The 8 Best Mechanical Keyboards for Gaming in 2021
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Mechanical keyboards for gaming provide more direct feedback to the user compared to membrane keyboards. When using a mechanical keyboard, you can generally expect better in-game performance.
To help you find the best mechanical keyboard for gaming, we conducted extensive market research and compiled an extensive list of the best mechanical keyboards by considering their:
- Value for Money
- Integrated Features
Then, we shortlisted the best eight products and reviewed them.
At DiamondLobby, we strive to provide our readers with the most trustworthy and confident recommendations when it comes to the best mechanical keyboards for gaming.
To achieve that, we spent an enormous amount of time researching the market for the best products by considering their value for money, key switches, size, connectivity, and integrated features.
Then, we narrowed down our list to the top eight mechanical keyboards that we believe stand out the most amongst the rest.
This way, you can shop with utmost confidence and really get your hands on a mechanical keyboard that is not only performing but also looks and feels great.
During our product selection process, we considered the following aspects of each mechanical keyboard:
Value for Money
We know that quality comes at a price. While some great keyboards are reasonably priced, other keyboard manufacturers overcharge gamers by doubling down on their reputation in the industry.
We don’t think you should spend more money on a keyboard than you have to. To ensure maximum value for money, we dug deep into each keyboard and ensured that it is worth its price point before including it.
Switches are what make mechanical keyboards unique from their membrane counterparts. Mechanical switches also provide a whole different feeling as compared to membrane keyboards.
There are three types of mechanical switches. They include clicky, tactile, and linear. Each one provides a different feeling to the user.
To ensure that there is plenty of choices to pick from, we included at least one of each of the three types of mechanical key switches.
When it comes to mechanical keyboards for gaming, there are three common sizes that gamers most often go for. They include;
- Full-sized keyboard (containing 104 keys)
- TKL or tenkeyless keyboard (containing 87 keys)
- 60% keyboard (containing 68 keys).
If you dig deeper into the marketplace for mechanical keyboards, you will find some other less popular options like the 75%, 65%, 40%, and even a gaming keypad, which can be as simple as 20 keys. At the end of the day, since these aren’t the go-to in the community, we decided to stay away from them.
There are two connectivity types when it comes to mechanical keyboards for gaming; wired and wireless. While wired keyboards are more popular for action-packed FPS shooter games, wireless keyboards are more suitable for casual gaming and are often preferred for gamers who want to keep their gaming setup tidy and cable-free.
To ensure that there are plenty of options, we included a number of mechanical gaming keyboards that are both wired and wireless. Some can even do both should you want to switch the connectivity type around at some point.
Like every gaming accessory, keyboards too come with some fairly nice and practical features include RGB lights, additional USB slots, wrist rests for more comfort, and more.
To ensure that you get a mechanical keyboard that you will absolutely love without spending a decent chunk of your hard-earned money, we picked a handful of mechanical keyboards that feature plenty of practical integrated features.
If you are after the best mechanical keyboard for gaming, the Razer Huntsman V2 is your best bet. From supreme plush wrist rest to optimal wired performance and chroma RGB lighting, this keyboard has it all.
The price at the time of writing was $249.99.
From a performance standpoint, the wired Huntsman V2 features the Razer analog optical switches, which you can fully customize to achieve a desired level of actuation to suit your playstyle. Above the mechanical switches, you will find the Doubleshot PBT keycaps, which are harder and more durable than ABS. The shine and the labels of the keys will never fade away thanks to the Doubleshot molding process.
If you are a fan of RGB lights, you’ll be delighted to hear that the Huntsman V2 is powered by the Razer Chroma RGB, which brings a whole different level of RGB experience to the table. You will not only be able to take advantage of the 16.8 million different colors but will also be able to sync the light show of your keyboard with the rest of your gaming station. Unlike other keyboards, the Huntsman V2 can also dynamically react to over 150 different integrated games.
If you are someone like me who often suffers from wrist fatigue due to long gaming sessions, you can seriously benefit from the ergonomic wrist rest. Made out of plush leatherette, it provides a premium level of comfort. To supplement its ease of use, the wrist rest is also magnetic, meaning you can pop it on and off the matter of a second.
