Last updated: July 1, 2020

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The lighting of backlit keyboards isn’t merely about aesthetics. Under certain circumstances, such as when you play video games or in specific low-light environments, this feature offers significant advantages. This is why they have gained popularity in recent years, with more and more users turning to these keyboards.

If you’re thinking of getting one, you have come to the right place. There is an incredible range of models out there, but don’t let the light effects become the only deciding factor. It is also essential to determine how you plan on using your new keyboard. You will also have to pick between membrane and mechanical types, as well as wired or wireless models.

Key Facts

  • The lighting doesn’t merely have a pleasing aesthetic effect; it offers an edge both for gamers and those who need to increase their productivity in low-light environments.
  • You can choose the color and intensity of the light in most of these keyboards to customize it to your own taste. In fact, you can also turn the lighting off when you don’t need it. Many models also allow you to create a range of different effects.
  • The very first thing you have to determine when buying your new keyboard is how you want to use it. Once you know the answer to this question, you can turn to the main shopping criteria to make your pick. These include the connectivity of the device, the size of the keys, the ergonomics, and, naturally, the type of keyboard you want.

Our Selection: The Best Backlit Keyboards on the U.S. Market

In the following section, you will discover our very own selection of some of the best backlit keyboards currently available out there. We have picked a variety of products that will satisfy the needs of different types of users. All of these keyboards have received quality ratings from past users and offer great value for money.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Backlit Keyboards

You will have to consider a series of key aspects before choosing the right backlit keyboard for your needs. Keep in mind that each model comes with its own set of unique features and functionalities. To help you with your purchase, we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding these devices in the section below.

Backlit Keyboard

Backlit keyboards only differ from standard models in that they integrate a lighting system. Generally composed of LED lights, it may offer various effects.
(Source: Dean Drobot: 107575618/ 123rf.com)

What are backlit keyboards exactly?

Backlit keyboards only differ from standard models in that they integrate a lighting system. Generally composed of LED lights, it may offer various effects. They are primarily intended for use in low-light environments, and their primary – though not only – application is for playing video games.

What color are the lights?

Many backlit keyboards will allow you to choose from a range of different colors. Note that the most basic models will offer a smaller number of colors, with some even having a single-color lighting system. High-end backlit keyboards, on the other hand, can cover the entire color spectrum.

Can I customize individual keys?

Nowadays, the very best keyboards on the market let you personalize each key individually. This system is called dynamic multicolor per-key backlighting. Using a specific software, it provides virtually unlimited possibilities for control and customization of color and effects.

Backlit Keyboard

Nowadays, the very best keyboards on the market let you personalize each key individually.
(Source: Auborddulac: 13036532/ 123rf.com)

What are the advantages of backlit keyboards?

These devices are ideal for use at night or in low-light environments. That means that you can work longer without interruption and in optimal conditions. Besides, they offer a significant competitive edge to all gamers who use them. You can compare the pros and cons in the table below:

Advantages
  • They are ideal for dark or low-light rooms.
  • They offer a competitive advantage to video game players.
  • You can choose from different customization options.
  • They allow you to work without interruptions.
  • They are more aesthetically appealing.
  • The characters on the keys won”t fade.
Disadvantages
  • Wireless keyboards consume more energy.
  • They tend to be more expensive than traditional keyboards.

For whom are backlit keyboards recommended?

They are especially recommended for those of us who play video games. In such a competitive environment, where performing an action a microsecond earlier can make the difference between victory and defeat, finding the right key is vital. Besides, gamers often play more relaxed with a backlit keyboard.

You will also find these devices helpful if your workspace often has low light conditions or if you work at night. Everyone will benefit from you having one of these keyboards if you share a room with others and need to use your computer at night. Last but not least, they are perfect for nightlife venues and cybercafés.

Are backlit keyboards the same as gaming models?

They are actually two different types of devices. However, the reality is that an overwhelming majority of gaming keyboards integrate this functionality, whose competitive edge is essential for video game players. If you are familiar with e-sports, you will have noticed that competitions take place in low-light conditions.

This allows players to focus on what is happening on the screen and, therefore, on the game. In addition, and as we mentioned earlier, specific lighting will help you recognize the keys you’re looking for faster. However, a keyboard must include a few more features than simply backlighting to be considered a gaming model.

