The Best Gaming Keypads in 2021

Gaming keypads can be great for some users. MMO games, apps that include a ton of keyboard shortcuts, and workflows that include drawing on digital tablets can gain a lot from a gaming keypad. And since the gaming keypad market is a relative niche is much easier to find the best gaming keypad then, let’s say, the best wireless keyboard.

Today, we’ve gathered a selection of best gaming keypads you can find. We have premium models but also a couple of keypads for users on a budget. We have keypads with regular keys but also those that come with each key being fully programmable. You can check out each one in detail below..

razer tartarus pro
  • Number Of Keys: 20 Along With D-Pad And Scroll Wheel; 32 Programmable Keys In Total
  • Switches Used: Optical Mechanical Switches
  • Fully Programmable Keys: Yes, Each Key If Fully Programmable
  • Backlighting: Yes, Full RGB
CHECK PRICES

The Razer Tartarus Pro is an upgrade of the company’s Razer Tartarus V2 gaming keypad that includes one major and multiple smaller updates. First of all, before we start talking about features, let’s cover build quality and design. Build quality is excellent. Everything feels sturdy, plastic is rugged, and keys feel nice under your fingers.

The design includes stuff like wrist and thumb rests along with a D-pad and a scroll wheel. You also get nineteen fully customizable keys, labeled with numbers from 1 to 19. There’s also the 20th key that can be found on the lower righthand side, below the D-pad. The design is pretty good. It isn’t too tacky, like many other gaming peripherals, and it gives this keypad a certain amount of coolness without going over the top.

As we’ve already said the twenty programmable keys can have any function you want. This is great for MMO players since they can map every spell on this keypad. Each key is relatively easily accessible, even the awkwardly placed key number 20. Switches used on the keys are analog optical switches. They use lasers to read key travel, allowing them to behave like analog inputs. For instance, in a racing game, you can control how hard you’ve pressed a key and thus control the speed of the car, like when playing a racing game on a controller and using the right trigger as the gas pedal.

These optical keys are great. They have a very fast response time and also include two actuation points. You can map different controls to the primary and secondary actuation point. For instance, the first point could be used for walking and the second for running. Thus, when you slightly press a key your character will walk (like when holding W+Caps Lock in some games) and when you fully press the key your character will run (like only pressing W key). This can be pretty handy since these optical keys emulate triggers and joysticks on controllers.

The keypad comes with the Razer Synapse software, which supports creating macros, adjusting the actuation point of each key, saving control profiles for individual games, setting different RGB effects, and so on. It’s pretty powerful and handy but the keypad doesn’t include its own memory meaning that every profile you create will be accessible only on the PC where it has been created.

Overall, the Razer Tartarus Pro is a great gaming keypad. It features twenty fully programmable keys, supports macros, can use a different profile for each game you play, includes these cool analog switches, it has a sturdy build quality, and it looks rather nice. On the other side, this gaming keypad might be too small for people with large hands and too large for people with smaller hands. Also, this model is quite expensive and while the new optical keys provide lots of cool features in theory, in reality, those features are mostly gimmicks you won’t use while gaming. Despite its flaws, this is the best gaming keypad you can find. The only question is do you really need it for your gaming and/or work-related needs?

Pros:
  • Sturdy Build Quality
  • Optical Switches Are Handy In Some Games
  • All Keys Are Fully Programmable
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Optical Switches Are Mostly A Gimmick
  • Can Be Too Small For Users With Large Hands
  • Can Be Too Big For Users With Small Hands

Razer Tartarus v2 Gaming Keypad

Cheaper Version Of Razer Tartarus Pro That’s Great For MMO Players

razer tartarus v2 gaming keypad
  • Number Of Keys: 20 Along With D-Pad And Scroll Wheel; 32 Programmable Keys In Total
  • Switches Used: Mecha-Membrane Switches
  • Fully Programmable Keys: Yes, Each Key Is Fully Programmable
  • Backlighting: Yes, Full RGB
CHECK PRICES

The Razer Tartarus v2 is the previous version of Razer’s gaming keypad that doesn’t include improvements seen on the Pro model. Since the Pro brought optical analog keys and not much else, these two are very similar. Everything we’ve said about the Tartarus Pro’s design and build quality works here also. Further, the button layout is exactly the same and the Razer Synapse software can be used for all kinds of tweaks and button remapping.

