The cheapest gaming keyboards offer a lot of what the most expensive versions offer without breaking the bank. Budget keyboards can help you lower the cost of pricing your brand new gaming PC, and they can be a great place to start before you dig into the click holes. If you want to pass on the best gaming keyboard, take a look at the keyboards below.
When we say “cheap” we’re talking about pricing, not quality. Most of the budget keyboards in this guide are priced at $50 or less and will make solid companions to your gaming PC. However, some features will be omitted to reduce the price. Make sure you know which features are really important to you—whether they’re media controls, LED displays, fancy macro keys, or mechanical switches—and decide what you can leave out.
Regardless, we’ve tried to list as many of the cheapest gaming keyboards we’ve tested over the years as possible, ranging in price up to $50. We even added a couple of premium keyboards bundled with other peripherals to reduce the cost of a new setup.
But if you do find yourself with some money to burn, the best mechanical keyboard is always our top pick.
There’s a trend of $200-plus gaming keyboards on the market right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t better quality mechanical switchboards at more affordable prices. Usually you’ll find these more budget-conscious options offer cheap switches from other manufacturers, but the G.Skill KM360 comes with classic Cherry MX Red linear switches.
If you can’t handle your game board no Light up like a rainbow, then you might be disappointed with the monochrome option, but damn, the white LEDs on this G.Skill board are the brightest I’ve ever seen. Usually I like to keep max brightness all day, but if I do, the KM360 will burn my retinas.
This TKL board is basic, but it does its job and it does it well. It’s sturdy, well-built, reliable, and it looks good too. There’s no wrist rest, no pass-through or media controls, but I’d love to support affordable features.
STOGA mechanical keyboard switches are virtually indistinguishable from Cherry MX Blues. They mimic that click and feel that was initially sought after by typists, but has since become a much-loved switch in gaming as well.
This model is a compact, no-frills Tenkeyless design with pre-determined RGB backlighting. Unless you despise click switches or desperately need dedicated media controls, it’s hard to go wrong with the STOGA.
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E-Element’s Z-88 is definitely on the pricier side when compared to the competition on this list, but being available in black or white and offering a variety of Outemu switches offers many options not found on other budget keyboards. However, at this price, the included wrist rest would be nice.
Exposed hardware and an aluminum back plate give this version of the Havit mechanical keyboard a solid, industrial look. While only available with clickable proprietary blue switches, this model does come with a wired optical gaming mouse. Aside from the lack of exclusive custom software or dedicated media controls, this set of Havit peripherals has little to offer.
HyperX is a trusted name among peripheral manufacturers. While it typically caters to higher-end brands, the Alloy Core RGB brings a wide range of features and solid performance at an affordable price. The price really doesn’t meet the definition of a “budget” keyboard, but the dedicated media controls and custom software help justify the MSRP.
HyperX had to integrate membrane switches for this particular model, but this had the added effect of making the Alloy Core splash resistant. We prefer mechanical keys, but a good quality film is still much better than some old office boards.
Roccat Magma reminds us that you don’t need mechanical keyswitches for a good gaming experience. You get tactile key feedback, 26-key rollover and anti-ghosting in an 80s retro neon aesthetic.
If you want highly specific colors, there may not be per-key lighting, and the LEDs aren’t super accurate, but the entire panel lights up to create this unique RGB beacon. It’s worth the money for a full-size RGB keyboard with function key media controls and a wrist rest.
Read the full Roccat Magma review.
Best Cheap Gaming Keyboard FAQs
Where are all the cheap keyboards with fancy key switches?
Inexpensive keyboards usually come with membrane switches. If super cheap keyboards include mechanical switches, they’re probably counterfeit Cherry switches. That doesn’t mean they’re bound to fail, but they won’t get the same level of praise as the top keyboard switch makers.
Cheaper keyboards have a completely different feel than standard Razer and SteelSeries keyboards. But rest assured, these great-value gaming keyboards will still feel good under your fingertips, and your wallet will thank you for it.
If you want to learn more about switches, you can read our detailed description of mechanical key switches.
Jargon Busters – Keyboard Terminology
The height at which the key needs to be pressed before it activates and sends an input signal to the device.
A switch that clicks each time it is pressed, usually near the activation point.
A technique to ensure that there is only one input register per key press.
A casing that surrounds the internal components of a switch.
The result of misalignment of the actuation and reset points in the switch. This usually means that the key needs to be lifted further than normal before starting again.
Switches that move directly up and down, often providing smooth keystrokes without noise or tactile feedback.
A keyboard built around individual switches for each key, rather than a membrane jacket mounted on a PCB.
Keyboards with all keycaps mounted on a membrane sheath; when a key is pressed, a rubber dome depresses and pushes against the sheath and PCB below, actuating the key.
The keycaps are mounted on a switch assembly on a mechanical keyboard.
The physical components of a mechanical keyboard below the keycaps of a mechanical keyboard. The switch determines how the key operates, whether it provides audible or tactile feedback each time it is pressed, and more.
A switch that provides “bump” feedback each time it is pressed.
Keyboard missing right-hand number pad.