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. Especially if you’re involved in the competitive e-sports scene, good gear can help keep you at the top of your game for years to come.
Tom's Guide tests dozens of keyboards each year, and our evaluations led us to recommend the Corsair K70 Rapidfire ($170) for its incredible comfort and versatility. If money is tighter, the Turtle Beach Impact 100 ($23) is the closest you can get to a mechanical feeling from a membrane keyboard.
Latest News and Updates (November 2017)
- The Logitech G Pro is our latest pick for Best Small Keyboard.
Related: Why You Want a Mechanical Keyboard
What to Look For
Unless money is extremely tight, the most important feature in a gaming keyboard is a set of mechanical switches. Most membrane models simply don't measure up, due to shallow key travel and a lack of tactile feedback. RGB lighting is a common feature, but also one that can add dozens of dollars to a keyboard's price tag. Look for it if you want your keyboard to match the rest of your gaming setup. Extra macro keys are useful for gamers who play a lot of MMOs or competitive shooters. Tom's Guide also has a comprehensive primer on how to find the right keyboard for your setup.
On the other end of the spectrum, if budgeting is your primary concern, we've also rounded up the Best and Worst Cheap Keyboards you can buy. None of them can match a dedicated gaming keyboard, but some are better than others if you just need to play a few casual titles now and then.
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 a typing test alongside a our everyday keyboards 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.
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