Best gaming keyboards in Australia

Using the best gaming keyboard can define the line between first place or being just another casualty on the virtual battlefield. Here are our top 5.

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The best gaming keyboards for 2021:

  1. Best gaming keyboard overall: HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
  2. Best hybrid gaming keyboard: Razer Huntsman Elite
  3. Best compact gaming keyboard: Logitech G PRO X
  4. Best gaming keyboard for customisation: Razer Ornata V2
  5. Best wireless gaming keyboard: Logitech G915

How did we pick this list?

Finder's team of experts have tested and reviewed every gaming keyboard on this list. For each model, we consider the design, performance, features and overall value compared to other gaming keyboards on the market. The selection and order is not based on review scores. More detail on methodology below.

HyperX Alloy Elite RGB

Best gaming keyboard overall

HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Image: Matt Sayer/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Fast, highly-responsive keys that feel satisfying to hit
  • Sturdy and durable design
  • The first HyperX keyboard to feature full RGB customisation
  • One seriously comfortable wrist rest

Cons

  • That hefty price tag
Why we chose it

The Alloy Elite RGB sits in our prime position because it's a durable keyboard with a simple design that you get to pimp out with your choice of RGB patterns. Its actuation is exceptional and above all comfortable to use for those lengthy gaming sessions, which also means it crucially passes the test for being your everyday work keyboard as well.

Note: Kingston released the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 in August 2020. However, it doesn't come with Cherry MX switches and we still prefer the original. Get it while you still can.

Read Finder's full HyperX Alloy Elite RGB review


Razer Huntsman Elite

Best hybrid gaming keyboard

Razer Huntsman Elite
Image: Brodie Fogg/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Toes the line between clicky and linear.
  • Impressive (if not totally justified) innovation.
  • Detachable wrist rest and dedicated media keys are a nice luxury with more possibilities down the line.
  • A delightfully tactile typing experience.

Cons

  • The racket this thing makes might be NSFW for some.
  • Synapse for Mac needs some TLC.
Why we chose it

Want to strike the fear of God into your opponents with your aggressive keyboard play? Of course you do. Razer's Huntsman Elite is one of the loudest keyboards we've tested, but it does so with hybrid opto-mechanical switches that require less force to press and should have greater durability than classic mechanical types.

Read Finder's full Razer Huntsman Elite review


Logitech G Pro X

Best compact gaming keyboard

Logitech G Pro X
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Choice of key styles
  • Keys and switches are highly swappable
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Keys are hard to read without RGB lighting enabled
  • Replacement switch sets are expensive
  • Clicky model is very loud
Why we chose it

The Logitech Pro X doesn't look like much more than a simple gaming keyboard with the requisite RGB lighting installed, but as your mother used to tell you, beauty is more than skin deep. The secret that could make the Pro X compelling to you is that it features not only removable keys, but removable key switches.

Don't want extra-clicky hard keys any more? Swap them out, individually or all at once depending on your preferences. It's the absolute extreme end of customisable gaming keyboards. It won't be for everyone, but some folks will adore it.

Read Finder's full Logitech G PRO X review


Razer Ornata V2

Best gaming keyboard for customisation

Razer Ornata V2
Image: Matt Sayer/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Mecha-membrane switches deliver clear and consistent feedback, while feeling soft to the touch
  • Leatherette wrist rest is comfortable and supportive
  • Synapse app makes customisation a breeze

Cons

  • On the higher end of the price spectrum for a non-mechanical keyboard
  • It's not drastically different from the original Razer Ornata Chroma
Why we chose it

The Razer Ornata V2 makes small yet smart improvements to the original Ornata Chroma which was released back in 2017. Like its predecessor, it's an excellent gaming keyboard that balances precision. Although the clean and simple style is largely the same, it now comes with a new multi-function wheel and media keys which are very welcome additions.

