If you're looking for a good keyboard on a tight budget, there are many options online. We've tested a number of them and have compiled a list of the best cheap keyboards to help you get the most bang for your buck. They may be cheap, but some can compete with significantly more expensive keyboards in terms of build quality, features, and typing experience. However, some cheap keyboards lack even the most basic features, and they're not worth getting if you can find better for a bit more.
We've tested over 140 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 budget keyboard for gaming with mechanical switches that we've tested is the Logitech G413. It's a simple entry-level keyboard that offers fantastic gaming performance, especially for its price. It's a well-built full-size model that comes with doubleshot ABS keycaps, but they do feel a bit cheap and develop shine easily.
The keyboard only comes with proprietary Romer-G Tactile switches, so you won't have to worry about choosing one switch over another, and you know what you're getting. The switches have a short pre-travel distance, are light to press, and offer good tactile feedback. The low latency helps provide a responsive gaming experience too. It has good ergonomics thanks to its incline settings, and the typing quality feels good, so you shouldn't experience any fatigue.
Unfortunately, even though it has individually lit keys, they're only available in red, so there's no RGB lighting. You can reprogram the function keys and set macros, but sadly, you can't customize any other key. It doesn't have onboard memory, but you can save the settings to its cloud sync feature. All things considered, if you want the best cheap keyboard for gaming, you should be happy with this one.
If you prefer something without a numpad in the TKL size, then check out the Redragon K552-RGB. It has higher latency than the Logitech G413, so it may not be ideal for competitive gamers, but it should be fine for more casual gamers. It also doesn't have dedicated software, so you can't set macros to any key either. However, the Redragon has full RGB backlighting with individually lit keys, and you can customize the lighting effects on the keyboard. It comes with Outemu Blue switches, which are light to press and offer decent typing quality, but they're loud if you want to use them in a noise-sensitive environment.
If you're in the market for the best budget keyboard for gaming with mechanical switches, you can't go wrong with the Logitech. However, if you don't need macro-programmable keys and want something smaller, then check out the Redragon.
The best budget keyboard for gaming with non-mechanical switches that we've tested is the EVGA Z12. Although it's a low-cost model, it has features that are similar to higher-end models. The non-mechanical switches are good for those first trying out gaming keyboards and who don't want to spend more on mechanical keyboards.
It's a full-size model with five extra macro keys, and you can reprogram any key through the dedicated software. It has RGB backlight, but since the keys aren't individually backlit, you can only customize five different zones. It has good ergonomics because it has two incline settings, but it doesn't come with a wrist rest. The EVGA Membrane switches are light to press, especially for rubber dome switches, but typing quality isn't special because they feel a bit mushy.
Unfortunately, the latency is on the high side for a gaming keyboard, which is disappointing, but this is the trade-off for having a cheap keyboard. Its build quality isn't anything special because the ABS keycaps feel cheap, and the plastic frame flexes a lot. If that doesn't bother you, it's still the best budget keyboard with non-mechanical switches that we've tested.
The best budget keyboard with a Bluetooth connection we’ve tested is the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard. This full-size model is a good option for the office. It feels solid even though the frame is plastic, and its keys are stable. It has good typing quality and is well-suited for open environments as typing on it is very quiet.
It uses standard rubber dome switches that require a bit of force to go over the tactile bump. This results in a heavier typing experience, but the pre-travel distance is short, so it still feels responsive. It also has some extra features, like the select function keys that you can use for media control or remap to almost any other function you want.
Unfortunately, while it works with almost any device with a Bluetooth connection, it doesn’t support multi-device pairing, and it uses disposable batteries. It also doesn’t have any backlighting and lacks a wrist rest or incline settings to make it more comfortable. That said, if you need something that easily connects via Bluetooth, this is a good option for its price and is one of the best cheap keyboards we've tested.
If you want something better suited for use with mobile devices, check out the Logitech K380. This 65% keyboard doesn't have navigation keys or a numpad, and you can't set macros to any key like on the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard, but its smaller size makes it easier to travel with. Also, it supports multi-device pairing, so you can pair it with up to three devices at once via Bluetooth and quickly switch between them. The scissor switches are very quiet, and although they require some force to actuate the key, the overall feeling remains light. Unfortunately, it also doesn't have backlighting, making the key legends hard to see in dark rooms.
If you're looking for a full-size Bluetooth keyboard, go with the Microsoft, but if you want a model that's easier to carry around with multi-device pairing, get the Logitech.
The best budget keyboard with an ergonomic design that we've tested is the Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard. It has three incline feet below its fixed wrist rest that create a negative angle, designed to put your hands at a more natural typing position. It uses rubber dome switches with a tactile bump that requires some force to get over.
It can pair with two devices simultaneously via Bluetooth and its wireless receiver, and you can shift between them thanks to a switch on the underside of the board. It's compatible with a wide range of operating systems, including iOS and Android, but some function keys only work on Windows. There are media hotkeys, a calculator button, and a Windows lock button on the function row.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have backlighting, so it may be hard to see the keys in a dim-lit room. Also, while the build quality feels decent, the keyboard has a lot of flex, and the keycaps feel wobbly and cheaply made. There's no companion software, so you can't set macros, create profiles, or remap any of the keys. If you're looking for a cheap keyboard with an ergonomic design, this is a great option.
Oct 15, 2021: Replaced the SteelSeries Apex 3 with the EVGA Z12 because it's better and costs less; added the Apex 3, HyperX Alloy FPS RGB, Obinslab Anne Pro 2, and ROYAL KLUDGE RK61 to Notable Mentions.
Aug 17, 2021: Moved the Logitech K380 from 'Best Cheap Keyboard For Mobile Devices' to 'Mobile Alternative' of the 'Best Cheap Bluetooth Keyboard' for consistency across recommendations.
Jun 18, 2021: Moved the Redragon K552 to an alternative pick and added the Logitech G413 as the main pick for consistency; moved the SteelSeries Apex 3 to its own category; updated the Notable Mentions.
Apr 20, 2021: Added Logitech G413 to Notable Mentions.
Feb 19, 2021: Verified that recommended keyboards are still the best picks and that they're available.
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.