Are you new to the video game world and looking for a gaming keyboard that fits your needs? Or maybe you’re an experienced player, but feel like it’s time for an upgrade? With such a wide range of types and designs available, you may feel that you need a little guidance in making the right selection.
We’re going to take a look at some of the best gaming keyboard models out there right now. We’ll also provide you with some key information allowing you to understand and evaluate different features. This will ensure that you are able to find a quality gaming keyboard to meet all your requirements.
- 1 First things first
- 2 Ranking: The best gaming keyboards on the UK market
- 3 Buying Guide: Everything you need to know about gaming keyboards
- 4 Buying Criteria
- 5 Summary
First things first
- Mechanical keyboards are the gaming models par excellence. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be the best option for you. Semi-mechanical or membrane keyboards are two alternatives to consider if you want a gaming keyboard that you can also use for everything else.
- Under each key on a keyboard, there is a mechanism called a switch. There are different types and they can have a big impact on your gaming experience.
- Hardcore game players should opt for highly customisable keyboards. This will allow your gaming experience to reach new and unprecedented heights. You can also restyle them with the colours you want.
Ranking: The best gaming keyboards on the UK market
The number of gaming keyboards on the market is virtually endless and, in this guide, we’ve sought to offer a diverse selection. You’re sure to find the gaming keyboard for you, regardless of the size of your budget.
No. 1: VicTsing PC149
This reasonably-priced Amazon Best Seller is a membrane keyboard with a mechanical feel. Connecting it to your computer couldn’t be easier with its easy USB connection – just plug and play! It is rainbow LED backlit to boost your gaming experience and features 19 non-conflicting keys and 12 multimedia keys for improved efficiency in game-playing. As well as this, the anti-ghost technology allows for a fast game response.
Its slim and lightweight design gives the keyboard an attractive appearance, and it is both shockproof and wear-resistant. There is an integrated wrist rest specially designed for comfort when typing or extended gaming. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.
No. 2: TEC.BEAN BGM0132
Another Best Seller, the BGM0132 is a high-quality, low-cost 105 keys standard membrane keyboard with a variety of gaming functions such as 19 keys anti-ghosting, exchange functions and key disabling. It is widely compatible with different operating systems and needs no specialised software for installation. There are also three mixed rainbow LED-backlit modes with three levels of brightness to enhance the appearance of this keyboard.
The BGM0132 is manufactured from spill-proof, durable materials, and it comes equipped with a sturdy metal base plate, improving stability during use. The keycaps are removable for better ease of cleaning and the curved top plate is designed for ultimate comfort during long hours of use.
No. 3: KLIM™ Lightning
The KLIM Lightning is a hybrid keyboard with semi-mechanical keys. This means that you get the same feel and function as a mechanical keyboard but without the excessive noise or rigidity. Not only will this keyboard help improve your gaming, but you will also notice an increase in your typing speed. This hybrid keyboard really does offer the best of both worlds.
The keyboard’s solid construction means that it won’t shift around during use, and it can also withstand a certain amount of shock. It’s available in a choice of seven different backlit colours to match your specific tastes, and it comes with a 5-year warranty for your peace of mind.
No. 4: Corsair STRAFE RGB
This highly rated mechanical keyboard is available with your choice of switches: Cherry MX Silent, Red and Brown – although there is a price difference between the models. The original Strafe RGB is anti-ghosting with 104 key rollover and is fully programmable for effortless gaming. When utilising Cherry silent switches, it’s up to 30% quieter than other mechanical keyboards.
Designed with expert gamers in mind, this keyboard allows for precision control and quick responsiveness. It has multi-coloured dynamic backlighting – so it looks great, and it also comes with an ergonomic wrist rest for greater comfort during use.
No. 5: Logitech G413
The Amazon Choice Logitech G413 is a mechanical keyboard with Romer-G switches (similar to Cherry MX Brown), which are purpose-built for precision. It’s also available to buy with different key configurations. It features customisable functions and programmable macros so that you can execute complex commands with ease. This is a dream of a keyboard for any professional gamer.
The keyboard is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminium alloy making it stable, long-lasting and great to look at. It also comes equipped with height-adjustable feet with rubber stabilisers, so that you can be confident that it won’t move around during intense gameplay. Connect it up to your computer easily via USB.
