The idea of investing in a whole new keyboard tailored to your needs as a gamer may seem like a frivolity to some, but many gamers swear by the features a gaming keyboard offers. A gaming keyboard can provide you with a more ergonomic experience, more options for assigning shortcuts and macros, and some cool aesthetics that can let everyone know you’re a gamer.
There’s no doubt that gaming keyboards can become expensive, but they don’t have to be. We’ve scoured the web in search of the best budget gaming keyboards. The 11 cheap gaming keyboards on our list are all under $100, but they all outperform their asking price significantly. Read on to learn more about what’s available.
Quick Look: 10 Best Gaming Keyboard Under $100
- CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard
- Logitech G512 Carbon RGB Gaming Keyboard
- Redragon K552 RED LED Backlit Keyboard
- Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard
- Dell Alienware AW768 Pro Gaming Keyboard
- CORSAIR K68 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Tenkeyless Keyboard
- Razer Ornata Chroma Gaming Keyboard
- Havit RGB Backlit Wired Gaming Keyboard
- Cooler Master CK530 Mechanical Keyboard
- SteelSeries Apex M750 TKL Keyboard
1. CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard
Mechanical gaming keyboards can get loud. If you're looking for a quiet gaming keyboard, the Corsair K55 may be up your alley. It uses a membrane frame to reduce the clatter of keys, but it otherwise shares many of the design features and sensibilities that you'd find in more expensive Corsair keyboards. This is a practically silent gaming keyboard, and the amount of resistance is pleasantly balanced and catered to the demands of gamers.
All the keys are well spaced to prevent slipping fingers sabotaging your game, and RGB lighting can be configured across three separate zones. And since this is a Corsair, you get access to their phenomenal CUE software. This allows you to configure complex macros and RGB settings, but there's also a convenient and easy to use macro recording button built right into the face of the keyboard itself. A detachable wrist rest is also included.
2. Logitech G512 Carbon RGB Gaming Keyboard
To some gamers, there's few sensations more satisfying than the tactile click of a mechanical keyboard. If that's you, you'll want to take a look at the Logitech G512 Carbon. Depending on your preferred typing style and gaming genre, you can pick three different switch styles. This gaming keyboard under 100 bucks is small, but it makes the most of its available real estate with its smart key spacing and overall design.
The aluminum brushed frame looks anything but cheap, and the rubber feet offer a nice grip while also allowing you to elevate the board. While there are no dedicated macro keys, the design of the standard keys here are great. There's a smoothness to the concave surface that feels great on the fingers. In a nice gesture, RGB lighting is available for each individual key, so you can customize some very elaborate setups if you'd like.
3. Redragon K552 RED LED Backlit Keyboard
If you're looking for an LED keyboard that comes in at under $50, Redragon's K552 is a great place to start. This cheap keyboard doesn't come with a lot of unnecessary frills, but it's a solid mechanical gaming keyboard that gets the fundamentals right on the money. The construction here is great: rugged, durable, and well capable of taking a hit or three. Underneath the sturdy plastic surface is a solid metal frame, and the mechanical keys are mounted on Cherry Blue equivalent switches.
This is a Tenkeyless keyboard, so you won't be using it for your accounting purposes, but that allows the K552 to be significantly more compact in size. The LED lighting is functional but minimal, consisting simply of red backlighting that can have the dimness adjusted. The ability to swap out the WASD and arrow keys makes it a great choice for left handed players.
4. Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard
The Razer Cynapse Chroma is all about the style, and it luckily has it in spades. The RGB lighting options here are very impressive for such an inexpensive ergonomic gaming keyboard, and it's also one of the few keyboards in its price range to be spill resistant. The impressive Synapse 2.0 software platform gives you a granular level control over the lighting, and it can hook up with a wide range of different peripherals as well.
And while it uses a membrane frame rather than mechanical keys, it feels pretty good to the touch. Typing is a breeze on this light up keyboard, and it can keep up to pace with the needs of gamers as far as actuation and anti-ghosting is concerned. You won't find anything wrong with the performance here. It's just the sometimes extraneous features of more expensive keyboards that are missing. That means no dedicated macros.
