Finding a good piece of equipment that stands in the slightly lower spectrums of the price range is never an easy task, mostly because of quality standards and the general unreliability of the products. Being a gamer myself, I have run into the same situation on countless occasions where I was a little tight on money, so I had to look at something affordable; in the end, I got stuck with something that was made with the flimsiest of materials and lowest quality manpower. A keyboard is one of the fundamentals of a good gaming rig, but more often than not its price can get ridiculously overwhelming.
In this article, we will be looking at some of the best gaming keyboard under $100, allowing you to decide which one to pick from without any doubts. All of these products have been tested by us over a period of 30 days where we carried out significant amounts of limit testing and gaming, in general, to conclude as to why it is one of the best cheap gaming keyboards out there.
10 Best Budget Gaming Keyboard Under $100
Here are the 10 Best Budget Gaming Keyboard Under $100
1) Logitech G413 Carbon
The Logitech G413 Carbon comes with Romer-G Tactile and clicky switches and backlit support. It has a solid build that is made of anodized aircraft-grade aluminum which I found to be extremely satisfying, as it prevented the keyboard from having that flimsy feeling.
Although the keyboard does not have dedicated keys for multimedia and macro, it does have a set of FN keys that can be used for certain actions such as controlling the volume, playing/pausing, adjusting lighting effects, enabling game mode and so much more.
It has a USB pass-through port which is something you would find on more expensive boards that belong to the premium category of keyboards. We did not come across any technical errors while using it, as it was very well built.
The keyboard has a premium feel that you would find on a device that usually sits at the $200 mark. The only noticeable negatives which I can not classify as such are the fact that the FN key symbols are quite indistinguishable and that the keyboard supports USB 2.0 and not 3.0. Overall, the keyboard is a fantastic cheap gaming keyboard that would fit in anyone’s budget.
2) Corsair K63 Wireless mechanical keyboard
I was quite skeptical when I purchased this earlier this year as it had a huge set of features that outweighed its price. This could probably be the best keyboard under $100 as it has almost every feature available in the more premium devices offered by the same brand.
It has both 2.4GHz and Bluetooth for users to connect wirelessly for up to 2 devices simultaneously. The battery capacity was supposed to last 24 hours but on average it needed a recharge every 20 odd hours, but with the backlights off it lasted well over it.
The backlights are however limited to only a single color which on my case was blue, the keyboard does not support RGB which may be a turnoff for some, but the Ice-Blue color is pretty neat as well. The keyboard supports Cherry Mx and the Reds that come along are superb. Its Tenkeyless design and overall versatility make it an invaluable purchase that is well worth your money.
3) Cooler Master CK530 Mechanical Keyboard
The first thing that caught my eye was the unique and streamlined design that made it super-portable. If you are a laptop gamer that requires a cheap gaming keyboard that is portable enough to be carried around, then this is the one for you.
The keyboard, however, comes equipped with Gateron switches which are not exactly a downgrade but some prefer the Mx Cherry over it due to brand marketing. The keyboard can be fully customized without the need for external software, but it does, however, have its own; however, during the installation of the software we did run across some confusion, but it was all good with a little effort.
Overall the software is extremely simple to use unlike most the other applications out there. The tenkeyless design is super sleek looking with high key height. There was however a slight deformation in the shift key after a week of continuous use, where it gave off a squeaking sound when used. The keycaps are of normal sizing which means if needed you can easily customize the keycaps.
4) Razer Cynosa Chroma
We had to try this keyboard out as it was a membrane keyboard that was designed by Razer. The keyboard was stated to be spill-resistant which was something of an upgrade as its not available on most gaming keyboards. As expected of a membrane keyboard, it is extremely silent when compared to its mechanical counterparts, the clicks are very soft, making it perfect for office use when you are not gaming.
The lighting on the keyboard is excellent as always since Razer is hugely into RGB and lighting customizations. We did find issues with its software though as it was quite complex for a keyboard driver, oftentimes it completely stopped functioning, forcing us to reboot it (the abrupt stops only cause the lighting patterns to reset, the keyboard is still fully functional).
Over our 2 weeks of testing the spacebar did develop a slight squeak when pressed which is probably due to its membrane build. It has both N-key Rollover and anti-ghosting which would help with your gaming needs by preventing complications. It has an adjustable height as well which makes it much more user friendly in terms of ergonomics.
If you are looking for a keyboard that you can use for both gaming and work then this might be an ideal choice for you.
5) Razer Chroma Ornata
This was a personal favorite of mine since its release, as the cross between a mechanical keyboard and a membrane keyboard looked pretty exciting to me. The Razer Chroma Ornata uses innovative Mech-membrane switches that are not only tactile enough to give that feedback you want but also soft enough thanks to its membrane integration.
It has Razer’s famous RGB lighting spectrum and customization options giving its users a rich immersive experience. The keys are mid-height and feel great to both type and game on. We felt that the addition of a roller volume key would have been great, but it is not something you normally find on Razer keyboards.
The wrist pad is extremely soft and would save any gamer on tons of irritation. The only downside to it which I experienced was the fact that the lighting on the keys wasn’t sufficient enough on several occasions to show certain characters. Taking the keyboard as a whole it is an excellent choice as Razer has managed to subtly combine two completely different mechanical aspects of keyboards into one.