The main difference is the keys. Tartarus v2 uses a mashup between mechanical and membrane keys, which don’t support stuff like dual actuation point and analog input. They are regular keys that are great to use in games where you don’t need super-fast response times. Games such as MMORPGs. If you prefer multiplayer shooters and other games where fast response time can give you an advantage, it’s better to skip this keypad.

Overall, the Tartarus v2 is another solid gaming keypad that’s noticeably more affordable than the Pro version. It doesn’t feature analog optical keys but if you plan on using this keypad with MMO games, you’ll be fine. Users who plan on getting a gaming keypad for esports titles and competitive shooters should pick a keypad with mechanical keys instead.

Pros:
  • Sturdy Build Quality
  • All Keys Are Fully Programmable
  • Great For MMO Games
Cons:
  • Mecha-Membrane Keys Are Made For Fast-Paced Games
  • Can Be Too Small For Users With Large Hands
  • Can Be Too Big For Users With Small Hands

Logitech G13

The Best Gaming Keypad For WoW

logitech g13
  • Number Of Keys: 22 Fully Programmable Keys Along With Macro Keys And Analog Stick
  • Switches Used: Membrane Switches
  • Fully Programmable Keys: Yes, Each G Key Is Fully Programmable
  • Backlighting: Yes, Full RGB
CHECK PRICES

The Logitech G13 is an old-school gaming keypad that is perfect for playing MMO games such as World of Warcraft. This model is on the market for around a decade now and while it doesn’t feature stuff like mechanical keys or modern design, it’s great for gamers who need a gaming keypad. As long as you don’t need a gaming keypad for competitive shooters and other games where mechanical keys can provide an advantage over membrane ones, you’ll be fine.

The build quality is top-notch. This thing is built like a tank and it will definitely last for a long time unless you plan on running it over with a car or something. It’s also very heavy so you don’t have to worry about stability and such. The keypad includes 22 fully programable G keys along with an analog joystick and a set of M keys for switching profiles and recording macros. This is great because you can seamlessly record and save macros on the fly, without using the provided software.

Membrane switches used aren’t as responsive as mechanical ones, and they don’t have the same feeling when typed on. But they aren’t too mushy and are great for games where reflexes and key responsiveness aren’t important. The keypad includes a small LCD screen that can be used for showing CPU usage, date and time, notifications, and so on. Below the display, you can find a set of keys used for controlling what’s shown on it. The keypad includes RGB backlighting with extra features such as setting the color and brightness of each key and creating different RGB zones.

When it comes to ergonomics, the G13 is pretty good. Each key is relatively easy to reach and the keypad is great both for people with smaller and large hands. The wrist rest is comfortable and the design makes this keypad comfortable to use even during long gaming sessions. The Logitech software supports a ton of features allowing users to change functions of each key, record macros, save profiles for different games, select what will be displayed on the screen, sync settings with other Logitech products, etc.

Overall, the Logitech G13 is an old but excellent gaming keypad. It’s not suited for fast-paced games since it features membrane key switches but MMO players and people who need something like this for their workflow will love it.

Pros:
  • Top-Notch Build Quality
  • Each Key Is Fully Programable
  • Great Ergonomics
  • Perfect For MMORPGs
Cons:
  • Uses Membrane Switches
  • Not Suited For Fast-Paced Games
  • Could Be Cheaper

Redragon K585 DITI

Best Budget Gaming Keypad

redragon k585 diti
  • Number Of Keys: 42 Keys Out Of Which 7 Are Fully Programmable
  • Switches Used: Mechanical Switches (Outemu Blue)
  • Fully Programmable Keys: No, Only Macro Keys Are Fully Programmable
  • Backlighting: Yes, Full RGB
CHECK PRICES

If you want an affordable gaming keypad the Redragon K585 DITI is the best choice. First of all, this gaming keypad looks great. It features a modern design with sharp edges and lots of RGB. And it doesn’t look too aggressive or tacky. It actually looks really cool. Next, the keypad includes stuff like mechanical switches, wrist rest, full RGB backlighting, and superb build quality. When using it you won’t believe how affordable it is.

The keypad includes regular keys along with macro keys and five keys on the top for recording macros and switching between profiles. You have a number of regular keys such as letters, F1-F4 keys, and keys such as FN, Shift, Delete, or Esc. But you also have access to seven macro keys in total, that can be programmed to perform any regular and macro function.

