Best Gaming Keypads: understanding ergonomics and functionalities

Image credit: Razer

When it comes to improving competitive gaming skills and performance collectively, every subtle advantage matters. And one of the best advantages you can get as a gamer is having easy and quick access to hotkeys. 

Just like the way modern multi-function gaming mice put gamers at the competitive advantage of having easy reach to various controls, best gaming keypads help gamers break away from the convention of standard gaming keyboards. 

But just how big of a difference do some of the best gaming keypads actually make? There is no single answer to this as gaming skill execution varies from one game to another. We can’t tell you how a gaming keypad will specifically benefit you as your gaming skills execution is unique to you. What we can do is present a detailed overview of the benefits that gaming keypads offer. And this post is all about that. Plus, we have listed several gaming keypads that are worth considering. 

The ergonomics of best gaming keypads

Ergonomics play a crucial role in improving gaming efficiency, and the sole purpose of gaming keypads is to improve gaming ergonomics which translates to better performance and low risk of hand pain. 

Many games such as MU Online and PUBG have their own keyboard shortcut systems that involve the use of several distant-placed hotkeys and different combinations of shortcut keys. 

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As such, gamers often have to make various hand movements that involve stretching the fingers to different directions in order to access shortcuts and hotkeys. 

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Also, WASD gamers normally tend to stretch their pinky to reach the control and shift keys in order to perform actions such as speed walk and crouch. Doing this in a repeated manner increases the risk of wrist pain and cramps over time. And from a technical perspective, stretching your pinky and aiming it to precisely press a specific key isn’t the most efficient way to execute an in-game action. 

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Even if you tilt your keyboard and keep it at an angle just like the way many gamers do, you still need to compensate for the changes in the angle of the WASD and other keys. 

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The ergonomics of gaming keypads are on point. The keys are located close to each other for easy reach and are angled in specific ways to help you avoid obnoxiously stretching your fingers. The best part is, the keys and all the controllers of high-end wired and wireless gaming keypads are programmable. 

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When compared with gaming keyboards, gaming keypads have less height and therefore lowers the overall placement of the hand. This, in turn, works great in ensuring a higher level of comfort for long periods of time.  

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Also, gaming keypads with a joystick add more versatility to the way you can customize settings. This in turn helps in achieving optimum efficiency with games that include multiple key commands for settings or inventory management. 

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Using a gaming keypad with a gaming laptop

Gaming keypads make a good combo with gaming laptops. The first important reason for this is portability. Unlike full-sized gaming keyboards, one-handed gaming keyboards are significantly smaller in size and are therefore highly portable. If you are someone who plays games on a gaming laptop and travels frequently, choosing a gaming keypad over a full-sized gaming keyboard is definitely worth it.

The other important benefit of a gaming keypad and a gaming laptop combo is the placement of the gaming keypad itself. Unlike full-sized gaming keyboards, you don’t necessarily have to place your gaming keypad in the middle or in front of your gaming laptop. By keeping it at the side, you not only get good access to your laptop’s keyboard but also de-clutter your tabletop space and open up more room for mouse movements. 

Image credit: Hardware Canucks YouTube 

Best gaming keypads: multi-functional models

One of the best reasons to switch to gaming keypads is having access to multifunctional and programmable keys. With full-fledged customization options, you can be at a competitive advantage in executing your gaming skills and achieving the best results out of your game strategy. 

Here are 5 best gaming keypads that have programmable multifunctional keys: 

1. Razer Orbweaver – check it out here (overall best gaming keypad)

Razer is one of the few major gaming brands that have been consistently active in the gaming keypad realm. The brand has several high-performance best gaming keypads in its catalog, including the Orbweaver. This gaming keypad combines simplicity with uncompromised control.

Razer Orbweaver includes a total of 30 multifunction keys that are fully programmable. This essentially means that you can customize your input device in ways not possible before. Adding more versatility to this model is an 8-way directional thumbpad that is easily programmable.


  • Up to 30 different programmable keys included
  • Programmable thumbstick included
  • Adjustable palm rest modules


  • 30 keys may seem less to some
  • No support for wireless connectivity 

2. Redragon K585 DITI Wireless – check it out here

If you are planning to choose a wireless gaming keypad over a wired model, you cannot go wrong with Redragon K585 DITI Wireless. One of the main reasons why this model comes as a splurge-worthy wireless gaming keypad is it uses gaming-grade 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity.

With up to 42 keys, this model covers all your hotkey customization requirements and helps you take your performance to the next level. What’s most interesting is that the 7 different macro keys of this model offer you extra flexibility to customize your hotkeys and shortcuts. RGB lighting with five modes and a 3000 mAh battery are the other important features of this model


  • Up to 42 keys included
  • 7 different programmable macro keys included
  • Magnetically detachable palm rest used


  • Thumbstick not included
  • Palm rest doesn’t have a plush padding

3. Razer Tartarus V2 – check it out here

Razer Tartarus V2 is a step up from the Razer Orbweaver gaming keypad both in terms of functionalities as well as ergonomics. This model equips you with a complete arsenal of customizable controls and helps you gain a competitive advantage over other gamers. The mecha-membrane keys that the brand has used work great in ensuring utmost precision every time you perform an in-game action. 

Razer Tartarus V2 comes with a total of 32 different controls that include macro keys, hotkeys, and primary keys. Also, the inclusion of an 8-way directional thumbstick lets you smoothen out your in-game accessibility. 


