For gamers, coders, and even video and photo editors, the best mechanical keyboards can make all the difference. Touting mechanical switches, these keyboards are more durable and have a longer lifespan, as well as offer a much improved typing experience, faster actuation, and better tactile feedback. And, most of them also offer features that other keyboards don’t, like programmable keys, swappable switches, and immersive RGB lighting.
So, while that keyboard you currently have may be good enough, the best mechanical keyboards might just change your digital life. Luckily, there’s a wide range of mechanical keyboards out there, from wired to wireless, pricey to budget, silent to clickety-clack loud (because some actually like the sound). This means that there’s a mechanical keyboard for virtually everyone, whether you’re a gamer who requires less tactile keys that are easier to push or a video editor who demands an additional dial or specific macro functionality.
From the best gaming keyboards to keyboards for writers, artists and coders, we gathered the best mechanical keyboards 2021 has to offer. They may differ in features, look, price, and purpose, but you can rest assured that they all excel in terms of build quality, durability, and bang-for-buck.
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As if having mechanical switches isn’t enough, Razer takes the switches’ best qualities and combines them with lightspeed optical technology, resulting in the opto-mechanical switches that make the Razer Huntsman Elite the keyboard to beat. True to its namesake, this mechanical keyboard is as fast and as precise as a huntsman, delivering blazing fast actuation thanks to an optical light sensor that’s inside every switch.
However, it’s not just performance that makes it the best mechanical keyboard of 2019. The Razer Huntsman Elite is also rich in features – namely, a multi-function digital dial with three tactile media keys, a luxurious leatherette magnetic wrist rest, on-the-fly macros, and hybrid on-board memory and cloud storage for saving all your profile configurations. This isn’t the cheapest of mechanical keyboards, but it’s certainly worth every penny.
Read the full review: Razer Huntsman Elite
Like Razer, SteelSeries also has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to its mechanical switches. This time, the peripherals manufacturer takes mechanical switches and gives them the ability for customization. These first-of-their-kind adjustable switches have customizable sensitivity levels, which means that you can fine tune per-key actuation to really personalize your gaming and typing experience. Whether you prefer featherlight touches or deep presses, you can adjust the SteelSeries Apex Pro to cater to your preferences.
But that’s not all. This keyboard also boasts a blazing fast response time and is twice as durable as its rivals. Its OLED Smart Display and integrated command center displays pertinent information like settings, profiles and updates. Finally, its Dedicated Multimedia Controls are also unique in that one of them is a clickable metal roller. Also like the Razer Huntsman Elite, this one isn’t cheap, so just be ready to shell out some silver.
Read the full review: SteelSeries Apex Pro
Who says you can’t look stylish sporting a gamer’s look? Roccat’s Vulcan 122 Aimo certainly proves the naysayers wrong. This gaming keyboard – one of the best by far – isn’t only a pleasure to game on and comfortable to type on, but it’s also one of the smartest looking mechanical keyboards we’ve ever beheld with its floating keys, lit up Titan switches, anodized aluminum plate and Roccat’s AIMO lighting engine. And, did we mention that instead of the usual black, it’s sporting a silver on white color scheme? You’d happily pay its somewhat premium price for its design alone.
Of course, it takes more than just good looks to make our best mechanical keyboards list. Performance is still key, which this keyboard more than delivers. Those speedy and precise Titan switches are built for gamers, with a tactile and silent 1.8mm actuation point and a 1,000Hz polling rate to start.
Read the full review: Roccat Vulcan 122 Aimo
When it comes to gaming, whether it’s gaming laptops or gaming peripherals, Razer is at the top of its, well, game. So it’s no surprise that two of theirs made our list of the best mechanical keyboards, with the Huntsman Tournament Edition taking the fourth spot. While many gaming keyboards boast a complete set of keys, including the numeric keypad, this one takes the small and compact approach forgoing those aforementioned keys altogether.
If you’re looking for a small keyboard for your small desk, this one’s a winner, as it doesn’t compromise on speed and accuracy despite its tiny frame. The Huntsman Tournament Edition, of course, boasts Razer’s impressive opto-mechanical switches as well as durability up to 100 million keystrokes, proving yet again that big things can come in small packages. There’s not a lot of features here, but sometimes, simplicity is king.
Read the full review: Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition
The Varmilo Keyboard with EC Switches V1 may not have all the bells and whistles that gaming mechanical keyboards have – namely, RGB lighting and fully programmable keys. However, writers and artists will appreciate having this mechanical keyboard in their arsenal. It’s a fantastic keyboard to type on and comes with attractive designs that will appeal to the creative in you. It keeps things simple, but it keeps them extremely reliable as well.
Read the full review: Varmilo Keyboard with EC Switches V2
Those who aren’t looking to pay top dollar for a gaming keyboard may find mileage out of the Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard. Despite some arguably odd placement of the macro keys and no dedicated media buttons, it offers some great gaming performance. This is due to the Cherry MX Brown switches delivering a 1 millisecond polling rate. Durability is also acceptable with keys rated to last up to 50 million keystrokes. With a look more inspired by Alienware’s own feature packed gaming desktops like the Aurora R7, this keyboard offers affordable brains and beauty.
Read the full review: Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard
Individuals interested in spending somewhere around 50 bucks or quid for a keyboard should look into the Logitech G213 Prodigy. For daily typing and occasional gaming, it’s above average. It helps that the keyboard has an awesome volume rocker and other fantastic media control keys. Logitech’s G Hub is also compatible with the keyboard for setting RGB lighting and function keys amongst other features. Also, the G213 is also spill resistant despite a mediocre build quality.
Read the full review: Logitech G213 Prodigy
Competitive gamers looking to maintain an edge wirelessly can look toward Logitech’s $250 G915 series of keyboards. The keyboard delivers phenomenal performance through its low-profile switches that come in GL Tactile, GL Linear and GL Clicky options. Compatible with both 2.4Ghz dongle and Bluetooth, the G915 also comes with 30 hours of playtime fully charged and can be charged completely in three hours. Those looking for macro customization can use Logitech’s G Hub software as well.
Creatives or heavy word processing individuals who have the cash to spare should look toward the hyper ergonomic Advantage 2 from Kinesis. The contoured design should keep hands and wrists comfortable for long work sessions and works efficiently for both Windows, Mac, Chrome and Android users. Through Kinesis’ SmartSet Programming Engine, the keyboard can program up to 48 macros as well. Users also have the ability to choose between MX Brown or MX Quiet Red switch versions as well. Though the keyboard doesn’t come with a number pad, an accessory pad is also available for an extra $50 (about £40, AU$70).