While most of us spend a whole lot of money on our hardware for gaming purposes, not everyone puts a whole lot of thought into their input devices. If you’re planning on dropping a few hundred dollars for the newest video card it makes sense to put a little bit of money into making sure that you also have the best mechanical gaming keyboard around.
When it comes down to it, we absolutely love the Corsair Gaming K95. It’s one of the best mechanical keyboards around and it’s sure to keep for years under even the heaviest of use.
If you’re willing to spend the money, then you’ll have found the best gaming keyboard around with the K95 RGB Platinum. It’s simply impossible to beat.
Top 5 Mechanical Gaming Keyboards
|1. Corsair Gaming K95 RGB||Cherry MX Black||5||Check Price|
|2. Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2||Razer Green||5||Check Price|
|3. Corsair STRAFE||Cherry MX Red||4||Check Price|
|4. ROSEWILL Clicky||Cherry MX Blue||4||Check Price|
|5. Magicelec||Cherry MX Blue||3||Check Price|
1. Best Overall
Corsair Gaming K95 RGB PLATINUM Mechanical Keyboard
If you want the ultimate mechanical gaming keyboard, then you should be taking a close look at the Corsair Gaming K95. With Cherry MX Black switches it’s amazingly responsive while maintaining the durability of a mechanical keyboard and the entire thing is made out of aircraft grade aluminum. This is an expensive piece of hardware, rivaling many parts for your gaming PC but with any luck it’ll be the last keyboard you’ll have to buy for a decade.
You can customize the color of each and every key on the board as well, with RGB LED lighting that allows for a simply amazing array of aesthetic customization. It also has a pass-through USB to allow for peripheral attachment.
Add in the detachable wrist rest and you’ve got a clear winner for the serious gamer.
Pros and Cons
- Uber customizable RGB LED backlight
- Cherry MX Black switches
- Insanely durable
- Pass-through USB
- Amazing wrist rest
- Software is a little buggy
2. Runner Up for Best Overall
Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2
Razer’s BlackWidow line is one of the most impressive sets of keyboard around and until recently it was hard to compete with them on any level. Razer brings something new to the table: their very own proprietary switches which are simply some of the best on the market. This is an expensive piece of machinery, of course, and it might be a little bit more expensive than many to replace switches but it’s hard to beat. This keyboard comes with individually programmable RGB LED backlit keys as well, letting you make the board look exactly as you wish.
One of the best parts though: additional keys which you can tie to macros without having to use any of the standard 104 keys on the board.
The Chroma V2 is one of the best mechanical keyboards around and if you’re willing to spend the cash then you’ll end up with a solid, long lasting keyboard with a large array of extra options.
Pros and Cons
- Macro keys
- Range of switches available
- Razer’s switches are super high-quality
- Wrist rest included
- USB Pass-through
- Can’t handle spills
3. Best Value for Your Money
Corsair STRAFE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
There may be better mechanical gaming keyboards on the market, but the Corsair STRAFE is the perfect balance of price and value. Rather than being an entry level mechanical keyboard, this is a high-quality piece of work although it lacks some of the features you’ll find in those which are more expensive. While we prefer the version with the Cherry MX Red switches, you can actually get them in the Blue, Brown, and Silent variations in order to make sure that you get what you need. The keys have a nice and high set as well, making this board exceptional for those games which require quick double taps and other maneuvers which require precision and the rollover on this keyboard will allow all keys pressed at the same time to register through the USB.
It also has a USB pass-through port, so you can attach your mouse adapter or headset directly to the keyboard without having to run it around the back of your gaming box.
You can make sure to get a whole lot of potential with the Corsair STRAFE without having to spend an excessive amount of money.
Pros and Cons
- Pass through USB port
- Variety of switches
- High key-set
- Red LED backlighting
- Contoured keys
- No macro keys
- Louder than average
4. Most Customizable Gaming Keyboard
ROSEWILL Clicky Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
While it’s still not a Razer, this keyboard from Rosewill has a wide range of buying options that are sure to keep just about anyone happy. With several LED patterns and a ton of different switch types to choose from there is definitely something here for every gamer. This is an extremely tactile keyboard, giving you that satisfying and heavy click that you’d expect from a mechanical board but there really aren’t any “quiet” options to choose from. If noise is a concern you’ll want to give it a pass.
The LEDs on the RGB option are simply breathtaking, allowing for an immense amount of control in order to make sure that you have the aesthetic that you desire.
If you want a keyboard that’s all your own, then take a closer look at this keyboard from Rosewill. Just keep in mind that the higher-end options can get a bit costly.
