List of Gaming Keyboard Testers & How To Use a Tester Properly
Is your gaming keyboard starting to show signs of defect? Or maybe you’re trying to buy a new or used gaming keyboard and would like to test its integrity. You may have considered using a word processor to test this integrity. However, you will need an accurate way of checking whether all the keys on your gaming keyboard are working correctly. In this article, we’ll cover the types of gaming keyboard testers and also how to use them properly.
A gaming keyboard tester checks that all of the keys on a keyboard are working correctly, online through a browser or through downloadable software. Use a gaming keyboard tester to ensure all the keys on a second-hand keyboard work, to see how many keys can register at once, or check for ghosting. Use the tester to diagnose issues with the function keys and identify whether any difficulties originate from the keyboard's hardware.
When users are unsure whether their keys are damaged, especially with keys that are not efficiently checked, such as F1 to F12, Scroll Lock, and Insert, a gaming keyboard tester comes in handy. Gaming keyboard testing is one of the most effective, impactful, and straightforward tasks that any gamer can perform to identify most gaming keyboard issues. Unfortunately, if it’s not done well or not done at all, it can come back to bite later. According to this article by Microsoft, a keyboard tester can be useful in detecting ghost key combinations that do not work correctly on your keyboard.
What Is a Gaming Keyboard Tester?
A gaming keyboard tester (also known as a keyboard checker) is an application that allows users to test their keyboard keys to ensure they are working correctly. It examines all of the keys on the keyboard, including the alphanumeric, function, and special keys, and also evaluates keystrokes, allowing users to assess their typing speed. It is an excellent tool for anyone who uses their keyboard daily as it helps to confirm that all of the keys are functioning properly.
A gaming keyboard tester is an online program or downloadable software that checks every key on a keyboard to ensure it works correctly and identifies any keys that are not working the way they should.
As this article from the Journal of Social Sciences discusses, keyboard use and fast typing have become more significant with recent technological advancements. This development, especially in the gaming industry, has in turn increased the importance of keyboard testers.
As this software provider explains, gaming keyboard testers are designed to quickly and simply test all the keys on your gaming keyboard and determine whether they are functioning correctly. There are several gaming keyboard testers nowadays. Some of the most exemplary aspects of the good ones include being free and allowing users to test various gaming keyboards. Your privacy is also safeguarded since the ideal gaming keyboard tester does not record your keys.
There are two types of gaming keyboard testers, one is an online tester, and the other is a downloadable tester. Here we’ll discuss these two types:
Type #1. Online Testers
An online tester like this is a gaming keyboard tester that allows you to test all the keys on your keyboard directly from your browser. For this type of tester, no download is required from the user. One can use an online tester without having to install a program or even an extension in the browser.
You simply connect your gaming keyboard to your computer. Whether your gaming keyboard is wireless or not, it doesn’t matter; it would still work the same. The keyboard tester would display a virtual keyboard on your screen in the browser window. When you hit the keys, the virtual keyboard responds immediately and shows the keyboard test results.
Most online testers allow you to test your gaming keyboard entirely for free. However, one should still watch out for hidden fees and avoid clicking on suspicious ads that might show on these sites.
Type #2. Downloadable Keyboard Testers
A downloadable keyboard tester like this allows you to test the keys on your gaming keyboard from software downloaded from the internet. These types of testers usually have more features than online testers. They’re also more powerful as they work directly on your PC. Other features typically checked by downloadable keyboard testers include keystrokes and keyboard LEDs.
To start with, you go to the website of your desired keyboard tester. You download the software directly from the website and then install it. Some downloadable keyboard testers may not require installing them; you can just open them immediately after downloading.
There are many keyboard testers that you can download, and many of them are also free. This leaves a security concern as you may be at risk of downloading malware from these free websites.
You may also be interested to know what our gaming keyboard recommendations are. If so, be sure to read our related article for all of the details!
When Should I Use a Gaming Keyboard Tester?
Rather than buying or replacing components or even the entire keyboard, you can save on costs by using a gaming keyboard tester instead. Gamers can use keyboard testers to check new gaming keyboards to ensure they are working correctly. This is usually done immediately after purchase so one can quickly return it in case of defects. Regardless of the reason, a gamer will require the use of a gaming keyboard tester at some point.
When purchasing a new keyboard, use a gaming keyboard tester to ensure all the keys work, see how many keys can be registered at once, and check for ghosting. Use a keyboard tester to diagnose problems by determining if the problems originate in the software or hardware and identifying any issues with the function buttons.
According to this article by PassMark, the keyboard tester can not only verify your functioning keys but also examine internal scan codes from your keyboard and measure mechanical typing speed. This will prove valuable for troubleshooting keyboard issues. This video tutorial by RJ Info shows all the steps to follow when using PassMark software.
