The best mechanical keyboards are more satisfying to type on than your average keyboard. The right switches and the right layout ensure that you can type faster, more accurately and more comfortably than you can on a standard membrane keyboard.
You’ll typical pay a lot for the best mechanical keyboards, but that’s an investment that pays off every time you sit down to type, whether it’s your latest email, a new short story or a congratulatory “GG” after a great Destiny 2 raid. Buying a mechanical keyboard can also open the door to a whole community of keyboard enthusiasts, and if you care to step through that door, you can easily spend hours researching the best switches, keycaps and layouts for your ideal mechanical keyboard. This is why you want a mechanical keyboard: They’re generally more customizable and more durable than your average membrane keyboard.
Whether you need a bright, loud gaming keyboard or a subtle, satisfying mechanical keyboard to type on all day without waking the neighbors, you’ll find it in the following list, which also includes some of the best gaming keyboards on the market. Also, here is our round-up of the best wireless keyboards.
What’s the best mechanical keyboard right now?
Nobody but you can decide which mechanical keyboard is best for you, because there are so many different options to choose from. But if you want a full-sized, high-quality mechanical keyboard, we recommend the Corsair K70 Mk.2. It’s all those things and comes with excellent Cherry MX switches. It also has customizable per-key RGB lighting and a slew of useful gaming features, including custom game profiles and a dedicated game mode.
For those who prefer a wireless mechanical keyboard, we recommend the Logitech G915. It costs roughly the same as the Corsair K70 ($170) but is fully wireless, so you can connect it via either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
If you don’t need a full-sized keyboard, the Corsair K70 RGB TKL is our recommendation for the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboard to buy because it delivers all the benefits of the full-size K70 in a smaller, more versatile design. If you want something a little more affordable, there are some decent mechanical keyboards to be had for less than $100. Our top budget recommendation right now is the Razer BlackWidow Lite, a solid tenkeyless mechanical keyboard that works well for both gaming and productivity work that can be had for roughly $70 — about half the price of most of the keyboards on this list.
The best mechanical keyboards you can buy right now
Every once in a blue moon we test a keyboard like the Corsair K70 Mk.2 and realize that it has absolutely no significant flaws. This is the only keyboard to ever earn a five-star review at Tom’s Guide, and it’s our pick for the best mechanical keyboard you can buy right now.
The K70 Mk.2 is comfortable and offers a flawless typing experience, thanks to authentic Cherry MX key switches. It’s gorgeously designed and beautiful to look at, thanks to extensive RGB lighting options. But, most importantly, it works wonders in-game, as it parses every command quickly and accurately. You can even set up custom profiles for each one of your favorite games, then select a lighting pattern to go along with it.
From its discrete media keys to its game mode, which prevents you from accidentally tabbing out of a game, the K70 Mk.2 is a delight all around. If you can stomach its high asking price, the K70 Mk.2 is just about the best mechanical keyboard you can buy.
Note that Corsair released a follow-up, the Corsair K70 RBG Pro, which is nearly identical and basically just as good. The big differences are that the Pro model ditches USB passthrough, comes with Tournament mode (which is really only relevant to folks who want to take the keyboard to PC gaming tournaments) and sports a magnetic wrist rest which, at least to our reviewer, feels a bit flimsier than the hinged wrist rest on the K70 Mk.2.
Read our full Corsair K70 Mk.2 review.
If you’re interested in the newer Pro model, read our full Corsair K70 RGB Pro review.
Just as gaming mice and headsets have become increasingly wireless over the past few years, the G915 demonstrates how mechanical keyboards can take the same route without sacrificing aesthetics or performance. The G915 is a gorgeous, ultra-thin mechanical keyboard that connects to computers via either USB dongle or Bluetooth. There’s no lag; there are no dropped signals. It’s just as quick and responsive as any wired peripheral.
Thanks to low-profile key switches and full RGB lighting, the G915 is both comfortable and visually striking. Its only real downside is that it costs a lot of money. But when you consider that it will save your desk from unsightly wires and last for many years, it could be a great investment.
