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Last Update: May 15, 2019

Top 5 Cheap Mechanical Keyboards

Published 19:19 PM
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Mechanical keyboards go together with a top of the range gaming PC like me and coffee on a Monday morning. Sadly, a mechanical keyboard costs more than a cup of coffee, and slightly more than a membrane keyboard. But let’s be real here…who uses a membrane keyboard for gaming? Not me!

If you don’t do your research beforehand, you might end up with a cheaply constructed piece of garbage that absolutely won’t do.

So to save yourself some time, we have created a list of some of the best budget mechanical keyboards for gaming in 2019. ⌨️ 😉

1

Best Choice: CORSAIR K70 RGB MK.2 RAPIDFIRE

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Specifications:

  • Switches: Cherry MX Speed
  • Interface: Wired
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Programmable Keys: Yes
  • Dimensions: 17.24 x 6.53 x 1.53 inches
  • Weight: 2.76 lbs

Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire Review

If you’re an avid PC gamer, then the Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 RAPIDFIRE mechanical keyboard needs no introduction whatsoever. I mean, we must have featured at least one Corsair keyboard in every one of our best gaming keyboard guides.

If you’ve read our guide to the best Corsair keyboards, you’ll know that the K70 came second place, so you may be wondering what makes it so superior to other mechanical keyboards on our budget list. To answer that, we must first take a look at the features.

The K70 keyboard features a durable aluminium body that frames the double-shot keycaps. Every one of these caps house a rapid Cherry MX Speed switch, which is likely where the $170 price tag comes in. That’s right, this keyboard boasts some extremely fast, linear Speed Silver key switches designed to let you click faster than any other switch.

While this type of switch improves overall speed, the anti-ghosting technology used within the K70 will allow you to attack your enemies with precision. And when playing competitive games, accuracy is everything.

What’s more, is that as you battle it out in some of the best FPS games, you’ll feel comfortable the entire time thanks to the soft, detachable wrist rest. Seriously, this thing is pleasant!

Alas, Cherry MX Speed switches aren’t for everyone, so if you do end up purchasing this keyboard, you can easily swap them for Red switches. In fact, between Cherry MX Speed vs Cherry MX Red switches, they have pretty similar properties. So whatever mechanical keyboard you choose, I advise that test out some Cherry MX switches to see which feels the best to you.

Still, Corsair K70 MK.2 RAPIDFIRE stood out to us the most out of all of the other keyboards on our list, so we just had to crown it as the absolute best choice budget mechanical keyboard for 2019.

+Pros
  • 100% anti-ghosting with full-key rollover
  • Soft, detachable wrist rest
  • Durable aluminum frame
-Cons
  • Cherry MX switches might be too light for some users
2

Premium Pick: Redragon K552 RED LED Backlit

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Specifications:

  • Switches: Cherry MX Blue Equivalent
  • Interface: Wired
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Programmable Keys: Yes
  • Dimensions: 35.3 x 12.4 x 3.8 cm
  • Weight: 2.16 lbs

Redragon K552 RED LED Backlit Review

All the colors of the rainbow and Redragon stuck with the typical red LEDs found in most gaming peripherals. Fortunately, there is a cheaper RGB backlit version of the K552, we just prefer the Redragon K552 Red LED backlit mechanical gaming keyboard. One thing that isn’t red on the K552 red version, however, are the switches. As a matter of fact, they aren’t even made by Cherry!

The K552 keyboard features “Cherry MX Blue equivalent switches”, which in English translates to “Chinese knockoff MX Blue switches” AKA Outemu switches. In all seriousness, they aren’t actually that bad. They just aren’t as good as real Cherry MX blue switches.

Considering this Redragon keyboard is only $60, I can’t complain too much about the switches, especially because they still feature that satisfying audible click sound that we all know and love. Plus, the double-shot keycaps that house the “blue equivalent” switches are extremely durable, yet they still allow the backlighting to shine through so that you never miss a key.

