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While CPUs and GPUs remain essential to computer performance, there’s an underappreciated peripheral: the keyboard. Everyone uses keyboards, but few people think about them when buying a new PC. Today’s best keyboard technology is called the mechanical keyboard.

However, mechanical keyboards vary in price as well as target audience. Prices range from sub-$50 to a few hundred dollars. Moreover, mechanical keyboards cater to gamers, typists, and general users. Learn about the top six mechanical keyboards you should buy.

Why Are Mechanical Keyboards So Great?

So what’s a mechanical keyboard How Does A Mechanical Keyboard Work? [Technology Explained] How Does A Mechanical Keyboard Work? [Technology Explained] For geeks, mechanical keyboards are the holy grail of input devices. They’re relatively rare, they’re expensive, and require some explanation for people to understand them. It’s everything a geek could ask for. If you’re not... Read More ? Whereas most keyboards employ mushy silicone parts, mechanical keyboards use springs and metal. The increased complexity produces an elegant typing experience — but the tradeoff is price. Mechanical keyboards cost more. Even so, they are worth every penny.

Which Mechanical Keyboard Should You Buy? 6 Keyboards for Typists and Gamers mechanical keyboard switch
Image Credit: Richard Hunter Harris via Wikipedia

Among the many advantages, there are three main reasons to consider a mechanical keyboard 3 Reasons You Should Consider Buying A Mechanical Keyboard 3 Reasons You Should Consider Buying A Mechanical Keyboard Read More .

Better Responsiveness, Acoustics, and Aesthetics

Its benefits include responsiveness and noise. While rubber domes feel squishy, mechanical keyboards offer more resistance to keystrokes. The springy resistance returns keys to their starting position faster than on a non-mechanical keyboard. Typing is usually louder on a mechanical keyboard. Although if you’re trying to type quietly this may be inconvenient, the enhanced feedback is rather satisfying.

Some other features include:

  • Anti-Ghosting — On a regular keyboard, pressing multiple keys simultaneously causes key presses to get dropped. Mechanical keyboards register up to 10 keys pressed simultaneously. It’s also referred to as N-key rollover (NKRO).
  • Backlighting — Many mechanical keyboards incorporate LED backlighting, which provides better visibility at night.
  • Differing Switch Types — Dozens of switch types exist. The most well-known manufacturer is Cherry, which color codes their switches. Each color corresponds to a differing audience. Reds, for example, cater to gamers. Read our guide on mechanical keyboards How Does A Mechanical Keyboard Work? [Technology Explained] How Does A Mechanical Keyboard Work? [Technology Explained] For geeks, mechanical keyboards are the holy grail of input devices. They’re relatively rare, they’re expensive, and require some explanation for people to understand them. It’s everything a geek could ask for. If you’re not... Read More for more information.

Longer Lasting

Mechanical switches last a long time. The switch’s metal-on-metal contact points can withstand roughly 50 million keystrokes. Compare that to just five million for a rubber dome keyboard. Further contributing to a long lifespan, mechanical keyboards are easier to service. Rubber tends to attract grime. Metal, not so much. But mechanical keyboards also feature the advantage of removable keys. Simply pop off the keys, and self-contained switches may be cleaned and re-attached or swapped out. If you’re just getting started, check out this great entry-level guide to buying a mechanical keyboard 7 Newbie Tips When Buying a Mechanical Keyboard 7 Newbie Tips When Buying a Mechanical Keyboard Thinking of getting a mechanical keyboard? Here's what you should know before you commit to a purchase. Read More .

Some other features include:

  • Spill protection — Both membrane and mechanical keyboards feature spill-resistance. Dropping a cup of coffee onto your keyboard won’t damage it. However, keep Cheetos far away from your mechanical keyboard!

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Better feel
  • Increased longevity
  • Easier to maintain

Cons

  • Louder
  • Expensive

Best Budget Mechanical Keyboards

TOMOKO 87 Key Mechanical Keyboard

TOMOKO Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, 87-Key Water-resistant Gaming Keyboard with Blue Switchs Attached Anti-ghosting Key Cap Puller for Laptop Computer Macbook TOMOKO Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, 87-Key Water-resistant Gaming Keyboard with Blue Switchs Attached Anti-ghosting Key Cap Puller for Laptop Computer Macbook Build Quality. Made of top-grade ABS and metal base, with matte-finish texture,it is sturdy and robust for durability. Laser-engraved keys are not easy to fade. Water-resistant with drain holes. Buy Now At Amazon $29.99