Pros and Cons
- Super customizable
- Breathtaking LED options
- Can have a variety of switches
- On-board memory
- Braided cable for durability
- Keyboard markings fade fairly quickly
5. Best Budget Gaming Keyboard
Magicelec Mechanical Keyboard with Blue Switches
Even if you’re not able to invest more than fifty dollars you can still get a substantial upgrade by going with the Magicelec Mechanical Keyboard. This particular keyboard comes with Cherry MX Blue switches which provide a great tactile feel and allow for quick response time when you’re gaming. It also has a rainbow lighting so you can see out of the corner of your eye which row of keys you’re on.
The lighting can actually go through quite a few different modes depending on what exactly you want to do with this keyboard, an impressive aesthetic touch overall.
This is a solid, entry level gaming keyboard. It may not have quite the build quality of a Razer or Corsair but it’s half the cost and sure to serve you well for a long time to come.
Pros and Cons
- Responsive MX Blue switches
- Low cost
- Rainbow lighting with nine different modes
- Great aesthetic
- Minimalist design
- Build-quality isn’t as high as more expensive options
- Lack of macro keys
What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
If you’ve used a modern keyboard and you’ve been around for a while, you’ve definitely noticed that there just isn’t that “clacky” noise or the tactile feel that was present in older keyboards.
Chances are you’ve gone through quite a few of them over the years too, while that old Dell from a decade ago only got retired because the plug was no longer compatible with your new hardware.
The reason for this is pretty simple: most modern keyboards are membrane keyboards which are cheaper to produce but not quite as durable.
Mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, use high-quality mechanical switches when you press down the button. This results in the heavier feel and the tactile nature of typing with one.
What are the Advantages of Using a Mechanical Keyboard?
The biggest advantage that you’ll see over a membrane keyboard is the increased durability. Even the best membrane keyboard is only rated for five million or so presses of each key, while a low-end mechanical keyboard will be rated for at least four times that.
High end mechanical keyboards can be rated for up to fifty million strokes. That’s absolutely obscene and only the most hardcore gamer will actually be able to wear out a keyboard at that level of durability… and even then it’ll take years.
If you grew up on mechanical keyboards, the heavy clacking and intense feel of the board under your fingertips is likely to inspire you to new heights and give you a touch of nostalgia to boot.
You can also slam on multiple keys at the same time when you’re using one, which has obvious applications when it comes to gaming.
As a final bonus: they tend to respond more quickly. While this won’t matter to most casual computer users or even gamers, if you’re looking for pro status then you know that every fraction of a second counts.
What to Look for In Your New Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Of course, since you’re looking to game, you might not be satisfied with just any mechanical keyboard like a writer would be. You’ll want to take advantage of some of the other great features which can be found when you’re looking at gaming hardware.
For most gamers MX Black switches are what you want. These are smooth switches which allow you to reach the “bottom” of the press without any kind of tactile “bump” which will inform you that the key has been pressed. They’re a bit tiresome for working with, however.
MX Red switches are probably the best for those who are planning on using their keyboards for both work and play.
The other types of switch are much heavier, and not generally recommended for gaming since they’ll require heavier key presses but they most closely emulate the old style of keyboards.
Macro and extra keys are pretty awesome depending on the genre of game you prefer. These keys can be set with software to emulate several keypresses with a single stroke and the applications are pretty obvious to anyone who’s a serious gamer.
The amount of macro keys can vary greatly, but MMO and MOBA players are sure to want the largest amount of them possible in order to use customized functions pretty much at will.
Keyboard backlights can range from simple white lights, to full spectrum LEDs and even customizable light patterns underneath your fingertips.
They all serve pretty much the same function: allowing you to see the keys even if you’re playing in the dark. The extra colors and such can cost more, and add an aesthetic touch to your keyboard, but really aren’t all that essential as far as functionality goes.
Noise is a contentious issue when it comes to using mechanical keyboards. Some people like to hear that loud clacking with each and every keypress, or even the sharp double tap of some of the tougher mechanical switches, while others just want to enjoy the improved tactile feel without the noise.
Mechanical keyboards can actually be loud, if that’s what you prefer. Going with MX Black switches on the other hand will usually leave you with a keyboard that really isn’t all that loud.
Indeed, some of the keyboards out there are almost silent.
Wired or Wireless?
For gaming purposes, always go with a wired keyboard.
Wireless keyboards run the risk of having their batteries go dead in the middle of a game and there’s a super slight delay in response time. While this doesn’t matter if you’re typing, it can seriously mess up your micromanagement in an RTS or cost you a tight match in a MOBA against skilled opponents.
Wireless keyboards are fine for most casual people, but the best gaming keyboards are going to end up taking up that extra USB slot so be prepared for that when you purchase one.
Finding the best mechanical gaming keyboard can be something of a pain, but once you have the proper one on your desk you’ll be in good hands. If you’ve never had the pleasure of a high-quality keyboard under your fingertips then you have no idea what you’re missing: make the investment today and you’ll quickly see why this style of keyboard has taken the gaming world by storm.