Tecware Phantom 87 Key Mechanical Keyboard
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Bringing you the best gaming keyboards under $50
We love gaming keyboards here at WePC, be it mechanical, membrane, wireless, or wired, and luckily when looking for the best gaming keyboard under $50, there are plenty of good options these days.
There’s a place in our hearts for every keyboard out there. However, not everyone has a stupid amount of cash with which to buy one, which is why we’re going to give you a rundown of the best gaming keyboards under $50 for you. There’s never been a better time than 2023 either, with great releases like the Mountain Everest 60 continuing to drive prices down
You might think that it’s impossible to find a good piece of gaming tech for less than $50 these days, and it is, but not impossible. And remember, these keyboards can be used as a simple stepping stone into the world of keyboards. This means the best gaming keyboards under $50 won’t have to last you forever, just long enough that you can get into the hobby.
Choosing the right peripherals can be an irritating and overlong task sometimes, with a load of confusing options, specs, and statistics. Not to mention the sheer amount of garbage products out there that are functionally equivalent to literal snake oil.
This is why you’ll find a guide below that covers the most important aspects that need to be considered before the final purchase.
When possible, we like to get hands-on with the products we recommend. This gives us the opportunity to gain an understanding of how they perform in real-world scenarios, including gaming and general office use. Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible to get ahold of the products. When this is the case we use the specs, product listings, and reviewers from similar editorial outlets to further increase our scope of knowledge.
After these processes are done, we the collate the best of the best into a list like the one you’re reading right now.
Now we have been through our best keyboard recommendations for under $50 and how we came to those decisions, it is time to go over a few key areas to ensure you purchase the best keyboard for your needs.
Selecting the right form factor for your environment is crucial depending on the space you game. Keyboards, even under $50, are available in a full variety of sizes from 40% to 100% full-sized boards. we’ve made an infographic so you can better visualize how these different form factors compare against each other.
A full-sized board is as you would imagine a keyboard to be, with the keypad far on the right. These types of boards are big enough to accommodate luxuries in the higher price bracket such as dedicated media keys and LCD screens.
Tenkeyless(TKL) boards range in size between 40% and 80%. These boards don’t have a keypad on the right so you will have to use the numbers located above the letters. The more compact the board becomes means function keys are moved around to accommodate the lack of space, resulting in some interesting space-saving layouts.
60-65% boards are the perfect balance in our opinion, full functionality, but without parochial relics of the past like a Numpad and home keys.
40% keyboards limit the number of key binds you can have in-game. These boards may be pocket-size but they will often lack arrow keys, number keys, and function buttons are compressed, making them great for the minimalists out there, but unideal for the typical user and gamer.
Switches can be a minefield all on their own when it comes to keyboards, but these are the main feature of any keyboard. At under $50 keyboards are limited to off-brand options for mechanical switches or the cheap-to-make membrane dome-style switch.
The switches you prefer are entirely down to you but in almost every case, mechanical is the better option. Mechanical switches are more reliable over time, allow for better tactile feedback and an overall more enjoyable experience.
Some manufacturers limit the number of switches you can choose from but in our round-up, there is something for everyone. Red style switches tend to offer gamers a fast linear option and make typing seem quick and fluid. Blue style switches bring an audible and tactile clicky actuation to the keypress but also carry some extra noise compared to Reds or Membrane.
Membrane keyboards are often spill resistant and can be quite responsive but over time can flatten and become a bit harder to press. Membrane has an advantage over mechanical when it comes to cost as they are less expensive and some enjoy the squishy feel, but those people are fairly rare to find.
The looks and added features of a keyboard don’t have any effect on your gaming performance but are always great to have. Keyboards under $50 aren’t shy of features such as RGB, however, you will find it difficult to find many with wrist rests.
None of our selections are uncomfortable and all of these feature some height adjustment to keep things that way but you may want to check out more premium options if you are in need of a wrist rest, dedicated media keys, or USB-pass throughs.
