Top 10 Best Cheap Mechanical Keyboards of 2017

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(Amazon)

Mechanical keyboards are the next step up from standard keyboards, and are popular among all types of users, especially gamers.

Individual mechanical switches beneath each key offer a number of benefits, namely an improved tactile response that can speed up typing—and of course offers that satisfying click.

Even if your budget for peripherals is tight, you can still afford a quality mechanical keyboard. We’ve picked our ten favorites that you can get for under $100.

Don’t let yourself get caught with a slow and mushy membrane keyboard. Check out some of the best alternatives keyboards below.


1. Redragon K552 LED Mechanical Keyboard

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(Amazon)

The Redragon K552 is a compact mechnical keyboard that has earned its place among budget keyboard greats by matter of sheer price value.

Simply put, this is one of the best deals on a mechanical keyboard for under $40.

Like many budget keyboards, the catch to the K552’s bargain price is that it does not use name brand Cherry switches.

Rather, this keyboard packs a generic variation of the classic Cherry MX Blue switches, which are among the clickiest and most responsive designs.

Redragon claims that their custom switches are Cherry Green equivalents, but many advanced users notice that the keys have the lighter action pressure of Cherry Blue switches.

This means they are likely Blues from Chinese brand Otemu.

They work equally well for gaming and typing, but again, they are quite loud, so best not to be used in a shared environment.

This is an 87-key keyboard, which means it does not have a numberpad. This can be nice for saving space, but make sure you’ll want a numpad if you regularly crunch numbers.

The keys have a red LED design with some basic glowing effects to cycle through. These keys sit atop a base plate of both aluminum and ABS. It provides good weight and has spill resistant properties.

The top row of function keys have built-in multimedia functions like play/pause, tracking, and volume controls. This can be handy for watching movies or listening to music.

This keyboard is not the type to sport any crazy bells and whistles, but rather, a down to business board that focuses on high-end performance at a low price.

As such, its value is balanced by a few small nitpicks. One such is that the USB cable feels flimsier than other models, which have nice braided cables.

And this complaint is really just looking for something to not like, but the K552 has to have to ugliest font of the lot in my opinion.

You may enjoy its awkward mix of sci-fi sleekness and dungeon manual chunkiness, but it’s not for me.

These gripes aside, this keyboard offers incredible performance at an equally incredible value.

Price: $30.99

Buy the Redragon K552 LED Mechanical Keyboard here.


Pros:

  • Solid tactile feedback from blue switches
  • Durable and water-resistant design
  • Low price

Cons:

  • Blue switches can be quite loud
  • Ugliest key cap font

Find more Redragon K552 LED Mechanical Keyboard information and reviews here.



2. Corsair K66 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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(Amazon)

The Corsair K66 is a no-nonsense gaming keyboard that puts performance before presentation. This keyboard forgoes fancy RGB LEDs and accessories to bring high performance switches to an inexpensive package.

The K66 delivers smooth linear key travel thanks to its Cherry MX Red switches, which are the standard switches you’d expect to find on high-end mech keyboards.

These keys are notably quieter than budget switches, while still offering fast travel and tactile feedback.

They support full key rollover, which means if you pressed every key down at once, it would register every single one. It is also fully anti-ghosting, further improving accuracy.

This 104-key model has a full number pad, plus dedicated media hotkeys. My personal favorite inclusion is the windows key lock, which prevents you from accidentally switching to your desktop in the middle of a full screen game.

Corsair’s CUE software allows full reprogramming of this keyboard. This allows you to program macro commands that streamline your work or gaming.

Ultimately, this keyboard is best suited to gaming, but those wanting a mechanical keyboard experience that is more on the quiet side will have a fantastic typing experience with this board as well.

Price: $69.99

Buy the Corsair K66 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard here.


Pros:

  • Linear Red Cherry MX switches are great for gaming
  • Fully programmable keys
  • Multimedia hotkeys

Cons:

  • Not as clicky as blue switches
  • Large desk footprint
  • No wrist rest

Find more Corsair K66 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard information and reviews here.



