Like with all other PC gaming peripherals and accessories, hunting for the best budget gaming keyboard can be a tricky business if you don’t know where to look. You could easily waste more than $100 on a gaming keyboard that is nothing like the product advertised.
There are lots of gaming keyboards out in the market right now, which makes it really difficult to pinpoint just which products are actually worth giving a second and third look. So how do you filter out the genuinely good products from the dozens of terrible ones?
That’s what we’re here for. We have carefully selected 7 of the best budget gaming keyboards currently available to help you narrow down your choices. All of these products are below $100, so you don’t need to burn your wallet to ashes to get your hands on them.
How to find the best budget gaming keyboard
Before we go to our chosen products, let’s list down the most important things to consider when looking for the best cheap gaming keyboard.
Membrane or mechanical: A membrane keyboard is cheaper than a mechanical keyboard. It is lighter and doesn’t produce very loud clicking sounds. However, it’s less durable than a mechanical keyboard, with the keys tending to get mushy when nearing the end of its lifespan. A mechanical keyboard is the complete opposite: more expensive, heavier, and louder but has excellent durability and lifespan. Many mechanical keyboards, like the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate, can withstand 30-50 million keystrokes before giving out.
Anti-ghosting: PC gaming typically requires you to press multiple keys at the same time. A keyboard with anti-ghosting makes sure all the keys pressed simultaneously will be registered. Not all gaming keyboards are the same when it comes to anti-ghosting, though. Some only allow you to press up to five keys at the same time. Others, like the Redragon S101 Vajra, allows up to 19.
Durability: This is perhaps the most important thing to consider when looking for the best budget gaming keyboard. A good gaming keyboard should be able to withstand long gaming sessions for several years. A $10 keyboard that’s made of cheap materials won’t be able to hold its own against thousands of keystrokes every week.
Style: Do you want a professional-looking gaming keyboard that places more priority on function? If yes, then the Logitech G105 will feel like a perfect fit for you. But if you want a more stylish gaming keyboard that comes with flashy LED lights, perhaps the Corsair K55 will suit your taste more. It’s all about preferences when it comes to style. Some prefer single-color backlights, while others prefer multi-color backlights that feel “alive.” Unless you’re specifically looking for a gaming keyboard that’s pretty to look at, the style is the last thing you need to consider while shopping.
Price: Spending more than $100 on a gaming keyboard is too much for the average gamer. That’s why all our chosen products are below that price point. We have a couple of below $30 gaming keyboards on this list. So if your budget is right in that alley, you can skip straight to either the Redragon S101 Vajra bundle or the Cooler Master Devastator II bundle. Both gaming keyboards also come with a gaming mouse, making them a total steal.
These are the five things that buyers typically consider when shopping for the best budget gaming keyboard. Now, without further ado, here are our 7 picks.
Best budget gaming keyboard
Our top recommended choice is the Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard, one of the best-selling budget gaming keyboards in the market. If you’re looking for the best cheap gaming keyboard that offers both function (like the Logitech G105) and style (like the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate), then this keyboard is right there at the top.
The K55 has six extra programmable keys on the leftmost edge, easily accessible using your pinky or ring finger. You can assign elaborate combos and commands to each of the macro keys, allowing you to have a much smoother gaming experience. You don’t need to install complicated programs to use the macro keys, which makes the entire setup more accessible. The LED backlighting is separated into three zones on the keyboard, immediately making it more attractive than the single-color backlighting on the Cooler Master Devastator II. There are over 10 preset lighting modes installed in the keyboard, allowing you to customize the effects according to your taste. The LED lights are quite bright, so you won’t have any trouble identifying each key in the dark.
The K55 is a membrane keyboard. Meaning, it doesn’t produce loud clicking sounds when the keys are pressed. The keyboard is amazing to use, thanks to the very responsive keys that don’t feel mushy at all. It also comes with anti-ghosting, allowing you to press multiple keys at the same time in-game. And like all other gaming keyboards, the Windows key can be easily turned off for gaming purposes.
