If you're looking for a good keyboard on a tight budget, there are a ton of options online and it isn't hard to get one at a low price. But are they actually good? We've tested a number of them and have compiled a list of the best cheap keyboards to share with you, so you can get the most bang for your buck. They may be cheap in price, but they can compete with significantly more expensive keyboards in terms of build quality, features, and typing experience.
We've reviewed over 60 keyboards, and below are our recommendations for the best cheap keyboards that are available for purchase. For other options, see our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best gaming keyboards under $100, and the best wireless keyboards.
The best cheap keyboard with mechanical switches we've tested so far is the Redragon K552-RGB. It delivers a decent gaming experience, but you're getting what you pay for, as it lacks features found on higher-end, more expensive keyboards.
It uses Outemu Blue switches, which are tactile and clicky. It doesn't require much force to press on the keys, so you get a quick and responsive gaming experience. The keys are stable and the keyboard has a great build quality, as it's made out of both metal and plastic. This keyboard is available in both white and black variants with either full RGB, rainbow, or red backlighting, and there's a variant with no backlighting for a more office-friendly look. All customization for the backlighting is done directly on the keyboard since it doesn't have dedicated software.
Unfortunately, there aren't many extra features on this keyboard and it doesn't have macro programmable keys, which might disappoint more serious gamers. Its ergonomics are just okay as it has one incline setting and it doesn't come with a wrist rest. Regardless, casual gamers can't go wrong with this keyboard at its price, making this the best cheap mechanical keyboard we've tested so far.
If you're looking for a non-mechanical keyboard that has more features, look into the SteelSeries Apex 3. Although it doesn't have individually-lit keys like the Redragon K552-RGB, it has some features found on other high-end SteelSeries keyboards. Each key is macro programmable through its software, it has dedicated media keys, and it has a volume wheel. Unfortunately, the rubber dome switches are heavy to press and could get tiring if you also type on this keyboard, but luckily, it comes with a wrist rest. It's also well-built as the plastic frame is solid but with some flex to it.
If you're looking for the best cheap mechanical keyboard, the Redragon is a good choice, but if you want non-mechanical switches, the SteelSeries is a good alternative.
The best cheap keyboard with Bluetooth connectivity is the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard. It's a good full-sized office keyboard with good build quality and a low profile, so it shouldn't get tiring typing on this keyboard.
This keyboard uses rubber dome switches, which offer tactile feedback but require a decent amount of force to actuate. They have a short travel distance, making it lighter to type on, and overall, this keyboard offers a good typing experience, and it's very quiet, which is ideal to use in an office environment. The keyboard can connect to any device via Bluetooth, but it doesn't have multi-device pairing. Its dedicated software offers limited customization, and it's only available on Windows, but you can set macros on the F4-F7 keys.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have any backlighting, so it's not ideal to use in a dark environment. It uses AAA batteries, so you don't have to worry about carrying a charging cable with you. Overall, this is the best cheap Bluetooth keyboard we've tested so far.
The best cheap keyboard with an ergonomic design we've tested so far is the Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard. It's a split keyboard with a negative incline setting, which helps reduce the strain put on your wrists, but this isn't something we test for. The wrist rest also has a nice leather finish, which is a good touch for a cheap keyboard.
Like the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard, the Kensington has rubber dome switches that require a decent amount of force to press, but the low pre-travel distance doesn't make the keys too heavy, and they're also very quiet. The typing quality is decent, but the keycaps are a bit wobbly. This keyboard has multi-device pairing with up to two devices, as you can connect one device via Bluetooth and another with its proprietary receiver, but the button to switch devices is located underneath the keyboard, which isn't very convenient.
Unfortunately, it doesn't offer any customization and there's no backlighting, but it's still a great choice for office use due to its outstanding ergonomics. It might take some time getting used to the split keyboard design, but once you do, it's the best cheap ergonomic keyboard we've tested so far.
The best cheap keyboard for mobile devices that we've tested so far is the Logitech K380. It's a lightweight and compact keyboard that's easy to carry around. It connects via Bluetooth and operates on two AAA batteries, and its three-device multi-device pairing feature lets you multitask with ease. It doesn't have any backlighting which is understandable given that it runs on disposable batteries.
This keyboard uses scissor switches that are light to type on. The keys do require a bit of force to get over the tactile bump, but the general typing experience is still light and doesn't cause any fatigue. The keys have a circular shape that can help with typing accuracy and their short travel distance make the keyboard feel very responsive. Also, with its low profile, most people shouldn't need a wrist rest to type comfortably.
Sadly, there are only a few keys that are programmable and you can only choose from a preset list of functions, but you can also use its software on Windows or macOS. Still, the keyboard has excellent compatibility with most desktop operating systems as well as mobile ones. Overall, if you tend to work on mobile devices while you're out and about, the Logitech is the best cheap keyboard for mobile devices we've seen so far.
06/22/2020: Changed the Redragon K552 to the 'Best Cheap Keyboard' from 'Best Cheap Mechanical Keyboard'.
06/01/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap keyboards for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our keyboard reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no keyboard is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.