Looking to amp up the performance of your keyboard for a faster gaming experience? Consider buying a gaming keypad specifically built for gamers. These keypads have fewer keys in total and are better laid out with keys within easy reach.
So the games that you play are much better if you use a gaming keypad. A gaming keypad will let your hands move faster and waste less time looking down. These keypads are also highly customizable, usually offering macros and full key remapping.
If you are an FPS fan, a gaming keypad will let you spot the zombie and kill it faster than your regular keyboard. This is also true for other category games like RPG and MMO. Gaming keypads are designed to make gaming comfortable and provide a more immersive experience.
We have come up with a list of best gaming keypads that can increase your gaming speed and make you a pro gamer.
Our Top 3 Picks:
Best Gaming Keypads – Comparison table
|Number of Keys
|Type of Switch
|Analog Optical switch
|Mechanical Blue Switch
|Razer Mechanical Switch
|OUTEMU Blue Switch
|XFUNY Gaming Keypad
|Kailh Blue Switch
|Blue Mechanical switch
The Tartarus V2 is an exceptional gaming keypad from Razer, the gaming hardware giant. A 32-key keypad with a directional stick and a full RGB lighting suite, it is specifically built to let you have all the controls at your fingertips.
Razer calls Tartarus V2 as an ergonomic keypad. It features four rows with five keys positioned above the hand rest. The bottom row of keys has a three-way scroll wheel instead of a fifth button. To the right side, there is an eight-directional D-pad, a small circular button and a thumb button that usually functions as a space bar.
The keys are fitted with the Razer’s Mecha-Membrane technology. These switches are placed on a membrane rubber dome which makes a crisp tactile click of a mechanical switch. Each key activates mid-height for a rapid response.
A noteworthy feature of the keypad is the addition of Hypershift mode. This mode gives you a host of different controls that you have coded into the 32 keys. Therefore, the moment you switch to Hypershift mode you have a second layer of controls.
Another important feature of the keypad is that it lets you switch between three different keymaps ideal for an MMO or a MOBA game. It can also help you switch between different weapon layouts in an FPS or races in an RTS.
Synapse software for easy customization
|Wrist rest padding could be improved
Referred to as Gameboard by Logitech, the Logitech G13 is a highly customizable gaming keypad with a small custom keypad, programmable keys and usually accompanies an analog joystick. The G13 acts as a supplementary keyboard for gamers. The keypad is especially helpful for MMO gamers who tend to depend on lots of macros.
G13 features a mini-keyboard with a built-in joystick and palm rest. It has 22 customizable keys, a clickable joystick and two buttons for your thumb. Unfortunately, the stick is only four-way rather than the full analog eight-way model you usually find on a joypad. Therefore, it is more limited in its use.
There are two more rows of buttons and an LCD display featured above the keyboard. These two rows of buttons include the controls for the LCD display as well as four mode buttons. The first three mode buttons let you switch between configurations, while the fourth one, labeled MR, allows you to record and map keyboard macros. The LCD buttons will help you start/stop the timer, cycle through functions, and turn the backlight on/off.
A unique feature of the keypad is its backlighting. You can switch the backlighting on/off by pressing the icon with the symbol of a sun on the top right of the device. Unlike other keypads the G13 lets you choose the color you like.
The G1 to G22 keys, backlight control button, and game panel can be lit in any color you like. They can also be made just as bright or dim according to your preference using the supplied software. The only exception to the lighting feature is the M-keys, which are always backlit in red. However, you will have to install the software because the device has no plug and play functionality.
|Four-way joystick rather than an eight-way joystick
Not plug and play
The Razer Tartarus Pro from the Razer Tartarus family is the first keypad to hit the market with analog optical switches. These optical switches allow you to vary the pressure applied for given commands, unlike typical keypads that only respond to a single input when a key is pressed.
This feature of adjustable actuation for each key lets you change from 1.5 mm for fast keystrokes up to 3.6 mm for deeper and more accurate inputs. This implies that the Tartarus Pro has the same flexibility as analog sticks have on game controllers.
Advanced gamers will love this device because Razer lets you assign two functions to each of the programmable keys. This means that there are two actuation points for the keys; one that activates on a partial keystroke, and another on a full keystroke. Dual-function keys make complex key presses easier and help you level up your gaming skills.
The Tartarus Pro has 32 programmable keys and includes an 8-way D-pad that can be used for navigation or assigned to other commands. All keys support macros and customized key bindings. This device also has the option of creating up to eight quick-toggle profiles. You can switch between these profiles using a button on the side of the keypad.
