Black Friday gaming deals: Keyboards, mice and headsets to buy and avoid

Razer gaming headphones, keyboard and mouse on a computer desk
(Image credit: Razer)

Black Friday is almost upon us, and that means you’ll be able to buy all manner of tech for a fraction of their usual prices. Generally speaking, the flashiest Black Friday deals are on TVs, smartphones and appliances. But if you’re in the market for gaming gear, it’s worth at least keeping an eye out. Gaming mice, gaming keyboards and gaming headsets often go on sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While you won’t save hundreds or thousands of dollars, you can very easily save enough to buy yourself a new game or two.

I’ve been reviewing gaming peripherals for eight years, and during that time, I’ve learned a thing or two about which gear is worth picking up on sale, and which gear is a bad deal at any price. Still, if past Black Fridays are any indication, there won’t just be a handful of peripherals on sale. You might see sales on dozens of items from a variety of different manufacturers. It would be impossible to give individualized recommendations on every accessory, at every price point.

Instead, I’ve come up with a few general qualities to look for in gaming mice, gaming keyboards and gaming headsets. This way, if you see a promising deal, you can check to see if the gear in question has what a professional peripheral reviewer looks for in a new gadget. And remember: Any price on a product you don’t actually want or need is a bad deal.

Black Friday gaming deals: General advice

The single most important thing you can remember on Black Friday is that you don’t want to buy cheap gear; you want to buy inexpensive gear. If you wanted to buy gaming gear from shoddy no-name brands on Amazon, you could do that any day of the year. Instead, stick with known brands, such as Razer, Logitech, Corsair, SteelSeries, Roccat, Turtle Beach and so forth. Not only do these brands put out better gear, but they also stand behind their products in case anything goes wrong.

Otherwise, the only general advice I can give is that there is no “best” gaming peripheral in any category; there’s only the best gaming peripheral for you. In my experience, comfort trumps functionality every time, especially because you’re going to be using this gear for hours upon hours at a time. Follow your own preferences, whether it’s for size, shape, or wireless connectivity. A great sale on a product that’s kind-of, sort-of what you want is a worse deal than simply buying exactly what you want at full price.

Black Friday gaming mouse deals

A good mouse is arguably the most important part of a PC gaming setup, especially if you’re playing competitive multiplayer titles. While some high-end office mice make perfectly good gaming mice, most lower-end peripherals won’t cut it unless you stick to slow-paced and/or casual titles. Being able to set your own dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity and program extra buttons has a tangible effect on gameplay, as does an ergonomic design with textured grips. (RGB lighting doesn’t make any difference, but it’s quite pretty.)

Logitech G502

(Image credit: Logitech)

First off, you’ll need to decide whether you want a wired or wireless mouse. High-level competitive players often shun wireless mice, citing potential connectivity issues, or simply a fear of the mouse cutting out at a pivotal moment. I can’t speak to tournament play, but I can say that for everyday gaming, high-quality gaming mice have pretty much achieved parity with their wired brethren. I use wireless gaming mice myself.

There are, however, two caveats here. First, trust only wireless mice from respected gaming manufacturers, such as those mentioned above. Cheap, no-name gear often has terrible connectivity. Second, wireless mice are considerably more expensive than wired models. If you can grab a high-end wireless gaming mouse for less than $100 on Black Friday, that’s a great deal.

One common misconception about gaming mice is that you need a ton of extra buttons. The truth is that most players won’t want more than two or three thumb buttons; extra face buttons are hit-or-miss as well. MMO players with huge skill rotations may want mice with six (or more!) extra buttons, but it’s just not necessary for most people.

Another common misconception is that higher DPI means a better sensor. While high DPI is often a byproduct of good sensor design, the fact is that you’re unlikely to go past about 2,000, unless you have a multi-monitor setup — and even then, lower DPI still gives you finer control over demanding gameplay. In other words, don’t sweat it if a mouse maxes out at a few thousand DPI rather than 20,000, or more.

If I were to recommend just one mouse, it would be our old standby, the Logitech G502, which features a comfortable design and robust functionality. It also comes in a wireless flavor, the Logitech G502 Lightspeed. We’ve seen the G502 as cheap as $35 and the G502 Lightspeed as cheap as $95. I’d pull the trigger for the former around $40, and for the latter around $100.

