Wireless vs. Wired Keyboards for Gaming – Tips for Choosing the Right One for You.
The keyboard is perhaps the most important accessory for PC gamers. Having a good keyboard can provide a competitive edge, while working with an inferior quality or old model will negatively impact your games. A wireless gaming keyboard offers you more flexibility, while a wired keyboard has better connectivity and responsiveness. This article discusses the pros and cons of using wireless vs. wired keyboards for gaming in detail.
Wired keyboards are more reliable than wireless keyboards because they have a built-in power source and a stable connection to the computer. Wireless keyboards have a higher latency and cost compared to wired keyboards, but they are also very portable.
Advantages of Wired Keyboards
Gaming keyboards, whether wired or wireless, have more functionality than regular keyboards.
Wired keyboards' main advantages include their stable connection, their reliable power sources, and their relatively cheaper price when compared to wireless options.
Using a wired gaming keyboard has some great advantages:
Advantage 1. Wired Keyboards Have a Reliable Power Source
Wired keyboards like this one function by means of a cable that is usually plugged into the computer. This means that wired keyboards have a more stable power source. Unlike wireless keyboards that are battery-powered, wired keyboards do not require a battery to be replaced. Using a wired keyboard decreases the chance of having your keyboard malfunction when gaming.
Advantage 2. Wired Keyboards Have a Stable Connection
The direct connection to the computer gives wired keyboards a stable connection, meaning you will experience almost no latency. As this article from the ACM Digital Library explains the latency of computer devices that are connected via USB cables is significantly lower than those connected wirelessly. Since wired keyboards are very responsive, gamers are usually able to use them for gaming for long periods of time without experiencing any sort of keyboard problems or freezing.
Additionally, you might be interested in learning how to choose the fastest gaming keyboard for your needs. If so, be sure to read our related article for more information.
Advantage 3. Wired Keyboards Are Relatively Affordable
Wired keyboards like this are known to be cheaper than wireless options. The relatively lower cost of wired keyboards is due to the fact that their production costs are usually way less than that of wireless models because manufacturers don't have the wireless technology to contend with.
Disadvantages of Wired Keyboards
If your keyboard is connected, it has a cable running from it to your computer. This cable can sometimes disturb the aesthetic look of your desk and can also get in the way when you are moving things around on your desk.
Some disadvantages of wired keyboards include their more untidy look and their reduced flexibility and convenience when gaming.
Unfortunately, there are a few disadvantages to opting for a wired gaming keyboard:
Disadvantage 1. Wired Keyboards Can Look Messy
Sometimes the cables of wired keyboards clump together and can make your desk look disorganized and untidy. There are several ways to corral the wires together using Velcro strips like this or cable organizers like this to make the wires look tidier.
Disadvantage 2. Wired Keyboards Are Less Flexible and Convenient To Use
Keyboard wires like this come in maximum lengths of 6 feet. This means that wired keyboards can not be used at a distance that is farther than 6 feet away from the computer. If you want to use your keyboard farther away from the desktop than that, then a wired one is not the right choice for you.
Similarly, you may be wondering if a gaming keyboard is important. If so, be sure to take a look at our related article to find out more.
Advantages of Wireless Keyboards
A number of factors make wireless vs. wired keyboards preferable over wired ones, including increased cable length and accessibility, safety around children and pets, the ability to charge your phone while using it, and many more.
Some advantages of wireless keyboards include their additional flexibility and convenience for gamers. Wireless keyboards also make a desk look less cluttered and free up valuable desk space.
These advantages make using a wireless keyboard worthwhile:
Advantage 1. Wireless Keyboards Are More Convenient and Flexible To Use
Since wireless keyboards like this communicate with the computer by means of radio frequency technology, they can be used from a distance of up to 30 feet away from the computer. This allows gamers to play from the other side of the room if they so desire. The ease of setting up and packing up wireless keyboards also makes them ideal for individuals who have a nomadic lifestyle, or those who use the keyboard with a laptop. Our article that outlines the benefits of gaming with a keyboard on your lap explains how this can be advantageous for you.
Advantage 2. Wireless Keyboards Make a Desk Look More Organized and Tidy
Another benefit of using a wireless keyboard is the clutter-free and sleek look it gives your work desk. Since you do not have to worry about wires, cleaning and tidying up your work desk will also be easier. A wireless keyboard is also less likely to be accidentally pulled off the desk by a child or pet.
Disadvantages of Wireless Keyboards
Wireless keyboards are more mobile and clutter-free, however, they are often slower than traditional keyboards. Fast-typing computer users may have issues with their wireless keyboard since it may hesitate to record keystrokes or fail to register some keystrokes altogether. Although the vast majority of wireless keyboard users report having no issues with them, it is something to take into account when buying a wireless keyboard. If you're interested, however, be sure to take a look at our related article explaining how to fix gaming keyboard issues. I'm sure you'll find some information you can use.
