A keyboard is a perfect addition to your sim racing rig, adding functionality and freeing up buttons on your steering wheel for functions you may want to prioritize. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced racer, you can benefit from adding a keyboard to your sim racing rig.
The 5 best keyboards for sim racing rigs are:
- Razer Tartarus Pro
- Corsair K55 RGB PRO XT
- Logitech G915 Lightspeed
- Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
- Keychron K2 Version 2
These keyboards offer some of the best performance you can get on the market today. Make sure to read on below where you’ll get a more in-depth breakdown of each keyboard along with answers to some important questions you might have.
Why Do You Need A Keyboard For Your Sim Racing Rig?
A keyboard can be very useful for a sim racing rig as it allows you to essentially have your own button box without buying a specialized product. This means you can use your keyboard for many different functions in-game, then also use it for navigating menus and other non-sim racing tasks.
Most steering wheels don’t come with a button box with a hundred functions sprawled across it for you to use, and some have limited buttons on them that you can remap for various in-game functions. This is where a good-performing keyboard can come into play.
What You Can Use It For
A keyboard should be a part of your sim racing rig if you’re playing on PC, and it’s not so much a question of whether you should get one, but a question of what keyboard you should get. Keyboards are handy to have as part of your sim racing rigs for navigating menus or typing in chat, but they have many other uses too.
If you do any form of content creation, whether that’s making videos or streaming online, a good keyboard is excellent to have around as it can be used as an alternative stream deck for various assignable functions.
Some keyboards, such as the two Razer options on our list, feature analog keys, meaning they can simulate the gradual movement of the key press like a controller’s triggers or an accelerator. This can make using a keyboard solely for sim racing a much more enjoyable experience if that’s something you wish to do. However, the main benefits appear when combined with a wheel and pedal rig.
Can You Sim Race With A Keyboard?
You can sim race with a keyboard, but it’s far more advisable to at least use a controller instead. Keyboards don’t just offer limited immersion, as you don’t get the realistic feel of turning the wheel and pressing the pedals, but they’re also just not practical for driving games.
A keyboard will allow you to use any of the desired functions you might have mapped out on each key. You can turn and accelerate, and you can brake and change gears. But what most keyboards lack when used for sim racing is the precision of an analog trigger or the fine control of a pedal.
There are exceptions that we will cover, but for the most part, keyboards will provide you with everything or nothing in regard to throttle and brake pressure. While a controller’s triggers or set of pedals can be slowly pulled or pushed to reach the desired amount of throttle or braking, the innate nature of a keyboard switch is to actuate as soon as it is pressed.
Gaming keyboards are also designed for speed and make the time that a switch takes to actuate even shorter. This is awful for sim racing as generally going full throttle with no control or slamming on the brakes, especially in realistic simulators, will only lead to you spinning out or locking your tires. However, there are ways to minimize this effect.
Dampening & Assists
If your sim racing game allows for any degree of dampening to your steering, accelerator, and brake, it can make the whole experience far more enjoyable because it eases the throttle down as opposed to it trying to rip the rubber off your tires at the start line. This will only help so much and adding dampening to any form of input will drastically reduce the capabilities and speed of the car.
You can also use in-game assists, but these will only go so far as well. Not only are they not going to be a magical fix for the inherent issues that sim racing on a keyboard presents, but they’re also going to limit your capabilities as a driver.
Analog keyboards are a great alternative to a normal mechanical keyboard if you are truly set on using a keyboard over any other input method. Analog switches allow for a degree of precision similar to that of a trigger or pedal, but it may take some time to get used to the feel of the keyboard’s switches.
A good steering wheel and a decent set of pedals or even a budget sim racing setup or controller will make you perform far better than if you were to use a keyboard. But for some, it’s just the more desirable option, and it may be a necessity depending on your circumstances.
KEY POINTS• Adding a keyboard to your sim racing rig can provide you with lots of extra functionality
• Keyboards can function as button boxes and make navigating menus much easier
• Sim racing on a keyboard is possible, but it’s not recommended
How To Choose A Keyboard For Sim Racing
Getting a keyboard with a large number of keys is a good idea if you have the space for it. The more keys you have on a keyboard, the more functions you can have at your disposal, whether that’s a keyboard including a numpad or a separate and dedicated multifunctional set of keys.