3. Hcman Blue Switch LED Mechanical Keyboard

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(Amazon)

The Hcman Blue Switch LED Mechanical Keyboard is an absolute gem. It is a fully functional mechanical keyboard for under $30.

This compact 87-key board delivers incredible performance for gaming or typing at an almost unheard of price.

The reason this keyboard is so cheap is because it uses generic blue switches instead of name brand Cherry MX Blues. They are CK Blues, which come from a Chinese brand that is nearly identical.

Despite being clones, these CK blue switches type just fine. Their anti-ghosting and key travel compare closely to Cherry MX Red switches, the standard switches you find on high-end mech keyboards.

One difference with blue switches is that they are some of the loudest and clickiest you’ll find. This is good if you like auditory feedback, but bad if you share a work space.

This compact keyboard forgoes a number pad so that it takes up very little desktop space. Just make sure you have a calculator handy for crunching numbers.

This Hcman keyboard has multimedia functions to open certain apps and adjust volume. Standard play/pause and tracking controls are absent though.

The keys are backlit with a rainbow configuration of LEDs, which can be toggled on or off for night use.

Do not get this rainbow LED configuration confused with proper RGB lights, as the individual keys do not change color. You can simply cycle through different configurations of static LEDs.

All in all, the high build quality and responsive switches of this keyboard leave you little to complain about for the price.

Price: $27.99 (30 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Hcman Blue Switch LED Mechanical Keyboard here.


Pros:

  • Compact and durable
  • Solid tactile feedback from blue switches
  • Low price tag

Cons:

  • Blue switches can be quite loud
  • No color-changing LEDs means no color mapping
  • Limited multimedia controls

Find more Hcman Blue Switch LED Mechanical Keyboard information and reviews here.



4. Logitech G610 Orion Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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(Amazon)

Logitech’s G610 Orion is quite a bit pricier than most budget mechanical keyboards, but any keyboard that sports Cherry MX Red switches for under $100 is a bargain.

This is a 104-key keyboard, which means it includes a number pad. Not included in the key count are the board’s dedicated media hotkeys, which take full advantage of this keyboard’s large footprint.

The keyboard’s function row is programmable for macros, but the rest of the keyboard is not.

Beneath the G610’s keycaps are Cherry MX Red switches, which are celebrated as the perfect compromise between performance and stealthiness.

They are linear keys, which means they don’t click until they are fully bottomed out. They will be comparatively silent if you are light on your fingers.

This keyboard can be purchased with Cherry MX Brown switches for about the same price. The Browns are equally light, but much clickier, as they click at the half-press as well.

There are a few keys where the tactile experience falls short, namely larger ones like the space bar and the return key have a spongier feel, as if their springs eat up the tactile click.

If you want to pick up the G610 for under $100, you must forgo the true RGB design for a white LED design. This is the same case as the Corsair K66.

The individual key illumination is still customizable on the white LEDs, and personally, I find it looks a little classier.

This keyboard compares closely to the Corsair K66, but with a higher price tag. Its build quality alone still promises fantastic band for your buck, though, so either one is still a great pick.

Price: $84.99 (29 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Logitech G610 Orion Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard here.


Pros:

  • Linear Red Cherry MX switches are great for gaming
  • Dedicated media hotkeys
  • Clicks are slightly muffled

Cons:

  • Space bar is spongier than other keys
  • Only the Fn keys are programmable
  • High price tag

Find more Logitech G610 Orion Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard information and reviews here.



5. EagleTec KG011

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(Amazon)

The KG011 from EagleTec is a keyboard with a full numeric keypad that combines a unique color scheme and aesthetic with high performance switches.

This keyboard stands out from others right away with its brushed aluminum back plate.

It looks nice and should last a very long time, but it is slightly lighter and easier to flex than other keyboards.

The white key caps with transparent symbols are another awesome detail from EagleTec, and they look fantastic with the brightness-adjustible blue LEDs.

Do note that these white key caps will accumulate dirt over time, so you’ll want to remove the key caps and wash them every now and then. Or just go with the black version.

The blue switches from Otemu are a fine Cherry clone, proving that relying on brand names can be a pitfall. They are just as tactile and responsive as the next pair of blues out there.

