Why Do Gaming Keyboards Always Have Lights?

Have you ever wondered why gamers have colorful, beautifully lit keyboards? Is there anything special about them that makes such keyboards essential for gaming? 

Gaming keyboards have lights mainly for aesthetic purposes and to help create the perfect gaming atmosphere. Backlit keyboards are also highly customizable, allowing gamers to give their equipment a little more personality. The lights can also highlight specific keys or signal technical problems.

In this article, I’ll discuss the features of backlit keyboards, their benefits and downsides, and a few other things you need to know about them, namely, how to choose them, whether they can be turned off, and whether they affect your FPS.

A gaming RGB backlit keyboard is set up on a desk with a gaming computer.

Do Backlit Gaming Keyboards Improve Your Performance?

You may first think that backlit keyboards have something to do with gaming. Perhaps they can improve the player’s performance or serve other practical purposes for gamers.

However, backlit gaming keyboards don’t significantly improve your performance. They provide colorful lights, and that’s about it.

While they make it convenient to play in a dark or poorly lit environment, they don’t give you any competitive advantage in gaming beyond that. 

Granted, gaming keyboards do have certain features that can make gaming easier.

For example, their ergonomic design can minimize potential RSIs (repetitive strain injuries) from hours of gaming, while mechanical keys make it faster to locate the keys you need. 

Apart from those, however, backlit gaming keyboards won’t necessarily make you a better gamer overall. That comes with hours of practice and mastery of the game(s) you choose. 

The Pros of Backlit Gaming Keyboards

Light Up Dark Spaces

The keyboard lights can come in handy in many situations. For example, if you play in a dimly lit room or anywhere else where visibility is limited, you can still be sure you’re striking the right keys and getting your gaming avatar moving the way you want it to. 

Easy on Your Eyes

Backlit keyboards also help your eyes struggle less as you play. Prolonged exposure to direct light from the screen can be exhausting, and if you have to make out the tiny keyboard keys in poor lighting, your overall gaming experience can be a strain on your eyesight.

Many backlit keyboards allow you to adjust colors and brightness, so you can customize your keyboard depending on the time of day and what brightness level makes your eyes feel most comfortable.

Great for Gaming Environment

Backlit keyboards add a lot to your gaming experience. They create a special atmosphere and often have extra features that take immersion even further.

For example, you can play suspenseful games in a dark room and still clearly see your gaming equipment.

This creates a unique ambiance that will increase your enjoyment of the game and keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

In addition, many backlit keyboards allow for additional effects, such as syncing the lighting with your game or customizing it to highlight the most important keys. 

A Tool for Self-Expression

For many gamers, their gaming space is highly important. This is where you spend a lot of your free time, and this is also the space where you can be dedicated to your hobby.

This is why gamers’ rooms, desks, console setups, and other spaces for playing have their own personality.

The lighting, accessories, and other small details set the atmosphere and make the gaming space comfortable and appealing.

One of the advantages of backlit keyboards is they’re highly customizable. Users can select from various options and adjust the keyboard to their preferences and unique style.

Lights make an otherwise mundane tool like a keyboard unique, compelling, and customizable. You can choose your favorite colors or create patterns, design the keyboard to go well with your room or other lighting accessories, choose among visual effects, and much more.

Create Beautiful Visual Effects

Not all gaming keyboards are created equal. Some are monochrome, while others have a range of colors to choose from. Some are lit up entirely, while others have individually lit keys. 

Many backlit keyboards let you set visual effects as well. The lights can go on and off, change over time or when you interact with the keyboard, react to certain keys being used, be synced to your playing pace, and much more.

Each brand presents its own set of unique functions you can enjoy and experiment with.

Help Navigate the Keys

When each key has individual lighting, the possibilities for customization are endless. Many gamers enjoy experimenting with color combinations or creating patterns to make their keyboards more unique.

However, this feature also has a practical aspect. You can assign different colors to the keys depending on what they’re for: attack, defense, interaction, etc.

You can also group them, so they’re easier to find on the keyboard at a glance or only light up the keys you use.

Cool Features

Let’s face it: Backlit keyboards are cool. In addition to their visual effects and aesthetics, there are even more exciting features made possible by the built-in colorful lights.

For instance, the keyboard can give visual signals when technical issues arise. If the hardware is overheated or the internet connection fails, you’ll get a warning like a change of color or bright flash from your keyboard.

Alternatively, you can sync your keyboard with other LED lights in the room, so your entire gaming environment is cohesive.


Most gaming backlit keyboards are mechanical, which means they’re more durable. They have switches beneath every key on the keyboard, letting you repair each of them as necessary.

Most other keyboards have a membrane that combines all or most keys. If one goes out, the rest suffer.

The Cons of Backlit Gaming Keyboards

Lights Can Be Distracting

The bright lights can take time to get used to. You may not like all those colors flashing at you while you’re in the middle of a game.

