Membrane Keyboards for Gaming: Is it Worth it?
All avid gamers agree that every appliance in your gaming setup contributes significantly to your gaming experience and ranking among competitors. For example, a keyboard with great switches has a quick response rate, a quality display ensures you get good graphics, and so forth. With that said, this article will focus on the keyboard aspect of gaming.
It’s not a secret that Mechanical keyboards have been constantly hyped as they are packed with everything a gamer would want. However, they do come with a hefty price tag. With that said, not everyone is willing or can splurge on a gaming keyboard as much as they make a good investment piece.
For that reason, opt to buy a membrane keyboard if you’re on a budget but still want a functional gaming keyboard. Considering it’s the second-best option, it’s normal to question whether it is worth it. Well, stick around and be the judge.
What Is a Membrane Gaming Keyboard?
A membrane keyboard describes keyboards whose keys are not separate entities as they all lie on one flat surface. For perspective, keycaps are set on top of several layers of flexible plastic or rubber membrane that have mechanical switches and an electrical circuit underneath. For this reason, membrane keyboards have little or no tactile feedback because you are basically pressing onto the rubber.
In summary, membrane keyboards work like this:
- You press the keycap, which then presses onto the flexible rubber membrane underneath.
- The rubber underneath presses onto the mechanical switch that is connected to an electrical circuit.
- The electrical circuit sends out a signal that triggers the action that you wanted to perform.
Membrane keyboards are not the standard because their design is not practical for typing or programming. So, who are they made for? Well, the design is practical for gamers and streamers. Mainly because they don’t make any noise when pressed and also offer the ability to program macros and customize media keys.
Considering they are not made with sturdy materials, manufacturers find that membrane keyboards are cheap to produce as per economics of scale. Therefore, they are the most affordable gaming keyboards on the market, making them perfect for beginners or casual gamers.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Membrane Keyboard
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of membrane keyboards to choose from. For that reason, knowing the exact features you want from the keyboard is imperative before deciding which one will work best.
Since membrane keyboards are scarce compared to mechanical ones, most are made with specific consumers in mind. Therefore, ensure that the keyboard you want to buy is compatible with the rest of the gaming set-up. To do this, check on the brand’s website for the cords, ports, and parts type and check whether they match those of your other gaming devices.
Membrane keyboards can connect to your display through USB or through, Bluetooth connectivity, or both. You need to know which one you prefer before planning on which one you will go with.
For perspective, wireless keyboards are convenient because they eliminate the chord clutter that would otherwise clamp your gaming table. Secondly, they are more portable, allowing you to move your gaming place around easily.
On the other hand, wired keyboards have a faster response rate, making them the best choice for competitive gaming. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about your keyboard running out of power in the middle of gaming sessions.
However, a major downside is that the number of display screens you can connect to with a wired keyboard is limited as the connectivity ports are limited. All in all, the better option all depends on your preference.
One of the best parts about gaming keyboards nowadays is choosing your preferred key arrangement. For context, the arrangement of the keys plays a considerable part in your gaming performance. This is because the few seconds lost when switching from one control to the other matters.
For that reason, choosing a keyboard that is easy to use and fits nicely on your gaming table is imperative. Below are a few options you will have to choose from.
- Ten keyless keyboards
- 60-65% keyboards
- Ergonomic keyboards
- 75% keyboards
- Full-size keyboard
As a gamer, you know how important it is to be able to customize features such as RGB lighting, Macro keys, media control keys, and so forth. Unfortunately, while some membrane keyboards are equipped with software that allows you to make the necessary customization, some don’t, and the rest offer specific customization options.
Either way, ensuring that the keyboard you settle for can offer customization in line with your gaming needs is imperative.
As previously stated, the leading marketing point for membrane gaming keyboards is that they are cheaper than their counterparts, such as mechanical keyboards. For that reason, manufacturers usually make it with the most inexpensive parts and materials to break even in the market with their competitive pricing.
Just because a membrane keyboard is cheaper than the rest doesn’t mean you should buy it. First, check the product specifications to confirm that it has a sturdy exterior and long-lasting keycaps. Otherwise, the exterior will start chipping/falling apart, and the keycaps will feel mushy when you press, reducing the response rate.