For a basic keyboard, the KG011 delivers everything you need, and looks great with any setup.

Price: $41.99

Buy the EagleTec KG011 here.


Pros:

  • Full 104-key array with tactile blue switches
  • Brightness-adjustable blue LEDs
  • Beautiful brushed aluminum finish

Cons:

  • White key caps will accumulate dirt over time
  • Board is lighter and flexier than others
  • No wrist rest

Find more EagleTec KG011 information and reviews here.



6. HAVIT HV-KB378L RGB

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(Amazon)

The HAVIT HV-KB378L is a full-size keyboard that offers a full set of features for the user who wants to customize their keyboard from the top down.

The HV-KB378L should be a top choice for the budget-minded LED lover, as it is the only keyboard on this list that offers full RGB back lighting. That means that you can customize you board’s color key-by-key, using specific colors to mark key groups for different games.

You also have control over the five levels of brightness and color changing speed across the six preset patterns you can cycle through.

These LEDs can also be turned off if they get too distracting, except for the the blue indicator lights at the top of the keyboard, which stay on even when your PC is powered down.

Also on the topic of keys, this board requires you to download your choice of third party keyboard programmer software if you want to change the built-in hotkeys, and you probably will.

Beneath these keys, the HV-KB378L uses the Gaote or Otemu version blue switches, which are not far off from the Cherry switches they were based on. Blue switches are particularly loud and clicky, which many prefer for the physical feedback.

The only keys that are somewhat tricky to use are the bottom row of keycaps. These are not rounded like the spacebar, making them harder to press while gaming with your hands over WSAD.

And at the base of this keyboard, we have a sturdy metal base with a built-in wrist rest. From top to bottom, this Havit keyboard is exceptionally well-designed, and will catch the interest of anyone looking for a fully customizable typing experience.

Price: $64.99 (19 percent off MSRP)

Buy the HAVIT HV-KB378L RGB here.


Pros:

  • Customizable key-by-key RGB LEDs
  • Loud, clicky tactile feedback from blue switches
  • Built-in wrist rest

Cons:

  • Requires a third party software to reprogram hot keys
  • Top indicator LEDs are always on
  • Bottom key cap row is not rounded

Find more HAVIT HV-KB378L RGB information and reviews here.



7. Razer BlackWidow Stealth Keyboard

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(Amazon)

Razer’s BlackWidow keyboard claims to be the first mechanical keyboard to be specifically designed for gaming. Their Stealth design combines this iconic design with more silent gaming switches that is merciful to the non-gamers you live with.

This keyboard comes with vibrant green LEDs which can be somewhat controlled through the complicated software that comes with the BlackWidow. It is best to just avoid this software.

Another part of the Razer style is the font on the key caps. Again, I prefer a more traditional font, but you might actually prefer’s Razer’s design.

But just because this keyboard has a lot of style doesn’t mean that it sacrifices durability, as this keyboard has a hefty frame, solid key caps, and a braided detachable USB cable.

Razer keyboards use proprietary switches, which are considered to be some of the better options available. The BlackWidow’s Razer Green switches are great for gaming, as they have a more shallow activation point as well as a lighter action than the common blue switches.

This keyboard has 10 key rollover, and performs fine under even the most frenzied use.

As the name suggests, this design takes extra effort to muffle key clicks, though it is still quite loud.

Between this added muffling feature and the light action of the gaming-oriented switches, the BlackWidow offers a lot reasons to spend the extra dough on this midrange keyboard.

Price: $78.99

Buy the Razer BlackWidow Stealth Keyboard here.


Pros:

  • Razer Green Switches have a shallow activation point (great for gaming)
  • Vibrant green LED lighting
  • Quieter keystrokes

Cons:

  • Included software is basically useless
  • Key font is not my style
  • Higher price tag

Find more Razer BlackWidow Stealth Keyboard information and reviews here.



8. SADES K10 LED Mechanical Keyboard

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(Amazon)

The K10 keyboard from Sades is a rainbow LED keyboard with a gold ABS baseplate and a full 104-key array (number pad included). Each row of the board is a set color.