To add more comfort, the K55 also includes a detachable rubber wrist rest, perfect for taking breaks during weekend gaming marathons. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can sway consumers toward a specific product. The additional rubber wrist rest definitely counts as a thoughtful add-on that makes the K55 the best budget gaming keyboard that offers both functionality and flashiness.
We recommend the Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard if you’re looking for a below $50 gaming keyboard that offers the complete package. It’s very popular among gamers. Considering all the features it comes with, it’s hard to argue with that.
Best cheap gaming keyboard (Runner-up)
Next up is a product from Logitech, one of the most popular brands when it comes to gaming peripherals. The Logitech G105 Gaming Keyboard is an excellent choice if you’re looking for the best budget gaming keyboard that emphasizes function over style.
Featuring a no-nonsense look, the G105 is a membrane gaming keyboard with backlit keys. It doesn’t boast a flashy design like other gaming keyboards. Except for the WSAD and arrow keys, everything comes in black. The LED lights come in blue by default. The brightness can be adjusted to low or high, depending on how dimly lit your room is. But the LED lights aren’t really all that impressive in terms of brightness.
It comes with anti-ghosting, allowing you to press multiple keys (up to five) simultaneously for complicated in-game actions. It has six additional keys placed on the leftmost side. All six can be easily programmed to do specific in-game functions. Each key can have up to three (18 total) assigned complex macros, giving you a lot of freedom to customize your gaming experience.
The G105 also allows you to switch off the Windows and Context Menu keys with a single press of a button. Ever been in a situation where you unknowingly pressed the Windows key just when you’re about to deliver a game-changing headshot? It sucked, right? This keyboard will make sure you don’t run into that kind of situation again.
Overall, the G105 is a great option if you’re in the market for the best gaming keyboard under $50. Like other Logitech products, it has superb build quality, with responsive keys specifically built for hardcore gaming. We recommend picking up this gaming keyboard if you want something that puts more focus on function over everything else.
Popular budget gaming keyboard and mouse combo
Looking for the best budget gaming keyboard and mouse combo that comes with a ridiculously affordable price tag? You would be hard-pressed to find a better one than the Redragon S101 Vajra Gaming Keyboard and Centrophorus Gaming Mouse Combo.
The S101 Vajra features a simpler design than the Logitech G105. It has the standard 104 keys with no extra keys that can be programmed to perform elaborate in-game commands. The WSAD and arrow keys – colored red unlike every other key – are interchangeable. This allows you to easily and quickly switch on-the-fly without having to re-map each individual key.
Though not as loaded as the Logitech G105, the S101 Vajra does have a couple of features specifically for gaming. It can register up 19 keys pressed at the same time without conflict and has the option to turn off the Windows key, which has an annoying tendency to bait a random finger during critical gaming moments. It may be light on features, but it gets the job done.
The S101 Vajra is also advertised as a splash-proof keyboard. But don’t get too excited about it. Remember, splash-proof is entirely different from waterproof or water-resistant. Being splash-proof means it can only handle a few splashes here and there. It won’t be able to withstand a full spill, so if you’re looking for the best cheap gaming keyboard with a waterproof feature, we suggest looking at more expensive products.
You can’t really go wrong with the S101 Vajra: it offers great value at a very friendly price. And once you include the high-speed Centrophorus Gaming Mouse, which has adjustable weight and DPI, the price becomes even more ridiculous. The S101 Vajra package is definitely one of the best budget gaming keyboard and mouse combos available right now.
Best cheap gaming keyboard and mouse combo
If the Redragon combo above isn’t fancy enough for you, check out this gaming keyboard and mouse combo instead. The Havit Rainbow Backlit Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo is slightly more expensive than the Redragon combo. It’s probably due to the fancy multi-color LED lights.
