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Best gaming keyboard 2020: the top mechanical, budget and wireless keyboards

The key question

Featured post Best gaming keyboard 2020

It can often feel like the sky’s the limit when it comes to finding the best gaming keyboard. More expensive mechanical gaming keyboards can be quicker and more responsive than cheaper membrane gaming keyboards, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend loads of money to get an absolutely stonking keyboard. Indeed, out of all the best gaming keyboard recommendations I’ve put together below, the cheapest one will only set you back around £50 / $50, which is a lot more budget-friendly than the most expensive one on my list that goes for nearer £200 / $220.

Yes, even my best budget gaming keyboard pick is still a sizeable chunk of change compared to other PC peripherals, but every gaming keyboard on this list has been tried and tested right here at RPS, so you can be sure that everything here is something I’d be happy buying myself. I’ve covered a range of different boards in my best gaming keyboard list, too, from the best mechanical gaming keyboards to the best wireless gaming keyboards and the best budget ones, so there should be something for everyone. Whatever type of gaming keyboard you’re looking for, there’s a best gaming keyboard recommendation for you.

Best gaming keyboard 2020

These are our best gaming keyboard recommendations at a glance, and you can hop straight to the keyboard in question by clicking on the links above. You can also find out more about what to look out for when buying a gaming keyboard at the bottom of this article, and whether you should consider going for a membrane one or a mechanical keyboard. I also explain all the different types of mechanical switch to help you find the best gaming keyboard that’s right for you.

While you’re here, why not check out our best gaming mouse and best gaming headset lists as well? If you’re thinking about getting a whole new suite of gaming peripherals, I’ve got you covered. For now, though, let’s take a look at the best gaming keyboards you can buy in 2020:

Fnatic Streak / miniStreak – the best gaming keyboard

Fnatic Streak - Best gaming keyboard 2020

You’ll probably have heard of Fnatic from their esports endeavours rather than their hardware manufacturing chops, but the Fnatic Streak (and by extension its accompanying compact, tenkeyless cousin, the miniStreak) is easily one the best mechanical keyboards I’ve ever used.

Not only is it a pleasure to type on, but it also comes with the comfiest wrist rest on the planet, which you can re-position into one of three grooves on its accompanying base, allowing you to pitch it wherever’s most comfortable for you. It’s immensely practical and a lot comfier than the hard plastic rests you tend to see on other mechanical keyboards, too. Their respective designs are surprisingly tasteful for an esports company, too, featuring the bare minimum of logos and excess branding to keep everything nice and clean and not at all embarrassing to have on your desk.

The Ducky One 2 comes a very close second, but it’s also more expensive and doesn’t have as many features as the Fnatic Streak, such as USB passthrough or that lovely wrist rest. Alternatively, if you’d rather not spend 100-odd quid on a mechanical keyboard, then the very good HyperX Alloy FPS RGB would be my next suggestion. I reviewed the RGB version, which has Kailh silver switches, but it’s also available in a range of Cherry MX switches as well. It doesn’t have USB passthrough, sadly, but its compact frame and detachable braided USB cable make it a seriously tempting package for £80 / $95.

Roccat Vulcan – the second best gaming keyboard

All right, this might be cheating a bit, but seriously, the Roccat Vulcan is just too good not to mention alongside the Fnatic Streak. It’s more expensive and doesn’t have quite as many features as its Fnatic rival, but the Vulcan sure is wonderful to type and play games on.

A large part of that is down to the Vulcan’s fantastic Titan switches, which Roccat have developed in-house together with switch maker extraordinaire TTC. At their core, they’re tactile switches that probably closest to Cherry’s MX Browns in feel, but their shorter actuation point (the bit where the keyboard registers a key has been pressed) and overall travel distance makes them feel just as lovely and fast as Cherry MX Reds, giving you the best of both worlds. Roccat have recently released a new model with Titan Speed switches (the black Vulcan 121) as well, which are 30% faster than their original tactile ones.

