as an affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases
keyboard with knob

9 Best Keyboards With a Rotary Knob in 2022

If you’re in search of a new mechanical keyboard with a knob then you’ve come to the right place.

A rotary knob, better known as “rotary encoders” enable you to make quick, in-the-moment system adjustments with precise tuning and tactile feedback.

In most default states, they will adjust the volume; however, through bindings on secondary profiles, they can have many other configurations.

In this post, we will cover the best keyboards on the market right now that benefit from a knob.


What is the best keyboard with a rotary knob?

9. EPOMAKER Ajazz K620T V2.0

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: ✓
Software: ✓

The Ajazz K620T V2 is a minimal 60% mechanical keyboard that comes with a few innovative features. These include design features such as an integrated cradle and a versatile scroll knob. As well as some universal features you might expect to see like RGB backlighting and wireless modes.

The cradle is a big plus for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts wanting more functionality from their keyboard. Besides holding a 12-inch tablet, the slot is perfect for holding phones or even handheld consoles. That’s sure to come in extremely handy in certain situations.

Constructed from plastic, the build quality is not bad but it does have some slight bend under pressure. Moreover, like most budget boards, the case sounds a bit hollow so you may want to mod it. We noticed that the stabilizers come with some slight rattle too, but nothing extreme.

For switches, you get a choice of Ajazz Blue or Pinks. Blues are a clicky switch with a tactile feel, while Pinks are a linear switch. Unfortunately, the keyboard case color determines the stock switch type; however, due to the PCB being hot-swappable, you can always replace the switches later.

The RGB backlight looks incredibly bright/ saturated against the bold-color aesthetic of the keyboard. We also like that the backlighting offers nineteen types of RGB backlight options, as well as a static white backlight. All RGB backlighting is easily controllable onboard or with the software.

Finally, the Ajazz K620T V2 connects via Bluetooth 5.0 and comes with a very large, 4400mAh battery. Upon testing, the battery gave us 900 hours of life (with the lights off)! All in all, despite being in our last place spot, there’s a lot to like about this budget 60% keyboard with a knob.

Pros
  • Clean, modern design
  • Cradle for a phone or tablet (or both)
  • Great value for the feature set
  • Bright RGB backlight
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Keyboard color determines switch type
  • Polarizing case colors
  • Knob cannot be configured
  • No expandable feet

8. Epomaker TH66

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: ✓
Software: ✓

The Epomaker TH66 is a hot-swap 65% mechanical keyboard with a modified gasket-like structure (and a rotary knob). It has 66-keys, including a full set of arrows, and two modifier keys directly above. Additionally, it supports tri-modes of connectivity and per-key RGB backlighting.

Made from plastic, the two-part case has an acrylic frosted top shell and a non-acrylic bottom. Moreover, on the bottom of the case are four rubber feet, a pair of flip-out feet, and a switch for toggling between wireless modes. Additionally, on the back left of the case is a recessed USB-C port.

The TH66 goes for a hybrid-gasket-sandwich design with dual layers of dampening foam. This consists of gaskets surrounding the edges of the board, as well as a couple of center screws to secure the plate and the PCB. The result is a softer typing experience with quieter typing sounds.

The PCB supports both 3/ 5-pin switches and has RGB LEDs. Unusually, on this 65% version of the board, the top row of LEDs (on the F-row) are north facing and the rest are south facing. As a result, Epomarker recommends only using Gateron SMD switches to prevent any issues with keycaps.

For switches, the TH66 is available in Gateron Pro mechanicals. Supporting these are a set of factory-lubed stabilizers. Both the stock stabilizers and switches provide a satisfactory typing sound (like more expensive boards) out of the box, and the keypresses feel smooth, too.

We also like that the keycaps are of high quality as well. These are a dye-sub set of PBT keycaps that come in a unique MDA profile. MDA is essentially a lower version of the SA profile with a similar sculpted form. They go particularly well with the curved, ergonomic case profile of the keyboard.

Overall, those searching for a budget keyboard with a soft typing experience and a rotary knob should get their hands on the Epomaker TH66.