Also, you have to remember which lights stand for what function. This can be a con if you’d rather put your entire focus on your game than on the tools you’re using.  

More Costly Than Regular Keyboards

Another disadvantage is that backlit keyboards are expensive compared to standard ones. The more lights, colors, and cool features a gaming keyboard supports, the higher the price.

If you have a tight budget, you’re probably better off spending it on high-quality hardware. 

Power Consumption Is Higher

Finally, a significant disadvantage of backlit keyboards is they consume more power. This won’t be much of an issue if the keyboard is wired, though it will still use more energy than a standard keyboard.

According to the video below, a quick power test determined backlit keyboards can use up to 1.25 more watts than non-backlit keyboards.

YouTube video

Battery-powered gaming keyboards are a different story, though. For instance, if the keyboard uses wireless connectivity, its battery life will be significantly shorter due to the lighting. 

How To Pick a Backlit Gaming Keyboard

To pick a backlit gaming keyboard, decide which light styles you prefer, what kind of keys you want, and which features you desire.

Additionally, you should consider if you want LED or RGB lights, as well as which cables you need.

Follow this detailed breakdown of the aforementioned steps to choose your backlit gaming keyboard:

  1. Consider the lighting styles, including different colors and patterns. Some backlit keyboards use multi-color patterns, while others use several solid colors you can cycle through. You can also choose whether or not you want them to flash, repeat, or follow different custom patterns.
  2. Choose between tactile, clicky, or linear keyboard switches. Tactile keyboards provide a bump halfway down the click. Clicky keyboards provide the same bump but produce an audio-clicking sound. Finally, linear keyboards are smooth and don’t produce a bumpy feeling or a clicking sound.
  3. Find out what features you need, such as number pads, hotkeys, and more. Some backlit gaming keyboards have built-in number pads and hotkeys, whereas others need modifications or extensions. Gaming keyboards have all sorts of features and amenities, so it’s important to list which ones you require beforehand.
  4. Determine if you want LED lights (single low-energy lights) or RGB lights (multiple customizable light patterns) for your keyboard. RGB lights are much more popular in backlit gaming keyboards because they let you cycle through various lights to fit the gaming mood. However, LED lights in keyboards are much cheaper.
  5. Find out if you need USB, USB-C, or wireless connectivity before choosing a backlit gaming keyboard. Many backlit gaming keyboards are wireless (via USB wireless receivers or Bluetooth connectivity). However, direct connections are the best way to power your keyboard without batteries while assuring reduced latency.

Gaming keyboards only have lights based on personal preference. Your backlit keyboard should look and feel exactly how you want it, ensuring an optimal gaming experience and appealing visual effects.

How Do I Turn Off the Color on My Gaming Keyboard?

Turn the color off on your gaming keyboard by clicking the illumination button on the keyboard or turning it off in your computer’s settings. Some RGB keyboard lights can be deactivated in the BIOS settings before accessing the computer’s operating system.

Here’s a list of various ways to deactivate a gaming keyboard’s colors:

  • Look for the illumination button on your keyboard or check the user’s manual for the necessary F-key combinations. Some backlit gaming keyboards use multiple keys to adjust the lights and colors, such as F4 + F5. This allows you to cycle through colors and brightness levels without taking a spot on the keyboard for these options.
  • Check your computer settings for a Keyboard option. You can go to Settings > Devices > Keyboard, then choose the colors, brightness levels, etc. If you’re gaming keyboard is connected via Bluetooth, you’ll have to go to Settings > Bluetooth > Connected Devices, then select the keyboard.
  • Access your computer’s BIOS after starting it and before it opens the operating system. Check your computer’s user manual to know how to check the BIOS. Once you’re there, click on Devices, then Keyboard. You’ll be able to change the brightness and colors if applicable.

Remember that not all backlit gaming keyboards let you change their colors. For example, LED-backlit keyboards only have one color.

You can always change the brightness levels, though. Some people use keyboard sleeves to modify the shade, intensity, or color of their backlit keyboards, but you need to find a sleeve that fits your keyboard’s exact dimensions.

Does Keyboard Lighting Affect FPS? 

Keyboard lighting does not affect FPS (frames per second). The cost of CPU resources to run the RGB backlighting is extremely negligible and has no impact on the GPU.

Multiple factors, including the hard drive and the processor, determine your computer’s frames per second.

A backlit keyboard’s lights on its own will barely affect the CPU at all. The software installed to control RGB lighting for the system, and the USB usage are the only things that can increase CPU usage.

However, these two things have a very low impact that isn’t worth being concerned about. If you are into extreme optimizations, you could close the lighting software to squeeze every resource out of your machine.

Final Thoughts

Gaming keyboards typically have lights for aesthetic reasons. They can be customized to the user’s preferences, create a great gaming atmosphere, and are a fantastic way to make gaming more interesting and fun.

They have some practical benefits, such as highlighting important keys, playing in the dark, and giving you signals when technical issues arise.

However, backlit keyboards are also more costly and require more power.