Wireless keyboards can have latency issues when other devices interfere with the connection. Wireless keyboards rely on batteries for their power which can often go flat at the most inconvenient times. Wireless keyboards are generally more expensive than similar wired versions.
Consider these disadvantages before opting for a wireless vs. wired keyboard:
Disadvantage 1. Wireless Keyboards Are Prone to Latency
Latency or input lag is the time it takes for a keyboard or other device to relay the actions and input of the user to the computer. A keyboard with low latency will relay the user’s commands at a much shorter time interval than a keyboard with high latency. Therefore a low-latency keyboard like this one is preferable.
Latency problems in wireless keyboards can sometimes be caused by the electromagnetic interference of other wireless devices. In such instances, another signal can disrupt the signal of the keyboard.
Latency is an important consideration if you don’t want to be slower than your opponents, hence you should get a keyboard with low latency and a wired rather than a wireless model. This article from the proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Security conference explains how electromagnetic waves are emitted from keyboards and other peripheral devices.
Disadvantage 2. Wireless Keyboards Have an Unstable Power Source
The batteries in a wireless keyboard like this will eventually run out of power. The process of regularly charging these wireless devices is relatively straightforward but does require some level of commitment from the user. Keeping an extra set of rechargeable batteries like these that are fully charged will ensure gamers can quickly replace flat batteries.
Disadvantage 3. Wireless Keyboards Are Generally More Expensive
Due to the more advanced technology used in wireless keyboards, and their relatively higher cost of production, they usually cost more than their wired keyboards. If we also factor in the cost of the batteries wireless keyboards require, it can make a substantial difference in overall cost if you decide to get a wireless keyboard over a wired one.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Between a Wired or Wireless Gaming Keyboard
Gaming keyboards can run the entire gamut in terms of their different designs and functionalities.
Factors to consider when choosing between a wired or wireless gaming keyboard include budget and how much maintenance is required to maintain the keyboard. Other facts to consider are the type of games that will be played, the flexibility and comfort of the gamer, and how the gaming setup is organized.
Our article about how many keys a gaming keyboard has, explains the wide range of different keyboards that are available for each price point and use. This video tutorial by WePC gives a little more insight into whether to use a wired or wireless gaming keyboard.
Factor 1. Budget and Cost of Maintenance
The first factor that should be considered is your budget and the amount of money you are willing to spend on maintenance. Wired keyboards are usually ideal for those who are on a tight budget. If you choose a wireless mechanical keyboard like this one, with hot-swappable keys, you can easily remove the keys to clean the keyboard.
Wireless mechanical keyboards on the other hand tend to be more expensive and require batteries to be replaced. Our article about how mechanical keyboards work explains how one of the most popular types of keyboards among gamers functions. Also, you might want to think about adding a gaming keyboard dust cover to help prolong the lifespan of your keyboard. Be sure to read our related article to find out more.
Factor 2. The Type of Games You Will Play
When purchasing a gaming keyboard, consider which games you will be playing. A wired keyboard is usually the best option for games that require a gamer to respond very quickly.
Since wired keyboards do not really have latency problems to the same extent as wireless keyboards do, they are ideal for playing competitive or first-person shooter games. If responsiveness is important in the game you play, then go for a wired gaming keyboard like this one.
Factor 3. Flexibility and Comfort
While it is true that both wired and wireless keyboards perform the same functions, they differ in the flexibility and comfort they offer. The flexibility and comfort offered by wired keyboards are restricted, as you can only make use of them within a distance of about 6 feet from the PC.
On the other hand, the radio frequency (RF) technology that is used in wireless keyboards makes it possible for a gamer to use them from a distance of up to 30 feet. If comfort and flexibility are important considerations for you, then go for a wireless gaming keyboard like this one.
Factor 4. Organization and Neatness
Because wireless keyboards do not have a connective cable to the PC, they give your work desk a much more organized and clean look. Our article about how to charge a Bluetooth or wireless keyboard has helpful tips to ensure your keyboard remains connected during gameplay. Go for a wireless model like this one if you value a clean and organized work environment.
Summary of Wireless vs. Wired Keyboards
|Razer Blackwidow V3 Pro||Wireless||~$80|
|Steelseries Apex Pro||Wired||~$150|
|Corsair k63 Wireless||Wireless||~$110|
|Logitech G915 Lightspeed||Wireless||~$250|
|Roccat Vulkan Tkl Pro||Wired||~$100|
|Redragon K596 Vishnu||Wireless||~$75|
|Cherry MX Board 3.0 S||Wired||~$100|
|Razer DeathStalker V2 Pro||Wireless||~$250|