Pros
  • Modified gasket-mount design
  • Great typing feel/ sound
  • Stunning RGB backlighting
  • Tri-mode connectivity
  • MDA profile keycaps
Cons
  • North and south-facing LEDs
  • Green battery light indicator
  • Not QMK or VIA compatible

7. FANTECH MAXFIT67

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: ✓
Software: ✓

The Fantech Maxfit67 is a wireless 65% mechanical keyboard that offers great value. It has 67 keys including a full set of arrows, three modifiers, and a multi-function volume knob. Additionally, it supports three modes of connectivity, hot-swappable switches, and RGB backlighting. 

The Maxfit67 sports a cream-white ABS case with matching color keycaps. At the back center of the case is a USB Type-C port. Moreover, under the case are four rubber feet and two back expandable feet. The expandable feet provide two additional levels of elevation.

The knob on the top-right of the board is perfect for quick in-the-moment volume changes. You can also press it down to mute/ unmute. We did notice that the actuation of the rotary knob function is on the high side, but it works well in conjunction with the tactility it provides.

Although the case is only plastic, the build quality is high and the overall acoustics sound great. This is partly thanks to Fantech lining the plate and PCB with foam, and there’s another layer of foam between the PCB and the case. If you’re wondering what the plate material is, this is aluminum.

For switches, the Maxfit67 comes in a choice of Kailh Box Whites or Gateron Milky Yellow’s. We particularly like that the switches are factory-lubed and sound decent out of the box. So do the custom-made POM+PA12 stabs that come pre-clipped and have very little wire rattle.

Lastly, the Maxfit67 offers both 2.4 GHz wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, and comes with a big 4000mAh battery. Both wireless options perform extremely well with zero noticeable lag or dropouts. The battery life is excellent too, lasting up to a week of normal use (8-hours per day).

Overall, the Maxfit67 is a quality, beginner-friendly board that’s enjoyable to use and mod.

Pros
  • High build quality
  • Sound depending
  • Pre-lubed stabs/ switches
  • Dual wireless modes
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Blocky design

6. Azio IZO Wireless

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: LED
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: ✓
Software: x

The Azio IZO is an eye-catching 75% mechanical keyboard that comes in three gorgeous colors. It has 84-keys, including an exploded F-row and a dedicated volume wheel. Additionally, it supports LED backlighting, can connect up to three Bluetooth devices, and is Windows/ Mac compatible.

Azio first launched the IZO through a Kickstarter campaign, with a focus primarily on aesthetic appeal. Designed to be visually soothing and soft, it has a unique edgeless shape with large rounded corners and elegant gold accent keys. Due to this, it’s quite feminine in its style and overall nature.

Unfortunately, the “softness” does follow through to the build quality, which is quite delicate, too. Constructed from plastic, the case feels cheap and has noticeable flex when you give it a push. Moreover, the stabilizers are quite cheap as well and don’t particularly sound the best.

The Azio IZO ships with Gateron Blue mechanical switches. These are clicky, tactile switches that require 60+15g of actuation force for a 2.3mm pre-travel. As for the typing experience, the board feels nice and responsive and the marshmallow keycaps are satisfying to touch. 

In terms of functionality, the knob on this keyboard is especially useful. Turning it controls the volume and you can push it down to mute. When holding the ‘FN’ key while turning the knob, you can also adjust the LED brightness, and cycle through 21 backlight modes while pushing it down.

Finally, Bluetooth pairing is a breeze and the 5,000mAh battery lasts for two weeks. Alternatively, connect and use it over a wire. Overall, females, in particular, will adore this unique keyboard. While it might not have the greatest build quality, its aesthetic appeal is top-notch

Pros
  • Eye-catching design
  • Three bold colors to choose from
  • Wired and Wireless use
  • Windows / Mac layouts
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • A bit pricey
  • Mediocre build
  • Noisy stabs

5. Cooler Master CK721

Keycaps: ABS
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: ✓
Software: ✓

The Cooler Master CK721 is a functional 65% mechanical keyboard with hybrid wireless technology. It has a slim, low-profile case design with a sandblasted aluminum top plate and sleek bevels for a futuristic aesthetic. Additionally, the design features a multi-function, rotary encoder.

The knob functionality is somewhere between the standard and highly innovative. Providing three-way control in four different profiles bindings, it does far more than just adjust the volume. You can also use it to cycle through music tracks, LED effects, and even adjust the brightness.

