Shopping for one of the best gaming keyboards on the market is tough in 2020 as, simply put, there are a hundreds of mechanical gaming keyboards and knowing which are quality and which are half-rate copycat imitators is difficult.
And, what's more, we're now seeing the market absolutely flooded, just like we have done while curating our best gaming mouse guide, with gaming keyboard products that are designed to look pro-grade, but actually don't deliver where it counts. And where it counts is build quality, style, key tech, lighting, connectivity and features.
What's the point in having a sweet board that looks the part but lets you down in-game? Exactly, what looks like a bargain is actually a costly mistake.
Here at T3 we hate bad, janky tech, and as we have a best-in-class heritage in reviewing and rating computing and gaming hardware, that's why we've crafted our best gaming keyboard 2020 buyer's guide.
In this guide we've curated a superb selection of mechanical and membrane boards across a wide variety of price points and intended usage scenarios. So whether you are looking for the best RGB gaming keyboard, the best wireless gaming keyboard, the best budget gaming keyboard, or the best gaming keyboard and gaming mouse combo, right here is a top-rate recommendation.
No one knows better than we do that a top-tier gaming keyboard can make a huge difference to your setup, not just in terms of improved gaming performance but also in enhanced responsiveness (thanks to those mechanical switches) and more flexibility with programmable buttons.
Finally, if you scroll past our list of the recommendations we've also included some useful buyer's information and tips geared towards explaining what you should be looking out for most when shopping for a gaming keyboard.
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The best gaming keyboards available in 2020
1. Das Keyboard X50Q RGB
The best gaming keyboard for most people
Reasons to buy
With a stunning, premium build, incredibly high-grade Gamma Zulu mechanical switches made by renowned Japanese maker Omron, and a raft of high-end premium features, the Das Keyboard X50 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is, in our opinion, the best pound-for-pound gaming keyboard in the world.
The aesthetic (unlike many gaming keyboards) is understated and exudes class, while the aluminium top plate adds a sturdy weight and luxe feel under the fingertips too.
Then when you throw in a tidy gaming mode indicator and ability to disable windows keys, an extra long braided 2-metre cable, a soft touch coated palm rest, and a built-in control knob, too, it's easy to see how the X50 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is our top recommendation.
A stunning, beautifully engineered gaming keyboard that earns its spot at the top of our best gaming keyboard 2020 list.
2. Razer Huntsman Elite
The best premium gaming keyboard
Reasons to buy
Razer continues to push the envelope when it comes to PC gaming peripherals, including one of the latest additions to its keyboard range – meet the Huntsman Elite, which is our top recommendation if money is no consideration in your purchase.
This board's big selling point is the daring decision to combine optical sensors and mechanical switches to create Razer's own 'optomechanical' switches. The difference in speed is impressive to say the least, offering the unbeatable level of input speed and latency reduction.
The only caveats are it takes quite a bit of power to run, requiring not one, but two USB cables to keep it going, and it's rather an expensive investment too.
But, with a lovely array of RGB lights across those hybrid switches and enough customisation options to make even the hardest of hardcore players happy, this is a beast of a peripheral for ardent PC gamers. It also makes for a silky smooth typing experience should you want to double it up as regular 'board as well.
The best premium mechanical gaming keyboard on the market today.
3. SteelSeries Apex 3
The best budget gaming keyboard
Reasons to buy
The SteelSeries Apex 3 is a great new addition to the maker's line-up, delivering a really strong all-round package for a firmly budget price point.
In terms of features, the board's superb 10-zone RGB lighting system is something to write home about, as too its IP32 water resistance rating, which is impressive considering its low price point.
Design-wise the Apex 3 is a full-size gaming keyboard and, as such, comes with a ten key number pad, as well as dedicated media controls. The top plate is clean and slopes downward toward an comfortable included wrist rest.
In terms of key performance, the Apex 3 delivers really quiet operation thanks to SteelSeries' Whisper-Quiet switches. These a membrane switches rather than mechanical, though, but seem tuned for gamers and felt fast and responsive under the fingers.
