Light under keys Steelseries Apex Pro TKL Keyboard
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek
Update, 03/27/2023: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and have updated our best overall and best TKL gaming keyboard picks.

What to Look For in a Gaming Keyboard in 2023

Chances are high that you have used a keyboard at some point in your life. So, what separates a gaming keyboard from the keyboards that come packaged with your computer? There are a few important things to consider with a keyboard meant for gaming.

First, gaming keyboards generally have higher build quality than standard keyboards. A keyboard you pick up in your local electronics store is meant for general daily use, while a gaming keyboard should be built to withstand years of constant key-mashing and heavy use.

A huge factor in keyboard design is the difference between mechanical and membrane keys. Mechanical gaming keyboards have individual switches for each key and are generally preferred among hardcore gamers and even hardcore typists.

There are so many options out there for mechanical key switches, and they are usually color-coded based on their unique feel. Your preferences may vary, but if you don’t have much experience with the various kinds of switches don’t worry. There are plenty of guides online to help explain keyboard terms.

Many mechanical keyboards give you the option to swap the keys out for different ones. On top of that, you have to consider the build quality of these switches, and how long they will last. Most keyboards come with information on how many presses the keys are rated for. High-quality key switches are a key aspect of choosing the right keyboard.

The form factor is another important attribute of gaming keyboards. In recent years, smaller keyboards such as TKL and 60% boards have become popular among gaming fans. “TKL” stands for “tenkeyless,” and refers to a keyboard without a number pad. A 60% board is 60% of a full-size keyboard and is even smaller. They’re lightweight, cost-effective, and removing things like the number pad can free up precious desk space for mouse movement.

A huge factor in buying a gaming keyboard is cost. Luckily, there are boards available at a wide range of price points. Some top-of-the-range keyboards may seem excessive, but most manufacturers offer scaled-down versions of their products to fit any budget.

Last but not least, there are aesthetics. As we all know, half the reason to build a high-powered gaming PC is to have enough LED lights that it can be seen from space. As a result, most keyboards designed for gaming come with built-in RGB lighting.

These can get very intricate and downright outrageous at times. Sure, if you’re only interested in pure efficiency, RGB may not be a topic that concerns you. But in the world of gaming keyboards, this is important. Many of the top brands in keyboards put as much focus into RGB as they do into making great keyboards, so thankfully, this is a scenario where you can have your cake and eat it too.

With all of these topics covered, let’s talk about some of the best keyboards available today.

Best Gaming Keyboard Overall: Keychron Q5 QMK

Keychron Q5 QMK
Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek


  • Premium materials and construction
  • Tons of customization options
  • Smooth typing experience


  • Expensive

Incredibly capable right out of the box and able to further customize its performance, the Keychron Q5 QMK is a remarkable keyboard. Whether you’re looking to build a powerful gaming battle station or a premium work-from-home setup, the Q5 QMK deserves a closer look.

Customization is the big selling point of this board, as you can tweak it to your heart’s content. From easily swappable keycaps and hot-swappable switches to adjustable lighting and more, there’s almost no limit to the number of ways you can alter the standard Q5 QMK. You can read more about the customization options on our sister site Review Geek’s review of the Keychron Q5 QMK:

If customization is king in your mind, you want a Keychron keyboard. Not only can you swap out keycaps and switches on a moment’s notice, but the options available to you in VIA, the customization software Keychron employs for its QMK boards, can create a light show of your own design or set complicated macros to save time.

Of course, the gadget is perfectly suitable to use straight out of the box—but the ability to put your own spin on its performance is compelling.

Rounding out its spec list, you’ll find an anodized aluminum case and steel top plate, sound-absorbing interior foam, simple USB-C input, and an array of switch types that make it easy to find something that fits your needs.

It’s one of the more expensive keyboards on the market, but the Keychron Q5 QMK is an absolute powerhouse that’s an easy recommendation for anyone seeking the best product money can buy.

Best Gaming Keyboard Overall

Keychron Q5 RGB Wired Custom Mechanical Keyboard

Read Review Geek's Full Review

Built with quality materials and with heaps of customization options, few keyboards are as versatile as this. It's also perfectly optimized out of the box, so even if you don't tinker with its settings, you'll get a premium experience.