For switches, the CK721 uses Epomaker TTCs. Our board came in TTC Blues, however, it comes in Red or Brown switches, too. Red is for linear, Blue is for clicky, and Brown is for tactile. All three require 45g of force for 1.8-2mm of actuation to make it great for gaming or typing.

As for the typing experience, the stock stabilizers sound pretty good out of the box with only the slightest of rattle. We did notice that the spacebar is a little hollow but the rest of the larger keys are on par with the smaller keys. On the whole, you will be very happy with the stock quality.

To mod the keyboard, we like that Cooler Master has added a special lever on the left side of the case. Pressing this in while pushing on the right side of the board makes it possible to remove the aluminum top plate. That’s a big plus for those who regularly like to get inside their board.

Finally, as this is a hybrid keyboard you can connect it via a 2.4 GHz dongle or Bluetooth 5.1. As far as the 2.4 GHz connection goes, this is fast and snappy so you won’t notice much higher latency than a wire. Powering this is a 2000mAh battery. Admittedly, this is on the smaller size, lasting 72 hours.  

Overall, if you’re a gamer looking for a 65% keyboard with a knob, the CK721 is smooth, stylish, and responsive.

Pros
  • Sleek design
  • 3-way customizable dial
  • High build quality
  • Responsive for gaming
  • Easy to disassemble
Cons
  • Short battery life
  • ABS keycaps
  • No hot-swap

4. Shurikey Hanzo 65%

Keycaps: ABS
Backlighting: LED
Hot-swappable: X
Wireless: ✓
Software: ✓

The Shurikey Hanzo is a 65% mechanical keyboard that comes with a retro boom box aesthetic and a knob. Impressively, it doesn’t just include one rotary knob but manages to house two. Apart from that, the compact 65% form factor only has one extra modifier key, and that key is the “delete”.

The dual-knob feature controls the backlights and volume, with one knob assigned to each. Moreover, under each knob is an LED indicator. The left LED indicates when the Caps Lock is on/ off, while the right LED is a battery indicator. This starts to blink red and blue when it’s time for a charge.

In terms of the build quality, this is only mediocre. Apart from the metal bar on top, the chassis is entirely plastic. This results in the whole board looking a bit cheap and toy-like. Although this does give the board some charm, we did notice some board flex, as well as flex in the center of the bar.

The top bar (foot bar) is not only for portability but it can also flip back around giving you some slight height adjustment. Another innovative thing we like about the design is that the faceplates are swappable for easy customization. These attach to the side of the board using screw-on rivets.

For switches, the Shurikey uses Varmilo EC V2s. EC V2’s are an electrostatic capacitive switch that has just 5ms of latency (in gaming mode). They come in four different colors: Sakura, Ivy, Moka, and Rose. Each has a slightly different actuation force ranging from just 35g to 55g.

In terms of connectivity, you can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.0 or over a wire. There’s a small amount of delay with the Bluetooth 5.0, so for gaming using a USB wire is the better approach. With that said, for work or productivity, the Bluetooth protocol works just fine.

Finally, the battery life is long-lasting with 4500mAh of juice. For this reason, you’ll get plenty of usability out of it, especially if you place the keyboard in low-power mode and cut off the backlights. On the topic of backlights, one minor con is that the illumination is just white, rather than RGB.

Overall, if you’re after a unique keyboard with a fun and playful design, you’ll love the Shurikey Hanzo.

Pros
  • Unique industrial design
  • Dual knob control
  • Customizable faceplates
  • Electrostatic capacitive switches
  • Carry handle/ Foot bar
  • Wired/ wireless connectivity
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • A bit plasticy/ toy-like
  • No key-remapping option
  • So so stabilizers
  • ABS keycaps

3. Keydous NJ80-AP

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: ✓
Software: ✓

The Keydous NJ80-AP is a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard featuring Bluetooth 5.0 and 2.4 G. It has a 75% layout with 80 keys and a gold programmable knob. Besides the gold knob, an extra silver volume knob comes with the deal, along with a set of Mac-compatible keycaps.

Constructed from hard ABS plastic, the casing is solid and has some premium weight. Moreover, the bevels on the case are just about right, not too small or too thick. On the back left of the case is a USB-C port. Then, underneath are a rear pair of single-stage flip-out feet.

