With the technology and gaming market ever expanding every year, it becomes more and more difficult to chose the peripherals you play with. In 2017 alone, we’ve seen bountiful releases of keyboards of all form factors, key caps, colors and lighting, and with this much variety it can be hard to know what is right for you. We’ve put together this list of the top competitors out there to answer the question burning on gamers hearts – What is the best gaming keyboard?
Choosing a gaming keyboard is a highly personal choice, as different keyboards cater a different play-types. Our 3 pillars of good peripherals are:
As always, which of these is most important is very dependent on you and your priorities but overall the best products offer the least compromise between the 3 categories
Corsair K95 RGB Platinum – Overall Pick
The Corsair K95 RGB is truly something else, it looks good, feels good and plays good. It packs with countless features and this keyboard is one truly complete experience.
- Cherry MX Speed Mechanical Switches
The Cherry MX Speed switches offer a 45g actuation force and a 1.2mm actuation distance. This means that these switches are very responsive hence the name MX Speed. They are very comfortable to type with and these switches are the most responsive switches we’ve tested in game
- RGB Back-Lighting and LightEdge
The RGB back-lighting offered on the K90 RGB is truly impressive. With individually lit keys and Corsairs LightEdge, Corsair takes RGB customization to the next level. Through Corsair Cue 2 gaming software, all your Corsair RGB peripherals can be in sync, from your Corsair mice, to water-cooling blocks
- Macro Keys and Inboard Storage
The K95 RGB features 6 customizable macro keys and 8mb onboard storage meaning wherever you take your keyboard, your preferences come with you. This was one of the downsides of older Corsair keyboards as RGB lighting went to default every time you moved your keyboard from one computer to another
- USB Pass-through for Mice and Headsets
The K95 RGB features USB 2.0 pass-through, which cuts the cords running on your desk down to one. Although this pass-through port is only USB 2.0, it can be used with both headsets and computer mice to seamlessly hide cables that would’ve otherwise been lying haphazardly along your desk.
The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum may truly be the pinnacle of mechanical keyboards. Coupled with the Cherry MX Speed Switches, this keyboard plays well in virtually all games you can throw at it. These switches are very responsive and the key caps Corsair used in this keyboard are reasonably comfortable for both gaming and typing. One thing that might bother some people is the font used on the key caps, though this doesn’t affect the keyboard at all its just down to use preference. Another additional feature of this keyboard is the inclusion of 6 programmable macro keys. Through the Corsair Cue 2 application these macros can be easily assigned to many functions, which proves useful for games such as MMOs. The keyboard also features 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover.
This keyboard features an aircraft grade aluminum build, which is sturdy and can handle light drops and falls. Under basic testing it does not twist and bend and for its steep price you’re getting what you pay for. This keyboard also features dual-sided detachable wrist-wrests which are easy to use and comfortable for long gaming periods. Underneath the keyboard is the inclusion of cable routes, so you can easily manage either the mouse, or headset cable which you have connected through the USB pass-through.
Other things that make the K95 a pleasure to use is the inclusion of media buttons, volume scroll and on the fly controls for windows lock, profile switching and alternating between the different color profiles. The volume wheel is very responsive and allows for very fine control of volume and is convenient in-game. The included color and profile controls also make it easy to seamlessly switch between profiles and lighting; and to disable the windows key in game, which is more useful than it may sound.
Corsair may have truly mastered RGB functionality in keyboards. The K95 has dynamic multi-color back-lighting with the inclusion of LightEdge. This allows for individually back-lit keys and the customization of the LightEdge around the keyboard. One of the problems with RGB, is companies not allowing for the customization of either specific keys or their logos, which may restrict you to the color scheme you can choose, else the logo or key will stick out like a sore thumb. On the K95, if its back-lit you can change its color. The LightEdge features, truly makes this a beautiful keyboard to have on your desk, whether you have flashing rainbow waves throughout the day or have it set to one single color.
The K95 RGB Platinum is overall a complete package when it comes to mechanical gaming keyboards. It features from our perspective the best and most responsive keys for gaming, which are also very comfortable to type with; virtually all the features you’d ever want from a mechanical gaming keyboard. It also features one of the best builds, in any keyboard yet. The only real negative to this keyboard is the price. The K95 runs for around $175 USD, which is a steep price to say for a gaming keyboard. That said you are truly getting what you pay for. Maybe hold off until Black Friday or the Christmas sales where you can get it for less or see our other recommended keyboard.
G. Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB – A Worthy Competitor
The decision between G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB and Corsair K95 RGB was a very difficult decision, which the as both keyboards were absolutely fantastic to use and came with very complete feature set. That said the KM780 is a worthy competitor to the Corsair K95 RGB, because it features most of the features, at a fraction of the cost.
- Cherry MX RGB Switches
Unlike some Chinese keyboard at similar price-points, the KM780 feature genuine Cherry MX Blue, Brown or Red switches, depending on which model you buy. These switches between the different models are as you would expect from Cherry switches. Which switched you choose depends on your personal preference but generally Blue for mainly typing, Brown for both typing and gaming and Red for mainly fast-paced gaming
- Extra Gaming Key-caps
The KM780 features optional gaming key caps, making it easier to differentiate between the keys most used for gaming, and reducing the likelihood of accidental wrong key presses. The keys included are, Q W E R A S D F G C. These special key caps are ridged and contoured making accidental slipping less likely. They also come in a detachable box which can be attached to the keyboard
- Mouse Bungee and USB and Audio Pass-Through
The inclusion of a mouse bungee in the KM780 was an unexpected but welcome inclusion. This mouse bungee stops the mouse cord from being pulled and keeps it in position. Like the Corsair K95, this keyboard also features USB Pass-through, with the welcome addition of both audio output and input ports.
