Are Gaming Keyboards Expensive and What Makes Them Expensive?
Gaming keyboards cater to the diverse needs of gamers based on the kind of reaction time, key switches used, durability, programmable keys, and much more. Background lighting is an add-on to the aesthetics and boosts gaming performance. All the characteristics of such keyboards provide a complete and effective gaming experience for the user and it is important for the user to consider the question “are gaming keyboards expensive or not?”, and what makes them so.
Most gaming keyboards are not expensive. The average cost of a gaming keyboard is between $50 - $150 while more expensive gaming keyboards are priced at over $150. Premium keys, excellent mechanical switches, and enhanced rollover features are what make gaming keyboards expensive.
Besides the aforementioned characteristics of the gaming keyboards, the premium ones feature the best of everything along with some additional features. They have broader wireless capabilities, anti-ghosting as well as superior actuation technology to offer an extremely rapid press, all of which are aimed at optimizing the user’s experience.
Check out our gaming keyboard recommendations that fit your needs to find out what options would be best for you.
Are Expensive Gaming Keyboards Worth It?
Several factors could justify spending more on expensive gaming keyboards. These factors are related to the hardware of the keyboard, the mechanical switches used in the structure, the accuracy and precision levels, and efficient tactile feedback.
Expensive gaming keyboards are worth it because they’re durable enough to last longer, the key switches are built to withstand 60 million-plus keystrokes, they have mechanical keys for tactile feedback and ultra-gaming performance, the keys are programmable, and RGB backlighting allows for total immersion in games.
This post by Tom’s Hardware gives a review of the best gaming keyboards of 2022.
Here are a few reasons why gaming keyboards are expensive and worth it:
Reason 1. Expensive Gaming Keyboards are Built Using Durable Materials and Last Long
Expensive gaming keyboards have frames constructed using highly durable materials such as aircraft-grade aluminum. Thus, the body is resistant to corrosion and is long-lasting. Also, a sturdy metal backplate prevents damage from rough use while gaming, traveling, and dropping or knocking your gear. The keycaps are strong enough to withstand countless keystrokes. Some manufacturers have produced gaming keyboards that can endure around 70 million keystrokes like this keyboard, and a few are getting into even higher numbers.
Plastic is also used for keyboards, usually, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) which is explained in this review from the Composites Journal, because it is more affordable. But, unfortunately, it loses its feel over time and seems greasy due to the wear and tear from routine use. Some expensive gaming keyboards, however, have Doubleshot ABS keycaps that prevent the labeling from fading and have heavy walls for strength. The higher-end gaming keyboards are usually made from Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) which is harder and more durable than ABS, as explained in this article by Omnexus. PBT keycaps don’t lose their finish and using the Double Shot molding technique means that the labels never wear off.
Reason 2. Mechanical Switches Used in Gaming Keyboards Provide Better Performance
Mechanical switches used in gaming keyboards deliver superior performance. These come in three types as explained in this article by Eloquent Clicks, that have linear, tactile, and clicky switches. The linear or red switch is the simplest kind. It’s preferred as it provides rapid and definite control in gaming. The tactile switches have a bump aligned with the actuation point and its feel is very satisfying for some users. As the name suggests a clicky switch produces a loud click that provides additional feedback along with the bump on the key. Optical switches are relatively new and the best ones for precision and timing.
Gaming keyboards have mechanical switches and the ones used in expensive gaming keyboards are even longer-lasting and more efficient. Mechanical switches are the components under the keycaps on a gaming keyboard. A light press on a key in such a gaming keyboard accurately registers the keystroke which speeds up performance and increases the precision of actions.
Higher-end keyboards like this have mechanical switches with a response time of 1ms which is a very desirable feature because the quicker the response time, the faster you can react against your competitor while gaming. N-Key Rollover is another premium feature that translates several simultaneous key presses accurately, as explained in this article by Tom’s Hardware. Mechanical switches are present for each key individually therefore, no matter how many keys have been held, each keystroke is registered.
Reason 3. Customizable RGB Backlight Makes Gaming Enjoyable
Gaming keyboards for a lower price may have a single backlight. The expensive gaming keyboards have RGB backlighting that can be worked with in numerous manners. The lighting can be set up to your appeal, adding fun to the gaming experience. Certain expensive gaming keyboards like this even allow you to form images from the lighting and there are millions of color options to choose from.
