Best Cheap Mechanical Keyboard
Five Mechanical Keyboards that won’t break the bank!
If you prefer the feel and performance of a mechanical keyboard for your gaming exploits, you’re not alone. Their durability, tactility, and speed make them a must in any serious gamer’s setup.
The only issue is that this bolstered performance doesn’t come for free. The components required to manufacture mechanical keyboards are far more expensive than those used to build membrane keyboards. The key matrix those components make up is also far more complex, so it’s a given that they’re mostly expensive products, but not always.
We’ve found five of the very best cheap mechanical keyboards you can buy without totally demolishing your savings account. Now we’ve done all the leg work, all you have to do is decide which one suits your gaming style best.
Our Top Picks
How We Choose
PC gaming isn’t merely a job for us. Every one of us here at WePC is a consummate gamer, so not only are we driven by the prospect of supplying you with all the best products; that’s just a happy bonus; we’re also searching for ourselves. We seek out all the best cheap mechanical keyboards because we want to incorporate them into our own gaming rig. We go by the principle that if it’s good enough for us, only then is it good enough for you.
We look for tactility in a mechanical keyboard. That means a satisfying click and a nice press with decent travel. We look out for top-notch ergonomics, innovative key layouts that make using the entire board as intuitive and easy as possible. We’re looking for keyboards that enable you to perform at the highest level.
Things to Consider
There are quite a few form factors currently available, but the main five are:
- Full-Size – This is the prototypical keyboard style that you’ve grown up with. It normally holds 104 keys.
- Gaming – Gaming keyboards are similar to full-size boards, but with added Macro and Media keys.
- Tenkeyless – Also referred to as TKL or 80%, tenkeyless boards omit the right-hand side number pad in favor of a smaller form factor. TKL boards normally have around 88 keys and are a popular choice for gamers.
- 75% – 75% boards have the same keys as TKLs but the keys are all bundled against one another.
- 60% – 60% keyboards do away with function keys and that occur beyond the Enter key. They have around 61 keys.
Switches hide beneath each of your keys. A keyboard will have one of six types of color-coded switch:
- Blue switches are the loudest, actuate with a half-press and they’re great for typists.
- Green switches are quite firm.
- Red switches are the go-to color for gaming. They’re a quiet, linear switch (travel all the way down), only requiring a light touch, making them great for knife-edge, time-sensitive gaming.
- Black switches are similar to red but stiffer, preventing accidental actuation. These are popular for real-time strategy games.
- Brown switches are a compromise between a working and gaming keyboard.
- Silver switches are gaming-style switches but require a much firmer touch. Perfect for the heavy-handed, some may find them fatiguing.
When shopping for a keyboard for gaming, there are a few features that are really going to help you bring your A-game.
Ghosting is when you actuate a key and the computer doesn’t acknowledge it’s been pressed. It’s like you’ve done nothing at all. What’s actually happening is the keyboard itself isn’t registering actuation as it has reached a key limit (typically 3 on the average keyboard).
In some scenarios, gaming requires you to press four or more keys simultaneously. For this, you need an anti-ghosting keyboard with greater key limits. The best kind of AG keyboards are known as N-key rollovers, meaning there’s no key limit at all.
RGB keyboards are in some form, backlit or otherwise, imbued with customizable RGB lighting. It’s a purely aesthetic feature, but it can add a special touch to the gaming experience.
Media keys are dedicated to a certain non-traditional keyboard function such as altering display brightness or changing volume.
The Best Cheap Mechanical Keyboard
- Adjustable angles and frontal key designations
- Compact form factor
- Cherry Blue MX switches with nice travel and satisfying click
- Available with any other MX switch color
- 9 customizable keycaps
- High-quality PBT keycaps
- Great price
- Suitable for working hard and playing hard
Fitted with Cherry Blue MX switches under the high-quality 85% PBT keycaps, the 3068 adds a really satisfying tactility to your gaming. The linear keys have lovely travel, and each actuation is punctuated by an acknowledging click, letting you know precisely the moment a command is registered, making it great for high-octane gaming.
Technically a 65% form factor keyboard with 68 keys in total and typical rectangular shaping, this board is a fantastic space-friendly solution to congested desks, freeing up space for your mouse or any other peripherals. With three angle adjustments to choose from and frontal key legends, The Yunzii Akko 3068’s ergonomics are on point as well.
By far one of the AKKO 3068’s best features is its NKRO functionality meaning that every single key is registered individually, so if you like to unleash your inner octopus when you’re gaming, every actuation is accepted, and you will never be haunted by ghosting again!
The only real flaw we can think of is the fact that the 3068 offers no support for reprogramming keys which is certainly a downside for gamers who like to customize their setup.
- Awesome battery life, even with RGBs turned on
- Customizable RGB backlighting
- Optical Brown MX switches
- Available with any other switch color
- Wireless connection to 3 devices (6KRO)
- USB-C connectivity (NKRO)
- Space-kind 65% footprint
- Amazing price
- Super-low latency
- Only fully compatible with Windows
- ABS keycaps feel a little cheap
- Only two angle adjustments
Wireless keyboards enable huge amounts of locational freedom, but with battery and connectivity issues, a lot of wireless designs sort to miss the mark. The Keychron K6 is not one of those designs. With a 400mAH battery that lasts up to 9 days with 8 hours of use a day, and capable of syncing to three devices via Bluetooth simultaneously, the K6 offers premium performance.