- Media Control and Volume Display
Just like the Corsair K95, the Ripjaws KM780 features a volume scroll wheel but this time also features volume display. At the top right of the keyboard through 24 LEDs, you can easily see what the volume is set to. It also offers all the essential media buttons on the fly
It would do the Ripjaws KM780 a major disfavor to discount how good this keyboard is. This keyboard is a truly great keyboard, coming from one of the world’s largest computer companies. The including of authentic Cherry MX switches making this keyboard a great option for people who prefer specific keyboards, though ours comes with Cherry MX Brown switches. These switches are comfortable for both typing and gaming, and perform exactly like most other Cherry MX Brown switches. The KM780 also features great key caps and the inclusion of extra key caps for gaming keys is a welcome one. The optional keys, make it by far easier to identify which keys you’re and we did not experience any issues with quality caused by consistent switching of the key caps.
Another thing that makes the KM780 a pleasure to use is the plethora of additional features which make every penny spent on this keyboard truly working. The mouse bungee makes all the difference when playing with a wired mouse, and though you will grow used to it, you will miss it when its gone. The programmable macro keys as usual can be programmed to anything through the Ripjaws Driver Software. There included media buttons are stop, play, back, forward and mute buttons and the KM780 also includes a volume scroll wheel. They keys are easy to press and the back-lighting can be customized through the driver software.
There were a few main reasons that’s stopped the KM780 from topping the list. One of the main reasons, was this keyboard is designed like a cheap Chinese keyboard from amazon and would stick out on a minimal or “non-gamey” desk setup. There are just too many things going on with this keyboards design like the rack running along the back of the keyboard, to the 2 extensions on the side. When paying around $120 for a keyboard, it would certainly be good to pick up one that’s aesthetically pleasing. Add to the fact that the volume display is set to red and is non-customisable, which also makes it stick out
Another significant problem with this keyboard is the software. To say that it was hard to use would be an understatement. It is has a large learning curve taking quite a while to learn, it makes the process of changing the lighting effects fairly difficult. Your lighting effects automatically override making it difficult to change back if you make a mistake, and it’s fairly difficult to change lighting effects. It is mainly the software holding this keyboard back
The KM780 is overall a fantastic keyboard. It has a rich and complete feature-set, featuring USB and Audio Pass-through, a mouse bungee, RGB lighting and customisable key caps and is overall a complete keyboard for its price. That said the software and design of this keyboard overall is what stopped this keyboard from being the best recommended keyboard on this list. The software has and will continue to improve through future software updates. If you otherwise don’t mind the design and are willing to deal with the driver software, this keyboard is a compelling choice to the Corsair K95 as it comes in at around $50 less, with more or less similar features
Logitech G610 Orion – Budget Pick
The G610 is a complete mechanical keyboard under $100. This is Logitech’s second attempt on a simple, minimal and performance driven keyboard and this time they’ve succeeded. The G610 Orion Brown (in our case), has the option between Cherry MX Brown, Red or Blue switches depending on your preference. These switches perform exactly as you would expect each respective Cherry MX switch to perform respectively and Logitech provides fantastic and simple key caps. Unlike other keyboards on this list however, the Logitech does not have customisable macro keys, though this is understandable as this is not designed to be a flashy/flagship keyboard.
The G610 is designed with simplicity in mind. This keyboard features a minimal black design with white only back-lighting. If RGB is near and dear to your heart, see the Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum, which offers full RGB. The design of the G610 allows it to fit in with most setups with ease, and blend in when you have a minimal setup. It also features a volume scroll wheel and dedicated media buttons. The design of the G610 achieves what it aims to achieve, a simple and performance driven keyboard.
What makes the G610 appealing is the price. This keyboard comes just under $100 on Amazon and does what it does well. What makes it hard to recommend a few keyboards under this price point is the use of Chinese Cherry clone switches, which obviously do not come close to the experience of authentic Cherry MX switches. Logitech is well-known for making long-lasting, quality products which means you will not go wrong, by purchasing the Logitech G610. Overall if you are looking for a cheap, quality keyboard seriously consider the Logitech G610.
Although because of the many Chinese knock-offs, and the sheer amount of companies entering this marker, the gaming keyboard market may be considered over-saturated at this point. This article just shows you what some of the best gaming keyboards that you can buy at various price-points. The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum, is overall the best keyboard you can buy currently, though it may be out of many peoples budget at $175. The KM780 comes a close second, though slightly falling behind. The G610 at $99 offers a fairly complete keyboard with only the essentials which you won’t go wrong purchasing if you’re on a budget. Overall you will not regret purchasing any of the keyboards on this list as they are all worthy performers in game, and offer a complete experience respective to their individual prices.
Which keyboard would you prefer? Let us know down in the comments below!
If you’re looking for the best mice to go with you keyboard check out out article on the best gaming mice here or if you’re looking for good mice that won’t break the bank, look at our article on the best gaming mice under 50.