Gaming Keyboards Buyers Guide For 2016
In this epic post, we have come up with a gaming keyboards buyer’s guide to top all other buyers guides!
First up let’s take a look at some of the best gaming keyboards on the market, along with our own mini reviews of each of them.
12 of the Top Rated Best Gaming Keyboards
Now that you know what to look for, we’ve compiled a list of 12 of some of the best gaming keyboards available on the market today. No matter what your budget is or what types of PC games you love the most, you’re sure to find a gaming keyboard on this list that you’ll love.
Razer is well known for their high-quality gaming keyboards, and the Razer DeathStalker Expert Gaming Keyboard is no exception. This keyboard features a green LED backlight and chiclet-style keys, which give this keyboard a faster response time than the competition. This keyboard features not only a dedicated Gaming Mode but also a wrist rest and programmable macro keys. Also bundled with this keyboard is the Razer Synapse 2.0 software, which will sync the keyboard to Razer’s cloud server so it can automatically download firmware updates. You can also save your macros and other settings to the cloud so you can use them on your other Razer products.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Logitech G105 Gaming Keyboard is the bright blue LED backlight, which Logitech claims will illuminate your keys even in a pitch-black room. However, if you’re finding the backlight to be too bright, it comes with two brightness settings: a dull shine and a burst of light. The Logitech G105 Gaming Keyboard has anti-ghosting capabilities for up to five keys, meaning this keyboard can register five simultaneous key presses. The six programmable G-Keys allow you to configure 18 different in-game functions, ranging from simple commands to complex macros.
The Razer DeathStalker Chroma Multi-Color RGB Membrane Gaming Keyboard has a lot in common with the Razer DeathStalker Expert Gaming Keyboard, such as chiclet keys, support for Razer Synapse 2.0 and an array of programmable keys. Where this keyboard differs from other Razer products is with its fantastic backlight technology. The Chroma backlight technology allows for 16.8 million customizable color options, ranging from solid colors such as red and purple to displaying an entire rainbow spectrum across your keyboard. When personalization is just as important as your gaming skill, the Razer DeathStalker Chroma Gaming Keyboard is a must-own product.
The Azio Levetron L70 LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard is a budget gaming keyboard that doesn’t sacrifice features for a low price. The blue LED backlight is ideal for all-night gaming marathons while the detachable palm rest lets you customize this keyboard into a configuration that is comfortable for you. While most gaming keyboards feature multimedia keys, this is one of the few that features a media knob; the volume adjustment knob at the top of this keyboards lets you set the volume with a degree of accuracy that buttons just can’t give you.
The Masione Domineering LED USB Gaming Keyboard is as durable as it is stylish; this unique keyboard has a 10 Million key-press lifecycle, meaning that even hardcore gamers will be using this keyboard for years before needing to replace it. This keyboard features a whopping eight multimedia keys, seven different LED backlight colors and an angular look that isn’t just for show but also helps keep your wrists safe from harm. Unlike other keyboards, you don’t need any additional software to get the most out of this keyboard: Just plug it into your computer and in seconds you can take advantage of all of the Masione Domineering LED USB Gaming Keyboard’s features.
Another budget keyboard, the Qisan USB Wired Gaming Keyboard is packed full of features, including:
- Anti-ghosting capabilties
- A Gaming Mode feature
- Three LED backlight colors
- Textured keys to provide comfort
- Anti-slip coating applied to the keys
- A wrist rest
- Six multimedia buttons
Qisan may not be a household name, but don’t let that turn you away from this keyboard. If you’re a gamer on a budget, you won’t find a better keyboard than the Qisan USB Wired Gaming Keyboard.
Far from a budget keyboard, the Razer DeathStalker Ultimate Gaming Keyboard is one of the most expensive gaming keyboards on the market today. What makes this keyboard so expensive? In addition to standard features, such as anti-ghosting capabilities, programmable keys and support for the Razer Synapse 2.0 software, this keyboard has a digital screen. Whether it’s displaying vital in-game information or just your currently selected playlist, this crisp LCD screen is easy to read and durable. Thanks to the proprietary Switchblade UI, this keyboard supports not only an array of game-specific programs but also social media applications as well.
