Unlike standard keyboards which rely on a membrane, mechanical keyboards use individual key switches for durability and their distinctive feel. If a key fails, you can simply replace the switch with an identical one.
Your choice of switches will dictate how the keyboard feels while you type. Is it tactile? Are the keys clicky or silent? Different switches suit different applications.
Here are the best mechanical keyboards you can buy right now.
1. The Best Overall Mechanical Keyboard
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2
The Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 is a great all-round mechanical keyboard that won’t break the bank. This particular listing features Cherry MX Red switches, although it is available in your choice of Cherry MX switches. These are most popular with gamers for their low actuation force and relatively quiet operation.
Each of the 104 keys is fitted with an RGB LED, which can be controlled using the included software. Corsair promises full anti-ghosting. That means even if you slam your fist on the keyboard in a rage, all those individual key presses will still register.
The K70 also includes 8MB of profile storage, allowing you to save three profiles on the keyboard and access them on the move without the need for additional software. It’s a solid device too, with an anodized brushed aluminum frame that should withstand years of use.
2. The Best Mechanical Keyboard for Gaming
Razer BlackWidow Elite
If your budget can stretch a little further, you can pick up the Razer BlackWidow Elite. Razer chooses not to use Cherry MX switches, opting to manufacture their own instead. That’s no reason to write-off Razer’s keyboards, and some people prefer Razer switches to Cherry MX.
The BlackWidow Elite is available in your choice of three switches: tactile and clicky green, tactile and silent orange, and linear and silent yellow. Razer rates its switches for up to 80 million keystrokes. Each key has an RGB LED inside it, which can be programmed using the included software.
In fact, if you have other Razer RGB products, you can sync your keyboard to the same pattern. Programming also allows you to rebind keys and create your own macros with multiple keystrokes. You can store profile configurations in the cloud, or sync five profiles directly to the keyboard memory.
In the top-right corner of the BlackWidow Elite, you’ll find a media control bar, with pass-through for USB and 3.5mm stereo output. Along the nearest edge is a detachable wrist rest, which should help prevent injury during long or repeated sessions.
3. An Analog Mechanical Keyboard
There’s something special about the Wooting One. This is the world’s first analog mechanical keyboard, which means the keys are pressure sensitive. The harder you press a button, the more the keystroke is recognized. The obvious use for this technology is gaming, and Wooting claims that popular titles like Grand Theft Auto V and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are already compatible.
Pressure sensitive switches are provided courtesy of Flaretech in their red (tactile) and blue (clicky) varieties. Flaretech rates them for 100 million keystrokes, comparable to the Cherry MX varieties. As is common at this price point, per-key RGB LED lighting is available with full control provided by the Wootility software.
The keyboard is constructed from ABS plastics and 5000 series aluminum. In the box, you’ll get some spare switches and a switch puller tool for performing surgery on your keyboard, which is a really nice touch.
4. The Silent and Compact Mechanical Keyboard
Razer BlackWidow Lite
For a mechanical keyboard that’s stealthy and portable, take a look at the Razer BlackWidow Lite. It uses Razer’s orange mechanical switches, which are tactile and quiet. The keycaps have been fitted with o-rings to dampen any additional noise generated by the switches too.
Razer opted for basic white per-key LED backlighting. Your desk won’t light up like a fairground ride, but at least you’ll be able to see what you’re doing in the dark. Use the included Razer Synapse software to set shortcuts, macros, and customize the behavior of the keyboard.
The BlackWidow Lite is a no-frills keyboard that gets the fundamentals right. There are no media keys or headphone jack, while the included cable is detachable for transport.
5. The Best Mechanical Keyboard for Mac
Das Keyboard 4 Professional
While you can use just about any USB keyboard on a Mac, most come with the standard Windows key layout. Any Mac users who want a superior gaming and typing experience should look to the Das Keyboard 4 Professional. It’s available in blank, Windows, and Mac key arrangements.
Unfortunately, you can’t have the Mac model with Das Keyboard’s RGB lighting. Instead, you have a choice of Cherry MX Blue (clicky), and Brown (not clicky, similar to Red) switches. At the top of the keyboard are the media controls, complete with volume knob and two USB 3.0 ports.
The unit is finished in anodized aluminum with UV protected keys to prevent fading. There’s also a ridiculously long 2 meter cable in the box for hooking it up to your Mac or PC.
6. An Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard
Jestik Kinesis Advantage 2
With its radical concave design, the Kinesis Advantage 2 is an ergonomic keyboard with a difference. The unique hand-wells were created so that your hands can remain in a relaxed position and move as little as possible while in use.
The result is a keyboard that’s great for typing at speed, though it doesn’t look particularly well-suited to gaming. The Advantage 2 comes with Cherry MX Brown keys, which are quiet and have the same actuation force as Cherry MX Red. The row of function keys uses Cherry ML switches which have low travel and a lighter feel.
As you’d expect from a keyboard at this price point, the Advantage 2 is fully programmable. Jestik promises that you’re able to customize the keyboard without the need for any special drivers or software, and it works with both Windows and macOS.
7. The Best Cheap Mechanical Keyboard
If you’d rather not spend a large amount of money on a mechanical keyboard, you may want to consider the Redragon K552. It’s one of the most popular affordable mechanical keyboards on the market, and a glance over the Amazon reviews reveals many satisfied customers.
To keep the price down, the Redragon doesn’t use name brand switches. The K552 comes with off-brand switches that are comparable to the clicky, tactile feedback provided by Cherry MX Blues. In addition to the 87 regular conflict free, or anti-ghosting, regular keys are 12 media keys incorporated into the function key array.
The K552 is available in a range of finishes, making it the perfect affordable addition to your desktop setup.
The Best Mechanical Keyboard for You
Mechnical keyboards are often considered the best keyboards you can buy. Which you choose, though, will be down to your personal preferences. Before making an investment, be sure to understand which switch will be right for you.
That said, if you’re having wrist pain due to RSI or carpal tunnel, you probably need one of the best ergonomic keyboards.