When it comes to a player’s gaming arsenal, gaming PCs and other peripherals seem to take precedence over gaming keyboards. A gaming keyboard is an important part of the equipment, so it is very important to know how to buy a gaming keyboard. When we talk about how to buy a gaming keyboard, we’re actually talking about the most important factors to consider before making this important purchase.
Modern game keyboards are available in different sizes, with a wide choice of switch types and fun little extras such as RGB backlighting or even integrated wrist rests. Before you buy a keyboard, think about what you’re going to use it for, whether it’s for playing or for a particular kind of work.
At this point you may feel a little depressed, but don’t panic, we cover everything you need to know in this article.
Dimensions of the game keyboard
The gaming keyboards come in different sizes and are designed for people with different needs and work environments. When purchasing a new keyboard, it is important to know what form factor you need. The form factor keyboard is usually in the form of full-size variants, also known as 100% arrays. You can also get a TKL board, which stands for Tenkeyless. TKL keyboards do not have a numeric keyboard and in many cases do not have arrow keys or special functions. The size of the tables varies from the normal size of the keyboard you are probably used to, up to 40%!
The full-size keyboard is the most common and that’s exactly how it sounds. These types of keyboards have a complete set of keys, including the numeric keypad, arrow keys and special function keys. Full-size game keyboards can also accommodate special multimedia controls and sometimes macro keys. The need for macros really depends on your specific needs as a player, but these kinds of boards are more convenient if you have office space.
If you work from home or use the keyboard for activities other than gaming, you may want to consider switching to a normal-sized keyboard, as the smaller TKL options can be a little complicated for trivial tasks such as editing text documents.
Oxygen free plates range from 40 to 80%, so we all have a wide range of sizes for our customization. 80% of the boards are similar to the actual size, but the numerical path is cut. If you go below 65%, the arrow keys will end up in a different format than you are used to, and some of the function keys will be embedded in other keys.
Scaling back to 60% shows that the arrow keys are integrated with the letter keys and that if you want to perform additional functions, you must press Fn + another key to perform basic functions such as screen printing.
What you choose depends on how you want to use it. However, if you have a lack of space, the TKL option may be worth the investment. TKL panels are also easier to transport. If you attend many events or play at a friend’s home, TKL’s wide range of options can be your best bet.
The switch refers to the technology under each button. There are two main types of diaphragms, which we will discuss a little later: mechanical and diaphragms. The technology of each type varies greatly, but the general rule is that the mechanical type is generally better. If you read this and you like membrane keyboards, don’t worry, membrane keyboards still have a lot to offer.
Switches are usually only referred to as switches when it comes to a mechanical game keyboard, and there are a wide variety of types to choose from. Mechanical switches are available in three main variants: linear, snap and tactile. They are all considered good for the game, some are better than others, but the important thing is that each of them has different characteristics – including the feeling, the action pressure and the responsiveness.
Mechanical switches tend to be rather noisy. If you are looking for a quiet gaming keyboard, knowing the different types of mechanical switches will help you avoid getting a product that you hate.
The most common type of switch you will find in a variety of keyboards is the Cherry MX. Cherry MX is considered to be one of the oldest and largest switch manufacturers and has been for many years. Cherry MX switches have been around for a long time and have dominated the market until recently. Today, there are a whole range of Cherry MX clones that may be cheaper, but have similar performance, which means it’s never been easier to find a good gaming keyboard.
Some keyboard manufacturers have also begun producing their own switching technology, including Razer and Logitech.
Mechanical vs. membrane
Mechanical switches use a rod and moving contacts to operate the button if there is a power failure between the metal contacts. Conventional diaphragm/rubber dome switches operate or register the button when the dome is fully depressed and reaches the bottom of the dome, where the contacts eventually meet. A mechanical keypad controls the switches for the return stroke, allowing a shorter stroke of the keys and faster operation.
The main advantage of mechanical switches is their striking sensation and responsiveness. Membrane keyboards are known to have a mushroom feel, which many find uncomfortable. The mechanical switches seem instantaneous, with a smooth, steady stroke. Membrane keypads are generally cheaper and more water resistant, but they wear out faster. One of the layers that can flatten over time are rubber dome switches, which leave a less reactive product. Of course, some people still prefer a membrane keyboard over a mechanical keyboard because they tend to be quieter, so again, it’s really a matter of preference.
