Whether you’re an avid gamer or only play once in a while, gaming keyboards not only look pretty awesome, but they make gameplay a lot easier than a standard keyboard. Unlike your standard set up on a QWERTY keyboard, gaming keyboards are designed to improve gaming by arranging certain keys in a way that makes gameplay more efficient (and makes you more likely to get past that one level you’ve been stuck on for ages!). But what exactly is the best gaming keyboard and what should you look out for when buying one?
Mechanical keyboards are the most common type of gaming keyboard available. They use mechanical switches which are said to have a quicker response and generally feel more satisfying to press. The keys are quite deep, which may feel a little alien to some, so if you know you don’t get on with this type of keyboard then there are other types you can try.
In addition to mechanical keyboards, you can also get gaming keyboards that are known as membrane keyboards. Some say these aren’t as good for gaming as mechanical keyboards, but the layout here is a pressure pad where the keys are not separate which allows for more flexibility.
Most gaming keyboards also come with a back light, which lights up the keys in a colour or multiple colours. The backlight is great for gaming, especially late at night or when you want total darkness to really set the atmosphere on the screen. Not only this, but we think backlit keyboards just look rather cool in general.
If you really want to feel the benefit of ergonomic gameplay, then some of the best mechanical keyboards will set you back around £150-200, but if that’s a little out of your price range, we’ve rounded-up some high-quality mechanical and membrane keyboards that come in under £100. Take a look at our list below and let the games begin.
1. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
A super-sleek and high performing mechanical keyboard
Best for: Performance | Connectivity: USB | Type: Mechanical | Backlit keys: Yes
If you’re looking for an ultra-high performer when it comes to gaming keyboards, then this one is rated highly by gamers. Be warned though, it’s not for the faint hearted and is said to be slightly tricky to get set up. You can customise the settings on this keyboard to make it truly personalised to your gaming, and the lights are configurable too. Users have noted that when you need to update your firmware this can sometimes result in the loss of your settings, but this is simple enough to restore. The response times on this keyboard are reportedly lightning-fast, plus, the ability to create and store gaming macros to the dedicated (and differently textured) bank of macro buttons takes gaming to the next level. For a truly customisable gaming keyboard, this is the one. Oh, and Hello super comfy wrist rest!
2. SteelSeries Apex M750
Improve your speed of gameplay with these mechanical switches
Best for: Faster gameplay | Connectivity: USB | Type: Mechanical | Backlit keys: Yes
Gamers love this mechanical keyboard for its super-fast responses and funky backlight. Unlike the Corsair, this one is said to be a little bit easier to set up, and is still a great keyboard to use with your PC in general when not gaming. Some would like the backlight to be brighter but another pretty cool (or potentially annoying) feature of the backlighting is that when playing certain games, the lighting responds to your health, so it will change from green to orange, to red depending on how well you’re doing in the game. If your gaming repertoire involves high-speed chases or super speedy combat, you won't want to be without this keyboard.
3. Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2
Serious gamers will love this individually programmable keyboard
Best for: Serious gamers | Connectivity: USB | Type: Mechanical | Backlit keys: Yes
This solid and sturdy keyboard is great for those serious gamers who really like to immerse themselves in the game. The keys are said to be quieter than your standard mechanical keyboard when playing and the choice of backlight options is endless. Some have said a few keys have popped off when they got a little too into the game, but this rarely happens and they are easily clipped back on. Mechanical keyboards will take a while to get used to if you are totally new to them but beginners have said how intuitive this one is to use, so first-time gamers looking to invest in a keyboard for gaming should opt for this one.
4. Hyperx Alloy Elite
Responsive keys make this keyboard a reliable choice for gamers
Best for: Reliability | Connectivity: USB | Type: Mechanical | Backlit keys: Yes
This gaming keyboard gives you everything you need at the touch of a button, with dedicated multimedia buttons so you can control music volume levels and gameplay quickly and easily. There is also a detachable wrist rest so that you can have the ultimate gaming sesh in comfort. Designed to make gameplay even easier, this keyboard comes with additional titanium keycaps so you can highlight your most important keys, although some find this to be a hindrance more than anything. Overall users found this keyboard to be extremely comfy and not to overly complicated to use, which would make it ideal for any and all gamers.
5. Logitech G810
Customise both the keys and backlighting on this gaming keyboard
Best for: Customisation | Connectivity: USB | Type: Mechanical | Backlit keys: Yes
If some of the gaming keyboards on our list look a little too bulky for your liking, then this slim keyboard would fit nicely with any PC for both gaming and general use. You’ve got all the multimedia keys to hand for easy access, and you can also customise some of the keys to enhance your gaming experience. Users have said that this keyboard isn’t as comfortable to play on as others, which is understandable with the absence of a wrist rest, but as a dual keyboard for everyday use, this is an ideal model from Logitech.
6. Das Keyboard 4 Professional
A durable mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown Switches
Best for: Durability | Connectivity: USB | Type: Mechanical | Backlit keys: No
If you want a keyboard that is going to stand the test of time, then this gaming keyboard is the way to go. It doesn’t have the fancy backlight features, but it does have durable cherry MX Brown switches which make for super-responsive and easy gameplay. It’s a great investment for an everyday keyboard for both typing and gaming, and users have said they feel the build quality of this keyboard is excellent. This keyboard also looks very professional, so you can use it at work if you fancy getting a cheeky game in on your lunch break.
7. Razer Ornata
An ergonomic membrane keyboard for gaming
Best for: Ergonomic | Connectivity: USB | Type: Membrane | Backlit keys: Yes
Well, if there ever was a keyboard to make you feel like you were tapping into the Matrix, this is the one. This ergonomic membrane keyboard for gaming is designed with comfort in mind and has a wrist rest that will allow for hours of gameplay without your hands cramping up. This keyboard only has one colour backlight- green- but like we say, it’s totally 1999 and we love it. The keys are smooth to touch with just the right amount of resistance and fast response, membrane isn’t for everyone, but it’s also the cheapest on the list so great for those first time gamers on a budget!