Sat. Apr 13th, 2024


Mechanical keyboards are incredibly popular among gamers and typists, as they offer a tactile experience and tons of customization options. They come in a variety of sizes and with different switch types, so you can get exactly what you need.


UPDATE: 02/07/2024

We’ve updated our pick for the best tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard.

What to Look For in a Mechanical Keyboard in 2024

Mechanical keyboards come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, which can make it challenging to find the right one for your needs. The easiest way to start your search is by figuring out which size you need. The most common keyboard sizes include full-sized, tenkeyless (TKL), and 60% keyboards.

A full-sized keyboard is the one most people are familiar with, as the board includes all your standard keys plus a keypad on the righthand side. A TKL keyboard lacks the keypad but otherwise features many of the same buttons. Then there are 60% keyboards, which are highly compact and don’t feature a keypad, arrow keys, or a row of function buttons.


Once you’ve picked which of the above sizes you want, you can start looking at each product’s actual specs. For mechanical keyboards, the switches are the most important aspect to consider. Dozens of different switches are available from various manufacturers, but they typically fall into three classes–linear, clicky, and tactile.

Linear switches provide a smooth keypress without any added resistance. Tactile keys, meanwhile, have a bit of added resistance right before their actuation point, letting you know exactly when they’re about to be triggered. Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches, although they’re a bit noisier and produce a satisfying “click” when actuated.

Beyond those two aspects, there are dozens of other factors to consider while shopping. This includes customization options (such as RGB lights or swappable switches), mappable keys, construction quality (aluminum frames are a popular option), and connectivity options such as wired or wireless. You’ll also want to make sure your operating system supports the keyboard. Most products work on Windows, but finding one for Mac is more challenging.


Regardless of what you’re looking for, there’s bound to be something that fits your needs. To help you with your search, here’s a look at the best mechanical keyboards available now.

How Did We Research

Models Evaluated

Hours Researched

Reviews Analyzed

27

9

19

How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product.
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Best Mechanical Keyboard Overall: Corsair K70 PRO

Corsair K70 on desk
Corsair

Pros

Cons

✓ Includes a wrist rest

✗ May not be great for typists

✓ Variety of available switches

✓ Aluminum frame

✓ Short 1mm actuation depth


There are plenty of great mechanical keyboards out there, but few are as well-rounded as the Corsair K70 PRO. Along with a reasonable price tag, the K70 PRO is durable, responsive, and highly customizable, allowing you to tune it to your needs.

The big selling point of this particular model is the Cherry MX switches, which are of the linear variety and ideal for gaming. They’re probably not the best fit for folks typing away at the keyboard all day, but unless you’re writing a novel, they should be more than fine for daily use.

The switches and keycaps are also ultra-durable, with a lifespan of 150 million keystrokes and a PDT double-shot design, ensuring they last several years before running into any issues.

Other stand-out features include per-key RGB lighting, a short 1mm actuation distance, an aluminum frame, and a soft-touch palm rest included with your purchase. There’s even a volume roller and dedicated media keys, making it easy to control all the action without having to muck around with various menus.


Corsair K70 PRO

Corsair K70 PRO

Best Mechanical Keyboard Overall

$129 $180 Save $51

The Corsair K70 PRO is a well-rounded mechanical keyboard, featuring a durable aluminum frame, impressive switches, and an included wrist rest.

Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard: Keychron V3

Keychron V3 on table
Keychron

Pros

Cons

✓ TKL design saves space

✗ Quirky design

✓ 50 million keystroke lifespan

✓ Hot-swappable switches

Despite a price tag under $100, the Keychron V3 is loaded with premium features. A slim, TKL design, hot-swappable support, and a fast USB-C wired connection are just the start, as Keychron barely cut any corners to achieve this low price.

If you’re a fan of tinkering with your boards, you’ll be glad that the V3 supports three- and five-pin MX mechanical switches. This includes various Cherry, Gateron, and Panda key switches, allowing you nearly limitless freedom to modify its performance.