These are the issues that you would use a gaming keyboard tester to check:
Issue #1. Test Your Keyboard To Check For Ghosting
If you're new to the world of gaming keyboards, you might not have ever considered keyboard ghosting. As this article from Microsoft discusses, keyboard ghosting is a common issue that occurs with keyboards, even some marketed as “Anti-Ghosting”. When you hit a key on the keyboard, it does not register and does not fulfill the function it is supposed to perform. This is known as keyboard ghosting. Some keyboards like this black shark anti-ghosting mechanical keyboard have been designed in a way to avoid the occurrence of ghosting.
A keyboard tester is a great way to check your keyboard for ghosting. To quickly locate troublesome combinations through the keyboard tester, press and hold 'WASD'. The most often used keys for movement in PC games are 'WASD.' Then, while keeping those pressed down, press every other key one at a time. If you detect a key that’s not working, try releasing some of the ‘WASD’ keys. The chances of finding a three-key combination that fails are substantial.
It is important to note that mechanical keyboards were designed to be anti-ghosting. According to the Xbox manufacturer, Microsoft, applied research has been carried out to produce keyboards like this SideWinder X4 with anti-ghosting technology.
Check out our article on the best mechanical gaming keyboards under $200 to buy in 2022 for more advice on keyboards.
Issue #2. Check To See How Many Keys Your Keyboard Can Register at One Time
The number of keys you can press down simultaneously depends on different factors. Some factors include the brand, model, and type of keyboard you use. Nonetheless, for some reason, you may like to know the number of keys your gaming keyboard can register at once. This might sound similar to keyboard ghosting, but it is, in fact, different. Most cost-effective keyboards can register six keys (or fewer) held down at a time. However, high-end gaming keyboards have a feature called anti-ghosting. This allows a particular set of keys to be held down while being registered. This set of keys will differ depending on the model and brand.
To check how many keys you can press at once through your keyboard tester, simply press various keys down with each of your ten fingers. If the keyboard testers show ten keys registered, you just found the new limit of your keyboard. This is ideally the number of keys a keyboard should allow to be pressed simultaneously; however, some high-end keyboards may allow even more. You can get more people to press more keys with you.
Issue #3. Determine Whether Your Keyboard Issues Are Caused by Software or Hardware
It is often quite challenging to tell if the problem with your keyboard is hardware-related or software related. Figuring this out sooner will save you a lot of time later. Common hardware-related problems with keyboards include weak batteries (for wireless keyboards), shaky wiring connections, and deficient key membranes. Common software-related issues are unresponsive key presses and wrong character input.
You can handle this by rebooting your PC and then opening the keyboard tester and then pressing various keys on your keyboard. If a few keys fail to register on the keyboard tester, you might have faulty hardware. If pressing a key once registers repeated key presses, it might result from faulty hardware, most likely from liquid damage. However, if pressing a particular key registers another completely different key on the tester, this might be a software issue. Try changing the region or language of your keyboard from your OS settings to fix the keyboard layout. If that doesn’t work, your key caps may be in the wrong position. If you need more tips, you can check out our article on how to clean a laptop keyboard after a spill.
Issue #4. Identify Any Potential Problems With Your Function Keys
The function keys are the F1 to F12 keys on your keyboard. As this research released from the Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting discusses, using the function keys as command shortcuts is the fastest way to issue a command to a computer application. Therefore, it is important to test and troubleshoot the function keys. These keys are difficult to test if you’re using a word processor instead of a keyboard tester.
Open your keyboard tester and press the function keys. If you’re getting no response or another unexpected action like volume control is activated, you may need to hold down the ‘Fn’ button. Hold down the ‘Fn’ button and press the function keys again, and you should see them register on the keyboard tester. If they are still not registering, this might be a hardware issue. You can check this article on what to do if your keyboard is typing numbers instead of letters for more information.
Issue #5. Confirm That All Keys Work When Buying a Second-Hand Keyboard
Some used keyboards are bound to become unusable after a few months of purchase. You would want to be an intelligent buyer and watch out for keyboards like these. Issues like unresponsive keys can only be identified when you start using the keyboard. A keyboard tester can help you identify these issues faster.
Connect the used keyboard to your PC and open the keyboard tester. Press every single key on the keyboard one after the other and hold them down for about 3 seconds. After ensuring each key registers, ensure the highlighted key on the keyboard tester doesn’t flicker. If the keyboard is advertised to have anti-ghosting features, you might also want to check for ghosting issues. Check the previous tip above to find out how to test your keyboard for ghosting.