Throw in the board's compatibility with the excellent SteelSeries Engine 3 customisation software, and strong cable management, and its easy to see why this budget board has won such acclaim.
The best gaming keyboard without a number pad
Reasons to buy
With 88 keys (plus media keys), backlighting colour combinations that run into the millions, a lovely thin form factor, a dedicated volume scroll wheel, instant wireless connection and optional Bluetooth, and a simple-to-use macro editor, it's likely that the Logitech G915 TKL is going to attract a lot of fans.
A smaller, more compact version of the also amazing Logitech G915, this 'tenkeyless' version is easier to position on a desk and to lug around, but loses none of the typing experience – and that's great by the way. You get a choice of three mechanical key types with this keyboard, so you can customise it to suit your preferences.
It's on the expensive side, and we would like a few more customisation options in terms of keyboard shortcuts, but really these are minor drawbacks that you don't have to worry about. A fantastic, low-latency gaming keyboard that'll also serve you well for everyday computing tasks too.
4. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum more than justifies the price tag
Reasons to buy
There's no doubt the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is one of the best gaming keyboards on the market right now, with Cherry MX switches, USB passthrough, dedicated media controls, and customisable USB lighting thrown into the mix.
Okay, it's going to cost you a bit of money, and it's going to take up a substantial amount of room on your desk – but if you want the very best in gaming keyboards then this definitely needs to be on your shortlist.
The anodised, brushed aluminium frame really looks the part, and you can really go to town on the lighting customisations as well. Dedicated macro keys are another neat touch in what is a very impressive all-round package.
5. HyperX Alloy Elite 2
Everything you could want in a gaming keyboard
Reasons to buy
HyperX has a fine pedigree when it comes to gaming keyboards, and the Alloy Elite 2 is another winner: it's very well constructed, with flexible lighting and a variety of dedicated media and volume keys, and it'll work just as well for general computing tasks as it will for gaming.
The supplied HyperX software makes customisations a breeze, and you can produce some incredibly funky-looking effects from this keyboard... or just keep it simple and subtle, it's up to you. The solid steel frame and HyperX mechanical switches make for a pleasurable, robust typing experience too.
With USB 2.0 pass-through, anti-ghosting technology and fun N-key rollover functionality, as well as multi-platform compatibility, this is worth a spot on anyone's shortlist of the best gaming keyboards of the moment
6. SteelSeries Apex 7
The best compact mechanical gaming keyboard
Reasons to buy
New from SteelSeries is the Apex 7 TKL Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, featuring a host of neat touches to impress gamers – not least the OLED smart display that's able to deliver information straight from games and apps (including Discord and Tidal).
This being SteelSeries you know the build quality is going to be excellent as always, and the Apex 7 really looks the part: it's made from Series 5000 aircraft-grade aluminium, with a wide and deep wrist pad that should keep fatigue at bay even over the longest gaming sessions.
Using SteelSeries' own take on Cherry MX mechanical switches, these keys are good for some 50 million keypresses. It ticks all the boxes you need when you're looking for the best gaming keyboard of 2020.
7. Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo
A great all-round premium gaming keyboard
Reasons to buy
Roccat advertises the Vulcan 120 Aimo as a "precision gaming tool" and, after getting our hands on the board and producing our official Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo review, it's hard to argue with that.
In terms of usability, the Vulcan 120 Aimo is really comfortable to use and boasts a top mix of programmable keys, so it's handy for both for gaming and everyday PC tasks. Its Titan switches are also among the very best we've ever placed our fingertips on, with a very linear actuation, super-fast input recognition, and super-light caps combining wonderfully.
Quiet switches aren't often a quality we put much stock in when searching out the best gaming keyboards, but considering how responsive the bespoke keys are in Roccat's incredibly impressive Vulcan 120 Aimo, we're beginning to think we'd like to see them more often.