TOMOKO-87-Key

If you’re looking for a budget mechanical keyboard, TOMKO makes the best you can buy. Whereas most mechanical keyboards run around $100, the TOMOKO clocks in for less than $50. For $35, the TOMOKO boasts 87 keys, water-resistance, and anti-ghosting. The TOMOKO uses Huano Blue switches which are Cherry Blue clones. There’s also anti-ghosting, and a metal base with a matte finish. Keys are laser-engraved so as to avoid fading. In addition to its water-resistance, the TOMOKO boasts drain holes for when you inevitably spill your coffee/beer/tea/obnoxiously large energy drink on your keyboard.

However, the base-model TOMOKO lacks a backlight. Most users won’t care, but hardcore gamers may be disappointed. Thus, the TOMOKO 87-key mechanical keyboard is best for typists. Sure, gamers can use it. However, the missing backlight is a potential drawback. Instead, consider the $40 TOMOKO LED backlit mechanical keyboard. Like the vanilla iteration, the LED backlit version sports 87-keys and Huano Blue Switches. It’s water resistant and includes a six-color LED backlight. The backlit TOMOKO runs just $5 more — that’s great value for even non-mechanical keyboards. On the downside, some users report that TOMOKO keyboards are a bit loud even for a mechanical keyboard. Nevertheless, the low price and superb build quality make the TOMOKO one of the best mechanical keyboards you can buy.

Best for — Typists (backlit version best for gamers).

Pros

  • Water-resistant with drain holes
  • 87 keys
  • Small form factor
  • Huano Blue Switches
  • Inexpensive
  • Excellent build quality
  • Ant-ghosting

Cons

  • Not backlit (LED backlit version available)
  • Loud even for a mechanical keyboard
  • No USB passthrough
  • No audio passthrough

Logitech G610 Orion

Logitech-G610

Logitech makes an array of high-quality computer components. The Logitech610 Orion offers excellent value as a mechanical keyboard. It’s available with Cherry MX Brown or Cherry MX Red switches. The G610 Orion is a full-size keyboard aimed at gamers. While it’s a mechanical keyboard and features tactile responsiveness, noise levels remain low. This benefits gamers as in-game chat or game streaming will pick up less background noise. Well, from your keyboard at least. There’s a backlight, and lighting is customizable. You can personalize key lighting brightness which helps in certain games for remembering keybindings. For multimedia, the G610 does have dedicated media controls, and Logitech includes a game mode with programmable macros using the Logitech Gaming Software.

Logitech G610 Orion Red Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (920-007839) Logitech G610 Orion Red Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (920-007839) Performance-driven gaming keyboard: Full-size keyboard delivering a pure, fluid gaming experience Buy Now At Amazon $74.00
PC Gamer did note that Red switches are less typist-friendly. Although quieter, red switches lack the tactile bump featured in the MX Brown and MX Blue switches. PC Gamer also praised the intuitive, proprietary gaming software. While there is a backlight, it’s only available in white. So users seeking multiple colors, look elsewhere. Ultimately, the Logitech G610 comes in two variants that appeal to both gamers (MX Red switches) and typists (MX Brown). It’s aesthetically pleasing although it sports a white, single-color backlight. The SteelSeries Apex M500 (UK) is an alternative. With Cherry MX Red switches, it’s gamer-oriented and does feature a single-color backlight (blue, instead of white).

Best for — Gamers (Cherry MX Red variant) and typists (Cherry MX Brown version).

Pros

  • Relatively quiet for a mechanical keyboard
  • Available with Cherry MX Brown or Cherry MX Red switches
  • Bundled Logitech Gaming Software
  • Backlit

Cons

  • Backlight only available in white
  • No audio passthrough
  • No USB passthrough

Best Mid-Range Mechanical Keyboards

Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma

Razer-BlackWidow-Chroma

Razer’s BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma is a superb mechanical gaming keyboard. The Chroma features a multi-color backlight that’s customizable for more than 16.8 million color combinations. A 10-key rollover provides anti-ghosting. For gamers, the Razer BlackWidow Chroma is fully programmable. Moreover, the BlackWidow Chroma sports five extra gaming keys that boast on-the-fly macros. It’s durable and rated for 80 million keystrokes. If you’re a gamer, you probably have loads of peripherals. The Chroma accommodates with USB and audio pass-through.

