If you want to get some serious gaming done on your computer, a run-of-the-mill office keyboard isn't going to cut it. If you're willing to pay a premium for something functional, colorful and user-friendly, we recommend you check out the Razer BlackWidow Chroma ($170 MSRP; price on Amazon varies), which tops our list, but there are plenty of other great options for different types of gamers, in a wide range of prices.
If you're looking for a keyboard with a ton of macro buttons for massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, the Logitech G910 Orion Spark ($180) is a good option. Or, if your desk space is at a premium, you might be better off with the CM Storm QuickFire Rapid ($80).
There's only one hard-and-fast rule for choosing the perfect keyboard: Go with mechanical keys, whenever possible. Membrane keyboards rarely measure up.
How We Test Gaming Keyboards
When we're evaluating a new gaming keyboard, the first thing we check is how easy it is to set up. We plug it in, install its software (if necessary) and learn how easy (or difficult) it is to tweak its settings. Then, we run it through the Ten Thumbs Typing Test alongside a standard Dell office keyboard to see which one types faster and more accurately. From there, we evaluate the software, rating how easy it is to set up individual profiles, control backlighting and reassign keys.
Finally, we run each keyboard through at least four games from a variety of genres to see how well it performs, and whether it has any genre-specific strengths or weaknesses.
A good peripheral has easy-to-find, responsive keys. Genre-specific keyboards should have a special feature that elevates them above all-purpose ones.
We use the keyboard for everyday tasks for at least two days to evaluate comfort and accuracy.
Related: Why You Want a Mechanical Keyboard
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