Zoned backlighting, as explained in this article by HP is a beneficial feature since specific keys can be assigned different colors which makes it easier for the player to detect the required keys while playing. Customizing the backlights reduces the effort to spot the keys on the keyboard and the user can readily identify certain lights and have a better reaction time. Make sure to check out our article that provides you with tips to find a gaming keyboard that lights up.
Reason 4. N-Key Rollover (NKRO) and Macro Keys Enable Gamers To Be Flexible and Use Quick Shortcuts
N-Key Rollover (NKRO) as explained in this article by SteelSeries, suggests that every keystroke is registered individually. This feature is very useful for certain genres of games including fighting that requires several keys to be pressed together, for instance, to initiate an attack during the game. A key rollover, ranges from 2KRO to NKRO, the latter provides maximum flexibility but is only available in expensive gaming keyboards like this.
Additionally, expensive gaming keyboards also possess macro keys which are extra quick buttons that serve as a shortcut to pressing several keys or choosing certain actions. The entire sequence of directions is designated to a key that produces the output with just one click. This gives players an edge against their gaming rivals as tasks are performed in a shorter time. The option for such programmable keys isn’t available in cheaper gaming keyboards like this which makes the expensive ones worth buying.
Reason 5. Mechanical Switches Have a Lifespan of More Than 50 Million Strokes
Mechanical switches such as Cherry MX are very tough and are claimed to last for more than 50 million keystrokes as explained in this article by Cherry. That means that aggressive and rigorous pressing of certain keys won’t break them. Also, if damaged, individual keys with mechanical switches can be replaced as we explain in our guide on how to replace keyboard switches.
You may also find interest in learning how to use a combination mouse and keyboard for Xbox gaming. Be sure to take a look at our related article to find out more.
Summary of When To Choose a Gaming Keyboard
|Situation||Should you choose a cheap or expensive gaming keyboard?||What features to look for?||Example keyboard|
|You want a tactile feel while gaming||Cheap gaming keyboard||Mechanical keys||HyperX Alloy Fps Pro|
|You want less keyboard lag||Expensive gaming keyboard||Low latency keyboard||Asus Rog Strix Flare IIAnimate|
|You want customizable keys||Expensive gaming keyboard||Programmable macro keys||Corsair K95 Rgb|
|You want a durable keyboard||Expensive gaming keyboard||Aluminum body and PBT keycaps||Razer Huntsman V2 Analog|
|You want customizable backlighting||Expensive gaming keyboard||Pre-key RGB backlighting||Corsair K100 Rgb|
|You want an ergonomic design||Expensive gaming keyboard||Soft, cushioned wrist support to be perfectly aligned with the keyboard||Razer Pro Type Ultra|
Our related article will explain more about what a gaming keyboard is and provide you with tips on how to choose the right one. So be sure to take a look at that too. Furthermore, make sure you know the difference between keychron and other keyboards. That related article will provide you with loads of new and helpful information too.
What Makes a Gaming Keyboard Expensive?
Gaming keyboards are generally more expensive because of both their hardware and software. Pro-grade material is being utilized in the manufacturing of gaming keyboards. Superior technology with respect to the programmable keys and customizable backlighting along with extensive labor makes them expensive and at times luxurious.
Gaming keyboards are expensive due to the intensive labor and costly material required to manufacture them. Gaming keyboards with programmable keys and customizable RGB backlight will be expensive.
Gaming keyboards can be expansive because of the following reasons:
Reason 1. Mechanical Switches are Laborious To Assemble
One of the reasons for the high cost of gaming keyboards is the assembling of mechanical switches. The cost of mechanical switches depends on the manufacturer as well as the type of switch used, as explained in this article by Keyboards Expert. Moreover, each key on the board has an individual switch beneath it, and putting it together is a laborious task. So generally, the time and effort put into the manufacturing of every single keyboard adds to its price, including manual and automated procedures. Workers have to fit in the parts on the keyboard’s base and also secure the keycaps manually in some cases. The circuitry of the keyboard and its lighting also goes under extensive checking before each keyboard is finalized. This makes it clear, to an extent, why gaming keyboards are generally expensive.