The membrane keyboard offers basically the same features as the Redragon S101 Vajra. Up to 19 keys can be pressed simultaneously without conflict, though you will unlikely press more than five at the same time when gaming. It has 12 multimedia keys, with the volume up, volume down, pause/play, fast-forward, and rewind keys located on the left edge. The Windows key can be disabled and the WSAD keys are interchangeable as well.
The most noticeable difference is in the backlighting. The entire keyboard has a backlight, which comes in rainbow colors. Each individual key doesn’t have a backlight, unlike the Logitech G105. But the colorful backlight makes each key clearly visible in the dark.
The keyboard light has three light modes: low brightness, high brightness, and a breathing mode that makes the lights slowly go on and off. You can switch between light modes anytime using the Function and Escape keys. The included gaming mouse with adjustable DPI also features breathing lights, which comes in four colors: red, blue, pink, and purple.
Like the Redragon S101 Vajra, the keyboard isn’t totally waterproof. But it has drainage holes at the back to filter out accidentally spilled liquids. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can regularly spill liquids on it. It won’t last very long if you spill a glass of water on it regularly. Just play it safe and refrain from having a glass of water or a can of Red Bull on your gaming desk, especially while gaming in total darkness.
To conclude, the Havit Rainbow Backlit Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo is a solid pick if you’re looking for the best budget gaming keyboard and mouse package. Both peripherals are made of high-quality materials, allowing them to keep up with your intense gaming sessions. If you like the best gaming keyboard under $50 that comes with more style than the Redragon S101 Vajra, then this bundle is for you.
Best budget mechanical gaming keyboard
If you want the best cheap mechanical keyboard, there’s no better product than the Thermaltake Poseidon Z. Not only is it one of the best in the below $100 category, it also presents a serious case in being the best budget gaming keyboard overall – membrane or mechanical.
Unlike bulky gaming keyboards, the Poseidon Z features a minimalistic design – none of those extended sharp edges. All keys are fully backlit, with a brightness level that can be easily adjusted on-the-fly by pressing the Function key together with the F11 or F12 key. It has seven multimedia keys, accessed by using the Function key and the F1-F7 keys.
The multimedia keys allow you to adjust the volume without minimizing the game. Quite helpful if you don’t own a gaming headset with on-cup or in-line volume controls. The Windows key can also be turned off to prevent you from accidentally minimizing the game.
The Poseidon Z has an anti-ghosting feature, allowing you to press up to 6-8 keys at the same time. That number may seem unimpressive compared to the 19 no-conflict keys offered by both the Redragon and Havit membrane keyboards above. But when was the last time you had to press 19 keys at the same time? That’s only useful when typing extremely fast.
Since it’s a mechanical keyboard, the Poseidon Z is built to last a long time. The keys don’t feel cheap and are very comfortable to use. If you also work as a writer, you will find the Poseidon Z amazing to type on. But because it’s a mechanical keyboard, pressing each key gives off a really audible clicking sound. The clicking sounds become even more pronounced when typing really fast. If this bothers you, the Poseidon Z is also available in Brown Switch variety, which produces less noise.
If you’re looking for the best budget gaming keyboard for esports, you can go for the Poseidon ZX Tournament variant instead. The Poseidon ZX Tournament has the number pad sliced off and comes at a significantly cheaper price. If you want more style, you can pick up the Poseidon Z RGB variant, which features a fancy multi-color backlight. It’s more expensive, though.
The Poseidon Z is our overall top choice in the best cheap mechanical keyboard category. It has a sturdy build with responsive keys that can take up to 50 million keystrokes and an affordable price tag. It also comes with a 5-year warranty, which is a huge plus and is a testament to the company’s confidence in their product. If you don’t mind spending more than $50 on a keyboard, we definitely recommend purchasing the Poseidon Z, arguably the best budget gaming keyboard in the $50-100 price range.
