Best Gaming Keyboard – 5 Membrane Keyboards that still rocks

Due to the rising popularity of mechanical keyboards, it is not often you hear about the good membrane options, but there are still some fantastic membrane keyboards on the market.

There are still plenty of reasons to opt into a membrane option. They are much more affordable, and for some people, mechanical keyboards are hard getting used to.

On this list, we will take a look at some of the best membrane keyboards for gaming in 2020.

RELATED: More interested in Mechanical keyboards? Here is our complete top 10.


5. Razer Cynosa

Full RGB Lighting / 80 million clicks durability / 10 key roll-over / Spill-resistant 

Image of Razer Cynosa Chroma keyboard

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  • Incredibly durable(Keys tested up to 80 million click)
  • A lot of customization with Razer Chroma and Hypershift
  • Exceptional membrane performance
  • No wrist rest

The Razer Cynosa is the most popular membrane gaming keyboard in the states, and with its beautiful design and extraordinary durability, it is not hard to see why. It is incredibly comfortable and responsive and, in many ways, combines the best from mechanical and membrane.

While many brands have stopped innovating on their membrane keyboards, Razer is still improving and adding onto the Cynosa and Ornata each year. This ensures that they are equipped with all the latest features, such as Razer Hypershift and Phillips HUE. Razer Hypershift gives you more control over your key commands and allows you to remap the entire keyboard with complex commands. And Phillips HUE and Razer Chroma provide endless customization with the RGB lighting and even make reactionary lighting that synchronizes with in-game events. As an example, the keyboard might light up when your ultimate is ready in Overwatch or go red when you are under fire.

The design of the Cynosa is quite stunning and looks and feels a lot like the very popular Razer Blackwidow. And much like the Blackwidow, it also has a slight curve towards the middle that makes the design very intuitive and comfortable to play on. It is also extremely qualitative in both feel and durability. The board itself has a good weight to it that gives it a premium feel, and the keys themselves have been tested to last up to 80 million clicks.

Performance-wise, the Razer Cynosa is one of the most reliable and responsive membrane keyboards on the market and second-to-none if you don’t include mechanical options. This keyboard is the perfect example of a modern-day membrane option, and everything from its design to actual performance is excellent. You would be hard-pressed to find a better value-for-money deal than the Cynosa anywhere, and I recommend it to any gamer looking for a reliable membrane keyboard.


4. Corsair K55

Full RGB Lighting / 6 Macro keys / Full media control center / Anti-ghosting / Quiet keys 

Image of Corsair K55 membrane keyboard

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  • A lot of on-board control with media center & macro keys
  • Strong & comfortable design
  • Very responsive
  • The keyboard is quite large due to the media control center & G Keys

The Corsair K55 has everything you might want from a gaming keyboard with its feature-heavy design and responsive keys. It is the ideal keyboard for those that want it all with its media control center, gaming keys, additional USB port, full RGB lighting, wrist rest, and so on. In short, the Corsair K55 comes with a LOT of additional gimmicks and features.

Corsair pulled out all the stops for the K55, and the result is one of the most feature bloated keyboards on the market. Now, this can be good or bad depending on your needs, but if you like the extra stuff, then this keyboard is second-to-none.

Whether you enjoy the sea of features or not, it is worth appreciating that they all work so well. The media control center is well-placed, functional, and very intuitive to use. The programmable macro keys are easy to get used to, and the Corsair software is one of the better ones out there, which also makes RGB adjustments a breeze. All and all, it has a lot going for it, and almost all of it is well executed.

While the design is a bit too large for my taste, there is no denying that the layout is very comfortable to use, and the wrist rest makes it enjoyable to play on even after several hours of play. It is also cleverly equipped with an additional USB port, which is always a plus for me.

The keys themselves are extraordinarily responsive for a membrane keyboard and have a low-key, quiet sound to them.


3. Rosewill Neon K51B

Full RGB lighting / Mem-mechanical hybrid / Detachable palm rest

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  • High value for money
  • Comfortable wrist rest

The Neon K51B from Rosewill is a phenomenal hybrid board with an astonishing amount of value for your money.

The Rosewill K51 is another membrane-mechanical hybrid similar to the Razer Ornata that is worth considering if you are looking to upgrade your gaming keyboard.
So why is the K51 good? Well, first up price-wise, it’s much lesser than the Razer Ornata but offers good performance as well. We feel like this should be the ideal amount for a hybrid keyboard.

The easy-access multimedia keys & its hassle-free plug & play option makes this one of the more comfortable options to use. Performance-wise it’s definitely a big step up from any membrane keyboard out there. Concerning feel, it’s not as clicky as most people prefer (relative to full-on mechanicals). Response time-wise this keyboard is excellent.