Summary of Gaming Keyboard Testers
|Tester URL||Online / Downloadable?||What does it test?|
|KeyboardTester.io||Online||Number of keys pressed, nice user interface, safe and secure|
|Microsoft Anti-Ghost Keyboard Demo||Online||Ghost keys, key functionality|
|Keyboard Test Utility||Downloadable||Multiple keyboard layouts, Number of keys pressed, ghost keys|
|Passmark KeyboardTest||Downloadable||Ghost keys, mouse delay, keyboard LED|
Similarly, there are many benefits to gaming with a keyboard in your lap. If you're interested, be sure to read our related article for more information.
How To Use a Keyboard Tester Online
As mentioned previously, an online keyboard tester is a tester that allows you to test all of your keyboard's keys right from your browser.
To use a keyboard tester online, first, make sure you are connected to the internet, then log on to the website of the keyboard tester, navigate to the virtual keyboard, and you can start testing your keyboard.
A good online keyboard tester to use is this Microsoft keyboard tester. Its original purpose is to demonstrate keyboard ghosting interactively, but it still functions as an excellent online keyboard tester. It also has instructions and tips for testing your keyboard for some common issues.
Follow these steps when using an online keyboard tester:
Step 1. Make Sure Your PC Is Connected to the Internet
While connecting to the internet may appear to be a simple task, it might be difficult. Especially for those unfamiliar with the network or type of internet they're trying to connect to. This might make the keyboard tester appear like it’s not working when in fact, you’re just not connected to the internet.
Make sure that your source of the internet is on. If you’re using a router or modem, ensure that the LAN cable is correctly connected to the appropriate ports. There might be indicator lights to show proper connections. Look out for them. If you’re using wireless broadband, ensure that the WiFi is on. Some devices have a physical button or switch for turning Wi-Fi on or off. Others only have the option to toggle Wi-Fi in the software settings. Before utilizing the keyboard tester online, ensure the computer's Wi-Fi is not switched off.
Step 2. Go to the Website of the Online Keyboard Tester
Launch your web browser of choice and click on the address bar located in the browser. If you know the web address of your desired keyboard tester, enter it into the address bar and press enter. This is the easiest way to access your online keyboard tester. However, another alternative is to search for the name in a search engine if you don’t know the correct web address for the keyboard tester. Just type in the name, for example: ‘Microsoft keyboard tester’, then click enter. The first result you see should be what you are looking for. If you don’t have any keyboard tester in mind, you can also just search ‘keyboard tester’.
Step 3. Navigate to the Virtual Keyboard Interface
This step may differ depending on the keyboard tester you are using. Most online keyboard testers have the website's content on one webpage. With this, all you have to do is scroll down till you see the image of a keyboard. This is probably the virtual keyboard for that keyboard tester. Some other keyboard testers will have their virtual keyboards displayed after you click a hyperlink on the website.
The layout of the virtual keyboard may not match that of your physical keyboard. If that is the case, you should consider changing the virtual keyboard layout if that option is available. Otherwise, you should look for an alternative keyboard tester. You can also try changing the region or language of the keyboard from your OS settings as we explain in our guide on what to do when a gaming keyboard is not working, to fix the keyboard layout.
Step 4. Press the Keys That You Want To Test
After you have identified the virtual keyboard on the online keyboard tester, you can proceed to do the actual testing. Press every key to see it highlighted on the virtual keyboard. Press down various keys on your keyboard to see how many keys you can hold down at once. Press down multiple letter keys on the left side of your keyboard to check for ghosting issues. These are primarily general-purpose checks. If you have specific issues you would like to review, then you can use the detailed explanations we gave above, on when you should use a keyboard tester.
You might also wonder what the differences are between a gaming vs. a regular keyboard. If so, be sure to read our related article for more information.
How To Use a Downloadable Keyboard Tester
From the mid-90s to the late 2000s, purchasing a CD-ROM was the most common way to obtain new software. By inserting the disc the computer would guide you through the installation process. Almost all software has moved away from this approach now. For this reason, many new computers no longer even feature a CD-ROM.
To use a downloadable keyboard tester, begin by connecting to the internet, then download the installation setup of the software and install it. Wait for the installation to finish then follow the prompts to use the keyboard tester.
The most frequent approach to obtaining new software nowadays is to download it from the Internet. A wide range of software may now be purchased and downloaded directly to your computer. You may also download free software by visiting the required website and clicking the “Download” button.
We mentioned that a downloadable keyboard tester allows you to test the keys on your gaming keyboard using software obtained from the internet. They are more robust and have more functions than online keyboard testers. They also don’t require internet use once they have been downloaded.
An excellent example of a downloadable keyboard tester is this Passmark Software KeyboardTest. It is a downloadable keyboard tester that is not free. However, you can get a free 30-day trial if you want to use it for free. It can display your keys that are being pressed, when they are being held down and when they have not been touched. It can show technical details like the BIOS keyboard and Windows scan codes. It supports up to 100 keyboards and allows you to test your mouse. It can test mouse drifts, polling rates, delay, and many other things.