Reason 2. Increasing Demand for Gaming Keyboards
As the demand for gaming keyboards like this continues to grow among gaming enthusiasts there’s also increased pressure on certain manufacturers to produce an adequate supply of different components of the gaming keyboards or the final product and this pushes up the prices. Also, people order gaming keyboards like this that have customized outlooks to suit their personal tastes. These gaming keyboards aren’t tailored just to enhance the appearance - much thought is put into the material used which further adds to the spending.
As for the outlook, customized keycaps are being sold for a hefty amount, such as by GMK. Luxury customization, as explained in this video tutorial by Taeha Types, can even extend the price for such keyboards to thousands of dollars. The ever-increasing obsession for customized gaming gear is welcoming innovations and feeding the rising prices for gaming keyboards.
Reason 3. Costly Material Used To Build Gaming Keyboards
For gaming keyboards to be sturdy and long-lasting, they’re made from excellent materials. The frame for the keyboard is usually made of aluminum that’s treated to resist corrosion. The metal is lightweight yet durable and has its own cost. The plastic used for keycaps is ABS and certain manufacturers employ the Doubleshot process to protect the labeling against fading.
Gaming keyboards like this that are made from PBT, which is a tougher plastic and relatively difficult to work with, are even more expensive. However, it surely does increase the durability of the product. Gaming keyboards have mechanical switches and if they’re of premium quality, they’ll be pricier. Furthermore, RGB background lighting and additional external features of a particular gaming keyboard also affect the cost.
You may also find interest in learning how many keys are on a gaming keyboard. If so, be sure to check out our related article for more information.
Reason 4. Proprietary Software Used To Make Programmable Keys Is Expensive
Gaming keyboards like this that come with programmable keys have software to enable all those functions and to optimize the user’s experience. Some examples of proprietary software include iCUE by Corsair, Logitech G Hub, and Razer Synapse. Such software works around saving character profiles, allows sharing of your profile, sets the RGB backlighting in various ways, and synchronizes it with the peripherals from the same producer.
The vendor introduces new features and updates to the proprietary software and it’s available for Windows as well as macOS. Corsair’s iCUE provides a fascinating show of light by coordinating the lighting on all the compatible devices that are a part of your setup. The lighting also gets synced with the ongoing gaming action to create an immersive environment and deliver a captivating experience.
How Much Does a Good Gaming Keyboard Cost?
Unfortunately, just as anything of better quality will have a higher price tag, a good keyboard is probably going to cost more.
A good gaming keyboard costs between $50 and $100. Expensive gaming keyboards that cost more than $100 have a range of unique features and allow for optimal performance. The impressive response time of expensive gaming keyboards is around 1ms.
Some gaming keyboard brands have a lifespan of 60-70 million keystrokes and an option to program keys for a customized experience. In addition, the mechanical switches used are of the best quality and provide accurate and precise gaming performance and some expensive gaming keyboards come with swappable switches to customize key sensitivity.
Summary of Expensive Gaming Keyboards and Their Benefits
|Gaming Keyboard||Unique Features||Mechanical or Membrane Switch||Price|
|Asus Rog Claymore II||Provides a response time of 1ms, has customizable hotkeys, and all-around per-key lighting. The keyboard can be used withor without its wire and has aquick USB passthrough.||ROG RX Optical Mechanical Switch||~ $230|
|Razer Huntsman V2Analog||Has Doubleshot PBT keycaps. It comes with an N-key rollover ensuring anti-ghosting and a smooth gaming experience. It also has programmable keys and macro recording.||Razer Analog Optical Switch||~ $250|
|Asus Rog Strix Flare II Animate||Has AniMe Matrix lightingallowing a display of customimages and gifs. Consists of an aluminum plate and double-shot PBT keycaps. It also has ROG switch stabilizers and N-key rollover with a responsetime of 0.125ms.||ROG NX Optical Mechanical Switch||~ $220|
|Corsair K70 Rgb Tkl||Guarantees 100 millionkeystrokes. With a 1mm actuation distance, it offerssuper-fast inputs and highlyreliable and fast gamingperformance.||Exclusive Corsair Optical Mechanical Keyswitches||~ $160|
|Logitech G513||Has a superior aluminum-alloy build and memory foamsupport for the palm. Thedesign delivers tactile andclicky feedback and sharpactuation for the oomph agamer needs.||GX Mechanical Switches||~ $150|
Differences Between the Most Expensive Gaming Keyboards and Regular Keyboards
The choice to get an expensive gaming keyboard or a regular keyboard is largely based on the intended use of the keyboard. Gaming can be done using a regular keyboard but there’s surely a significant improvement in the gaming experience when using a gaming keyboard. The efficiency, accuracy, and precision of actions are enhanced through a gaming keyboard. A regular keyboard is good enough for routine typing and simpler tasks.
