The idea of investing in a whole new keyboard tailored to your needs as a gamer may seem frivolous to some, but many gamers swear by the features offered by a gaming keyboard. A gaming keyboard can provide you with a more ergonomic experience, more options for assigning shortcuts and macros, and some cool aesthetics that let everyone know you’re a gamer.
There’s no doubt that gaming keyboards can become expensive, but they don’t always have to be. We’ve scoured the web in search of the best budget gaming keyboards. The 11 gaming keyboards on our list are all under $100, but they all significantly outperform the expectations of their price point significantly. Read on to learn more about just some of the budget options available.
TL;DR - 10 Best Gaming Keyboard Under $100 :
- Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard
- Logitech G512 Carbon RGB Gaming Keyboard
- Redragon K552 RED LED Backlit Keyboard
- CORSAIR K55 RGB 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. 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 and 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 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. The only features missing here are those of more expensive keyboards, such as dedicated macros.
2. Logitech G512 Carbon RGB Gaming Keyboard
To some gamers, there are few sensations more satisfying than the tactile click of a mechanical keyboard. If this is 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 certainly doesn't look 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 is great. There's a smoothness to the concave surface that feels great on the fingers. As a bonus, RGB lighting is available for each individual key, so you can customize some very elaborate setups should you want to.
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 budget 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 two. 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. CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard
Mechanical gaming keyboards can be 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 capabilities 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 recording macro button built right into the face of the keyboard itself. A detachable wrist rest is also included.
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 really makes this a great keyboard is the inclusion of its Cherry RX Brown switches. Their presence on a $75 keyboard is truly a wonder. The dedicated macro keys that come built-in are just the icing on the cake.
The design itself is as beautiful as you'd expect from an Alienware product. It has the weight and looks 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 also 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 that itch. That conventional design goes out of 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 fairly low-profile, allowing the nice, chunky keys to take center stage. The USB cord, meanwhile, is braided and detachable. In terms of features, the only real addition 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 in sharp contrast to HyperX's minimalist approach to gaming keyboard design. This is one of the most fully-loaded gaming keyboards around, fitted with all the cool features you'd expect from a more high-end system, and it manages this 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 to 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 also allow you to adjust the lean to a comfortable level.
9. HAVIT RGB Backlit Wired Gaming Keyboard
HAVIT doesn't have the same brand name notoriety as 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 help it stand out from the competition. The lowered level of impact required to get good key response 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 its 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. This is 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 its 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 gives 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, so it can be 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 there were a couple of reasons we ultimately opted to exclude them from our reviews.
The first is pricing. The best gaming keyboards can be incredibly expensive, and wireless functionality can add a significant amount to the total. Keeping things under $100 is enough of a challenge, and including wireless models would require us to promote keyboards that made significant sacrifices elsewhere, for example 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.
Since our focus was on gamers, we also had to carefully weigh up the input lag that comes from wireless keyboards. Even the best wireless models are going to experience some degree of delay between hitting a key and your computer registering the input. 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 are 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. Mechanical keyboards also offer a higher level of durability than their membrane alternatives. If you want a great mechanical keyboard, you’ll want to keep an eye out for Cherry models or the QX2 switches used in SteelSeries keyboards. The two are largely comparable.
That being 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 aren’t an incredibly high priority, a membrane keyboard may actually be ideal for you. But if you’re serious about competitive play, mechanical models are 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 an almost 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. A particularly good example of this sort of integrated ecosystem comes from 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 your budget and the features that matter the most to you.If you liked our article on gaming keyboards under $100, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.