Also, prioritize products that will not give you a hard time when it comes to finding spare parts to replace worn-out ones. Most of the manufacturers stock the parts in question, while others don’t.
Contrary to popular opinion, membrane keyboards come with different actuations. In layman’s terms, actuation is the tactile feedback you get when you press a key on a keyboard. Even though all membrane keyboards are fitted with electronic switches under the keycaps, different brands use different techniques to actuate the electronic switches.
Some keystrokes offer a shorter stroke and low-profile keys, while some offer somewhat the same tactile feedback as a mechanical keyboard. Either way, go for one that will compliment you the best.
When it comes to membrane keyboards, there are lots of cheap options to choose from. However, most brands that try to price their keyboards below market value often produce items with a short life span. So, make sure you thoroughly check the reviews from other consumers to avoid buying a product that will waste your money in the long run.
Good Membrane Keyboards in the Market
Considering the rising number of gaming enthusiasts over the years, keyboard manufacturers have also upped their game. For this reason, there are plenty of membrane keyboards to choose from, making it easy for you to be confused and buy the wrong one.
Now that you know what to look for in a good membrane keyboard, here are a few options you should consider:
1. HyperX Alloy Core RGB
- Signature Light Bar and dynamic RGB lighting effects so you can personalize your battle station and bring it to life with 6 preset LED lighting effects
- Durable solid Frame for long lasting durability and stability
- Quiet and Responsive Keys with Anti-Ghosting: Key rollover lets you press keys simultaneously and every keystroke will register and be perfectly executed in the order pressed as quickly as it was input. No lost keystrokes from simultaneous signals
- Spill Resistant to prevent damage from accidental spills
- Dedicated Media Controls so you can conveniently control media
The HyperX Alloy is undoubtedly one of the best membrane keyboards in the market. For starters, it is affordable yet packed with great features that make it a worthy competitor for most mechanical keyboards.
One thing that stands out is how quiet it is, so if you hate the clickety-clack sound that your keyboard makes when gaming, this particular one is a great choice. Also, as a bonus customization feature, it comes with up to 6 LED light options, making it easier to suit your gaming setup aesthetic.
Additionally, this keyboard has dedicated media control keys such as play/pause, forward and rewind, mute/unmute, and so forth. While the aforementioned can seem like a small addition, media control buttons are not standard in most membrane keyboards, making them a plus.
Finally, if you are clumsy, you will be glad to note that this keyboard is spill-proof for up to 120mm of liquid. Therefore, you won’t have to replace it after every accident.
Pros of this keyboard
- For a Membrane keyboard, its keys offer a fast response
- Makes no noise when gaming
- It’s affordable
- Fairly comfortable to use
- Comes with a braided cable
Cons of this keyboard
- Doesn’t allow you to customize macro keys
- The brand’s keyboard software does not support it
2. Corsair K55 Pro
- Light up your desktop with six onboard lighting effects, assign a color to each lighting zone, or program your own vibrant lighting effects across five RGB lighting zones with CORSAIR iCUE software.
- Activate functions, shortcuts, or keypresses in just one stroke with six dedicated macro keys, easily set up through CORSAIR iCUE software, or use instant streaming commands through Elgato Stream Deck software.
- IP42-rated dust and spill resistance guards against accidents so your gameplay never has to stop.
- A soft rubber detachable palm rest reduces stress on your hands so you can play longer in comfort, with a textured surface to keep your hands from slipping.
- Dedicated volume and media keys let you control media playback and fine-tune volume on-the-fly without having to interrupt your game.
Despite the affordable price tag of this Corsair keyboard, it still comes packed with many useful features. For example, you can customize your RGB light into any of the three LED options supported on this keyboard. Also, you can remap your macro keys to suit your needs which is a thoughtful addition for gamers.
Most membrane keyboards claim that they are dust and water-resistant, but the Corsair lives up to the claim. It has a 1P42 water-resistant certificate, so you won’t have to worry about any spills or dust pile-ups.
Did I mention that this keyboard is supported by Corsair iCue software? The aforementioned makes it even easier to customize and remap the keyboard keys as much as you like. Overall, my two best features have to be the detachable armrest and elegant exterior that doesn’t have the tacky plastic finish you would expect.