Razer BlackWidow Chroma, Clicky RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, 5 Macro Keys - Razer Green Switches Razer BlackWidow Chroma, Clicky RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, 5 Macro Keys - Razer Green Switches Multi-Award winning Razer Mechanical Switches - Razer Green Switch with tactile bump and audible click for the best overall gaming performance Buy Now At Amazon $169.43
Engadget praises the BlackWidow Chroma’s beauty and comments that while it’s “gorgeous,” the Chroma feels extremely durable. Tom’s Guide adds that it’s subdued, therefore lending itself well to office environments. The BlackWidow Chroma is a mechanical keyboard but lacks Cherry MX switches. Instead, the Chroma opts for Razer’s green switches. You likely won’t notice a difference between Razer Green switches and Cherry MX Blue switches. But the Green switches aren’t quite as responsive. Nevertheless, Razer’s BlackWidow Chroma is a solid keyboard and features premium specifications like a custom backlight, USB and audio pass-through, and extreme durability. Plus, the price stays fairly reasonable.

Best for — Gamers, though it’s neutral enough in shape to fit an office setting for typists.

Pros

  • Backlight with over 16.8 million color combos
  • USB passthrough
  • Audio passthrough
  • 10-key rollover for anti-ghosting
  • Highly programmable

Cons

  • Razer Green switches not as responsive as comparable Cherry MX Blue switches

Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum

Orion-G910

Logitech provides an excellent high-end mechanical keyboard in the G910 Orion Spectrum. It’s loaded with features like customizable lighting. You can set up your own, or opt for one of the preloaded lighting profiles. There’s a whopping 113-key rollover. The G910 Orion Spectrum is a subtle iteration of the gamer-centric G910 Orion Spark. However, the Spectrum nixes the Spark’s sculpted keys. Additionally, the Spectrum does include a removable wrist rest. PC Mag comments on the G910 Orion Spectrum’s wrist rest and flat keys, praising the experience for both typists and gamers.

Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard USB (920-008012) Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard USB (920-008012) World's fastest RGB mechanical gaming keyboard: Exclusive Romer-G Mechanical Switches with up to 25 percent faster actuation Buy Now At Amazon $124.87
However, PC Mag also notes that mechanical keyboards, such as the Corsair K95 RGB (UK), provide a slightly better experience. The K95 lends more durability and customization. Still, the Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum is one of the best mid-range mechanical keyboards available. I like the way it’s perfectly suited to gaming but is subdued enough for office work.

Best for — Gamers and typists.

Pros

  • Customizable backlight
  • Cell-phone stand
  • Removable wrist rest
  • Anti-ghosting

Cons

  • No USB passthrough
  • No audio passthrough
  • More durable and customizable keyboards available

Best High-End Mechanical Keyboards

Das Keyboard Prime 13

Das-Keyboard-Prime-13

The Das Keyboard Prime 13 presents a sleek mechanical keyboard in a minimalist package. Its typing experience remains unparalleled with Cherry MX Brown switches. Onboard you’ll find an integrated USB hub. There’s also a built-in backlight. The braided cord is long at 6.5 feet (2 meters). For speedy typists, there is an N-key rollover.

Das Keyboard Prime 13 White LED Backlit Soft Tactile MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard (DKP13-PRMXT00-US) Das Keyboard Prime 13 White LED Backlit Soft Tactile MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard (DKP13-PRMXT00-US) Cherry MX mechanical key switches with gold contacts - 50 million keystrokes Buy Now At Amazon $129.00
However, the backlight is limited to white only. While the Das Keyboard Prime 13 houses a USB hub, there’s no audio port or media controls. Moreover, the USB hub is limited to USB 2.0, not 3.0. PC Mag rated the Prime 13 highly, though did find the Das Keyboard better for typists. It’s a pretty barebones yet functional keyboard. Can you game on the Das Keyboard Prime 13? Sure. I’ve used a Logitech wireless K800 for gaming. But ultimately, with less programmable settings and a no-frills set up, the Das Keyboard Prime 13 is better suited to typists and casual gamers.

Best for — Typists.