While the most expensive gaming keyboards have extra keys to use as shortcuts, regular keyboards have traditional keyboard configurations. Gaming keyboards use mechanical switches while regular keyboards are loaded with membrane switches. Lastly, expensive keyboards for gamers have customizable RGB backlights which regular keyboards don’t have.
This video tutorial by RTINGS com could be a helpful resource when trying to decide onm the best gaming keyboard keyboard for your needs.
Insight into the differences between the two types of keyboards will clarify things for you.
Difference 1. Cost
More often than not, gaming keyboards are costlier compared to regular keyboards. Gaming keyboards have high-quality components and qualities that add to their cost as explained in this article by Tom’s Hardware. Features owing to the greater price include backlighting, mechanical switches, macro keys, hardware made out of durable material, and software to customize the device. If you are looking for a gaming keyboard check out our article that discusses the 10 best gaming keyboards for under $200.
Difference 2. Membrane vs Mechanical
The absence of mechanical keys in a regular keyboard differentiates it from a gaming keyboard. A regular keyboard consists of a membrane configuration. The keys are laid on a plastic sheet with electrically conductive ink underneath. A significant press on the key allows the underlying circuit to be activated and the keystroke to be registered. On the other hand, gaming keyboards use mechanical switches for each key. Even a gentle press allows the circuit inside the key to complete and generate quick output. The differences between membrane and mechanical keyboards are explained in this article by Melrose Systems.
Difference 3. Durability
The durability of a keyboard is determined by the material comprising its hardware and the number of keystrokes it can bear. Keyboards that are built tough can endure intense use and have a long life span. Brands such as Razer, Logitech, and Corsair produce gaming keyboards that can last for years. Compared to a regular keyboard with a plastic coating, you may be certain of long-term durability of a keyboard with a metal frame like this one has.
Should you find that your keyboard is not fully functional our article explains what to do when a gaming keyboard is not working properly.
Difference 4. Response Time
Gaming is all about how rapidly your actions are processed to provide you with a smooth gaming experience as well as a win. Regular keyboards may experience lags and don’t produce faster outputs as compared to gaming keyboards. In competitive gaming, every millisecond counts hence, the 30ms lag of regular keyboards is too much for certain gaming scenarios. Gaming keyboards have a shorter response time of around 15-25ms, however, the more expensive ones have made their response time as precise and short as 1ms as explained in this article by the Tech User’s Guide.
Difference 5. Backlighting
Regular keyboards lack the lighting feature whereas gaming keyboards have backlighting. The more expensive gaming keyboards have RGB backlighting that provides the freedom to customize the keyboard’s appearance via lighting which is discussed in this article by Aukey. It also assists in gaming when certain keys are designated with different colored lights and hence, are easier to detect and press.
Furthermore, the N-Key Rollover (NKRO) is better provided by the gaming keyboards allowing the user to simultaneously press several keys without an error. The individual keys are registered as accurately as they have been hit. Another feature of gaming keyboards are macro keys, which are programmable keys, absent in regular keyboards. Gaming keyboards have macro keys allowing the user to allot a bunch of complex running commands to one key. Hence, using a shortcut key speeds up and adds efficiency to the gamer’s performance.