Pros of this keyboard
- Allows plenty of customization options
- Makes minimal noise when used
- Has a fast response rate
- It is incredibly comfortable to use
- It is sturdy, and the keycaps tend to last a relatively long time
Cons of this keyboard
- The key layout is a bit confusing
3. Logitech G213
- Based on independent aggregated sales data (FEB ‘19 – FEB’20) of Gaming Keyboard, Mice, and PC Headset in units from: US, CA, CN, JP, KR, TW, TH, ID, DE, FR, RU, UK, SE, TR
- Brilliant color spectrum illumination – personalize five individual lighting Zones from a spectrum of over 16. 8 million colors. Change colors to match your setup, specific games, or to showcase your favorite colors. Synchronize lighting effects with other Logitech G devices using Logitech gaming software. Low light leak around each keycap means less more light comes through the lettering – and less leaks around the keycaps. This helps make the illumination of each key more brilliant, making it easier to find your keys in the dark.
- Comfortable and durable – G213 Prodigy is a full-sized keyboard designed for gaming and productivity. The slim body is built for gamers of all levels, with a durable construction that repels liquids, crumbs and dirt for easy cleanup. An integrated Palm rest And adjustable feet Let you set your keyboard to the ideal position, so it’s comfortable to use even during the longest gaming sessions.
- Performance tuned with multi-key input – G213 brings together the best in tactile feel and performance with Keys built specifically for the way gamers play. Each key on the G213 is tuned to enhance the tactile experience, delivering ultra-quick, responsive feedback that is up to 4 times faster than standard keyboards. The anti-ghosting gaming Matrix is tuned for optimal gaming performance, keeping you in control when you press multiple gaming keys simultaneously.
- Dedicated media controls – Control your background track without switching out of your game. G213 features dedicated media controls that can be used to play, pause and mute music and videos instantly. Adjust the volume, or skip to the next song with the touch of a button.
Logitech has made a name in the market for constantly releasing quality gaming keyboards. The only downside is that most of their products are expensive. However, their hefty pricing does not apply to the Logitech G213. The best part is they included the best features and used the best materials you would expect for a membrane keyboard.
Per their claims, this keyboard delivers 4x better performance than the standard mechanical keyboard. Since it’s impossible to actuate their claims as it all boils down to preference, below are a few of its outstanding features.
First, its keycaps are designed to mimic those of a mechanical keyboard minus the loud clicking noise. Also, the response rate and tactile feedback are as good as they can get with a membrane keyboard.
Considering this keyboard is supported by the Logitech software, you can customize the RGB lighting so that the lighting changes according to your game. In addition, you can program the 12 function keys to match your needs.
Pros of this product
- It comes with customizable media control keys
- It is water and dust resistant
- Offers great tactile feedback
- Comes with a detachable palm rest
Cons of this product
- The exterior frame feels flimsy
- Only allows you 5 RGB light zones to choose from
4. Razer Cynosa V2
- The NPD Group, U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Gaming Designed: Keyboards, Mice, PC Headsets, and PC Microphones, Based on dollar sales, Jan. 2017- June 2020 combined.
- All-Around Gaming Performance: Able to execute up to ten commands at the same time with built-in key rollover anti-ghosting
- Ultimate Personalization & Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma: Fully syncs with popular games, Razer hardware, Philips Hue, and gear from 30 plus partners; supports 16.8 million colors on individually backlit keys
- Spill-Resistant Design: Built to withstand most accidental liquid splashes
- Fully Programmable Macros: Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands
This membrane keyboard is worth looking into if you are just starting in the gaming industry. First off, it is pretty affordable, offers a one-year warranty, and is accessible 24/7 online support with workers who will talk you through everything you need to know about setting up this keyboard.
Thanks to the Razer synapse 3 app, you can easily customize your RGB lighting in 16.8 million different ways to suit your gaming setup. Also, all the macro keys are fully programmable, making this an ideal keyboard for beginner gamers.
Though it comes fitted with plastic ABT keycaps, they don’t feel tacky to the touch and make minimal noise when used. Also, considering it a full-size keyboard, you can use it for office work, i.e., typing without changing your gaming customized settings.
