Are Membrane Keyboards Good for Gaming?

Membrane keyboards are defined by the fact that they have an interconnected “membrane” that lies beneath the individual keys. They’re more common and less expensive than their counterpart, the mechanical keyboard. But are they good for gaming? 

For serious PC gamers, membrane keyboards aren’t as popular as mechanical keyboards because of their lesser feedback and lower durability overall. Though membrane keyboards are fully functional to play games on and are less expensive, many gamers opt for mechanical keyboards if their budget allows. 

Read on to learn more about membrane keywords versus mechanical keyboards, their features, and their respective pros and cons for gaming. 

Membrane Keyboards Are Light, Economical, and Quiet

PCMag defines the membrane keyboard as one which features a rubber-like membrane underneath the keys, which makes contact with the circuit board when a key is fully pressed. Most QWERTY computer keyboards, at work or home, are membrane in nature. Because of this membrane, there’s less tactile sensation when individual keys are selected. 

According to ComputerLounge, membrane keyboards are significantly lighter in weight and thus more portable than mechanical keyboards, which have a more complex construction. They’re also cheaper than their mechanical counterparts and less loud in terms of volume for every key press. 

For a gamer on a budget – or one that values portability due to a high rate of travel on their gaming labors – a membrane keyboard is a perfectly functional device for playing games. In fact, membrane keyboard keystrokes don’t require as much pressure, which could be advantageous for some games or individual gamers’ preferences. 

However, it is true – as Best Gaming Settings details in this article – that most gamers prefer mechanical keyboards to membrane keyboards when it comes to gaming. 

Mechanical Keyboards Are Durable, Stable, and Offer Satisfying Feedback

The mechanical keyboard, as defined by PCMag, is a more physically-oriented keyboard that uses an individual spring for each key on its board. Their key presses are more tactile and springy in nature, which tends to be appreciated by serious typists and gamers. 

HP provides a detailed comparison between the membrane and mechanical keyboards, with the primary boons of the mechanical keyboard being the following: 

  • Lifespan
  • Durability
  • Feedback
  • Stability

Each of these aspects is superior in the mechanical keyboard relative to the membrane keyboard due to the more intricate nature of its construction. They can also feature three different types of switches (or keys), these are:

  • Linear
  • Tactile
  • Clicky

The mechanical keyboard’s level of customizability and durability also make it more expensive as a result. For example, the average cost of a membrane keyboard is about $20-50; the average cost of a mechanical keyboard ranges from about $40-100, with even more expensive options (up to $275) for custom builds. 

Additional downsides for a mechanical keyboard include that they’re heavier and significantly louder. For a budget gamer or one requiring stealth or portability, any of these could be a deal-breaker. 

For serious gaming, however, mechanical keyboards are definitely more favorable. In fact, professional gamers are the ones that have popularized mechanical keyboards over the years for their high usage, durability, and satisfying feedback for intense PC gaming on popular titles such as Starcraft and League of Legends

Best Membrane Keyboards for Gaming

If you as a gamer are on a budget that restricts your choice of keyboard purchase, or you just prefer to use membranes in general, below we provide a list of some of the best membrane keyboards for gaming, all available on Amazon.com.

Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard

The Balance for Small Businesses determined the best membrane keyboard for 2021, among seven total keyboards judged, to be the Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard. Over 2,700+ Amazon reviews averaging 4.5 stars may attest to the same! Described as a “luxurious entry-level gaming keyboard,” this keyboard has an extra set of keys at the top to control its gaming, media, and lighting options.

Redragon K502 RGB Gaming Keyboard

Worksion has a list of the best eight membrane keyboards for 2021, with the Redragon K502 RGB Gaming Keyboard considered to be the best overall, for work or gaming. A wristguard and set of light-up Chiclet keys allow for responsive feedback for gamers online or just at the office.

HyperX Alloy Core RGB Gaming Keyboard

Gamestyle features a discussion on the best membrane keyboards for gaming in 2021, with the HyperX Alloy Core RGB coming away with their title. Custom LED backlighting and an ergonomic design highlight this device as gamer-friendly. 

Razer Ornata Chroma Gaming Keyboard

GadgetReview lays out its list of the best membrane keyboards for gaming and chooses the Razer Ornata Gaming Keyboard as its best overall choice. Programmable macro keys and a custom RGB lighting scheme make the Razer a fan favorite. 

Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard 

The legendary publication PCGamer provides its own comprehensive list of the best gaming keyboards for 2021 in a number of categories. The article showcases the Razer Cynosa Chroma as the top membrane keyboard for gaming. The PCGamer team notes that its membrane keys have the best feel while also noting that it “doesn’t live up to mechanical.”  

As you can see, these modern, more high-end membrane keyboards are designed to achieve the same level of functionality – and colorful style! – as the class of mechanical keyboards typically utilized by serious gamer-types. 

A membrane gamer should perform their own research into the realm of gaming-oriented membrane keyboards – or head to your local computer store – to see which may work best for you. 

Final Thoughts

Your keyboard is your connection to the digital world of computers. It provides the inputs for your gaming experience, whatever you’re playing. 

A membrane keyboard can provide a gamer with quiet functionality on a budget. However, more serious gamers may prefer a mechanical keyboard for its ability to sustain serious clicks in a more satisfying and durable way. 

Membrane keyboards are fine for gaming, but mechanical keyboards are better for many reasons. A gamer should experiment with both to determine which feels better. A mechanical keyboard may last longer, but you may prefer a membrane’s feel and functionality anyway. 

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