Do Mechanical Keyboards Have Ghosting?

Ghosting has remained a common occurrence, especially on cheaper keyboards. You type one thing and look up to see an entirely different array of keys being pressed ever so often. With that said, do mechanical keyboards suffer from the same fate?

Yes, mechanical keyboards do have ghosting(which is when multiple key presses are not registered by the computer) unless they specifically have an N-key rollover. If that isn’t the case, then while rare, they can still suffer from ghosting.

This is more common in older mechanical keyboards.

What is Ghosting on a Keyboard?

Ghosting as a term has commonly been misconstrued by the masses. In order to understand whether mechanical keyboards have ghosting, knowing the definition proves to be quite handy.

Ghosting refers to an extra keypress being registered on your computer as a result of two or more unrelated keys being pressed on your computer. For example, if you are typing on your keyboard, and you hit L and K at the same time only for a random P to pop up out of nowhere. 

Do note though, that this occurrence is extremely rare on a modern keyboard. In fact, it has hardly been seen in keyboards being produced in the recent decade. 

What Is Anti Ghosting On A Keyboard?

If you’ve purchased a keyboard recently and see anti-ghosting written on the box, what the manufacturers refer to is an extremely 3-key rollover implementation. In some cases, this might not even apply to all the keys on your keyboard too.

Generally, anti-ghosting in this case applies to a few of the more common keys that are pressed together such as WASD and the arrow keys for gamers. Typically, this sort of technology is only seen on extremely cheap membrane keyboards.

How To Check If My Keyboard Has Anti Ghosting / Key Rollover?

Checking whether your keyboard has anti-ghosting or N-key rollover is actually quite simple! Microsoft of all brands has a nifty little experiment set up that lets you check whether your keyboard suffers from ghosting or not. 

Here’s how you can use it:

  • Head to the Microsoft Applied Sciences Ghosting Project
  • Once there, type away on your keyboard
  • If your keyboard has an issue with ghosting, it’ll be prompted on your screen.

Note: We recommend following the instructions under the Hunting For Ghosts sub-heading to get an idea of how you can pick up your own. 

Do Mechanical Keyboards Have Ghosting?

Until recently, most mechanical keyboards too did suffer from ghosting. Full N-key rollover only worked on the old PS/2 input type. The USB interface only allowed for 6 key rollover. This allowed for only 6 keys and 4 modifier keys to be registered at the same time.

This is why most mechanical keyboard enthusiasts of days passed stuck with PS/2 controllers. Moreover, this is also why some keyboard manufacturers still had PS/2 adapters coming in with the packaging of their devices.

However, in modern times, recent developments including the implementation of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 have led to full N-key rollover now being supported on mechanical keyboards. So, modern keyboards now have the ability to completely negate any side effects of ghosting occurring on their keyboards regardless of the plug.

Is N-Key Rollover Necessary?

If you’ve wondered to yourself whether ghosting actually is a practical issue and if N-key rollover is actually needed on a keyboard, don’t worry, we’ve had the same query. The quick answer is, no, ghosting is a very rare occurrence and N-key rollover is simply not needed in most applications.

Unless and until you have a very specific use case that requires you to press multiple keys at the same time, N-key rollover or not, your keyboard will work just fine. From our personal experience when gaming, word processing, and general use, we are yet to find an instance where we needed to press more than 6 keys at the same time.

So, unless and until you plan to use your face to write a letter, or have all your friends play games on your keyboard at the same time, it really isn’t that worth it. 


How Do I Stop My Keyboard From Ghosting?

There is no way to stop your keyboard from ghosting. It is an in-built error that cannot be changed. Therefore, the quickest and only fix is to just purchase a keyboard that has N-key rollover or some sort of anti-ghosting capability better than your previous one.

Is 6 Key Rollover Enough For Gaming?

Yes, 6 key rollover is enough for most gamers and typists. Unless and until you play a specific game that requires you to press more keys, you’ll be more than happy with 6KRO which is the bare standard for most keyboards being released these days.

Does Ghosting On A Keyboard Happen Frequently?

No, ghosting is a very rare occurrence and happens once every blue moon. Most modern keyboards have some sort of inexpensive rollover implemented to prevent ghosting from happening. But, even if it does, it’s a very rare sight.

Is Anti-Ghosting Good For Gaming?

Yes, anti-ghosting is great for gaming as it helps you press more keys simultaneously. But, if you play games that do not require you to press multiple keys, then you won’t find a difference.

Related Articles:

How Long Do Mechanical Keyboards Last?
Are All Mechanical Keyboards Hot-Swappable?

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Founder & Chief Editor | + posts

Few years back I started to work from home, I needed a keyboard, I researched mechanical keyboard from A to Z. After that I needed a monitor, after that I needed a mouse, after that I needed desk, chair and other accessories. I did so much research and I figured this can't all go to waste and I started writing about what I know. Keyboards, Monitors, Mouses and other accessories. You can also at WolfofTablet where I cover a lot of stuff about iPads and Android Tablets. In the free time I like to play PS5 and iOS games.

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