Making content on Twitch isn’t rocket science, but there are a plethora of tools that streamers can use to enhance the way they make content and entertain viewers.
Perhaps one of the most popular ways for streamers to upgrade their streaming setup is by using a keypad—separate from their keyboard—that has special macros for features like showing the audience an alert or running an advertisement.
These devices are regularly referred to as a “Stream Deck.” But if you look the phrase up online, you’ll get one result: the Elgato Stream Deck. While Elgato has certainly carved its niche in the streaming market, there are other options gamers have for programmable keypads.
We’ve compiled a list of some of those options, including some details that might help you figure out what to grab to improve your Twitch streaming game.
Elgato Stream Deck
The Elgato Stream Deck is the flagship product one thinks of when they’re looking for a programmable keypad for streaming use.
The hardware itself comes in three different variations that have six, 15, and 32 LCD keys. Each of the products is practically identical in features outside of the number of buttons it has. If you know for a fact that Elgato is the way you’re going, deciding between which deck you want will come down to analyzing your budget and the number of customizable macros you think you’ll need.
The thing that sets Elgato apart from most alternatives is its seamless customization and the software that goes with it which is catered directly to livestreaming. If you’re the type of person who trusts what most of the top streamers use, you probably don’t have to go any further because this will be the deck for you.
Max Keyboard Falcon
If the Elgato Stream Deck is a bit out of your price range but you still want to have an abundance of programmable keys to make stream macros, this 20-key pad might be the play for you.
With a black exterior, this multicolor backlit number pad won’t have all of the customized graphics a Stream Deck will, but it can serve the same functionality at a fraction of the price.
Not only does this keypad have more buttons than the standard Stream Deck, but it’s also less expensive than the smallest Stream Deck option, the six-button Stream Deck Mini.
X-keys programmable keypad
This other budget alternative isn’t as cheap as the Max Keyboard Falcon, but with 24, 60, 80, and 128-key options, it can satisfy the most creative streamers who don’t want to be bound to the 32-key limit that Elgato’s products have.
At its base 24-key option, X-keys will give you more bang for your buck than Elgato’s 15-button option.
Though it doesn’t come with some of the bells and whistles that the Stream Deck buttons have in terms of customizable icons, it is designed so you can place printed graphics under key lenses so you can keep track of your custom macros.
For those who are especially particular about the coloring of lights in their streaming setup, this pad only has red and blue backlighting as an option. But if you need to maximize the number of stream macros on your deck, this will likely be your best bet.
Another alternative that will give you more buttons for less money than an Elgato Stream Deck is the Razer Tartarus.
With 20 keys numbered with numeral, this compact piece of hardware is complete with a scroll wheel and thumbpad for maximum programming options without having too many buttons.
Coming from Razer, this piece of gear is perfect for those who have other Razer peripherals and feel like they already have enough software installed on their PC. Just like other Razer keyboards, mice, and headsets, this uses Razer’s Synapse program.
If you’re already used to Razer’s interfaces, the Tartarus might be the most comfortable way for you to quickly get a streaming board set up with a ton of useful macros quickly.