Whether you're a gamer or not, a comfortable keyboard can make all the difference in your daily computing experience, no matter what kind of laptop you use.
Don't get us wrong, laptop keyboards have come a long way over the past decade, and most plug-and-play peripherals will satisfy the casual gamer. But for dedicated fraggers, a proper gaming keyboard is essential to getting accurate, competitive gameplay: first-person shooters, strategy games and MMOs can all benefit from the extra bells and whistles of a premium mechanical keyboard.
While most of the mobile tech world seems to be going wireless these days, you'll find only one Bluetooth keyboard recommended below; when it comes down to it, wired keyboards are simply more responsive (aka, reliable) than their untethered competitors.
Touch typists, take note: Unlike membrane keyboards (which usually have a shallow, squishy feel), mechanical keyboards use linear, tactile and clicky switches underneath the keys. This results in a much more enjoyable typing experience. There are exceptions, of course, but the clickity-clack feedback of any mechanical keyboard is usually superior to that of a membranous counterpart.
Why else should you consider a gaming keyboard? Let's not forget the obvious: They look freakin' cool. Thanks to full-RGB backlighting, swappable key caps and futuristic ergonomics, nearly every keyboard on our shortlist qualifies as a fashion accessory.
How we picked
To round up the best gaming keyboards on the market today, we culled our own reviews and recommendations from our colleagues at Tom's Guide, TechRadar and PC Gamer; we pored through product reviews from the last two years, comparing older brands (Corsair, Logitech, Razer, etc.) with newer ones (Drop, Wooting).
Next, we compared these models to 2019 "best of" lists from all over the web. After narrowing down our picks for each category, we weighed recent product reviews against top-selling models on Amazon.com, taking authentic customer feedback into consideration.
Now, without further ado …
Here are the top gaming keyboards of 2020
Tom's Guide named this the best overall gaming keyboard, and for good reason; it's practically perfect in every way. Corsair's beautiful, innovative design is bound to turn heads in your underground gaming lounge (you've got one of those, right?), and this keyboard's authentic Cherry MX switches make for a springy, comfortable typing experience. The chassis has a high-quality aluminum build, and the subtle RGB backlighting rounds out these gorgeous aesthetics. Thanks to discrete media keys, it's easy to control all your tunes with minimal effort. When it comes to the K70 RGB Mk.2, you'll be blown away — and so will your competition at the next tourney.
Read our full Corsair K70 RGB Mk.2 review.
Razer has been a big player in the gaming world for years, and the BlackWidow Elite might just be the best gaming keyboard the company has ever made. Its elevated key caps, discrete media controls and ergonomic wrist rest make for a winning design, and Razer's proprietary key switches are extremely responsive. Every key is customizable, and you can even save your profile configurations to the cloud. USB and audio pass-throughs are a welcome addition; the dedicated media keys keep all your favorite functions within reach. Did we mention how slick the backlighting looks? Game on!
Read our full Razer BlackWidow Elite review.
Keyboard aesthetics don't usually turn heads, but the advanced ergonomics of the Freestyle Edge are absolutely worth a look. The split design lets you place each half of the keyboard at shoulder width, reducing back, neck and shoulder strain. This also makes room for additional peripherals in front of you, such as a flight stick or HOTAS. Every key can be individually customized, with onboard storage for up to nine user profiles, and nine dedicated macro keys reside on the left half for easy access. Bonus: Spring for the optional lift kit if you'd like an even cushier gaming session.
For less than $100, Logitech offers an excellent entry-level keyboard for anyone in need of an upgrade. This keyboard's Romer-G switches are extremely comfortable to type on, and its reprogrammable shortcuts make productivity a snap. The solid anodized-aluminum construction is refreshingly attractive for this price, and the reinforced cable is built to last. You won't find dedicated macros, pass-throughs or backlights on the K840, but if your gaming needs are modest, this keyboard won't disappoint. Oh, and it's also perfect for any home office.
Looking for a tenkeyless gaming keyboard that will also fit right in on your office desk? Introducing the Drop CTRL, a mechanical keyboard that comes loaded with customization features. From the anodized-aluminum frame to the beautiful LED backlighting, there's a lot to like about this little peripheral. With the removable, magnetic feet, you can adjust the height as necessary, which is a neat feature. What really makes the CTRL stand out? All of the keys are hot-swappable, so users can change switches on the fly — no tools required.
Read our full Drop CTRL review.
As the successful byproduct of a Dutch Kickstarter campaign, this keyboard is already making waves in the gaming community. Eschewing traditional keyboard switches for proprietary Flaretech switches, Wooting allows you to set the key-press actuation point to whatever level you like, and the accompanying software offers tons of customization. The absence of a number pad makes for a clean, uncluttered look, and the per-key RGB options are out of this world.
There are limitations to wireless gaming, but Corsair offers the best of both worlds, with USB and Bluetooth connectivity offered on the K57. Best of all, this keyboard comes at a great price in comparison to other wireless keyboards. Unlike most premium gaming keyboards, however, the K57 uses membrane switches instead of mechanical ones, resulting in a somewhat mushy typing experience. A detachable hand rest, six programmable macro keys and dedicated media controls round out the features. If wireless gaming is your thing, put the K57 on your shortlist.
Read our full Corsair K57 RGB Wireless review.
Numpads take up valuable desktop real estate, and many gaming keyboards are nixing these features altogether. Such is the case with the Logitech G Pro, a tenkeyless peripheral that's ultraeasy to toss in your bag, after you remove the detachable USB cord. This keyboard's square edges are pleasantly understated, and the streamlined design is highly attractive. Logitech keeps the footprint small, with minimal extra buttons, but if you want a tournament-ready mechanical keyboard that's also incredibly portable, look no further than the G Pro.
Read our full Logitech G Pro review.
Featuring a rock-solid aluminum frame and Razer's new Opto-Mechanical clicky switches, the Huntsman Elite achieves key-press actuation at the speed of light. (The company claims 30% shorter actuation distance than other clicky switches at 1.5mm.) This responsiveness is ideal for first-person shooters and essential for rapid-fire gameplay. A programmable dial gives you quick access to background lighting and media controls, and the ergonomic wrist rest will keep your carpal tunnel symptoms at bay.
Read our full Razer Huntsman Elite review.
The adventure continues
It's time to choose your own gaming keyboard adventure! Follow the links below to uncover additional buying advice, complementary peripherals and upcoming deals …
Are "Cherry keys" some type of edible tech? To find out, click here.
Don't forget the beats. If you're as much of an audiophile as you are a videophile, click here.