Another cool feature is its south-facing RGB lights, which allow you to see the colors between all the keys clearly. You’ll also benefit from support for both MacOS and Windows—so you can enjoy the Keychron V3 regardless of where you work (or play).

Of course, the Keychron V3 isn’t perfect, but most drawbacks pertain to its design. For one, it looks a bit quirkier than its competitors, which are ultra-sleek. Depending on your preferences, the TKL design might also be a drawback, although it saves a lot of space and is ideal for gaming. Beyond that, there are no glaring issues with the V3, so take a closer look before making your final purchase.

Keychron V3 Wired Custom Mechanical Keyboard, TKL

Keychron V3

Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard

Although it may not look as premium as the competition, the Keychron V3 is loaded with useful features, such as hot-swappable switches and a 50 million keystroke lifespan rating.

SteelSeries Apex 7 on gaming desk
Steelseries


Pros

Cons

✓ Includes a wrist rest

✗ TKL design not ideal for certain games

✓ Integrated OLED display

✓ Several switch options

Picking a gaming keyboard is largely up to personal preference, but there are a few features that most gamers need to have. This includes fast actuation time, reliable performance, and a high degree of customization. All three of those features are found on the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL, making it a great choice for all types of players.

Several versions of the Apex 7 TKL are available, but this Linear & Clicky version is the most well-rounded. Rated for 50 million keypresses, offering support for five onboard profiles, and a unique OLED display built into the keyboard that allows you to adjust settings or check in on Discord elevate this SteelSeries product above most other gaming boards.

It also benefits from 100% anti-ghosting and 104 key rollover, meaning all your keypresses will get registered—even in the heat of battle.


The tenkeyless design is ideal for most games, but you might need to look elsewhere if you’re playing an MMO and enjoy binding skills to the keypad. But there’s a lot to love about the Apex 7 TKL for everyone else.

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL

Best Mechanical Keyboard for Gaming

$91 $100 Save $9

Featuring a built-in OLED display, several switch options, and an included wrist rest, the SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL is the perfect companion for all your gaming needs.

Best Tenkeyless (TKL) Mechanical Keyboard: Keychron K8 TKL

Pros

Cons

✓ Sleek design and solid build

✗ Wrist rest not included

✓ Multiple switch options

✓ Multi-device connectivity

✓ Simple white backlight


Keychron makes some of the best mechanical keyboards, and its K8 TKL keyboard is a fantastic compact option. It’s not an overly flashy keyboard with RGB backlighting, but rather a sleek keyboard with a simple, customizable white backlight, an all-black frame, and 87 black and gray OEM-profile ABS keycaps, with extra keycaps for both Windows and macOS users.

You can connect up to three devices to Keychron’s K8 keyboard via Bluetooth 5.1, and with its massive 4,000 mAh battery, you won’t need to charge it often. It can last up to 200 hours with the backlight feature off. Or, if you don’t want to use the keyboard wirelessly, you can use it wired with a USB-C port and the included USB-C to USB-A cable.

On Amazon, you can choose Gateron G Pro Brown or Red switches for the keyboard. Or, head to Keychron’s website to choose between Brown, Red, or Blue switches, with a bonus option of Gateron G Pro hot-swappable Blue switches. Through Keychron, you can also choose RGB or White backlighting.

Keychron K8 TKL mechanical keyboard

Keychron K8 TKL

Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

Keychron’s K8 mechanical keyboard can connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth, offers multiple switch options, and most importantly, has an attractive tenkeyless layout with 87 keys.

Logitech G915 TKL keyboard sitting on a rock
Eric Schoon / How-To Geek


Pros

Cons

✓ Compact design at just 22mm tall

✗ Fewer programmable buttons than other models

✓ 40 hours on a single charge

✓ Supports both Bluetooth and wireless USB receiver connections

Logitech’s LIGHTSPEED technology makes the G915 TKL Lightspeed keyboard a joy to use, despite its wireless connection. Unlike some wireless keyboards that suffer from input lag, this product offers both the freedom of a wireless connection with the performance of a wired one.