5. Dell Alienware AW768 Pro Gaming Keyboard
Alienware is known for two things: creating some of the best high-end gaming rigs available and lending a distinctly and uniquely sci-fi design to all of their products. The AW768 ditches the high-end price while leaving the other values intact. The quality of the lighting here is a real standout feature, but what makes this a great rather than just good keyboard is the inclusion of Cherry RX Brown switches. Their presence on a $75 keyboard is something worth crowing about. The dedicated macro keys that come built in are just icing on the cake.
The design itself is as beautiful as you'd expect from an Alienware product. It has the heft and look of an aluminum shell despite being made of plastic, but that doesn't mean it's not a sturdy piece of equipment. The sleek contours and colorful key faces evoke the look of a utopian spaceship command console.
6. CORSAIR K68 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Corsair K68 could very well be the best mechanical gaming keyboard under 100 bucks for clumsy gamers. If you regularly find yourself spilling drinks or crumbs on your keyboard while gaming, Corsair's mechanical keyboard is resistant to both spills and dust. It's enough to distinguish itself enough from the competition but not enough justification on that feature alone. Fortunately, Corsair has had the foresight to install Cherry Red RX switches (which can be swapped out for Blues if you prefer).
You wouldn't know this was a gaming keyboard by just looking at it, so if you want something a little more understated, this should scratch the itch. That conventional design goes out the window, however, when you turn on the RGB lighting. A number of presets are built in, but you have almost unlimited options for creating a lighting layout that suits your unique personality.
7. HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Tenkeyless Keyboard
The HyperX Alloy may be targeted specifically towards FPS gamers, but the features and design here will be useful to a wide range of different gamers. This small gaming keyboard is also a tenkeyless model, and its streamlined design is serious and all about business. You won't find a lot of unnecessary features or flourishes here. Instead, it's a no-nonsense keyboard that gets the fundamentals right.
Those fundamentals are provided by the Cherry MX switches, an impressive inclusion for a $70 model. You wouldn't know it by looking at it though. The design of the keyboard itself is low profile, allowing the nicely chunky keys to take center stage. The USB cord, meanwhile, is braided and detachable. In terms of features, the only real presence here is the red RGB backlighting. All told, it's a workmanlike model that will fit the needs of any gamer looking for the basics.
8. Razer Ornata Chroma Gaming Keyboard
The Razer Ornata Chroma is a sharp counterpoint from HyperX's minimalist approach to gaming keyboard design. This is one of the most fully loaded gaming keyboards around, coming with all the cool features you'd expect from a more high-end system, and it manages to do that by trading in mechanical keys for a membrane design. You wouldn't know it by looking at it though. This is a slick and industrial looking keyboard.
Media controls are built right in, and the numerous function keys are abundant enough to accommodate some pretty dynamic setups. A nice, simple LED indicator lets you know whether you're in macro or gaming modes and helps avoid any unintended mistakes. This is an ergonomic keyboard as well. The wrist rest is leather and comfortable and provides enough cushion to provide you with the support you need. Six rubber feet allow you to adjust the lean.
9. Havit RGB Backlit Wired Gaming Keyboard
HAVIT doesn't have the brand name notoriety of Alienware or Corsair, but the Chinese manufacturer has been diligently churning out high-quality computer peripherals for years now, and the KB395L is another example of their smartly minimalistic design at work. Unlike many mechanical keyboards, the KB395L sports low profile switches that helps it stand out from the competition. The lowered level of impact required to get good key responses results in a fundamentally more comfortable experience for gamers.
HAVIT isn't trying to show off here. The design is highly functional, refreshingly free of unnecessary macro keys or design flourishes. Instead, all the macros can be handled through a combination of standard keys and Fn keys. Finding the right setup and learning it intimately can take some time, but once you do, you can create a versatile and nuanced setup suited to your play style.
10. Cooler Master CK530 Mechanical Keyboard
Cooler Master is known for their PC cooling solutions, and while it's not unusual to see computer manufacturers branching out into new fields, it is surprising to see the company's keyboard excel as well as the CK530 does. This sturdy aluminum gaming keyboard may come with a relatively small number of keys, but that streamlined design makes it ideal for laptop owners who are looking for a portable keyboard they can bring with them anywhere.