Most affordable gaming keyboard and mouse combo
At first glance, you might think the Cooler Master Devastator II is an expensive keyboard with a price tag that will make your wallet cry. That could not be further from the truth. Would you believe it that this gaming and mouse combo can be had for less than $30? Outrageous, we know.
The Devastator II is a mechanical-membrane hybrid keyboard – or, unimaginatively, a “mem-chanical” keyboard. The name might sound fancy, but it’s actually just a membrane keyboard that simulates the feel of a mechanical keyboard. Meaning, it has a pronounced tactile feedback and the keys have an audible clicking sound when pressed. The clicking sound isn’t all that loud during the day. But it’s louder at night when everything is more hushed.
This keyboard also comes with a red backlighting, helping you see the keys when gaming in the dark. The brightness level can’t be adjusted, though, so you’re stuck with the default brightness level forever. This shouldn’t be a problem if you prefer to play games when the sun’s out. If you prefer the best gaming keyboard under $50 that has a brightness level control, we suggest checking out the Havit keyboard above.
Like most gaming keyboards, the Devastator II has dedicated keys for multimedia control. All of them are located at the top edge of the keyboard. Though their placement ensures that you won’t accidentally hit them when going for the Function keys, they can be a bit awkward to reach. But that’s just nitpicking, considering you probably only use the multimedia keys a couple of times when gaming.
The included mouse also works great, featuring a smooth wheel and an overall ergonomically-sound design. The DPI can be adjusted anytime, allowing you to customize your cursor’s sensitivity while in-game. The mouse design complements the keyboard pretty well, thanks to its similar cosmetics.
If you want a mechanical keyboard but don’t have the budget to buy one, the Devastator II is a great alternative. The bundle is one of the best budget gaming and mouse combos available in the market right now. For just under $30, you get two high-quality PC peripherals that are both stylish and comfortable to use during long gaming sessions.
Best mid-range mechanical gaming keyboard
Next, we have the BlackWidow Ultimate, a product from Razer, another well-known manufacturer of gaming accessories and peripherals. The BlackWidow Ultimate is a mechanical gaming keyboard that is undoubtedly pretty to look at. Which isn’t really surprising considering it’s made by Razer.
It has a nice edgy design that is both attractive and ergonomically-sound. The keys have Razer-customized mechanical switches beneath them, tailored specifically for heavy-duty gaming. The mechanical switches come in two types: green and orange.
The former is the typical switch that produces lots of clicking sounds every time you press the keys. The latter is the quieter variant, ideal for gaming sessions that extend all the way deep into the night. Be sure to pick up the specific keyboard that comes with the specific switch you want.
The BlackWidow Ultimate is the best budget gaming keyboard if you’re looking to invest in a keyboard that will last several years. The overall build quality is top-notch, with each key able to withstand up to 60 million keystrokes. The keys also have a smudge-free finish, making them more prepared for extended use. If treated right and with regular maintenance, the BlackWidow Ultimate will have no trouble lasting for a very long time.
All the keys on the keyboard are backlit, making them very easy to see in the dark. If you don’t like the default backlight color, you can customize it using Razer Synapse. You can configure the brightness level and set the backlights to behave differently. Razer Synapse has a number of options available, so feel free to experiment which effects suit your style (or current mood).
In summary, the BlackWidow Ultimate is the best cheap mechanical keyboard out in the market if you’re looking for something that is durable, stylish, and comes from a trusted brand. The best part is that you don’t have to spend more than $100 to get your hands on it. That’s a huge plus considering Razer has a reputation for selling overpriced products.
Some online stores give us a small commission if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.
Latest posts by PJ Oliver (see all)
- Best Apps That Pay: 15 Money Making Apps You Should Try - July 9, 2018
- Best Budget Gaming Keyboard: Top 7 Cheap Keyboards for Gaming - June 8, 2017
- Best Xbox One Controller: Top Custom Controllers for Xbox One - May 29, 2017