Gaming Keyboard vs. Regular Keyboard

Gaming Keyboard vs. Regular Keyboard: The Key Differences

For many, a keyboard is just that — a keyboard. But for gamers and coders, the right keyboard makes all the difference when aiming to optimize performance. 

So, as a gamer, will a regular keyboard do the trick — or do you need to upgrade?

We’ve created an in-depth comparison guide to help you find the best keyboard for your needs. SitWorkPlay has all the gaming keyboard vs. regular keyboard information to guide you on your buying journey. Let’s dive in to see what keyboard reigns supreme — the gaming keyboard or ol’ reliable. 

Gaming Keyboard vs. Regular Keyboard: What’s the Difference?

Here’s a quick look at how a gaming keyboard differs from a regular keyboard.

Gaming KeyboardRegular Keyboard
FeelSpringy key-feelSpongy
Noise level Louder, due to mechanical switchesQuiet 
Key rollover Yes, allowing for “combos”Basic rollover (if any)
Price Low to high, but generally on the higher-end Low to Medium, with many budget-friendly options
WeightHeavier and more robustLightweight 
LifespanLonger lifespanShorter lifespan

Gaming Keyboard Basics

Gaming Keyboard

The gaming keyboard vs. regular keyboard debate comes down to performance. Gaming keyboards are built with gamers in mind, so these keyboards offer specific features that standard keyboards don’t have — simply because everyday office tasks don’t require the same type of functionality. 

The first significant difference is that gaming keyboards use mechanical switches instead of the membrane “switches” commonly seen in standard keyboards. These switches aren’t just faster and more reliable; they also provide more sensory feedback, keeping you apprised of every action, both on-screen and off.

Gaming keyboards are also customizable. You can generally swap out switches without replacing the entire keyboard. A common modification is replacing your clicky switches with silent, linear switches that reduce noise (trust me — your roommates will thank you). The ability to swap switches and keycaps also extends the life of your peripheral.

On average, expect to pay around $150 for a top-tier gaming keyboard. In some instances, you can get away with lower-tier models. But they generally aren’t as powerful.

Gaming Keyboard Features 

  • Fast response time – Less lag time means faster response times. This is a benefit offered by gaming keyboards, which can make a difference when playing fast-paced, competitive games. 
  • Key rollover – Key rollover allows you to press a combination of keys simultaneously. This feature ensures that all keys are accurately registered and in the correct order. Fast-paced action games typically require combos, making this a must-have.
  • Heavier – Gaming keyboards are more robust, ensuring your keyboard doesn’t slide around during aggressive gameplay. 

Cons of Using a Gaming Keyboard

  • Noise – Based on the design of gaming keyboards, many switches make a distinct “click” noise that can be loud and potentially disruptive. Even if this isn’t an annoyance to the user, it may be an issue for others near you while gaming. 
  • More expensive – In general, you get what you pay for when buying a gaming keyboard vs. regular keyboard. Expect to pay up for the best models.

Gaming Keyboard Brands & Models To Check Out 

  • Razer Huntsman v2 Analog | Amazon ($249) – This keyboard is known for its tactile key clicks and fully customizable key actuation. It’s among the best gaming keyboards available, as indicated by its sky-high $249 price tag. Luckily, you can often find it on sale for as little as $149.
  • MOUNTAIN Everest Jack ($249) – If you love a creative media deck and macro pad, this gaming keyboard is for you. Following its successful Kickstarter campaign, the price tag comes in at $249.
  • Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed | Amazon ($200) – If you’re in the market for a wireless keyboard, this option offers amazing feedback and typing accuracy. There are several options available, costing an average of $200. 

Read More: The Best Gaming Keyboards of 2022

Regular Keyboard Basics 

Regular Keyboard

Regular keyboards, also known as membrane keyboards, are what most people use. You’ll find these in home and commercial offices around the world. You’ll also find this type of keyboard built into laptops. Regular keyboards are perfectly functional, and for many, the practical choice. 

