Quiet, loud and RGB mechanical boards

Keyboards are a personal preference, and gaming keyboards are equally so. A good quality gaming keyboard can make all the difference when you’re in the heat of battle.


The best mechanical keyboards not only offer extra key travel, but also a choice of tactile response and actuation force that can be customised according to your needs and preferences. You might prefer a silent gaming keyboard, but there’s something to be said for loud and accurate Cherry MX Blue keys, as well.

Gaming keyboards are often built to last, with rigorous testing to ensure every key can handle the years of use they’re going to be put through. Making the right purchase means you can be sure that you’re going to have a keyboard that lasts and continues to be accurate for years to come – even if you’re an angry gamer.

These high-end gaming keyboards also include features that allow for the handling of multiple keypresses at once, recording custom macros and user-specific lighting profiles. These features make a big difference to how you work and play with your keyboard.

We’ve put a range of keyboards to the test to hunt down the very best and help you decide which one is right for you.

Asus Rog Azoth Review 9-1

Asus ROG Azoth

1. Best gaming keyboard

$232 $245 Save $13

The Asus ROG Azoth is a premium 75% keyboard with features that include swappable switches, three layers of dampening, factory-lubed switches, an OLED screen and more. 

Pros

  • Superb sound dampening makes it sound great
  • Premium feel and solid build quality
  • Swappable switch design for customisation
Cons

  • Hefty price tag
  • Lettering isn’t visible when RGB is off
  • No full size option

The Asus ROG Azoth could really be the winner of best gaming keyboards, though its hefty price tag might make many baulk at it.

This is a seriously premium keyboard with features that make it comparable with the custom keyboard options out there. More importantly, it’s an absolute pleasure to use, with a comfortable typing experience and satisfying sound dampening that makes it a pleasure to listen to as well as work and game on.

It’s also a stunning wireless keyboard that’s really well constructed and hard to fault. We thoroughly enjoyed this keyboard and hope it marks a trend for the big gaming brands to start producing even more premium products. That said, all this quality does come at a price so it won’t be for everyone.

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Hyperx Origins 60 photo 1
Pocket-lint

HyperX Origins 60

2. Best 60% gaming keyboard

$79.99 $99.99 Save $20

This is an incredibly feature-rich 60% keyboard that’s well designed and pleases in several areas.

Pros

  • Great aesthetics including custom spacebar design
  • Comfortable linear switches
Cons

  • Might be too small for some

The HyperX Origins 60 is a nifty little keyboard with a lot going for it. It boasts a solid aluminium backplate, detachable USB-C cable, PBT double-shot keycaps and a nifty design that includes a custom space bar and satisfying RGB lighting.

Highlights of this keyboard include HyperX’s own red linear switchers which not only actuate faster than Cherry MX Reds but also are more comfortable to use for gaming and working. The Origins 60 also boasts reprogrammable keys (and at function level) via the NGenuity software, making it very flexible.

best gaming keyboards the best quiet loud colourful and proud mechanical keyboards around photo 13
Pocket-lint

Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro

3. Best optical gaming keyboard

This keyboard might be expensive, but it’s a brilliant flagship with many interesting highlights that make it worth considering.

Pros

  • Comfortable design
  • Optical key switches
  • Excellent RGB lighting
  • Premium quality finish
Cons

  • Price
  • Battery life isn’t amazing

Razer has revitalised its DeathStalker keyboard with a new and improved model that’s quite possibly the company’s best and most interesting keyboard to date.

This is a full-size, low-profile keyboard with Bluetooth and wireless connectivity as well as superb RGB.

This is the first wireless keyboard we’ve seen with optical switches. It comes with a choice of linear optical or clicky optical switches and super fast actuation and low latency too.

The low-profile format makes it incredibly comfortable to type on while the specs-rich design makes it wonderfully capable for gaming too.

Corsair K100 Air review photo 2
Pocket-lint

Corsair K100 Air Wireless RGB

4. Best low-profile gaming keyboard

$220 $280 Save $60

If you’re looking for the best low-profile keyboard on the market, look no further. It costs a pretty penny, but it’s more than worth it for some people.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design
  • Macro keys and media keys
  • Programmable RGB lighting
  • Up to 200-hour battery life
Cons

  • Very high price
  • Too loud for some

The K100 Air is an ultra-low-profile gaming keyboard from the experts at Corsair. It’s designed to be easier on the wrists, but it still features tactile mechanical switches to aid in precision and typing feel.

