Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Best mechanical keyboards 2023


Why spend hours a day struggling to type on a mushy and imprecise membrane keyboard when there are so many high-quality mechanical options? The best mechanical keyboards aren’t just more comfortable to use. They’re also featured in the best gaming keyboards for their responsiveness and consistency and can give you the edge in competitive games when paired with the power of the best gaming laptops.


Mechanical keyboards are typically more durable than their membrane counterparts, allowing you to customise your typing experience with an extensive range of switch types with a linear, clicky, or tactile feel. We’ve spent hours testing and comparing mechanical keyboards from the top brands to see what they bring to the table. Here are our top picks to help you choose the best mechanical keyboard for your budget and use.

The best mechanical keyboards: Our top picks

Logitech G915

Logitech/ Pocket-lint

Logitech G915

1. Best mechanical keyboard overall

Precision at its finest

$205 $250 Save $45

Logitech’s full-size G915 mechanical keyboard is perfect for work or play and includes wireless connectivity. It also has sturdy build quality and is available with three switch types.

Pros

  • Ideal size for work or play
  • Multiple connectivity modes
  • Three switch options
Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not hot-swappable

Logitech’s G915 remains popular among fans because of its all-around capabilities. Its full-size form factor makes it perfect for everything from spreadsheets to gaming, and it never feels bulky because of its slimline design. Additionally, its grey aluminium top plate is discrete yet elegant without going over the top like many rivals.

It’s not just about looks, and you can choose between Logitech’s proprietary GL Tactile, Linear, and Clicky switches for a customised typing experience. There’s no hot-swap functionality to replace the switches later without soldering, but the three available options should do the trick for most buyers. Connectivity options include Wireless 2.4GHz and Bluetooth, with around 30 hours of battery life on a single charge. Adjusting the per-key RGB lighting or programming the three onboard profiles is easy via Logitech’s GHub app.

There’s no doubt about the G915’s quality and features, but its premium pricing and low-profile keys might turn off some users. In this case, it’s a question of getting what you pay for, and it’s worth every cent, especially due to its robust functionality and durability – which means you won’t have to replace it anytime soon.

SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL Wireless

SteelSeries/ Pocket-lint

SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL Wireless

2. Best premium mechanical keyboard

Premium programability

$200 $250 Save $50

The SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL goes above and beyond what most mechanical keyboards can do with customizable actuation points. You can also program each key to have one function at a half-press and another at a full-press.

Pros

  • Programmable actuation points
  • Duel-function keys
  • Wireless connectivity
Cons

  • Expensive
  • Only worth it if you use all the features

The SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL Wireless is the best option if money’s no object and you want to experience true innovation. Unlike most gaming keyboards, it offers customisable actuation points with its OmniPoint 2.0 switches, so you can set each keypress to between 0.1 and 4.0 millimetres. You can also set two actuation points for each key to have one function at a half-press and another at a full-press. Additionally, the OLED screen in the top right corner can display system information or custom images.

Build quality is top-notch, with a plastic base, an aluminium top plate, and durable doubleshot PBT keycaps. There are also multiple connectivity options, including wired, 2.4GHz and Bluetooth, with a battery life of up to 45 hours. Adjusting the actuation points, per-key RGB lighting, five custom profiles and other settings with the SteelSeries Engine app is a breeze.

This keyboard’s compact Tenkeyless (TKL) size is popular because it frees up precious desk space without losing much functionality by removing the numpad. If you can get around its steep price, it’s worth it if you’ll actually use its extensive feature set. If not, you’re probably better off saving your cash and getting one of the alternatives listed here instead.

Glorious GMMK TKL

Glorious / Pocket-lint

Glorious GMMK TKL

3. Best value mechanical keyboard

Get the most out of your mechanical keyboard

$59 $69 Save $10

The Glorious GMMK TKL offers some of the best customisation options at an affordable price. Four keycap options are available, and you can use any switches you like with the hot-swap capability.

Pros

  • Hot-swappable
  • Sturdy design
  • Outstanding value
Cons

  • Dim RGB lighting
  • No wireless

The Glorious GMMK TKL proves that a quality keyboard with outstanding customisation options doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Its standout feature is its hot-swapping capability, allowing you to use any mechanical switches from popular brands like Cherry, Gateron, and Kailh without requiring soldering. This means you can customise each keypress depending on whether you’re coding, gaming or typing documents.

Personalisation doesn’t end there, and you can also choose between Black, White and two-tone Aura Black and Aura White doubleshot keycaps. There’s also a range of custom keycaps available from the Glorious site. All the add-ons only enhance an already tough keyboard with a stylish aluminium top plate and a detachable 1.8-metre braided cable. It keeps things simple in the connectivity department with a wired connection and no 2.4GHz or Bluetooth to complicate things.