These do not change like a full RGB keyboard, but the board does offer several different light patterns, as well as nine brightness settings.

Overall, the keyboard has a cool look (as long as you like the gold), and is a lot of fun to type on. This keyboard has Huano blue switches, yet another clone of the classic Cherry MX Blues.

These have a lighter activation weight, and a great overall feel. The keyboard also has a Windows lock key, which helps prevent interruptions from accidentally minimizing a game.

By now this form should be familiar, and although it does not come with a wrist rest, you will be drawn to the excellent rhythm that typing on a mechanical keyboard provides, regardless of how it is used.

Price: $49.99 (50 percent off MSRP)

Buy the SADES K10 LED Mechanical Keyboard here.


Pros:

  • Full set of program keys
  • Full 104-key array with tactile blue switches
  • Windows key lock helps prevent gaming interruptions

Cons:

  • No wrist rest
  • Blue switches can be particularly loud
  • No color-changing LEDs means no color mapping

Find more SADES K10 LED Mechanical Keyboard information and reviews here.



9. Azio MGK1-K Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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(Amazon)

The Azio MGK1-K is a midrange mechanical keyboard that shows attention to detail with a huge selection of convenient and ergonomic features.

This full-size keyboard sports shortcut keys and a number pad, all of which are illuminated by a simple white LED backlight.

This is a nice departure from busy gamer designs, and has adjustable brightness to keep you in control. There is also a Windows key lock for gaming, so you’ll never minimize your game mid-round again.

Beneath the sturdy key caps, the MGK1-K sports Kailh Brown switches, a fairly clicky tactile switch set that compares closest to the Cherry Clears or Cherry Brown.

Kailh switches are quite a bit heavier than other brands, so feather-fingered typists will probably be able to type faster on a different keyboard. If you normally bottom out your keys anyway, this will hardly affect your performance.

The keyboard itself is high quality all-around, offering cool extras like a detachable wrist rest and volume controller. A black anodized aluminum face plate holding everything together.

Aside from small nitpick, the only real issue is that you will sometimes experience stickiness or a metallic rattling from the wider keys (space, shift, enter, backspace) because of an issue with the stabilizer wire that keeps the keys from tilting.

At the end of the day, the Azio MGK1-K is an elegant and clever mech keyboard that stands as a viable alternative to top brands that are double the price.

Price: $64.99 (10 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Azio MGK1-K Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard here.


Pros:

  • Tactile non-clicky brown switches are weighted for gaming
  • Detachable wrist rest
  • White LED backlight with adjustable brightness

Cons:

  • Wider keys might be clunky or squeaky
  • Number/symbol keys are printed backwards
  • Higher price tag

Find more Azio MGK1-K Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard information and reviews here.



10. Aula LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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(Amazon)

To throw one last rainbow LED keyboard into the mix, this Aula keyboard offers a compact tenkeyless mech board for a great price.

Unfortunately, the rainbow boards don’t have the same customization as RGB boards, but with eight preset lighting effects and several brightness settings, this will provide all of the kaleidoscopic entertainment of a board three times its price.

Also you are getting a great typing experience with the generic blue switches, which provide a loud, clicky, and feedback-driven experience. Typists will almost always prefer this, as it allows for an audible cue if a key is missed.

There are several versions of this keyboard, and some of the pricier ones have a number pad. While this one does not, it does have many media hotkey functions. It also has the ever-handy windows lock key, which helps prevent interruptions while gaming.

Aula definitely keeps thing simple with this design, but if a colorful and functional keyboard that frees extra space on your desk by skipping on the numpad, then consider this pick.

Price: $39.95 (37 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Aula LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard here.


Pros:

  • Loud and tactile feedback from blue switches
  • Low price
  • Windows key lock helps prevent gaming interruptions

Cons:

  • No wrist rest
  • Blue switches can be particularly loud
  • No color-changing LEDs means no color mapping

Find more AULA F2012 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard information and reviews here.


Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
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Anonymous

The EagleTec KG011 price is a little off “Price: $494.97” it should be 49.00

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