When it comes to gaming on a PC, we often tend to overlook the most significant aspect of gaming. It’s neither the mouse nor the monitor. Instead, the answer lies within your fingertips.
Move beyond the slapstick QWERTY keyboards and instead consider only the keys and inputs you need for gaming. A gaming keypad can amplify your gaming experience and competitiveness multiple times. The issue with conventional keyboards is that they have a large number of keys otherwise helpful in typing and using applications.
In reality, we only need a few buttons to play any game on a personal computer. Mostly, we make use of just the W, A, S, and D keys. Sometimes, we use some extra buttons for setting a few other controls such as volume and brightness or other game-related actions.
This aspect of gaming mostly remains unexplored, which can be the reason behind your wrist pain. Long gaming hauls and continuous pressing actions can increase strain on your wrists. A gaming keypad has a limited number of keys, ergonomic design, wrist support and programmable keys – perfectly suited to play out on several keys.
What is the Point of a Gaming Keypad?
The design of the gaming keypad is to serve as a supplementary device for only one purpose, gaming. Unlike the conventional 100 button keyboard which offers features and controls, these keypads have very few numbers of buttons.
Most high-end gaming keypads offer programmable keys. It allows gamers to customize the function of each button based on their gaming setup and preferences.
The idea behind using a gaming keypad is to have all the controls at your fingertips, without having to press Shift + anything. Not to mention, the wrist support pads and ergonomic design. Even the size of these keypads is so small that they save a lot of space on your desk, making your gaming platform mess-free.
Are Keypads Good for Gaming?
This question is often raised by amateur gamers or those who have just started gaming. To them, the concept of buying a device when you can use the W, A, S, and D keys serves no purpose.
But there are a lot of features a keypad offers which your conventional typing keyboard cannot provide.
We categorize them as three C’s.
The ergonomic design of keypads makes using them much more user-friendly. It prevents unnecessary wrist strain which often happens while typing or using a regular keyboard. Additional wrist pads provide much-needed support. You can access each key conveniently without the need to contour your wrist or upper arm.
Wrist-sized gaming keypads are space-saving as well thanks to their compact sizes. All the buttons on a gaming keypad are closely organized and don’t even require you to shift your wrist. These keypads conveniently free up oodles of desk space.
Apart from having a compact design and providing comfort, these keypads also offer a bunch of programmable keys. You can customize the function of each button and take your gaming experience to a competitive esports grade.
Best Gaming Keypads In 2021
1. Logitech G13 Programmable Game board
The Logitech 13 is a programmable gaming keypad offering up to 3 ready-to-play game modes. You can select these gaming modes directly from the LCD panel.
It further allows you to save up to 87 different game control modes with software installation. Other versions of these gaming pads have under-the-switch RGB lighting although this model just has backlit RGB.
The key highlight of this Logitech gaming keypad is the 160 x 43 pixels LCD panel which you can use for viewing game messages, system information, gaming stats, and whatnot.
You get some non-programmable buttons for controlling its LCD panel’s brightness and game modes, apart from the 25 completely programmable keys. This gaming keypad with an analog stick can also help you stay a step ahead of your competition with some basic joystick input functions.
Their keypad design itself is highly intuitive and ahead of time featuring concave keys and well-cushioned palm rest. The keys provide strong tactile feedback to compensate for the lack of mechanical switches. The size of this keypad is larger than any other keypad because of its LCD.
You will get a software CD inside its package for personalization. Buy this Logitech gaming keypad for around $100 for the best value-for-money. This is among the best one-handed gaming keyboards you can buy today!
Customizable RGB backlighting
LCD Game Panel
Programmable Mini joystick
25 programmable keys
Ready to play profiles
Model No – 920-000946 | Keyboard Dimensions – 11.2 inches x 9.1 inches x 3.5 inches | Light – RGB | Version Arrangement – Gamepad 25 programmable keys | Item Weight – 648 grams | Connection – Wired | Interface – USB | Cable Length – 1.5 meters
Great design ergonomics
Up to 1.68 million colors to choose for backlighting
Razer Tartarus Pro is an updated version of Tartarus V2. It features the same shape as its earlier sibling, now sporting new optical switches instead of the older mechanical-membrane switches.
You can set dual-actuation points i.e. – primary and secondary action responses between 1.5 mm to 3.6 mm using the software provided within the packaging. You can regulate a secondary or macro function which will activate after you pass the secondary actuation point.
Tartarus Pro has 20 main optical switches and 12 other completely programmable keys. The scroll wheel still doesn’t get any upgrades and has very soft scroll steps, great for some but poor for some other gamers.