Some keyboards feature macro functionality and functions can be assigned to the press of a combination of keys for added functionality – a great feature to have on a keyboard for sim racing.
Keyboards can come in a variety of form factors, with the most compact being one-handed keyboards. One-handed keyboards are often keyboards with only a specific set of keys and usually some additional functionality for macro functions.
These keyboards are great to have when being used as a button box and they take up very little space. Larger keyboards will have more keys, so you can assign more functions to the keyboard at any time. Finding a balance between functionality and size is key.
Keyboards can come with a variety of switches, some geared more for snappy response times and others for tactile feedback.
- Some switches feature analog capabilities which are ideal for anyone wanting to solely use a keyboard for sim racing
- Mechanical switches are preferred by many for their tactile feel, but they may be unusable for others due to their loud clicking
- Membrane switches that are found on cheaper keyboards will make very little noise, won’t cost that much, but can feel mushy and unresponsive at times
The 5 Best Keyboards For Sim Racing Rigs
1. Razer Tartarus Pro
Macro Keys: 20 | Macro Profiles: 8 | Switch Type: Analog
The Razer Tartarus Pro is a small one-handed keyboard that offers great multifunctionality and analog switches, all in a tiny form factor that won’t take up too much space. The most notable feature is its analog switch style that works like the trigger pull on a controller or like a pedal being pushed down.
While not recommended, this does open up the possibility of using this keyboard as your sole input method for sim racing. These keys can be calibrated using Razer’s Synapse software. The keyboard features a comfortable palm grip that your hand ergonomically sits on, making this one of the most comfortable keyboards to use.
There are 20 programmable keys (although it’s marketed as having 32) as well as an 8-way directional thumbpad that you can assign more functions to or just use for easily navigating menus. You can cycle through 8 macro profiles using a button located just above your thumb. This means you could have different functionality in each profile depending on what sim racing title you are playing.
Easy To Accommodate
The Razer Tartarus Pro takes up very little space and can easily be put next to your wheel or even balanced somewhere on your chassis if you don’t have a dedicated keyboard holder, due to its tiny footprint.
It can come in black or white and both color variants feature RGB backlit keys, giving it that classic gamer aesthetic Razer is known for. The downside to all this functionality is a large price tag, but if it’s within your budget and you only need
- Very small
- Lots of macro profiles and dedicated profile switch button
- Can be calibrated and customized through Razer Synapse
- Very expensive
- Can’t be used as a replacement for a full-sized keyboard
2. Corsair K55 RGB PRO XT
Macro Keys: 6 | Macro Profiles: 1 | Switch Type: Rubber Dome
The Corsair K55 RGB PRO XT is a surprisingly cheap full-sized keyboard with a numpad, multifunctional keys, and dedicated multimedia keys. These 6 multifunctional keys can act as macro keys and button presses can be recorded and programmed to any of the 6 keys, very handy for mid-race-strategy changes with the press of a button.
This keyboard features RGB lighting and can work in tandem with racing titles so that they light up to indicate certain situations or what is happening in-game, mostly useful in other games where the keyboard would be directly in front of you rather than off to the side in most sim racing rigs.
It’s A Full-Size Keyboard
As this is a full-sized keyboard it can also be used to type in chat and can be your daily driver if you want to use it for everyday use. There is a wrist rest that comes with the keyboard that can make it far more ergonomic for long-term use, but it won’t get much use when used with a sim racing rig. Nonetheless, it’s handy to have.
For the comparatively cheap price when put up against the one-handed keyboard from Razer, this can be a very enticing option for those on a budget or those who want something they can use for daily use as well as sim racing.
- 6 programmable macro keys
- Full-size form factor ideal for a daily driver keyboard
- Fairly cheap
- Takes up a lot of space
- No way to cycle through macro profiles
3. Logitech G915 Lightspeed
Macro Keys: 5 | Macro Profiles: 4 | Switch Type: Mechanical
The Logitech G915 Lightspeed keyboard features 5 programmable macro keys for multifunctionality that can be assigned to various commands with onboard profiles that you can cycle through. It is a full-sized keyboard but takes up notably less space than the Corsair K55 keyboard. It features mechanical switches that can be customized, including tactile, clicky, and linear switches.