Some buyers might not appreciate the lack of wireless connectivity, and the RGB lighting isn’t the brightest. These minor drawbacks don’t detract from the GMMK’s overall quality. It’s well worth it if you want a bespoke typing experience with unique keycaps for a fraction of the price of our premium picks.

Mountain Everest Max

Mountain / Pocket-lint

Mountain Everest Max Mechanical Keyboard

4. Best modularity mechanical keyboard

Media dock and modularity

$230 $300 Save $70

Mountain’s Everest Max Mechanical Keyboard offers unparalleled versatility with a detachable numpad to convert it from full-size to TKL and back again in seconds. There’s also a hot-swab capability and four additional macro buttons with customisable TFT icons.

Pros

  • Detachable Numpad
  • Hot-swappable
  • Includes a Media Dock

Many brands claim to have modular keyboards, but Mountain takes it to another level with the full-size Everest Max. It gives you the best of both worlds with a detachable Numpad to transform it from a full-size keyboard to a TKL and back again in seconds. The Numpad can also fit on the left or right for added convenience and includes four programmable buttons with customisable TFT icons.

If that wasn’t enough in terms of unique features, there’s a round Media Dock that connects to the keyboard via USB to control and change the volume, skip tracks, and more. Instead of conventional flip feet, the Everest Max uses a series of stacked magnetic discs that aren’t as user-friendly but are more stable. Topping it off is a hot-swap capability, allowing you to choose whichever switches you prefer from the most popular brands.

With so many features, it’s easy to forgive the lack of wireless connectivity. The Basecamp customisation app is intuitive but offers basic functionality compared to many mainstream rivals. The Everest Max still gets most things right, and its unparalleled modularity makes it perfect for people wanting a full-size keyboard for work and a TKL for gaming or travelling.

Ducky Mecha Mini V2

Ducky/ Pocket-lint

Ducky Mecha Mini V2

5. Best compact mechanical keyboard

Compact and capable

Ducky’s Mecha Mini V2 is a small yet tough 60 per cent keyboard with a full aluminium housing. It doesn’t offer hot-swap functionality, but there’s no need to worry because it’s available with the most popular switches on the market.

Pros

  • Full Aluminium housing
  • Compact size
  • Plug and play
Cons

  • No Software for RGB lighting
  • Too small for some users

Ducky’s Mecha Mini V2 is a compact 60 per cent keyboard with the arrow keys, and numpad cut-off to keep the size down. Its compact size makes it perfect for people on the go, and there’s no worrying about it getting damaged in transit thanks to the full aluminium casing and detachable USB-C cable. Even the two-level feet are made from durable zinc alloy, so they won’t break anytime soon.

An extensive list of compatible switches is available for the Mecha Mini V2, including popular Red, Blue, and Brown variants from Cherry MX and Kailh, so most buyers won’t worry about the lack of hot-swap functionality. The durable double-shot keycaps won’t wear out anytime soon, and Ducky throws in another 12 alternative keycaps with random designs to spice things up. Working in dark places isn’t an issue with the vivid backlighting, although there’s no app and all the settings on the keyboard itself.

Compact keyboards aren’t for everyone but are highly valued by gamers and travellers for their portable nature. The Ducky Mecha Mini V2 excels because of its simplicity and durability. It also offers decent value and comes at a fair price, considering its quality.

ASUS ROG Azoth

ASUS / Pocket-lint

Asus ROG Azoth

6. Best mechanical keyboard for gaming

A gaming dream

$234 $250 Save $16

Pros

  • Swappable switches
  • Durable
  • Three connectivity options
Cons

  • Pricey
  • Only comes in one size

The ASUS ROG Azoth is the best mechanical keyboard for gaming because of its incredible feature set and all-around performance. Its 75 per cent layout also frees up desk space for wider mouse movements and makes it easy to carry to tournaments. Despite its compact size, it still feels hefty, thanks to the reassuring weight of the stylish gunmetal aluminium frame.

You get three switch options from the factory, including ROG NX Reds, Browns, and Blues, and ASUS includes a keycap and switch puller to swap them out for whichever alternative you prefer. Most players will connect with 2.4GHz, and there’s also Bluetooth and a detachable USB cable to charge it when it’s run out of juice. The per-key RGB lighting is expected on a premium keyboard, and the OLED display offers fun and utility by displaying system information and custom images.

Asus Rog Azoth - Best gaming keyboards

The best rarely comes cheap, and the Azoth proves it with a hefty price tag that will certainly put off many buyers. Those willing to part with their cash will experience a sublime gaming experience from one of the best in the business with no regrets.

Macally Keyboard for Mac

Macally Keyboard for Mac

Macally Keyboard for Mac

7. Best mechanical keyboard for Mac

Mechanical for Mac

$40 $80 Save $40

Macally’s Keyboard for Mac has a clean, professional look and vivid white backlighting. It has Mac-specific legends and Kailh Brown switches for a comfortable typing experience.

