The 10 Best Mechanical Keyboards

Updated March 21, 2018 by Chase Brush

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We spent 45 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 a typical membrane version. For those reasons, as well as the fact that, with more rugged components, they're made to last longer, they're 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. Havit HV-KB395L RGB

The Havit HV-KB395L 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
  • very thin design
  • body can flex under pressure
Brand Havit
Model HV-KB395L
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. EagleTec KG011 Industrial

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. Azio MG1-K

This Azio MG1-K 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
  • adjustable white led backlighting
  • wider keys rattle a little
Brand Azio
Model MGK1-K
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. SteelSeries Apex 100

The SteelSeries Apex 100 is a no-frills model 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 20 million keystrokes over its lifetime.
  • quick tension switches
  • laser-engraved letters and numbers
  • doesn't sit totally flat
Brand SteelSeries
Model 64435
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. WASD Code 104

Great for typists, coders, or anyone else who likes a little depth to their keystrokes, the WASD Code 104 features a relaxed design that puts it perfectly at home in almost any environment. It's highly customizable, and is available with the most popular switch options.
  • comes in 87-key version
  • multi-channel cable routing system
  • fairly expensive option
Brand WASD Keyboards
Model CH-9000040-NA
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

You can't get more luxurious when it comes to gaming boards than the Corsair K95 RGB Platinum, which offers some of the best performance and customization options of any out there. Dedicated one-touch controls give you access to volume, mute, media playback, and more.
  • 8mb onboard storage
  • detachable soft wrist rest
  • cue2 software can be buggy
Brand Corsair
Model CH-9127012-NA
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

4. Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate

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
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. HyperX Alloy Elite

From a great-looking design that includes a unique 18-LED light bar to your choice of three Cherry MX switches, the fully-featured HyperX Alloy Elite leaves little to be desired. It's especially ideal for media-heavy applications, thanks to its wide selection of controls.
  • exposed steel frame
  • 3 sizes and 3 styles
  • optional textured keycaps
Brand HyperX
Model HX-KB2BR1-US/R1
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Razer Cynosa Chroma

The Razer Cynosa Chroma 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.
  • fully programmable
  • rated to last 60 million keystrokes
  • water- and dust-resistant design
Brand Razer
Model RZ03-02260200-R3U1
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Logitech G910G413 Carbon

With Romer-G switches that are both very fast and highly tactile, the Logitech G910G413 Carbon is designed for the quickest of fingers. With a highly durable and sophisticated aircraft-grade aluminum alloy cover, it's also made for the most refined of tastes.
  • usb passthrough port
  • includes keycap puller
  • great value for price
Brand Logitech
Model 920-008300
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

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 March 21, 2018 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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