Buying Guide: Everything you need to know about gaming keyboards
The technical requirements of gaming can be quite complex, and the terminology is often confusing. In the following section we have explained some of the more fundamental aspects of gaming keyboards:
What is a gaming keyboard exactly?
At first glance, it may difficult to differentiate between a gaming keyboard and a regular one. They will have the same basic design and functions; however certain aspects will have been specifically adapted to better meet the needs of game players. So, for instance, they may come equipped with backlighting – making them suitable for night-time play. Some of these modifications may actually serve to make them more useful all-round keyboards e.g. an ergonomic design means that they are better suited to longer periods of typing.
Gaming keyboards are also often more sturdily designed, which would guarantee increased durability. Most regular models are known as membrane keyboards, while serious gamers would use mechanical ones. Here’s a quick video to give you a bit more information about the two types:
What type of gaming keyboards are there?
As well as the two types included in the video above, there is also a semi-mechanical keyboard option that sits between the two. Your decision to opt for one type or another will depend on your tastes, as well as the type of gamer that you are. Below we’ve listed the key features of each of the three types:
- Mechanical gaming keyboards are extremely popular amongst the gaming community due to their excellent quality.
- They have a switch under every key providing tactile feedback and producing an audible click.
- Their specialised design offers incredible levels of accuracy and sensitivity, a key reason why they’re so popular.
- You can fully customise mechanical gaming keyboards, making them the ideal option for experienced gamers.
- A disadvantage is that they can be particularly noisy, and the firm pressure required to operate the keys may mean that they are not suitable for long bouts of typing.
- Membrane keyboards offer great functional versatility and can be useful for specific games.
- Rubber membranes receive the keystroke signals meaning that they are much quieter to use.
- These gaming keyboards tend to be very affordable, but the keystrokes are not as precise as their mechanical counterparts.
- There are very few gaming-specific options available with this keyboard since it is designed for more general use.
- Membrane switches are generally less durable than the ones used in mechanical keyboards.
- Semi-mechanical keyboards aim to offer the best of both worlds with their hybrid structure.
- The dominant gameplaying keys are often designed with individual switches, as per the mechanical model.
- Medium to high-end semi-mechanical gaming keyboards tend to offer very high levels of accuracy.
- Since they are easier to manufacture, they are usually more affordable than mechanical keyboards.
- While they are not quite as sophisticated as mechanical gaming keyboards, they are a great option for casual gamers.
What are switches and why are they important?
Underneath each key of the mechanical keyboard is a mechanism known as a switch. These days there are many varieties available and these differ in terms of sensitivity, tactile feedback and auditory feedback. The main types are outlined below:
Cherry MX Black
- This type requires the most pressure to operate – 80 grams;
- The main advantage of requiring more pressure is that it helps to avoid double keystrokes;
- The rigid spring guarantees an equal force in each key;
- It’s a good option for game playing, but not necessarily for typing.
Cherry MX Brown
- This very versatile option requires just 45 grams of force;
- Its soft-touch means that it is considered an ideal investment for new gamers;
- Since not as much pressure is required to operate the keys, it’s also a great choice for day-to-day typing.
Cherry MX Red
- This switch also needs only 45 grams of force. It is mostly silent, but the final click is typical of all tactile switches;
- Its high sensitivity and this can result in double keystrokes;
- It remains an excellent option for gamers due to its ease of use and accuracy;
- The majority of gaming keyboards use these types of switches;
- An improved version exists, called Cherry MX Speed.
Cherry MX Blue
- 50 grams of pressure is needed for each keystroke;
- Models using these switches are generally quite noisy;
- The click occurs at the beginning of the keystroke, as opposed to the end;
- Many users have said that usability is similar to that of membrane keyboards.
Cherry MX Clear
- The keystroke pressure ranges between 55 and 65 grams;
- As a tactile switch without acoustic feedback, this type is rarely used;
- It’s actually a hybrid model between the Black and Brown switches (as outlined above);
- Its higher resistance makes it more durable;
- This switch is a good option for heavy typists.
What is the anti-ghosting function on gaming keyboards?
