Best Gaming Keyboard 2018: 13 boards for every type of gamer

If you’re a serious PC player hoping to compete against the best online, you’ll want to invest in the very best gaming keyboard that you can get your mitts on.

These gaming keyboards offer a slew of benefits that can be used to highlight specific game’s control schemes, including programmable macro keys, reactive key switches and snazzy RGB lighting. Recent advances in wireless models also mean you aren’t always tied to your desk either.

But choosing the best gaming keyboard for you can be a tricky task, with every company under the sun offering a variety of products at radically different price points and for various types of player.

Trusted Reviews is here to help, we’ve created an in-depth buying guide to explain the differences between each type of model. We’ve also tested all the latest keyboards to offer a comprehensive list of the best currently available in each category.

The best gaming keyboard we’ve reviewed so far is the Vulcan 100 Aimo. If you’re willing to invest in a premium model, this board offers an excellent gaming experience with a beautiful skeletal design. If you’re on a tighter budget, then the Logitech G213 Prodigy is spectacular value for money, and a great all-round gaming keyboard.

How we test gaming keyboards

Every keyboard we test is used for at least a week. During that time we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces playing a variety of different genres. These include MOBAs, FPS, strategy and ARPG titles. We’ll also check its software to see how easy it is to customise and setup.

Related: Best Gaming Mice

Best gaming keyboard - Roccat Vulcan 100 Aimo

1. Roccat Vulcan 100 Aimo

The best overall keyboard for serious gamers

Pros:

  • Slick mechanical action
  • Funky design
  • Practically dust and spill-proof
  • Strong RGB backlighting

Cons:

  • No wireless support
  • Noisy

If you’re serious about gaming and money is plentiful, then we’d recommend the Vulcan 100 Aimo in a heartbeat. This fantastic keyboard comes with wrist support, while the keys are tall enough to necessitate some kind of support, although any kind of wrist pad you happen to have lying around should work fine.

The metal board boasts a unique skeletal design, premium mechanical construction and RGB backlighting with 16.8 million colours on offer. It’s expensive, sure, but you get what you pay for. And in the case of the Vulcan 100, you get some serious quality and an excellent gaming experience.

Related: Best Gaming Headsets

Best Gaming Keyboard - Logitech G213 Prodigy

2. Logitech G213 Prodigy

The very best gaming keyboard you can buy for under £50

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • RGB lighting looks great
  • Excellent for gaming

Cons:

  • Not mechanical
  • A little chunky
  • No USB passthrough

If you’re on a strict budget then the Logitech G213 Prodigy is a great gaming keyboard that offers spectacular value for money.

It aims to offer buyers a number of key features traditionally only seen on significantly more expensive boards. Highlights include fully RGB backlit keys, dedicated media controls and endless software customisation.

Its membrane switches – which Logitech has ‘tuned’ for gaming – aren’t quite as responsive as fully mechanical keys, but they’re more than good enough for most gamers and a significant step up on most regular keyboards.

All-in-all, although professionals will miss mechanical keys, it’s unlikely that you’ll find better for less than £50.

Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate

3. Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate

This minimalist keyboard is an absolute dream for touch typists

Pros:

  • Satisfying tactile feel to keys
  • Sleek, minimalist design
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports

Cons:

  • Touch typing requirement may alienate some users

‘Think you’re a pro gamer, huh? Why don’t you PROVE it?!’ is what the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate screams at you.

The idea behind blank keyboards like the Keyboard 4 Ultimate is that you’re so on it with your keyboard shortcuts and commands, you don’t need to look to see where your WASD keys are. You instinctively know, because your muscle memory and typing accuracy is that good.

Besides being a keyboard for touch typers only, how does the Das Keyboard Ultimate 4 fare? Pretty well – the Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches give you a firm and fast typing experience. There’s no key wobble at all and the switches practically fire the keys back at you, allowing you to build up a serious head of steam. NKRO support means that should you ever scramble to execute proper key combos during heated matches, the Keyboard 4 Ultimate should help out when you falter.

True to its minimalist, no-nonsense approach, the Das Keyboard Ultimate 4 doesn’t support RGB lighting. Because, of course, if you’re a proper gamer, then you’re not interested in such frivolities, right?