Just like most of the other Razer products, the keypad is equipped with chroma backlighting and supports Synapse software, built specifically for enhancing the gaming experience.
Chroma backlighting with 16.8 million
customizable color options
|Switches have sideways drag and no tactile feedback
Fitted with a multimedia keypad the Aula Excalibur is a robust keypad with 60 keys in total. All the major keys are placed in the center for easy access. The keys are double molded and heavy meaning it can survive rough use.
The first thing you would notice is the clickety switches on the keypad. If you try and pop open a key you can spot a blue switch. Try pressing them and you will find that the keypad can get loud, proving that they are mechanical blue switches. And as mentioned earlier blue switches is just fine for gaming. We suggest you rather choose a Gateron switch or a red switch.
Not all switches are blue switches. The macro buttons and the number buttons located on the right side of the keypad are not mechanical switches.
This keypad can grab your attention once you switch on its RGB backlighting feature. Hit the function key and watch the RGB lighting play around the keypad. You have options to cycle through the different lights and also can mix and match these lights according to your preference.
One useful feature of this keypad is that if you hit function and escape key together and hold it for a few seconds you can reset the device to factory settings. So if you think you messed up the color combination that you set, you can always start again.
Aula promises full color customization of RGB lighting on their website. However, this is not true. You can customize the lighting on the main part of the keypad but the lighting of the outer ring cannot be controlled. The color is always green in case you get tired of the green color you can switch it off.
A major shortcoming of the device is that its instruction manual comes in Chinese and so does the box that it comes in. Since all the instructions are in Chinese you will have to manually figure out settings of the device. You can go to their website to find the software and tweak Excalibur accordingly.
|Well-designed palm rest to reduce wrist fatigue
Fancy RGB backlighting effects
|Instruction manual written in Chinese
The Razer Orbweaver Chroma is an upgrade to the Razer Orbweaver Elite. Both are almost identical in features except for the fully customized RGB lighting in the latter. Both these gaming peripherals are powerful devices but, customized RGB lighting feature gives it a high quality appearance to match with its performance.
The Orbweaver Chroma features 30 keys including the 8 way thumb control button. These are mechanical switches manufactured by Razer exclusively for gaming. With short actuation length the device’s keys have an audible but soft clicking noise. The actuation force is set at 50g. Out of the 30 keys, 28 keys are programmable. Keys can be programmed using the Razer’s Synapse software. The Synapse software can expand the range of your customization skills.
The gaming keypad also lets gamers adjust various hold points on the keypad. This helps in improved hand relaxation. However, setting this up can take you some time as it requires multiple trial runs to find the right position for various pads.
Coming to the RGB lighting, all the keys are individually programmable with 16.8 million color options which you can set through Synapse. Additionally, gamers using the Orbweaver Chroma can shuffle between 8 different keymaps and an unlimited number of profiles.
|Full customization of RGB lighting
Adjustable palm rest
|The keypad doesn’t operate until one’s password is submitted after each power cycle.
If you play a lot of FPS games like Overwatch then you would love the Redragon K585. Accompanying a magnetic palmrest this beast is for one of those long gaming sessions which would normally cause you wrist fatigue. But with the K585 you can avoid wrist unrest because the palmrest’s textured finish helps you maneuver around the keypad effortlessly. Since the palmrest is magnetic it snaps on and off easily.
The keypad features 47 mechanical keys and five programmable macro keys. The keys are equipped with OUTEMU blue switches. These are quite clicky and have a nice tactile bump. These switches have box stabilizers around the stem to reduce key wobble. But, if you are game streaming we wouldn’t recommend this product as the keys can get loud unless you have a good microphone to record.
You have the option to customize up to four profiles using the software . The software also lets you choose between five RGB lighting modes which are preconfigured. You can cycle through five different color modes by pressing the function and the space key. However, the keys cannot be individually controlled.
|Space key is wobbly
If you are looking for an affordable keypad with more keys, then you should take a look at the Koolertron Cherry MX. The Koolertron Cherry MX is not one of the fancy keypads with RGB lighting but it is a beast when it comes to performance. Koolertron has also introduced the same keypad customized for hardcore PUBG gamers with regular keycaps being replaced with ones for ammo and trigger to switch between different points of view.
The Koolertron keypad has 43 fully programmable keys. The configuration software is not included but can be downloaded from the link in the manual. Customizing keys and macros is easy with the software. A noteworthy feature is that all the customization and macros are stored onboard so it can be used on multiple computers without having to connect to a server or reload everything each time.
