The Best Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G105 Gaming Keyboard

Our Top Pick for 2016: Logitech G105 Gaming Keyboard
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $34.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

A gaming keyboard is not just a device to type on. For a gamer, it is an advanced device that can be customized and adjusted to fit your individual play style. A good gaming keyboard will have a myriad of features that will most likely only be utilized by a gamer. Once you decide to take that leap into the gaming keyboard world, there is a good chance you will never use a regular keyboard again. We have comprised a list of the considerations that you should make as well as four of the best gaming keyboards available today.

Table of contents

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Green LED Backlit Keys
LED Backlighting With Two Brightness Levels
Chroma backlighting
Slim Chiclet Keycaps
6 Programmable G-keys
Responsive
Fully Programmable Keys
Configure Up To 18 Unique Functions Per Game
Fully Programmable Keys
On The Fly Macro Recording
Complex Macros Or Intricate Lua Scripts
5 Additional Gaming Keys
Razer Synapse 2.0 Enabled
Game/desktop Switch
USB, 3.5mm Headphone And Microphone Ports

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Logitech G105 Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G105 Gaming Keyboard Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $34.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerLogitech has been manufacturing gaming hardware that is designed to be precise and reliable for decades. The Logitech G105 is a great gaming keyboard that is loved by critics. It is designed to give a gamer a durable keyboard option that has all of the features that you will ever need. This keyboard is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and Windows Vista.

Our gold pick is designed to look stylish and give a gaming atmosphere to your computer set up. The keyboard itself is black, but the W, A, S, and D keys as well as the arrow keys are grey, which allows you to visually determine their location quickly. The keys are backlit with LED technology that will help you press the correct keys in situations where the light level is low or even non-existent. This specific gaming keyboard gives off a soft blue illumination that will look great with any gaming set up. In addition, there is a button on the top of the G105 that allows you to switch the LED completely off or choose between a medium and high brightness level.

The other button that is on the top section of the keyboard is a game mode button that actually disables the Windows button on the keyboard. This feature is extremely useful, and it prevents you from accidently pressing the button in the middle of combat and bringing your desktop to the front of the screen instead of the game. Since this keyboard is designed for gamers and their long gaming sessions, the keys are designed to be more durable than the keys on an average keyboard.

The keyboard also features four M buttons on the top left of the device. These keys are mode keys that allow you to choose between different pre-programmed settings that you have for different games. The left side of the keyboard also has six programmable keys that can be used for macros that perform several complex actions with one button press. You can also assign a button to an outside game application that you use to communicate with your friends like Ventrilo. If you decide to utilize all six programmable buttons in each mode, that gives you a total of 18 keys that you can customize to your gaming style. If you need, you can easily change a key binding or switch between modes during game play.

Since the Logitech G105 is designed to be a gaming keyboard, it features anti-ghosting technology to help eliminate any interference from occurring when you press the keys. Up to five keys can be pressed at the same time without any of the actions that you are intending to perform being lost in the process. The ability to listen to music is quick and easy on this keyboard. The F6 through F12 buttons give you a quick and easy way to mute the sound on the computer system and adjust the volume. You can also play, fast forward, rewind, and stop the media selection that is being played instantly through these buttons.

They say that shoes with red soles are high quality footwear, and this gaming keyboard has the same bright red bottom, so it must be a high quality device as well. The base has feet to raise the back of the keyboard to give you a more comfortable position as well as padded areas that are designed to keep the keyboard from moving around on your desk.

When it comes to reviews, there are over 600 on Amazon alone. 84 percent of the users who reviewed this gaming keyboard have given this product a positive rating of four stars or higher. In fact, 58 percent of those reviews were actually a five star rating. Here is an example of a five star testimonial from an Amazon member: “This keyboard is great for gaming and has easy to use hotkeys on the left side of the keyboard. It’s not too loud so it doesn’t wake my wife up at night. The lights on it aren’t distracting. I like the feeling when I press down on the keys too.” You can purchase the Logitech G105 for about $50 on Amazon, which is a great price for a gaming keyboard that will be durable enough to get you through seemingly endless gaming sessions. In addition, a three year warranty is included with the purchase of this keyboard.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Razer DeathStalker Expert Gaming Keyboard

Razer DeathStalker Expert Gaming Keyboard

View it on Amazon for $68.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerRazer is a company that is dedicated to bringing quality gaming hardware to the PC market. When you invest in a Razer keyboard, you will soon wonder how you went so long with a standard typing keyboard. The Razer DeathStalker is our silver pick, and it is a gaming keyboard that offers excellent features and ergonomics at a reasonable price.

