Best gaming keyboards 2017: The greatest keyboards for gamers

Because PC gaming has undergone somewhat of a resurgence these past few years, it is now more important than ever to keep your peripherals up to date, one of the most integral among these being the gaming keyboard.

Mostly mechanical in their switches, gaming keyboards are not only more reliable than your run-of-the-mill office keyboard, but their clicks and clacks and tactile bumps are more satisfying to the touch than island-style chiclet keyboards.

What’s more, most of the top keyboards go as far as to incorporate additional trappings, such as zoned lighting and physical volume wheels into their designs. With so many features to choose between, we’ve scouted out the best gaming keyboards across all walks of life.

1. Logitech G413 Carbon

Sleek, cheap and responsive

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: No

Sophisticated, refined design
Full-on mechanical switches
No dedicated media buttons
Slow USB 2.0 pass through

Sacrificing RGB backlighting and customizable macro keys in favor of an affordable price tag, the Logitech G413 is the best gaming keyboard to date. Its low-profile appearance might make it look barebones in comparison to competing products in its range, but this gaming keyboard is all the better for its bare, magnesium-alloy frame. And while Logitech’s own Romer-G switches might be a turnoff for some, they’re virtually silent and rated for 70 million keystrokes.

Read the full review: Logitech G413 Carbon 

Best gaming keyboards

2. Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

Steeled for online gaming

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: 5

Great mechanical switch keys
Comfy wrist rest
Very pricey 
Only one USB slot

Because it ships with a detachable wrist rest, you might assume the BlackWidow Chroma V2 ditches performance for its good friend comfort. That’s where you would be wrong, however, as Razer has tacked on five macro keys that can be assigned to virtually any in-game action. This deal is sweetened by a catalog of 16.8 million colors to choose from for the backlighting, which can be assigned per-key or in an animated pattern of your choosing.

Read the full review: Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

3. HyperX Alloy Elite

A Cherry MX-powered circus of value

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: No

Reasonably priced and fully featured
Handy media keys
Seriously thick cable
No macro programming

Highlighting the choice between Cherry MX Red, Blue and Brown key switches, the HyperX Alloy Elite is upheld by a steel frame that makes typing and gaming a breeze. There may not be any customizable macro keys, but this comfy keyboard makes up for this and its comically unwieldy cable by implementing an abundance of media keys and even a quick access button for controlling the brightness of the keyboard backlighting.

Read the full review: HyperX Alloy Elite

Corsair K70

4. Topre Realforce RGB

The best keyboard for gaming and typing

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: Yes

Incredible Topre keyswitches
Gorgeous RGB lighting
Variable actuation points
Solid build quality
Cherry MX and Topre keycap stems
No included wrist rest
No included keycap puller

The Realforce RGB is a multi-talented keyboard that feels incredible to type on due in part to its capacitive Topre keyswitches, which offer superior tactile feedback compared to their Cherry MX equivalents. Boasting high-quality PBT keycaps and depth from 1.5mm to 3mm, the Realforce RGB is a hugely versatile keyboard that suits whatever task you’re doing at the time. Yes, even typing since its keyswitch stems are compatible with both Topre and Cherry MX keycaps. 

5. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

This mechanical animal has cheetah-like speeds

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: Yes

Hypnotic disco lighting
Classy aluminum build
Awkward software
Rubber palm rest gets grungy quickly

Like the Corsair K70 Rapidfire before it, the K95 RGB Platinum is a gaming-first mechanical keyboard with plenty of versatility to get the job done, whatever that job may be. It even packs in 8MB of memory dedicated to storing the profiles of its six macro keys. This keyboard is not only backlit by up to 16.8 million colors, but it’s the perfect travel buddy too, made better by its military-grade aluminum finish, including the wrist rest.

Razer Ornata

6. Razer Ornata

Combining mechanical and membrane into one

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Full color | Programmable keys: No

Tactile and clicky actuation
Magnetic plush wrist rest
Short key throw won't jive with everyone

For too long there's been a divide between mechanical and membrane keys but now Razer has finally brought the two together with its 'Mecha-Membrane' Ornata keyboard. These new switches pull from everything Razer has learned over the years. The result is a grand typing experience with shorter keys, the tactile feel of the green switches from the Black Widow X Chroma and a loud audible click.

Cherry MX 6 0

7. Cherry MX Board 6.0

An all-metal affair

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: Yes

Excellent typing feel
Comfortable low profile
Lacks extra features

Lending it to fast response times, the Cherry MX Board 6.0 is defined by its Cherry MX Red switches, hence the make and model. However, because the keys are positioned fairly close together they're excellent for typing in addition to gaming. What’s more, housed in an eye-catching aluminum chassis, the MX Board 6.0 certainly doesn't feel cheap and its blood-red key lighting is deliciously ominous.

Logitech G810

8. Logitech G810

A minimalist gaming weapon

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: Yes

Satisfying Romer G switches
Minimal design
No USB pass-through ports

Sporting Logitech's own Romer G switches, which aren't quite as squishy as Cherry's various switches, the G810 possesses a snappier feel than other gaming keyboards whether typing or gaming. And, with smart media keys that work equally well on both Windows and macOS, this board is a solid all-round offering. If you're fed up with the weird markings, LCD screens and strange parts that come with competing "gamer-focused" keyboards, the G810 might be for you.

M500

9. SteelSeries Apex M500

A great bit of no-frills gaming kit

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: Yes

Minimal design
Attractive blue backlighting
No media keys
Cherry MX Reds only

Many mechanical keyboards are gaudy and unwieldy, aimed at gamers who prefer flashy looks over snugness and functionality. That's not the case with the SteelSeries Apex M500. While it's lacking media keys, macros and other such appendages, it benefits from a compact design that wastes no space. Tailored towards eSports, its minimal leanings are refreshing and it looks great sitting on a desk, accompanied by the right monitor and mouse, of course.

Ultor

10. Cougar Attack X3 RGB

One of the toughest keyboards goes RGB

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: Yes

Solid aluminum build quality
RGB backlighting
No wrist rest
US keyboard layout only

Cougar's Attack X3 was one of the better affordable mechanical gaming keyboards of recent times thanks to its rugged aluminum body. Its durability is aided by a braided cable, which sports two USB connections which are used for input and lighting. Complemented by N-Key rollover, a 1,000Hz polling rate and rubber feet on the bottom to prevent slipping, the Cougar Attack X3 RGB is an affordable alternative to flagships like the Corsair K70.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article