There are a lot of peripherals you can invest in to boost your gaming experience and capability. One of the first ones that typically comes to mind is a good gaming keyboard. But if you go for a tenkeyless (tkl) option for compactness, you may be missing a vital component - a keypad.
A good keypad can elevate your abilities, especially if you are into MOBAs or MMOs. So no matter if you’re dealing with a compact keyboard or just want some customization of your gaming station, investing in a high-quality keypad is a good idea.
There are many options on the market today. They differ in key type, features design, and many other factors. So it may be challenging to figure out which one will fit your gaming needs. That is why we compiled this guide.
Hopefully, with all of the information, we can help you find that perfect keypad. We also went ahead and chose five of our top choices for the best gaming keypad. So without further ado, let's take a look at what these gaming keypads have on offer for you so you can make the ideal decision for your needs and your budget.
Best Gaming Keypad Reviews
Razer Tartarus v2 Gaming Keypad
Our first entry uses high-quality components to create a highly programmable and customizable option for serious gamers out there.
Crafting a high-quality keypad that is perfect for gaming takes careful attention placed on key factors. The team at Razer knows this as they are one of the biggest names in the gaming peripherals and so they made sure to include the following features:
- Crafted with premium mecha-membrane switches (32)
- Designed with an 8-way directional thumbpad
- Built with fully programmable macros
- Constricted with individually backlit keys capable of supporting over 16 million colors
There is a lot to love about this keypad. Starting from the design through to the gameplay, this is easily one of the best options on the market today. The unit is fitted with a layout that is easy to use and comfortable as well. This layout helps improve your gameplay too.
The keypad has macro keys that are easy to program, which will help your response time to those critical in-game moments. The keypad also syncs fast to other peripherals. All of that combines to create a keypad that is perfect for those pro gamers that love a good MMO.
There are a few issues that we need to mention before you make your final decision. The first is in regards to comfort. There have been some issues with the thickness of the padding attached to the wrist rest. The padding is a bit thin, especially if you have a larger hand.
Other than that, programming and the use of the keypad will take a little patience and practice. There is a bit of a learning curve, so allow for some time to get into the groove, especially if you have never used a detached keypad for your gaming.
Redragon K585 DITI Gaming Keypad
The next entry is a one-handed RGB mechanical keypad. It is customizable and offers an ergonomic and adjustable wrist rest for more extended play.
There are so many features and design options that you can add to a keypad to elevate its use in gaming, and Redragon has included many of these. The K585 includes the following features:
- Uses OUTEMU blue switches
- Fitted with 7 programmable macro keys (28 macro settings)
- Built-in 5 RGB backlit modes
- Designed with a USB pass-through port
- Constricted with a detachable wrist rest
- Crafted with 42 full rollover keys
- Comes with Type-C cord
This keypad is cool to look at and made to stand up to whatever you throw at it. Crafted with high-quality materials, it is durable, which is great for a lightweight, portable keypad. The layout of the keypad itself is comfortable and easy to use, which elevates your gaming experience.
One of the aspects that makes this an excellent option for those serious gamers out there is the quality of the mechanical keys used in the construction of this model.
Crafted with premium-grade blue switches, your attenuation and response time will be enhanced. Plus, it has a second USB port, so you can extend your gaming setup for the perfect configuration.
Now even with all those fantastic features, there are still a few areas of the design that could benefit from some enhancements. Though both issues do not affect the performance of the unit, they could still be something that causes certain gamers to reconsider this as one of their potential options.
The most minor of the two has to do with the extra cable included in the purchase. The cord itself is very short, so there is some limitation to creating your perfect setup.
Then there is the issue with the RGB lighting. Unlike many of the other models, this unit has a limited capability (only 5 modes), which may not fit with your aesthetics.
RedThunder Gaming Keypad
This unit from RedThunder is crafted with care and designed to have everything a diehard gamer wants - comfort, performance, and portability.