The DeathStalker features a green LED backlighting. It cannot be customized to utilize different colors like some other Razer gaming keyboards, but it offers you an eerie glow that will perfectly match the demonic energy of any World of Warcraft warlock. The keyboard itself features chiclet capped keys, which means that they are quiet when pressed as well as extremely responsive. The keys are fully customizable. There are no specific macro buttons on this keyboard, but each key can be set to your preference. In addition, the keys can be programmed on the fly, even while you are playing the game.

This gaming keyboard is designed to be compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 10, and Windows Vista. It is also compatible with Mac OS X if that is the computer set up you prefer. It has an ultra polling of 1,000 Hz, so you are able to move across the keyboard quickly and each key will be extremely responsive to your commands. The DeathStalker also features anti-ghosting technology that allows you to press up to ten different keys at one time. Each key that is pressed will be able to respond and every key command that you use will be registered.

One thing that can ruin a raid is pressing the windows key during a crucial in-game moment. To avoid this unfortunate result, the Razer team has integrated a gaming mode button on the keyboard, which automatically disables the windows key to help prevent an accidental button press. The DeathStalker keyboard also features Razer Synapse 2.0 technology. This feature is used to sync any information saved to the keyboard to the cloud. Saving your information on the cloud allows you to have your macro settings on the cloud and allows you to download them whenever you need to apply them to this keyboard or another gaming keyboard that you want to use.

When it comes to the reviews of the Razer DeathStalker, there are over 1,000 on Amazon alone. Many of the individuals who purchased this gaming keyboard were happy with the DeathStalker; in fact, about 78 percent of all of the reviews were a four star rating or higher. 60 percent of all of the reviews were actually given a five star rating.

Here is an example of one such five star testimonial: “Excellent keyboard, great functions but the backlit keys are definitely the most useful feature, I have not even begun to mess with the macro settings yet, I also love the gaming mode, no need to remove the windows key, also because the keys are so nice and flat they are easy to wipe clean and the tight tolerances means nothing gets into the keyboard between the keys, worth every penny I spent on it!” If you are looking for an eerie green glow in your gaming room, this may be the perfect gaming keyboard for you. It can be purchased on Amazon for a price of about $60.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Razer BlackWidow Chroma Clicky Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Razer BlackWidow Chroma Clicky Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

View it on Amazon for $144.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardOnce again the Razer brand shows its face on our list, but this time it is our bronze pick. The BlackWidow Chroma is a greatly responsive keyboard that is extremely customizable. Starting with the actual keys, you can set each key to complete the commands that can make your gaming session an easier task. There are also five M keys that are located on the left side of the keyboard that are designed to give you quick access to macros and complicated gaming maneuvers. In addition, there is a gaming mode option that is designed to disable the Windows key whenever you need to.

This keyboard utilizes Razer mechanical switches on each individual key. They are fitted with springs that give the keys 50g of actuation force. This gives the keyboard a longer lifespan, and instead of only having the 50 million keystroke life of a typical keyboard, the BlackWidow can live through at least 80 million keystrokes. This gaming keyboard is extremely responsive, which is due to the 1,000 Hz ultra polling and the anti-ghosting feature that gives you a ten key rollover. That much rollover means that you can press one key with each finger and still see all of your commands in the game.

This keyboard has its own audio-out jack and mic-in jack to make communication with your team members an easy process, and you can even use one of the extra M buttons as a push-to-talk button if you desire. There is also a USB pass-through option that is sure to come in handy. The BlackWidow is a Razer keyboard, so it also features Razer Synapse 2.0, which saves you information to the cloud and gives you the ability to fully customize your backlighting. If you utilize the six modes and multiple color spectrums available to you, then you will be able to choose from 16.8 million different options. Here are the different lighting modes that are available on this keyboard:

Wave – This mode animates the entire spectrum of a rainbow and moves like a wave across the keys. You can program it to go either left to right or right to left, which ever direction you prefer.

