Best Gaming Keypads in 2018 (Updated Today) – Top 5 Picks and Reviews

1byone Mechanical Gaming Keypad 2

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. 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 Pick
Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

Best PC gaming keypad

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.

Expert Pick
Razer Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

Razer Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

Mechanical gaming keypad

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.

Logitech is a company that is known for producing high-quality gaming peripherals through the years and the Logitech G13 is no different.

You can easily say that this is a gaming keypad that is built with functionality in mind and you could tell from its unique LCD display. The entire gaming keypad is ergonomically designed to provide a more convenient experience for gamers.

Expert Pick V2
Razer Tartarus V2

Razer Tartarus V2

Gaming Keypad with Detachable Wrist Rest

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.

Budget Pick
Delux T9

Delux T9

Most Affordable Gaming Keypad

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!

How We Choose Gaming Keypads

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 were not sent to us to make biased opinions or feedback.

Features to Check 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. See image below for better illustration.

Membrane Keys

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.

Mechanical Keys

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.

Mecha membrane

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.

How we Tested

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.

The 5 Best Gaming Keypads for 2018

DetailsOur Rating
Our PickRazer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

  • key type: Mechanical
  • number of keys: 30
  • extra features: Programmable 8-way directional thumb-pad, Full RGB Backlighting, Fully-Programmable Keys
4.5/5
Expert PickRazer Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

Razer Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

  • key type: Membrane
  • number of keys: 25
  • extra features: Programmable 8-way directional thumb-pad, Partial RGB, Backlighting, Fully-Programmable Keys
4.5/5
Programmable PickLogitech G13 Programmable Gameboard

Logitech G13 Programmable Gameboard

  • key type: Membrane
  • number of keys: 25
  • extra features: LCD Display, Analog Stick, 5 Onboard Profiles, Fully-Programmable Keys
4/5
Expert Pick V2Razer Tartarus V2

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
4/5
Budget PickDelux T9

Delux T9

  • key type: Membrane
  • number of keys: 46
  • extra features: N/A
3/5
#1

Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB

It’s no wonder that the Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB is the best gaming keypad in 2018, even though it initially released in 2015.

1. Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB unboxing 1

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.

1. Razer Orbweaver Chroma Elite RGB unboxing 2

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.

#2

Razer Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB

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.

2. Razer Tartarus Chroma Expert RGB unboxing 1

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.

Razor sticker

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.

#3

Logitech G13 Programmable Gameboard

It’s very comfortable and the entire layout is made for gamers. Luckily, we have a colleague who has actually owned one and used it for nearly 4 years, so we also interviewed her about her personal experiences.

She’s a hardcore WoW player and she’s never imagined playing without using a gamepad. With the Logitech G13 having 22 programmable keys vs Razer Orbweaver Chroma’s 20 and Razer Tartarus’ 15, this is the preferred for many hardcore MMO gamers.

3. Logitech G13 Programmable Gameboard unboxing 1

The LCD display is capable of showing a lot of things. It can show your character’s stats, the current music you have playing, or even your CPU and RAM usage (If you look closely in the above picture, you can tell we were using 13% of our CPU and 29% of our RAM).

While this display is pretty cool, it can be hard to find an actual use for. Why constantly check the display when you have the actual game in front of you?

The keypad also comes with a 4-way analog stick and hotkeys that you can set. If you’re a hardcore MMORPG player, this should definitely come in handy.

Moreover, you also have the option to change the backlight color into 16 million different lighting colors. Keep in mind though that this only has a partial RGB backlit, which means you can’t map each key as different colors.

16 million different lighting colors unboxing 2

Our colleague used this for hardcore MMORPG gaming on a daily basis and started to notice minor problems after a year of intensive use. However, it worked for 3 years and 8 months before finally kicking the bucket.

The wrist rest can’t be adjusted but it does have a nice rubbery texture to keep your wrist in place.

Today, she’s using another gaming keypad which brings us to the...

#4

Razer Tartarus V2

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.

the Razer Tartarus V2 is the upgraded Tartarus.

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 awhile the novelty wore off and we prefered the mouse scroll wheel for in-game functionality and only ended up using this for volume adjustments.

the Tartarus V2 has a scroll wheel

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.

#5

Delux T9

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!

5. Delux T9 unboxing 1

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.

5. Delux T9 unboxing 2

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.

Conclusion

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. The Logitech G13 provides the best user experience, especially for serious MMO players.
  5. 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?

Source

1. Brian Westover, Razer Orbweaver, PC Mag, February 22, 2013
2. Seow Tein Hee, First Looks: Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard, Philippines Hardware Zone, April 14, 2009
3. Kris Brooks, Razer Tartarus V2: Better Than Ever, MMORPG, December 22, 2017
4. Nate Ralph, Review: Razer's Orbweaver is stylish and completely superfluous, PC World, February 21, 2013

2 Comments

  1. Jeremy W Lanier says:

    You keep describing the razer joystick as analog; however, they are actually glorified directional pads on a stick. They only move in 8 directions, whereas analog is well, analog. It can register a virtually continuous change in direction all the way around the circle as apposed to every 1/4Pi. The only analog stick in this article is the G13.

    1. Juzel Albert Padilla says:

      Hello there, Jeremy! Thanks for pointing out this mistake 🙂 You’re right, the Razer gaming keypads here all utilize a programmable 8-way directional thumb-pad and are not analog. Will have the article updated in the soonest possible time.

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