The location of the scape bar is very innovative, right below the left thumb. It provides more convenience while using the space button as compared to those located in front of the keypads.
The prime highlight of Tartarus Pro is the programmable and removable joystick. You can remove the tip when not in use to reduce accidental pressing. You also get a profile switching button that allows you to select from 3 LEDs and up to 8 gaming profiles.
But as this gamepad doesn’t have any inbuilt memory, none of this data can be saved without using Razer Synapse 3.0, which does feature minor improvements.
The palm rest is quite comfortable having synthetic rubber fabric with comfortable cushioning. You can change the pad positions for someone having large hands as it provides you with two slots for extending the range.
All in all, this is one of the best gaming keypads with a joystick you can buy in 2021, priced a bit higher than its older sibling at just under $100.
Mecha-Membrane Key Switch
32 Programmable Keys
Customizable Chroma RGB
Detachable Palm rest
Model No – RZ07-02270100-R3U1 | Keyboard Dimensions – 7.98 inches x 6.02 inches x 2.36 inches | Light – RGB | Version Arrangement – Gamepad 32 keys | Item Weight – 348 grams | Connection – Wired | Interface – USB | Cable Length – 1.5 meters
16.8 million colors in RGB
12 programmable keys
Comfortable design ergonomics
Varied personalization options
Limited Hand rest adjustments
Requires Razer Synapse 3.0 to use to complete RGB spectrum
Cakce gaming keypad offers blue mechanical switches with colorful RGB backlit options and palm rest support. The palm rest size can accommodate gamers with large hands.
This keypad supports profile and macro record/delete features by using a few combinations that come with the user manual. You can use the entire set of 35 keys at once as all the buttons are conflict-free.
The prime highlight of the keypad is the textured W, A, S, and D keys. The location of the space button is just below your left-hand thumb.
Although you cannot remove the wrist pad, the lower height of this keypad makes using this device much more convenient.
Another unique aspect of this keypad is a conventional keyboard style nomenclature. It features Escape, Tab, Alt, Control, Function, and Shifts keys on the main tab. The macro keys are present at both the left and right sides of this keypad. It also separates them from the primary keys used for playing.
This device lacks a joystick and RGB control keys. You can select from 7 color switch modes by pressing the macro keys Fn + 5. You can use Fn + 3 to increase brightness and Fn + 4 to decrease brightness.
It offers 5 distinct lighting modes – Light judgment, Raising, Running, Snowing, and Breathing mode.
For changing these modes, you will have to press the Fn + Tab button. All these features rank this as the best one-handed gaming keyboards around, priced at around $28.
Textured W, A, S and D keys
Multiple backlit modes
Supports Windows 10 and Linux
Macro setting logos
Model No – B07SDMWXLN | Keyboard Dimensions – 10.5 inches x 7.5 inches x 1.8 inches | Light – RGB backlit | Version Arrangement – 35 buttons | Item Weight – 400 grams | Connection – wired | Interface – USB | Cable Length – 1.5meters
From the peripheral manufacturer SADES, the Black switch One-Handed gaming keypad has a lot of features.
It features a black switch mechanical keypad offering better tactile feedback and a soft thud sound. Worth mentioning, these switches are not as noisy as conventional mechanical switches.
This gaming keypad from SADES features a conventional keyboard-type nomenclature and macro keys. It is designed ergonomically, other than the location of the space button which can cause a bit of inconvenience.
The backlit feature is not configurable, but you can change the RGB lights to pre-configured modes.
This device doesn’t require any software for installation. Plugin and start playing. It is compatible with both consoles and PC operating systems other than Linux. Pressing the FN + switch key (above the tab key) will change the mode from Normal to Gaming.
The aesthetics and ergonomics of this device are decent with a minor hitch. The rectangular shape of this keyboard will force your thumb out of action which may cause some straining on your left thumb.
However, considering the price tag of under $24, this is one of the cheapest mechanical gaming keypads you can buy!
RGB light control
Traditional keyboard nomenclature
Features Escape, Tab, and other keys
Soft palm rest
Model No – B07G31VZZ2 | Keyboard Dimensions – 10.3 inches x 6 inches x 1.7 inches | Light – RGB lighting | Version Arrangement – 35 keys | Item Weight – 362 grams | Connection – Wired | Interface – USB | Cable Length – 1.5 meters
Red Thunder’s one-handed gaming keyboard features an ergonomic design and a comfortable palm rest. It features a mechanical gaming keypad with blue switches offering tactile feedback with an audible clicking sound. The crisp sound and minimum resistance can potentially provide the ultimate gaming experience.