The good news is, as well as this all-black, no letters keyboard, there’s also a more forgiving Professional edition, which is exactly the same, except for there’s all the lettering and marking you’d expect. So if you wanted to buy that instead of the proper, hardcore version, you could. We won’t tell anyone, we promise…

AUKEY KM-G6 LED Mechanical Keyboard

4. AUKEY KM-G6 LED Mechanical Keyboard

One of the best-value mechanical keyboards you can buy

Pros:

  • Fantastic feel to keys when typing or gaming
  • Impressive range of RGB options
  • Low price

Cons:

  • Awful font on keycaps
  • Imperfect N-key rollover

The AUKEY KM-G6 LED mechanical keyboard is far better than its asking price might suggest. This is an incredibly solid choice as a budget-price mechanical keyboard for typing or gaming and is a welcome alternative to the flashier, more expensive options out there.

For a fraction of the price you’re gaining access to a gaming keyboard that, despite its unattractive key-face font, is capable of competing with the big boys when it comes to responsiveness, build quality and mechanical competency. It’s really quite something for just thirty pounds.

You can definitely invest more and receive more bang for your buck, but those on a more modest gaming budget won’t be disappointed here.

logitech g413

5. Logitech G413

Looking for a £100 gaming keyboard? This is the best option

Pros:

  • Attractive design
  • Quality key switches
  • USB passthrough is useful

Cons:

  • Single-colour backlighting
  • No dedicated macro keys

The Logitech G413 is the best £100 keyboard we’ve reviewed. It ticks all the boxes for a keyboard that’s going to be used for both work and play, and its attractive design means it won’t look out of place in a more subtle desk setup.

The full-size ‘board uses Logitech’s Romer-G switches. No, they’re not Cherry MX, but we’re starting to be won over by their mix of tactile feedback but relatively quiet performance.

There’s a USB passthrough for peripherals, which isn’t always a given at this price, and Logitech’s Gaming Software is fairly basic but gets the job done as far as macros go. Our only slight reservation are the single-colour backlights; we’re not fans of the bright red on the black model, but that’s down to personal taste.

All in all, Logitech’s latest mid-range gamer is a mighty success.

Best Gaming Keyboards: Corsair K63 Wireless

6. Corsair K63 Wireless

One of the best keyboards for those who want to game in the living room

Pros:

  • Ideal for gaming
  • Strong and sturdy build
  • Responsive switches
  • Plenty of media controls

Cons:

  • Only one key-switch option
  • No RGB lighting
  • Flimsy wrist-rest
  • Lacks lighting synchronisation

If you’re a lounge PC gamer looking to enjoy the benefits of a proper gaming keyboard, you’ll struggle to do better than the Corsair K63 Wireless.

Bluetooth connectivity means it will work with pretty much any device without the need to free up a separate USB port.

It’s also no slowpoke with regards to performance, coming loaded with Cherry Red MX switches and a lightning-fast 1ms response time in 2.4GHz mode.

If you’re after an all-in-one mouse and keyboard setup similar to the Razer Turret, the K63 Wireless is also compatible with Corsair’s Lapboard, which can be used to create an entirely wire-free gaming experience from your couch.

The only potential downside is its lack of RGB lighting, which will put off some flashier gamers.

7. Razer Huntsman Elite

One of the most flashy and stylish gaming keyboards around

Pros:

  • Great mechanical action for both typing and gaming
  • Comfortable wrist-rest
  • Easy to clean
  • So many lights. So. Many. Lights.

Cons:

  • No USB passthrough
  • No macros
  • Requires two USB ports

It’s all about style with the Razer Huntsman Elite, blinged out with more lights than a Christmas tree and featuring a wrist-rest that ensures comfort for long stretches of typing or gaming.

Of course, the Huntsman Elite has the performance to match the looks too. The keys are almost just as satisfyingly clicky as MX Cherry Blue switches with near-instant actuation that should no doubt please FPS fans.

If you’re not bothered about the absent macros keys and the fact that it requires two USB ports, the Hunstman is one of the best no-nonsense keyboards out there. Just bear in mind that you’re paying a premium for those flashy looks.