Like the Razer DeathStalker Ultimate Gaming Keyboard, the Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard also has a digital screen; however, Logitech does one better than Razer by having their screen display in color. This display can not only show gameplay information but also system information, such as your CPU temperature, and VoiP information, such as who is currently talking. Outside of the digital display, this keyboard has everything you’d expect in a high-end gaming keyboard: 12 programmable keys, two USB slots, the ability to press up to six keys at once and custom backlight keys for each keyboard profile.
These days, computer gaming doesn’t just happen at a computer desk; thanks to computers like the Steam Machine, computer gaming can occur anywhere, including on your couch. The Razer Turret Living Room Wireless Gaming Keyboard is a wireless keyboard that uses the Bluetooth wireless frequency to provide a lag-free experience. Not only is this keyboard ergonomic but it’s also lightweight, making it perfect to place in your lap while you’re sitting on the couch. When you’re done playing, this keyboard can easily store anywhere in your living room thanks to its unique foldable hinge and docking station. As a special bonus, you’ll also get a complimentary Razer mouse when you purchase this keyboard!
Best known for video game console accessories such as joysticks and controllers, Mad Catz has entered the PC accessory market with this high-quality gaming keyboard. The Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 Gaming Keyboard features the proprietary P.U.L.S.E. Key Membrane, which Mad Catz claims to offer an unparalleled degree of responsiveness. Not only does this gaming keyboard have 12 programmable keys but it also includes a handful of multimedia keys along with anti-ghosting capability for up to seven simultaneous keystrokes. Mad Catz already dominates the console accessory market; with gaming keyboards like this one, they are well on their way to dominating the PC market as well.
If you’re a macro lover, then the Challenger Go Blue LED Gaming Keyboard is going to be the perfect gaming keyboard for you. With the ability to program 40 macros across four different profiles, even the most macro-heavy user will find that this gaming keyboard has more than enough memory. Outside of macros, this gaming keyboard has everything you’d expect from an average keyboard, including an ergonomic design, a blue LED backlight, removable cable design and even two USB hubs. While Challenger isn’t a household name for gaming accessories, don’t let that stop you from checking this gaming keyboard out!
SteelSeries is best known for providing some of the highest quality gaming accessories on the market today, and the SteelSeries Shift Gaming Keyboard is no exception. This keyboard comes packed with the following features:
- Eight programmable keys
- Multimedia buttons
- Two USB 2.0 ports
- Detachable wrist rest
- A non-slip base
- Interchangable keysets
- Three different height settings
- Gold-plated headphone jack
That’s just scratching the surface of what the SteelSeries Shift Gaming Keyboard has to offer. If you’re serious about gaming, then put this keyboard at the top of your potential purchases list.
Want the perfect gaming keyboard to enhance your gaming sessions? Here are the features you need to know about if you want to enter gaming nirvana.
Ergonomic isn’t just a fancy buzzword: It’s one of the most important things to look for in a keyboard if you’re someone who plays games for hours at a time. An ergonomic keyboard helps reduce muscle fatigue and strain in not just the short term but the long term as well; when your gamer buddies are complaining about sore wrists and injured hands, your body will feel good as new.
An ergonomic keyboard can manifest itself in many forms, with the most common being a wrist pad attached to the bottom of the keyboard. You’ll also find curved keyboards, split keyboards and many other adjustments to the shape of a keyboard all falling under the ergonomic banner.
Despite what any manufacturer will tell you, there is no particular medical study that 100 percent backs an ergonomic keyboard as the solution to resisting carpal tunnel syndrome. However, doctors will agree that ergonomic keyboards will at least help your wrists, though the key to totally avoiding any debilitating diseases like carpal tunnel syndrome will always be good posture and taking frequent breaks. In other words, having an ergonomic keyboard is nice but hardly a necessity for a gamer if you need to cut some features to save cash.