Follow these steps when using an online keyboard tester:
Step 1. Make Sure You Are Connected to the Internet
Just as you would when using an online keyboard tester, you should also ensure that your computer is connected to the internet. Check your router, modem, or wireless broadband to ensure they are well connected to your computer. Also, ensure that you have optimal internet speed because you will have to download the installation setup of the keyboard tester.
Step 2. Download the Software From the Website
Open your web browser and go to the website of the keyboard tester you would like to download. If you don’t know the website, you could just use a search engine to search for the name of a keyboard tester. Navigate through the website to find the “Download” tab to download the software. If it’s a paid keyboard tester, you might have to fill in your payment details to purchase a license first. After that, you should find a download button.
Click the download button to initiate the download (beware of downloading free software from sketchy websites as it might be malware). You will then be prompted to select where you want the software to be downloaded, select it, and click on “Save”. Wait for your download to be completed - depending on the file size and your internet speed, it shouldn’t take very long for the download to be done.
Step 3. Start the Software Installation Wizard
After you have completed your download, go to the file location where you downloaded the software. It is usually saved in the “Downloads” folder by default. You should see a file that ends with a ‘.exe’ extension. It is pronounced ‘dot e-x-e,’ and it’s the standard extension for applications on Windows computers. Locate this file and double-click on it to start your installation of the keyboard tester.
For some keyboard testers, this ‘.exe’ file might not open an installation but instead lead to the keyboard tester itself. If this is the case, you can skip this and the following three steps. If not, an installation wizard might open up which will provide prompts to complete the process. It might also bring up a prompt for you to allow administrative access in which case you should click yes.
If prompted, select your preferred language and accept the “End User License Agreement” (EULA). After accepting, you can proceed to the next stage.
Step 4. Choose Your Installation Location
Next, the installation wizard should prompt you to select where you want your keyboard tester installed. By default, it will be in ‘Program Files.’ If you want to change it, click on ‘Browse,’ select your preferred location and click on ‘OK.’ You shouldn’t install the software on an external drive like a USB drive or external hard drive. The installation size of keyboard testers is usually less than 200MB.
After selecting your installation location, you can click next to move to the next installation stage. The next step is choosing where you want the program's shortcut installed in the start menu folder. By default, it is installed in programs. If you want to change it, click on ‘Browse,’ select your preferred location and click on ‘OK.’ Then click next, and it may ask you to create an additional shortcut on your desktop. Otherwise, it will lead to the final stage of the installation.
Step 5. Wait for the Installation Process To Finish
After the previous stages of installation, the software should start installing. A progress bar will indicate how far the installation has gone through. If you chose an SSD as your installation, the software should install in seconds. If you chose an HDD as your installation location, the progress might be slower. Nonetheless, since the installation size is not that big, the whole thing should not take long.
If the installation progress should remain stuck in a particular position, then something may be wrong somewhere. Try checking to ensure you have enough storage space to install the software. After installing the software, it takes you to another page confirming the completion. Here, you should uncheck the option to open the keyboard tester and then click on finish.
Step 6. Restart Your Computer
A complete restart after installing software applications is recommended but not mandatory. When modifying key system files for Windows, you should restart since Windows does not allow specific files to be modified while in use. It’s also recommended because you might want to refresh certain system components that may not allow the keyboard tester to register key presses like it is supposed to.
Step 7. Open the Installed Keyboard Tester
Most of the work is now done, and you can start using the keyboard tester. You might face some first-time confirmations, information requests, and access requests. Accept them all, and you will get to the interface of the installed keyboard tester. This interface should have a virtual keyboard along with some buttons, switches, and information boxes. Some advanced keyboard testers may include an extra feature of a mouse tester.
Are There Specific Keyboard Testers For Laptops?
In relation to functions, laptop keyboard testers are not different from standard keyboard testers. They are marketed as keyboard testers to appeal to a niche audience. The layout of the virtual keyboard of the laptop keyboard tester is designed like that of a laptop. The laptop keyboard tester also allows you to test the touch buttons of the mouse pad, and they are included in the virtual keyboard.
Some keyboard testers do include a keyboard test for laptops. They include Space, Passmark KeyboardTest, and KeyboardTester.co.
If you are looking for additional information on troubleshooting laptop issues you can check out our guide on how to unfreeze laptop keyboard.
Summary of Gaming Keyboard Testers for Laptops
|Keyboard Tester For Laptop (URL)||Online or Downloadable?||What Does It Test?|
|keyboard-test||Online||Key functionality, number of keys pressed at once, mouse pad buttons functionality|
|Passmark KeyboardTest||Downloadable||Ghost keys, Number of keys pressed at once, BIOS and windows scan codes, test mouse delay|
|KeyboardTester.co||Online||Mouse pad buttons functionality, number of keys pressed at once, specially tailored to laptops|