Best Corsair Keyboards

Updated August 2021
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Buying guide for best Corsair keyboards

The world of gaming keyboards is a vast, often confusing space. Basking in the glow of RGB backlighting, the market is packed with thousands of similar-looking keyboards, all with comparable feature sets that can make informed decisions surprisingly difficult. Corsair keyboards constantly stick out from the pack, though, as evidenced by their popularity within the streaming and competitive esports scenes.

Corsair got its start developing hardware memory caches, but today the brand is best known for its responsive, high-quality gaming keyboards. Its catalog is home to countless features that gamers love, including mechanical keys, wireless connectivity, macro functions, and eye-catching RGB lighting. Corsair keyboards are very customizable as well, allowing users to personalize their control schemes to specific games and tweak lighting profiles to keep their setup looking fresh.

But it’s not all about gaming. Corsair prioritizes clean, classy designs that fit into professional business spaces just as well as they fit into high-tech game rooms. So whether you’re a casual user, esports star, or somewhere in between, Corsair has an option for you. Keep reading our buying guide to find out more, or take a look at our recommendations above.

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While Corsair is primarily known for keyboards, the brand offers a full range of components, including water cooling units, power supplies, pre-built PCs, and even gaming chairs.

Key considerations

Wired vs. wireless

One of the most important considerations when purchasing a gaming keyboard is whether to opt for a wired or wireless model. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, which we summarize below.

Wired: These corded models connect to your computer via USB cable, meaning your keyboard and PC must stay relatively close together. Your freedom of movement is hindered a bit with a wired keyboard, but the lag that’s sometimes present with wireless models is eliminated. Furthermore, wired units tend to be cheaper than their cordless cousins.

Wireless: Wireless keyboards are extremely popular for several reasons. The lack of a cable presents a cleaner, neater look for your space while also providing more opportunities to move around and pair with other devices. Wireless tech is also extremely efficient now, so the majority of cordless keyboards have no discernable lag. They aren’t without drawbacks, though, as wireless models tend to cost more and require occasional charging via USB adapter.

Form factor

Mice, monitors, desks, and the hands that use them come in all shapes and sizes, so it makes sense that keyboards are sized to reflect that. Corsair models currently come in three main form factors: full-size, extended, and tenkeyless keyboards.

Full-size keyboards are likely what you picture when someone says “keyboard.” They feature a standard set of keys, including arrow keys and number pad, and typically measure approximately 18 inches wide by 6 inches deep.

Extended keyboards look very similar to full-size keyboards, with the addition of a macro key column on the left side. Users can program these macro keys to execute multi-step commands with a single button, saving time and adding convenience. These keyboards also commonly have dedicated media keys.

Tenkeyless keyboards are about 80% of the width of a full-size keyboard. This is accomplished by removing the number pad and sometimes the function rows. Not only does this free up space on a desk, it can also be a better fit for users with smaller hands.

Mechanical vs. rubber dome keys

While a keyboard’s size, connectivity style, and feature set are paramount, the way it feels to use is equally vital. Think of it like a car: it may drop jaws with its looks and accelerate like a rocket, but if the controls feel like mush, you’re not going to enjoy it as much. This is why Corsair offers keyboards with a plethora of different key options separated into the broad categories of rubber dome and mechanical.

Rubber dome keys: The longtime standard of entry-level keyboards and non-gaming laptops, rubber dome keys provide a smooth, quiet, and comfortable experience when you press them. As the name suggests, the keys sit atop a large sheet of rubber or plastic, making contact with a flexible dome when pressure is applied. They aren’t as precise or tactile as mechanical keys, but they are often cheaper, and their gentle feel may be more in line with your personal preferences.

Mechanical keys: The go-to choice for gamers, mechanical keyboards consist of individual switches made up of housings, springs, and stems. These switches are extremely accurate, fast, and durable compared to rubber dome keys. The switches themselves come in multiple flavors, which are generally labeled “linear,” “tactile,” or “clicky” depending on the model.

  • Linear switches feel smooth to press, with consistent, quiet resistance throughout.
  • Tactile switches are quiet as well, but they feature a noticeable “bump” as they actuate.
  • Clicky switches are the loudest option and feature a more pronounced bump when the key is pressed.

If you play several games or use several devices, take advantage of Corsair’s onboard memory. This way, you can save your lighting and macro preferences to different profiles and simply load them up as needed. Talk about a time-saver!

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Features

RGB backlighting

As with nearly every other piece of gaming equipment, including mice, computer cases, and even chairs, Corsair keyboards are available with a variety of lighting options. Some models are limited to red, blue, or ice blue backlighting only, but the majority boast dynamic RGB lighting tech that lets users personalize their keyboards.

RGB preferences can be tweaked via Corsair’s iCUE software, which is similar to Razer’s Synapse software or Aura by ASUS. Through iCUE, you can load aesthetic presets, adjust levels, create profiles, and even tweak the backlighting of each individual key. If you have multiple RBG-equipped products, Corsair iCUE can sync each device’s lighting profile for a cohesive look. iCUE also facilitates macro programming and key remapping.

