Best gaming keyboard 2018: the best gaming keyboards we've tested

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If you already have one of the best gaming PCs with one of the best graphics cards, the natural next step is to get one of the best gaming keyboards.

We get it though – it’s tempting to just go to your local big box store and buy a cheap membrane keyboard, especially after dropping so much cash on the best computer you could muster. However, you don’t want to play the best PC games on just any keyboard – trust us. 

Keep in mind, however, that the best gaming keyboards will go a long way to making you better at the games you play – not ot mention that there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about having your desk light up like a Christmas tree with RGB lighting.

Just keep in mind that the best gaming keyboard won’t usually have membrane switches – so, keep an eye out for mechanical gaming keyboards, as they allow for better travel and tactile feedback. And, don’t forget RGB lighting, it’s 2018 – you don’t want one of the best gaming keyboards without it.

That brings us to this list of the 10 best gaming keyboards on the market today. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll find something to love here – we here at TechRadar strive to find products that strike a happy balance between price and performance. You can be confident that every gaming keyboard on this list will perform admirably, be reasonably priced and most importantly – look awesome.

1. Razer Huntsman Elite

Light it up

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

Fast key actuation
Tactile key switches  
Expensive 

With the Huntsman Elite, Razer has taken speed to a whole new level with its optomechanical switches. That sounds like a mouthful, but Razer has managed to take mechanical switches and integrate optical sensors, this allows the Huntsman Elite to take actuation to another level – you simply won’t find a faster keyboard in 2018. But switches aside, it feels great to type on, and it’s covered in more RGB lighting than you can shake a stick at. Sure, it requires two USB cables for power with no passthrough and it costs a small fortune – but with tech like this, it’s absolutely worth it.

Read the full review: Razer Huntsman Elite 

2. Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo

The sci-fi keyboard

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

 Feels great to type 
 Gorgeous lighting 
 Expensive  

Keyboards abandoning Cherry MX switches in favor of custom ones has been in vogue so far in 2018, but none have taken it to the same heights that Roccat does with the Vulcan 120 Aimo. Not only does this keyboard feature switches that feature the tactile feedback that gamers require, but it’s comfortable to type on and isn’t too loud. This alone would make the Vulcan 120 Aimo one of the best gaming keyboards, but when you add in the jaw-dropping aesthetics of this board, there’s no denying that this is the gaming keyboard to beat in 2018.

Read the full review: Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Razer Black Widow Chroma 

3. Logitech G513

Gaming in silence

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

 Superior key switches 
 Brilliant RGB lighting 
 No dedicated media keys 

One of our biggest pet peeves with Cherry MX Red keys is that while they’re good for gaming, they’re not great for typing anything but your Steam credentials. And, that’s where the Logitech G513 and its Romer-G Linear switches outshine the rest of the competition. Add in the brushed metal finish that, miraculously, is all but immune to fingerprints, and you have a recipe for one of the best gaming keyboards you can buy today.

Read the full review: Logitech G513 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Razer Black Widow Chroma 

4. Cooler Master MasterSet MS120

The complete package

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

 Compact design 
 Illustrious lighting 
 Included mouse is mediocre 

Marketed as a keyboard and mouse combo, the real star of the Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 is its ‘mem-chanical’ keyboard. Sitting at just under a hundred bucks , this keyboard – which, again, is only half of the package – is up there with other, more expensive ‘mem-chanical’ keyboards. Sure, the mouse is extremely mediocre, but with a keyboard this good – does it even matter?

Read the full review: Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 

5. Corsair K63 Wireless

Wireless PC gaming at its finest

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

Perfect couch gaming
Fully featured
Flimsy palmrest clips

We have seen plenty of wireless gaming mice over the last few years, but not many wireless gaming keyboards. Until now. The Corsair K63 Wireless keyboard takes what made the wired version of the K63, and transfers it into the wireless version – without sacrificing much at all. Packing tight Cherry MX Red switches, full RGB lighting and convenient media controls, the K63 wireless shows us what wireless keyboards can be capable of in 2018.

Read the full review: Corsair K63 Wireless 

6. 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

7. 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

Just like the Corsair K70 Rapidfire that came before, the K95 RGB Platinum is a mechanical keyboard that puts gaming above all other things. Rocking 8MB of dedicated memory for storing different profiles, this keyboard certainly has the versatility to get the job done, whatever it may be. It features a beautiful build, as well, with a military-grade aluminum finish that complements Corsair’s fantastic RGB lighting perfectly. 

Read the full review: Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

8. Razer Cynosa Chroma

A keyboard you can get wet

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

Affordable
Low-profile build
Membrane switches

If you’re new to PC gaming, and you want a keyboard that’ll perform admirably without the high price tag that a lot of mechanical keyboards carry, the Razer Cynosa Chroma might be for you. It might not have the tactile clickiness of a higher-end board, but the hybrid mesh switches perform well enough, boasting a 1ms polling rate and 10-key rollover. That’s not to mention the sick RGB lighting.

Read the full review: Razer Cynosa Chroma 

9. G.Skill Ripjaws KM570

Cherry MX switches at a bargain

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

 High quality Cherry MX switches 
 Stiff, solid design 
 No USB pass-through 

 

One of the largest drawbacks to most gaming keyboards is that they look like, well, gaming keyboards. Not everyone wants an gigantic block of plastic with edgy font dominating their desk. Luckily, the G.Skill Ripjaws KM570 alleviates that issue altogether, while still boasting fantastic Cherry MX Brown switches and fully customizable RGB lighting. It might be missing some features from more high-end keyboards, but it’s also a lot more affordable.

Read the full review: G.Skill Ripjaws KM570 

  • This product is only available in the US and AU at the time of this writing. UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Razer Cynosa Chroma 

10. SteelSeries Apex M750

Great for gaming, just OK for everything else

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

 Dazzling lighting 
 Rugged Build 
 Extremely loud 

If you’re looking for a gaming keyboard, and you don’t plan on doing much else, the SteelSeries Apex M750 is a great choice. It has fantastic software for customization and gorgeous RGB lighting. It also has a great tactile feel to it and feels extremely robust and durable. The only drawback is that the keyboard is extremely loud and uncomfortable for productivity work. 

Read the full review: SteelSeries Apex M750 

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article