Which are the best mechanical keyboards on the market? That was the question I tried to answer in our feature on whether mechanical keyboards are good for gaming, and how they became popular in the first place. I ended that piece with three keyboard recommendations, but the response to the article made it clear that you wanted to see more recommendations for different use-cases than we considered - particularly full-fat gaming keyboards with features like macro and media keys, programmable RGB lighting and game-state integration or quieter models that can be used in a busy office.
The range of mechanical keyboard options continues to expand, making this a good time to take stock of the new arrivals. Apart from the quiet switched keyboards we alluded to earlier, we've also seen the arrival of optical-mechanical keyboards that should offer faster response times and even full analogue sensing on certain models. A wide range of other new switches have appeared in the past few years as well, including short-throw Speed switches and boutique options like Zealios which meet the demands of users who know exactly what they want.
Of course, for this article we don't want to go too far into the weeds. Instead, we'll keep our recommendations reasonably broad and merely note these more advanced options where they exist. So sit back, get comfy and take a look at our favourite mechanical keyboards for 2019!
Note: The pictures of each keyboard show either a UK or US layout, but I've linked to the appropriate regional layout wherever possible - so don't worry if you see a keyboard with a different-sized Enter key than what you're used to!
Best gaming keyboard
When it comes to mechanical keyboards, few can match Corsair's high-end models for features. This full-fat K70 MK2 keyboard has super-programmable RGB backlighting that can reflect in-game stats and be synced with the rest of your PC's components - of course! - as well as dedicated volume and media controls, a USB port and a wrist rest. The actual typing experience hasn't been forgotten either, with a wide range of switches - including rare low-actuation MX Speed and quiet MX Silent options. The keyboard is well-built too, with an aluminium chassis and PBT keycaps that should provide excellent longevity. Of course, everything comes at a cost - and for the K70 MK2, that includes a substantial footprint and a premium price tag. Still, if you believe that perfection comes when there's nothing left to add rather than nothing left to take away, the Corsair K70 MK2 is well worth a look.
Best quiet mechanical keyboard
The Fnatic Streak is a fully-featured mechanical keyboard available with silent switches. This board includes many extra features too, such as a comfortable wrist rest, full RGB backlighting, a programmable layout and a dedicated volume knob. It gets bonus points for customisability, with a choice of full-size and tenkeyless versions. It also comes with a standard layout which makes finding replacement keycaps a cinch, unlike other popular keyboards from Razer and Corsair. However, it also lacks those keyboards' complex yet powerful software, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on where your priorities lie.
In the UK, another strong option is the Fnatic Rush Pro Gaming Silent. It drops the RGB backlighting and a few other features but costs just £80.
Best overall mechanical gaming keyboard
This new keyboard from German firm Roccat sets itself apart with its novel Titan switches and skinny keycaps, which provide good tactile feedback for typing yet a shortened travel time that suits gaming. The floating-key design and brushed aluminium top plate also provide a uniquely stylish look. In terms of features, you get a handy volume knob and mute key in the upper right, RGB backlighting and extensive programmability through the Roccat Swarm software. If you're after something a little different - and genuinely outstanding - the Vulcan is a logical choice.
The top-of-the-line model in Europe is the Vulcan 120, which comes with a magnetically-attached palm rest but is otherwise identical to the cheaper Vulcan 100 model. In the US, the Vulcan 120 isn't offered, so I have linked to the Vulcan 100 instead. There's also the Vulcan 80, which loses the RGB backlighting and media controls.
If you prefer your mechanical keyboards to be full-size, number pad and all, then the Roccat Suora FX is definitely worth a look. It has a standard bottom row so finding replacement keycap sets is easy, as well as four dedicated keys in the upper right for volume controls and macros. The frameless aluminium design means that it doesn't take up any more space than is strictly necessary and it feels solid too. Each keyboard comes with Brown tactile switches, an ideal middle-ground between loud and clicky Blues and soft and linear Reds. RGB backlighting is included on all FX models, while the vanilla Suora has simple blue backlighting instead. All in all, a solid option that provides excellent value.
Best mechanical keyboard for coding or typing: WASD Code - from £140 UK/$150 USA
Californian company WASD sell some of the most colourful keyboards in the business, even letting users upload their own custom designs to be printed onto the keycaps. Their CODE keyboard, on the other hand, is the complete opposite, designed to blend into a business environment while still offering a pitch-perfect typing experience. Beneath the sober design, you'll find one of five different MX switches, including rarer MX Green, MX Clear and Zealios, plus the choice of pre-installed o-rings to make the keyboard as silent as possible. The switches are plate-mounted to ensure a solid feel and long-lasting durability, while white LED backlighting makes it easy to use in darker environments. This keyboard isn't cheap, but it should offer a pleasant typing experience for decades to come.
Shipping a WASD keyboard to Europe can be costly, so a similar keyboard like the Filco Majestouch-2 or a Cooler-Master Masterkeys could be a good alternative. Full disclosure: I worked for Filco distributor The Keyboard Company before joining Eurogamer.
This is one of the most popular budget mechanical keyboards available, thanks to its low price, good range of regional layouts and optional red backlighting. The keyboard uses Kailh-made switches similar to Cherry MX Blues, which provide an excellent tactile feel and a loud click. There are few advanced features here; this is just a simple keyboard that delivers a great typing and gaming experience for the money.
The Wooting One is something special: the first analogue mechanical keyboard. That's an interesting prospect for gaming, as its pressure-sensitive keys allow you to steer into corners or creep around a level with the same fine-grained control you only normally only get with a wheel or controller. You can adjust the actuation point of the keyboard in software too, making a tradeoff between speed and control that normally demands switching to an entirely different keyboard with different mechanical switches inside. All of this requires some setup and tweaking, but the result is something special. The One is also a solid keyboard even if you use it entirely digitally, with a clean 'floating keys' design, programmable RGB backlighting and a compact tenkeyless layout. The use of a tiny infrared beam also means that keypresses should be registered abnormally fast, which may have a tiny effect on your in-game prowess - but I think this keyboard's analogue controls are the more interesting feature to discuss.
The Wooting Two will be released in mid February if you'd prefer a full-size analogue keyboard.
With that, our recommendations come to an end. Of course, even if we chose 20 keyboards we'd still not scratch the surface of the many options available - so if we didn't cover your favourite keyboard, it's nothing personal! I hope you've found this article useful, and I look forward to the feedback. If you haven't read it before, I'd also encourage you to check out our feature on how - and why - mechanical keyboards become popular in the first place.