Due to using Kailh sockets, the board is compatible with both 3-pin and 5-pin mechanical switches. The hot-swap sockets aren’t overly tight, making it easy to try out new switches with no soldering required. For stock switches, this particular model comes in either Gateron Browns or Yellows. 

The keycaps that came with this board are very nice for a stock set. These are double-shot PBT keycaps that have a Cherry profile and dye-sub legends. At 1.4mm, they are lovely and thick. Moreover, the legends are sharp, clear, and easily legible thanks to their contrasting black font.

Another big pro of the NJ80-AP is its eye-catching 16.8m color backlight. The RGB effects are abundant and the white is clean. To program the backlighting or set macros, Keydous provide their own native software. However, due to the rough Chinese translation, this is a bit unintuitive.

You can use the knob to turn the volume up and down or press it in to mute it. We particularly like that the knob on this 75% keyboard is an infinity volume knob so it will continuously turn. Made from metal, it does not feel cheap at all, much like the rest of the board. 

Finally, the wireless connectivity on the NJ80-AP is super smooth, and the large 4800mAh battery is impressive. During our testing, Bluetooth was stable and the 2.4 GHz gave us no fuss at all. You’ll also be glad to know that the battery takes just two hours to charge for about 88 hours of usage.

In short, the NJ80-AP is a high-quality bit of kit that’s sure to exceed expectations.

Pros
  • High build quality
  • Excellent typing experience
  • Tri-mode connectivity
  • MacOS compatibility with keycaps
  • Spare knob/ flip-out feet
Cons
  • Unintuitive software
  • No battery indicator

2. GMMK Pro

USB: Center
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The GMMK Pro is a high-end, 75% mechanical keyboard intended for custom builds. It comes in barebones form, and features a modular, 83-key layout (including a programmable control knob). Additionally, it flaunts RGB backlighting, as well as two LED accent strips on either side of the case.

Made from CNC aluminum, the build of the Pro is noticeably robust. Moreover, with rounded bezels and an engraved Glorious logo on the back, the attention to detail is high. This attention to detail follows through to the inside of the chassis where you will find two foam sound dampeners inside.

To mute vibration and dampen keystrokes further, the GMMK Pro opts for a gasket-mount design. This consists of multiple silicon strips around the plate that prevent it from coming into contact with the case. As a result, the Pro has a more cushioned clamp for a softer, quieter typing experience.

The south-facing PCB is hot-swappable and supports both three and five-pin switches. In addition to this, it supports both plate-mount and PCB-mount stabs. You’ll be glad to know that the board comes with its own “GOAT” screw-in stabilizers. These are pre-clipped and pre-lubed out of the box.

Another big pro is that the GMMK Pro offers versatile software support. It’s not only compatible with “Glorious Core”, but also QMK and VIA open-source firmware. QMK/ VIA is a popular open-source software that makes it easy to master any keyboard key or macro commands.

Overall, if you’re looking for a solid barebones keyboard that comes with a knob, this is one of the best 75% form factors around.

Pros
  • Aluminum case
  • Rotatory knob
  • Side RGB accent lighting
  • Gasket mount design
  • Dampening foam
Cons
  • Aftermarket stabilizers may not fit well
  • Gaskets are tightly compressed
  • Requires switches/ keycaps
  • Pricey

1. Keychron Q2

Keycaps: PBT
Backlighting: RGB
Hot-swappable: ✓
Wireless: X
Software: ✓

The Keychron Q2 is a high-grade 65% mechanical keyboard with a double gasket-mount design. It has 66-keys, including a full set of arrow keys and a configurable rotary knob in the top-right corner of the board. Additionally, it features RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, and QMK support.

Made from CNC aluminum (with a steel plate), the build quality is superb. Weighing 3.13 lbs., it has plenty of heft and the kind of rigidity you see from custom boards. The result is a real premium product that provides an excellent foundation for now and years into the future.

One con to using aluminum is that the case is lacking flip-out feet. Instead, four rubber feet help to raise the case just above the ground. Even so, with a front case height of 0.79-inches and an ergonomic angle of 6.5-degrees, its ergonomic angle is nice and comfortable to type on.

Thanks to the gasket mount structure, the board provides 2.5mm of PCB flex. This reduces vibrations during heavy use and helps eliminate resonance throughout the keyboard. Compared to other gasket-mounted implications, the Q2 doesn’t feel too stiff and springs back up wonderfully.