  • All 32 keys are programmable 
  • 8-way thumbstick included
  • Scroll wheel included


  • Scroll wheel may not come in handy to many
  • 32 keys may be a limitation for some

4. Razer Tartarus Pro – check it out here

Razer Tartarus Pro is starkly similar to Razer Tartarus V2. This gaming keypad with an analog stick differs from the Tartarus V2 in the key mechanism front. Unlike the latter, this model uses what Razer calls analog optical switches. Unlike mechanical switches, these switches have scaling levels of input, much like the way thumbsticks work. 

Although Razer Tartarus Pro has the same number of keys as Razer Tartarus V2, the double function of the analog optical switches essentially doubles up the number. Also, the hand-specific ergonomics of this gaming keypad do not fail to offer you optimum levels of comfort for long hours of gaming. 


  • Analog optical switches take customizability to the next level
  • 8-way thumbstick included
  • Scroll wheel included


  • Overall dimensions may be a bit big for some
  • Scroll wheel may not come in handy to many

5. Delux T9 – check it out here

Making the switch to a gaming keypad doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be bound by the limitations of the number of keys. If you want a wide array of multifunctional keys in a gaming keypad, you cannot go wrong with Delux T9. 

This model sports 46 different keys and has an ambidextrous design. Apart from including the primary alphabet keys, this model also includes dedicated macro keys, number keys, and function keys. Also, the ambidextrous palm rest and space keys make this model suitable for left-handed players as well. 


  • 42 different keys included
  • Ambidextrous design
  • Available at an affordable price point


  • Keys are not programmable
  • Thumbstick not included

Best gaming keypads: one-handed keyboards

One-handed gaming keyboards are slightly different from gaming keypads as they look and function more like standard gaming keyboards. As such, making the switch to a one-handed keyboard is more seamless than gaming keypads. 

Here are 4 one-handed gaming keyboards that offer plentiful function at attractive price points: 

1. Koolertron macro keyboard – check it out here

Koolertron macro keyboard is undoubtedly one of the best PC gaming keypads in this list as it combines a standard keyboard configuration with 23 different programmable keys. The mechanical switches do not fail to offer an unmistakable tactile feeling while ensuring optimum precision. 


  • 23 fully programmable keys included
  • RGB lighting included
  • Blank keys included


  • Palm rest isn’t used
  • Key travel may be wide for some

2. Koolertron macro keyboard – check it out here

This one-handed keyboard is similar to the model listed above. The one big difference is the rounded-style keys. Many gamers find rounded keys to be more ergonomic due to the absence of jagged edges. 

This one-handed keyboard also has 23 programmable keys that open up a wide range of customization options. Unlike other gaming keypads, this model has blue LED lighting which makes it unique. The inclusion of extra blank keys is another factor that makes this model a value-for-money purchase. 


  • 23 fully programmable keys included
  • Rounded keys
  • Extra blank keys included


  • No macro keys 
  • No palm rest 

3. Hokistudio 9 key keyboard – check it out here

If you are the type of gamer who only prefers to have a few extra control buttons in order to complement your primary gaming keyboard, you cannot go with this 9 key keyboard from Hokistudio. With just 9 keys, this one-handed gaming keyboard takes minimalism to the next level. 

What is interesting to know is that despite the inclusion of just 9 primary keys, this keyboard offers up to 24 macro programmable settings. Other features such as mechanical key function, RGB lighting, and transparent design makes this model a valuable pick. 


  • 24 macro customization options
  • RGB lighting included
  • Transparent design


  • Not suited for versatile usage requirements
  • No palm rest 

4. Magicforce Numpad keypad – check it out here

When it comes to choosing a one-handed keyboard, the options aren’t just limited to models that have a horizontal layout. You can also go for keyboards such as the Magicforce numpad keypad that has a vertical layout. If you prefer to assign various controls to the numeric pad of your keyboard, this model can work great for you. 

Magicforce numpad keypad includes 21 different keys that you can use as hotkeys for accessing various controls. The clicky mechanical switches of this keyboard offer a tactile feel that most gamers prefer. Although this model doesn’t include a dedicated palm rest, it has just the right amount of elevation to ensure hand comfort. 


  • 21 different mechanical keys included
  • Four different lighting modes
  • Transparent and sturdy vertical design


  • The keys aren’t programmable 
  • 21 keys may be a limitation for some

Honorable mentions: best gaming keypads

There are several programmable gaming keypads that break away from the convention to offer unmatched customizability and ergonomics. Here are some honorable mentions of these types of gaming keypads

1. Kinesis Freestyle Edge – check it out here

Kinesis Freestyle Edge is essentially a full-sized keyboard, but it splits into two in order to improve gaming ergonomics. With this keyboard, you get the best of both worlds, including a full-sized keyboard and a dedicated macro gaming keypad. 


  • Split design
  • Option to angle the keyboard
  • Macro customizability included


  • Limitations in the split design

2. Azeron gaming keypad – check it out here

Azeron gaming keypad is in all sense a one-of-a-kind programmable gaming keypad. Unlike conventional gaming keypads, this model has a proprietary design that is all about improving hand ergonomics. The programmable buttons of this model are located within easy reach of all five fingers. The best part? This model also includes a programmable thumbstick. 


  • Totally unique design for improving ergonomics
  • Fully customizable controls
  • Customizable dimensions


  • Getting familiar with this model can take a bit of practice


Gaming is largely about repetition and muscle memory, so take time to get familiar with your new gaming keypad. It can take a couple of weeks or even a month to get yourself familiar and develop muscle memory when making the switch to a gaming keypad. 

It pays to understand the idiosyncrasies of your gaming keypad. For example, Razer’s Tartarus Pro gaming keypad uses keys that have scaling levels of input that work similarly to thumbstick controllers. 

GIF credit: Razer

Also, you can achieve more versatility by combining your gaming keypad with a multifunction gaming mouse that includes programmable buttons. 

Image credit: Razer