Wireless mode facilitates 6-key rollover, but you can opt to wire it up via USB-C. In its wired format, you have full NKRO functionality over the 2ms hyper-low latency keys. Loaded with Optical brown switches, every aspect of pressing a key, from contact to travel, feels smooth, and each actuation is paired with tasteful audible affirmation.
It’s a compact design, but small doesn’t mean meek. Fitted into a durable aluminum case, the K6 is structurally immaculate, and what’s more, designed specifically for hardcore gamers, it has a 100 million keystroke lifespan.
If you like a bit of flair in your peripherals, you’ll be happy to learn that the K6 features RGB backlighting customizable via 15 different options including static colors if that’s what you prefer. Unfortunately, it’s only fully compatible with Windows operating systems, but the partial compatibility with Mac products only inhibits minor functions such as screen brightness.
- Cherry Red MX switches
- High-quality double-shot ABS keycaps
- Black finish and white LEDs look amazing
- Full-sized arrow keys and backspace
- Nice weight to it
- Foldable legs for adjusting angles
- Awesome price
- Alternative key functions illustrated with frontal legends
- 12 function keys control multimedia functions
- Case emphasizes keystroke noise
- Detachable cable is quite short
The DREVO Gramr is undoubtedly one of the best bang for buck 75% mechanical keyboards currently on the market, making it an absolute steal for those who prefer the TKL format for gaming. Under each high-quality ABS double-shot keycap there is a Cherry MX red MX switch offering buttery smooth travel and linear actuation that rewards swift gaming and typing styles.
Backlit with white LEDs, this blacker-than-black keyboard couldn’t possibly look any cooler, but if you find the lights a bit too much, perhaps if you game in the dark, they’re easily dimmed.
While it’s not technically an NKRO keyboard it has 24KRO functionality, so for all intents and purposes, it is sort of an NKRO design. Many 75% keyboards sacrifice key size in favor of a smaller footprint, but the Gramr manages to maintain full arrow key and backspace dimensions, which is a nice touch.
Structurally speaking, the Gramr keeps it tight. It feels sturdy and the weight helps keep it securely in place. If we’re being picky, the acoustics of the case are somewhat lacking in that they emphasize keystroke noise a little, and the USB cable is also quite short.
- Amazing RGB lighting
- Full keyset
- Double-shot ABS caps
- Red switches
- Solid build with zero flex
- Quiet keys
- Budget price tag
- Fully programmable for setting up complex macros
- Quite large
- Red switches aren’t the best quality
- Alternative key functions fade over time
The Redragon K582 Surara is the ultimate mechanical keyboard for gamers on a strict budget. It provides all the major benefits of the mechanical format and only makes small compromises in order to bring the price down.
It’s a full-sized keyboard, so you will need a bit of extra space to incorporate it into your gaming setup, but the full keyset is well worth the couple of inches you lose in desk real estate. Moreover, the K582 is totally programmable and offers full NKRO for gaming that requires numerous and complex key combinations.
Exhibiting what we’d describe as a slightly squishy feel, the red switches are by no means Cherry MX level. They don’t have that tactile and affirming ‘bump’ that red switches are known for, but they are a lot quieter which will be a definite boon for some. With a 2mm travel, requiring 50 grams of pressure, they’re still nice feeling keys.
The RGB panel behind the keys is particularly impressive, especially considering the price tag. No matter how bright your room is, they shine through strongly, highlighting the legend in the double-shot ABS keycaps. Unfortunately, any secondary function legends are printed on top of the plastic and will fade over time.
- The price tag!!!
- Technicolor LED lighting
- Aircraft aluminum case
- Smooth, quiet red switches
- Small footprint
- Wire isn’t detachable
- Not all that tactile
You can practically pick up the PK001 for a song, but it’s not just a token super-budget pick. Pulsar obviously does cut some costs in a few areas, but all the important aspects of a mechanical keyboard remain intact.
Despite its insanely wallet-friendly price tag, you still get full NKRO functionality, allowing you to play all your favorite titles to the best of your ability. There’ll be no more stress from losing games in pivotal moments due to ghosting.
Another feature that had us feeling pretty shellshocked is the airplane aluminum case. This thing is ridiculously strong. Unless you’re hitting the gym 5 days a week, you won’t even be able to pull a slight flex from it.
This PK001 is stocked with pretty basic red switches, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. They’re incredibly smooth and quiet, fantastic for low reaction time, knife-edge gaming, they’re just different from what you might think of as red switches. There’s no tactile bump or registering click.
The LED lighting looks fantastic and is easily dimmed by onboard controls; however, if you’d like full RGB lighting, customizable via Pulsar software, throw another $10 into the mix for the next model up, and it’s yours.
Mechanical keyboards are often something of an afterthought. People seek out other things to improve their gaming rig first such as powerful GPUs, top-of-the-line CPUs, or even high-resolution monitors. All those things are great but don’t actually change the feel of your gaming experience the way a good mechanical keyboard does.
Well, as you’ve seen from this list, even if a keyboard is the last thing to cross off on your gaming gear list, you can still afford some quality products that will help you take your gaming to the next level.
The Ocean Star or Keychron K6 are both amazing choices. They’re compact, great for typing and gaming, and even though the K6 doesn’t have Cherry MX switches, the Optical switches are a joy to use. For those on a budget, the Redragon and Pulsar boards are great value for money, or if you’re after something that looks as sharp as it performs, you can’t go wrong with the Gramr.
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