A significant difference between the Razer Ornata and the K51 is the keycap height. The former had mid-height keycaps, which can take some getting used to, but the K51 has easily removable keycaps that you find on most mechanicals in the market. The 19 key Anti-ghosting option was also a nice touch considering the price point. This is one of the more delightful options that are close to plug & play as well.

A couple of downsides with the K51 is that the backlighting isn’t the greatest out there. Additionally, there aren’t any save settings, so every time you restart the keyboard, it resets to its rainbow backlighting format. Some users also mentioned having issues with the keys regarding the amount of force they need to apply for it to register.


Related: Great keyboards deserve a great mouse. Here is our buying guide.


2. Logitech G213

RGB lighting / Media controls / Integrated palm rest / Game-driven light & sounds

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  • Second-to-none in responsiveness & speed
  • High quality design
  • Highly customizable
  • Pricey

The Logitech G213 despite being a membrane keyboard is quite a formidable option amongst gamers thanks to its impressive response time when compared to other membrane keyboards. There are many other upsides too. Let’s jump into it.

The G213 is one of the more aesthetically pleasing keyboards in the market. The customizable RGB lighting through the easy to use Logitech software will make any gaming setup look more stunning. The keyboard is very comfortable, especially for typing. It’s also much quieter when compared to mechanicals despite using mech dome keys.

The G213 is also one of the well-built ones by Logitech, with there being very few reports of keys getting stuck and other functionality issues. The programmable F keys and the easy access media controls make the experience even smoother. Build quality we found to be very good. This keyboard doesn’t feel cheap at all; quite the contrary. It is resistant to dirt & even liquid spills to an extent. These are features that make this keyboard formidable for everyday use & the entry-level gamer on a budget.

The downsides, as you might have guessed is that despite its impressive response time, and feel it’s not too much of a match for high-end mechanical keyboards concerning tactile feedback and 1ms response times. Another small issue is that the wrist rest isn’t detachable. This is a feature that many users expressed their desire to have.

The bottom line is that if you are just getting into the gaming space or need a backup keyboard or even one that you like to use in different environments such as work, then the G213 is a no-brainer. For its price, we feel it provides a lot of value to the user, especially performance & durability wise.


1. Razer Ornata

Mecha-membrane hybrid / RGB Lighting / Anti-ghosting / Low-profile design / Soft wrist rest

Image of the best Razer keyboard

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  • Mecha-membrane hybrid is very effective
  • Feels very durable
  • Soft wrist-rest cushion
  • Expensive

The Ornata Chroma is an impressive offering by Razer, which tries to absolve the best of the mechanical & membrane keyboards’ characteristics.

The Razer is one of the most comfortable keyboards you can own in the market not just due to the large wrist rest you see but due to the membrane feel it has. It’s pretty well known that full-on mechanicals can cause fatigue, but the Ornata Chroma is a good option if you game for hours on end. The wrist rest is magnetic/ detachable, and some users reported that they preferred the magnet to be much stronger.

Membrane meets mechanical might not yet be as popular as say rock meeting rap in the late 90s/ early 2000s, but its performance is still outstanding. During our tests, we found this feeling to be unique, and it most certainly offers faster actuation & a very satisfying click sound that most gamers love.

You can pretty much customize everything there is to customize regarding lighting, on the fly macro recording, etc. You can execute ten commands at once, thanks to the ten rollover keys.

Not everything is rosy with the Ornata Chroma, however, as some folks do find it hard to justify getting this over a full-on mechanical given its price point, and this is a viewpoint we tend to agree with. Especially if you are mainly looking for performance. Also, the clicks have been reported to be inconsistent by many users, especially the feel of the spacebar over time.


Related: If you are a true Razer fan, you need to check out our list of the best Razer products.


How to Pick the Best Keyboard – Buying Guide

There are many different keyboards offering many different solutions. We at Progamerreview look through all these features and ascertain which features are essential and need to be uncompromised for a great gaming experience. Irrespective of your gaming level, if you are in the market for a gaming keyboard, make sure you keep all these factors in mind when making your purchase decision.

Ergonomics

picture of an ergonomic gaming keyboardFrom a technical standpoint, the ergonomics are not part of the core function of a keyboard, but from a user standpoint, it is incredibly vital. Everything from key placement to wrist rests and slopes for your wrist is utilized to make sure you have an injury-free and comfortable experience. The feel of the keys is also dependent on the material used to make them. Some keyboards retain the sweat and offer a sticky experience, and we have ruled these out of contention too for your benefit. Gaming for long hours is quite common these days, and the longer your hands stay planted and in a neutral position, the better. This helps prevent stress on the joint and inflammation too.

Core Game Performance

Anti-Ghosting is a feature that is exclusive to gaming keyboards. Anti-Ghosting is the ability to register multiple keys pressed simultaneously. This is vital for most competitive gamers.