Onto the build quality, it’s a strong keyboard owing to the metal and ABS construction designed for longevity. It’s also compact (87-keys) enough to travel around the globe with, which is why it’s our best quality choice budget mechanical keyboard for gaming in 2019.

+Pros
  • Double-shot keycaps
  • Sturdy keyboard base made of aluminum
  • Compact design
-Cons
  • No numpad
3

Best Value: Eagletec KG010 Mechanical Keyboard

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Specifications:

  • Switches: Blue
  • Interface: Wired
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Programmable Keys: Yes
  • Dimensions: 17.6 x 7 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 3.04 lbs

Eagletec KG010 Mechanical Keyboard Review

The third keyboard on our list is our best value choice suitable for college students or young gamers on a budget. We chose the Blue LED version of the Eagletec KG010 mechanical keyboard as it’s $10 less than the RGB version. Now, you can’t get much for $10, but you can save towards a high quality gaming mouse under $50.

Much like our premium choice mechanical keyboard, this one also comes with “custom Blue switches”, which to be fair, aren’t the worst. They are just there to keep the cost low, so if you want to replace the switches for a Cherry MX switch, grab yourself a keycap puller and go wild.

If you love eating snacks as you game (I mean, who doesn’t), you should not only be aware of how to keep your keyboard clean, but you should also be careful with sticky, sugary drinks. Thankfully, the Eagletec KG010 mechanical keyboard is spill-resistant. This, however, doesn’t mean that you can bathe with the KG010, it just means that it’ll withstand a small liquid spill.

+Pros
  • All 104 keys are 100% conflict free, anti-ghosting
  • Non-slip ergonomic design
  • Splash-resistant design
-Cons
  • Lacks dedicated macro keys
4

Best for Fortnite: SteelSeries Apex M750 RGB

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Specifications:

  • Switches: SteelSeries Red
  • Interface: Wired
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Programmable Keys: Yes
  • Dimensions: 6 x 17.9 x 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 3.1 lbs

SteelSeries Apex M750 RGB  Review

The SteelSeries Apex M750 is a superb mechanical keyboard with SteelSeries QX2 mechanical switches. Alright, once again, this keyboard doesn’t include Cherry MX switches, but give us a break here as you might actually like these ones.

Yes, they are still an MX red clone by Kailh, but they are linear switches suitable for fast-paced gameplay. Forgive us? Good, now let’s get into the really interesting stuff!

If you use Discord to chat with your gaming buddies, you’ll adore the Discord Chat integration. Once you set up the customizable Discord chat notifications, the SteelSeries Apex mechanical keyboard will light up to indicate a new message, and whatever else you choose.

Plus, the in-game notifications are handy, especially if you set up the keyboard to light up when you’re low on ammo or health. Trust me, this is specifically handy during Overwatch games.

It’s also armed with 100% anti-ghosting to ensure that you never lose a Fortnite match, and you definitely won’t lose if you follow our guide on the best keybinds for Fortnite.  This technology, alongside full N-Key rollover, is absolutely brilliant for typing. So once you do win a game, you can brag about it to your friends without making a single typo.

+Pros
  • In-game notifications
  • Discord chat integration
  • Linear switches
-Cons
  • No wrist rest
5

Best for Overwatch: Logitech G610 Orion Red Backlit

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Specifications:

  • Switches: Cherry MX Red
  • Interface: Wired
  • Backlight: Yes
  • Programmable Keys: Yes
  • Dimensions: 15 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.35 lbs

Logitech G610 Orion Red Backlit Review

Is it? It can’t be! A mechanical keyboard under $100 that comes armed with Cherry MX Red switches? It is!

The Logitech G610 Orion red backlit mechanical gaming keyboard may look like a basic keyboard found in an office, but it’s actually one of the best budget gaming keyboards. Along the top of the keyboard are dedicated media controls so that you can quickly change volume during intense gaming sessions.

To the left of the media controls is a game mode button designed to increase frames per second for fluid performance, so you can forget about choppy gameplay with the G610!

Just below these buttons are 12 keys, F1-F12, that can be used for custom macros. Now, we don’t advise using macro keys in certain games as most don’t allow them, so use them at your own risk.

