The best mechanical keyboards 2022: get top keys and switches to type on

We've got all the best mechanical keyboards together in one place

SteelSeries Apex 5 mechanical keyboard shown on desk with RGB lighting turned on
(Image credit: SteelSeries)

If you're looking for one of 2022's best mechanical keyboards then you'll know there's nothing quite like them. These smartly engineered, precision pieces of hardware will give you unbeatable accuracy and responsiveness when it comes to computer input, and it doesn't hurt that they look very cool as well.

What's more, there's a mechanical keyboard for everyone. All kinds of designs and price points are covered, and that's before you get into one of the key specs of any mechanical keyboard: the switches under the keys. These affect the travel, the responsiveness, and even the noise of the typing experience, so choose wisely.

To help you narrow down your search through the many, many mechanical keyboards on the market, we've covered most of the ground for you, looking at the key details of each of the top contenders to bring you a carefully created list of our top picks. There's a good chance that the best mechanical keyboard for you is in here somewhere.

If you're a gamer then we also advise you to check out T3's best gaming keyboards buying guide, too, as it is filled with mechanical keyboards that are ideal for gaming.

The best mechanical keyboards you can buy in 2022

SteelSeries Apex 5 mechanical keyboard shown on white backgroundT3 Best Buy Award badge

(Image credit: SteelSeries)

1. SteelSeries Apex 5

The best mechanical keyboard for most people

Keys: 104
Switches: Hybrid Blue
Size: 443 mm x 139 mm x 41 mm
Connection: USB-A
Reasons to buy
+Proprietary hybrid switches+Versatile and customisable
Reasons to avoid
-Shared media controls button

There's so much goodness built into the SteelSeries Apex 5 that it's almost unfair for the competition – while we'd definitely recommend checking out the other entries on this list, we think this is the best mechanical keyboard for most people, and as an added bonus it comes from one of the most trusted brands in PC gaming peripherals.

Besides the hybrid blue switches, which provide tight responsiveness and a short travel distance, the keyboard also brings with it a small, customisable LED screen, macro support, and full RGB lighting that gives you plenty of options to pick from. The keyboard is made from an aircraft-grade aluminium alloy, and comes with 24 key n-key rollover, so you don't have to worry about any of your inputs being missed.

You get all this wrapped up and available for a price that's very reasonable, and you're going to have to work very hard to find a better mechanical keyboard that falls into the same cost bracket. If you're still not convinced, there's a stylish magnetic wrist rest included in the box too.

Das Keyboard 5QS mechanical keyboard shown on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Das Keyboard)

The best premium mechanical keyboard

Keys: 105 (UK), 104 (US)
Switches: Gamma Zulu
Size: 457 mm x 152 mm x 36 mm
Connection: USB-A
Reasons to buy
+Smart RGB lighting+Physical volume dial
Reasons to avoid
-On the expensive side

One of the best mechanical keyboards from one of the best mechanical keyboard makers, the Das Keyboard 5QS brings with it 100m-cycle mechanical key switches (of the Das Keyboard Gamma Zulu switch variety), full NKRO (n-key rollover) to detect every single keystroke, an anodised aluminium top panel, a physical dial for volume control and other functions, and a superb level of build quality.

The real party trick with the Das Keyboard 5QS is with its RGB lighting however. Not only can you go to town in terms of lighting customisation (and there are plenty of presets to pick from), you can also set up the keys to give you notifications: blue for a rainy weather forecast, for example, or red for a new email. It's an unusual feature but once you get used to it you'll find it rather handy.

On top of all that you've got built-in macro support, a detachable palm rest, RGB lighting configurations to match specific programs and games (such as Photoshop or Counter-Strike), and a typing experience that's hard to top. It's on the more expensive side, but if you don't mind paying for quality, it's definitely worth considering.

Cooler Master CK352 mechanical keyboard shown on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Cooler Master)

3. Cooler Master CK352

The best budget mechanical keyboard

Keys: 105
Switches: Red, Brown or Blue
Size: 455 mm x 143 mm x 36 mm
Connection: USB-A
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable feel+Affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-Basic functionality

If you're picking one of the best mechanical keyboards then you already know that you're paying something of a price premium, but the Cooler Master CK352 manages to be both impressive and affordable – it's an excellent choice if you're hoping to spend as little as possible while still getting the look and feel of a mechanical keyboard.

The Cooler Master CK352 is a full size keyboard, number pad and all, and it comes fitted with red (linear), brown (tactile) or blue (clicky) switches, so you can take your pick and choose your preference when you buy it. We also like the two-tone grey and black colour scheme that the keys come in as well.

As for the top surface of the keyboard, it's more premium than you might expect, finished in sandblasted aluminium. The device also comes with individual RGB lighting on the keys, and while some of its competitors will have more features for you to play around with, this is a solid mechanical keyboard that won't let you down in games or any other task.

Razer Huntsman Mini mechanical keyboard shown on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Razer)

4. Razer Huntsman Mini

The best compact mechanical keyboard

Keys: 62
Switches: Razer Optical
Size: 315 mm x 153 mm x 44 mm
Connection: USB-C
Reasons to buy
+Very compact size+Choice of colours
Reasons to avoid
-Too small for some

Not everyone needs a full size mechanical keyboard – perhaps you don't have much in the way of desk space, or perhaps you want a keyboard that you can easily pack up in a bag and take on the move with you. If that sounds like you, may we present the Razer Huntsman Mini, a so-called 60 percent keyboard because its overall size is a mere 60 percent of its regular-sized competitors.