The keyboard, with its anodised aluminium plate, feels incredibly well built under the fingertips (the board weighs in at a rock solid 1,150 grams), and with its remarkably bright Aimo lighting engine it's also one of the most visually appealing boards in our guide.
Powered by a 32-bit ARM Cortex processor, and featuring a sleek detachable wrist rest and lengthy 1.8-metre braided cable, the Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo delivers across the board – it's a package you must check out if you're shopping at the top end of the gaming keyboard market in 2020.
And plenty of the judges in the T3 Awards 2020 agreed the 120 Aimo is a gaming keyboard worthy of praise, with it winning the Best Gaming Keyboard award in the T3 Awards 2020.
The best gaming keyboard for RGB lighting brilliance
Reasons to buy
If RGB lighting customisations are what you want first and foremost from a gaming keyboard, then the Whirlwind FX Element is sure to be of interest. You can personalise the lighting down to individual keys, as well as selecting from millions of colours, and you've also got a bunch of animation effects to choose from too (like a Matrix mode that pulses green).
Added to that, some of the effects tie in with the biggest games on the market, like Call of Duty and PUBG. Even if a game isn't supported directly, the Whirlwind FX Element will still analyse what's on screen and change the keyboard lighting to match. This is all option though – you can if you want just settle for a fixed colour or a fixed pattern and leave it at that.
Besides the lighting effects, which are a lot of fun to play around with, this excels in just about every other area too: the Kailh mechanical switches, the brushed aluminium, the solid, braided USB cable... it's a fantastic all-round package and definitely worth a spot on our list of best gaming keyboards.
9. Trust GXT 830-RW Avonn
The best gaming keyboard on a super tight budget
Reasons to buy
If you want some of the style and functionality of a gaming keyboard but also want to spend as little as possible, give the Trust GXT 830-RW Avonn some consideration – for really not much money at all you get a keyboard that looks the part, feels solid to game with, and has some customisation options included, too.
The build quality and materials don't quite hit the premium levels that you might find on some other keyboards, but the Trust GXT 830-RW Avonn certainly doesn't disappoint. The membrane keys are firm and responsive, with plenty of travel (and you can press up to six at once), while the 140-centimetre (55-inch) cable is plenty – just plug it into Windows (or macOS) and you're good to go.
The keyboard illumination is the real star here, though, considering the price: the 104 keys are backed by what Trust calls a 'rainbow wave' of colour, which you can of course customise in terms of both colour and brightness. It looks very sharp in reality, and add in the 12 dedicated multimedia keys, and it's a gaming keyboard that won't let you down.
10. Corsair K63 Wireless
The best gaming keyboard for a wireless, mechanical gaming setup
Reasons to buy
Wireless and gaming haven't often mingled well when it comes to PC gaming, but those times are a changing and Corsair's new K63 Wireless is leading the charge, and a worthy addition to our list of the best gaming keyboards of 2020.
Its 1 ms ultra-fast connection uses a 2.4 GHz optimised wireless setup for a true PC gaming experience, with low latency even if you're playing at a distance from your machine.
You get the clickety-clack goodness of some Cherry MX Red switches (with gold-plated contacts, no less), a full set of RGB backlights and plenty of media keys to keep you in control.
You'll get 15 hours of use on a single charge, so expect this wireless wild child to keep you well connected, even on an all-nighter.
11. Asus ROG Strix Scope
A compact gaming keyboard that is ideal for FPS enthusiasts
Reasons to buy
Asus has really started to make some top PC gaming peripherals as of late and the ROG Strix Scope is a fine example of that trend, delivering not just a quality gaming keyboard but one that also offers some specialised features geared towards FPS gamers.
This compact mechanical gaming keyboard offers full macro customisation, for example, while the left Ctrl key is widened to ensure it is easier to press during the heat of battle and the WASD controls are finished with easy-to-see silver. The compact layout also means quick button presses are easier due to reduced stretch time.