The white LED backlighting isn’t the prettiest we’ve seen, so if you dislike it as much as I do, you can change the color effects and brightness of each key. These lighting effects can be saved and synced across all other Logitech devices, so if you’re a Logitech lover, you’re going to love the Logitech G610 mechanical keyboard.

Also, feel free to check out our list of the best Logitech keyboards!

+Pros
  • Dedicated media control buttons
  • Cherry MX Red switches
  • Custom macro buttons (F1-F12)
-Cons
  • No USB passthrough

Budget Mechanical Keyboards: Buying Guide

Ergonomics

A keyboard is something you use all day at the office, and all night at home in front of an ultrawide gaming monitor. Therefore, you need to make sure the keyboard isn’t going to cause you any strain. To prevent discomfort, it’s a good idea to look for a keyboard with a wrist rest or adjustable height and tilt.

Keycaps

Mechanical keyboards feature keycaps that are made by either a single or double injection molding process. As double-shot keycaps made from PBT are thicker than single-shot keycaps, they are much more durable and pleasant to type on.

Starnex MK104A Mechanical Keyboard

Prebuilt or DIY?

When purchasing a mechanical keyboard you can either buy a prebuilt one or build your own from scratch. Prebuilt mechanical keyboards do tend to be less expensive than a DIY project, but you’ll miss out on the fun of customizing your own board with custom keycaps and cables.

Switches

Key switches are what make a mechanical keyboard “mechanical”, so it’s important that you’re aware of the different type of switches on the market.

The most popular type of switches are by Cherry MX and include: MX Red, MX Brown, MX Speed, and MX Blue, though there are others that you should be aware of.

Cherry MX 9 Switches Different Sound and Look


Frequently Asked Questions

Is a mechanical keyboard better for gaming?

Yes! Mechanical keyboards tend to be better for gaming than membrane keyboards as they feature key switches that are durable, tactile, and faster.

Are Cherry MX Reds good for gaming?

Absolutely! Cherry MX Red switches are one of, if not the most, popular type of Cherry MX switch. However, if you compare say Cherry MX Red vs Cherry MX Brown switches, you’ll notice that there are other Cherry MX switches out there that are great for gaming. So choose your switches wisely!

Comparing Cherry MX Red and Brown Gaming Keyswitches

Are gaming keyboards good for typing?

Yes, if by “gaming keyboard” you mean a mechanical keyboard. Especially if the keyboard comes with Cherry MX Blue switches which are best for everyday typing. Oh, and Blue switches are the ones that offer that satisfying audible, tactile “click” sound when pressed.

What are the advantages of a mechanical keyboard?

When you compare a mechanical vs membrane keyboard, you’ll notice that mechanical keyboards come with many advantages that include:

  • A long lifespan of around 30 to 70 million clicks.
  • Easier to clean as you can pull off each key with a keycap puller.
  • Depending on the switches used, key presses will be registered faster as you won’t have to bottom out the keys.
  • Often more durable than a membrane keyboard.

108-key Orange Beige Skyblue Mix PBT keycaps


Conclusion

We here at Game Gavel went on a mission to find some of the best budget mechanical keyboards on the market, proving that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to own one. All five of the mechanical keyboards on our list are made from high-quality materials, ensuring you don’t waste money on a cheap slab of plastic.

Do you know what would go great with one of our budget mechanical keyboards? The SteelSeries Rival 110, our best budget gaming mouse option made for all types of gamers.


Sources:

  1. Keyboard Connection Issues, Logitech Support
  2. Razer Cynosa Chroma, Razer Support
  3. Tim Fisher, What is a Keyboard?, Lifewire, March 29th, 2019
  4. Connect Your Logitech Bluetooth Device, Logitech Support
  5. Whitson Gordon, How to Choose the Perfect Mouse and Keyboard, Lifehacker, June 12th, 2011
  6. Lauren Hall-Stigerts, Best Gaming Keyboard Features, BigFish Games, March 24th, 2014
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