Regular (membrane) keyboards generally only allow you to press one or two keys — up to three if you use CTRL or ALT. If you exceed that number, the computer will be unable to process them all.
As some games require the user to press multiple keys for simultaneous actions, gaming keyboards have been designed to correct this common issue: this is known as anti-ghosting or rollover. The best models for this generally fall into the 6KRO category — six keys can be pressed simultaneously. Watch the informative video below to learn more about this impressive feature:
How are gaming keyboards connected?
There are three main types of connectivity available for gaming keyboards: USB, PS/2 and wireless connection. As you can imagine, wireless methods such as Bluetooth have the disadvantage that their connection may fail. We’ve listed the main differences between the two other types below:
|USB connection||PS/2 connection|
|The computer asks the keyboard for information
Worse option when working with anti-ghosting systems
| The device transmits information autonomously
The best option with higher key rollover
Cannot be unplugged on the fly
Gaming keyboards are a fundamental tool for professional and amateur players alike. Picking the right one can give you a real edge when it comes to playing your favourite games. It’s crucial for you to have a clear understanding of which model will work best for you. This is why we’ve detailed the key criteria for consideration in selecting the perfect gaming keyboard below:
- Connectivity and response time
- Mechanical, membrane or hybrid?
- Type of user
As previously outlined, the main characteristics of gaming keyboards are the additional features that set them apart from regular models. The very first thing we encourage you to do is to evaluate those extra functions for each keyboard that interests you. You’ll want to know, for instance, what is the key rollover available.
There are other features to consider besides the anti-ghosting system, such as the configurability, backlighting or key lock. The latter is particularly useful for preventing the activation of random keys in the middle of crucial parts of your game.
The ergonomics of the keyboard are important for taking care of your wrists and fingers during extended play. Then, there’s the more aesthetic aspects of keyboards: the customisation. With so many gaming keyboards available on the market today, the sky’s the limit. The vast majority of models are highly customisable. In that way, you can be fully satisfied with how the keyboard looks, as well as how comfortable it is to use.
Connectivity and response time
Whether you want an affordable keyboard or a high-end model, you’ll need a device with a good response time if you want to play video games. In that regard, the options available to you generally range from 1 to 5 milliseconds. Most users won’t necessarily feel the difference, but you will if you’re already an experienced player. Don’t overlook this fundamental aspect!
In terms of connectivity, we have already discussed the various options out there. While Bluetooth keyboards are comfortable to use, they are not fail-proof. The USB and PS/2 connections are somewhat different. If you’re looking for a system that will work very well with anti-ghosting, you are advised to opt for a mechanical gaming keyboard with a PS/2 connection.
Mechanical, membrane or hybrid?
Mechanical models are the best choice if you’re an avid gamer. Generally, membrane keyboards are better suited for regular typing, but some high-end devices could also satisfy your gaming needs.
Hybrid keyboards, on the other hand, are good all-rounders. That being said, any product aiming for greater versatility will naturally have to compromise on certain features. Certain functions available on a mechanical model may be missing from this one.
Type of user
The gaming keyboard you choose will also depend on what type of computer user you are. As you now know, mechanical models will be your best option if you’re a hardcore player. They are very precise and highly customisable. On the other hand, people who play less often can opt for semi-mechanical or membrane keyboards.
Regular gamers, those who play several days a week, will probably prefer at least a hybrid keyboard. However, it is important that the option you choose offers the versatility you need, at the budget you’re working with. In short, there is no point in spending a hundred dollars on the highest functioning gaming keyboard if you only play a couple of times a week.
Having a good quality gaming keyboard is essential for your gaming experience. However, it’s not always necessary to have a separate keyboard for gaming and typing. Unless you are a hardcore gamer, it might be wise to invest in a good all-rounder.
Don’t forget that the very best gaming keyboards for regular players should offer a great response time. Additionally, extra features such as backlighting or configurability are worth considering if you are a night-time or expert gamer.
We hope that your shopping guide has helped you to understand a little more about gaming keyboards; and that you now feel more confident in selecting an appropriate model.
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(Source of featured image: Luliia Mikhalitskaia: 111117309/ 123rf.com)