Wired vs. Wireless Keyboards: Which Is Better for Gaming?

A fancy lightup keyboard.
Om.Nom.Nom/Shutterstock.com

Besides the cable, you may find wireless keyboards don’t provide nearly as much value as their wired counterparts. Let’s find out why and discuss why you might benefit more from using a wired gaming keyboard.

Wireless Keyboards Are Prone to Latency

Latency is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a gaming keyboard. Latency is also called input lag, and it’s the amount of time it takes for your keyboard’s input to register on your computer. For gaming, you’ll want a keyboard with as little latency as possible.

For timing- and action-based games such as Starcraft or first-person shooters, having little to no latency allows you to react faster to what’s happening in-game, giving you a competitive edge. At a higher level, even a few milliseconds could mean the difference between winning and losing a match.

Unfortunately, wireless keyboards tend to have more latency than wired keyboards. That’s because the wireless connection introduces an additional step in the input process. Wired keyboards connect directly to your computer, so there’s no signal interference that may cause input lag.

Wireless keyboards, on the other hand, connect to your computer via a wireless receiver. This step in the input process can cause a slight delay, which leaves you as a player at a disadvantage.

Advertisement

Depending on how high the latency is, you might not notice a difference, especially if you’re a casual gamer. But if you’re competitive and want every advantage you can get, a highly-responsive wired keyboard is the way to go. That said, as wireless keyboards become more advanced over time, they should eventually perform just as well as wired options.

Wired Keyboards Are Low-Maintenance

Wireless keyboards aren’t nearly as convenient as wireless headsets or mice. With wireless headphones, you can continue talking with your friends or listen to music while you’re getting up to stretch or fill up your water bottle. With a wireless mouse, you can take actions such as queueing up for a game or changing music from the couch.

Unless you want to type from the couch, there’s not much you can do with a wireless keyboard. The only real convenience is not having a cable to worry about. You instead have a wireless receiver to worry about (except in the case of a Bluetooth keyboard). If you lose the receiver, you’ll need to get a replacement to use it.

Additionally, you’ll have to charge your wireless keyboard whenever the batteries are low so that you don’t randomly freeze mid-game. Depending on the battery life and usage, you may have to recharge the keyboard often. Recharging your keyboard requires you to plug it in, during which time you’re limited again to the mobility of a wired keyboard.

With wired keyboards, simply keep them plugged in and you’re set. With some basic cable management, you can neatly hide the cable so it’s not in the way. The effort is minimal, and the reward is high.

Which Is Better for Gaming?

We believe that wired keyboards are better for gaming as they’re more reliable and offer more value. This is mainly due to the lower latency and the lack of constant battery management. As a gamer, you want as much competitive edge as you can get because every millisecond counts, especially if you game at a higher level.

Advertisement

In general, wired keyboards are cheaper than their wireless counterparts. Without the need for wireless connectivity, there’s no additional cost for components. And when it comes to gaming, there’s not much added value for a wireless keyboard besides taking away the cable. You’re essentially paying more for the same if not worse performance.