The Ultimate Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide Of 2023

Are you looking for buying a new gaming keyboard, then choosing the best gaming keyboard for your gaming laptop or gaming PC is not that easy if you have no idea what are things you need to consider.

These days, you will get several gaming keyboard brands and thousands of options in the market online as well as offline. These keyboards come along with different features and specs and which makes things much more complicated.

But if you know what things are important and need to consider then it doesn’t have to be the case and you will be able to make an informed decision to get the best gaming keyboard. 

In this buying guide, we will talk about in detail on what are the thing that you need to consider when you are going to buy a gaming keyboard. So, keep reading this article carefully till the end.

Also Read: The Ultimate Gaming Laptop Buying Guide – 8 Things To Consider

Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide – 8 Important Things To Consider

Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide

1. Type Of Switches – Membrane Vs Mechanical:

Switches type used in a gaming keyboard decides its performance and also how each keystroke feels. As a gamer, you’ll be spending a number of hours on playing games and that’s why you need a keyboard which feel great in your hand while you are playing games.

There are two types of switches available in gaming keyboard which is mechanical or membrane. Each type of switch demands a specific amount of actuation force to register keystrokes and provides a distinct tactile feel and level of responsiveness.

1. Membrane Keyboards:

Membrane Keyboards - Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide

Sometimes, the word rubber dome keyboard and membrane keyboard are used interchangeably.

Actually, rubber domes are features which is generally added to the membrane keyboards just for enhance tactility.

Almost all the user’s keyboards whether laptop or computer keyboards use membrane switches. The reason behind using these switches is that they don’t make noise when typing, have a low profile, and most importantly less expensive compared to their mechanical switches counterparts.

The membrane gaming keyboard keys generally feel soft when you pressed it but it requires a good travel key distance to register keystrokes. Because of the membrane keyboard’s simple architecture design, it can be spill-resistant.

Membrane gaming keyboards are the best option for casual gamers who have a tight budget and looking for a cheap option. However, for pro gamers who are into competitive gaming then membrane keyboard are not a good option as it has a slower response time, are less durable, and inconsistent feedback with every keystroke.

2. Mechanical Keyboard:

Mechanical Keyboard - Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide

Well, the mechanical keyboard switches work a little bit differently from the membrane keyboards.

Each and every key of the mechanical keyboard has its own dedicated switch below it. Each switch key has its own spring, stem, housing, and metal contact leaves.

The nature of these mechanical switches makes it feasible to have different kinds of switches which are the following:

  • Linear Switches: Feature Consistent Resistance
  • Tactile Switches: Feature An Audible Bump
  • Clicky Switches: Feature Both Tactile with Audible Clicks

Usually, mechanical gaming keyboards are found with red, brown, and blue Cherry MX mechanical switches. You may also find some other kinds of switches like Razer switches, Logitech’s Romer-G switches, Roccat Titan, and Kailh switches.

Actually, it is a personal choice that what kind of switch you should get. Because every switch has its own feature like key travel distance, response time, actuation force, and noise level.

For example, if one switch type may feel good for one user while it may not feel the same for another user because it depends on the user’s usage also. If you want to understand properly the feel and noise level of that specific switch type you have to check out the different switch types by going to your nearest store or buying a switch tester.

Below are some reasons why mechanical keyboards are generally preferred over membrane keyboards for gaming:

1. Precision:

Precision is one of the main reasons why mechanical keyboards are chosen over membrane keyboards. Actually, a membrane keyboard’s actuation distance is changeable while the mechanical keyboard is not.

Precision is one of the main reasons why mechanical keyboards are chosen over membrane keyboards. Actually, a membrane keyboard’s actuation distance is changeable while the mechanical keyboard is not.

So, with that means you can precisely predict when keystroke registers and also every time it performs moves consistently. On top of that, it also enhances your muscle memory gradually.

2. Speed:

The mechanical keyboard has the ability to record the keystrokes halfway before you press it fully. This keyboard equates to a quick response time which helps you to react immediately during gaming.