When used as a button box for sim racing, tactile switches may be the best as they can provide an audible and physical confirmation that you have pressed the key. Tactile switches are best if you find yourself double checking whether you pressed the key or whether or not it performed the function it was meant to.
A numpad is on the right side of the keyboard, adding even more functionality when programmed to certain functions in-game. There is of course RGB lighting but it’s much more reserved than most gaming keyboards on the market. This keyboard is wireless, which is extremely handy when planning around a sim racing rig and helps avoid cluttering your space with more unnecessary wires.
At 22 mm (0.8 inches) in thickness, this is a very thin keyboard and there isn’t much space left unused on the board itself. Multimedia keys are located at the top of the keyboard, and a Bluetooth and wireless button is located at the top center so you can quickly switch between the two methods of connection if needs be.
This is a very expensive keyboard even when compared to the Razer Tartarus Pro. But a small form factor that has the functionality of a full-sized keyboard with an array of multifunctional features can be very enticing for those with the budget and need for it.
- Full-sized keyboard that doesn’t take up that much space
- Macro keys with switchable profiles
- Very expensive
- No ergonomic functionality like a wrist pad
4. Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
Macro Keys: 0 | Macro Profiles: 0 | Switch Type: Analog
The Razer Huntsman V2 Analog keyboard features analog switches that can simulate the gradual increase in pressure like a throttle pedal, making it ideal for those that want to try using a keyboard as their sole input method for sim racing (again, we would recommend at least sim racing with a controller instead). Each key is fully reprogrammable and has on-the-fly macro recording capabilities.
There is a multimedia dial and 4 other multimedia keys for quickly turning down the volume or easily pausing a song or video without having to tediously open the tab and manage it that way. The wrist rest is very comfortable and can be easily attached and removed as it is magnetic.
Lots Of Functionality
This is a wired keyboard and, for the steep price, I would’ve expected a wireless option, but the braided fiber cable is well protected and won’t break easily. This keyboard is full-sized, so it does feature a numpad for added functionality. RGB is front and center with this keyboard and, like most Razer products, it works seamlessly in combination with their Razer Synapse software.
It is expensive compared to the very similar Corsair K55, butif analog switches are a must for youand you plan on not only using it as a great button box but also as an input method for sim racing, then this is a good keyboard for you.
- Analog switches
- Programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
- Excellent ergonomic wrist support
- Pretty expensive
- No dedicated multifunction keys
- No separate macro profiles
5. Keychron K2 Version 2
Macro Keys: 0 | Macro Profiles: 0 | Switch Type: Mechanical
The Keychron K2 Version 2 keyboard is a full-size keyboard that takes up less space than others on this list due to the lack of a numpad. Unlike most mechanical keyboards, it comes at a competitive price, making it ideal for anyone on a smaller budget. The mechanical switches can come in 3 different types: Gateron G Pro reds, Gateron G Pro blues, and Gateron G Pro browns.
Each switch offers a different tactile experience. There are also 4 available configurations, with 2 different white backlit versions, an RGB backlit version, and finally an RGB backlit version with an aluminum frame. The aluminum keyboard variant will naturally be the most durable and long-lasting, but it comes at an extra cost that may not be worth it for some sim racers.
The keyboard itself can be used wirelessly as well as wired, so when the battery dies after a reported 240 hours of use, you can easily charge it while using it when it’s plugged in. While it doesn’t come with any dedicated macro keys or multifunctional keys, for a wireless mechanical keyboard it is one of the cheapest on the market.
- Very good battery life
- Fairly cheap mechanical keyboard
- Relatively small footprint
- No dedicated macro keys
- Lack of numpad does mean less functionality
When choosing a keyboard for your sim racing rig, it’s important to focus on functionality, form factor and switch type. The Razer Tartarus Pro is a fantastic choice for those with limited space and those who already have a separate daily driver they use for normal tasks. The Corsair K55 RG Pro XT is a great all-rounder with multifunctionality and comes at a decent price point.