As you might expect, it boasts RGB lighting with endless effects that can be controlled on a per-key basis. it’s also wireless, which makes for a very clean-looking desk setup, and the battery lasts for up to 200 hours with the RGB lighting turned off (or 50 hours with it on).

For gaming, there are four dedicated macro keys, as well as separate media keys, and it integrates with the Elgato Stream Deck software, too. It’s a pricey option, but for the right buyer, the features are more than worth it.

best gaming keyboards the best quiet loud colourful and proud mechanical keyboards around photo 12

Pocket-lint

Ducky One 3 TKL

5. Best stealth gaming keyboard

If you want something that looks a little less gamer, but still performs at the top level, the Duck One 3 TKL might be the one for you.

Pros

  • Unique colourways
  • Amazing acoustics
  • Hot-swappable switches
Cons

  • Programming macros can be confusing

The Ducky One 3 might not scream gaming like some of our other options, but its performance and build quality can’t be ignored. Plus, it’s less likely to raise eyebrows in an office setting, which can come in handy, from time to time.

The Ducky One 3 is available in a variety of unique and eye-catching colourways, all featuring the highest-quality double-shot PBT keycaps and Cherry MX switches. The switches are hot-swappable, too, so if you like linear switches on your WASD keys and tactile elsewhere, you can make it happen.

Everything has been fine-tuned on this board from the lubrication and balance of the key stabilisers, to the way the board sounds. That’s right, Ducky has used foam and rubber inserts to ensure that this keyboard has the perfect typing sound – a feature that’s not common on keyboards in this price range.

If you need macros, it is possible on the Ducky One 3, but the lack of software makes it confusing – so MMORPG fiends may want to look elsewhere.


How we chose these gaming keyboards

We’ve tested each and every keyboard on this list in-house, so we can confidently vouch for their quality. We consider a number of factors before adding a keyboard to our list, including the features, build-quality, performance and value for money.

We’ve tried to include a wide range of options here, whether you prefer a full-sized board or a diddy 60% that gives you extra room for your mouse. We also have low-profile options, for those who prefer a lower angle, and more subtle choices, for those who want to take their keyboard to work.

What to consider when buying a gaming keyboard

There are a few different things to consider when buying a gaming keyboard. Some features can make a big difference to your experience and whether you’re happy with the keyboard once you’ve purchased it.

Keyboard size

There are a number of different keyboard sizes to choose from. You’ll find these referred to in different formats sometimes with a name, other times by the number of keys on the keyboard.

A full-sized keyboard, for example, is sometimes known as 104-key. These keyboards have everything you need, including the numpad and sometimes extra things like dedicated media keys, macro keys and more.

Tenkeyless (aka TKL or 87-key) keyboards are popular choices for gamers generally as they remove the numpad which gives you more room on your desk. This is ideal as it gives you more space to move your mouse around. However, if you use your keyboard for productivity reasons these keyboards aren’t ideal.

Key switches

Switches can make a big difference too. There are many different keyboard switches out there. Far too many to cover in this article but it’s worth knowing the main ones you’ll find on a gaming keyboard:

  • Red switches – (often Cherry MX Red) these switches are favourites for gamers as they’re quiet, require very little actuation force and have “linear” response that’s consistent and smooth
  • Blue switches – (often Cherry MX Blue) these are preferred if you’re mostly going to be typing a lot. They need more force (harder press) to actuate and have a louder sound to them. As such they’re described as “clicky”.
  • Brown switches – (often Cherry MX Brown) are a middle ground between red and blue switches. They’re quieter than blue switches but have a tactile feedback
  • Optical switches – high-end keyboards now have optical switches. These register your keypresses by breaking a beam of light rather than using a traditional mechanical switch. They’re more accurate and last longer.

Connectivity

How you connect your keyboard to your gaming PC can make a difference. Generally, a wired keyboard is preferable for the same reasons as a wired mouse. A wired connection ensures you have a solid connection and lower system latency.

If you opt for a wireless keyboard then make sure it has a 2.4GHz wireless connection. Many wireless keyboards offer both Bluetooth and wireless connectivity options. Bluetooth will help with battery life, but 2.4GHz wireless ensures a more stable and lower latency connection.

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