Best RTS and FPS Mechanical Keyboards for PC Gaming 2017
Having used a mechanical keyboard for the last five years I can tell you that once you make the switch, you'll never go back. While it may not win games for you, its tactile feedback and responsiveness seems to give me an advantage while playing FPS and RTS style games.
Why Choose a Mechanical Keyboard?
There are three main reasons why I always go with a mechanical keyboard. First, mechanical switches outlast the cheap rubber-dome ones that you typically find on common keyboards. In addition, they register more quickly and have a tactile feedback that can help you get rid of typos and ultimately be more accurate with your keys. Lastly, some mechanical keyboards register more quickly because they don't require you to completely bottom out before they register.
8 Top Mechanical Keyboards for RTS and FPS PC Gamers in 2017
There are a lot of really good options in the mechanical keyboard space that I won't be mentioning here. If you'd like to highlight one that you like in particular, then be sure to let everyone know by leaving a comment. That being said the seven following keyboards are not only my favorite, but also the favorites of many in the gaming community.
Corsair Vengeance K95 and K70 Mechanical Keyboard
When Corsair originally released the K90 and K65 a few years ago they weren't exactly what gamers were expecting. Good and inexpensive, yes, but overall they weren't 100% mechanical.
Corsair's Improvements Over Previous Models:
Corsair fixed this with the K95 and K70 Vengeance and made what I consider a near-perfect mechanical keyboard. The white, red, or blue LED backlighting isn't overbearing, and optional features like USB pass through to achieve 20-key rollover really make this keyboard stand out. In addition, you have the option to light only the keys that you'd like.
K95 vs K70 Mechanical Keyboard:
The K95 is for those of you who want lots of programmable G keys. It costs around $20 more and is built extremely well. I recently had the chance to use one and noticed that the G keys were a little far off for me. I ordered the K70 instead which doesn't have the G keys. If you don't need programmable keys, then it might be advisable to do the same. Both use red mechanical switches.
The RGB version of the K70 allows for 16.8M multicolor animation.
Additional G Keys are polarizing. You either love them or hate them. If you have to have them, this is the keyboard you want. Corsair also has a newer keyboard with just a single row of G-Keys; however, that won't be enough for most.
Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 Clicky Mechanical Keyboard
Razer's BlackWidow mechanical keyboard was originally a clicky blue cherry MX. However, recently Razer decided to go with a different type of switch that they designed from the ground up.
So, today Razer uses a green clicky or silent orange switch which is no longer a cherry MX design. Rather, it's a custom Kahil Razer switch. The greens are loud (almost as loud as blues) and the orange I'd call moderately clicky even though it says silent.
Razer calls them "award winning" but honestly you'll have to decide whether you like the feel of them or not. I'd call the feel of them closest to a Cherry MX Blue while the actuation seems to hit a bit sooner and the action is lighter overall.
For the design, the Razer Chroma has a metal casing that feels very solid, quality components, and an RGB design that is top notch. If RGB is important to you, I'd say that the BlackWidow actually does have the brightest and best option around. So, keep that in mind.
Razer is a brand that's very polarizing to many people and this keyboard falls into that category as well. You either absolutely love it or hate it. If you're on the fence, go to your local store and give it a try.
Some people prefer a tenkeyless design. As I've been seeing this one for around as low as $50, I thought I'd throw it here. If it's on sale, it's a great way to get a MX red switch mechanical keyboard on the cheap.
Logitech G910 Orion Spark
As they keys feel so different than the other models on this list, I thought I'd include the G910 on this list. It certainly has good quality and its own type of design.
Romer-G Mechanical Switches
Like Razer, Logitech has gone away from the traditional Cherry MX keys in favor of its own design. The Romer-G keys are a lot like browns but have a lot more sensitivity to them without as much noise. So, if you like keys that actuate very quickly, this may be what you're looking for.
The keys on this keyboard are unique as well as they have a boarder to them that allows you to really locate them. Ultimately, this is nice for gaming, but makes it a little odd to type on. So, I wouldn't use it as a workhorse option for your daily grind.
The Design on the Orion Spark 910 is definitely worthy of a place here. It's different, which I like. The RGB lighting is nice as well, but is certainly something found on many other keyboards at this point in time.
