Best gaming keyboard 2017: the best gaming keyboards we've tested

So, you’ve either bought or built the best gaming PC you’ve ever even laid hands on. You've dropped a bunch of money on the best graphics card that had all of your friends salivating. All you have to do now is pick out the best gaming keyboard to go with your new build. Sure, you’re getting a ton of frames with that shiny GPU, but the best gaming keyboards will actually make you play better. That’s not to mention that there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about having your desk light up like a Christmas tree, just in time for the holiday.

If you’re still one of the unfortunate souls gaming on a cheap membrane keyboard, you really are doing yourself a disservice. The best gaming keyboards allow for much deeper travel, so you never have to deal with accidentally killing your teammate because you punched him in the back of the head instead of crouching. And there’s no getting around it when you’re talking about gaming, well, anything really: there is nothing like playing with a keyboard that can illuminate your room.

With a couple weeks of shopping left before Christmas graces us with its presence, we present (get it?) this list of the 10 best gaming keyboards you can buy today. And, you don’t have to worry if you’re on a budget, as price alone does not determine the value of a keyboard. We’ve made sure that all of these MLG typewriters strike a balance between price and performance. You shouldn’t have to sell your house to game with style, and you won’t find any cheap, flimsy keyboards here either – every keyboard here has been tested by the TechRadar editorial staff, and has earned our seal of approval.

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

This beautiful keyboard has been lovingly engineered for a lightning-fast actuation point of 1.5mm and this alone makes the Logitech G413 Carbon a force of nature. This mechanical power-house is defined by its extremely affordable price tag in addition to its use of Logitech’s Romer G switches, which have time and time again proven to be all but equal contenders to the switches made by Cherry. It also manages to keep a low profile, thanks to its stealthy frame and its nigh silent keys.   

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

Hoping to find a gaming keyboard that matches the rest of your Chroma-lit accessories? Then this is the one you want. Not only does the BlackWidow Chroma V2 carry an equal balance of comfort and performance, but it went a few steps further in the process. Complemented by the fact that Razer has tacked on five macro keys that can be assigned to virtually any in-game action, the BlackWidow Chroma V2 supports 16.8 million colors worth of LED lighting as well.

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

Following in the footsteps of Kingston’s first HyperX-branded gaming keyboard, namely the HyperX Alloy FPS, the HyperX Alloy Elite tweaks the company’s first winning keyboard to provide only a few subtle changes. For only $10 USD more than its predecessor, you’re getting media keys, a light bar and even a palm rest, all of which were previously absent. They’re also a series of delightful treats, making for a value proposition that shouldn’t be ignored.

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.

Read the full review: Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

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

Unlike most gaming keyboards in its class, the SteelSeries Apex M500 gets straight to the point, omitting unnecessary additives along the lines of RGB lighting and discrete media controls in favor of a compact design that wastes no space. Although the M500 neglects to let you choose your key switches beyond the standard Cherry MX Reds and Blues, these are damn fine options for a mechanical board in this price range.

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

Because it packs an extremely durable, rugged aluminum body, the Cougar Attack X3 RGB is one of the best gaming keyboards you can buy if you’re on a tight budget. Equipped with Cherry MX switches and RGB  backlighting that can be customized to illuminate up to 16.8 million colors, this keyboard is a steal considering it doesn’t come close to the price of the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2. N-Key rollover and a 1,000Hz polling rate are merely a bonus.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article