The custom mecha-membrane switches aren't quite as reliable as a mechanical keyboard but they're significantly more resilient than a traditional membrane version. If you're a fan of RGB lighting, the included app's Chroma Studio section is a great tool to tinker with, allowing you to layer individual lighting effects on top of each other with a wide range of speeds, colours and layouts to choose from.

Read Finder's full Razer Ornata V2 review


Logitech G915 Mechanical Keyboard

Best wireless gaming keyboard

Logitech G915 Mechanical Keyboard
Image: Matt Sayer/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Low-profile switches provide a good balance of high responsiveness and mechanical feedback
  • Packs all the bells and whistles you could want from a gaming keyboard
  • Lightspeed wireless performance is excellent

Cons

  • Comes with a hefty price tag
  • Low-profile switches aren't going to appeal to everyone
Why we chose it

If you can stomach the hefty price tag, the Logitech G915 is one of the best wireless gaming keyboards on the market. It benefits from a sturdy steel and aluminium chassis that's impressively thin for a mechanical keyboard. The design is mature and understated enough to double as a business keyboard. But the real stars are the low-profile switches – they're highly responsive while still providing solid feedback during online gaming.

Read Finder's full Logitech G915 review


How to choose the best gaming keyboard

  • Keys are absolutely key: The heart of any gaming keyboard are the keys and switches that lie beneath them. At the cheaper end of the spectrum you're more likely to hit membrane-based keyboards that work by running a current between plastic membranes under each key. They're cheap to produce, which means that they're cheap to buy, but durability and speed aren't their strong suit. Switching up – pun intended – you get to mechanical switches of varying quality and speed. There's also a range of hybrid approaches that use a mix of mechanical mechanisms and optical sensors to determine the difference between a mis-tap and a proper thumping keystroke.
  • Switches are a matter of taste: There's no "wrong" or "right" answer to whether you prefer the quieter and lower profile linear type or the more tactile clicky type switch underneath your fingers. For some gamers, there's nothing like the machine-gun noise that you get from a clicky switch and these are usually the switches that afford the longest individual key travel. Others will prefer a quieter keyboard with lower key travel for faster actuation.
  • Size matters: Again this is a personal preference matter and may well depend on the kinds of games you play. At one end you've got the tenkeyless compact approach, which is great if you travel with your keyboard because it'll take up much less travel space – or less space on your desk. At the other end you can go all out with keyboards that not only include the number pad but any number of additional gaming functions, media keys and control features.
  • Subtle lighting? Never heard of it: There's little doubt that most gaming keyboards stand out due to the inclusion of sometimes-garish RGB lighting. There's an immense quantity of variance here, not just in colours but also customisation options, whether you do prefer an all-out approach that looks like a lost night in Las Vegas or something distinctly more subtle that conveys your own individual brand.
  • Wired or wireless? You'll always pay more for a wireless option, and you've got to keep it charged, but most good gaming keyboards manage many hours of usage before requiring more juice. If your PC streams up to a TV, having a keyboard you can use on the sofa is a lot of fun, but some gamers are more in the camp of sitting at a desk where wireless is less vital.
  • Price versus performance: The reality if you just want a mechanical keyboard is that you can score that for under $100 pretty easily. Justifying any price above that means that a gaming keyboard has to go above and beyond in some way, whether that's with better RGB lighting, key switch or cap options or other additional features.

Amazon prices last updated on 22 January, 2022 at 09:03 pm
eBay prices last updated on 22 January, 2022 at 05:02 pm

Methodology

15+
Brands considered
109
Keyboards compared
5
Products chosen
  • We tested and reviewed every keyboard model on this list.
  • We compared gaming keyboards that could be purchased online by Australian consumers.
  • The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.

Why buy a gaming keyboard?

If you're serious about PC gaming, you'll want to consider upgrading to a dedicated gaming keyboard. While it shouldn't be the first component that you level up (that honour goes to either your graphics card or your monitor), as your primary input device, you'll notice improvements to your performance with the right keyboard.

Gaming keyboards are designed to have faster response times and extra gaming-specific features like customisable hotkeys, and they nearly always come packed with enough pulsing colourful lights to deck out a nightclub.