Pros of this product
- Offers substantial online support when setting up
- It is reasonably cheap considering its extensive features
- Allows you to configure several profiles
- Highly customizable
Cons of this product
- Comes in a cheap build
- Has no armrest, which makes it uncomfortable for prolonged gaming
5. Razer Ornata Chroma
- High-Performance Mecha-Membrane Switches Provides the tactile feedback of mechanical key press on a comfortable soft-cushioned membrane rubber dome switch suitable for gaming
- Ultimate Personalization & Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma Fully syncs with popular games Razer hardware Philips Hue and gear from 30 plus partners supports 16 8 million colors on individually backlit keys.Keycaps:Regular ABS
- Fully Programmable Macro Support Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands
- Ergonomic Magnetic Wrist Rest Made of soft-touch leatherette to maximize comfort over extended gaming sessions with built-in magnets for convenient alignment
- Durable Construction Supports up to 80 million clicks backed by a 2-year
Just like most Razer keyboards, this one is designed with hybrid mecha-membrane keys. For context, its keystrokes can deliver the fast response rate of a mechanical keyboard but with a different tactile feel. Therefore, if you hate mechanical keyboards’ sound but don’t want to sacrifice performance, this keyboard is the one for you.
Compared to most keyboards in this list, you will realize this one is one of the pricier membrane keyboards; but with good reasons, as its features are top-notch. For example, it comes with an anti-ghosting feature. Therefore, you can press multiple keys at once, and they will all be recognized.
In addition to the aforementioned, this keyboard allows you to customize your macro keys through its synapse 3 software. Therefore, you can set specific keys to perform multiple actions. Having macro keys does wonders for a gamer, especially in a competition.
Pros of this product
- Has a reasonably durable and relatively sturdy build
- Gives you 16.8 million RGB lighting options to choose from
- Allows you to program your macro keys to your liking
- It is backed up with the Razer Synapse software
Cons of this product
- Offers limited functionality with MacOS
- Its short-travel keys are uncomfortable
6. Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
- Exceptional comfort. Work all day, with reduced risk of fatigue and injury, on our Ergonomist-approved design.
- Excellent support. Improved cushion and ergonomically tested palm rest covered in premium fabric provides all-day comfort and promotes a neutral wrist posture.
- Be more productive with built-in shortcuts, including dedicated keys for office 365, emojis, search, easy access to media controls, and more.
- Designed to last — Wired for reliable speed and accuracy.
- Crunch numbers Fast, with a dedicated integrated pad.
The Microsoft ergonomic keyboard was made with comfort and productivity in mind. First, it comes in a dome shape with split keys placed in a curve-like shape instead of straight rows. This way, you can position your wrists and palm in such a way that it mimics your natural posture, so you won’t tire when gaming.
Additionally, it comes with a cushioned palm rest to ensure maximum comfort. If the palm rest is not for you or takes up much-needed space, you can easily detach it as it’s magnetically connected. Speaking of space, this keyboard doesn’t come with bulky wires. Instead, it connects to your display using a dongle.
One glaring downside of this keyboard is that it does not support macOS and is compatible with a small number of windows computers. Therefore, not many people can use it.
Pros of this product
- Excellent tactile feedback and response rate
- Its ergonomic design is quite comfortable to use
- Has plenty of additional media control keys
- Is highly customizable
Cons of this product
- Does not come with RGB backlight
- Not compatible with most windows devices
7. SteelSeries Apex 3 TKL
- The compact tenkeyless design is the most popular form factor used by the pros, allowing you to position the keyboard for comfort and to maximize in-game performance.
- Our whisper quiet gaming switches with anti-ghosting technology for keystroke accuracy are made from durable low friction material for near silent use and guaranteed performance for over 20 million keypresses.
- Designed with IP32 Water & Dust Resistant for extra durability to prevent damage from liquids and dust particles, so you can continue to play no matter what happens to your keyboard.
- PrismSync RGB Illumination allows you to choose from millions of colors and effects from reactive lighting to interactive lightshows that bring RGB to the next level.
- Dedicated Multimedia Controls with a clickable volume roller and media keys allowing you to adjust brightness, rewind, skip or pause all at the touch of a button.