Pros

  • Backlight
  • USB passthrough
  • Minimalist layout
  • Cherry MX Brown switches

Cons

  • USB hub limited to USB 2.0
  • No audio passthrough
  • White-only backlight

Qwerkywriter

Qwerky-writer

Whereas many typist-oriented mechanical keyboards stress simplicity, the Qwerkywriter appeals to typists. The design is both gorgeous and retro — it emulates the look and feel of a typewriter. Unlike many mechanical keyboards, the Qwerkywriter includes Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. The retro design is replete with buttons on the side. While these are a nice touch, the knobs are not functional. They are purely ornamental. There’s even a built-in phone and tablet stand.

Qwerkywriter Typewriter Wireless Mechanical Keyboard with Integrated Tablet Stand Qwerkywriter Typewriter Wireless Mechanical Keyboard with Integrated Tablet Stand It features all aluminum body construction and clicky mechanical switches Buy Now At Amazon $402.99
With its all aluminum construction and typewriter look and feel, the Qwerkywriter is arguably the most beautiful mechanical keyboard available. However, it’s not suitable for gaming. Additionally, you might not want to buy a Bluetooth keyboard for these six compelling reasons 6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Bluetooth Keyboard 6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy a Bluetooth Keyboard Before you commit to buying a Bluetooth keyboard, consider these drawbacks and issues that may cause you to change your mind. Read More . Although it may function for gaming, it’s really for typists. For one, the keys aren’t suited to gamers, and there’s no backlight. But moreover, wireless and gaming usually don’t mix well. Despite the Qwerkywriter’s beautiful and retro aesthetic, the $300+ price tag is tough to justify. Yes, this is a fun keyboard, but you can get a perfectly good Bluetooth keyboard for much less. Granted, not one that looks like a typewriter.

Best for — Typists.

Pros

  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • Integrated tablet stand
  • Emulates the look and feel of a typewriter

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only for typists
  • Wireless only

Best Mechanical Keyboards for Typists and Gamers

With the resurgence in popularity of mechanical keyboards, there’s a ton of choice. Which mechanical keyboard you choose depends on your budget and whether you’re a gamer or typists. Gaming mechanical keyboards are still great for typists, but typist-centric mechanical keyboards are less customizable and more subdued. As a runner-up, consider the E-Element mechanical keyboard (UK).

The E-Blue is a great budget pick E-Blue Budget Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review and Giveaway E-Blue Budget Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review and Giveaway A good keyboard can make the difference between a productive computing experience and a frustrating one. Today we take a look at the E-Blue K727, with some essential gaming features and some frivolous ones. Read More as well. This 81-key device is incredibly space saving and features Blue switches and an RGB backlight. It’s perfect for gamers and typists on a budget and with limited desk space. If you’re a hardcore gamer, check out these mechanical keyboards 5 Heavy Duty Mechanical Keyboards For The Hardcore Gamer 5 Heavy Duty Mechanical Keyboards For The Hardcore Gamer We’ve made quite a song-and-dance about mechanical keyboards here at MakeUseOf, and now that more and more manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon they’re no longer specialised bits of kit reserved for the upper echelons... Read More .

From budget gaming keyboards to expensive typewriter look-alikes and minimalist gamer/typist offerings, you have tons of choices. Ultimately, any mechanical keyboard will offer improved performance and feel over a traditional rubber dome keyboard.

Which mechanical keyboards do you recommend?

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  1. Charie S.
    February 18, 2017 at 3:42 am

    I guess there are no ergonomic mechanical keyboards? For me -- as a writer -- that would be the ultimate keyboard.

    • Tris P.
      February 19, 2017 at 6:07 am

      Try the ErgoDox for a split ergonomic mechanical keyboard or the Atreus for a custom ergonomic mechanical keyboad. Or the let's split.

      • Charlie S.
        February 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        Thank for the pointers, Tris P. I'll give those keyboards a look. :)

    • Kannon Yamada
      February 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Several MUO writers recommend the Ergodox EZ. It's preassembled and a pretty low price for an ergo mech. The company's founder is a former writer here and he really understood ergonomics.

      https://ergodox-ez.com/

  2. John Taber
    February 17, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    I love my Corsair for typing. I went in and picked out the key feel that I liked. Now I want to get one for work. ;)

  3. Jason Honingford
    February 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    I'm sad that two overrated Logitech keyboards were featured instead of Corsair which may be the best out there.

    • Tris P.
      February 19, 2017 at 6:08 am

      I'd have to disagree with Corsair as the best. There are better keyboards for almost the same price. Ducky, Leopold to name a few.

  4. Stijn
    February 17, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I'm using a Logitech K740. Absolutely great keyboard, and it's good-looking too :-)