Regular keyboards do not have switches like gaming keyboards. Instead, they have a built-in circuit board that’s activated when you press down on a silicone membrane with rubber domes aligned underneath each key. This design is why regular keyboards are also referred to as membrane keyboards and result in a quieter typing experience. 

If you’re looking for a keyboard that allows you to type and complete everyday work tasks, a regular keyboard should be more than sufficient. You can find regular keyboards for as little as $20. However, many models cost $100 or more, particularly hybrid keyboards. These options include features of both a regular and mechanical keyboard.

Regular Keyboard Features 

  • Silicone membrane – Thanks to the silicone membrane, typing on a regular keyboard is much quieter than a gaming keyboard.
  • Lightweight – Many users like that regular keyboards are lightweight and easily portable.

Cons of Using a Regular Keyboard

  • Basic or poor key rollover – Many regular keyboards lack reliable key rollover, so certain keypresses may not register while gaming. 
  • Non-customizable – Unlike gaming keyboards, you cannot switch parts easily. This affects the keyboard’s longevity. 
  • Sluggish responsivity – Poor responsivity isn’t a big deal when dealing with tasks, but it can make a big difference when gaming. 

Regular Keyboard Brands & Models To Check Out 

  • Basaltech Mechanical-Feeling Keyboard ($24.99) – Want a membrane keyboard that feels more like a mechanical keyboard? This is it. Sophisticated yet subtle, this regular keyboard offers backlighting and can be enjoyed for as little as $20.
  • K512 Shiva RGB Gaming Keyboard | Amazon ($36.99) – If durability is important, this keyboard can stand up to 10+ million keystrokes. This keyboard can be used for both office work and gaming. Grab it for just $36.99. 
  • HyperX Alloy Core RGB Gaming Keyboard | Amazon ($39.99) – This stylish keyboard is budget-friendly yet high-performing. The keys are quiet, and the design is spill-resistant. Pick it up for $39.99. 

Are Gaming and Regular Keyboards Interchangeable?

You can use a gaming keyboard in place of a regular keyboard, no problem. However, a regular keyboard should not replace a gaming keyboard used in competitive play. You’ll be disappointed by the poor response time, easy misclicks, and mushy key feel.

That said, both a gaming keyboard vs. regular keyboard should work well for most casual users. If you’re a light gamer looking to enjoy some Stardew Valley or Wordle on the side, a regular keyboard will work just fine. 

In short, both options can be used for everyday computing tasks and gaming. However, gaming keyboards offer specific benefits concerning actuation, speed, etc. 

Gaming Keyboard vs. Regular Keyboards FAQs

Keyboard Close Up

In this section, let’s answer some common questions about the gaming keyboard vs. regular keyboard.

1. What is the price difference between these two options?

The price difference can be significant. 

Gaming keyboards are optimal in performance-oriented situations but come with a higher price tag that reaches into the hundreds. If top-tier performance isn’t necessary, you can find a dependable regular keyboard for anywhere between $20 and $100.

2. What is the main difference between a gaming keyboard and a regular keyboard?

The primary difference between these two keyboards is how they operate, influencing performance levels. Most gaming keyboards are mechanical, while regular keyboards are not. Mechanical keyboards have switches that improve response time and actuation. 

3. Can you use a gaming keyboard on a laptop?

Yes! Thanks to USB ports and Bluetooth technology, you can use gaming keyboards on laptops. 

Concerning gaming laptops with built-in keyboards, these can’t match the performance of a standalone model.

Gaming Keyboard vs. Regular Keyboard: Which One Should You Buy?

There is no black and white answer here. 

The best keyboard for you will depend on what you want out of it. If you are a serious gamer seeking excellent speed and accuracy, then a gaming keyboard is ideal. But if you game for fun and don’t take it too seriously, a regular keyboard will allow you to do just that. 

When seeking a budget-friendly option, a regular keyboard is best — at the cost of fewer capabilities. 

If you need more guidance, SitWorkPlay is here to help. Check out The 10 Best Gaming Keyboards of 2021 for Pro-Level Performance and The 10 Best Ergonomic Keyboards of 2021.

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