Do You Really Need A Fancy Mechanical Keyboard For Gaming?

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Mechanical keyboards can cost a lot, but are they worth the expense?

Story Highlight
  • No, a fancy mechanical keyboard is really needed for gaming; however, they have certain advantages.
  • Premium mechanical keyboards offer extreme customizability and personalization while also lasting a longer time compared to membrane keyboards.
  • Mechanical Keyboards have reduced in cost a lot, which means you don’t need to overspend on one to get a good experience.

If you are someone like me, you have probably come across several jaw-dropping keyboard builds that look and sound absolutely phenomenal. Between customizable key-caps and premium hot-swappable switches, the amount you can spend on a mechanical keyboard seems to have no limit, and that is true to a certain extent.

That begs the question, do you really need a fancy mechanical keyboard for gaming, or will a cheaper keyboard be just as fit for the job? 

Should You Consider Upgrading?

Design (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Corsair R65 Plus (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Simply put, you don’t need to upgrade to a fancy mechanical keyboard to get a better gaming experience. In fact, it’s one of the last things I would recommend upgrading in your gaming setup. That said, there are some clear advantages expensive keyboards have over entry-level ones that simply cannot be denied.

Where Premium Mechanical Keyboards Really Shine

It’s hard to deny the amount of customizability and personalization higher-end mechanical keyboards offer. Replaceable keycaps, hot-swappable switches, and other mods allow you to customize just about everything to your liking.

In addition to that, you also get a tonne of pre-built options as well. Keyboards, such as the Wooting 60HE, provide the lowest possible latency while also allowing you to customize the actuation point on the switches for an advantage during fast-paced games.

From my experience, fancy mechanical keyboards also last an incredibly long time so you only need to invest once in a good keyboard and forget about upgrading for years. Of course, their longer lifespan doesn’t justify the high pricing; however, it is something worth considering if you are looking for an upgrade.

A Fancy Keyboard Won’t Make You A Better Player

Akko MOD007B-PC (Image By Tech4Gamers)

Don’t get me wrong, having the fastest switches or the lowest actuation point can make a difference in competitive gaming. This was even substantiated by my review of the Akko Mod007B, where I said:

Because of the very little distance I had to go, I could respond quite quickly during intense gameplay.

Despite the noticeable difference, the slight milliseconds you will be missing out on from not purchasing the highest-end magnetic switches won’t really make a difference in casual play. In fact, I would argue that you won’t see a difference in competitive games either unless you are competing at the highest level.

Truth be told, you aren’t missing out on a whole lot if you don’t have the fastest magnetic or optical switches. As long as your keyboard provides you with a reasonable key rollover and a comfortable experience, your gaming experience won’t really change.

Expensive Design Elements Don’t Really Matter

I’ve noticed that people spend a lot on the design of their mechanical keyboards. From aesthetically pleasing key caps to full-blown LCD screens for extreme personalization, there seems to be no end to what design elements you can get on mechanical keyboards. Not only that, but they can drive up the cost of the keyboard by a whole lot without contributing anything to the actual gaming experience.

Decreasing Prices Of Custom Keyboards

Design (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Epomaker x Aula F75 (Image By Tech4Gamers)

The barrier of entry within the custom mechanical keyboard scene is a lot lower than what it was just a couple of years ago. To put things into perspective, you can fetch an entry-level board such as the Keychron V1 for as low as $100, which is a bargain, considering how high prices were 3-4 years ago.

Other cheaper options such as the Royal Kludge RK61, have become my go-to recommendations for anyone not looking to spend a lot on a mechanical keyboard.

The reduction in overall prices means that you don’t need to spend nearly as much as you used to in order to get a good keyboard for gaming. If you are looking for a new mechanical keyboard, I’d recommend opting for a sub-$100 one instead of the highest-end offering, given how little impact it has when it comes to gaming.

Final Thoughts

So will you get a more comfortable, personalized, and overall improved typing experience experience if you opt for an expensive mechanical keyboard that fits your needs? Certainly. But will all of that translate to an improved gaming experience? Most probably not.

Put simply, there’s no real need for a fancy mechanical keyboard when it comes to gaming. Both single-player and multiplayer can be enjoyed just as much with a cheaper mechanical or even a membrane keyboard. However, if you have some budget left over to splurge on a nice keyboard, there’s nothing stopping you from doing so.

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