Slipstream wireless connectivity

To minimize the risk of lag with its wireless keyboards, Corsair offers select models with its lighting-fast Slipstream tech. Slipstream keyboards connect to a dedicated receiver plugged into your computer’s USB port, allowing your devices to send significantly more information to each other. The benefit is fewer data packets lost in transit — a common issue with wireless connectivity — as well as higher wireless range.

Axon Hyper Processing

Speed and accuracy are paramount to gamers, which is why Corsair offers Axon Hyper Processing Technology on select models. Axon utilizes beefed-up 4,000-hertz polling rates and 4,000-hertz key scanning rates, which are up to four times faster than what you’ll find on standard keyboards. In layman’s terms, the feature facilitates extremely fast data transfer between your keyboard and PC, meaning your inputs are recognized in as little as half a millisecond.

Wrist rests

If you use a computer for long periods of time, you’re going to want a wrist rest. No matter if it’s for gaming, coding, graphic design, or writing, a cushioned rest greatly improves your keyboard’s ergonomics and reduces the risk of wrist pain. 

Corsair offers several styles of detachable wrist rests. Basic models are coated in a soft-touch textured finish, but at the top of the range you’ll find plush, cushioned leatherette rests that secure magnetically to your keyboard, guaranteeing they’re always in the right place.

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DID YOU KNOW?
USB pass-through ports don’t look fancy, but they add a huge convenience factor, extending your computer’s USB port to your keyboard and removing the need to reach behind your computer to plug something in. They’re fantastic for flash drive data transfers and a great home for a wireless mouse receiver.
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Corsair keyboard prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level Corsair keyboards are quite affordable, falling in the $50 to $75 range. For the money, expect full-size, tenkeyless, and even extended macro keyboards with rubber dome keys and RGB backlighting.

Mid-range: Jump up to the $80 to $100 segment and you’ll encounter true mechanical keyboards with dedicated media keys and included wrist rests. Key choices generally include Cherry Violas, Cherry MX Reds, and Cherry MX Low Profile Speeds.

Expensive: Budget $110 to $200 to enjoy the full array of Corsair keyboard features. High-end mechanical keys like the Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Blue, and Cherry MX Speed are common here, as are USB pass-through ports, plush wrist rests, and performance-focused tech like Axon Hyper Processing and Slipstream.

Corsair’s iCUE Nexus Companion Touchscreen puts iCUE software at your fingertips. The sleek peripheral device allows you to switch profiles, adjust macros, and even monitor PC  temperatures without minimizing your current computer application.

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Tips

  • Protect your keyboard with a cover when not in use. Keyboards tend to attract dust as they sit idle, which makes a cover a smart investment for longevity. Not only will the cover cut down on cleaning frequency, but it can also protect your device from accidental spills.
  • Keep your keyboard clean. A clean keyboard performs better and is more hygienic. The cleaning process is very simple. Power down the unit and turn it over, lightly tapping the back to dislodge larger debris. To remove finer bits of grime, use a small, soft brush or a can of compressed air.
  • Keep your keyboard up to date. Just as you do with your graphics card and operating system, keep an eye out for keyboard driver updates. This permits efficient communication between your computer and keyboard and can open the door to helpful feature updates. Corsair’s iCUE software should notify you of updates automatically, but if you’re not sure, search for your model number’s newest drivers.
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If you listen to music as you work, play, or game, dedicated media keys add a huge convenience factor. You can control volume, play, pause, and skip through your playlist without Alt + Tabbing or minimizing your current task. Some Corsair models even have volume rollers for a nice tactile touch.

FAQ

Q. How do I know if a Corsair keyboard will work with my computer?

A. Corsair sells dozens of keyboards for nearly every use case, but, thankfully, they’re all easily compatible with PC or Mac. So long as your computer has a free USB port (or can connect wirelessly), Corsair keyboards are essentially plug and play. The brand’s iCUE software is also available for both operating systems.

Q. Does Corsair guarantee its products?

A. Corsair offers a limited warranty on all of its products. For keyboards and accessories, the limited warranty lasts for two years. For that time period, Corsair warrants that the product will be free from defects in material and workmanship and will replace it if it doesn’t operate in accordance with its technical specifications. An important note is that the warranty only applies to products purchased from Corsair.com or a Corsair-authorized reseller.

Q. What are the differences between Corsair’s mechanical switches?

A. Corsair offers several mechanical switch options from Cherry MX, an industry leader, as well as one of its own design. Generally speaking, customers can choose which switches they prefer when they order their keyboard.

  • Cherry MX Red: A linear switch with a 2.0-millimeter actuation point.
  • Cherry MX Speed: A linear switch with a 1.2-millimeter actuation point.
  • Cherry MX Low Profile Speed: A linear switch with a 1.0-millimeter actuation point and a reduced overall height.
  • Cherry MX Silent: A linear switch with a 1.9-millimeter actuation point and almost no audible sound.
  • Cherry Viola: A low-cost CrossLinear switch with a 2.0-millimeter actuation point. Cherry describes the CrossLinear feel as “two-stage linear actuation,” with a slight increase in required force at the end of the travel distance.
  • Cherry MX Brown: A tactile switch with a 2.0-millimeter actuation point.
  • Cherry MX Blue: A tactile, clicky switch with a 2.2-millimeter actuation point.
  • Corsair OPX: An optical mechanical option from Corsair with a hyper-fast 1.0-millimeter actuation point and smooth, linear travel.

 

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