If you want to save space on your gaming desk, then a membrane ten keyless is a great place to start. The ten keyless is because it doesn’t come with the number keypad, which is not mandatory as a gamer.
Even though it’s designed to save space, you must sacrifice valuable functions. For example, this keyboard doesn’t have media control buttons. Instead, it comes with a scroll wheel that you could use to add or reduce the volume of the game.
Just like most keyboards on this list, this particular one is water and dust-resistant. In fact, it has an IP32 rating, meaning it won’t get spoilt if the water damage is less than 15mm.
As for customization, this keyboard comes with impressive 10 RGB lighting options as well as six programmable macro keys. All in all, it’s an excellent membrane keyboard.
Pros of this product
- Is relatively affordable
- Comes with a one-year warranty and 24-7 customer support
- Connects to the display using a USB dongle
- Can connect to multiple displays at once
- Allows you to create various gaming profiles, each with different settings
Cons of this product
- The exterior looks tacky and cheap
- Its keycaps need constant replacement as they fade easily
8. Roccat Magma
- SILENT MEMBRANE KEYS – Equipped with high quality rubber dome keys for silent typing that feels both responsive and reliable
- ADVANCED ANTI-GHOSTING – Technology to ensure each key stroke of the most-used keys is registered – no matter how frantic the gaming action gets
- CUSTOMIZED YOUR WAY – ROCCAT’s Easy-Shift[plus] technology adds a secondary function to compatible keys; Just hold down the designated modifier key for double the command power in an instant
- AIMO ILLUMINATION – ROCCAT’s proprietary lighting eco-system connects compatible devices present vivid lighting scenarios right out of the box, without the need for extensive configuration; With full backlighting in 16.8 million colors
- DETACHABLE PALM REST – Lets you adjust your setup to whatever’s comfortable for you, whether it’s a relaxed typing or aggressive gaming style
The Roccat Magma has almost everything you want in a membrane keyboard. However, one of its most outstanding features is tactile feedback. When put side by side with a mechanical keyboard, you will only feel a small difference when pressing the keys, which makes it perfect for practicing professional gaming.
Despite the price, you still get a quality and detachable palm rest. The aforementioned, coupled with the keyboard design, ensure your user experience is as comfortable as it gets with a membrane keyboard.
It is a full-size keyboard, meaning you will get all the key caps intact. What makes this a great deal is that this keyboard is supported with software that allows you to program your macros and remap specific keys.
Pros of the product
- Feels great and comfortable to use
- Is beginner friendly when it comes to customization
- Allows you to program multiple macro keys
- Has a good-looking exterior
Cons of the product
- RGB lighting customization is only possible for specific parts of the keyboard
- It is expensive in comparison to its counterparts
This article shows that membrane keyboards are great for gamers on a budget or beginners. However, they have some serious downsides, which might concern competitive gamers. For example, their tactile feedback is negligible, they are not as customizable, and they come in a low-quality exterior that might not last or blend in with the rest of the gaming equipment.
So, whether or not membrane keyboards are worth it depends on the performance, non-negotiable features you want, the games and tasks you want to perform, and the budget.
Can I use a membrane keyboard to type?
Yes, you can. However, considering it has a slow response rate and a long keystroke, it is not the best choice for the task at hand as you will need to type slower than you are used to, avoiding clerical errors.
Are ergonomic keyboards make any difference to gamers?
Yes, they do primarily because they are designed for maximum comfort. All their controls are located in areas that allow you to place your wrist in the most comfortable position.
What is the average price of a membrane keyboard?
It depends on the specs and the brand of the keyboard in question. Additionally, things like supply and demand play a role in pricing. But you should be able to get a good keyboard for $50.
Which shop has the best black Friday deals for membrane keyboards?
Most stores usually wait as long as they can before they announce black Friday deals. Therefore, it’s hard to compare prices as of now. However, consider putting your notifications on several stores so that you are the first to know whenever there is a price change.
Is RGB lighting important in a membrane keyboard?
RGB lighting is mostly for aesthetic value. Therefore, whether or not it’s important depends on your aesthetic wishes.
Last update on 2023-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API