Another pretty useful feature to have is the additional USB 3.0 passthrough. You can use it for anything from charging your mobile phone to lighting up the RGB lights of your mouse bungee.
The ANNE PRO 2 is the best budget mechanical keyboard for gaming. Featuring a 60% design, it’s also the smallest amongst them all, hosting only 61 keys.
The price at the time of writing was $89.00.
Taking it one step further from TKL keyboards, we have the ANNE PRO 2, which is a fully mechanical gaming keyboard with around 20 fewer keys from the standard tenkeyless keyboard. Essentially, the ANNE PRO 2 only features the left side of a standard full-sized keyboard – up to the “Enter” button.
As far as size is concerned, the keyboard measures 11.18″ (L) x 3.82″ (W) x 1.57″ (H), making it approximately 1/3 smaller than a full-sized keyboard.
From a performance standpoint, the ANNE PRO features 61 Gateron and Kailh Box premium RGB-enabled mechanical switches with PBT keycaps. Working together, the switches and the keycaps are designed to retain their texture through intense training or competitive gameplay.
Despite its small size, to add versatility to the keyboard, the manufacturers have made 16 out of the 61 keys fully programmable for providing you with a more advanced gaming experience.
One of the most notable features of this keyboard is the 100% anti-ghosting technology with full-key rollover. So, should you be playing games where a large number of keys are being pressed every second, rest assured that every single action will be registered.
Another fantastic feature is its ability to function both wired and wirelessly. If you desire optimal gaming performance, by all means, take advantage of the USB Type-C connection. If you are gaming more casually, you can connect the ANNE PRO 2 to your PC using the low latency Bluetooth 4.0 technology to establish a consistent and stable connection between the keyboard and your PC.
If you are after the perfect middle ground in terms of value for money against performance, the SteelSeries Apex Pro is a fantastic choice for a full-sized mechanical keyboard.
The price at the time of writing was $199.99.
Visually speaking, the Apex Pro is amongst my personal favorites. Once you plug in the Apex Pro, the first thing you will notice is its pretty incredible RGB lights. Apex Pro is known for providing unmatched RGB illumination and customization with over 16.8 million colors. To take it one step further, with this keyboard, you can customize each individual key.
Beneath the keys, you will find the OmniPoint adjustable key switches. You can adjust the key switches and their actuation distance from as little as 0.4mm to as much as 3.6mm. Either way, their response time and actuation is in times better than the Cherry MX speed switches or a standard mechanical key switch.
On top of that, OmniPoint switches have a durability of up to 100 million key presses as compared to the 50 million lifespan of Cherry MX switches.
The Apex Pro also hosts an OLED smart display, which you can use to track info on the fly from your game, Discord, Spotify, and more. Right next to the display, you can pause and increase/decrease the overall volume of your game/music using the button/wheel.
One of the most notable features of this mechanical gaming keyboard is the super comfortable magnetic wrist rest. You can pop it off and on in a matter of a second.
Other Great Mechanical Gaming Keyboards
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Below, we reviewed five other great mechanical gaming keyboards.
Cooler Master MK730 TKL
If you are looking for a comfortable and performing RGB tenkeyless keyboard, then the Cooler Master MK730 TKL would be a great addition to your gaming setup.
The price at the time of writing was $110.31.
The Cooler Master MK730 features 100% genuine Cherry MX switches. The keyboard is available with tactile, linear, and clicky switches. Regardless of which one you chose, you can make use of this keyboard for up to 50 million keystrokes.
Another great benefit of the MK730 is the 100% anti-ghosting technology, which allows this keyboard to register every single key press without fail, regardless of how intense your gaming sessions get.
The framing and structure of the keyboard itself is brushed with aluminum for an added level of durability and protection. This coating also gives the keyboard a very solid and premium feel.
As for RGB lights, this keyboard features a rib backlighting with a light bar to help with the illumination of the entire keyboard. The integrated RGB lights of the MK730 TKL can light up in 16.7 million different colors. For speed of customization, you have full control of lighting, macros, and all of your preset keyboard profiles without having to use a software.
To ensure greater comfort, you can take advantage of the removable magnetic wrist rest for adding a superior level of comfort during your long gaming sessions. As someone that suffers from wrist pain, I’d definitely advise you to make use of it.