As a gamer, you know how speed is important while playing FPS games like Overwatch and Doom Eternal where you must react very quickly before your enemy kills you.

3. Feedback:

The term Feedback here refers to how the switching mechanism helps you to know that a keystroke has been registered whether it can be linear, clicky, or tactile. In mechanical gaming keyboard, you’ll get the option to select from different levels of feedback which is offered by the different switches.

Let’s take an example, red Cherry MX switches which have linear feedback and don’t have an audible click and a bump to give tactile feedback. On another side, blue switches feature a bump and also switching mechanism which offers both tactile and auditory feedback too.

But in most cases, gamers like brown switches because they work well for both gaming and typing. On top of that, they offer tactile feedback without producing any audible click noise. If in case clicking noise is loud then it can be picked up by the microphone while you are recording gameplay or chatting.

4. Durability:

When it comes to durability then the mechanical keyboard is more durable as compared to the membrane keyboard. For instance, if we compare the lifespan then Cherry MX switches have 50 million key presses while membrane keyboard switches have only 5 million key presses.

It means Cherry MX switches of mechanical keyboards are long lasting for years even if you are doing heavy gaming. However, if any key of that keyboard switch is faulty then it can be easily replaceable as every key switch operate independently.

So, this is the best part of this mechanical keyboard because due to this you don’t need to replace or buy a new keyboard, but you need to only replace that single key which is faulty or not working.

5. N-key Rollover:

Talking about what is N key rollover, it allows the keyboard to register each keystroke accurately also in the right order, regardless of how many keyboard keys are pressed at the same time all together.

Well, N-Key rollover is possible only in mechanical gaming keyboards as every key operates individually from each other, also every keypress is recognized by the operating system. When it comes to membrane keyboards then it is only possible to reach a key rollover of between 6 and 10.

Also Check: The Ultimate Gaming Mouse Buying Guide

Comparison Table Of Mechanical & Membrane Gaming Keyboards

Mechanical KeyboardMembrane Keyboard
PrecisionThe actuation force of this keyboard is more accurate in keystrokesThe actuation force of this keyword is not precise
SpeedThis keyboard key has the capability to record a keystroke before they fully pressed outThis keyboard key needs to be fully pressed out to the bottom to record the keystroke
FeedbackIt gives the choice to select switches with linear, tactile, or clicky feedbackIt only has the tactile feedback
DurabilityWithout any failure, this keyboard’s each key can be performed around 50 million key-pressesWhile this keyboard’s each key can be performed around 5 million key-presses only
N-Key RolloverThis keyboard keys support full N-Key rolloverIt can only support between 6 and 10 key rollover
PriceUsually, it is much more expensive as compared to the membrane keyboardsComparatively, this is less expensive

2. Connection Type – Wireless Vs Wired:

When you’re going to buy a gaming keyboard then you also need to consider which gaming keyboard you want to buy wired or wireless. So, to choose the right keyboard, first you need to know about that keyboard with its pros and cons too.

1. Wireless Gaming Keyboard:

Wireless Gaming Keyboard - Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide

Let’s talk about the wireless keyboard first, wireless keyboards are uses radio frequency signals like Bluetooth as it helps to send the data from the keyboard to the laptop/PC.

In wireless keyboard, has an in-built transmitter and also has a separate receiver that you have to plug into your laptop/computer’s USB port.

Once your wireless keyboard’s transmitter and receiver are connected, then your laptop recognizes the keyboard and it works similarly to using a wired keyboard.

If you like to play games by seating far away from your computer screen then a wireless gaming keyboard is the only option. The reason is that it allows you to play games according to your comfort or freedom as you can move around freely.

On top of that, with the wireless keyboard, you don’t need to do any cable management and also it makes your gaming setup uncluttered.

The major drawback of wireless keyboards is that you can face a little bit of input latency just because of interference of signal. But if you are not doing any intensive tasks like gaming then it may not be noticeable. However, if you are doing heavy gaming then a little bit of delay can affect your gaming reaction time.

