In some cases, a keyboard alone just won’t cut it for a gamer. This could be either due to a lack of comfort or a lack of functionality.

Thankfully, there is a solution: gaming keypads!

These little handy gadgets are one of those accessories that you don’t think you’d ever need until you actually try them out.

Whereas regular keypads are simply number pads designed to complement the more compact keyboards which don’t include one of those as part of their main body, gaming keypads are designed to be ergonomic and functional. Not only do they have the default face buttons you’d see on a keyboard, but they also tend to have additional utility buttons to boot.

Are you ready to streamline your gaming experience and are looking for the ideal gaming keypad to suit your needs? Luckily for you, we have compiled this list of the best gaming keypads of 2018!

Top 5 Gaming Keypads For 2018

Razer Tartarus Chroma

best gaming keypad

About the Keypad

What better way to kick off a list of gaming peripherals than with a product from Razer? This company has defined gaming accessories and made RGB lighting mainstream, but has also taken some flak due to their usually overinflated prices. However, there is no denying that every Razer product possesses two key traits: quality and aesthetics.

The Razer Tartarus Chroma is no different. This is the entry-level gaming keypad in Razer’s newest series of those products, the other two of which will be discussed below. It sports a smooth matte black exterior, as well as the Razer logo on the palm rest, an RGB backlit set of 15 face keys in addition to those placed on the right side for thumb use.

Features

  • The Keys – The keypad has a total of 25 buttons which can be fully customized so as to allow you to execute every macro and hit every important hotkey with ease. It also has an 8-way thumb pad which can be used both for movement or as a modifier key that allows you to switch between a maximum of 8 different configurations.
  • The Design – Apart from the sleek exterior, the keypad is designed to be as ergonomic as possible. This includes an adjustable palm rest and the tilted front keys in the bottom row.
  • The Lighting – As mentioned above, RGB lighting is an integral part of a Razer product’s identity. As such, this keypad incorporates their Chroma lighting that is fully customizable, covering the entire color spectrum, and that can work in a number of preset or custom modes.

Downsides

Membrane keys – Despite its high price tag, this keypad’s keys are membrane-based rather than mechanical. Mechanical keys are by no means a must for gaming, but including them here would have been desirable, especially considering that there are some budget mechanical keyboards out there that you can get for the same amount.

What We Loved

  • Fully programmable keys
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Ergonomic design

What We Didn’t Like

  • Does not utilize mechanical keys
  • Somewhat expensive

Razer Tartarus V2 Chroma

best gaming keypads

About the Keypad

As the name implies, the Razer Tartarus V2 Chroma is an upgrade on the “regular” Tartarus Chroma described above, with a number of similarities and differences.

Visually, it doesn’t look much different. It is slightly larger but looks almost identical to the regular Tartarus gaming keypad, with the exception of the very noticeable scroll wheel.

Features

  • The Keys – The biggest and most important difference between the Tartarus and the Tartarus V2 is the fact that the latter has hybrid mecha-membrane keys. These combine the tactile feeling and actuation points of a mechanical key with the affordability and soft feeling of a membrane-based key. And, as mentioned above, it also adds a scroll wheel to the bottom-right corner.
  • The Design – The Tartarus V2 takes after the original Tartarus’ overall shape and geometry, although it has a prominent leather-covered cushion at the wrist rest. Furthermore, the keys are shaped so as to incorporate a concave surface, thus making them easier to use while your wrist is resting on the cushion.
  • The Lighting – Nothing has changed in this regard, as the Tartarus V2 also has the fully customizable Razer Chroma backlighting.

Downsides

Bulky – The extra row of keys at the bottom has increased the size of the Tartarus V2 considerably compared to the V1. That said, you will need to move your hand around if you want to reach each row comfortably.

What We Loved

  • Tactile mecha-membrane keys
  • Scroll wheel
  • 32 programmable keys

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not as ergonomic as the original Tartarus

Razer Orbweaver Chroma

best gaming keypad 2018

About the Keypad

Finally, we come to Razer’s most high-profile solution. The Razer Orbweaver Chroma stays true to the quality and functionality offered by the two previous Tartarus models but also improves upon them.

Visually, it doesn’t look much different apart from the extra row of keys at the bottom. More importantly, these keys are fully mechanical and utilize Razer’s own mechanical switches.

Features

  • The Keys – The Orbweaver has a total of 30 programmable keys, with all the front keys being mechanical, as stated above. This technology allows for a much more responsive and pleasant experience than what is offered by membrane keys.
  • The Design – Again, as mentioned in the introduction, the Orbweaver is nigh-identical to the Tartarus models, although it is much closer to the base model rather than the updated Tartarus V2. The most notable differences are the extra row of keys and the textured wrist rest.
  • The Lighting – Naturally, this product also utilizes Chroma RGB backlighting and takes full advantage of its customizability and various effects.

Downsides

  • Expensive – There is just no denying that the Orbweaver is very expensive, but that is nothing new with high-end Razer products. However, since you’re only getting what is essentially a piece of a mechanical keyboard for the price of a quality mid-range mechanical keyboard (such as the ones offered by Logitech or HyperX), make sure this is a piece of gear that you absolutely need.

What We Loved

  • Programmable mechanical keys
  • Highly responsive
  • Ergonomic design

What We Didn’t Like

  • As expensive as a solid full-size mechanical keyboard

Logitech G13

best keypad 2018

About the Keypad

The next product on our list comes from Logitech, a versatile company which is known to make multiple types of high-quality gaming peripherals. The Logitech G13 is no different, as it is a top-notch gaming keypad that does almost everything right.

