Have you heard of gaming keypads? If you are a professional gamer or you intend to become one, they might become your new best friend.
If you have hours of experience playing online, I’m sure you’ve noticed that using the keyboard is tricky and uncomfortable. It’s hard to reach the right key at the right time, and you often end up feeling annoyed because you pressed the wrong button.
That is where keypads come in handy. In short, they are keyboards with recessed design and decreased the number of available buttons. Actually, there are just enough keys to utilize them properly and head for victory in your next session. The trick is that all the buttons are available without you having to move or relocate your hand. Even the keys that are in the corners can be reached with your fingertips.
And the manufacturers of gaming keypads learned a thing or two over the years. Now they are offering an ergonomic design that perfectly complements your palm. Most of them also come with palm-rest features, which enable you to avoid fatigue even during long-lasting sessions.
That’s enough talking – let’s take a look at the best gaming keypads in 2018. I tried to select only the top products from most reputable companies, and I’m sure you will find the one you like. In case you can’t decide, check out the buying guide located at the bottom of the article.
Razer Tartarus V2 Chroma – Ergonomic Mecha-Membrane Gaming Keypad
- Crossover between mechanical and membrane types
- 32 keys that can be individually programmed
- Detachable palm rest
- Backlighting is customizable and offers millions of color options
- A secondary set of commands enabled by the Hypershift mode
About the Keypad
If you know a thing or two about gaming, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Razer. This reputable company made many products for players worldwide, and Razer Tartarus V2 Chroma is among its best-sellers. This gaming keypad brings a beautiful mixture of mechanic and membrane key types. It has a dome made of membrane rubber that enables a cushioned touch, as well as a mechanical switch for ultra-quick responsiveness. Simply put, the commands are fast but silent, which means you won’t be annoyed by the loud clicking noise you usually hear from mechanical buttons.
Once you take a look at the device itself, you immediately notice the backlighting. If you don’t like the default settings, you can choose one of the millions of color options at your disposal. With such a vast color palette to choose from, you can customize the lighting needs no matter how specific they are. You can also try out the new tool for configuration of Razer peripherals called Synapse 3. Although it is still in Beta phase, it offers many useful options for additionally adjusting your keypad.
The keypad layout has a total of 32 buttons and a thumb-pad. Each of the keys is fully customizable. The thumb-pad offers eight directions for swift movement at any movement. Alternatively, you can use it for extra commands.
Here we must mention the feature called Hypershift mode. Thanks to it, the capabilities of your keypad will be doubled. The only thing you need to do is to assign the desired key to this mode. Once you activate it, you will have an entirely different set of commands available. You can add macros, hotkeys, and adjust in any way you like to expand the default set of controls.
When it comes to ergonomics, Razer once again proved that they care about the players. The palm rest that comes with the product is detachable. Once you attach it to the keypad, you will notice that you can choose between two different positions. That means you can select your desired angle and that enables you to maximize your comfort. In other words, that means no more fatigue even when you are playing for hours.
As for the downsides, the keypad might not be suitable for players that have small hands (e.g., children or women). The dimensions of the product are 2.4 x 8 x 6 inches, and that is something you need to keep in mind. Also, keep in mind that the software for configuring the device is still in the testing phase and you might encounter some issues in dealing with it.
In case you don’t like the mecha-membrane combination, keep in mind that Tartarus V2 Chroma is also available in the classic membrane and mechanical options.
- Impressive responsiveness
- Completely adjustable layout
- Hypershift mode doubles the number of available commands
- Adjustable positions for the palm rest maximize player’s comfort
- Not suitable for players with extra small hands
- The configuration software has a few bugs
Razer Orbweaver Chroma Mechanical Gaming Keypad
- Optimized mechanical switches
- 30 buttons that can be individually programmed
- Palm, thumb, and hand-rest modules are customizable
- Backlighting is customizable and offers millions of color options
- Compatible with Razer Synapse software
About the Keypad
Remember how I mentioned that there is a Razer gaming keypad that is entirely mechanical? Well, let me present you Orbweaver Chroma, a peripheral device that is considered “elite” for a reason. Gamers prefer having a mechanical keypad because of its responsiveness. This product will undoubtedly impress you with its speed. It is so responsive because of the perfectly optimized points of actuation and reset. That’s the benefit of having a peripheral that has been specially designed for gaming.
Let’s take a look at the layout of the Razer Orbweaver Chroma. It has 30 buttons and a thumb-pad that you will probably use for movement. You can move the pad in eight directions, but it is entirely customizable if you want to use it as an extra set of commands for in-game skills. The rest of the keys are also fully adjustable, which means that you have total control over this device.