RedThunder’s design team took their time and wanted to bring their gaming customers a keypad that met every need they may have. Though it is not a one size fits all keypad, the design team made sure to include the following:
- Game chip built-in (3ms response speed)
- Designed with 35 anti-ghosting keys
- Capable of recording macro keys
- Lightweight and compact design
- Built with a large wrist rest
- RGB backlit w/ 7 colors to choose from
- Driver free
- Compatible with a wide range of platforms
When you are looking to invest in gaming peripherals like a keypad, you want to get the most bang for your buck. With this keypad from RedThunder, you definitely get just that. The keypad is easy to use with an intuitive keypad layout.
This will make those complicated moves much easier (well, that and the macro keys that are programmable to take them down to just one key). On top of this, the keypad is comfortable for long gaming sessions as well as quiet, so no matter how long you play, you won’t bother your loved ones or roommates.
Though it is comfortable and easy to use, there are some drawbacks. The biggest issue comes with the programmability of the keypad. All customization programs will take a little time to figure out.
Then there is also the fact that the color presets are not customizable. This will decrease your ability to set up the backlighting exactly right for your style needs.
AULA Excalibur Gaming Keypad
Not only does our next keypad look cool, but it is fitted with tons of features that help maximize its use and allow for those long gaming sessions.
This unit is so large the team at AULA took the opportunity to add some extra features. This keypad comes with the following:
- Programmed with 5 backlighting modes
- Customizable LED backlighting
- Designed using blue switch mechanical switches (service life – 50 million times)
- Crafted with an ergonomic design that includes a palm rest
- Wide range of compatibility
- Built-in 8-way thumb pad
- Fitted with 30 programmable keys
- No ghosting, rollover keys
This is the biggest keypad on our list, and with that footprint comes the ability to layout a keypad that is perfect for pro gamers and non-gamers as well. The beauty of this keypad lies in the amount of customization that it offers. With 30 programmable keys, you can speed up your reaction time.
The keys themselves are designed with high quality blue mechanical switches. This will give your keypad enter attenuation and allow for rapid response when needed. Plus, the palm rest is ergonomic and offers better comfort than most.
With all that real estate, though, there comes a downside. The heft of this keypad is heavier than the rest of the keypads on our list.
The unit is still portable, but it takes a little more than other options. The only other drawback is that the RGB lighting is not fully customizable, which is a small issue but one that could be a big concern for some.
Our last entry may not be as fancy as some of the other choices, but it shows up in the ways you need it to. The team at SADES has definitely brought gamers a high-quality keypad option that will help elevate their gameplay.
This is a small but mighty keypad that has the basics that you need to get the job done. These basics include the following features:
- Built with blue key switches
- Crafted with adjustable LED backlighting (7 options)
- Designed with 35 anti-ghosting keys
- Lightweight, portable build
- Wide range of compatibility
- Includes an ergonomic palm rest
This keypad is a bargain when you look at what you get for such an affordable price. Crafted with high-grade materials, this keypad is sturdy and durable and will be able to be used for years. This is a perfect keypad for new gamers looking to expand their capabilities in-game, as it is easy to use and install.
For those hours when you are stuck behind the screen, this keypad includes design features to help with comfortability. The wrist rest is designed to offer excellent support for just such occasions.
While that wrist rest does give the gamer good support, but there is one flaw. The piece is not detachable, so it does not have any customizable features. This will make it the wrong choice for some.
The other issue comes with the keys. The design of them has been known to be very clicky. This may be bad for gamers that are trying to game into the late hours and don’t want to disturb anyone.
Now that you have a few options laid out for you, it may still be a challenge choosing between them. After all, you may be thinking you are not sure what makes a good keypad.
Well, we have put together a few key features to pay close attention to during your decision-making process. These features are the ones we used to cultivate our list above, and we are sure it will help you narrow down your selection.
These features are:
So this is maybe the most important feature to look at. There are a few subdivisions of this category. When looking at keys, the first thing to pay attention to is the keyboard types.
There are two main types:
Membrane – This is perhaps the most common in lower price pointed keypads. This type of keyboard uses a rubber membrane under the keys. Membrane keyboards tend to be quieter than their mechanical cousins. This is your traditional keypad and is not advisable to use for gaming.