For the sake of keeping prices low, Cooler Master does make a few sacrifices. Rather than using the gold standard Cherry MX keys, the CK530 employs Gateron mechanical switches. It's a downgrade but one that most players won't find all that noticeable. A number of customization options are available for both the RGB lighting and the macros, and they're handled through Cooler Master's genuinely respectable Cooler Master portal software.
11. SteelSeries Apex M750 TKL Keyboard
We saved what may be the best gaming keyboard under 100 dollars for last. SteelSeries is a legend in the computer peripheral market due to their hands-on approach to design. Case in point: the inclusion of proprietary QX2 switches that can largely compete pound for pound with their Cherry counterparts. This isn't a quiet keyboard, but each tap of the keys give off a satisfying clattering.
The design is a bit odd. Floating keycaps provide a pronounced sense of height, and the RGB lighting is distinct. The aluminum finish looks absolutely phenomenal. A neat inclusion is the Audio Visualizer which will sync your RGB lighting settings with the music from your game. The one weakness to this keyboard is largely a negligible one. This is a keyboard built exclusively for gaming, and it's a bit awkward if you intend to use it for anything else.
Gaming Keyboards Under $100 Buyer’s Guide
Do You Need a Wireless Keyboard?
You probably noticed that there aren’t any wireless gaming keyboards on our list. It was a difficult decision to make, but we ultimately opted to exclude them from our reviews for a couple of reasons.
The first is pricing. The best gaming keyboards can be incredibly expensive, and wireless functionality can add a significant dollar amount to the total. Keeping things under $100 is already a difficult task, and including wireless models would require us to promote keyboards that made sacrifices elsewhere: by stripping out mechanical keys, ergonomic functionality, or robust RGB and macro configurations. We ultimately decided that the convenience of wireless functionality didn’t outweigh these standards for the specific needs of gamers.
And since our focus was on gamers, we also had to carefully weigh the input lag that comes from wireless keyboards. Even the best wireless models are going to experience some degree of delay between when you hit a key and when it’s registered by your computer. In a high-intensity multiplayer experience, even the smallest delay can mean the difference between a win and a loss. As a result, we decided that responsiveness was more important than convenience.
If you’re dead set on getting a wireless gaming keyboard, you can check out our guide to the best wireless keyboards.
Mechanical v. Membrane Keyboards
The majority of the models on our list consist of mechanical gaming keyboards. There’s a distinct reason for that. Precision is incredibly important for serious gamers. You need to know intuitively that your button press has been registered, and the physical switches that mechanical keyboards use ensure that. More traditional membrane switches are often mushier and less responsive, and they don’t have the satisfying tactile feedback you’d find in a mechanical alternative. They also offer a higher level of durability than their membrane alternatives. If you want a great mechanical keyboard, you want to keep an eye out for Cherry models or the QX2 switches used in SteelSeries keyboards. The two are largely comparable.
That said, you don’t necessarily need a mechanical keyboard for gaming. These keys can be incredibly noisy, and mechanical keyboards traditionally don’t offer the sort of ergonomic support you’d find in membrane-based models. If you’re a single player gamer, an MMO player, or someone for whom precision and response isn’t an incredibly high priority, a membrane keyboard may actually be preferable to you. But if you’re serious about competitive play, mechanical is absolutely the way to go.
Considering Your Overall Setup
A good gaming keyboard isn’t just about providing you with more accurate play. It’s also about looking cool while doing so. Most gaming keyboards come with some level of RGB backlighting, and the best models allow you to customize your backlighting combinations in a nearly infinite number of ways.
If aesthetics are a big deal to you, you should consider getting a gaming mouse and keyboard that are produced by the same manufacturer. Not only will this allow you to use a single software platform to do all of your configurations, but many brands also allow their accessories to sync up in a number of different creative ways. Particularly good with this sort of integrated ecosystem is Razer. Their products play well together, but they can also work in conjunction with Philips Hue lighting, and they’ve established relationships with over 30 other manufacturers to create more dynamic lighting configurations.
A good gaming keyboard doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, but it can give you a significant edge when going up against serious competitors. You can’t go wrong with any of the models on our list, but the ultimate decision is going to come down to how much money you have and what features matter the most to you.