Deal pricing and availability subject to change after time of publication.
The average person types somewhere between 38 and 40 words per minute, which translates to about 10,000 keystrokes per hour.
With that in mind, you can only image just how many millions of clicks your computer keyboard endures over the course of a year. If yours isn’t equipped to handle all that wear, you naturally end up with a dead key or two, loose key caps, and wonky buttons you have to hold down for far too long before they actually activate.
Replace your clackety boring keyboard with one of these insanely futuristic ones
Which is why you really need to invest in a mechanical keyboard, and by invest, we don’t mean spend an arm and a leg. Order one of the best cheap mechanical keyboards and stretch your dollar as far as it will go.
Not only do mechanical keys tend to be more structurally sound than their rubber dome counterparts, they are also easier to type on and even more pleasing to use. Remember the clackaty clack typing noise of yesteryear? The one you hear in all the 80s office movies? Well mechanical keys give you that sound along with real time tactile feedback that makes working on a computer oh-so satisfying.
The reason that today’s plastic keyboards are so popular is because they’re cheap and flexible to manufacture, so companies can create super-thin, foldable, and even roll-up keyboards that don’t cost much money at all. They also tend not to last as long though and aren’t as comfortable to type on, especially for long durations. Anyhow, you didn’t come here for Keyboarding 101. You want to know the best affordable ones to buy, and we’ll key you in based on what internet customers have had to say about them.
So whether you’re a gamer, a writer, a late-night browser, or looking to start your own ASMR podcast, here are the best cheap mechanical keyboards, in no particular order:
Starting off the list is this colorful 104-key mechanical gaming keyboard with removable keycaps. It’s specially designed to enhance durability while providing tactile feedback. There is medium resistance, precise actuation, and an audible click sound when you tap the keys.
If you type or game so intensely that you start to sweat, no biggie. This ultra-affordable option (it’s less than $50) is sweat and water resistant.
Verified Amazon Purchaser Reginald G. Wilson writes:
“I bought this keyboard about a month ago. I’ve been using it quite a bit. I’m not having any issues with it. The mechanical key action is exactly what they claimed it to be. Clicky and tactile. You probably wouldn’t want to use this in an office cubicle environment (unless you wanted to annoy your cubicle mates), but it’s fine for use at home or in your private office.”
This Gofreetech keyboard has an excellent 4.7 star rating, so if you’re really on a budget it’s not a bad choice at all.
An even cheaper option is the RK902 by Rii. This mechanical keyboard is constructed with five customizable gaming lighting effects. You can also adjust the brightness of the keys as well as the effect speed.
Verified Amazon purchaser Melanie Williams writes:
“I love that this keyboard lights up. It makes gaming at night much easier if the lights are off and you cant see the keys. The clicking noise the the keys make enhance the experience and gives it a more retro feel. This is the ideal gaming keyboard I will always recommend this to anyone.”
The RK902 has a good 4.2 out of 5 star rating. The few reviewers who didn’t like it weren’t too thrilled with it’s quality
Gamers tend to be attracted to mechanical keyboards that have features like programmable macro buttons (rapid-fire keys) and LED backlighting. WASD created a custom mechanical keyboard that offers just that in a relatively simple design. Oh, and don’t let the price put you off, some very popular mechanical keyboards can cost well over $200 bucks, so this one’s still a steal.
The WASD 104-key keyboard features ultra-rare Cherry MX Clear mechanical key switches. If you’re wondering who or what Cherry MX is, it’s pretty much just a way for Cherry Corporation, a company that has has manufactured keyboards since the 1960s, to distinguish between its different switch types. What makes the MX switches particularly ideal is they combine solid actuation force with quiet, non-click activation. So you get a medium stiff, tactile feedback experience.
Top positive reviewer, Bigtallbill gave the WASD Keyboard 4 stars and rated it “PRETTY GOOD.” here is an excerpt from their review:
“As a developer, i spend a lot of time typing, and i’m a bit ashamed to say i dismissed mechanical keyboards for the longest time. This is my first, and i have to say i’m very pleased with it after a month or so of use.”
The top critical reviewer Brandon Fisher gave it 3-stars on the other hand:
“Overall the keyboard feels nice when you type on it, even for extended periods of time. I have no problem with the functionality of the keyboard itself. I like the configuration you can do through the dip switches on the back, such as allowing you to use the scroll lock key to disable the windows key. The adjustable brightness for the LED is also nice feature…What’s not so great about this keyboard is after just a couple years of use the key caps start to lose the, what I’m assuming is, paint.”
It may not be as cheap as standard membrane keyboards, but it certainly isn’t as expensive as most of other mechanical keyboards either. The Nixeus Moda V2 features Kailh key switches, which is on par with most other companies that set out to create really affordable keyboards. Since Kailhs are made in China, they’re much cheaper. Cherry, on the other hand, are more of a novelty and are manufactured in Germany.
In any case, The Nixeus Moda is pretty much a no frills keyboard. There aren’t any macro keys for gaming and it’s not backlit with LEDs. But if you’re one of the people who doesn’t like a backlit keyboard anyway, or don’t really care at all, this one is sorta tailored for you. Most importantly, it produces a soft tactile bump feedback to your fingertips as you type.
