10 best gaming keyboards 2016

These top keyboards for gamers have the keys to victory

10 best gaming keyboards

Updated: The Logitech G810 is our new favorite, minimalist and mechanical gaming keyboard.

The keyboard may be the most unglamorous of peripherals, with its uncomfortable tendency to conjure up images of sitting in office cubicles. But if you're a mad-keen online PC gamer then finding the best keyboard is vital.

Whether you use it to control strafing in all directions in a first-person shooter, or to select from an arsenal of spells in an MMO, it's the primary tool that allows you to showcase your skills and establish an all-important reputation. So it pays to invest in the best one available.

With that in mind, we've selected the 10 best gaming keyboards available for all the different flavours of PC gamers. Whether you're a World of Warcraft ninja or an up-and-coming Counter-Strike: GO expert, and whatever your financial situation or space requirements, you should be able to find the best keyboard among this selection.

K65 Rapidfire

1. Corsair K65 RGB Rapidfire

This mechanical animal has cheetah-like speeds

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

Super-responsive keys
Beautiful RGB lighting
Not great for typing

Corsair's K65 RGB Rapidfire keyboard is all about speed. Featuring Cherry's new linear MX Speed Switch, its keys are highly responsive and take only a slight movement of the finger to press them down. The switch actuates at just 1.2mm, with a light actuation force of 45g. With a feeling like typing on super-sensitive Cherry MX Reds, which are a sensitive keyswitch anyway, they're not very suitable for long typing sessions. However, if you're into first-person shooters or any game that requires fast reflexes, the K65 RGB is equipped for the job. Unlike the full-length K70 RGB Rapidfire, the K65 RGB Rapidfire is tenkeyless in design, making it easy to transport and slip into a bag to take to LAN parties. Its customizable RGB lighting looks beautiful, too.

MX

2. Cherry MX Board 6.0

Keeps a low profile

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 a solid aluminium chassis, the MX Board 6.0 certainly doesn't feel cheap and its blood-red key lighting is deliciously ominous. A mechanical keyboard that's also perfect for the office, then.

Razer BlackWidow X

3. Razer BlackWidow X Chroma

Leaves its full metal jacket at home

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

Solid construction
Custom RBG lighting profiles
Too minimal for some

The Razer BlackWidow X is a stripped down version of the original BlackWidow. It removes the protective top plate to expose the aluminium chassis underneath, and we'd argue that it looks all the better for it. It's a heavy-duty unit that houses Razer's own Green or Orange (silent) switches under the keycaps. They feel a little like Cherry's MX Blues to type on and can display 16.8 million colors for lighting, which is fully customizable using Razer's Synapse software. Being a Chroma keyboard, you can download different developer-submitted profiles to control the RGB backlighting, with Blizzard's Overwatch profile being one of the latest and most impressive.

Logitech G810

4. Logitech G810

The BMW of mechanical gaming keyboards

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

Satisfyingly snappy keys
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.

Best gaming keyboards

5. Division Zero X40

Steeled for online gaming

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

Thick top covers
Clicky or silent keys
Side positioned macro keys
No volume wheel

Better known for producing some impressive professional keyboards, the X40 comes as part of Das Keyboard's new Division Zero gaming lineup. Available with clicky (or optionally silent) tactile keys, Das utilizes its own custom made Alpha-Zulu switches that have a very similar feel to Cherry MX Red keys. What's more, the X40 comes with interchangeable thick aluminum panels making this one of the strongest and most rigid keyboards around.

Impact 700

6. Turtle Beach Impact 700

Premium gaming keyboard with a minimal footprint

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

Compact
Numeric key pad
No programmable keys

If you favour gaming keyboards at the more compact end of the spectrum, Turtle Beach's Impact 700 does away with a wrist-rest, and has as small a footprint as is possible for a keyboard that includes a numeric keypad and uses Cherry MX Brown keys. It does lack programmable macros, though, so lends itself more to devotees of first-person shooters – especially since it comes with spare W, A, S and D keys (along with others), and a tool that enables you to remove worn-out ones. Plus it lets you illuminate key-clusters. Not the cheapest, but worth considering by those who have a tendency to hammer their keyboards into oblivion.

Best gaming keyboards

7. Roccat RYOS MK Pro

Not the prettiest, but robustly built

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

Easy shift key is innovative
Wide Cherry MX mechanical keys section
Blue only choice of backlight
Bulky wrist rest can't be removed

The RYOS MK Pro might just be the most high-tech gaming keyboard in existence, with not one but two 32-bit ARM processors built in. So you can record and unleash up to 500 macros on the fly, which could give you the edge in an MMO or MOBA. A clever 'Easy-Shift' key lets you remap the entire keyboard, and you can light up individual keys or groups of them. Plus it has a palm-rest, a USB hub, and built-in audio jacks, and is available with all the different flavours of Cherry MX mechanical keys – black, red, brown and blue – which have subtly different amounts of travel.

Best Gaming Keyboard

8. Logitech G610

An affordable, minimal route to mechanical key nirvana

Interface: Wired | Backlighting: White | Programmable keys: Media keys

Logitech G610

Tactile response
Minimal design
Limited white backlighting

Logitech has been pushing its self-built Romer G-switches for the better part of a year, if you still prefer the feel of mechanical Cherry MX switches then look no further than the Logitech G610. Available with Brown (tactile bump) and Red (linear-action) key switches, the G610 comes with everything we loved about the G810 including the metal backplate and handy media keys. That said, the entry-level mechanical keyboard trades RGB backlighting for a programmable white backlight system.

Strafe RGB

9. Corsair Strafe RGB Silent

Silent and deadly

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

Quiet switch choice
Pretty
Detachable wrist rest
No side-positioned macro keys

Mechanical keyboards offer a superior tactile feel to traditional membrane models, but they're damn noisy. That's why Corsair made the Strafe RGB Silent, the first mechanical keyboard to use Cherry's MX Silent keyswitch. Featuring a dampening noise system integrated into each key, it lets you get your game on without the constant clacking of keys driving you - and people around you - insane. While the quieter switches still make a noise, the snapping sound they make upon actuation is muffled in comparison to Cherry MX Red or Brown switches. The Cherry Strafe RGB Silent is also beautiful, capable of flashing all the colours of the rainbow thanks to per-key RGB backlighting.

Cougar Attack X3

10. Cougar Attack X 3

A true metalhead

Interface: Wired | Keyboard backlighting: Yes | Programmable keys: 10

Great build quality
Anti-slip rubber feet
Fast response time
No RGB backlighting

If you prefer your mechanical keyboards to be built like tanks, the aluminium-fashioned Cougar Attack X3 is for you. Sacrificing RGB lighting for a moodier black, silver and red appearance, the keyboard comes with a choice of Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown or Black keyswitches to suit your tastes. The anti-slip rubber feet on the Attack X3's base provide extra elevation while keeping the keyboard sturdy, and a Windows lock function key means you'll never accidentally switch back to your desktop in the heat of battle. The Attack X3's basic design, fast response time and excellent build quality make it an uncomplicated addition to any gamer's arsenal - and one that should last a while too.

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