Besides this, wireless gaming keyboards are high in price as compared to wired gaming keyboards in terms of both maintenance and price. Moreover, in a wireless keyboard, you also need to replace the battery every once in a while.

ProsCons
The wireless feature gives you more freedom and portabilityDue to connection interference, face a little bit of input lag/latency
Cable management is not requiredHigh prices as compared to a wired keyboard
Because of power limitations, it lacks additional featuresA little maintenance is needed such as replacing the battery

2. Wired Gaming Keyboards:

Wired Gaming Keyboards - Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide

The wired gaming keyboard, as the name suggests, wire is powering up the keyboard and also sends input to the computer.

You only need to do is connect its cable directly to your laptop/computer’s USB ports and it starts to work.

Almost all gamers prefer and use wired keyboards as they are less expensive and reliable compared to wireless keyboards. The main thing is that with this keyboard there is no need to worry about any input lag because it doesn’t have any signal interference.

Moreover, it doesn’t require any kind of maintenance like replacing the battery. On top of that, it doesn’t have any kind of power restrictions because it doesn’t run on battery, this is why the company provides some extra features like RGB lights, LCD screens, USB ports, and a headphone jack.

Speaking about the drawback, the wired keyboards are not portable because of their wire’s length. You’ll also need to manage that cable to keep your gaming desk clutter free.

ProsCons
Quick response time without input latencyBecause of wire, it is not portable
No need to replace the batteryA little cable management is required
Because of without a battery, it offers many features

3. Cable Type – Braided Vs Rubber:

Braided Cable - Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide
Braided Cable

If you are planning to buy a wired keyboard then there are two kinds of cables available such as braided and rubber.

Choosing any one of them will not affect any kind of gaming performance but there are a few things that you need to consider.

Talking about the Braided cables first, it comes with an extra layer of protection that helps to protect the actual cable which is available inside.

The protective layer of this cable is made from polyester, nylon, etc., and also it is available in different colors too.

Rubber Cable

So, this is a good thing that you will get a cable color of your choice to match your gaming desk. But the only drawback is that the material of the braided cable is a little bit stiff.

While Rubber cables are normal cables which are made from rubber and don’t have any protective layer.

If we compare then it is more flexible than the braided cable but it is less durable too.

4. Build Quality:

If we compare then the gaming keyboard is damaged more as compared to the office keyboard because of forcefully repeated presses. This is a fact, because when you are playing intense or competitive games which makes you a bit aggressive during gaming.

For gaming keyboards, it is very important that all the parts should be built durable and long-lasting. Speaking about cheap gaming keyboards then they are made of low quality plastic that can easily band and this is why should be avoided.

The covers of the keyboard are built from ABS plastic or metal which gives better support and protection for the keyboard’s circuits and components.

1. Bold ABS vs PBT Plastic:

The keycap labels of the gaming keyboards should not rub off very easily. Most of the gaming keyboards’ keycaps are built from either ABS plastic or PBT plastic. Mainly for gaming, PBT keycaps are mostly used more than ABS keycaps due to the following reasons:

  • Firstly, PBT keycaps are more resistant
  • The PBT keys don’t get rubbed off as easy as ABS keycaps
  • Comparatively, it is stronger than the ABS keycaps
  • It can endure temperatures up to 150°C

Still, you’ll get to see high end gaming keyboards being used ABS plastic. The reason is that it has a thinner layer of plastic which makes the keyboard’s backlight to be even more vibrant and crisp.

2. Keycap Finish – Glossy vs Textured:

The keyboard and its keycap’s finish also have a lot of importance. Let’s take an example, after continuous usage of a keyboard if your hands get sweaty then it is good to avoid a glossy finish keyboard.

5. Size – Full Size Vs Tenkeyless:

Full Size Keyboard - Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide

Well, a Full Size gaming keyboard is the most popular one. As it has a total of 104 keys which include alphanumeric keys, a number pad, a navigational cluster, and Function (Fn) keys.

A full size compact keyboard design is also known as an 1800 compact keyboard. The number of keys and features are almost the same as a full size keyboard but the only difference is that the keys on this keyboard are more cluttered.

