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Best mechanical keyboards: the top picks for gaming in 2021

Included in this guide:

A mechanical keyboard against a purple background with the words best mechanical keyboard
(Image credit: Future)

Trust us: one of the best mechanical keyboards 2021 has to offer will change your life, whether you’re only using your keyboard to type up emails or utilizing it for more involved undertakings like coding and playing the best PC games. Most mechanical keyboards are not just built to last but also be comfortable, accurate, and reliable, which means they’re usually a much better choice for more users over their non-mechanical counterparts.

Not only is the typing experience much better with improved tactile feedback and faster actuation. Thanks to their mechanical switches, mechanical keyboards tend to last longer, are more reliable, and are able to offer extra thoughtful features like swappable switches, customizable RGB lighting, and remappable keys. Better yet, they come in different sizes, forms, and price tags too, which means there’s going to be something for everyone.

From gaming keyboards to ones that make video or photo editing a lot more seamless, we found the best mechanical keyboards out there and put them on this list. If you haven’t invested in one before, one of these will change your life. We even included our price comparison tool in case you’re interested in scoring some keyboard deals.

Razer Huntsman Elite showcasing its RGB light on a black desk

(Image credit: Future)

Best mechanical keyboard

Specifications
Interface: Wired
Keyboard backlighting: Yes
Programmable keys: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Fast key switches+Amazing layout
Reasons to avoid
-Needs two USB ports 

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 

SteelSeries Apex Pro on a gaming pad next to a mouse and a gaming headset

(Image credit: Future)

Great for gaming

Specifications
Interface: Wired
Keyboard backlighting: Yes
Programmable keys: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful build+Custom actuation
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

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  

Roccat Vulcan 122 Aimo in white on an orange desk with someone using it

(Image credit: Future)

A mechanical keyboard with a twist

Specifications
Interface: Wired
Keyboard backlighting: Yes
Programmable keys: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous design+Comfy keyswitches
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

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 

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition on a pale yellow surface

(Image credit: Future)

Small and compact

Specifications
Interface: Wired, wireless
Keyboard backlighting: Yes
Programmable keys: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Fast switches+Removable cable
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

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 

Varmilo Keyboard with EC Switches V2 against a white background

(Image credit: Varmilo)

Stylish and dependable

Specifications
Interface: Wired
Keyboard backlighting : No
Programmable keys: No
Reasons to buy
+Great build quality+Beautifully designed
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of buttons

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

Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard on a glass table next to a laptop and a mouse

(Image credit: Future)

Tournament ready and affordable

Specifications
Interface : Wired
Keyboard backlighting: Yes
Switches: Cherry MX Brown
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Cherry MX Brown switches+Looks great
Reasons to avoid
-Odd macro key placement-No dedicated media buttons

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

Logitech G213 Prodigy on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)

Impresses in several key areas

Specifications
Interface: Wired
Keyboard backlighting : Yes
Switches: Cherry MX Brown
Reasons to buy
+Satisfying, impressive typing action+Loads of media keys+Plenty of features elsewhere
Reasons to avoid
-Mediocre build quality-Underwhelming lighting

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

Corsair K70 TKL against a white background

(Image credit: Corsair)

Portable and esports ready

Specifications
Interface: Wireless
Keyboard backlighting: Yes
Switches: Cherry MX Red switches
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly sturdy and compact design+Highly responsive performance+Numerous customization options
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Most keyboards that come out of Corsair’s drawing board are truly impressive, and their latest TKL offering doesn’t fall far from the tree. The Corsair K70 TKL delivers hyper-responsiveness, resulting in buttery-smooth gaming, and robustness made for button mashing. On top of its super-fast performance, it boasts full N-key rollover and 100% anti-ghosting, making it esports worthy. To make it really worth your money – and because it is Corsair – customizations abound, from RGB lighting to macro recording.

Read the full review: Corsair K70 TKL keyboard

Corsair K65 Mini at an angle against a white background

(Image credit: Corsair)

Hard to ignore performance in a compact design

Specifications
Interface: Wired
Keyboard backlighting: Yes
Switches: Cherry MX Speed Silver key switches
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful yet sturdy design+Hyper responsive keystrokes with up to 8,000Hz polling rate+Individually lit customizable RGB keys
Reasons to avoid
-Function key operation could be better

Don’t underestimate the Corsair K65 just because it’s tiny. This 60% gaming keyboard packs a punch – more than many full-sized gaming keyboards, in fact – without missing out on those basic full-sized keyboard functions. This being a Corsair product, customizations naturally abound, and when combined with its tough exterior, satisfying feedback, and hyperresponsiveness due to its up to 8,000Hz polling rate, you won’t be missing out on anything. Plus, you’re getting a bit of extra space on your desk. It’s a win-win.

Read the full review: Corsair K65 Mini Keyboard

Das Keyboard 4C TKL at an angle on a white surface

(Image credit: Das)

The productivity wonder

Specifications
Interface: Wired
Keyboard backlighting : No
Switches: Cherry MX Brown switches
Reasons to buy
+Ridiculously comfortable keys+Outstanding construction+Built-in USB ports
Reasons to avoid
-Key legends are hard to see

The TKL design may have been making its rounds in the gaming keyboard department, but it has cemented its place in the world of productivity keyboards. In fact, the Das Keyboard 4C TKL isn’t exactly doing anything new. The one thing that does separate it from the rest is its incredibly comfortable keys. It’s also the kind of mechanical keyboard that makes you realize that colored switches actually do mean something and that empowers your typing, thanks in part to its NKRO functionality. If you spend a whole lot of time pounding away on your keyboard, whether you’re coding or typing up pages upon pages of documents, this is the keyboard you want assisting you.

Read the full review: Das Keyboard 4C TKL