Additionally, with the single press of a key you can create both single key and macro definitions with the ability to activate a combo.
Coming to the switches on the keypad, the Koolertron Cherry MX as its name suggests has Cherry MX Black keys. The switches with an actuation force of 60g are placed in a linear fashion making them one of the quietest switches. It also has a faster response time. The keypad also offers a macro editor feature that allows setting and editing the millisecond delays between keystrokes.
Looks wise, it is not a desirable product. Cased in a black plastic enclosure, the keypad is nothing but a broken half of your regular keyboard. The keys are angled downward to avoid cramping your wrists while typing vertically. Also, the device is devoid of RGB lighting. But it is backlit as the keypad emits a soft orange glow.
Chroma backlighting with 16.8 million
customizable color options
|Switches have sideways drag and no tactile feedback
XFUNY offers a great starter gaming keypad at an affordable price. Mostly selling under $50 is an efficient gaming keypad with attractive RGB lighting.
The XFUNY keypad is a small portable keypad that looks similar to the left third portion of a traditional keyboard. The keyboard is built to lean more towards efficiency rather than an attractive design. The keypad features 30 mechanical keys and these are fully programmable.
Keys are fitted with Kailh Bluе switches similar to the Cherry MX Blue switches. The pressing time of these switches is great and the feedback is also good. XFUNYcould have gone for Kailh red or Kailh brown instead of blue switches to make it more compatible for gaming purposes.
Coming to the RGB backlighting of the keypad, this feature can be used flexibly changing between different colored lights. The device has seven color modes including the monochrome version. Holding the Esc key with shift/tab helps you swap through colored lights and mode.
Doesn’t require controller software
|Space bar sticks a bit
GameSir GK100 is a plug and play device which features top notch build quality. Durably crafted with a sturdy plastic bottom, the device comes with a detachable wrist rest making it suitable for long gaming sessions.
The GK100 gaming keypad is lightweight and well-built so it won’t slide around your desk while you game. It has 34 programmable keys with four macro keys to the left of the keypad. Unfortunately, these are the only four function keys that you can find on the keyboard. Another shortcoming is that there no number 6 key on the keypad restricting your number of controls and even breaking you force of habit of using number 6.
The keypad is equipped with LED backlights that have eight presets. It is devoid of RGB lighting and just has different colored LED lights.
One major gripe with the keypad as a gamer is that the keypad is fitted with blue mechanical switches. Blue mechanical switches are loud and they can get annoying with their loud click sound. If you are game streaming, unless you have good mic setup, your teammates can hear your GK100’s tactile clicks.
Additionally, if you are playing a game that requires rapid input then blue switches might not be the best choice. This is due to the fact that they have a higher reset point than an actuation point.
This gaming keypad comes for a cheaper price and therefore shortcomings like RGB lighting and mechanical blue switches can be overlooked. Though it lacks a number 6 button, it’s optimized for games like PUBG and Fortnite. So if you are a fan of playing battle royale games and looking for a cheap gaming keypad, GameSir GK100 would be a great choice.
|Mechanical blue switches
Switches are louds
Delux T9 can be termed as a beginner’s keypad exhibiting an ergonomic design which allows you to comfortably play games in a stretch. This single hand keypad is suitable for both right and left hand with keys placed for easy access.
The Delux T9 features a different look and design. Fitted with double spacebars, the WASD keys along with the spacebar are highlighted in red. Rest of the keypad is colored black. The device has LED backlighting that emits faint blue light at night. However, the device has no RGB lighting.
The keypad has 46 keys and not all are programmable. You have the standard WASD layout with F1 to F6 keys placed on the top of the keypad. You can switch the mode from WASD control by pressing the mode button featured in the last row of the keypad. Keys are well spaced to avoid hitting the wrong key.
|Suits both left hand and right hand operation
Perfect for Lefties
|No RGB lighting
No Analog Stick
1. Input/Key Type
There are two key types; membrane and mechanical keys. A membrane keypad employs a rubber sheet which tracks your movements and sends information to your device. Membrane keys are used in cheaper and less functional keyboards. Membrane keys require a firmer and longer push for the key click to be registered. Also they don’t have the normal clicking sound of the traditional keyboards.
A mechanical key is individually controlled by a push button mechanism. The push button has a spring as its root and a rubber cap on the stem. The spring triggers a switch when pressed. When pressed down you can hear a clicking sound to let you know that the keypad has registered your action.