However, there is a bit of a tradeoff as you won’t find as many programmable keys as some other keyboards, as its silver design isn’t quite as striking as the competition. It is, however, incredibly compact and built to withstand intense gaming sessions, thanks to an aluminum chassis. You’ll also get up to 40 hours of battery life on a single charge.


Toss in support for Bluetooth connections, gorgeous RGB lights, and a media wheel for easy control of the action, and the G915 TKL Lightspeed can hang with the best.

Logitech G915 TKL

Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed

Best Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

$184 $230 Save $46

Wireless keyboards often succumb to more input lag than their wired counterparts, but the Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed bucks that trend, while also including plenty of premium features.
 

Best Mechanical Keyboard for Mac: Keychron Q1

Angled view of the Keychron Q1
Erik Schoon / How-To GeekErik Schoon / Review GeekErik Schoon / LifeSavvy

Pros

Cons

✓ Durable, aluminum frame

✗ Expensive

✓ Hot-swappable switches

✓ Full Mac support

Gaming on Mac might not be as popular as gaming on a PC, but it’s a market segment that has gained steam over the past few years. If you’re a dedicated Apple fan, you’ll be glad to know that the Keychron Q1 has you covered for all your gaming needs.


Unlike the Keychron V3, the Q1 isn’t cheap—it’s one of the pricier items on this list. However, if you modify its performance, you’re getting what you pay for, the Q1 offers a full aluminum frame, remappable keys, and support for three-pin and five-pin switches. You can even use the VIA software to set macros, change lighting, or update profiles without fuss.

If you don’t want to swap out switches or program macros, the Q1 can handle all your gaming needs out of the box. It’s equipped with pre-lubed Gateron G Pro Switches for a responsive typing experience, and with a 50 million keystroke rating, they should last you a very long time before needing a replacement.

The Q1 isn’t cheap, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better mechanical keyboard for Mac than this.

Keychron Q1 Wired Custom Mechanical Keyboard Knob Version

Keychron Q1

Best Mechanical Keyboard for Mac

The Keychron Q1 is a bit pricey, but it gives you access to hot-swappable switches, a durable aluminum frame, full support for Mac, and a premium user experience straight out of the box.

FAQ

How do I clean a mechanical keyboard?

There are several steps to cleaning a mechanical keyboard. This includes removing the keycaps, blowing away debris with compressed air, using a brush on difficult spots, and wiping it down with a damp cloth. You can find detailed instructions on how to clean your keyboard in this How-To Geek article.


Do I need to build a mechanical keyboard?

No, you don’t have to build a mechanical keyboard. While building your own mechanical keyboard is an option for customization enthusiasts, there are plenty of great prebuilt mechanical keyboards available in the market. Whether you’re a newcomer or an expert, you’ll find a variety of prebuilt keyboards to suit your needs.

Is a mechanical keyboard better than a normal keyboard?

A mechanical keyboard offers a different typing experience compared to a normal keyboard, which is typically a membrane keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are known for their tactile feedback, responsive keys, and customization options. While normal keyboards are suitable for most tasks, mechanical keyboards can provide a more engaging and satisfying typing experience for those who prefer them.

How do I make a mechanical keyboard quieter?

To make a mechanical keyboard quieter, you can change out the switches with quieter options such as silent linear switches. For example, the Durock Silent Linears are a popular choice. Additionally, you can try placing a desk mat underneath the keyboard or adding foam inside the keyboard to dampen the sound.


Are all mechanical keyboards customizable?

Not all mechanical keyboards are customizable, but most of them offer some level of customization. This can include features like customizable lighting schemes, programmable macros, or the ability to swap out switches. The extent of customization may vary depending on the specific mechanical keyboard model.



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By John P.

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