The most obvious trait of this keypad that sets it apart from the others is its inconspicuous black and white LCD display. Other than that, it has an obviously ergonomic design which includes everything from the wrist and palm rest to the buttons themselves.

Features

  • The Keys – The Logitech G13 has a total of 25 keys, 22 of which are the membrane keys on the front. The front keys are designed to be easily accessible, some with concave surfaces that make it easy both to hold a key down and to get a feeling of where which key is. Furthermore, the analogue stick is easy to use and is quite responsive regardless of whether you prefer to use it for character or camera movement.
  • The Design – The keypad is mostly black, interspersed with dark grey highlights that blend well with the base color. As mentioned above, it is made to be ergonomic and you can easily reach any of the buttons without much effort.
  • The Lighting – The G13 has simple multi-color backlighting. While it may not boast the eye-catching and stylish effects of Razer’s Chroma, it does its job of illuminating the keypad admirably.
  • The LCD Display – The small display located on top of the keypad is definitely the G13’s distinguishing feature. It is a simple LCD display with its own backlighting which shows important in-game data for easier reference. What’s more, the display’s color changes to match the current color of the key backlighting.

Downsides

  • The display only works with certain games – If you want to make sure that the handy LCD display will be able to provide information regarding the game you’re currently playing, it would be best to check if it is compatible with it here.

What We Loved

  • Excellent value
  • Multi-functional LCD display
  • Responsive and accurate analogue thumbstick

What We Didn’t Like

  • Limited in-game live feed support

DEEBOL Deluxe Gaming Keypad

gaming keypad

About the Keypad

The DEEBOL Deluxe Gaming Keypad is a budget product, which is obvious from the very first glance. It looks more like a compact keyboard than the other gaming keypads on this list, which can both be seen as a good or a bad thing.

It uses vibrant red highlights on the sides and on the WASD keys to establish its identity as a gaming product and sports a symmetrical design with three multimedia keys on each side, as well as a numerical row and function key row on the top.

Features

  • The Keys – The keypad has a total of 46 membrane keys, which is great for functionality but not so great if you want to have all the important keys easily accessible at the tips of your fingers.
  • The Design – The DEEBOL design philosophy is fairly simple and straightforward, with an accent on practicality with more function and less fluff. The keypad has a comfortable texture palm rest, but it is not adjustable.
  • The Lighting – Much like the general design, the keypad’s backlighting is more about simply illuminating the keys and enabling easy gaming in the dark rather than adding complex effects that we see in the more expensive products.

Downsides

  • Large – With a total of 39 front keys spread across 7 rows, it becomes obvious that reach each one comfortably will simply not be possible, as alluded to above. Needless to say, you will need to move your hand around a fair bit if you want to take full advantage of all the keys that this keypad has.
  • Nonprogrammable keys – As you might have guessed from their labeling, the keys cannot be customized with any macros but instead function as a regular keyboard’s keys. This just might be a deal-breaker for MMO and MOBA players who need to have complex command combinations a single key-press away.

What We Loved

  • Affordable
  • Solid build
  • A large number of keys
  • Functional backlighting

What We Didn’t Like

  • Some keys can be hard to reach
  • Keys are not programmable

How to Pick the Best Gaming Keypad For You

Everyone has different tastes and different requirements, so we will devote this section to the aspects of a keypad that you should pay attention to.

The Key Type

best keypad for gaming

The question of whether you should go with a membrane or a mechanical keyboard (or in this case, keypad) has been on the mind of many a modern gamer.

Most would immediately claim that mechanical keys are superior in every way, but that is not necessarily true.

Mechanical keys don’t need to be pressed all the way down to register a keypress, which makes them much more pleasant to use both when it comes to typing and gaming. On the other hand, some switches can be quite loud and every decent mechanical keyboard/keypad comes with quite a high price tag.

Membrane keys are cheaper, and that is their primary advantage over mechanical keys. In terms of function, the latter are more complex, more durable and their only shortcoming in practical terms is that they tend to be noisier than membrane keys, as stated above.

In the end, let your budget dictate which type of keypad you will get and do not stress over the alleged “better response times” that you get with mechanical keys as those are only so slightly better, to a nigh-unnoticeable extent.

Games That You Usually Play

best keypad

Next, you need to consider what games you will be using the keypad with. These products are most popular with FPS, MMO, and MOBA games. So, what should you look out for?

If you play a lot of FPS or other action games, your biggest priorities are comfort and accessibility. Your hand will spend a lot of time resting on the keypad, so it should not only feel comfortable but it should also allow you to reach all important keys quickly and easily.

If you prefer MMOs or MOBAs, the primary application of a keypad here is allowing you to execute macros and specific abilities in a simple and quick manner. As such, the keypad should obviously have programmable keys or it won’t support combinations of commands via a single key press.  

Conclusion

Subjective requirements and preferences aside, which of the above-mentioned gaming keypads can be considered the best overall?

Our answer is: the Razer Tartarus V2.

It is an all-around balanced product with some convenient extra functionality and it is well suited for use with both action and RPG games. Moreover, its hybrid keys combine the best of both worlds: the tactile feedback of mechanical keys and the affordability of membrane keys.

But of course, you should always keep your own needs in mind before making the purchase. If you do that, you simply can’t go wrong with any of the above products.

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