Aside from the size, there's all the quality here that you would expect from Razer. The custom-made switches on the Huntsman Mini give a pleasing amount of tactile feedback as well as a classic clicky sound, and you won't have any complaints in terms of responsiveness or the overall feel while you're typing or gaming.

Each key comes with its own independent RGB lighting too, though the customisation software is only available for Windows. To make up for the removal of some of the keys, including the number pad, the keyboard is packed with combination shortcuts that you can use instead – and again these can be edited if needed, so you have a keyboard setup that's very much your own.

Roccat Vulcan TKL mechanical keyboard shown on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Roccat)

The best TenKeyLess mechanical keyboard

Keys: 85
Switches: Titan Linear / Titan Tactile
Size: 360 mm x 133 mm x 34 mm
Connection: USB-A
Reasons to buy
+Compact and stylish+Excellent responsiveness
Reasons to avoid
-No macOS software

The Roccat Vulcan TKL mechanical keyboard, as its name suggests, is a TenKeyLess keyboard – which essentially means it doesn't have the number pad on the right-hand side. If you think you can live without those extra keys, and are after something a bit more compact in terms of form factor, this could be the best mechanical keyboard for you.

You get a choice of Titan Switch Linear or TItan Switch Tactile switches to choose between – the former are a little smoother and a little louder as well – and we really like the physical mute button and volume dial that you'll probably be reaching for constantly. No matter which key you press though, the Roccat Vulcan TKL offers an impressive level of responsiveness for both gaming and general use.

As usual with Roccat keyboards, there's a comprehensive RGB lighting customisation program you can call upon, though the software only works on Windows (as a basic keyboard, this will work with any operating system). It's a fantastic mechanical keyboard in a compact form factor that will add style and flair to any setup.

Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Special Edition mechanical keyboard shown on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Corsair)

6. Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Special Edition

The best-looking mechanical keyboard

Keys: 105
Switches: Cherry MX Speed
Size: 438 mm x 166 mm x 39 mm
Connection: USB-A
Reasons to buy
+Stylish, bold aesthetic+Packed with features
Reasons to avoid
-On the large side

One glance at the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Special Edition is enough to realise why we've included it in our round-up of the best mechanical keyboards you can buy right now: it's an absolute stunner (it's also available in black by the way). This keyboard has plenty going for it besides its looks however, and comes from a brand name you can trust.

Take a look at the silver, anodised, brushed aluminium frame for example, plus the dedicated keys for media playback, volume control, user profiles, key brightness, and locking the keyboard to prevent accidental presses. There's USB passthrough support here, so you can attach another peripheral if you need to, plus the ability to record macros, and the Cherry MX Speed switches promise high-speed accuracy and reliability.

Add in the gorgeous RGB lighting which is fully customisable, and you have a mechanical keyboard that's going to keep you competitive in games, handle all the computing tasks you can throw at it, and turn a few heads at the same time (if you get many people passing by your desk). Definitely worthy of your consideration.

Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate mechanical keyboard on white background

Are you a typing badass? Then the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate is a good fit for you.

(Image credit: Das Keyboard)

The best mechanical keyboard for badasses and elite typists

Keys: 105
Switches: Cherry MX Brown / Blue
Size: 45.72 x 17.272 x 2.032 cm
Connection: USB-A
Reasons to buy
+Hyper premium Cherry MX Switches+Stunning blank key design+Full N-key rollover
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap-Can you handle blank keys?-No RGB lighting

Accruing a maximum score of 5 stars on review, the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate is a seriously good mechanical keyboard. But with blank keycaps it certainly isn't for the novice typist.

It doesn't come with any RGB lighting, either, so if you want neon awesomeness from your board then you're looking in the wrong place.

This board does so much right, though, and the package it delivers is elite level for speed, touch typists and gamers who prize a minimalist aesthetic.

The Cherry MX Brown/Blue switched are superb, the aluminium top-plate robust and the twin USB 3.0 ports very useful for easily transferring files. The in-built volume knob and media controls are also welcome boons.

But, yes, this is a keyboard that is going to appeal to mechanical keyboard aficionados, and only the most badass typists and gamers should apply. If you want what it delivers and can handle it, though, there's no better experience to be had.

Mechanical keyboards: how to choose your switches

While you're browsing around for the best mechanical keyboard you'll see a lot of references to different types of switches, and it's important to pick the one that suits you best. The terms you'll see include linear (a smooth feel, often coloured red or black), tactile (like linear but with a little bump half way, often coloured brown or clear), and clicky (with a bump but louder as well, often coloured blue or green).

Tactile and clicky keys often make for a faster typing experience because the keys don't have to be depressed as far to be registered. You'll also see manufacturers experimenting with their own types of keys, so some additional research may be required – and if no colour or switch type is listed, the mechanical keyboard may well be available with a choice of key switches, so you can take your pick.

And if you decide that you're not all that taken with mechanical keyboards after all, we've got plenty of alternatives for you – be sure to check out our guides to the best ergonomic keyboards and the best keyboards overall, too.

David Nield
David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.