CORSAIR Strafe RGB MK.2
The 104-button full-sized CORSAIR Strafe RGB MK.2 is another fantastic mechanical keyboard suited for intense and competitive gaming. From design to comfortability and performance, this keyboard has it all.
The price at the time of writing was $170.00.
Visually speaking, the Strafe MK.2 by Corsair is easily amongst my favorites due to its clean, solid, and premium design. The keyboard itself is a full-sized model with 104 keys, all of which can be reassigned to deliver actions unique to your needs. Despite its size, this keyboard can easily fit on an extended mouse pad for more stable operation.
In terms of performance, the Strafe MK.2 features linear Cherry MX mechanical switches which provide you with the same level of performance with 30% less noise. The mechanical switches are engineered in Germany to withstand over 50 million key presses.
If you expect more of your keyboard, you can make use of the Corsair iCUE software, which enables you to program your desired keys as per your in-game requirements. From there, you also have full control of the illuminating per-key RGB backlighting and the ability to synchronize your keyboard with other gaming peripherals.
One of the most notable features of this mechanical keyboard is the 8MB of onboard profile storage, which allows you to save and access a number of pre-set profiles that you can switch between on the fly.
Near the top right of the keyboard, you will also find a dedicated space for all the multimedia and volume controls. From there, you can adjust and control your audio without interrupting your game.
And last but not least, by far one of the best features when it comes to comfort is the detachable and super comfortable wrist rest. Thanks to the unique surface design, it provides an added level of stability for your wrists.
Corsair K95 Platinum
If you are looking to the perfect middle ground between value for money and performance, RGB lights, and longevity, then the Corsair K95 Platinum is a very good mechanical keyboard to go for.
The price at the time of writing was $170.26.
Design wise, the aircraft grade anodized brushed aluminium chassis and robust construction complement the K95 with more premium feel and look, giving it a bit of heft to help with stability and augment the rubberized leg stoppers.
The K95 Platinum sports a full layout complimented with 6 macro programmable and media keys. Beneath the keys, you will find the mechanical switches. This keyboard is available in several switch configurations, from the standard Cherry MX Blues and Browns to the coveted MX Speed Silvers. The MX Speed Silver switch comes with 1.2 mm of actuation distance for that ultra-fast reflex improvement while boasting a long lifespan of over 100 million keystrokes.
Above the switches, you will find the PBT keycaps, which allow the vivid RGB per-key lighting to shine through with minimal obstruction.
In terms of RGB lights, the K95 features per-key illumination. You can also alter the RGB lights in 19 different zones around the keyboard using the top edge light bar for a more sophisticated and dramatic animation.
If you often experience wrist pain after a long gaming session, you’d be please to hear that this keyboard comes with a removable and super comfortable wrist rest.
Razer BlackWidow Elite
The Razer BlackWidow Elite is a fantastic mechanical keyboard for gaming that provides a great value for money. From performance to RGB illumination, this keyboard has it all.
The price at the time of writing was $99.99.
The BlackWidow Elite is a full-sized mechanical keyboard made out of military-grade metal for providing a durable construction that is made to withstand heavy use and last for a lifetime and up to 80 million key presses. Beneath the surface, you will find the Razer Orange mechanical switches, which provide more tactile feedback with a quieter click.
Thanks to the Razer Chroma RGB lights, you can fully customize and sync this keyboard to the rest of your set up (as long as your other gaming peripherals are compatible with the keyboard or the other 30+ Razer partners). To take things one step further, this keyboard supports over 16.8 million colors that can be individually customized to each of the keys.
The BlackWidow Elite features the Razer Hypershift technology, which allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped and programmed as per your needs.
If you suffer from wrist pain, you’d be pleased to hear that this keyboard comes with one of the most comfortable wrist rests on the market. Made out of plush leatherette, the wrist rest is not only comfortable but also very durable and skin-friendly. It’s also magnetic, meaning you can attach and detach it from your keyboard quickly and on-demand.
SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL
And last but not least, we have the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL. It hosts a solid build integrated with durable and performing mechanical switches and great illuminating RGB lights.
The price at the time of writing was $129.94.
