The humble keyboard is such a fundamental part of our gaming experiences, and yet it’s all too easy just to tap away on any old thing and hope for the best. Eventually though you’re going to want to splash the cash and try out a proper gaming keyboard, but what is it exactly you’re looking out for?

Practically the first thing anyone is going to decide is whether to opt for wired or wireless. This decision is kind of made up for you depending on your setup of course. If you’re going to be sat a long way away from your rig then wireless it is, but if you can get a wire to reach then it’s always going to be the winning solution. Wireless keyboards typically come with a price premium just for being wireless, but there will be a minor element of impact lag. That is offset by being able to perch yourself 30 feet away from your gigantic screen

Next up there’s the key switches to think about. Normally you wouldn’t be too bothered by these, but for the competitive gaming advantage you’re going to want a set up customised to you. The key switches are the things which sit under the keys on a keyboard, registering key presses. There are three common types of key switches - Silicon dome, Scissor and Mechanical.

Silicon dome switches are the standard type you’d find on a budget keyboard, offering fairly unresponsive but quiet feedback. Where these fall down are in in rapid key presses, where the soft press slows things down. But hey, at least you won’t wake the neighbours up with your typing. Scissor switches meanwhile are the types you’d normally find on laptop keys, offering a pretty solid feel thanks to being quite clicky and responsive.

Lastly there’s the mechanical switches, and these are pretty much exclusively the forte of the gamer. You’ll see all sorts of variations on a theme here, but the mechanical switches are all spring-loaded and offer the most responsive control around. They also happen to be the most expensive, and pushing down a key on a mechanical keyboard produces a loud clacking sound. If you’ve ever sat in any office with someone typing on one of these, you’ll know perfectly well how annoying this can be.

Beyond that there’s also a litany of other reasons you might opt for a particular keyboard, whether that’s backlit keys for gaming in the dark, macro functions, additional keys, or even something as fundamentals as its ergonomics and comfort.

So what are the things you prioritise when looking for a gaming keyboard? Do you go for budget delights or premium products? What keyboard have you got at the moment? Let us know!