If you want a comfortable gaming experience and also want a dedicated numeric keypad for using numbers then a full-size gaming keyboard is the best option if you have good space on your desk.

Tenkeyless Keyboard - Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide

If you like a compact keyboard or don’t like a full size keyboard then you need to go with a Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard which is also known as 80% keyboard.

The only difference between full size and tenkeyless keyboard is that it doesn’t come with a dedicated numeric keypad and its total key count is 87.

Apart from this, there are other sizes of gaming keyboards that are also available like 75% and 60%. If we talk about the 75% keyboard then it is more compact than the 80% keyboard. To make it more compact the keys of this 75% keyboard are more cluttered.

However, 60% of keyboards are also available but it doesn’t have function keys and arrow keys which makes them more compact. One of the main benefits of the Tenkeyless keyboard is its portability as it saves space on the gaming desk.

6. Appearance – Shape And Color:

The manufacturer of the gaming keyboard designs their keyboards in different shapes and sizes to attract different kinds of gamers. If you are going to buy a gaming keyboard then you’ll get to see some keyboards with simple designs while some with futuristic designs which makes it ideal from others and it attracts more.

However, the keyboard design or shape doesn’t affect gaming performance but it determines whether the keyboard is fit according to your environment.

Let’s take an example, if you use a gaming keyboard with a futuristic design at your office then it wouldn’t fit in that environment because a professional looking keyboard is expected in that environment.

If you are the one who has a color that also matters then apart from black color you’ll also get to see some other colors too like Blue, Metallic grey, Pink, etc., so that you can choose from which suits you.

7. Keyboard Extra Features:

In some high-end gaming keyboards, there are some extra features also available which are the following:

1. Macro Keys:

Macro keys are programmable, which allows you to configure them to perform some complex gaming tasks very easily.

For instance, if you are playing a first-person shooter game then you can configure a macro key to perform quick firing thus you don’t need to click continuously on the fire button.

You can use Macro keys in games like MOBA and MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) by configuring keys according to your preferences. By using Macro keys you can perform actions repetitively with just a single click of button.

You can also use Macro keys to perform day to day tasks like copy/pasting, launching programs, etc., thus it helps to improve your productivity by saving you time.

2. Multimedia Keys:

Like a dedicated numeric keypad, multimedia keys are also dedicated buttons which help to control multimedia related activity like play/pause, increase/ decrease volume, mute, etc., when it is running in the background.

Let’s take an example, if you are using any kind of music app like Spotify in the background while playing games then you can control that app by using the multimedia buttons.

3. Backlit Keyboard:

Usually, not all gaming keyboards have backlighting, but those keyboards which have backlighting then it comes with either a single color or RGB backlighting.

For instance, if you’ll buy a single-color backlit keyboard then all the keys will light up in a single color. But when it comes to RGB backlit keyboards then it allows you to customize keys to be lit up according to your color choice.

Almost all gamers prefer to buy a gaming keyboard with backlighting because it allows gamers to do gaming even in low light or dark environments.

8. Price:

Pricing is also one of the most important factors when choosing a keyboard. Generally, a gaming keyboard which comes with extra features will be more expensive than which has fewer features. When you are going to buy a keyboard firstly you need to fix your budget and which features are required for you. So, it will make your task easy for choosing a gaming keyboard.

Let’s talk about the cost, if you’ll go with a low-end gaming keyboard from any popular brand then you’ll need to spend around $50 to $100. But if you’ll go for a high-end gaming keyboard then it’ll cost you around $100 to $250. Actually, the price of the gaming keyboard is based on the brand, features, build quality, warranty/guarantee, etc.

Final Verdict:

Finally, we are reaching the end of this article and I have tried to cover all the required things which you need to consider while you are going to buy a gaming keyboard. By considering and going through all the important things you’ll be able to make the right decision to buy a gaming keyboard.

Most importantly, you should look into the size, shape, and color of the keyboard which fits where you are planning to use it.

This is it, from my side but still, if you have any questions or need help choosing a gaming keyboard then feel free to ask me by commenting below.