Aesthetics, comfort and macros
Small additions have nothing to do with performance, but they can add a lot of comfort and style. Many modern gaming keyboards have RGB backlighting, leaving LED backlighting behind. If you hate RGB, some models do not need it, but it is better to turn off the lights in the settings.
In addition to lighting, there are other functions that significantly increase people’s comfort and safety and make life with the keyboard a little easier. Wrist support is a common feature of the best gaming keyboards on the market, usually comes with very expensive keyboards. Wrist supports of this type can help reduce repetitive strain and relieve pressure on your wrists when typing for extended periods of time.
Of course comfort isn’t everyone’s biggest concern and you can always get an ergonomic gaming keyboard to try and relieve your joints, whether it’s specially designed keyboards or split gaming keyboards.
Other interesting additions include media controls and macro keys. Media control generally makes life easier, whether you’re listening to music or playing a game. The volume wheel may seem superfluous, but that’s probably because you’ve never experienced a keyboard with such a wheel; they’re great.
Not all game keyboards have a macro key. If this is the case, make sure that the model you wish to buy does have macro keys. However, if you don’t have a keyboard and you especially like it, some modern gaming keyboards allow you to reprogram the keys for the same function, so be careful with that.
As with most devices, the same applies here: The more functions there are, the more expensive they are. So be aware of the extra costs that these features can entail and be prepared to pay a high price.
If you buy a mechanical keyboard, you may not know you can upgrade or customize it. Many keyboards come with ABS plastic keyboards, unless stated otherwise. These types of plugs are fine, but they wear out over time compared to the more durable PBT option. This means that your bud will wear out over time until it glows and in some cases the icon will no longer be visible.
Custom keyboards are more than just durability for keyboard enthusiasts, they come in exciting colour combinations and have a variety of stylish fonts that really make the keyboard stand out on your desktop.
If you are considering purchasing a set of keyboards, make sure they are compatible with the keyboard layout and switch type. Compatibility is often mentioned in the specifications, so check this before you buy a set of keys.
Wired vs. Wireless game keyboards
Wireless gaming keyboards, like most gaming peripherals, are less common and tend to be avoided at the top. It’s always about the reliability of wireless technology, because many players want the fastest response.
Wireless technology is constantly evolving, and today we see it in gaming mice, some of which compete at the highest level with their wired counterparts. If you want the cleanest settings and don’t want to bother for a few milliseconds, a wireless gaming keyboard can really make a difference.
Don’t forget that all wireless devices need charging, so be prepared to connect them at some point.
The price varies, like everything else. Most manufacturers offer gaming keyboards for different budgets. Your budget can determine the keyboard you buy, so it’s an important consideration throughout the process.
Clearly, if money isn’t a problem, it’s actually quite easy to buy the best gaming keyboard. That said, if you’re on a tight budget, you may have to compromise and sacrifice some functions to get a product you can afford.
Game keyboards range in price from over $200 to $100, with even some brilliant options for $50. The lower price in some cases means lower quality, less functionality and more membrane switches.
Reputation marks for game keyboards
There are many brands on the market, and choosing a brand can give you a bit of a headache. In our guides we guarantee the best quality and generally recommend products from the leading manufacturers of gaming keyboards.
It’s true that you don’t necessarily need a gaming keyboard to achieve the same result, but below are some of the most common reputable brands that you can trust to provide you with a quality gaming option.
Corsair offers a wide range of peripherals, from PC components to mice, but they are best known for gaming keyboards.
The Corsair keyboards we tested:
Ducky keyboards are a well-known brand for their high-end mechanical keyboards.
Ducky keyboards we tested:
Logitech is another respected brand for high-quality consumer-game peripherals at fair prices.
SteelSeries is another leading brand of gaming keyboards. This brand specialises in peripherals, but their keyboards are among the best on the market.
Razer is a brand that some people love and hate, but their gaming keyboards are actually among the best on the market.
Razor keyboards we tested:
A gaming keyboard is an investment, so it’s important to know how to buy a gaming keyboard. Beginners should start with a relatively inexpensive option and move on to a more serious kit as their skills and needs evolve.
The best paintings can be expensive, but if you’ve read this guide, you’re already in a better position to make sure you don’t waste any money.
Do you want to upgrade your current keyboard? What game keyboard do you have right now? Visit WePC’s community forum and share your experiences with other keyboard enthusiasts in our ever-growing online community.
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