The Redragon K585 DITI is very comfortable to use, even during long gaming sessions. It’s perfect for users with larger hands. Those with small hands will have to adjust for a couple of days but after you get used to it, this keypad isn’t really too large for users with smaller hands. The mechanical keys used are clicky Outemu Blue. They are great for first-person shooter and competitive games thanks to their fast response time. They can be pretty loud when in use and we would prefer linear (red, or black) switches in a device like this one.

Nevertheless, mechanical keys are always better than membrane switches so for the price, we can complain much. Overall, this is an excellent gaming keypad. It includes seven macro keys as well as keys for recording macros on the go. It’s also very comfortable to use and is just right for most users. Only those with smaller hands will have some issues with using this keypad. You also get mechanical switches, which is a huge plus at this price point.

Pros:
  • Very Comfortable
  • Excellent Build Quality
  • Mechanical Switches On A Budget Keypad Is A Huge Plus
  • Just Right Size For Most Users
Cons:
  • Blue Switches Can Be Loud
  • Could Be Too Big For Users With Small Hands

Delux T9

A Solid Gaming Keypad For Those On A Budget

delux t9
  • Number Of Keys: 46 Keys In Total
  • Switches Used: Membrane Switches
  • Fully Programmable Keys: No, There’s Zero Programmable Keys
  • Backlighting: Yes, Single-Color Backlighting
CHECK PRICES

The Delux T9 is another budget gaming keypad. This time you don’t get mechanical keys, only membrane switches. These aren’t the worst membrane switches we’ve seen. They are okay, not too mushy, and with solid feedback. This makes this keypad great for slower-paced games. FPS and competitive multiplayer titles should be played with a keypad that includes mechanical keys.

When it comes to the design and build quality, the Delux T9 looks like a budget keypad. It includes a plain black design with red keys marking the god old WASD combo along with the double space key. You have 45 keys in total but there aren’t any macro keys. This means you won’t be able to tweak keys and assign them any function you want. Also, there isn’t any RGB backlighting but at least you get single-color backlighting. Better than nothing.

The Delux T9 is pretty narrow compared to other keypads and it includes some extra keys such as those for volume and screen brightness control. Nevertheless, we would like to see some macro keys as well as a better cable since the one used is pretty slim and looks like it would break pretty easily. Overall, this is a solid budget gaming keypad but for a slightly higher price, you can get models that boast mechanical switches, macro keys, and full RGB backlighting.

Pros:
  • Presence Of Extra Keys For Volume Control
  • Solid For MMOs And Slower Paced Games
Cons:
  • Plain, Uninteresting Design
  • Lack Of Macro Keys

How To Choose A Gaming Keypad

Gaming keypad should be an auxiliary peripheral you use only when gaming, with your keyboard being used for regular use and work. Or it can be used while working with a digital drawing board, giving you more space than a regular keyboard. So, a gaming keypad should be compact enough to keep it next to your keyboard on your desk. It also should include a set of features you need.

For instance, some users prefer keypads where every button is fully programable. Other users must have backlighting on their keypad, RGB, or not. Let’s cover every important feature to look for when in the market for a gaming keyboard in depth.

Do You Need A Gaming Keypad?

The first question is whether or not you need a gaming keypad. There are great gaming keyboards that cost less than $50 out there so shelling out extra money for a periphery you’ll be using only when gaming isn’t the best choice you can make. A gaming keypad could be useful for programs that include dozens of shortcuts but as soon as you need typing, you’re out of luck.

And most games work great with regular keyboards. Their limited set of inputs can be mapped to any keyboard with every control being easily accessible. Some games, such as MMORPGs, have dozens of controls used for different spells and actions, as well as key combinations that activate special moves, which can be recorded as macros and activated with just one key. There are some gaming mice that include a dozen or so buttons that are made for MMOs. And then, there are gaming keypads.

They are dream control options for fans of MMOs. Their small size and dense button layout allow for every control to be mapped to a button that’s easily reachable. And since many models come with every button being fully programable, MMO players can use them for recording macros, allowing them to use complex button combinations just with a press of a single button.

Of course, there are other games that can be played with a gaming keypad but they unveil a new issue some users might have and that’s muscle memory. Years of playing shooters, for instance, can engrave the position of keys such as R, E, Alt, Shift, or CTRL into our minds and fingers. We can press those keys without looking, even in our sleep so moving from a regular keyboard to a keypad can be an issue, for shooters but also for other games.