Reinforced with a steel plate, this mechanical keyboard prides itself on its longevity, promising long-time durability up to 50 million keystrokes. It also has a three-year warranty.
More than 50% of Amazon purchasers think it’s a 5-star choice, with reviewer Connie writing:
“First of all, I really like the sound the keys make. They can be a little loud, and would not be a good choice to use during the middle of the night, but I find the sounds to be somewhat pleasing and a little relaxing. I also really like the layout of the keyboard. It is nice and compact, which is handy since I do not have a lot of space on my desk. I never use the number pad anyway. The board that the keyboard uses is heavy and durable, but slides a little, though not unless you apply a considerable amount of pressure to the keyboard.
I have heard that kailh switches are lower in quality compared to cherry mx, and that is something that I can not say myself, since I have never used mx browns before. It is true that the sounds and clicks do not feel consistent (some keys even sound a little springy) but for this kind of price I do not really mind. I am not a professional gamer nor typist so this keyboard suits my needs. What I can say though is that this keyboard does not affect me playing casual games in any sort of way. If anything, I think that I even improved using this keyboard. The only downside that I have encountered so far is that my Q key is starting to fade a little bit. Other than that, I have no complaints.”
This option uses mechanical switches by Romer-G, which are built for professional performance, quick response, and durability. The red key lighting is precise and clean through the keycap, so you can always see what you’re typing. PC Mag rates the Logitech G413 Carbon EXCELLENT, praising the company for its sturdy construction and programmable function keys. On the flip side, there’s no wrist rest like some of the others on this list and you can’t customize the keyboard backlighting, so you’re pretty much just stuck with the red.
Best Buy customers didn’t seem to mind though, as 93% of customers would recommend this product to a friend. Verified purchaser DirkDigital writes:
“Very responsive mechanical keyboard. No fancy RGB lighting display but why pay an extra $50 for it when you can have a quality built keyboard with great backlit keys.”
Credit: Steel series
This one is still a bit cheaper than other full size mechanical keyboards with full RGB lighting. But the most important part is the mechanical switches. The Steal Series Apex M750 uses its maker’s own mechanical linear switches, which are similar to Cherry’s MX Red. There won’t be any tactile feedback but what you do get is a buttery smooth keystroke.
This Amazon Choice keyboard has exposed keycaps so you can see the lighting illuminating out from below the key. You can program how the key colors act and react using the company’s engine software on your computer, which lets you turn the backlighting into an audio visual that plays out on the keyboard itself. Nearly 70% of Amazon reviewers believe it’s a 5-star choice.
Reviewer TheDeepShell says:
“Absolutely LOVE this keyboard. I used to have one of the non-lit models from steel series before I bought this and, obviously it was also a great keyboard, but I found myself wishing I had bought the backlit version. After all, late night Civilization 5 isn’t going to play itself. So, I sprung for this keyboard.
Yep, it meets my expectations. I also found the keys, despite being cherry mx reds to be a bit more clicky than the other keyboard (don’t remember the name, but it’s steel series’ full sized non backlit keyboard). This is something I loved – mx red feel and responsiveness with even a nice little feeling of solidity on downstrokes. It’s not loud, but it just feels nice.”
Credit: steel series
If you’re looking for a 5-star choice that everyone loves, go for the Corsair Platinum K95.
Not only does it have a perfect customer score on Best Buy, but it’s a PC Mag Editor’s Choice.
This keyboard’s customizable LED backlighting is all anyone can talk about, delivering a multicolor light show that makes it fun and easy to work in the dark. The Cherry key switches give it the ultimate competitive advantage over the competition, and it has 8 MB of on-board storage so you can easily access your saved files on the go. It has a removable wrist rest that’s reversible so you can choose between a more textured pad and or a smoother option.
You have one row of macro keys for gaming, three brightness controls, a volume dial, and multimedia function keys for you to use.
Verified Best Buy purchaser Ripperoni writes:
“This is by far the best Keyboard I have owned. It comes with 6 buttons on the side you can program to anything, I actually still have 5 of those buttons with nothing programmed. It also came with the Performace Key Caps as well! The RGB on the K95 Platinum is awesome as well, the light strip on top makes this my favorite RGB. If you are looking at getting this, I promise you won’t regret it.”
Logitech built the G610 with industry superior Cherry MX switches. This keyboard is illuminated with white LEDs underneath the keys, a step away from the colorful rainbow of some of the others on this list. The G610 has a standard key layout with additional media controls and a lighting brightness toggle. Its footprint is relatively small because it doesn’t have any macro keys. We think it looks understated and pretty basic, but sometimes that’s what you want if you’ll be doing a lot of typing in the office.
On the performance front, the low-noise switches thanks to Cherry MX have a tactile bump for feedback with every keypress. It’s a good 4-star option if you believe Amazon reviewers.