In terms of build, the keyboard impressed with a premium aluminium top plate, while Asus' Aura Sync RGB LED technology means making the unit light up just how you want it is a breeze. Best-in-the-business Cherry MX RGB mechanical switches ensure the response, feel and key-travel the gamer requires, too.
Another neat feature the Strix Scope boasts is a "stealth key". The stealth key, which is actually the F12 key, once pressed instantly hides all apps on screen and mutes all audio as well. One more press of the key reverses all the actions.
12. Logitech G413 Carbon
A great budget mechanical gaming keyboard
Reasons to buy
Logitech has plenty of high-end gaming models to offer you (see the Logitech G513 for proof of that), but there’s also the likes of the G413 Carbon to help you into the PC gaming mechanical switch party without torpedoing your bank balance.
For around half the cost of many of the boards in this guide you're getting a slick actuation point of 1.5mm, making its mechanical keys super precise and accurate (perfect for twitch gaming experiences such as MOBAs or MMORPGs).
Those Romer G switches make a fine alternative to the Cherry MX, with each one sitting in a sturdy, aircraft-grade aluminium alloy chassis for some minimalist style on your desk.
A great budget mechanical gaming keyboard option, especially for gamers who like an understated, mature design.
How to choose the best gaming keyboard for you
You'll come across various different kinds of mechanical switches when shopping for the best gaming keyboard, with each one offering a different kind of feedback – and working out which switch is best for you work out which of these keyboards is the one you need to get.
Some use White Alps or Black Alps – these are common switches, with the White Alps being the more popular of the two due to their pronounced tactility.
Most, however, use a form of switch known as a Cherry MX. These are broken up into colours – black, red, brown, blue and clear – with each one offering a distinctly different feel. Much of this comes down to preference, but certain types suit certain tasks more than others.
These keys are particular popular with gamers due to the ability to choose between clicky/non-clicky and linear/non-linear variants. Most keyboards enable you to swap switches if you're not enjoying the ones you're using, so don't feel like you're stuck with one model forever once you invest in it.
The Cherry MX black is the switch of choice for many gamers who play online. The black variant is 'linear', meaning the keystroke doesn't give you as much of clack, reducing the amount of feedback as you're smashing the keys in a heated moment.
Don't be afraid to try out a few before you buy, as there's almost certainly a switch type out there that's perfect for you. Some manufacturers now make their own switches, often based on one of the existing standards.
Lastly, while you certainly shouldn't rule out gaming keyboards from small or new makers, do make sure the you read around as much as possible before pulling the trigger as that lack of proper heritage could cost you in the long term. What looks like a cheap, fast, quiet, mechanical bargain from a startup company may look like a bargain, but its build quality or long-term reliability may leave a lot to be desired.
Makers like Roccat, Das Keyboard, Corsair, HyperX, SteelSeries, Logitech, Topre and Cooler Master have serious heritage in making top gaming keyboards, so if you buy from them then chances are you're going to get a product that doesn't break after six months of use. It's not a hard and fast rule, but something to keep in mind when making your decision nonetheless.
This is especially true when shopping for a budget gaming keyboard, as ideally you want a solid if not feature-packed model for an approachable price point – rather than a similarly priced model from nobody maker that, while looking more feature packed for the money, will actually go on to quickly let you down within months.
With that in mind, take your time – read through the comparisons we've put together, weigh up exactly what you want from your next gaming keyboard, and ensure that your money is spent as wisely as possible.
If you are a PC gamer looking to upgrade your setup with one of the best gaming keyboards of 2020, then you've picked a great time to start: new models keep hitting the market, with prices on current ones coming down, too.
Sales on gaming keyboards are happening just about all the year round, so keep an eye out for any deals you can take advantage of. We've included the best online prices alongside our best gaming keyboard picks.
What keyboards do pro gamers use
Pro gamers and esports champions use mechanical gaming keyboards. This is because they offer more accurate, precise click performance than membrane boards. In addition, pro gamer gaming keyboards tend to have strong suites of macro keys which allow them to store a variety of in-game combos or action strings.