Best Keyboard Under $100: HyperX Alloy Origins Core

Person using HyperX Alloy Origins keyboard


  • Compact design
  • High-quality build for an excellent price
  • Keys have great feel and sound


  • Tied to Ngenuity software which controls all RGB and macros
  • Ngenuity application is only available through Mircosoft store and must always be running

A hundred dollars is still a lot to spend on a keyboard, but that’s the price point you want to hit if you’re looking for something great without completely breaking the bank. For that, you’ll want the HyperX Alloy Origins Core.

Even at just under $100, you get your money’s worth with this compact tenkeyless (TKL) package. First of all, it looks fantastic. The RGB lights under the keys create some seriously cool backlighting, and there are plenty of effects to play around with to get the most out of the lights.

The board is built on an aluminum body with HyperX’s own mechanical switches. If you can splash out the extra few bucks the aqua switches are a particularly great blend of tactile and smooth, as well as being rated up to 80 million clicks.

Overall the Alloy Origins Core is just a great deal, a very high-quality keyboard for a reasonable price. There’s a reason this keyboard has become so popular, and it would be wise to consider if you don’t want to pay Huntsman V2 prices.

Best Gaming Keyboard Under $100

HyperX Alloy Origins Core

A top-notch keyboard with excellent mechanical keys and customizable RGB, The Alloy Origins Core is a fantastic deal at a great price.

Best Gaming Keyboard Under $50: Corsair K55 RGB Pro

Corsair K55 closeup


  • Great value for the price
  • Surprising amount of extra features


  • Membrane keyboard, not as nice and won't last as long

For a gaming keyboard under fifty dollars, it’s rare to get as many features as you do with the Corsair K55 RGB Pro. It’s a full-size keyboard with dedicated macro keys and media keys. Throw in some nifty RGB and you have a great starting point for any PC gamer. You might not see many of these features on boards double that price.

Obviously, there is a reason why this board is cheaper than the others on this list, the primary one being that this is a membrane keyboard, not a mechanical one.

Membrane keys can often feel mushy and less responsive. They are not the preferred style for most gaming enthusiasts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. For a starter keyboard, this is an excellent choice.

Best Gaming Keyboard Under $50

Corsair K55 RGB Pro

An excellent entry-level keyboard, and a great option for gamers on a budget.

Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard: Logitech G915 TKL

Logitech G915 TKL graphic


  • Small form keeps the desk clean and clear
  • Plenty of extra features
  • Long battery life


  • Though miniscule, wireless still has lag compared to wired

Wireless is often a dirty word in gaming peripherals. Anything that might bring more lag into the equation is quickly eliminated. However, wireless is convenient and cool, and none do it better than Logitech with the G915 TKL.

Maybe your PC is a bit far away, you are planning to hook your PC up to your living room TV, or you are just allergic to cables on your desk. For whatever reason you would like to go the wireless route for your keyboard, this should be your first port of call.

Were it a wired board, the G915 would be a top contender in the TKL market. The build quality is top-notch, the design is subtle but still very attractive, and you still get RGB keys and dedicated media buttons. Battery life is of major concern with any wireless devices, but with the G915 you get a pretty impressive thirty hours of use with full RGB before the board needs to be charged.

As a mechanical RGB board with best-in-class wireless connectivity, you couldn’t do much better than the G915 for a clean wireless setup.

Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G915 TKL

Wireless is always nice, and the G915 TKL pushes the boundaries of what a wireless gaming keyboard can do.

Best TKL Gaming Keyboard: SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL

Close up of Steelseries Apex Pro TKL Keyboard Angled
Hannah Stryker / How-To Geek


  • Powerful customization software
  • Multiple connection types
  • Luxurious build quality


  • Expensive
  • Underwhelming Bluetooth mode

SteelSeries is one of the best-known names in PC gaming, with dozens of popular products in its catalog. The Apex Pro TKL is a part of that catalog, offering a luxurious design, blistering fast performance, and tons of customization options that can’t be found on other keyboards.