Verified Amazon purchaser LeeIB writes:
“Coming from MX Cherry blues, I was skeptical, but DANG this thing writes beautifully. I still do some late night browsing, typing, and occasional gaming because how my work schedule is. Sound is perfect.”
Credit: Havit HV-KB390L
This is probably one of the best mechanical keyboards you can buy for under $60. Underneath the thin plastic keycaps, you have slimmed down Kailh switch. This low profile keyboard by Havit is small and portable, with light blue LED backlighting. When it comes to typing, it doesn’t require much force. Since it’s small your fingers don’t have to travel that far, so you’ll probably be able to type faster. It has the mechanical actuation you need and a 4.4 star rating on Amazon.
Amazon reviewer Chad Glendenin writes:
“I’m using this keyboard with a Mac laptop, and it’s excellent. The low-profile keys make it feel somewhat like using a Mac keyboard, unlike the Cherry MX-style mechanical PC keyboards, which have keys that feel tall, wobbly, and narrow at the top in comparison. Unlike other backlit keyboards I’ve tried, this one remembers my last settings even after the system it’s attached to has gone to sleep and cut power. It has an easily readable font, rather than a gamer font, so it looks a little more professional, and the keys have a nice, mechanical feel to them, but they are not obnoxiously loud, so it’s better suited to a shared space. So far, I’ve noticed noticed two minor downsides: one is that receptor for the USB input is finicky. At first, I thought the keyboard was broken, but I just hadn’t gotten the cable fully engaged. The other issue is that the coating on the keys seems a little cheap. I’ve been using this keyboard for less than a week, and the part of the spacebar where my thumb hits it is already starting to look a little bit shiny. Usually it takes a couple months for a keyboard to start showing that. If you’re on a Mac, install an app called Karabiner to remap the keys. Also, the PauseBreak and ScrollLock keys by default are the brightness up/down keys on a Mac.”
You can take your digital adventures to the next level with this HyperX keyboard. The keyboard is all black with white lettering, and its backlit keys can take 50 million keystrokes per switch without experiencing a loss in performance.
The top plate is a metal alloy so you won’t have to worry about durability, and there’s an added bonus: There’s a built-in slot at the top so you can charge your smartphone. It is marketed as a gaming keyboard and it comes with red textured key options on some of the keys. But the features you really care about (or should anyway) are beneath the key caps. You’ll find genuine Cherry blue switches that are very click-y and tactile so you can really feel when you actuate each key.
Verified Bestbuy purchaser Zoro writes:
“The design, the colors, the speed this keyboard brings with it are amazing. Love it!”
All 100% of Best Buy customers would recommend this to a friend.
The first thing you’ll notice about this Das keyboard is probably the aggressive styling of its aluminum face. If you aren’t a fan of having a very graphic keyboard, maybe consider some others on the list. The Das Keyboard X40 Pro has adjustable red backlighting that’s supposed to help reduce eyestrain. It has five programmable macro keys for fast gaming and Alpha-Zulu switches that allow for lightning-fast precision when your gaming stakes are high.
PCmag rates it EXCELLENT. The editor writes:
“Sturdy construction. Includes USB, audio pass-through connections. Utilizes full n-key rollover. Removable top plate allows for unique visual customization.”
Amazon customers weren’t as impressed though, giving it an overall 3.5-star rating.
Internet buyers love this mechanical keyboard by Razer. The keys are a mid-height size and underneath the keys is a nice white backplate that lets the LED lights add an extra pop to the chassis.
What really sets it apart is the magnetic, leather-ish wrist rest that attaches straight to the front of the keyboard. If you spend a lot of time typing or gaming it’ll really come in handy. The Ornata is a “mecha membrane” keyboard, which is fancy talk for a hybrid between mechanical and standard keyboards.
One of its biggest selling points though are the RGB lights inside. Use the software to create your own lighting effects or settle for included presets. You can highlight certain keys if you want or combine multiple effects.
The Razer Ornata has 4.4 stars on Amazon, and top contributor Miss M writes:
“I didn’t purchase this keyboard for gaming, just straight typing. I work in transcription and have many of the same problems gamers do. I type faster when the keyboard gives me the right tactile feedback, it can’t be too loud, the key spacing needs to be on-point, and even ghosting is a problem. The Ornata is one of the best keyboards I’ve ever used and has noticeably increased my productivity.”
You can also enjoy an immersive, colorful typing experience with this 4.6-star option from Aukey. Like some of the others, it has RGB backlit keys so you can chose between nine preset lighting effects, and seven different color options for each key. It has tactile switches by Outemu, which are pretty much just Cherry knockoffs according to Redditers.
You get the feedback and audible click sound, and it has a waterproof design so accidental spills don’t equal Game Over. Amazon reviewer TheBeardedArtist writes:
“First off let me say how surprised I was at the sturdiness of this keyboard. I was thinking it would feel much cheaper than it does at this price point, but I’m happy to say I was wrong. Getting used to the keys takes a few minutes since they are so precise and any screw-ups in typing show, where my old keyboard was spongy and allowed for some operator error. I like the precision, it will certainly be nice for gaming.”