Of course, depending on which game type the esports player is competing in will have an effect on the gaming keyboard they choose, as will just plain play style and personal preference. Some of the most-used boards by FPS pro gamers are the Razer Blackwidow Chroma TE V2 and Logitech G Pro.
Best gaming keyboards under £100/$100
We get it, not everyone has buckets of money to spend on gaming accessories, but they still want a strong piece of hardware that won't let them down in-game. That's why we have this dedicated section to the best gaming keyboards under £100/$100. These are our top choices for gaming keyboards that despite often costing less than half of what some other more premium boards demand, still deliver great core functionality.
The best gaming keyboards under £100/$100 are:
1. SteelSeries Apex 3
2. Trust GXT 830-RW Avonn
3. Asus Rog Strix Scope
4. Logitech G413 Carbon
5. Stoga Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
These boards range in price and style, so take a browse and see which one suits your budget and aesthetic preference best.
Wired vs wireless gaming keyboards: which is best?
Here at T3 we feel that anyone who is serious about gaming should always plump for a wired gaming keyboard.
Wireless gaming keyboards are great when it comes round to having a minimal and clean setup, with no visible wires bringing down the look of your gaming zone, and they're also useful for more casual applications like typing on forums between gaming sessions.
However, wireless gaming keyboards can be hurt by interference in their signal, need charging and, most importantly, will still a lag between your physical inputs and the game registering it. Naturally, when milliseconds can make the difference between pwnage and being pwned, any sort of delay is really not ideal.
But yes, if you tend to just play single player slow-paced games like RPGs at home, and don't play competively, then yes a wireless gaming keyboard can be an option. And yes, wireless gaming keyboards have got a lot better over the past few years.
Right now though, for T3, there is only one winner – wired gaming keyboards.
Gaming keyboard news
14 September, 2020 – we haven't seen too many gaming keyboard launches in recent weeks (what are you busy doing, manufacturers?), but Razr has launched what it calls a productivity keyboard (see above).
While ostensibly aimed at creatives and professionals, the productivity suite – including the Pro Type keyboard, the Pro Click mouse, and the Pro Glide mouse – could definitely do a job for gamers as well... if you don't fancy any of the other Razr gaming keyboards of course.
23 July, 2020 – Razer has announced its new Cynosa V2 gaming keyboard. The keyboard, which is described as an "entry-level gaming keyboard" comes with individually backlit keys, which is ideal for specific game integration like Fortnite, Overwatch and Warframe.
The Cynosa V2 is a membrane-type gaming keyboard and also boasts fully programmable keys and Razer Chrome RGB integration. There are dedicated media keys, too, including play, pause and skip, and some grooved cable routing to keep wires out of sight.
The Cynosa V2 is available now for $59.99 / £59.99 / €69.99.
Here at T3 we think the Cynosa V2 looks like a very accomplished keyboard for gamers who don't have huge amounts of money to spend on an upgrade. Yes, you don't get mechanical keys in the package, but apart from that you get plenty of features and a stylish, minimalist design.
26 May, 2020 - Logitech has unveiled a new, smaller version of its popular G915 wireless keyboard, the Logitech G915 TKL. The TKL is named thus as it is Tenkeyless, but asides from that, it offers the sort of package of the full-blown G915.
The wireless, mechanical, RGB keyboard features a battery life of 40 hours on a single charge, and that is with 100 per cent RGB lighting on, too. The low-profile keys of the board are powered by GL mechanical switches that are half the height of standard mechanical key switches, and these are available in GL Linear, GL Tactile and GL Clicky variants.
Speaking on the launch of the G915 TKL Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech Gaming, said that:
“The G915 TKL combines LIGHTSPEED Wireless, RGB lighting and amazing battery life in a sleek, ultra-thin design that creates a new standard for gaming keyboards.”
Naturally, T3 will be looking to get hold of a G915 TKL as soon as possible so we can bring you our official take, so be sure to check back into the site soon.