Spectrum Cycling – This mode is designed to give you a solid color keyboard instead of the whole rainbow at one time. It cycles through the entire spectrum, which includes 16.8 million different colors.

Breathe – This mode pulses between two different colors, which you can choose. It will start with one of the shades you pick, and then fade out to white before fading to the opposite color. It changes states every seven seconds.

Reactive– This mode reacts to the keys you press. You can customize the color and the amount of time it stays lit, but it will only react when you press the keys.

Ripple – This mode is like a ripple in a pond when you toss a stone across the water. The ripple effect will start at a specified location towards the center of the keyboard, and then it will radiate towards the edges. When you use this effect, the color can be customized.

Static – This mode allows you to choose the color that you set as your backlight without adding extra effects.

Amazon has almost 1,500 reviews alone, and 82 percent of them have given this keyboard at least a four star rating. In fact, it is clear how much the BlackWidow is loved by customers and critics, because 69 percent of the reviews actually gave this keyboard a five star rating and great reviews.

Here is an example of one of the five star testimonials that can be found on Amazon: “Never before have I used a keyboard that has felt so satisfying to type and game with. Razer has done an excellent job with this product, the durability, build, the attention to detail never seeming to disappoint (that excellent LED lighting).” If you are looking for an extremely customizable gaming keyboard that will last you for years, then the Razer BlackWidow may be the keyboard you want to purchase. It is the most expensive option on this list, but it is the most customizable by far, and it has all of the other keyboard functions you need in a gaming keyboard. The BlackWidow can be found on Amazon for about $140, and it comes with a two year warranty.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): AULA LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard

AULA LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard

View it on Amazon for $29.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickIf you are a gamer who is looking for a new keyboard that is backlit, but does not drain your wallet too much, then Aula may have the solution. The Aula backlit gaming keyboard is our ballin’ on a budget pick, which means that it offers a lot of the important gaming features you desire in a gaming keyboard at a lower price point than the other picks on our list.

This keyboard features a compact design that is comfortable to type and game on. The only issue that some have is that the palm rest is split so that there is no place to rest your arms in the middle of the keyboard. This is a great feature if you are going to use this keyboard strictly for gaming, but if you plan to type with it, that feature may cause you some inconvenience.

The backlighting on this keyboard can be customized between three different colors. All you need to do to switch the shade of the backlighting is press the Fn and the five button on the number pad at the same time. The Fn button on this keyboard is located where the right most windows key is on a standard keyboard. This keyboard can switch between a backlighting of blue, red, and pink. Each of these color options have four modes that you can engage, which are off mode, low mode, high mode, or a pulse mode. This option to adjust the brightness of each color gives you a lot of customizability on your keyboard backlight style.

The Fn button can also be used to add shortcuts if you desire or to lock and unlock the Windows key, which means that you will not accidently end up on the desktop during a gaming session. If you use this gaming mode and disable the Windows button, then the backlighting on the keyboard becomes a bit brighter than it is in regular typing mode. This keyboard is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 as well as Mac OS, Unix, and Linux.

On Amazon alone, there are over 2,000 reviews on this Aula backlit gaming keyboard, and 72 percent of these reviews have at least a four star rating. Most of the Amazon users who gave a review like the fact that this keyboard is backlit and it has great features for a cheaper price point. Here is an example of one of the five star testimonials on Amazon. “I just needed a solid gaming keyboard with great backlighting to play in low room lighting. This one had good reviews and a low price, and it is perfect for my needs. No problems at all, and it feels and looks great, especially for the price!” This keyboard is a great option for a casual gamer, and it can be purchased on Amazon for about $25.


Pre-purchase considerations

Key Type

Gaming keyboards can be one of two types, either having membrane based keys or mechanical ones. These key types often have a smaller stature, which allows you to easily move across the keyboard. You do need to press keys of this type with a bit more pressure, since the keys need to be pressed fully to register. Mechanical keys, on the other hand, require less pressure, which is vital to have a quick response time in fast moving games. Which type of keyboard do you prefer?