Shopping Criteria

Are you really thinking about getting your own backlit keyboard? Then there are several key shopping criteria that you need to be familiar with. We want to make your life easier, which is why we have selected the six most important factors and detailed them for you below. We guarantee that taking all of these aspects into account is the best way to find the perfect model for you and get the best value for money.

Personal Use

If you’re considering buying a backlit keyboard, chances are you’ll want it to play video games. But you will also find it useful for office tasks, programming, browsing the web, or for your business. In that regard, you have to think about the computer you will connect your keyboard to, as well as how you plan on using it.

If you’re a gamer, we advise you to opt for a model with a gaming-specific design. Besides, you will find mechanical keyboards to be the better option as they offer higher sensitivity and shorter response time. If you don’t plan on using it extensively, you can opt for a simpler design and fewer lighting effects.

Backlit Keyboard

The simpler keyboards often offer a reduced choice of colors.
(Source: Michał Leśniak: 87910520/ 123rf.com)

Lighting Options

This criterion is all about the types and modes of lighting that are integrated into a keyboard. From the choice of colors you have available, to the possibility of adjusting their intensity, to the control system the device features. As you already know, some models even offer the option of enjoying multicolor backlighting.

Generally speaking, the more affordable keyboards come with a reduced choice of colors. That being said, you can find a variety of products with wider ranges. In addition, backlit keyboards allow you to enjoy several different effects, depending on the model. The most common type alternates the color of the lighting from time to time.

Keyboard Size

The different styles are determined based on the number of keys they have and how these keys are set up. As you may know, they also vary depending on the language. In the United States, the keyboards follow the classic QWERTY layout. Within that type, we can make a distinction between extended models and reduced or tenkeyless (TKL) models.

The former feature a number pad on the right side for a total of 105 keys, while the latter do not have this pad and generally have 88 keys. Although less common, you can opt for a third layout that eliminates all non-essential keys – such as function or media control keys – for only 62 keys.

Roberta WilliamsAmerican Video Game Designer

“I appreciate the sentiment that I am a popular woman in computer gaming circles; but I prefer being thought of as a computer game designer rather than a woman computer game designer. I don’t put myself into gender mode when designing a game.”

Wired vs. Wireless

Wireless keyboards give you great freedom from cumbersome cables and the ability to use them further away from your computer. This distance can generally reach 30 feet. However, you will need to recharge your battery or change the batteries from time to time. And, as you can imagine, a lighting system means higher energy consumption.

If you’re looking for a backlit keyboard to play competitive video games, do not think about it twice and buy a wired model. Its response time will be significantly shorter. If you want more versatility, you can also find devices that will function with and without cables. That way, you can choose which is more appropriate depending on the activity you want to perform.

Mechanical vs. Membrane

While mechanical keyboards offer the very best performance out there, they are considerably more expensive. Their greater sensitivity has led them to become the go-to option among gamers. They are, without a doubt, the most professional choice in the keyboard world. A mechanical keyboard with backlighting allows you to enjoy unmatched response quality.

This type is also recommended for people who spend hours typing every day, as they will notice a substantial improvement in productivity. Besides, they tend to be more ergonomic and have a longer lifespan. Membrane keyboards, on the other hand, are more economical, quieter, and often have a more compact design.

Ergonomics

This is one of the trendy words of the moment, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t essential. If you know you will make extensive use of your backlit keyboard, you should really purchase one with an ergonomic design. Nowadays, many keyboard manufacturers modify the size of certain keys or separate the corresponding keys for the left and right hands.

Bracken DarrellCEO of Logitech

“Gaming is on a secular growth run, we are at the same stage with the e-sports – we are only at the beginning of this trend now.”

Summary

Backlit keyboards became a great alternative for low-light environments a while back already. Today, they are particularly popular among video game players, which is why you can find so many models on the American market.

In these circumstances, there is more to your purchase than simply picking one with the most attractive lighting effects. You will also have to evaluate the size of the keyboard, its connectivity option(s), and whether it is mechanical or membrane. The ergonomics and practicality of the device are nothing to overlook, either.

We hope that you found our shopping guide on backlit keyboards helpful and informative. If that’s the case, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media so that your friends and family can find the perfect keyboard for their needs!

(Source of Featured Image: Dean Drobot: 107580444/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.