Read our full Logitech G915 review.
The Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Series is a mouthful, but it’s also one of the best mechanical gaming keyboards you can buy. This is particularly true if you’re in the market for a TKL, or tenkeyless, model. Like its full-size counterpart, the Corsair K70 Mk.2, the K70 RGB TKL features authentic Cherry MX keys, a gorgeous design and robust software. You can customize intricate lighting patterns, set up profiles for individual games or even reprogram any key you choose. It’s a versatile system.
Like other Corsair keyboards, the K70 RGB TKL is pretty expensive, though deals and price drops can bring the cost down to around $100. While its discrete media keys come in hand, their nonstandard configuration makes them a little more difficult-to-use than what you’d find on a full-size model. Aside from that, though, the Corsair K70 RGB TKL is a nearly flawless device.
Read our full Corsair K70 RGB TKL Champion Series review.
The HyperX Alloy Origins 60 demonstrates that mini mechanical keyboards can be perfectly good for gaming. This 60% keyboard doesn’t have a numpad, a function row or arrow keys, but if you can live with learning some button shortcuts, it’s a fantastic way to streamline your gaming experience while saving some desk space. Furthermore, the Alloy Origins 60 employs comfortable HyperX Red key switches, and offers a full array of RGB lighting.
Granted, the Alloy Origins 60 might be a tough sell if you’re not already committed to a mini keyboard design. Touch typists will find a lot of their favorite buttons missing, and the keys switches are a little louder than you’d expect. Still, as mini gaming keyboards go, this is one of the better ones.
Read our full HyperX Alloy Origins 60 review.
The Vulcan Aimo 121 features a sleek black chassis with a subtle grain design, on top of which you’ll find brightly colored, translucent key switches and ultra-thin black keycaps. If you set the keyboard up with rainbow lighting effects (which the Roccat Swarm software lets you do), you may find it difficult to tear your eyes away.
Of course, aesthetics alone aren’t what make the Vulcan Aimo 121 so good. The typing experience is quick and comfortable, and the in-game performance is impeccable. You can set up profiles for individual games, and control your music at a tap thanks to discrete media buttons. Also, it’s worth mentioning the Roccat Vulcan TKL Pro as a suitable alternative.
Read our full Roccat Vulcan 121 review.
The Logitech G915 TKL is exactly what it sounds like — a tenkeyless version of the similarly excellent Logitech G915. Like the full-size model, the G915 TKL is a stylish and expensive peripheral. It’s also one of the only good wireless mechanical gaming keyboards on the market. If you want to ditch your wired setup but don’t have a lot of desk space available, this is probably the model for you.
As with other Logitech models, the G915 TKL benefits from excellent key switches, intuitive software and a durable design. You still get discrete media keys, as well as thin, elevated keycaps and per-key RGB illumination. While the G915 TKL costs almost twice as much as similar wired models, it’s arguably worth the premium, especially if you find yourself moving the keyboard around to take advantage of its USB dongle and Bluetooth connection profiles.
Read our full Logitech G915 TKL review.
Almost all of the best gaming keyboards work with the Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. However, very few of them are wireless or mechanical. Enter the Razer Turret for Xbox One, which provides both a wireless mechanical keyboard and a wireless mouse, designed explicitly with Xbox consoles in min. This comfortable setup features a keyboard, an expandable mouse pad and a mouse, all designed to fit in your lap as you game from the couch. Better still: the keyboard is mechanical, much like a PC-centric Razer model.
The Razer Turret for Xbox One does have a few drawbacks, however. It’s extremely expensive, and while it does work with PCs, it doesn’t have quite as many features as you’d expect from a model designed with PCs in mind. On the other hand, the Razer Turret’s long battery life and clever design go a long way toward justifying its price, as does its excellent performance in just about every Xbox game with keyboard support.
Read our full Razer Turret for Xbox One review.
The Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed is one of the best mini gaming keyboards you can buy. Unlike smaller models, the V3 Mini Hyperspeed features a 65% profile. That means you won’t have to sacrifice discrete arrow keys or a dedicated delete button. That’s great news for touch typists. For gamers, the V3 Mini Hyperspeed features comfortable Razer Green or Yellow switches, as well as full RGB lighting, which you can sync with your other Razer gear.
Granted, the BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed is extremely expensive, considering its size. (The good news is that you can probably find discounted prices at many retailers.) As a wireless keyboard with powerful lighting capabilities, you can also run through the battery pretty quickly, at least on default settings. Still, if your desk space is limited, the BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed is good for typing, good for gaming and good for saving room.
Read our full Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed review.
Razer originally pitched the BlackWidow Lite as a keyboard that splits the difference between gaming and productivity applications, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s something wonderfully minimalist about its tenkeyless design, simple white lighting and quiet Razer Orange switches. This tenkeyless mechanical keyboard is small, straightforward and relatively inexpensive. It’s also perhaps the most understated accessory Razer has ever produced; the company is usually a little louder than this.
One potential drawback is that the BlackWidow Lite’s keys are fairly squeaky before you install a series of rubber O-rings in them. The rings are included, but installation is a slow, painstaking process. You’ll also have to live without a media bar, which is often a boon for productivity users. Otherwise, the BlackWidow Lite can help you excel in a tournament, or in Excel. It’s nearly as good as the Corsair K70 RGB TKL and can usually be bought for $30-$40 less, so it’s a great TKL mechanical keyboard if you’re looking to keep costs low.
Read our full Razer BlackWidow Lite review.
How to choose the best mechanical keyboard for you
Design: What size keyboard do you want? Most of us are used to a full-sized keyboard, which has the separate number pad on the right-hand side. But if you don’t care about that number pad and/or want something a bit smaller, consider getting a tenkeyless keyboard, which doesn’t have the separate number pad. There are a variety of sizes to choose from based on your needs, usually denoted as percentages of a full keyboard (so a 60% mini keyboard is 60% the size of a full keyboard and typically only includes the main typing keys and the number row, for example).
Switches: What kind of switches do you want on your keyboard? There are lots of options to choose from, but they generally vary in two big ways: how noisy they are, and when they register a keypress. Switches that register a keypress (or actuate) when you press them all the way in are called linear switches, whereas those that actuate when you press them roughly halfway down are called tactile switches. Once you know whether you want quiet vs noisy and linear vs tactile, you’ll have narrowed your options down from dozens to a handful.
Our guide to mechanical switches will give you more details on some of the top switches on the market, but if you’re not sure, it’s a safe bet to get Cherry MX switches on your keyboard as they’re some of the best in the business.
Price: A good mechanical keyboard will likely cost you between $100 to $200, depending on which one you want and when you buy it. (Hint: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great days to find good deals on keyboards.) While that might seem high for a keyboard, remember that you’re paying for quality: A $20 to $30 membrane keyboard from Microsoft or Dell will work well enough, but it won’t be nearly as comfortable (or last as long) as a high-quality mechanical keyboard. Still, if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, you can get a quality mechanical keyboard like the Razer BlackWidow Lite for roughly $70.
How we test mechanical keyboards
To determine the best mechanical keyboard, we run each keyboard we review through a variety of tests. The first, and most important, test is to play through a number of different games, and see how the keyboard holds up. I usually like to try at least one FPS, RTS, RPG and MMO apiece, since these are the genres that benefit most from a good keyboard. (You can generally get away with a controller for most action/adventure titles.)
After that, we take a deep dive into a keyboard’s software suite, evaluating how easy (or difficult) it is to reprogram keys, set up macros, adjust lighting and create profiles for games. Particularly intuitive software gets high marks; convoluted software can lose some points, even if it’s very robust otherwise.
Finally, we make sure to use a keyboard for productivity and personal gaming for at least two or three days. Most of us don’t swap keyboards in and out; what you use for gaming, you’ll need to use for work and general computing as well. The better a keyboard is at everyday tasks, the better its recommendation.