Membrane vs mechanical

There are two main technologies in the gaming keyboard space, each with different tactile qualities.

Membrane keyboards tend to be found in cheaper standalone gaming keyboards or built into most laptops. Inputs are registered when an electrical current is passed between the rubber membrane attached to the underside of a key and the larger rubber membrane that sits beneath the entire keyboard. Keystrokes are logged ever-so-slightly slower than on mechanical keyboards. Keys also don't spring back up as quickly, meaning that at the elite level of play, your potential actions per minute (APM) is lower. The upside, though, is that membrane keyboards are far quieter.

Mechanical keyboards function essentially like typewriters of old, with springs and levers being depressed. They're faster and more responsive, but the loud, constant clicking sound they make is borderline inconsiderate for office environments. However, f you're at home and more concerned about in-game performance than office etiquette, mechanical keyboards are the only way to go.

How to compare gaming keyboards

Cost

If you're after a top-of-the-line gaming keyboard, you could spend up to $350 on one. Premium models typically include ultra-responsive mechanical switches, ergonomic features that help with long play sessions by minimising hand and finger cramps, and all the neon-drenched aesthetic bells and whistles you could ask for. Most premium keyboards also allow for a high degree of customisation, like optional textured keycaps for the all-important WASD keys, and even the ability to set different actuation points (the amount of pressure that registers a keystroke) for each individual key. At lower price points you lose many of these premium features, but you can still find a quality keyboard in the $180-$250 range.

Backlights

Let's be honest: much of the appeal of a gaming keyboard is in the fancy backlighting that illuminates the keys (and the surrounding room). The cheapest keyboards won't have this feature, but as soon as you move away from the budget tier, you'll begin to get single-colour varieties (most often red), then RGB (red, green, blue), and then, at the top end, keyboards capable of displaying 16.8 billion colours. If this sounds ridiculously excessive, that's because it is. While it can look fantastic, make sure that you have the ability to control the strobe pattern and to turn lights off/down, because the glare can be distracting in dark rooms.

Genre-specific features

If you're mostly an MMO or MOBA player, consider a keyboard with easy-to-access programmable hotkeys, especially if you don't own a gaming mouse with this feature. To program the commands assigned to each key (called macros), you'll need to use the driver software that comes with your keyboard. It's worth researching which of these programs people find easiest to use.

Comfort

Comfort is determined by the size of your hands compared to the size of the keyboard, your playstyle, any medical conditions you may have and ergonomic features like palm ramps and special key configurations. Although user and critic reviews are useful guides, to a large degree, what you find comfortable will come down to personal preference, so we'd simply recommend heading into a computer store and getting hands-on if you can.

Size

Gaming keyboards generally have larger footprints than standard keyboards because they've crammed in up to 15 extra keys and have ergonomic features like palm ramps. As a result, your desk real estate will be at a premium. If you know you don't need those extra macro keys, or even the number pad that typically sits on the right side of a keyboard, leaner models are available. You'll always be able to find a keyboard's dimensions on the manufacturer's website, so measure your desk space and see what you can get away with.

Three things to consider

  • Compatibility. If you already own a gaming mouse and/or headset, there's an advantage to sticking with the same brand for your keyboard. Doing so means you'll only need to run one configuration program for all your customised settings across your devices.
  • Dedicated media keys. These are far from essential, but having the option to adjust the volume or skip to the next audio track without needing to exit your game or even remove your hands away from the keyboard is a nice touch. Particularly if you're playing online multiplayer a lot and can't pause the action.
  • Switch types. Mechanical gaming keyboards utilise switches manufactured by third-parties. These all have different profiles that impact tactile sensation, response time and noise generated. For example, Cherry MX Black switches are considered to be "quiet", while Cherry MX Blue switches are classified as "loud". If you've opted for a mechanical keyboard, you will need to accept a certain amount of noise, but there is a spectrum, and slightly quieter switches might make all the difference to you.

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