED backlight, like the others above, you can still play games in a dark or dim room since the keypad is illuminated, which you can adjust from low to high.

The build is surprisingly solid for the price and it has large number keys to make sure you don’t miss any keystrokes when gaming.

Overall, this still is worth getting, especially if you really are on a tight budget.

05
Pros
Cons

Final Word

After 32 hours of research, comparison, and testing, we’ve finally concluded which is the best gaming keypad for specific usages. As per the tester’s conclusion…

  1. The most adjustable gaming keypad is the Razer Orbweaver Chroma because the wrist rest and the thumb pad can be adjusted to fit small and large hands.
  2. The Razer Tartarus Chroma is the easiest to use because it only has 15 main programmable keys.
  3. The Razer Tartarus V2 is the most ergonomically designed for gaming because it comes with 32 programmable keys and a scroll wheel that you can map according to how you see fit.
  4. And, of course, the cheapest is the Delux T9 gaming keypad!

So now that you know which gaming keypad is the best, which among the 5 you think is for you?

The Author Who Worked On This Article

Monitor & PC Product Specialist
at
WePC
For as long as he can remember, Charlie has always been interested in computers and gaming. It all started with the Sega Mega Drive and then evolved into PC gaming in his early teens. CS 1.6 was his first go at competitive gaming which soon evolved into CS:Source and now CS:GO – a game that he still plays (almost exclusively) today. Throughout that period he has also been a keen PC builder and enthusiast – dedicating a large portion of his time to the craft. My current rig is an ASUS 5700XT with AMD’s Ryzen 3600X.

Independent, transparent, rigorous and authentic, our reviews are the most thorough and honest in PC gaming. Learn about our review process.