Some may like this keyboard for the Arx dock as well. This makes it easy to see your text messages or some in-game or PC stats.
Ducky Shine 1 and 2 Mechanical Keyboard
If you've never heard of the company name before, then you might chuckle. That being said Ducky is no joke. Their keyboards are some of the favorites among gamers because of their build quality and accuracy.
Order whatever color or switch you want:
With the Ducky Shine 2 you can order it in red, yellow, blue, green, white, and yes, even pink. The backlighting can be adjusted between fully lit and 60%. Also, it allows you to have up to two personalized profiles. In addition, you can order it in any color of MX switch you'd like.
Das Keyboard Professional and Quiet
This German keyboard is super popular among professionals and typists and also an extremely viable option for gamers. This keyboard is available in professional and quiet versions in blue, brown, or red.
It comes with a PS/2 adapter for full n-key rollover, or if you don't need it you can use six-key rollover while using USB 2.0.
If you're looking for a quality keyboard that isn't flashy but more solid overall than many of the other options on here, this is a fantastic choice.
Ultimately, you'll have to decide what kind of keyboard feels the best to you. Some will prefer the class design of the Das Keyboard while others may want the flashiness of the Razer BlackWidow. If you want a design with Cherry MX switches and a flashy design, I highly recommend the Corsair Vengeance series.
Overall, trying out various types of switches and designs is the best way to know what you prefer. This is especially true in today's market with so many new types of switches. Otherwise, you might end up with something that is expensive and doesn't feel the way you want it to.
SteelSeries 6GV2 - A good Budget Mechanical Keyboard Option
If you're wanting something inexpensive that works well, then I strongly recommend you take a look at the 6GV2. It's built like a tank and is available in black and cherry red switches. Like the DAS you can use a PS/2 converter with it for full NKRO.
CM Storm QuickFire - Tenkeyless
Another mechanical keyboard I didn't mention was the CM Storm Quickfire Rapid. It's available in every switch type and is desirable because it has the numpad removed from the base of the keyboard. This can make your keyboard a little easier to manage overall.
What's your favorite mechanical keyboard?
You can help me and our readers out by voting for your favorite below:
What Type of Mechanical Switch is Best?
Red vs Black vs Blue vs Brown
When I'm playing FPS or RTS genre games I try to get every advantage I can get. Depending on the games you play or your personal style you may find that one switch gives you better results than another. Ultimately you may need to test various types of switches in order to know what's right for you. That being said here's some of the advantages and disadvantages to each.
Cherry Red MX Switch:
This color of switch is probably the most popular among FPS gamers, though blue and brown are also widely used. The cherry red MX switch requires the least amount of force to push down and has less tactile feedback than the other switches. Because it's so easy to push down it's also simple to double click.
Cherry MX Black Switch:
This is basically the heavier version of the red switch. Like the red, the black doesn't have an actuation point you can feel, but your keystroke registers when you're pressing about halfway down (2mm out of 4mm).
Cherry MX Blue Switch:
If you're looking for a clicky switch, then this is the one you should get. Compared to the red and the brown, it's a little bit heavier to push down. Because the actuation point is higher than the release point it's a bit difficult to do a lot of double clicking. Overall, it's still pretty common in mechanical keyboards mostly because it's used in Razer's BlackWidow Ultimate. If you're going to use your keyboard at work and work near someone else, then this switch type may be one to avoid.
Cherry MX Brown
The Cherry Brown switch is meant to be a hybrid of other mechanical switches. Essentially it takes more to press it down than a red and less than a blue or black. For tactile feedback it sounds similar to a black switch, and overall has more feedback than a red and less than a blue.
Other Types of Mechanical Switches
There are a lot of other great mechanical switches out there and, depending on your preference, you may like them better than the Cherry ones. Matias and Topre switches are a couple of good ones along with the new Kahil Razer and Logitech Romer-G custom switches. Even the newer Razer mechanical keyboard has custom switches which are not Cherry MX.
These are a few you should definitely consider, but ultimately what feels best is up to you. Be sure to vote in the poll below which has a few other mechanical keyboards of note. Also, don't forget to look at my profile for additional gaming-related posts and see my YouTube channel for up-to-date video reviews.
Mechanical Keyboard YouTube Review
© 2013 Brandon Hart