Black Friday gaming keyboard deals

First things first: While I love a good gaming keyboard, it’s arguably the least necessary peripheral for a gaming setup. At high levels of play, a gaming keyboard’s quick response times and customizable keys could make a big difference. But for everyday play, a regular keyboard should work fine. This is doubly true if you’re looking to buy a membrane gaming keyboard. Without going into tremendous detail, a membrane gaming keyboard (as opposed to a mechanical model) is essentially just a dolled-up office keyboard.

As such, my first recommendation for a Black Friday gaming keyboard deal is that you have to be willing to spend some real money on it. Mechanical gaming keyboards generally cost between $150 and $200, so even on sale, it’s rare to see them drop below $80. Do not be stingy about this. While a mechanical keyboard may not catapult you to the highest levels of competitive play, it will change the way you type, particularly if you’re an experienced touch typist. The comfort, responsiveness and aural satisfaction of a mechanical keyboard are impossible to overstate, particularly if you’re used to cheap, unimpressive office models.

razer blackwidow v3

(Image credit: Razer)

As such, the most important thing to look for in a gaming keyboard is a set of mechanical key switches. Cherry MX keys, often found in Corsair models, are still the gold standard here. But Razer, Logitech and other companies also make their own proprietary switches, which have gotten much better in recent years. Mechanical keys can be either linear (press a key all the way down to activate) or tactile (press a key halfway down to activate), and quiet or clicky, so know which kind you want going in, and make sure the version you want is on sale.

RGB lighting, on the other hand, is strictly a “nice-to-have” feature. While most high-end gaming keyboards have RGB lighting by default lately, there are also cheaper models available with only one illumination color. An RGB keyboard can make your whole PC gaming setup look positively gorgeous, but it’s a purely aesthetic choice. Foregoing it could save you a lot of money.

One last feature to consider is wireless connectivity. I consider wireless mice and headsets to be absolutely indispensable, since those two devices are constantly in motion. But the benefits of a wireless keyboard are relatively mild, particularly if you have a stationary gaming desktop. Since you don’t really move keyboards around much, a wired keyboard isn’t much of a detriment — and wireless keyboards can cost somewhere in the region of $250. While I adore the convenience of a completely wireless setup, it may not be worth the steep upcharge.

While it’s not my absolute favorite keyboard, the trusty old Razer BlackWidow line frequently goes on sale for Black Friday. The latest model is the Razer BlackWidow V3, which would be a good deal if it drops under $100.

Black Friday gaming headset deals

If there’s one product you don’t want to skimp on, it’s a gaming headset. A good gaming headset can double as a pair of music headphones, as well as a way to communicate on video calls. Think about how many hours per day you spend listening to electronic media, and you’ll see why it’s absolutely imperative to have something comfortable, with excellent sound quality.

Best Xbox headsets

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

Unfortunately, headsets are tough to recommend, because everyone has different tastes and priorities. If you don’t expect your headset to ever leave the house — or your PC’s side — then aesthetics and connectivity aren’t a big deal. On the other hand, if you need a headset that pairs with your PC, your PlayStation, your Xbox, your Switch and your mobile phone (so you can listen to music on the go), your priorities will be totally different.

As such, I can recommend deals based on only a few broad strokes. As with mice and keyboards, you’ll have to decide whether or not to go wireless. Of the three peripherals, I think wireless connectivity has the most to offer headsets, considering that you can actually get up and move around while listening to music or talking on video chats. As with mice and keyboards, wireless connectivity can add between $50 and $100 to a headset’s price, so wireless headsets won’t be especially cheap, even on Black Friday. But remember: The goal here is not to get the cheapest product possible; it’s to get the one that will provide the best experience.

As such, be aware that any headset in the sub-$50 range will probably be a wired model and connect only via 3.5 mm audio cable. This is good for consoles, since you can plug directly into controllers, as well as laptops, since your head won’t be too far from the headphone jack. They’re more of a mixed bag for desktops. Wired headsets in the $100 range often have USB connectivity with short cables, making them ideal for PCs, but a bad fit for consoles.

My favorite headset from the last few years is the SteelSeries Arctis 7X, because it works wirelessly with just about any system on the market — PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch and Android mobile devices. Anything from the SteelSeries Arctis 7 line is a good buy at their usual prices, which range from $150 to $170. As such, I would take any Black Friday sale I could get on these, particularly if they drop to $120 range or lower.

In short, when it comes to shopping for gaming peripherals on Black Friday, remember three important tips:

  •  Buy from reputable brands
  •  Wireless gear is generally worth the premium, especially headsets and mice
  • Go for the best deal, not the cheapest deal

Remember, too, to keep an eye out for video game sales, since Black Friday tends to be a good chance to pick up mid-budget fare at indie prices.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.