The 10 best gaming keyboards of 2017

These top keyboards for gamers have the keys to victory

Update: In lieu of the Division Zero X40 heavy-duty aluminum keyboard, we’ve added a more recent entry bearing proprietary key switches. At number 5 on our list is where you’ll now find the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2. Read on to find out 

It may be 2017, but the physical keyboard still has a long life ahead of it – at least in the gaming sector. Though it’s now easier than ever to pair a controller with your prized gaming rig, nothing beats the sheer precision of a good gaming keyboard.

Take the Logitech G Pro, for example. It’s graced with such fancy trimmings as full pallets of LED color arrangements, nippy actuation and the virtually silent keys necessary to prevent misguided disturbance of roommates. 

In no time at all, with the proper keyboard equipped, you’ll go from consistent losing streaks to “Play of the Game” in Overwatch, given you have the skill to match the prowess of your hardware.

Even as a casual gamer on a budget, there’s no need to worry about spending a fortune. Because keyboard lingo can be gratuitously convoluted, what with macros, actuation points and the like, we’ve devised a list of the 10 best gaming keyboards, mechanical and membrane included.

Although we haven’t posted complete reviews of each of the best gaming keyboards listed below, don’t assume we haven’t tried them out for ourselves. In fact, we’ve tested each of these keyboards extensively before selecting them for our buying guide.

Corsair K70

1. 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 from Japanese company Topre brings so many innovations that it's difficult to know where to start. This is a multi-talented keyboard that feels incredible to type on thanks to its capacitive Topre keyswitches, which offer superior tactile feedback compared to Cherry MX variants (they're closest to MX Whites in feeling.) You can type for an entire day and experience minimal finger fatigure on the Realforce RGB, though you should pick up a decent wrist rest to go with it.

The Realforce RGB, which comes with high-quality (and thick) PBT keycaps, is equally primed for gaming thanks to Topre's clever software which allows you to change the actuation (or distance you have to press keys before they register) depth from 1.5mm (for gamers with fast reflexes) to 2.2mm and 3mm (for improved typing accuracy). The result is a hugely versatile keyboard that suits whatever task you're doing at the time. And, like Cooler Master's Novatouch, the Realforce RGB has keyswitch stems that are compatible with both Topre and Cherry MX keycaps, allowing you to chop and change your keycaps at will.

2. 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. The simple arrangement of a single row of six macro keys keeps this QWERTY neat and organized without a whole lot of unnecessary reaching involved. The software may be sloppy, but if all you’re doing is assigning macros, you may not even need it. Because the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum packs in 8MB of memory dedicated to storing profiles, you don’t have to worry about using the same computer through to the end of its career. 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

3. 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 Blackwidow X Chroma and a loud audible click. Just like its other products, the Ornata features a fully customizable, per-key backlight and it comes with a plush pleather wrist rest too.

Steelseries Apex M800

4. SteelSeries Apex M800

Keeps a low profile

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

Responsive, low-travel keys
RGB lighting
Typing takes some getting used to
Plasticky build

Billed as the fastest keyboard in the west (and the rest of the world for that matter), the Apex M800 feels different to type on than just about every other keyboard out there. That's because of its incredibly responsive QS1 keyswitch featuring 1.5mm key travel and 45cN actuation force. Its low travel and linearity lend it a similar feel to Cherry MX Reds, but with less effort to strike each key. This makes the Apex M800 a great keyboard for gaming, but its membrane-like keyswitch means you'll need to take some time adjusting to it when it comes to typing - especially if you've come from a tactile keyboard with Cherry's MX switches inside. The M800's individually-lit keycaps are easy on the eye and the M800's six left-positioned macro keys help you fire off spells and switch weapons in a snap.

Best gaming keyboards

5. 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, snugness is by no means optional in the case of the Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2. That’s not where the amenities end, however, as Razer has tacked on five macro keys that can be assigned to virtually any in-game action. Also unlike the BlackWidow X Chroma before it, the BlackWidow Chroma V2 gives you the option between Razer Green, Razer Orange and Razer Yellow key switches, which Razer claims to range from “tactile and clicky” to “linear and silent.” This is all made better 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

Cherry MX 6 0

6. 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

Cherry's flagship MX Board 6.0 features a lower profile than other gaming keyboards like the Razer BlackWidow X Chroma, making it perfect if you prefer to type and game using a wrist rest. Cherry's MX Red switches under the keys lend the MX Board 6.0 fast response times, but because the keys are positioned fairly close together they're excellent for typing too. 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. It's a mechanical keyboard that's also suited for the office.

Logitech G810

7. 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

Logitech has followed up its Orion Spark G910 mechanical keyboard with the G810, which arrives with a refreshingly grown-up feel. 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. Featuring smart media keys that work equally well on both Windows and OS X, Logitech's latest keyboard is a solid all-round offering. If you're fed up of the weird markings, LCD screens and strange parts that come with competing "gamer-focused" keyboards, the G810 might be for you.

M500

8. 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 on the, err, ostentatious side. That's not the case with the SteelSeries Apex M500. Like the Logitech G810, the Apex M500 eschews unnecessary bells and whistles in favor of clean design and bare essentials. While it's lacking media keys, macros and other such extras, it benefits from a compact design that wastes no space. Tailored towards e-Sports, its minimal leanings are refreshing and it looks great sat on a desk, accompanied by the right monitor and mouse of course.

Ultor

9. 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 successor, which is also forged from a block of aluminum, is every bit as robust and is once again available with Cherry MX Black, Brown, Red or Blue keyswitches depending on your typing preference. Its durability is aided by a braided cable, which sports two USB connections which are used for input and lighting. Features include N-Key rollover, a 1,000Hz polling rate and rubber feet on the bottom that prevents slipping. Corsair's software is a little rough around the edges and the Attack X3 RGB only comes in a US keyboard layout, but if you're seeking an affordable alternative to flagship keyboards like the Corsair K70 RGBs of this world then it's a tempting option. 

KM70

10. G.Skill Ripjaws KM570

A solid entry-level offering with Cherry Reds

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

Affordable
Cherry MX keys
Red backlighting only

Although not quite as compact as the HyperX Alloy FPS, the latest mechanical keyboard to come from relative gaming peripherals newcomer G.Skill won't hog all of your desk. Delightfully minimalist, the RipJaws KM570 brings a solid basic feature set, one that includes N-key rollover (allowing multiple keys to be pressed simultaneously, only-the-fly macro recording to any key), and Cherry MX Red keyswitches with a 45-gram actuation force and 2mm actuation point, all at a reasonable price. Its affordable nature means you'll only get red backlighting, rather than full-RGB, and you won't find any programmable macro keys here either. Still, for the full Cherry MX experience at this cost, we're prepared to let that slide.