Pros

  • Specifically designed for Mac
  • Great price
  • Clean design
Cons

  • Available with one switch type
  • Wired only

Many mechanical Mac keyboards we’ve tested cost hundreds of dollars. Macally’s Keyboard for Mac bucks the trend, offering practical features in an affordable package. This no-frills TKL option has an all-white design with Mac-specific legends to make Apple users feel at home.

The Macally Keyboard has vivid and professional-looking white backlighting instead of multicoloured RGB to keep things simple and in line with the clean aesthetic. Some buyers might find it too basic with Kailh Browns as the only available switch type, although typists and gamers probably won’t mind.

The Macally keyboard probably has fewer features than many of the keyboards listed here, but it’s also its biggest strength. Many buyers don’t need to swap switches or OLED displays and just need a comfortable keyboard that gets things done with little fuss.

ROYAL KLUDGE RK61

Royal Kludge/ Pocket-lint

ROYAL KLUDGE RK61

8. Best budget mechanical keyboard

Mechanical for less

$43 $64 Save $21

The Royal Kludge RK61 Wireless proves you can get a feature-laden mechanical keyboard for a low price. It includes wireless connectivity, swappable switches, and a compact 60 per cent size.

Pros

  • Low Price
  • Wireless
  • Hot-swappable switches
Cons

  • Plastic housing
  • Compact size has a steep learning curve

The compact 60 per cent RK61 Wireless is perfect for people wanting to sample a mechanical keyboard without a significant cash outlay. Its plastic construction is acceptable considering the price and doesn’t detract from the stylish all-white look and easy-to-carry design that can go anywhere with you.

For an affordable option, the RK61 is packed with premium features. Swapping out the standard RK Red, Blue, and Brown switches for whichever alternatives you prefer is easy. Addtionally, there are three connectivity options, including 2.4GHz, Bluetooth, and wired, so you’re spoiled for choice.

Getting the RK61 is a no-brainer if you’re on a limited budget or want to try out a mechanical keyboard for the first time. It offers impressive value with hot-swappable switches and wireless connectivity, but it might take some getting used to if you’re accustomed to full-size keyboards.

Bottom line: Which is the best mechanical keyboard?

It depends on what you’re using it for. For example, office workers needing a full-size keyboard can check out the Logitech G915 or Macally Keyboard for Mac. Gamers can try out the compact ASUS ROG Azoth or SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL if they want extensive customisation options and more deskspace for mouse movements.

The modular Mountain Everest Max is a two-in-one keyboard, converting from full-size to TKL in seconds with a detachable numpad. Buyers looking for the most compact keyboards can try the 60 per cent Ducky Mecha Mini V2 and Royal Kludge RK61. The Glorious GMMK TKL offers the best value with impressive customisation options, but it’s a wired only option.

Logitech G915

Logitech/ Pocket-lint

Logitech G915

Editor’s Choice

$205 $250 Save $45

How did we choose these mechanical keyboards?

Our experts review mechanical keyboards all year round and have hands-on experience with most models listed here. There are many factors to consider when evaluating mechanical keyboards, but the main ones are build quality, functionality, customisation options, and price.

All the keyboards mentioned on our list come from reputable brands and are sturdy enough for heavy use. Most have sturdy aluminium construction, and those that don’t are durable despite their budget-friendly price tag.

Functionality is another critical aspect of any keyboard, and we test their wired and wireless connectivity options, RGB lighting, apps, and other features to see how they stack up to the top performers.

It’s always nice to have something unique, and we also examine the hot-swap functionality and available switches and keycaps to see which ones offer the most.

There’s no getting away from the cost when buying any hardware items because it’s often the deciding factor in whether you get it or not. When recommending the best mechanical keyboards, we try to stick to options offering good value and include several price points, so there’s at least one for every type of user.

Which is the best mechanical keyboard?

There are many great mechanical keyboards for different uses. Full-size options like Logitech’s G915 and the Macally Keyboard for Mac are best for office work, while TKL models like the ASUS Azoth and SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL Wireless are ideal for gaming.

What are the three main types of mechanical keyboards?

The three main types are linear, tactile, and clicky, and the corresponding switches are usually red, brown, and blue, respectively.

Are there any 100 per cent wireless mechanical keyboards?

Yes, there are many 100 per cent wireless mechanical keyboards, such as the Logitech G915, topping our list.

Is it worth it to buy a mechanical keyboard?

Yes, it’s worth getting a mechanical keyboard if you spend many hours at your computer daily because they provide a precise and consistent typing feel. Mechanical keyboards are often more durable than membrane alternatives and have better customisation options.



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