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If you want everyone to know you’re busy, tapping on your mechanical gaming keyboard is one way to go. Aside from being notoriously noisy when typing, mechanical keyboards are the best option for PC users.
Once you’ve decided on your mouse, mouse pad, headset, and cable management, it’s time to start thinking about that backlit keyboard that will complete your gaming setup.
Why a mechanical gaming keyboard?
A mechanical keyboard is a popular and classic option that features raised, spring-loaded keys. Unlike membrane keyboards, commonly seen on laptops, typing on its keys tends to be much stronger but more precise, making it a much more efficient choice for first-person shooters like Fortnite either apex legends.
You see, a mechanical keyboard uses high-quality mechanical switches (hence the name), rather than relying on cheap rubber dome switches. They are generally more responsive and durable, but heavier to carry. However, they are also designed to last for years, compared to membrane keyboards that tend to wear out faster.
Since we gamers love customization, an added advantage to mechanical keyboards is their customization potential. It’s usually easy to remove the keys and replace them with better-looking, colorful ones.
But keep in mind that mechanical keyboards can be harder to clean thanks to raised keys, as well as being heavier, noisier, and more expensive. However, cleaning is not difficult to solve if you have a cordless air cleaner.
What to look for when choosing a mechanical keyboard
Putting that aside, figuring out which mechanical keyboard to bring home is always silly. We believe the best place to start is to ask yourself if you want a wired or wireless a.
Most of the options on the market tend to be wired, which is not a problem for most stationary PC setups. But those of you who use a laptop with a limited number of USB ports may want to consider a wireless keyboard instead. Regardless of your preference, be sure to check the keyboard’s compatibility with your computer before proceeding to checkout.
Next, you’ll want to consider what size keyboard you want. Each keyboard size differs in its layout and ultimately in the number of keys available. While a full-size keyboard may prevent you from making this decision, you may want a smaller board due to limited desk space.
Most tend to agree that a keyless keyboard is a perfect choice. It has 87 keys, is compact and comfortable, and typically includes all the keys needed to perform basic computing actions. However, tenkeyless keyboards noticeably lack a number pad, which may or may not be a deal breaker for you.
Another popular size is known as 60% keyboard. These keyboards are sometimes called “mini keyboards” and are quite common in nature thanks to their easy customization capabilities. The only drawback is that they tend to lack not only the number pad, but also the function keys, the home cluster, and the arrow keys.
Once you’ve decided on your size, consider whether you want a tactile or linear keyboard. Generally speaking, touch keyboards are the noisy ones you hear office workers drum their fingers and are distinguished by the little bump you feel when you press the keys. Linear keyboards, meanwhile, get their name from the smooth up/down motion needed when pressing the switches. They are much quieter than touch keyboards and require less effort to press the keys.
Some gamers prefer softer, lighter tactile keys that allow them to glide across the board to enter any command without a second thought. If you go for a linear keyboard, you won’t need to press hard on your keys, whereas you would if you’re using a touch keyboard.
From there, you may have noticed the word “Cherry MX switch” included in the description of various keyboards you have been researching.
If this concept has you scratching your head, we’ve broken it down for you:
- Cherry MX Black Switches – A black switch is linear, which means it works quietly and smoothly. It is one of the best options to play as it is good for double tapping. Thanks to its great actuation force, it is of great help in case you press a key by accident, since it will not register super light touches. This type of keyboard is not recommended for work.
- Cherry MX Brown Switches – These tactile switches are a great hybrid option if you plan on getting a keyboard that is efficient to type on Y gaming. It’s an ideal choice as its reset and trigger point are close enough to hover over it in case you want to tap quickly.
- Cherry MX Blue Switches – The best option to write. It’s fine to use it for gaming, but it can be hard to double-tap because the release point is above the trigger point.
- Cherry MX Red Switches – Another popular type of switch that is more suitable for gaming. Choosing a red switch depends on whether you prefer your keys to be stiffer or lighter while typing, as it requires a lighter touch than a black switch.
One of the last things you want to pay attention to is your keyboard rollover capability that is, how many keys your keyboard can recognize at once. Most keyboards tend to recognize a maximum of three key combinations at the same time, whereas when gaming you may need to press four or more.
Other things to consider are whether that keyboard has wrist rests that offer ergonomic support or if comes with a mouse like a package. We always love to get more for our money.
Our Recommended Gaming Keyboard Picks
This mechanical keyboard has an incredible 13,300 reviews on Amazon and we think it sums it up as one of the best options you can put your Cheetos-covered gloves on.
Not only is it full-size, linear, and with Cherry MX Red switches, it also has an ergonomic wrist rest for you to lean on during scenes. Some reviewers have commented that it’s a fantastic touch option with the right amount of resistance and the perfect typing angle.
Where to buy
Amazon ($299.12) | jw ($219)
Logitech G G512
Those who love to mix business with pleasure will appreciate a mechanical keyboard that features a brown switch, much like this one from Logitech. While it’s all very well having a dedicated gaming keyboard, it eases the old bank account to get one that can do it all.
This full-size mechanical keyboard is perfect for working during the day before switching to RGB-lit gaming at night. Its tactile keys will allow you to play loud and proudly at full speed.
Where to buy
Amazon ($123) | Lee Lee ($129) | eBay ($168)
HyperX Alloy Origins
Our editor David reviewed this HyperX keyboard late last year, and while it lacks a few bells and whistles, this HyperX keyboard-less keyboard has everything you want from a gaming keyboard.
This heavy-duty plate is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, which basically means it’s strong and heavy enough to take some serious beating if you’re in the middle of a infinity halo play. This gaming keyboard features X1 Cherry Red switches that are perfect for letting your fingers glide from key to key or if you’re just a trigger-happy motherfucker. However, you can also get a stiffer blue or aqua switch if you prefer.
We’re also fans of its three adjustable angles, so you can type to your heart’s content and get rid of that pesky carpal tunnel syndrome.
Where to buy
Amazon ($134) | eBay ($151.90) | M-wave ($179)
Razer Huntsman Mini
If you prefer a much more compact keyboard, you may want to consider something in the 60% mechanical range. Our king, David, also reviewed this particular keyboard earlier this year. Smaller than a ten-keyless keyboard, a 60% full-size keyboard eliminates the number pad and arrow keys, as well as function-specific buttons.
While it may take some getting used to navigating without the arrow keys, this gaming keyboard is ideal if you have limited desktop space. But don’t worry if there’s a game you’re playing that relies on the arrow keys, as you can use the letters J, K, L, and I to move around. Although, you will have to get used to sitting your little finger on the function key.
On the plus side, this Razer board has linear red switches that create an effortless, quiet typing style that shouldn’t bother anyone trying to watch TV nearby.
Where to buy
Amazon ($159) | Bing Lee ($159) | eBay ($139)
Redragon K530 Dragon
If you prefer a wireless mechanical gaming keyboard, you can get this one from Redragon.
This wireless keyboard features brown switches, which are ideal for typing or gaming, so you’ll get plenty of use for both work and play. Its smaller size also makes it a great portable option. So if you like gaming a lot on a laptop, but can’t stand membrane keys, then connect this tenkeyless keyboard via Bluetooth, so you can transform into a stealthy sniper after work.
It’s also just a refreshing twist on the classic black style in case you’re a fan of a lighter, brighter look.
Where to buy