The review of the Apex Pro TKL at our sister site Review Geek can tell you more about the customization:

If you like options, the Apex Pro TKL Wireless (2023) does a stand-out job of providing plenty of them. I used my Apex Pro with the default settings before diving into the customization process. The default settings felt great—but customizing felt even better. If you’re a gamer and typist who likes control, you’ll want to use those five profiles to your advantage.

The tenkeyless design is a great format for gamers—and SteelSeries packed the Apex Pro with plenty of features that should bring a smile to every gamer’s face. For one, it boasts OmniPoint 2.0 switches that allow for adjustable actuation depths that give you unprecedented control over how (and when) your keystrokes are registered.

It also comes with customizable user profiles to modify your settings for individual games or set one up specifically for non-game tasks like typing up a paper.

Best of all, SteelSeries gave the Apex Pro TKL three connection options—wired via USB, wireless via USB receiver, and wireless via Bluetooth. Bluetooth isn’t quite as responsive as the other two, although it’s a great option for daily tasks such as browsing the web or sending an email.

Toss in robust customization options offered by the SteelSeries Engine, and you’ve got the best TKL keyboard around. It’s a bit expensive, but it deserves a closer look if you don’t mind increasing your budget.

Best TKL Gaming Keyboard

SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL Wireless

Read Review Geek's Full Review

The Apex Pro TKL is built to a remarkably high standard, gives you tons of customization options, and features adjustable OmniPoint 2.0 switches for luxurious gaming sessions.

Best 60% Gaming Keyboard: GMMK 60 Percent Compact

GMMK 60% keyboard on white desk
Glorious PC Gaming


  • Modular switch design
  • Compatible with most third-party keycaps
  • Available in both black and white designs


  • Bit expensive for the class
  • Lighting software isn't the most robust

This diminutive class of keyboards has come a long way over the past few years. What used to be a niche market is now flooded with high-end products from big-name manufacturers. And despite the stiff competition from bigger brands, the GMMK 60% Percent Compact is about as good as a 60% board can get.

The GMMK comes with preinstalled mechanical switches, although the modular keyboard lets you easily swap them out for others without any soldering or technical know-how. If you’re averse to soldering, that alone is worth the price of admission.

You’ll likely be more than happy with the included switches anyway, as the Gateron Brown Tactile Mechanical switches offer enough tactile feedback for gaming while also being quiet enough not to annoy your roommate or wake up the entire house.

Its unique, modular capabilities immediately put it ahead of most of the competition, but Glorious didn’t stop there. The GMMK Compact also includes a built-in stand, RGB lights, a full aluminum top plate, and a layout that’s compatible with most third-party keycaps—giving you another way to customize your keyboard.

The GMMK is available in both black and white variants, and it’s reasonably priced at right around $100. Sure, you’ll find more affordable keyboards in this class, but few can offer the firepower of this tiny-but-mighty beast from Glorious.

Best 60% Gaming Keyboard

GMMK 60% Percent Compact

Its modular switch design makes it easy to customize the keyboard as you see fit, but it also comes with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a $100+ product. At the end of the day, there's little to complain about with this little, pint-sized keyboard.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Best Keyboards of 2023

Keychron Q6
Best Keyboard Overall
Keychron Q6
Logitech MK270 Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Best Budget Keyboard
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Wooting 60HE
Best Wired Gaming Keyboard
Wooting 60HE
Logitech G915 TKL
Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard
Logitech G915 TKL
Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
Best Bluetooth Keyboard
Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard
Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
Best Ergonomic Keyboard
Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
Logitech G915 TKL
Best TKL Keyboard
Logitech G915 TKL
Wooting 60HE
Best 60% Keyboard
Wooting 60HE
Apple Magic Keyboard
Best Mac Keyboard
Apple Magic Keyboard
Profile Photo for Kris Wouk Kris Wouk
Kris Wouk is a freelance tech writer and musician with over 10 years of experience as a writer and a lifetime of experience as a gadget fan. He has also written for Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, Android Authority, and Sound Guys. At MakeUseOf, he was Section Editor in charge of the site's Mac coverage.
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David McAdam
David McAdam is a freelance writer from Ireland with several years of experience writing on video games, entertainment and tech. He came to writing after a background in tech retail, so he knows a bargain when he sees one.
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