Long-lasting sessions are a regular thing for pro gamers. That is why you need to feel like your hand is rested throughout the entire play duration. The good news is that you can adjust the modules for resting your palm, thumb, and hand. You will see a slider that you can move forth and back until you find the ideal position per your preference. Talk about perfect ergonomics!
However, while we are on the topic of ergonomics, let’s mention that some players might have issues with the thumb-pad. You might not be used to using your thumb to move around and consider it unnatural and uncomfortable after a while. Fortunately, this can be solved by changing the movement commands to buttons and using the thumb-pad as an extra set of keys.
As you would expect, the product has millions of color options when it comes to backlighting. Personally, I like to stick to the default settings, but you can always spend some time and make your peripheral unique with personal coloring adjustments.
Just like other keypads from this company, Orbweaver Chroma is compatible with the Razer Synapse app. This software allows you to utilize the cloud system to create and store custom profiles. I have to commend the in-game configurator which works flawlessly. It is a piece of cake to adjust the button settings to your taste and save them for future use.
- Mechanical keys are incredibly responsive and long-lasting
- Adjust the position of resting modules until you find the perfect one for your hand, palm, and thumb
- In-game configurator and configuration software tool
- Create unique backlighting color palette
- It is durable, but make sure you treat it with care
- The thumb-pad might be inconvenient to use for some players
Logitech G13 Programmable Gameboard with LCD Display
- Comfort Wave design
- 25 buttons that can be individually programmed
- GamePanel LCD screen that shows essential info
- Onboard memory for up to five profiles
- Hundreds of backlighting options
About the Keypad
Did you know that Logitech won the Award for Best of Innovations at Consumer Electronics Show in 2009? It has been almost a decade since then, and the Comfort Wave design still finds its way to customers because it is just that good. The unique concave layout of the buttons is what enables you to locate them by touch without effort. Add to that the fact that the contoured design is ideally in line with the hand shape and you have a product that is ideal for exhausting gaming sessions that last for hours.
The big truth is that the keys of Logitech G13 Programmable GameBoard are a membrane. However, that is not something that should pull you away from this product. They are incredibly robust and durable, and they have excellent responsiveness. It’s also worth mentioning that you will feel comfortable pressing them. The keypad has a total of 25 keys plus an analog stick. All these are customizable so that each player can choose their desired settings.
While we are on the topic of adjusting settings, let’s mention that Logitech G13 allows the creation of up to five profiles with preset controls. The software that comes with the product also includes pre-configured settings for games that are recommended to play with this keypad. The list consists of Fallout 3, World of Warcraft, Left 4 Dead, Warhammer Online, Call of Duty, and other releases.
I saved the best for last. The feature that makes this device unique is the so-called GamePanel LCD screen. It is located on the keypad, and it shows information and statistics related to your current gaming sessions, as well as messages that you received from other players. Although it is compact with the dimensions of 160 x 43 pixels, it is extremely visible and can be a significant tactical advantage during play.
When it comes to downsides of Logitech G13 Programmable GameBoard, number one is undoubtedly the fact that its unusual design requires some time to get used to it. The good news is that once you get ahold of how everything works, you will discover the advantages of the product and enjoy using it. Keep in mind that, thanks to the LCD screen, the gameboard is somewhat heavy (1.4 pounds).
- Award-winning design
- Solid and durable keys
- Useful LCD screen that shows game stats and other information
- Simple to use software
- Somewhat heavy
- Takes a bit of time to get used to it
DEEBOL 46-Key Wired Professional Singlehanded Backlit Gaming Keyboard
- Compact palm-sized design
- 41 keys plus 6 multimedia buttons
- 3-color RGB backlight with adjustable brightness
- Spacebar on both sides makes it suitable for both left and right-handed gamers
About the Keypad
If you are looking for the most affordable option available in the gaming keypad market, then DEEBOL 46-Key Wired Professional Singlehanded Backlit Gaming Keyboard is the right choice for you. Just keep in mind one thing – if you want a low price you need to be ready to give up on some premium features you might expect from a keypad.
The first thing you notice about this product is its design. It is compact and lightweight and seems to perfectly fit into your palm. When it comes to the keys, you will see a total of 41 buttons plus six extra multimedia keys. These include the escape button, as well as options to decrease, increase, or mute the sound.
I’m telling you this because you cannot remap the keys by yourself on this keypad. The only thing that you can change is WASD to arrow keys. The default option is WASD, and you make the change by pressing the button programmed for that function. The problem is that the key that adjusts this is among all other keys and you can hit it by accident. Needless to say, that can cause all sorts of troubles in the middle of a session.