If you’re a gamer and a night owl, a backlit keyboard is a necessity. The ability to clearly see your keys even in pitch-black conditions is of the utmost importance no matter which genre of gaming you love to play. By default, almost every gaming keyboard will have a backlight function, with the only difference being color; for example, some backlit keyboards boast bright whites while others go for more muted reds and blues. Whichever style of backlight you choose comes down to personal color preference.
Gamers with sensitive eyes and those who like to tweak every part of their computer will want to keep an eye out for customizable backlights, such as those that let you change the brightness or even the color.
If you’re an avid online role-playing game player, programmable keys are a necessity. In fact, it’s likely that every game you play will find some use for programmable keys. With these keys, it’s possible to make macros: a string of commands that will execute at the push of a button. It’s rare to find a gaming keyboard without some programmable keys; in general, you’ll usually find a minimum of five programmable keys while some high-end gaming keyboards boast up to a maximum 60 keys. While these keys aren’t a necessity, especially for casual gamers who have no interest in macros, it’s likely that whatever gaming keyboard you purchase will have them on it. Consider programmable keys a test of sorts: Does this keyboard have programmable keys? If not, it’s likely not a gaming keyboard at all.
Like programmable keys, multimedia keys are a staple of gaming keyboards. At their most basic, multimedia keys let you control the volume on your speakers, including raising it, lowering it or muting it completely. Some keyboards even have multimedia keys to let you pause, fast forward and rewind videos, though it’s unlikely you’ll find these on many gaming keyboards. While you may think these keys aren’t essential, being able to change the volume on your speakers quickly without taking your hands off the keyboard is a must for any serious gamer.
Microsoft defines the term “ghosting” as it relates to keyboards as “the problem that some keyboard keys won’t work when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously.” In other words, when you go to press two or three keys simultaneously, only one key is recognized. In gaming, this is a huge problem, as many games will prompt the player to push two buttons at the same time on a regular basis. Without the ability to push multiple keys together, you’ll find yourself at a massive disadvantage in online games; not only that, some single player games could wind up unbeatable, such as games that require players to push multiple keys during quick time events. Anti-ghosting capability on a gaming keyboard is a must-have requirement; quite frankly, it’s not a gaming keyboard at all if it doesn’t have this feature.
Wired or Wireless Gaming Keyboard?
For nearly every computer accessory, this is one of the first asked questions: wired or wireless? Almost every time, the answer is the same: it depends on your personal needs.
First, let’s debunk the myth that wireless products are nowhere near as good as their wired counterparts. For many accessories, including gaming keyboards, recent advancements in wireless technology have shortened the quality gap between wired and wireless. However, the gap isn’t closed completely, as wireless keyboards still lag slightly behind wired ones regarding response times.
For a gaming keyboard, this can mean your key presses on a wireless keyboard may register a millisecond behind a wired one. For many gamers, this isn’t an issue, and they’ll love the freedom that not having to deal with wires affords them. However, for professional players where even a millisecond delay can mean the difference between victory and defeat, stick to wired gaming keyboards.
The Gaming Mode feature on the keyboard is almost self-explanatory: This function will disable the Start menu key, ensuring you don’t accidentally close your game. Whether you’re a casual role-playing game fan or a hardcore MOBA player, gamers of all stripes can benefit from this feature.
The digital display, seen on only the most high-end gaming keyboards, can give you a huge advantage when it comes to multiplayer games. For example, you can configure the digital display to give you a readout of your current health, armor and ammunition in an easy-to-read format without needing to scan the entirety of your HUD. This feature is far from essential, but it’s a nice perk for those who are into professional gaming and want every legitimate edge they can get.
What About Mechanical Keyboards?
Are you interested in learning about mechanical keyboards? Check out our gaming mechanical keyboard buying guide to learn the ins and outs of this technology, including what specific features you need to be on the lookout for when buying a gaming mechanical keyboard.