Roccat Suora FX review

8. Roccat Suora FX

A fully customisable gaming keyboard that offers a premium experience

Pros:

  • Individual RGB lighting
  • No gaps to collect debris
  • Smart software
  • Fast mechanical keys

Cons:

  • No palm-rest
  • Pricey

With pretty much all the same advantages as the Vulcan 100 Aimo, the Roccat Suora FX features virtually everything you’d want from a gaming keyboard. The mechanical keys are super springy, ultra responsive and can withstand a bashing no matter how foul your temper.

If you’re of the opinion that WASD needs a shake up, you’re free to change the function of any of the keys on the Suora FX too. The customisation doesn’t stop there either, as you can play around with the individual key lights with over 16.8 million colours to choose from. You can even create custom presets if you fancy switching up the light show between games.

The only significant difference between the two Roccat keyboards is the design, with the Aimo sporting a more skeletal finish. But if you’re not too fussed about that, then opting for the Suora FX instead could save you around £30.

Best Gaming Keyboard: Asus ROG Claymore

9. Asus ROG Claymore

A luxury gaming keyboard for those who aren’t afraid to flash the cash

Pros:

  • Quality metal body
  • Wide choice of switches
  • Aura Sync RGB lighting
  • Compact design

Cons:

  • High price
  • No USB passthrough or wrist rest
  • Number pad can come loose

The Asus ROG Claymore sits at the luxury end of our round-up, and it is an essential entry here.

It’s a beautiful thing, with a robust plastic and metal build, lack of bezel around the edge and fancy RGB lighting that can sync up with Asus Aura motherboards and graphics cards. There are some features missing, including both a wrist rest and USB passthrough, which are surprising omissions given the price.

There’s a wide variety of Cherry MX switches available, so gamers of all stripes should at least consider the Claymore.

Best Gaming Keyboard: SteelSeries Apex M500

10. SteelSeries Apex M500

A great value mechanical keyboard for eSport gamers

Pros:

  • Excellent typing experience
  • Smart, solid design
  • Intuitive software

Cons:

  • No USB passthrough or wrist-rest
  • Only CherryMX Red available

The SteelSeries Apex M500 is one of the more basic mechanical keyboards around, but it does its job well and looks great.

It includes proper CherryMX switches, a robust design and stylish blue backlighting, along with excellent customisation software.

It doesn’t have a passthrough or any of the macro keys you’d get from more advanced keyboards, which is something to take into account if you value gaming-specific extras.

You don’t have to spend too much more to find yourself at one of the other keyboards on this list, but if you don’t care about extra features, there’s not much point in spending an awful lot more.

Best Gaming Keyboard: Cougar 700K

11. Cougar 700K

This gaming keyboard offers great value considering how many features it packs

Pros:

  • Absolutely packed with features
  • Great build quality
  • Excellent typing performance
  • Split spacebar is great for gaming

Cons:

  • Styling is an acquired taste
  • Split spacebar is slightly awkward for typing
  • US layout only so not ideal for UK or elsewhere

The Cougar 700K is ridiculously cheap for what it offers. For £109 or less you get Cherry MX switches (Red seems the be the switch most frequently available), multimedia keys and extra buttons for your gaming macros.

There are downsides, however. Its angular design will divide opinion and its orange backlighting can’t be changed – although it can, of course, be switched off. We’re also not fans of the US layout of the keyboard, which displaces the “£” symbol and reduces the size of the Return key.

Another interesting design choice is the split space bar key, one half of which acts as you’d expect while the other can be assigned to an alternative macro function, such as a double jump or something completely different. This makes it rather strange to type on but very customisable for gamers.

It’s cheap and isn’t hugely pretty, but the Cougar 700K is great value, especially since it’s come down in price since our original review.

Best Gaming Keyboard: HyperX Alloy FPS 2

12. HyperX Alloy FPS

A simple gaming keyboard that boasts proper Cherry MX key switches

Pros:

  • Proper Cherry MX key switches
  • Customisable red backlighting
  • Great build quality and compact design
  • Textured replacement keycaps

Cons:

  • MX Blue switches are noisy
  • No software or profiles
  • No RGB lighting

The Alloy FPS is HyperX’s first attempt at a gaming keyboard, and it’s a solid first effort.

