Best Gaming Keyboards Android Central 2021
Looking for the best gaming keyboard? You've come to the right place. There are hundreds of options available in this collection, and we've narrowed it down to the best keyboards you can buy right now. Whether you're looking for a high-end keyboard with RGB lighting and a host of extras or a budget option with mechanical switches, these are the best gaming keyboards.
- Best Overall: Corsair K100 RGB
- Also Great: Razer Huntsman Elite
- Best Budget Pick: Redragon K551
- Best Compact Option: SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL
- More For Less: Razer Cynosa V2
- Best Wireless: Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro
- Best Ergonomic Option: Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB
- Still Going Strong: Corsair K95 RGB Platinum
1. Corsair K100 RGB Gaming Keyboard: Best Overall
The Corsair K100 RGB is the best gaming keyboard in the market today. The keyboard features Corsair's first custom switch, the OPX, and it is fantastic to use for gaming. The optomechanical switch has zero debounce as it uses infrared light to detect keystrokes.
With an actuation distance of just 1mm and total travel of 3.2mm, plus an actuation force of 45g, the linear switch is ideally suited for gaming. You get double-shot PBT keycaps as standard, there's a magnetic wrist rest, and the sturdy build quality means you don't have to worry about long-term reliability. I've been using this keyboard for the last two months, and it has been fantastic for day-to-day writing tasks as well as gaming.
Another standout with the K100 is the RGB lighting; there's an RGB lightbar that extends to three corners of the keyboard, making it stand out. You can also change RGB backlighting for the keys individually, and Corsair's iCUE software provides a host of customization features. The keyboard also has six macro keys, dedicated media controls, and a volume knob, and an iCUE control wheel that lets you change the lighting, switch between applications in Windows, and so much more. Oh, and Corsair offers a two-year warranty as standard.
- Double-shot PBT keycaps
- Corsair OPX switch is outstanding
- Excellent RGB backlighting
- Highly configurable iCUE control wheel
- Sturdy aluminum chassis
2. Razer Huntsman Elite: Also Great
Razer's Huntsman Elite is similar to the Corsair K100 in that it also uses an optomechanical switch. You also get vibrant RGB lighting with extensive customizability and a leatherette wrist rest. The keyboard also features an aluminum frame for added durability, dedicated media buttons, and a volume knob.
The Huntsman Elite is available with either a loud or linear switch; the former needs 1.5mm actuation distance and 45g of actuation force, and the latter just 1.0mm actuation distance and 40g force. If you're looking for a quiet switch that's better suited to gaming, you should pick up the linear option.
Razer offers a two-year warranty, and the switch is designed to last 100 million keystrokes. As for aesthetics, the keyboard has four-sided RGB lighting, and the layout itself is optimized for gaming. If you're okay with the fact that the keyboard does not have dedicated macro keys, the Huntsman Elite is a standout pick.
- Fastest gaming switch
- Four-sided RGB lighting
- Durable aluminum chassis
- Leatherette wrist rest is very comfortable
- No dedicated macro keys
3. Redragon K551: Best Budget Pick
If you're looking for the best value-focused gaming keyboard that still holds up to the rigors of gaming, then you should take a look at the Redragon K551. The keyboard costs a fifth of the Corsair K100, but you still get full RGB backlighting, a dedicated number pad, and a mechanical switch that is on par with Cherry's excellent MX Red. There's no wrist rest here, but you get a full-size mechanical keyboard that's ideal for gaming.
The K551 uses the Outemu Red switch, and the linear switch has 2.0mm actuation distance with total travel of 4mm, and actuation force of 45g. The silent switch is great for gaming and is designed to last for 50 million keystrokes. As for the RGB backlighting, you get a total of 19 different effects and six brightness levels. There's no way to customize lighting for individual keys via software, but for what you're paying here, you are getting a lot of value.
The keyboard has a durable metal frame, and overall it is a great option if you want a gaming keyboard on a budget. Redragon made a name for itself in the budget gaming keyboard category over the last decade, and the K551 continues to be a standout pick.
- Standout value
- Gaming-focused mechanical switch
- RGB lighting with 19 effects
- Durable for up to 50 million keystrokes
- No software-controlled lighting effects
- No wrist rest
4. SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL: Best Compact Option
Want a keyboard that looks futuristic? Then you should consider the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL. The TKL stands for tenkeyless, meaning there is no number pad here. If you want a compact keyboard and don't use the number keys all that much, this is a great option.
The keyboard features SteelSeries' QX2 mechanical switches, and the Red option is identical to Cherry MX: It has 2mm actuation with a total travel of 4mm, and actuation force of 45g. In short, it is ideally suited for gaming. Like most mechanical switches, the QX2 is good for up to 50 million keystrokes, but the keycaps are pretty standard fare and aren't the best quality you'll find in this segment.
A standout feature on the Apex 7 TKL is the OLED info panel that delivers notifications from the likes of Spotify, Discord, and others. You get a media control key and metal roller that lets you adjust volume or settings with ease. The keyboard itself has an aluminum chassis, and you get the ability to change per-key lighting from the software. There's also a magnetic wrist rest that's bundled with the package.
- Sleek design
- Mechanical switch optimized for gaming
- OLED info panel
- Dynamic RGB backlighting
- Magnetic wrist rest
- Keycaps are pretty basic
5. Razer Cynosa V2: More For Less
The Razer Cynosa V2 has a similar design and aesthetics as the brand's costlier options, but the affordability makes it a great choice. The keyboard has regular membrane keys with a low sound profile, and a standout feature is the individually-lit Chroma RGB backlighting.
If you don't mind the fact that the keyboard has membrane keys, there is a lot to like here. You can adjust the RGB backlighting and assign macros via Razer's software, there are dedicated media keys, and the build quality itself is durable. And like Razer's other keyboards, the Cynosa V2 has a chassis that's resistant to spills.
So while you miss out on the tactility of mechanical switches, the Cynosa V2 costs less than half the price of gaming keyboards from established brands. If you're looking for value, you will like what this keyboard has to offer.
- Stellar value
- Dynamic RGB backlighting
- Fully programmable keys
- Quiet keys
- Robust build quality
- Membrane keys not for everyone
6. Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro: Best Wireless
The BlackWidow gaming keyboard is a stalwart in the gaming category, just like the DeathAdder has been the best gaming mouse for over a decade now. The latest iteration of the BlackWidow has Razer's mechanical switches, Chroma RGB backlighting with extensive customizability, and wireless connectivity.
The BlackWidow V3 Pro connects over Bluetooth, a detachable USB-C cable, and over a USB receiver. In the USB receiver, it relies on Razer's custom tech to deliver low-latency gaming without the wires. The keyboard has all the extras you'd want in this category: it has double-shot ABS keycaps, a detachable wrist rest, dedicated media keys, and an aluminum frame that should last several years without any issues.
As for the switches, the keyboard comes with Razer's own gaming switches, and you can choose between loud, tactile, or linear switches. If you don't mind the cost, the BlackWidow V3 Pro is the best wireless gaming keyboard around.
- Wireless connectivity for low-latency gaming
- Mechanical switches optimized for gaming
- Fully programmable buttons
- Customizable RGB lighting
- Sturdy frame
7. Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB: Best Ergonomic Option
If you're in the market for a gaming keyboard but need something more ergonomic, the Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB is the ideal option. The keyboard features a split design that lets you position both halves at an angle, and the detachable palm rest is one of the best on a keyboard. The split form factor does take some getting used to, but it should lead to less strain on your wrists in the long run.
The marquee feature on the Freestyle Edge RGB is the Cherry MX keys — you can pick the Red switch if you're interested in gaming or the Blue option for day-to-day use. You also get dynamic RGB backlighting, fully programmable keys, and the aluminum frame is built to last.
The Freestyle Edge RGB also has nine macro keys and onboard memory for storing profiles. The keyboard has a unique design, and if you're looking for a more ergonomic alternative to the likes of Razer and Corsair, this is a solid choice.
- Split form factor for better ergonomics
- Cherry MX keys
- Fully programmable keys
- Vibrant RGB backlighting
- Detachable wrist rest
- Takes a while to get acclimated
8. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum: Still Going Strong
Before I switched to the Corsair K100, I used the K95 RGB Platinum for over two years. I wrote nearly a million words on the keyboard and gamed for countless hours, and it has fared incredibly well. The keyboard is still a great choice in 2021: it has vibrant RGB backlighting, fully programmable keys, six macro keys, dedicated media buttons, and a volume roller.
You can configure the K95 RGB Platinum with Cherry MX Brown or MX Speed switches. The former is the ideal middle ground for writing and gaming, and the latter is aimed at gaming. The MX Speed switch has an actuation point of just 1.2mm with a total distance of 3.4mm and needs 45g to actuate.
There's also a detachable wrist rest, and you can adjust the backlighting, set up profiles, and assign macros via Corsair's excellent iCUE software. While the keyboard debuted several years ago, it is a decent overall choice in 2021 — particularly if you want Cherry MX switches.
- Dynamic RGB backlighting
- Cherry MX gaming switch
- Fully programmable keys
- Sturdy aluminum frame
- Six macro keys
- Costlier than rivals
These are the best gaming keyboards of 2021
If you want the best gaming keyboard currently available, the Corsair K100 should be your go-to option. Corsair has done a magnificent job with its first gaming switch, and the durability on offer along with the RGB backlighting, customizable macros, and software features make the K100 a truly outstanding gaming keyboard in 2021.
Need a more budget-focused option? The Redragon K551 is a solid choice that has been available for a few years now. It has mechanical switches that are ideal for gaming, RGB backlighting, and stellar value. You miss out on some of the extras that you get with more established brands, but for the value on offer, nothing comes close to the K551.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Harish Jonnalagadda is the Asia Editor of Android Central. A reformed hardware modder, he spends his time writing about India's burgeoning phone market. Previously, he used to ponder the meaning of life at IBM. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
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