It’s also beautifully made thanks to its sturdy aluminium chassis, and it comes in a variety of different models and feature sets, too. The top-end Vulcan 120 gets you a removable wrist rest and all the additional media keys and volume knob, while the middle sibling Vulcan 100 is exactly the same minus the wrist rest. The entry-level Vulcan 80, meanwhile, is just the standard keyboard with a blue LED backlight instead of flashing RGBs. There’s also a white version of the Vulcan 120 called the Vulcan 122, and the aforementioned black Vulcan 121 as well. They’re all still quite expensive compared to other keyboards on this list, but those Titan switches are a real treat if you’re after something a bit different from the standard Cherry MX options.

Asus TUF Gaming K5 – best budget gaming keyboard

If you’ve already got a membrane keyboard, but want to see whether mechanical gaming keyboards are for you, a hybrid keyboard like the Asus TUF Gaming K5 could be the answer. Half way between membrane and mechanical, this so-called ‘mecha-membrane’ keyboard offers the best of both worlds by being more responsive than your typical membrane keyboard, and quieter than your full-blown mechanical one. Plus, it doesn’t cost the earth, either, making it our best budget gaming keyboard pick.

It’s not entirely silent, but it’s certainly a lot more sociable than any of the other mechanical keyboards on this list – namely, you can use it within ear shot of another human being with functioning ear lobes and not run the risk of having something thrown in the general direction of your head. Each key still offers a pleasing degree of precision and tactile feedback as well, and the subtle RGB lighting doesn’t get up in your face, either.

Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless – the best wireless keyboard

The Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless is the most expensive gaming keyboard on this list, but by golly is it worth it. With its super slim aluminium frame, oleophobic key cap coating, gorgeous volume roller and dual-height adjustable feet, this is the pinnacle of wireless gaming keyboards.

Available in three different types of Logitech GL switches (clicky, tactile and linear), the G915 Lightspeed Wireless feels wonderful under your fingers, offering loads of tactile feedback and quick, sharp key presses. Logitech’s Lightspeed tech means it feels super responsive as well, and for me it felt just like using a traditional wired keyboard. The clicky version I was sent for review wasn’t too loud, either, making it nice and easy on the ears, too.

It’s also got a great battery life. Even after a couple of weeks use, the G915 only lost about 35% of its charge with its full RGB lighting going, so I reckon you could easily use this for an entire month without having to connect it back up to your PC. Even better, it only takes three hours to fully charge up again, and you get a warning when it gets down to 15% so you’re not suddenly cut off mid-game.

Plus, if the wireless version is out of your price range, there’s a cheaper wired version that has exactly the same design called the Logitech G815 Lightsync, which is just as lovely and costs £131 / $200.

Razer Cynosa Chroma – the best membrane gaming keyboard

For those of you who’d rather have something cheap and cheerful that doesn’t make an absolute racket during daily use, you’ll probably want to stick with a membrane keyboard instead of a loud mechanical one, and my current best membrane gaming keyboard recommendation is the excellent Razer Cynosa Chroma.

It’s a little more expensive than your typical membrane keyboard, but you can really feel where the extra money’s gone. Not only is it more responsive than your average membrane keyboard, but it’s also got some decent gaming features such as RGB lighting and a special game mode that disables the Windows key. You can also use it to record your own macros – which you can’t do on the similarly-priced and almost as good HyperX Alloy Core RGB.

It’s also one of the more tasteful-looking gaming keyboards on this list, with its plain black chassis largely free of obnoxious logos and corporate stylings. Plus, since this is a membrane keyboard rather than a mechanical one, it’s also much quieter than practically every keyboard you’ll read here. If you’re looking to upgrade your existing membrane keyboard without going full CLACK with a hybrid or mechanical keyboard, the Razer Cynosa Chroma is a great choice.

Razer Huntsman – the best optical-mechanical keyboard

Mechanical keyboards are pretty darn fast, but for those after the absolute nippiest gaming keyboard around, there’s simply nothing better than an optical-mechanical keyboard. The Razer Huntsman is my pick of the bunch, as it’s both a bit cheaper and a lot more attractive than its rivals such as the HP Omen Sequencer.