There’s no denying it’s a basic keyboard, but there’s a lot to like. The nearly bezel-less design means it won’t take up much space on your desk while still making room for a number pad.

Elsewhere, it’s a fairly basic keyboard with single-colour red key backlighting and no extra buttons for macros or media. But in this case, simplicity is its strength, and means it doesn’t cost the earth, either.

The braided USB cable is removable and it comes with a drawstring bag for easy LAN party transportation. There’s also a USB port from which you can charge devices, such as a smartphone.

You get spare key caps in the box for the WASD and 1234 keys for extra grip when gaming. It’s mostly superficial, but it looks good.

A basic keyboard, but the Alloy FPS is a decent deal, and as prices come down it’ll get even better.

Best Gaming Keyboard: Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

13. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

One of the best gaming keyboards around, but it’s incredibly expensive

Pros:

  • Super responsive keys
  • Fully loaded with all the extras a serious gamer needs
  • Ability to save three profiles locally to the keyboard is useful

Cons:

  • Super expensive

Corsair’s K95 Platinum is the most over-the-top gaming keyboard we’ve ever seen. Seemingly not satisfied with being the king of RGB, Corsair has added what it calls LightEdge – an RGB strip – to the top edge of the keyboard, so you can completely satiate your mighty appetite for glowy lights.

Some of the Trusted office actually quite like it, but if you don’t, you can turn it off.

The rest is standard Corsair excellence: the base is sturdy, there’s a USB passthrough and a comfortable wrist rest and it’s all powered by Cherry MX Speed key switches, which have the most responsive action of any key switch we’ve seen.

It’s monstrously expensive, but you pay for the best.

What is a mechanical keyboard?

Mechanical switches are very different to the switches you’ll find on cheaper keyboards. They provide much better feedback and a more satisfying action. They’re not for everybody, though, so it’s worth trying before you buy.

One of the most confusing elements of a mechanical keyboard are the colour-coded Cherry switches, which you’ll find on most brands. There are a few exceptions, however – some keyboard manufacturers, such as Razer and Logitech, have their own custom mechanical switches.

Related: The ultimate gaming PC build guide

Cherry manufactures six distinct types of MX keyboard switch, named after colours.

Blue and Green switches are similar. Blue switches give a tactile click the moment the button becomes activated, meaning you get instant feedback for every keystroke, which is very satisfying. Green switches are similar, but require more force than the Blue switches to activate. These are fantastic for typing but exceptionally loud – so if you’re in a shared workspace, or have thin walls, then they’re best avoided.

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MX Brown switches are similar to Blues but the tactile click is far less pronounced. They’re also less noisy than their Blue and Green siblings, feeling more like a bump than a click. MX Clear have a less pronounced click than the Brown switches, and require less force to activate. These switches are a good middle-ground for gamers who also type a lot.

MX Red switches have no tactile click and instead have an extremely smooth keystroke all the way to the bottom of the board. These are the most common switches on gaming keyboards due to their exceptionally easy and quick operation. They’re less comfortable for long periods of typing, and the lack of feedback can prove discomforting for some. MX Black switches are very similar to Reds but require more force to activate.

Finally, there are the new MX Speed switches, which have a very small actuation point of just 1.2mm.

Descriptions are all well and good, but you really need to try them out to determine which is best for you. You can buy MX switch samplers, although these cost in excess of £10, so you should probably try your local PC store first and get them to unbox some for you.

Since Cherry MX switches are interchangeable (usually not by the buyer), many of the keyboards on this list will offer multiple specifications with different MX switches.

Non-Cherry keyboards are becoming more common, with the likes of Logitech and Razer choosing to ship keyboards with their own custom switches. As you’ll see below, Cherry still dominates the list but alternatives are becoming more popular.

Other features

Many gaming keyboards also have extras that set them apart from the crowd. For example, some will come with USB passthroughs, meaning you can hook up USB peripherals to your keyboard directly, without having to plug them into your PC.

SteelSeries Apex M800 19

Some will also come with extra buttons for gaming shortcuts, which can be programmed through software that you can download from the manufacturer’s website.

You should also look out for coloured backlighting. Some keyboards will ship with a single colour, others will offer customisation options. This will no doubt add to the cost, and if you don’t like garish flashing lights, then you’re better off steering clear.