In between the gasket-like structure is a hot-swap PCB with south-facing RGB LEDs. For switches, this particular listing comes with Gateron G Pro Reds. Included are a nice pair of factory-lubed PCB-mount stabs, too. These are Gaterons’ own silver-plated stabilizers that sound great out of the box.

In terms of software, the Keychron Q2 relies solely on QMK and VIA support. QMK is a powerful open-source software that allows you to remap each key, configure the backlighting, and more. Thanks to its clean layout and simple tabs, most people will find it very straightforward to use.

Overall, the Keychron Q2 is a solid 65% board that offers an exceptional typing experience. You’ll struggle to find a better pre-built keyboard with a knob that sounds and feels quite like this!

Pros
  • Double-gasket structure
  • Incredibly well-built
  • Rotatory knob
  • Screw-in stabilizers
  • QMK/ VIA programmable
Cons
  • No wireless connectivity
  • No height adjustment


Click here for the Black version!


What is a Keyboard Rotary Knob For?

Rotary knobs, AKA “rotary encoders” enable you to make quick, on-the-fly system adjustments with precise tuning and tactile feedback. In most default states, they will adjust the volume; however, through bindings on secondary profiles, they can have many other useful configurations.

A keyboard rotary knob can have a variety of functions, such as controlling media volume or cycling through backlit modes. Knobs turn clockwise or counterclockwise to replace repetitive clicking, and you can even press down on the knob to accomplish tasks like muting or switching between profiles.

The most common use for a keyboard rotary knob is to control media volume. Turning the knob clockwise/ counterclockwise increases or decreases the volume respectively. While pressing down on the knob like a button can mute or unmute the media, or switch it between pause and play.

Backlit keyboards, particularly RGB keyboards, use rotary knobs to let you control the additional feature without complicated key combinations or opening up specialized software.

Turning the knob may increase or decrease brightness, or it can cycle through different lighting patterns. The knob press turns the lights on and off. Alternatively, it might flick between a solid light color and backlighting effects.

Many keyboards with rotary knobs allow you to customize your own bindings onboard or through software. You can then combine the knob function with other key presses. For instance, pressing the Ctrl and Tab keys while turning the knob might allow you to scroll through your browser tabs…

This provides an intuitive way to scroll through pages, windows, tabs, or anything else you map out.


How to Choose the Best Keyboard with a Knob in 2022

Form Factor/ Size

You are more likely to see a full-sized keyboard with a knob than you are with compact layouts.

While the knob does not take up much room, it’s enough to impede compact functions.

You can find keyboards with knobs of different sizes. Make sure the knob is the right size and texture to meet your standards.

Knob Functionality

Any keyboard with a knob should list its functionality on the box. Some only feature controls for media or lighting controls. Others offer you program profiles to cycle through.

Because it’s difficult to program the knob on a keyboard, try to find a keyboard with knob functions that match your needs perfectly.

Build Quality

Look for a keyboard with superior build quality. This means opting for sturdier materials such as PBT over ABS, or even metal over plastic.

Thicker plastic lasts longer, especially with heavily used parts like keys and knobs.

You should pay attention to how the knob feels and turns. Is it cheap, thin plastic, or does it feel solid under your fingertips?…

Switches

While the switches have nothing to do with the knob, these affect the keys you work with more often.

Choose switches with a response time, feel, and sound that works best for you. They should meet on the middle ground of function and preference where your expectations sit.

Features

While the rotary knob on a keyboard is often an additional feature, there’s plenty more to look out for.

Start by looking at how easy it is to adjust the features of your keyboard. While VIA and QMK programs are popular for custom keyboards, they can make it difficult to map key knobs. You might be better off with a keyboard that has incorporated software to extend these features.

Connectivity Options

Decide whether you want a wireless or wired keyboard connection. You can get both with a wireless keyboard, but hard-wired keyboards are less portable.

With wireless options, consider RF keyboards that use a dongle against popular Bluetooth options. Bluetooth requires less hardware, but RF keyboards have lower latency.



We hope you found a mechanical keyboard with a knob on this list.

Click here for the 25 best Hot-Swappable Keyboards!

Click here for the 15 best 65% Mechanical Keyboards!








Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *