10 Best Mechanical Keyboards | April 2017

10 Best Mechanical Keyboards
Best Mid-Range
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Best High-End
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Best Inexpensive
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We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Mechanical keyboards aren't only for nostalgia-loving computer geeks. A good, high quality model can actually help you type more quickly and accurately than on a typical membrane keyboard. For those reasons, and the fact that they are made to last longer with more rugged components, they are favored by gamers and others who spend long hours clicking at the keys. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best mechanical keyboard on Amazon.
10
The Tomoko 87 Key is a no-frills unit that manages to capture the best features of an old-school mechanical keyboard without the modern price tag of one. It's great for writers and programmers, and is built to withstand 50 million strokes before needing to be replaced.
  • comes with keycap puller
  • laser-engraved letters and numbers
  • does not have separate number pad
Brand TOMOKO
Model VS1-PPC023B
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
9
With its silver chassis, white keys, and blue backlight, the EagleTec KG011 Industrial has a crisp, clean look that makes it perfectly suited to the modern office environment. Plus, it's splash-resistant to help protect you from the occasional coffee spill.
  • full numeric keypad
  • adjustable rear feet
  • not for hardcore gamers
Brand EagleTec
Model KG011
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
8
This Azio MGK1 Gaming is an elegantly-designed keyboard that was also crafted with protracted use in mind. It incorporates a comfortable and detachable palm rest that helps reduce hand and wrist strain, while its anodized aluminum faceplate can endure near-constant abuse.
  • easy access volume wheel
  • white led backlighting
  • wider keys rattle a little
Brand Azio
Model MGK1
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
7
If you're traveling or have limited desktop space, the Corsair Vengeance K65 was made with you in mind. It features a compact body for easy portability, but still includes full-sized key spacing, so you don't have to change your typing technique to use it.
  • detachable cloth usb cable
  • rugged aluminum chassis
  • not as many features as larger units
Brand Corsair
Model CH-9000040-NA
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
6
The Havit HV-KB366L RGB looks awesome with its multicolored lighting, and feels great under your fingers, too, whether you're typing a paper or blazing through an RPG. Unfortunately, the keys are not individually programmable, so you'll have to stick with the presets.
  • n-key rollover technology
  • 4 levels of brightness
  • may not work with older laptops
Brand Havit
Model HV-KB366L
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
5
The LED backlit Redragon K552 Kumara may come in at a price lower than many other units on the market, but that doesn't mean it can't keep up with the best of them. It's suitable for a range of situations, from gaming to office use to classroom applications.
  • durable metal and abs construction
  • gold-plated usb connector
  • double-shot injection molded keycaps
Brand Redragon
Model K551
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
4
The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Elite features a sleek, modern look that extends right down to the font used on the keycaps. But it also boasts the brand's pioneering switch mechanics, which helps improve responsiveness and speed and was designed specifically for gaming.
  • programmable keys
  • rated to last 60 million strokes
  • may require additional software
Brand Razer
Model RZ03-01700200-R3U1
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
3
The Corsair STRAFE RGB offers better performance than similar gaming keyboards, but also greater customization, if that's important to you. For example, if you already own the company's headset or mouse, CUE Link will connect them all for the ultimate lighting experience.
  • textured and contoured keys
  • detachable soft wrist rest
  • cherry mx silent switches
Brand Corsair
Model CH-9000227-NA
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
2
While there may be more responsive or customizable models on the market, none are likely as beautifully crafted as the Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate. The keys on this stealth bomber of a board come completely blank, if you so choose, giving you a typing experience like no other.
  • superspeed usb 3 hub
  • oversized volume knob
  • standout build quality
Brand Das Keyboard
Model DASK4ULTMBLU
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
1
With Cherry MX switches that are both very fast and highly tactile, the Logitech G710 Blue Mechanical is designed for the quickest fingers out there. Dedicated one-touch controls give you access to volume, mute and media playback without needing to use a function key.
  • six programmable g keys
  • adjustable dual-zone backlighting
  • compatible with windows and mac os
Brand Logitech
Model 920-006519
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

What Makes Mechanical Keyboards Different?

All keyboards might seem the same to the average user, but for those who demand more of their computers, the distinct differences between keyboard types can make a huge difference to their functionality. Firstly, keyboards are equipped with different types of switch technology. Changing the key switch mechanism results in a significant change in the operation of the keys themselves. In essence, not only does the feel of the keyboard change based on the key switch mechanism, but the actual force required to perform a keystroke changes as well.

The switches in mechanical keyboards are made of a few different parts. These parts include the key, a plastic stem, two metal contacts, and a spring. The plastic stem is a part of the key itself, and moves between two metal contacts as the key is pressed down. When these contacts touch one another, the keyboard sends the signal to the computer that the key has been pressed. The spring attached to the underside of the key forces the key back up to its resting position until it is pushed again on the next keystroke. It is this switching mechanism which defines a mechanical keyboard, giving it the snappy feel many users favor.

Mechanical keyboards are also considered to be of better quality than regular keyboards. Over years of manufacturing, large companies have looked for cheaper ways to produce keyboards. This search resulted in a more commonly used alternative called the rubber-dome keyboard. These don't have as many moving parts as mechanical keyboards. Instead, they have a circuit board which uses a carbon composite and a rubber or silicone pad running across the entire board. Small rubber or silicone bumpers lie under each key, and when pressed they push the corresponding switch on the board. These types of keyboards are cost-efficient, but many users see them as lower quality.

Why Are Mechanical Keyboards So Prevalent In Gaming?

Internet gaming is generally a fast-paced, action-oriented environment. When compared to other fast-paced activities, such as physical sports, gaming is much more cerebral in nature. This has its benefits. Increased brain activity from video games has been linked to better cognitive performance, hand-eye coordination, and even social skills.

Because most of the action takes place in the mind, physical action is generally limited to the movement of the hands over the keyboard and mouse. As the fate of a game can be determined in milliseconds, it is vital that a gamer make their keystrokes as efficient as possible.

Mechanical keyboards can help do just that. Where other keyboards require an average of four millimeters of movement to perform a keystroke, a mechanical keyboard requires just two millimeters of movement. Cutting the distance of a keystroke in half may not seem like much, but when combined with a reduced force required to perform a keystroke, many gamers view mechanical keyboards as much more efficient tools.

Another key benefit of mechanical keyboards is their durability. Because of the build of their switch mechanism, they wear down much more slowly than rubber-domed keyboards. Mechanical keyboards can handle years of use and still have the same springy feeling as the day they were first unboxed. The buoyant nature of rubber-domed keyboards is much more likely to wear down over time due to the aging process of elastomers, like silicone.

Are Mechanical Keyboards Right For You?

The number of ways in which the keyboard has been innovated over time is astounding. Whether or not the mechanical key switch is the pinnacle of the computer keyboard is yet to be seen, but they do appear to offer great benefit to users. Gamers are not alone in their use of mechanical keyboards. There are a few key benefits that may make them the smartest choice for a variety of people.

Mechanical keyboards are designed for longevity. This is useful for anyone who spends a lot of time in front of a keyboard. If spending hours a day working from a computer is a job requirement, a mechanical keyboard may empower that work longer than a standard keyboard.

The use of computers in professional environments is always increasing, and using mechanical keyboards may be important to promote a higher standard of work. The mechanical switch mechanism provides the brain more useful feedback than a membrane keyboard. The snappy feel from the spring beneath the keys provides a small level of resistance that can help the user type faster. This translates to more productivity over time.

There are some drawbacks to using mechanical keyboards, however. While their complicated build makes them last longer, they also tend to be a bit more costly than other keyboards. In addition, spring-loaded keys have a tendency to click a bit louder than other keyboards. In a quiet office, this may be distracting to coworkers who are used to the quiet strokes of membrane or rubber-dome keys.



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Last updated on April 12, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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