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

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If you have one of the best gaming PCs, packed with the best graphics card you could muster, the only thing you really need to complete your gaming experience is one of the best gaming keyboards. Trust us, we know that after dropping stacks on a high-end rig, it’s extremely tempting to just pick up a cheap keyboard, but after putting so much time, love, and money into your rig, you should pick something of comparable quality. This is because, more than any other PC component, the best gaming keyboards will go a long way to making you better at the games you play. Plus, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about having your desk light up like a Christmas tree with RGB lighting. 

Membrane switches aren’t exactly found in the best gaming keyboards – so when you go out looking for a new keyboard, you should keep an eye open for any that feature mechanical switches – as they allow for deeper and more accurate travel. And, of course, you can’t forget RGB lighting, as you can’t pick up one of the best gaming keyboards without it. It’s 2018, after all.

Which brings us to this list of the 10 best gaming keyboards you can buy in 2018. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll find something to love here, because here at TechRadar, we strive to find products that strike a balance between price and performance with all of our buying guides. You should be confident that every MLG typewriter on this list will perform admirably while still being affordable.

1. 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 

2. 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 

Best gaming keyboards

3. 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

Hoping to find a gaming keyboard that matches the rest of your Chroma-lit accessories? Then this is the one you want. Not only does the BlackWidow Chroma V2 carry an equal balance of comfort and performance, but it went a few steps further in the process. Complemented by the fact that Razer has tacked on five macro keys that can be assigned to virtually any in-game action, the BlackWidow Chroma V2 supports 16.8 million colors worth of LED lighting as well.

Read the full review: Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2

4. 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 

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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 

8. HyperX Alloy Elite RGB

Simple and compelling

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

Simple, ergonomic design 
Colorful, diffused RGB lighting 
Build quality isn’t worth the price 

Just a few years ago, if the HyperX Alloy Elite RGB came along, it’d be hailed as a bargain. Unfortunately it came out in 2018. That’s not to say it’s not one of the best gaming keyboards available, however. With its diffused RGB lighting, simple and appealing design, and Cherry MX switches, the Alloy Elite RGB performs with the best of them. 

Read the full review: HyperX Alloy Elite RGB 

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 

10. Creative Sound BlasterX Vanguard K08

A fantastic first keyboard from an unlikely manufacturer

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

Exotic lighting
Great switches
Tight spacing between keys

Creative has made a name for itself in the past by manufacturing sound cards and other audio tech. But as that market continues to shrink, Creative has taken a cue from the Corsairs of the world and dipped their toes into the PC peripheral game. And honestly, the Creative Sound BlasterX Vanguard K08 is a fantastic first entry. Forgoing the traditional Cherry MX switches that many gaming keyboards rely on, the Vanguard K08 opts instead for custom Omron switches, and this is what sets this keyboard apart from the pack. These switches have a shorter actuation point than many competing gaming keyboards, while still maintaining the reliability of a mechanical switch. Theoretically, it should mean that with this keyboard, you’ll be able to perform actions in-game faster than your competition. And that might make this one of the best keyboards for competitive gamers.

Read the full review: Creative Sound BlasterX Vanguard K08 

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article