And of course, you have games where you cannot remap controls and you cannot play these with a gaming keypad. In the end, gaming keypads are best suited for games such as MMOs and RPGs where you have dozens of spells and other powers and where a keypad is great since you can map each spell to a key that’s easily accessible. And, you can also record macros and map those to a single key, which is great.

But other games aren’t as suited to using gaming keypads. You can play those with a gaming keypad but their limited control set can be easily mapped to any keyboard in order to be easily accessible by every finger. If you’re an avid MMO player you will love gaming keypads. Other gamers might not gain as much from gaming keypads as they would expect.

But there’s another fairly large group of users that can use a gaming keypad for their work. We’re talking about artists who use drawing pads and who can reduce clutter and gain more space on their desk by using a keypad instead of a full keyboard. They can also use programmable keys for recording shortcuts and macro controls in various programs. The same can be said about people who work in Photoshop or video editing tools where they can use a gaming keypad to easily map every shortcut and macro the be easily accessible and logically arranged.

If you’re finding yourself in the aforementioned use cases, you should seriously think about getting a gaming keypad. Everyone else should probably get a regular keyboard. There are some excellent gaming keyboards under $100, check those out if you want a premium accessory that can be used both for gaming and typing.

Size And Design

Next, we have the size and design of gaming keypads. First of all, every single keypad is smaller than even 60 percent keyboards so you’ll definitely gain additional free space if the only thing you do on your PC is gaming so you don’t even have to use a keyboard. Everyone else will probably lose some free space because they would have to keep their keypad next to their keyboard and switch them when gaming.

When it comes to design, there are some gaming keypads featuring an ergonomic design that includes wrist rests, key placement following the natural shape of the hand, or something like that. Now, when in the market for a gaming keypad you should definitely focus on the size. Some keypads are very small in size and they are a pain to use for people with large hands.

Larger keypads are usually fine for every user. Some keys are a bit harder to reach by users with small hands. So, if you have smaller hands you should be fine with virtually any keypad. But users with larger hands should definitely try out different keypads in person before pulling the trigger.

Finally, there’s backlighting. These days most models have backlighting, RGB, or not. Just remember that some gaming keypads don’t have backlighting so check each model for backlighting to be sure the one you’re interested in has it.

Switch Type

You have gaming keypads with membrane and mechanical switches. Users who prefer shooters, esports games, or competitive real-time strategies should definitely get a model with mechanical keys or some form of hybrid mechanical keys. They have better response time compared to membrane keys as well as better feedback when pressed and shorter travel distance.

On the other side, gamers who prefer playing MMORPGs and single-player RPG games should be fine with a keypad that features membrane keys. They don’t need to split-second reactions and slightly longer response time won’t negatively affect their performance.

Button Configuration (regular keys vs fully programmable keys)

There are two large groups of gaming keypads. Keypads that feature regular keys and those where each key is fully programmable. Each group has its ups and downs. For instance, regular keys are great because you don’t have to look for each key, you already know where they are placed thanks to muscle memory. Your fingers know the location of the Z or X key, for instance. These keypads are easier to use from the get-go but they don’t always offer fully programable keys. Instead, keys here have regular roles, like on regular keyboards, and usually cannot have their function changed.

You might get macro keys where you can change their function and use them for recorded macros but most keys have their predefined function. Shift key will behave like a Shift key, CTRL like a CTRL key on every other keyboard, etc.

On the other side of the line are keypads with fully programable keys. Those are marked with numbers, or letters and numbers. Getting used to them might be a pain at the start but after a while, they might prove as a better solution than regular keys. The good this is that each key here is fully programmable. You can assign it any control you want, even complex macros.

Software

Last but not least, let’s talk about software. Having a gaming keypad with a software that’s easy to use and that includes a lot of options is great. You can change backlighting effects, assign a different function to each key, record control profile for different games, record macros, etc. Great software can make a gaming keypad so much more usable and handier. Remember this when looking for your next gaming keypad.

About The Author

Goran Damnjanovic

Goran studied psychology but video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. On top of that he likes writing so he decided to become a writer. And it was the right choice. Other than games and hardware, Goran is interested in basketball, Sci-Fi literature, and music.

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