Having owned the TKL version of the Apex Pro series for a few months now, I have nothing but great things to say about this mechanical keyboard. In terms of design, the tenkeyless Apex 7 is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. The metal framing of the keyboard is manufactured to last a lifetime.
In regards to performance, the Apex 7 hosts red mechanical gaming switches, which will provide you with a consistent level of performance for over 50 million keypresses. The keyboard also hosts 100% anti-ghosting technology with a 104 rollover, meaning no matter how many buttons you press at any given moment, the action will be registered.
If you are an RGB fan, this keyboard hosts one of the best RGB illuminations that we have seen on the market. You can customize your keyboard with millions of color options and activate the reactive typing effects, which I must say are pretty cool.
For me, comfort is of a big importance because I suffer from wrist pain. I must admit that ever since I started using this keyboard with the removable magnetic wrist rest, I haven’t had any issues what so ever. It’s soft, durable, and very accommodating.
It also hosts a number of pretty great features that I am yet to make use of. One of them is the USB 3.0 passthrough, which you can use to plug in and light up additional RGB-enabled accessories such as your headset stand.
Another pretty cool feature that I am yet to use is the OLED smart display, which allows you to see information on the go from your game, Discord, or Spotify. Alternatively, you can even customize an image and upload it to display.
Shopping Tips for Mechanical Gaming Keyboards
Before you buy your next mechanical keyboard, take the following into consideration:
Pick The Right Keyboard Size
When shopping for a mechanical keyboard, consider the different keyboard sizes available on the market. The three most popular types are full-sized keyboards, TKL, and 60%. Each one has less keys than the one before.
As a gamer, my personal favorite is the TKL. It’s not too big, it’s not too small – the perfect middle ground. If you want an even smaller keyboard, without the arrow keys or the numpad, I’d suggest you go for the 60%.
If you are someone that likes a big, full-sized keyboard, by all means, go for full-sized models. When it comes to the size of the keyboard, it is entirely personal preference. The performance of the keyboard doesn’t get affected depending on its size.
The Type of Key Switches You Go for Matters
Switches are what make mechanical keyboards unique from every other keyboard design in the market. This actually makes the difference in feel with, say, membrane-type keyboards. But what should you expect with mechanical switches?
From the leading German brand Cherry MX to various innovations by newer players in the mechanical switch market, it might be overwhelming for a first-timer buyer.
There are three main switch types that are the golden standard for most offerings nowadays.
First is the Clicky type, which offers a tactile bump that you can feel, along with an audible click to notify you that a keypress has been registered. Then there’s the Tactile type, which still carries that bumpy response but without the click. Lastly, the Linear-type offers a bumpless and noiseless operation, which also improves actuation speeds by requiring less force to register a keypress.
Which one you go for is completely up to you. I personally like the Tactile type.
There is a huge debate in the community between wired and wireless mechanical keyboards. On one hand, wireless keyboards look much cleaner as there will be one less cable on your gaming desk. The downside to that is a compromise in the response time.
On the other hand, wired keyboards provide better performance in terms of response time but users have to deal with an additional cable.
To decide which one you should go for, you need to consider what look you want to go for and what games you are going to be playing.
If you play competitive Warzone, we’d recommend you go for wired keyboards. If you plan on playing Fall Guys with your friends, then a wireless keyboard would also be a suitable choice.
Picking the Right Gaming Keyboard for Your Needs
Shopping for a mechanical gaming keyboard can be quite a challenging process. To make your shopping experience a little bit easier, we created three highly relevant scenarios alongside the most suitable recommendation for each.
Scenario 1: If you are looking for a mechanical gaming keyboard on a budget, we’d recommend you to go for our budget-friendly pick, the ANNE PRO 2, which also happens to be the smallest and only 60% keyboard on our list.
Scenario 2: If you are on the lookout for the best mechanical keyboard for gaming, then without much hesitation, we would point you towards the Razer Huntsman V2.
Scenario 3: If you are looking for a middle ground between price, performance, and quality, we’d recommend you to go after our runner up pick, the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL.
During our research, we found a number of great mechanical keyboards suitable for gaming that we didn’t include in our list today. However, we feel that they deserve an honourable mention.
Some of the reasons why we didn’t include these keyboards over what our final selection revolve around the build-quality, durability, and overall value for money.