6) Redragon K552-RGB
When we first purchased this keyboard for testing purposes, it blew our mind as to how they managed to manufacture such a sturdy looking gaming keyboard for under $100. The Redragon K552-RGB is made from an alloy giving it a sturdy structure that alone trumps the low price.
It has a tenkeyless design which is made to save space without hindering the ability of the user; the keyboard, however, does not have extra keys for macro’s which may be a turnoff for some, but with the price so low it is pretty hard to expect a lot of extras.
The Outemu Blue switches it comes with are pretty similar to the Cherry Mx blue giving users that tactile loud feedback when pressed. It does feel like the keys need a bit more actuation force when compared to regular Cherry keys which can be a little problematic when playing games over long durations.
The customization of the keyboard (including the RGB settings) is done using the keyboard itself without an interface which may be quite troublesome, as the instructions weren’t that clear in the manual. The keyboard overall is extremely solid for its price and its keycap removal tool that comes with the package, allows you to easily clean the board.
7) SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Another cheap gaming keyboard that follows the hybrid switch arrangement is the SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. The keyboard is not overly loud thanks to its hybrid feature and can be used discreetly in most environments.
The framework of the keyboard is very durable, made with aircraft-grade aluminum, this also makes the keyboard quite heavy. The keyboard has millions of color options thanks to its per-key RGB lighting which can be customized to suit the user’s preference.
It even has a fancy OLED smart display that can be customized with gifs, messages, and many more; we were impressed by this as it was something that you would not find even on the more expensive premium keyboards in the market. We did, however, find with trial and error that the OLED display has some compatibility issues, where it didn’t function as expected unless the game/application was supported by the keyboard.
The 5 profile is storage is useful to save your keyboard settings and customizations. Thankfully it had dedicated multimedia keys along its plethora of fancy extras which gave it a sense of completion.
8) AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard
AUKEY was another brand name which we weren’t familiar with before purchase, but was tested nevertheless to be a more of a wildcard. The first noticeable trait of the keyboard was that it had row-specific lighting, where each row had a different color. The keyboard had different lighting patterns that the user could customize as they please. For a cheap gaming keyboard from a lowkey brand, it managed to grow on us.
First of all the Outemu switch was an excellent replacement for the traditional Cherry Mx. We had purchased the clicky version of it which is similar to the infamous Cherry Blue’s. Through our tests, we were able to notice some minor inconsistencies in the key patterns where certain keys(especially the wide ones) became a bit mushy. But in general, it was pretty fun to use and had excellent tactile feedback along with good response times.
The fact that it was water-resistant came to me as a relief because I did accidentally manage to spill a whole cup of water on it and it came out fine. Overall the keyboard looks pretty durable, it even has double-shot molded ABS keycaps. The only feature I would have preferred to have as an addition would be a wrist rest, but for a cheap gaming keyboard that comes at such a low price, it is not fair to request extra features. The AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard has the usual Anti-Ghosting and N-key Rollover features in it, making it a pretty stable option for a cheap gaming keyboard.
9) Corsair K55
The Corsair K55 is a keyboard from 2019 that built up a pretty good reputation as a reliable membrane keyboard. It does not have per-key RGB lighting although the manufacturer states it to have RGB backlights which may cause a bit of a disappointment for some as it certainly was for me. The gaming keyboard has a full plastic build which causes it to be significantly lighter than most keyboards; this is both good and bad, what it loses in framework causes it to be more portable.
It fully supports Corsairs iCUE software which may be a big pro for some users, as it makes way for some cool customizations. The soft detachable wrist rest that comes with the keyboard gives a sense of comfort which is welcome in the world of gaming where you batter yourself with hours of unyielding playtime. It is admirable how Corsair has managed to include dedicated media controls and macro keys, which are usually limited to its premium range of keyboards.
Throughout its usage, we did feel that all though the membrane keyboard is incomparable to a mechanical keyboard, it did have a noticeable point of actuation rather than being fully linear. Its spill and dust resistance gives it a more robust feeling which I felt was quite welcoming.
10) HAVIT RGB Mechanical Keyboard
The HAVIT RGB keyboard is a midrange keyboard that usually sits well below the price of a $100 at any given time of the year. The full-sized keyboard is pretty slim; it was thinner than most traditional mechanical keyboards we have seen. The RGB lighting is customizable and gives way for some interesting lighting patterns which make gaming in the dark a breeze for its users. It has Kailh key switches that have reduced travel time compared to Cherry Mx switches, they don’t feel like a cheap knockoff but being more of an affordable alternative.
The clicks were pretty responsive with good tactile feedback which is probably the most important aspect of a gaming keyboard. It is sad to say however that the keyboard does not have dedicated macros or multimedia keys, so I would not recommend this for heavy MMO users.
It is a plug and play type of keyboard and does not have software to customize it. Taking the keyboard as a whole I would say that the HAVIT mechanical keyboard should be something you should be checking out before deciding on purchasing a gaming keyboard in this price range.
Here is our list of the best cheap gaming keyboards out there for under a $100, it is loaded up with membrane, mechanical and mecha-membrane alternatives that will help you make the correct decision when investing.