Be warned, though. Optical mechanical keyboards really are an all-caps kind of LOUD compared to your typical mechanical keyboard, so you’ll need to be prepared for even more ear-piercing CLACKY CLACKS than Cherry MX Blue switches if you decide to opto it up. Still, noise levels aside, the Huntsman is a real beaut to type on, and its feet offer two different height levels as well.

There’s also a more upmarket version of the Huntsman available if you want a wrist rest, dedicated media keys and even more RGB lights to tinker with in the form of the Huntsman Elite, but it’s also twice as expensive at time of writing, making the regular Huntsman much better value for money.

Asus ROG Strix Flare – the best RGB gaming keyboard

If RGB lighting is the most important thing to you, the Asus ROG Strix Flare is another fantastic mechanical keyboard that’s worthy of your consideration. It’s come down a lot in price recently, too, making it an even better bargain than before. It’s tastefully designed keyboard that cuts a fine, sophisticated profile on your desk, and its elegent, dual matt and brushed finished design that sheers diagonally down the right side of the keyboard helps give it a bit of personality that’s both refined and understated.

And there are plenty of RGB LEDs, too. They’re not only on the keys themselves, but there are also two strips underneath the keyboard as well as another couple shining out of the top, transparent cut-out that can be used for slotting in 3D-printed gamer tags or the bundled plastic ROG logo (as shown above).

Again, you’ll need to download Asus’ Armory software to start customising the ROG Strix Flare down to a per-key lighting level, but you get plenty of options once you do so. The underglow strips are also surprisingly subdued for those who prefer a more subtle approach to their rainbow-coloured light shows, and I didn’t find them particularly distracting when playing games either.

Roccat Sova – the best gaming lapboard

If your PC resides in your living room, then there’s no greater keyboard – or lapboard – than the Roccat Sova. It is, admittedly, quite big and bulky, but it has plenty of room for your mouse, and comes with two USB ports for connecting additional peripherals, whether it’s your mouse, USB headset or a controller.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find now unfortunately, but there really is nothing else that fits the bill when it comes to comfy, living room PC gaming. If you can find one, though, it’s well worth it. Despite its size, I was able to sit with it on my lap for hours and hours, regardless of whether I was sitting with my feet on the floor or cosied up with my legs crossed. There’s simply nothing better for playing PC games in the living room.

How to choose the best gaming keyboard: The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a mechanical gaming keyboard or a membrane one. Generally, mechanical keyboards are better for gaming due to their fast, clean and linear movements and their short actuation points (when the keyboard actually registers you’ve pressed down a key). They are, however, more expensive, with most commanding prices of at least £80 / $100, if not significantly more. They’re more durable than membrane keyboards, though, and are (in theory) easier to repair as you only need to replace the individual switch instead of chucking out the entire keyboard.

Membrane keyboards, on the other hand, are usually a lot quieter and cheaper than their mechanical counterparts because they’re made from less expensive materials. However, his in turn makes them more prone to breaking and are generally a bit of a pain to fix. Given their low price, it’s often easier to just to buy a brand-new one.

If you do decide to opt for a mechanical keyboard, the next thing to decide is what type of switch you want. Most gaming keyboards tend to use Cherry’s MX switches, but you’ll occasionally see other types from Kailh and Outemu as well, or in the case of Logitech, Roccat and Razer, their own in-house switches. Broadly speaking, though, they tend to fall into the same kind of categories: linear or tactile.

Taking Cherry’s MX switches as an example, linear red switches are often considered the fastest and best for gaming. Their clean, up and down movements don’t provide a lot of tactile feedback, making them less suitable for long typing stints, but their short actuation points make them a popular choice for FPS games and competitive online games.

Blue switches, on the other hand, are generally considered better for typing thanks to their loud and clicky sound, while tactile Brown switches are a sort of half-way house between Red and Blues. They’re a bit quieter than other switch types, but when you press them you’ll often feel a small bump halfway down, giving you a bit more physical confirmation that you’ve pressed a key correctly.

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Who am I?

Katharine Castle

Hardware Editor

Katharine writes about all the bits that go inside your PC so you can carry on playing all those lovely games we like talking about so much. Very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests. She's also RPS' resident deals herald.

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