Switch Type

All mechanical keyboards have switches that determine the responsiveness of the keys. Most gamers have a specific switch type that they prefer to play with; some even use more than one with different games. Here are the different switch types available:

Red – The easiest to press and the quietest to type on.

Brown – A little harder to press and a bit louder than the red option, which is ideal for gaming.

Black – This option is slightly louder and requires a little bit more force than the brown option, which is perfect for typing.

Blue – This is the loudest switch type, which takes a bit more pressure than the black option.

Customizability

In the world of gaming, you sometimes need to make quick complex keystrokes in a matter of seconds. Making sure you hit all of the keys exactly when you need to can be made easier with a macro. You want to be able to bind the different keys on the keyboard to macros, cooldowns, and chat functions.

Maybe you want to set up a string of taunts to say before you engage an enemy, or maybe you are a healer that needs an emergency macro string that pops cooldowns, places shields, and heals on your tank in a matter microseconds with the press of a single button. Using this macro could mean the difference between life and death in a game. Many gaming keyboards offer about ten to 15 extra buttons specifically for this purpose, but some allow you to customize every key on the keyboard to fit your gaming style.

Backlighting

One thing that can be said about gamers is that they often end up playing in the dark. Instead of illuminating the room with a lamp, why not use your keyboard to see the keys. Most gaming keyboards feature an LED backlighting feature that is both attractive to the eye and serves a purpose. On some gaming keyboards you can adjust the brightness level to your liking as well as change the color of the light if you desire. This ability to customize the backlighting on the keys means that you can highlight certain areas of the keyboard as a visual cue to get your fingers to the button more quickly.

Responsiveness

Most gaming keyboards can have at least five keys pressed at the same time without losing the keystroke command. In fact, some gaming keyboards can have an anti-ghosting feature for up to 14 keys, which is a massive difference from a standard keyboard that only allows you to press three keys at once.

Responsiveness also depends on the polling rate of your keyboard. This is effectively the amount of times that your keyboard communicates with your computer each second. A standard keyboards only offers 125 Hz, but most gaming keyboards offer a standard of at least 1,000 Hz, so don’t settle for less than that.

Ability to Save Profiles

Gaming keyboards are great for playing multiple games at once. You can set your macros and your settings for one game, and then save them to a profile. Most gaming keyboards allow you to save about three to five separate profiles. In fact, some even allow you to switch between ten different set ups at the touch of a button. Some even automatically load the saved profile when you start up the game you customized the profile for.

Connectors & Ports

Having extra places to connect items like a headset is great for a gamer, and it is made even more convenient for someone who can use audio pass-through connectors to hook up directly through your gaming keyboard. Sometimes there is also an extra USB slot or two that can be used to connect your mouse or other devices if you desire.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

A good gaming keyboard gives you the ability to program macros and game specific hotkeys. Most gaming keyboards are backlit and extremely customizable. Having one of these devices in your gaming arsenal can mean the difference between a good gamer who has quick reactive reflexes at a crucial point and time and someone who has no bound keys that struggles to get a heal off. You should want to be the prepared individual whose quick reflexes save the raid not the person whose lack of action can cause the raid group to be demolished. If you have been considering purchasing a gaming keyboard, take a look at our top picks to see if they are right for you. Once you find the right gaming keyboard, successful gaming adventures will be on the horizon.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. G105 Gaming Keyboard, Logitech
  2. Dominic Burns (forum member), Logitech G105 920-003371 Gaming Keyboard, Amazon, March 24, 2016
  3. David Shields, Razer Deathstalker Expert Keyboard Review, Benchmark Reviews, December 11, 2014
  4. Mike J. Justin (forum member), Razer DeathStalker Expert Gaming Keyboard, Amazon, October 7, 2014
  5. Razer BlackWidow Chroma, Razer Zone
  6. Jay (forum member), Razer BlackWidow Chroma Clicky Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Amazon, October 19, 2015
  7. Aula Gaming Keyboard Review, Nerdgasm Needs, August 16, 2013
  8. TJ (forum member), AULA LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard 3 Colorways, Purple/Red/Blue (SI-859), Amazon, July 28, 2015

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