Macros are easy to include for manufacturers with software and some on our list have this feature. Media keys, as we mentioned, are hard to come by but the highly regarded budget master, the K55 has this functionality.
In this price bracket, you can expect the majority of keycaps being used will be made of ABS plastic, which is fine for the price but these will deteriorate over time and will begin to look ugly. That being said, some of our options will be upgradeable from a keycap perspective, so you needn’t worry, you can still get the most out of your budget keyboard!
The Tecware Phantom mechanical keyboard is one of the best out there for under $50. This compact 80% keyboard is one of the most aesthetically pleasing in our round-up, with RGB customization and a great design.
This is a great board for gaming and typing and feels like a better quality K552. The switches are above the surface with this TKL board, making it much easier to clean than most. Furthermore, this “floating keycap” design brings the absolute best out of the customizable RGB. The RGB has 18 preset lighting modes or you can create your own with the dedicated software.
The Phantom comes with some options for switches, you can pick one of these up with Outemu Blues, Browns, or Reds. What sets this apart from the rest on the list is its hot-swappable switches. Yes, this is modular so you can always swap out this set for an alternative one if you fancied. So whether you are looking for precision, comfort, tactile, or linear, the Phantom has you covered.
Lastly, the power cable is braided, giving it extra durability and Tecware has some cutouts to run your cable underneath the board too, which is a nice touch.
The K55 from Corsair is one of their most affordable and basic peripherals, that being said, don’t let the price tag fool you. This thing still operates very well in a gaming scenario and has the build quality to last a good few years. The K55 is a lightweight keyboard that offers great durability thanks to its excellent build materials. It comes equipped with membrane switches that are both silent, and easy to clean.
RGB lighting runs riot across the entirety of this board, making it both aesthetically pleasing and good value. It comes with six customizable macro keys and dedicated volume and media keys for convenience. The K55 has a great multi-key anti-ghosting function too, which ensures each keypress is registered properly and rapidly.
Additionally, this keyboard comes with a handy, ergonomic wrist rest which makes for an extremely comfortable user experience no matter how long you practice.
All in all, one of the best keyboards you can get for under $50.
Check out our full Corsair K55 review here.
The Dierya DK61E is a 60% sized gaming keyboard (lacking a Numpad, directional arrows, and home & delete keys, etc.) making it ideal for those looking to save space and who only require the bare essentials for gaming.
The mechanical keyboard comes with Gateron Brown switches that are light but tactile, with a satisfying click, though of course, one’s preference on key switches can be subjective. The keys aren’t too loud compared to other selections on this list either. The build quality and materials for the Dierya DK61E are solid, particularly for the price. The keyboard also has the advantage of being wireless via a BlueTooth connection, however, those of you who are more performance-focused might prefer to keep it wired.
Key Macro and RGB customization is done via the software that comes with the board, and it’s far from the most intuitive we’ve used. Nevertheless, it does give you lots of options for a keyboard in this budget.
We had to include an offering from the Danish peripheral giant here as they cover the entire spectrum from the most expensive ridiculously capable keyboards, all the way to this little guy, the SteelSeries Apex 3.
This is probably one of the best-performing keyboards out there in the sub-$50 due to the slightly modified membrane switches that SteelSeries has outfitted this board with. Make no mistake, they’re still membrane switches, but there are better than the average rubber domes we all know and loathe.
This performance is bolstered by the full-size layout and volume control wheel. Media controls are often nowhere to be found on even the priciest of boards so it’s nice to find one of our favorite creature comforts on a budget board. These additions help with focus while gaming as it lowers the number of times you’ll have to tab out.
SteelSeries scores well here with the aforementioned volume wheel and improves said score with vibrant 10-zone lighting and an included wrist rest. However, the wrist rest feels very cheap so we’d recommend using your own, but it’s nice to have an option.
It’s worth mentioning again here that you’ll never be able to get something fantastic for this price. You can get something pretty good, cromulent, or middling, but there’ll always be concessions to be made for a keyboard under $50. These usually take the form of build quality, upgradeability, and wireless capabilities.
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