Connectivity is another aspect to watch out for. People tend to prefer wired over wireless despite the clutter cables cause. Wired keyboards don’t have to deal with any interference issues and connectivity lapses, especially in-game. It would be pretty bad to have a lag that is created by your own device. Despite the fact that all that wireless devices do have their upsides. Most keyboards have a standard 2.4 GHz wireless connection to your PC, and can the quality is steadily seen to be improving. Wireless comes in handy, especially when you use the PC for activities besides gaming by offering a great deal of convenience.

Customization software

screen capture of Razer Synapse customization softwareWhile a casual gamer tends to look for plug play models in the market. Hardcore gamers who are continually pushing boundaries need all sorts of data to improve their game. Everything from macro recording, pre-set profiles, lighting, and mapping need to be optimized to ensure that their technique and performance continually improves. Some keyboards we have picked out also have the added advantage of cloud storage for settings, which means that even if you decide to upgrade or buy a new keyboard, you always have your best settings available to you at all times.

Key Switch Type

Image of our keyboard showing mechanical switches

Non-mechanical keyboards make use of something that is called silicone dome switches. If you happen to be like some of us curious gamers then you would have pulled out a few keys on your keyboard back in the day or in the early 2000s, you would find small silicone domes that use a rubbery material as a switch. For regular folk, this means it takes more time to register a key press, and it may also have a sort of mushy feel. While these don’t have much of a great feel, you will find that a scissor variant that utilizes a stabilizing mechanism offers better performance and durability by reducing the depth of a keystroke significantly. This is quite common on a lot of thin laptops on the market today.

Aesthetics

Close-up picture of a backlit keyboardNot the most vital of features for some, but it sure makes the keyboard look amazing. LED lighting can be found on most mechanical and non-mechanical keyboards. If you like to customize every aspect of the lighting, then make sure you go for keyboards that have a single key or sectional lighting rather than the entire piece. Software like SteelSeries Engine and Razor’s Synapse are great to have. Most of all, these make the keyboards look super slick and expensive.


Q & A about gaming keyboards

Frequently asked questions about keyboards for PC gaming

Q: With mechanical keyboards flooding the market, is membrane keyboards even a legit gaming option anymore?

A: Yes, definitely! All humans are so different, and it is down to every single one of us to decide what things we like and what we prefer. We should not let other people dictate what to play on. On paper, mechanical keyboards may have more pros than a regular keyboard, but that does not mean it is the superior option for everyone. Not to mention that ordinary keyboards generally grant more value for money.

Q: do professional gamers still use membrane keyboards?

A: Generally, no. Almost all professional gamers prefer mechanical keyboards, but most gamers are not professionals. Unless you play at a very high level, you should not compare yourself with eSport players, but instead, focus on what you enjoy to play on. For a lot of gamers, the extra money for a mechanical option may very well not be worth it.

Q: Is it true that ordinary keyboards are not very durable?

A: No, but it is a popular argument against them. A decent membrane gaming keyboard usually lasts about 20 million keystrokes, compared to mechanical keyboards, which typically last twice as long. However, most people won’t even use a keyboard for 20 million. So even though the enhanced durability in a mech board is nice, it is something that very few will actually benefit from, and most people won’t also wear out an ordinary one.

Q: Do ordinary keyboards also have anti-ghosting?

A: Yes! in fact, it was first introduced a long time before mech keyboards where mainstream. While mech keyboards may have superior rollover keysets, some normal keyboards still have very decent anti-ghosting, and most gamers will not experience the difference. Keyboards such as the SteelSeries Apex 350 have excellent anti-ghosting, which perform on par with very decent mech options.

Q: What is RGB, and is it an important feature?

A: it may be important to some, but in terms of gaming performance, it does not affect what so ever. RGB means red-green-blue and it is a feature that enables you to configure and customize the LED lighting with every single color variant known to man.

Q: I have always used normal keyboards, but I am considering trying out a mechanical option, what would you recommend?

A: If you are a little unsure about the transfer from the membrane to mechanical, then I would highly recommend trying out one of the semi-mechanical options on this list, such as the Emarth or the Energypal Firebold. They both grant much of the tactile feedback that a mechanical board does, but at the same time, they are still membrane boards and will feel very familiar and safe if you are used to ordinary keyboards.

Q: Are there any wireless keyboards you would recommend?

A: Generally, no, wired keyboards are just better. However, these are the ones that we would recommend.


Sources

This is a list of the sources used to research information for this article.

Prohavit, membrane keyboard vs mechanical keyboards, official Havit site.

PCWorld, keyboards: should you switch? PC world blog post, talking about making the switch from normal to a mechanical keyboard.

Gazettereview, what is the difference between membrane and mechanical keyboards?, a great blog post about the difference between normal and mech keyboards.

Microsoft, keyboard ghosting explained! an incredible article from Microsoft and applied science talking about keyboard ghosting.

 

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