Some of the Best Expensive Keyboards for Gamers
|Keyboard Name||What features make it expensive||Benefits of these features while gaming||Price|
|Asus Rog Claymore II||It has premium switcheswith a hollow-square stem model consisting ofembedded RGB LEDsdelivering all-around per-key lighting. It claims a lifespan of 100 million keystrokes. It comes withcustomizable hotkeys and mechanical switches that provide great strategic control while gaming. The keyboard can be used with or without its cable.||The number pad can be placed on either side of the keyboard for your convenience. ROG RX optical mechanical switches are used to provide efficient keystrokes with an amazing response time of 1ms. It has a quick USB passthrough allowing an operation of 18hrs with the lighting turned off. Other devices can also be connected to it for your convenience.||~ $270|
|Corsair K100 Rgb||It provides up to 4x fasterthroughput driven byCorsair AXON Hyper-Processing Technology. The iCUE software delivers great customization. There is per-key RGB backlighting along with a44-zone three-sidedLightEdge.||Corsair’s software iCUEallows control over thebacklighting of theperipherals. Customprofiles and macros can be created along with more customization to enhance the gaming experience.||~ $250|
|Razer Huntsman V2 Analog||It has a matte aluminumtop plate and DoubleshotPBT keycaps having a pleasant texture and ismore durable. It comeswith an N-key rollover.||NKRO ensures anti-ghosting and a smooth gamingexperience. The keys areprogrammable and there is macro recording too.||~ $250|
|Razer DeathStalker V2||This keyboard comes with Razer HyperSpeed Wireless connectivity. It has an ultra-slim fine aluminum chassisand keycaps that are laser-etched and coated with HyperGuard to avert wear and tear and a lifespan of 70 million keystrokes.||It consists of low-profilelinear optical switches with reduced actuation height and key travel. It delivers quick and lastingperformance through faster keystrokes. Its design prevents the user’s hand from hurting from longer use. It has a media key and multi-function roller thatcan be set to controlbrightness, volume, play,pause and many moreactions.||~ $250|
|Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro||It has extra-sturdy thickwalls and doubleshot ABS coating on the keycaps to withstand prolonged use. The keyboard’s RGBbacklighting can becustomized with more than 16.8 million colors.||It provides a lag-freegaming experience with a HyperSpeed Wirelessconnection. It comes withtwo variants of mechanical switches - green and yellow. The latter variant provides smooth keystrokes, and sound dampeners for a quiet experience. There is a cushioned leatherette wrist rest for ease while using.||~ $230|
|Logitech G915 Lightspeed||It’s a wireless keyboardwith a LIGHTSPEEDconnection. Its body ismade with aircraft-gradealuminum. It comes withLogitech G HUB software, LIGHTSYNC technology, and five G-keys. It also recharges in a three hours.||It has low-profile switches that boost the gaming speed and accuracy. The G-keys can be designatedto macros and profiles ingames or apps.||~ $230|
|Asus Rog Strix Flare IIAnimate||The AniMe Matrix LEDdisplay allows customizing of images and animation. Switches can be replaced to customize as per your own needs. It also has ROG switch stabilizers, and inncludes N-keyrollover and has 100% anti-ghosting.||The response time is0.125ms making it 8x quicker than other known keyboards. Switchstabilizers provideeffortless keystrokes andstability especially forlonger keys. It ensuresaccuracy by perfectlyregistering every keystroke during intense gaming sessions. It accommodates up to six profiles and custom schemes.||~ $220|
|Kinesis Gaming FreestyleEdge RGB||It uses Cherry MX redmechanical switchesallowing 50 millionkeystrokes. It offers tencompletely customizablelighting effects such asrebound, pulse, freestylemonochrome and RGBspectrum. The palm support is made frompremium material that has a smooth glide surface and is sweat-resistant and durable.||It delivers a response time of 1ms and has more effective macros. Also, there are nineprogrammable keys andanti-ghosting is ensured. It has a detachable pad to support your palm with easy gliding to enhance gamng speed.||~ $220|
|SteelSeries Apex Pro||Its frame is constructed out of aircraft-grade aluminum. There is magnetic wrist support with a soft touch finish but with a durable build.Multimedia keys and aclickable roller grant easycontrol of different settings.||Its mechanical switches can be adjusted for customizing the sensitivity of individualkeys to enhance thegaming performance. Itprovides 8x speedier responses and 5x faster actuation. The keyboard displays important updates and information that prevents tabbing out of your current activity.||~ $230|
To sum up, just as there’s a significant distinction between regular and gaming keyboards, there are also notable differences between cheaper and more expensive gaming keyboards. The superior, extra features and customization options make expensive keyboards worth a try.