A gamer usually prefers a mechanical keyboard rather than a membrane keyboard. Also, gaming tech giant Razer has introduced mecha membrane technology. This gives the keys a new twist by fitting them with both a rubber dome and a mechanical switch.
2. Switch Type
There are three types of keyboard switch types
a) Tactile Bump
Tactile Bump switch is generally referred to as Cherry MX Brown switches. These are switches have mild resistance signified by the bump to let the user know that the keypad has registered the keystroke. These switches don’t emit the common click that you hear. Gamers tend to choose bump-style switches over the click-style switches.
b) Tactile Click
Tactile Click switch types are commonly known as Cherry MX Blue color and/or the Cherry MX Green color. These are the switches that are usually found in the market which emits the familiar click sound. However, most gamers prefer to use a tactile bump or a linear switch because blue switches can get loud and distracting.
c) Smooth (Linear)
These switches are called the Cherry MX Red color and/or the Cherry MX Black color switch. A smooth switch does not have a click point or a bump therefore, is the quietest and smoothest among all the switch types.
3. Button Configuration
Compared to a traditional keyboard, a gaming keypad is designed for gaming. The number of keys on the keypad ranges from 15 to 40. These keys can be assigned special commands by utilizing programming and macros to make them function the desired way.
The layout of the keypad matters too. Some designs are built to be ambidextrous whereas others are either built for righties or lefties. The shape can matter as well depending on the size of your fingers.
4. Software / Macros / Programmable Keys
Most gamers prefer keypads that can be programmed. Most keypads come with software that will help you program your keypad. Therefore, keys can be assigned commands according to your gaming habits. Being able to customize your keys to perform particular functions in a sequential order can increase player efficiency and help reduce downtime.
If you are a hard core gamer and tend to have longer gaming sessions then comfort of your wrist matters. To avoid cramping your wrist make sure you pick a gaming keypad that comes along with a softly padded palm rest.
If you have short fingers going for a smaller sized keypad will make sense. Otherwise you will have to keep moving your hands frequently to access the control button which can be frustrating.
7. RGB Lighting
A lot of gamers like the RGB backlighting facet of gaming keyboards. The ability to customize the backlighting even at the individual key level will help you set the lighting pattern you choose for your keypad. If you are gaming at night it is possible to adjust the brightness of the light for a more immersive experience.
1. Why would I use a gaming keypad?
Traditional keyboards aren’t optimized for the speed and requirements of gaming. They are designed for typing efficiency. Gaming keypads possesses specialized keys called Cherry MX keys. These specialized keys are faster, more efficient, and in most cases, quieter than a normal keypad.
The most important reason that a gamer would choose a gaming keypad is the fact that they can program the keys to work in a certain order that they prefer. Also, they can configure the keys to perform various multi-key combos to increase the pace of your gameplay.
2. Can a gaming keypad be used like a standard keyboard?
No. A gaming keypad features just a portion of the keyboard. They are designed specifically for gaming. You will not find all the alphabets plus there will be keys that are customized for gaming like a button for loading the map of your gameplay.
3. How do I program my gaming keys/configure the keypad layout?
Most gaming keypads can be configured using software provided by the manufacturer. In most cases, you just have to open up the keypad software, go to the keypad editor/program settings, assign functions to keys and hit save.
This process works the same way for keypad layout as well. Open the software, choose keypad editor/ layout configuration, make the necessary changes and click save.
4. Is a mechanical keypad better than a membrane keypad?
Most gamers prefer mechanical keypads over membrane keypads. Membrane keypads are less accurate than mechanical ones. They take time to register keystrokes and need some time to provide feedback.
5. What is the quietest switch for gaming?
The quietest of all the switches is the linear/smooth switches which usually go by the name Cherry MX Red switches and Cherry MX Blacks witches.
6. What is the best switch for gaming?
Gamers mostly prefer linear switches as they are the smoothest and quietest of all the switch types. The next choice would be bump-style switches followed by click-style switches that are the loudest among all three.
After analyzing the popular gaming keypads of the gaming arena, we have come to the conclusion that the best one to invest in would be the Razer Tartarus V2. The Tartarus V2 is a 32-key keypad with a directional stick and a full RGB lighting suite. It is specifically designed to let you have all the controls at your fingertips. It has an additional feature that lets you switch between three different keymaps essential for an MMO or MOBA game.
Instead of gaming with a regular keyboard that does nothing but slows you down while gaming, try buying a gaming keypad. It is built to improve your gameplay by offering you full control over your keypad layout. It also allows you to program sequential multi-key combos to improve control over your games.
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