This gaming keypad comes with 6 macro keys. Of these 6 keys, 4 are located on the left and 2 on the right.
This keyboard allows more customization as the macro keys are programmable. Keys are named like that in conventional keyboards, featuring Escape, Tab, Shift, Alt, Ctrl, and Function keys which can be used for controlling the gameplay experience.
Red thunder’s gaming keypad also offers 9 distinct backlit colors along with 5 unique backlit modes.
Pressing Fn + 5 changes backlit color while Fn + Tab changes the backlit. The prime highlight of this device is its large palm rest, ergonomic space button location, and waterproof design.
This device has an inbuilt gaming chip to amplify and guarantee conflict-free gaming performance. It is compatible with all PC operating systems including Windows, MAC, and Linux.
9 RGB colors
5 different modes
Dustproof blue mechanical switches
6 programmable keys
In-built gaming chip
Model No – K50 | Keyboard Dimensions – 10.39 inches x 7.52 inches x 1.5 inches | Light – RGB backlit | Version Arrangement – 35 keys | Item Weight – 447 grams | Connection – wired | Interface – USB | Cable Length – 1.5 meters
NPET T20 is one of the best one-handed gaming keyboards. Considering the 38 programmable keys on offer with 12 unique settings, this can the perfect gaming keypad to add to your FPS gaming setup.
Despite featuring a rectangular design, it provides ambient thumb support. All keys also feature anti-ghosting tech. The body comes with an anti-abrasion and anti-scratch coating.
The nomenclature of this keypad is similar to a split keyboard but lacks windows or G key. The 3 macro keys are located on the left-hand side and can be paired with other keys for multiple macro functions.
Double injection keycaps help enhance performance further. You also get glowing arrow keys on W, A, S, and D keys. Key names are laser-carved for a longer lifespan.
Enjoy sufficient RGB lighting and backlit features. For customizing the keys, you would need an updated firmware provided by NPET as a link bundled in with the packaging.
Highly rated and recommended, this is one of the best gaming keypads for WoW and priced at well under $20, it’s definitely worth a buy.
38 programmable keys
Adjustable backlit modes
Keys removing attachment
Laser carved keys
Model No – T20 | Keyboard Dimensions – 8.42 inches x 7.08 inches x 1.29 inches | Light – RGB backlit | Version Arrangement – 38 keys | Item Weight – 558 grams | Connection – wired | Interface – USB | Cable Length – 1.5meters
The Redragon K 585 DITI is a left-handed gaming keyboard combining ergonomic design and the latest connectivity technology. It features OUTEMU blue dust-free switches that come with a unique sound and tactile feedback. It is RGB compatible, allowing a wide range of RGB modes to choose from.
This keyboard features a unique map for anti-ghosting on all 42 keys. Apart from the USB 3.0 port for connecting your gamepad with the PC/console, it also provides you with another USB port that can be used for charging mobile phones or connecting speakers.
The wrist pad is connected by magnets and can easily be detached, but the flat design provides no support to your palm.
It also features mode and records keys at the top to record your gameplay. The 7 programmable macro keys can be used in tandem with other keys to explore over 28 macro settings.
Download Redragon’s customization software from here. The zip file contains the software you need to program and customize your macro and primary keys.
This software will also provide you with speed, brightness, and color options for controlling the RGB lights.
Priced at around $40, you get peerless value-for-money from it, and so, this is our best gaming keypad in 2021. Get it Now!
Outemu Blue switches
7 macro keys
28 macro settings
Detachable palm rest
Type C USB interface
5 RGB backlit modes
Model No – K585 | Keyboard Dimensions – 11 inches x 9 inches x 2 inches | Light – RGB backlit | Version Arrangement – 42 keys | Item Weight – 798 grams | Connection – Wired | Interface – USB Type C | Cable Length – 1.5 meters
There are a lot of gamepads available in the market, mixing and matching through multiple features. Buying the most expensive device is not feasible for all. Hence, focus on what you need from your gaming keypad.
For FPS shooters, get a gaming keypad that covers the basics including a couple of programmable keys and macro functions. For more complex games like WoW Starcraft, you will need more macro and programmable inputs, other than anti-conflict and anti-ghosting tech, not to mention, a bit more bank as well.
If you a proper set of RGB customizations as well, know that it will cost you. Although close to all gaming keypads do offer the color gamut, few provide the varied customization options, i.e. – there’s a difference between choosing the colors and choosing the colors and the specific shades. So, consider your budget and what you need the most. Either way, these are the best gaming keypads you can buy in 2021.