If you want to dramatically improve your competitive gaming experience, investing in a dedicated gaming keyboard is one of the easiest and best ways to progress.
Over the years, the best gaming keyboards have become more popular on Black Friday, as many gamers value their value more and the fact that a good amount of them can be quite expensive – especially since high-end keyboards tend to include macros, mechanical keys, RGB lighting, very fast response times, higher build quality and more premium features. But with the right Black Friday deal, you can easily grab one of the more expensive models for under $100 or even under $50.
And if you’re looking in the mid or low category, sales will make those prices even nicer. Best of all, there are already plenty of options that offer almost the same experience as a high-end model at a lower cost.
However, there are some deals you wouldn’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole, and that doesn’t just apply to low-range models either. You can sometimes get what seems like a great deal on a high-end gaming keyboard, but it doesn’t offer the features or build quality that should come with it.
But that’s where we come in. we test much of the best keyboards on the market and we know what it takes to make or break a gaming experience, so we’re here to walk you through the process so you can get the best deal possible as we approach the holidays.
What to Look for in a Black Friday Gaming Keyboard Deal
So what should you watch out for when shopping on Black Friday? There are a few key points to keep in mind when it comes to buying a gaming keyboard and making sure you get the smoothest experience possible.
For the most part, gaming keyboards have a wide variety of features and constructions to meet a variety of buyers’ needs. However, depending on which end of the price spectrum you want to buy, there are tips and tricks that can help your experience.
The number one feature to look out for when shopping for a high-end gaming keyboard is build quality. Most other features are also important, but if your gaming keyboard is made of cheap plastic, it will break quickly. For an expensive keyboard, it must be made of an aluminum alloy and the keys must be mechanical.
The former means that the keyboard body needs to be chunky due to the amount of punishment they get and most high-end keyboards should be made mostly of aluminum. The latter refers to the fact that keyboards use membrane or mechanical keys. Mechanical switches have a switch under the switch and membrane switches send an electrical current between two plastic membranes. The mechanics react much faster to clicks and last much longer than cheaper membranes.
Cheaper keyboards tend to use membrane keys and have plastic bodies, which can be detrimental to hardcore gaming sessions, but would be perfectly suited for more casual gameplay and productivity work. And some of the low and mid-range keyboards can even mimic the mechanical feel of the more expensive ones, even with membrane keys. But keyboards in this category should never cost more than $50, anything above that price range should at least have mechanical keys.
There’s one specific Black Friday consideration to mention, namely that you’ll see a fair amount of high-end keyboards getting deep cuts this time of year. Here’s an example from last year:
Features that gaming keyboards should have are some level of customizable keys and/or macros (although the amount and level will vary depending on price) and a fast response time with 1ms or less being ideal.
Another factor you should look for is size, which depends on how much desk space you have. If you have plenty, a full-size keyboard with a ten-key keyboard is perfectly fine. But less space may require a keyboard without a keyboard, which dispenses with the keyboard and is much smaller and more portable. You can find the best mini keyboards in all price ranges, and many will be on sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
All types of gaming keyboards will have price cuts
We have years of experience finding the best tech deals over the holidays, so we know how Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events tend to run. The last couple of years have changed the norm quite a bit, due to the pandemic and the resulting supply chain issues, which has made things more chaotic.
Even with that, however, there are still a lot of consistent patterns to work with. The tech industry in general has many practices that have survived the past couple of years, such as the trend of lowering prices on older products to make way for newer models.
The latter is less likely to see price cuts, though you might see the occasional sale of these products, which might still be worth keeping up with newer gaming keyboards. Older keyboards aren’t the only ones being sold during the holiday season.
Also, as new technologies tend to be released during the holiday season or early next year, demand for current-gen gaming keyboards will drop and retailers will be forced to lower prices as a result.
One of the best ways to see what kind of gaming keyboard offerings to expect this year is to look at what we saw last year. And to help you compare last year’s deals, we can bring you some highlights from our Black Friday 2021 coverage to demonstrate.
Things to Avoid on a Black Friday Gaming Keyboard Deal
Sadly, the holiday season means more opportunities to sell mediocre gaming keyboards at prices that are often overinflated but disguised as a good deal. And while it can be difficult to weed out all the shoddy keyboard offerings, there are ways to weed out the most egregious examples.
These tips apply more to high-end gaming keyboards, as there tend to be more retailers trying to push less-than-steller models on unassuming shoppers while pretending they’re premium.
Any high-end keyboard should be made from an aluminum or steel alloy, period. If you are spending premium prices then it must be made from premium material. This goes double for wrenches, which should always be industry-standard mechanical Cherry MX wrenches.
In terms of specs, the response time should be 1ms or less, and it should have customizable keys and macros of some sort. Of course, the type and quantity depends on the price and type of gaming keyboard, with MMO games demanding more of each, but it needs to be a resource as hardcore and competitive games do.
Features like RGB lighting are often included, but they’re just facades—extremely expensive facades that can raise the price of a gaming keyboard by tens of dollars easily. So if you see a keyboard with it, but the specs are a little lower than usual, that’s a bad deal.
Finally, there’s the perennial wired versus wireless keyboard debate, and we’re here to say it largely depends on personal preference. There’s not enough difference in response time to justify one or the other, so choose which one works best for you and don’t fall for the additional wireless charge as I guarantee it’s not worth the extra cost.
If you go wireless and plan on playing competitive esports, make sure your keyboard supports 2.4Ghz wireless connectivity and not just Bluetooth. Bluetooth has a higher input latency than 2.4GHz wireless, so it’s not as suitable for competitive gaming.
Today’s best gaming keyboard deals
If you don’t want to wait for Black Friday, check out some of the best gaming keyboard deals available right now.