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How to find the perfect gaming keyboard this Black Friday without spending a fortune

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If you’re looking to dramatically improve your competitive gaming experience, investing in a dedicated gaming keyboard is one of the easiest and best ways to get ahead.

Over the years, the best gaming keyboards have become more popular on Black Friday, since many gamers appreciate their value more as well as the fact that a good amount of them can be quite costly – especially since the high-end keyboards tend to include customizable 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 nab one of the more expensive models for less than $100 or even less than $50.

And if you happen to be looking in the mid or low-range category, the sales will make those prices even sweeter. And best of all, there are already plenty of options that offer nearly 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 this doesn’t just apply to the low-range models either. Sometimes you could be getting what seems to be an excellent deal on a high-end gaming keyboard but doesn’t offer the features or build quality that should come with it.

But that’s where we come in. We’ve tested a lot of the best keyboards around and we know what it takes to make or break a gaming experience, so we’re here to guide you through the process so you can get the best deal possible as we head into the holidays.

What to look for in a Black Friday gaming keyboard deal

The red keyswitches used on the Trust GXT 863 Mazz Gaming Keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

So what should you be on the lookout for when you go Black Friday shopping? There are some key points to remember when it comes to buying a gaming keyboard and ensuring you get the smoothest experience possible.

Largely, gaming keyboards have such a wide range of features and builds to fit a variety of buyers’ needs. However, depending on what end of the price spectrum you’re looking to buy from, 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 important as well but if the gaming keyboard is made of cheap plastic then it will break down quickly. For an expensive keyboard, it should be made of an aluminum alloy and the keys should be mechanical. 

The former means that the body of the keyboard needs to be sturdy due to how much punishment they take and most high-end keyboards should be mostly made of aluminum. The latter refers to the fact that keyboards either use membrane or mechanical keys. Mechanical keys have a switch under the key and membrane keys send an electrical current between two plastic membranes. Mechanical reacts much faster to clicks and lasts far longer than the cheaper membrane ones.

Cheaper keyboards tend to use membrane keys and have plastic bodies, which can be detrimental for hardcore gaming sessions but would be perfectly fine for more casual gameplay and productivity work. And some of the low and mid-range keyboards can even mimic the mechanical feel of more expensive ones even with membrane keys. But keyboards in this category should never be more than $50, anything above that price range should have mechanical keys at the very least.

There is one Black Friday-specific consideration to mention as well, namely that you’re going to 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 (though the amount and level will vary depending on price point) and a fast response time with 1ms or less being ideal. 

Another factor you’ll want to look for is the size, which depends on how much desk space you have. If you have plenty, then a normal-sized keyboard with a tenkey pad is perfectly fine. But less space may require a tenkeyless keyboard, which forgoes the tenkey and is much smaller and portable. You can find the best mini keyboards cutting across all price ranges, and many will be on sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

All kinds of gaming keyboards will see price cuts

a brightly lit gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

We have years of experience in finding the best tech deals during the holidays, so we know how Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events tend to run. The past couple of years have turned the norm around quite a bit, due to the pandemic and resulting supply chain issues, which has made things more chaotic.

Even with that, however, there are still plenty of consistent patterns to work with. The tech industry in general has plenty of practices that have survived these past couple of years, such as the tendency to drop prices on older products in order to make way for newer models.

The latter is less likely to receive price cuts, though you may see the occasional sale on such products, which can still make it worthwhile to keep track of the latest gaming keyboards. Older keyboards aren’t the only ones to go on sale during the holiday season.

Furthermore, because new tech tends to come out either during the holiday season or at the start of the 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 deals to expect this year is to look at what we saw last year. And, in order to help you compare deals from last year, we’re able to bring you some highlights from our 2022 Black Friday coverage to demonstrate.

Things to avoid in a Black Friday gaming keyboard deal

Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini Hyperspeed

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Unfortunately, the holiday season means more opportunities to sell mediocre gaming keyboards at prices that are often overinflated yet disguised as a good deal. And while it can be difficult to root out every shoddy keyboard offer, there are ways to eliminate the most egregious examples.

These tips apply more to high-end posing gaming keyboards, as there tend to be more retailers that try to push less than steller models on unassuming buyers while pretending they’re premium.

Any high-end keyboard should be made from an aluminum or steel alloy, period. If you’re spending premium prices then it should be made of premium material. This goes double for the keys, which should always be industry-standard mechanical Cherry MX keys. 

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 amount of it depends on the price and the type of gaming keyboard, with MMO gaming requiring more of each, but it needs to be a feature as hardcore and competitive gaming requires it. 

Features like RGB lighting are usually included but are merely window-dressing – extremely expensive window dressing that can raise the price of a gaming keyboard by tens of dollars easily. So if you happen to see a keyboard with it but the specs are a bit lower than normal, that’s a terrible deal.

Finally, there’s the eternal wired keyboard versus wireless debate, and we’re here to tell you that it’s largely up to personal preference. There’s not enough of a difference between response time to justify one or the other, so get which one works best for you and don’t fall for the additional charge for wireless because guaranteed it’s not worth the extra cost.

If you do go wireless though, and you plan on playing competitive esports, make sure the keyboard supports 2.4Ghz wireless and not just Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth has a higher input latency than 2.4GHz wireless, so it isn’t as suitable for competitive play.

Today’s best gaming keyboard deals

If you don’t want to wait for Black Friday, you can check out some of the best gaming keyboard deals available right now.