Mechanical - This is the way to go for gamers. The tactile feel of the buttons as you press the caps down helps with responsiveness. This is a big thing when it comes to gaming
You also have to pay attention to the switch type. There are three main types:
Linear – This is the simplest design. The switches, when pressed, move effortlessly up and down. This type of switch does not offer any tactile feedback nor noise, which helps increase the amount of actuation. This is a great choice for gamers.
Tactile – As the name implies, this switch gives you a feeling when being pressed down. Halfway through the pressing down of the key, you will feel a little hum. This is great for typing, so perhaps not the best for gaming.
Clicky – These have the same basic principle as the previous switch, but they add a clicking noise when pressed. This is just a preferred choice.
There are different brands that you can choose from when you look at switches. Some of the best are Cherry, Kailh, and Razer. Another factor to pay attention to is the total number of keys (the keypad should have no less than 20 keys).
Often, the more keys, the more customization (see the next factor). You will also want to pay attention to if they are anti-ghosting keys as well.
Customization is also a multi-faceted feature. You will want to look at a few things. The first is the number of macro keys. These are keys that you can program. This is helpful to program with multi-key functions so that your response time is enhanced by only having to use one key.
The other aspect of customization has to do with the backlighting. Many keypads come with customizable color modes. You can use this ability to set your keypad up to your aesthetic liking or color code certain keys that are all designed for the same basic features.
Palm Rest Area
Another feature that needs to be considered is comfort. This comes in both the ergonomics as well as the inclusion of a good palm rest. It will allow you to rest your palm while being deep into those long gaming sessions. This will save your wrists from exhaustion and maintain the speed of response.
So looking for a good well-cushioned palm rest is the first and most important thing when you are looking at a palm rest. Some palm rests are built-in, and others reattach for better customization. This choice is a preference, though everyone’s hands are different and so having one that can detach may be the better choice.
An ergonomic keypad is best for comfort and is designed to be lightweight and has a layout that is easy to use and move from key to key. Start by finding a keypad that will work for you and your hand and help reduce hand fatigue.
Value for Money
You will want to look for a keypad that fits your budget. However, you also want to look for one that fits in this category but also comes with the most features you can get.
You may want RGB lighting, mechanical switches, or even programmable macro keys. Typically gaming keypads are not cheap, but they can be valuable to your gameplay.
Now that you are armed with some information, there may still be some questions you have. So we have gathered together some of the most commonly asked questions and answered them below.
How does a gaming keypad work?
The gaming keypad works the same as a traditional keypad attached to your keyboard. The only significant difference is in the components used in the construction of the keypad. This is in regards to the key technology.
Typical keyboards are often constructed using membrane keys. On the other hand, a good gaming keypad will use the mechanical key style option. (See the buyer’s guide above for a more detailed definition of both).
How many keys does a typical gaming keypad have?
This is a per model answer. However, a good rule of thumb is that a well-designed gaming keyboard has between 20 -35 keys. There are models with more and with less, but choosing one in this range will give you enough keys to play at an elevated level.
How beneficial is having a gaming keypad?
This depends on what type of gamer you are. If you are a now and then gamer, you should probably opt for peripherals that can be used in other ways.
However, if you are a pro gamer or a gamer that likes to grind the weekend away, then you may want to consider investing in a gaming keypad. Doing this will help you speed up the response time and precision when deep in your games.
Is a gaming keypad comfortable to use?
This is dependent on if you have found the right one for you. Some will take more patience to learn, and once you do, you may find it more comfortable to use. There are also features that you can look for that will elevate the comfort, namely, the key size as well as a good palm rest.
Can I play complex games with a gaming keypad?
This may be one of the best ways to play a complex game. Finding a keypad that has a ton of programmable macros will allow you to save complicated moves into one key.
This will speed up your gameplay and make your reactions to what is going on quicker. For those games that are complex, this could be very useful.
So now you have a good understanding of what to look for in this critical peripheral. Choosing an option by using the buyer’s guide above means that you are ensured to find the right gaming keypad option for you and your gaming needs.
Among the five best gaming keypads we chose, there is something for everyone. So all that is left for you to do is to make your choice, hook it up and get to gaming!