The good news is that the space bar is located on both sides of the keypad. That means the product is optimized for both left and right-handed people so that everyone can feel natural using it. The keys are a membrane, but the manufacturer claims that the lifespan of each of them is 10 million keystrokes. I haven’t counted, but everything worked alright during the testing phase.
DEEBOL 46-Key Wired Professional Gaming Keyboard also comes with the integrated RGB backlighting. It offers three colors, and you can adjust the brightness to your preference. That means you can use this product in the dark, too. Yet another piece of good news is that you don’t have to use this device only as a gaming keypad. It is also ideal to be a singlehanded keyboard. And don’t worry about long sessions since you can utilize the palm rest made from silica gel to avoid fatigue.
- Suitable for both left and right-handed players
- Compact and lightweight product
- Extremely affordable
- Palm rest made from silica gel is comfortable
- Takes a bit of time to get used to it
- Awkwardly positioned WASD to arrow keys switch button
How to Choose the Best Gaming Keypad
You might think that there is not a lot to choose when it comes to gaming keypads, but you are wrong. In fact, there are several factors that you need to consider before purchasing this peripheral.
Why You Should Go for Mechanical Keys
First of all, keep in mind that there are two types of gaming keyboards when it comes to types of keys used:
- Membrane keys
- Mechanical keys
Regarding the price, membrane keyboards are a better option since they are cheaper than mechanical keypads. They have a mushy membrane (or two) made of plastic and electric current runs through them. Although they are affordable, their durability is limited, and their responsiveness is questionable. If you are not a serious online gamer, you could probably start with a keypad that has membrane keys.
However, if every portion of a second makes the difference and you want to be competitive with top players, you will find that mechanical keys have improved responsiveness. They use standard mechanical switches that are placed underneath each key. Aside from being more responsive, they are also more reliable than membrane keyboards. Their most significant downside is the price as they tend to be expensive. However, their durability is worth the money and they present a genuine long-term investment.
This should be your top priority, especially if you spend a lot of time gaming. You don’t want your hand or arm to get tired even after you play for hours. And you especially don’t want to feel uncomfortable or have issues with pressing the right buttons. That is why you should take a look if the ergonomics of the keypad works for you.
The first indicator of a handy layout is that you can reach all buttons without any difficulty. You should also make sure that there is no risk of pressing the wrong keys. Some keypads have buttons that are placed too close to one another, while others are too far. When you are in the middle of a gaming session, you will need everything to work correctly. Pressing just one wrong button by accident may lead to defeat, and you don’t want that to happen.
If you have the option, it is a good idea to test the product yourself. It’s the best way to see if you can reach all buttons effortlessly and without putting your hand(s) in an unnatural position.
Another thing that you should consider when it comes to ergonomics is whether the keypad has extra features that improve comfort. These may include wrist rests or cushioned palm. That particularly matters if you play action games such as first-person shooters. You will need to rest your hand on the keyboard for a long time, and you don’t want to experience fatigue. That is why you should look for comfort-improving features.
Can You Program the Keys?
A gaming keypad might come with fewer buttons than a classic PC keyboard, but there is still plenty of keys available. That is why it is crucial that you have the option of customizing them any way you see fit. Of course, it’s ideal if the device gives you full control over every single button.
Oh, and it’s an excellent addition if the keypad will memorize the adjustments you made for future use. Ideally, you might even have the option to create several separate profiles for different games. This will also enable you to lend the peripheral to a friend without worrying that they will change your settings.
Do You Want It to Be Stylish?
You will find that black color dominates most of the gaming keypads. Some of them are combined with just one more color, while you could describe some models as very colorful. Don’t overestimate the usefulness of a multiple-colored keypad. The truth is that you will get used to the control layout quickly and it won’t make a lot of difference.
That is why your preferred style should be your primary concern here. Take a look at the other peripherals you have and make sure that it doesn’t stand out. If you have a classic black keyboard and mouse, the chances are that choosing a red keypad will make it stand out from the pack. And some of you might even like that. So, the only advice I can give you here is to make sure you like the design of the device you want to buy,
Believe it or not – I don’t have anything else to tell you about the best gaming keypads in 2018. Have you found the one you like? Naturally, it all comes down to your desires. If you are only a beginner that won’t spend a lot of time using a keypad, you can always go for a cheap option. However, if you want to take your playing to the next level, I suggest investing in a premium keypad such as those that are manufactured by Razer. Finally, let me tell you that you cannot go wrong if you select any of the devices offered in this article. They were carefully chosen because they can do a proper job in enhancing your gaming experience and help you improve your skills!