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 budget 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. You can find a lot of office keyboards for cheap, and there are even some mechanical keyboards, and finding the right keyboard for your needs depends on your usage.
We've tested over 160 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 mechanical keyboard that we've tested is the EVGA Z15. This full-size gaming keyboard comes packed with features normally found on more premium keyboards, including full RGB backlighting that you can customize on a per-key basis, dedicated media keys, a volume wheel, and an included wrist rest for extra support.
You can get this keyboard in clicky Kailh Speed Bronze or linear Speed Silver switches. We tested the version with the Bronze switches and found they provide a light typing experience with a short pre-travel distance. However, this board is hot-swappable, so you can replace the stock switches easily without having to solder. Also, its latency is extremely low, making it a great choice if you're looking for an affordable and customizable option for gaming.
Unfortunately, it comes with ABS plastic keycaps, prone to developing shine from finger oils. However, it's normal from a budget board, and you can always replace the keycaps if you want to. With that said, it's still our top pick for the best budget keyboard we've tested.
If you're short on desk space, the best cheap compact keyboard we've tested is the Redragon Dragonborn K630 RGB. Its compact 60% size opens up more space on your desk, which is great if you play games with a low-sensitivity mouse and need extra space to line your shots up.
It comes with your choice of clicky, linear, or tactile Redragon mechanical switches, and it's hot-swappable, so you can change out the stock switches without soldering. Although the keyboard is limited on extra features due to its size, you can reprogram all of its keys through the dedicated software, and your settings stay saved to the keyboard's onboard memory, meaning you can access them even on a computer that doesn't have the software running.
Sadly, its latency is a bit high for competitive gaming, but it's good enough for casual gamers, and you shouldn't notice any delay while typing. Also, the alphanumeric keys have a bit of wobble, and the space bar feels very loose and unstable. However, this shouldn't pose an issue during typical use. That said, it's a good option if you're looking for a cheap mechanical keyboard in a compact size.
If you don't want to spend the extra money on mechanical switches, the best cheap gaming keyboard we've tested is the EVGA Z12. It uses EVGA's proprietary membrane switches, which feel light to press and actuate easily, making them a good choice for gaming as keypresses feel very responsive.
This full-size keyboard comes with a few extra features, like dedicated media keys and a Game Mode feature that disables the Windows key, so you won't accidentally minimize your game. Using the companion software, you can assign macros to any key, and customize the RGB backlighting. However, you can only customize the backlighting in five zones as the keys aren't individually lit.
Unfortunately, its latency is high for competitive gaming, but casual gamers will have no problem. Also, its plastic frame flexes a bit and the ABS keycaps feel cheap, but that's normal considering its cheap price point. With that said, it's a good choice if you're looking for an inexpensive starter board to put into your gaming setup.
The best cheap office keyboard we've tested is the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard. It's a full-size model designed for use in the office and connects wirelessly using Bluetooth. However, it's important to note that it doesn't support multi-device pairing, which could be a downside if you use devices like a tablet or laptop alongside your main work PC.
The rubber dome switches inside the board feel similar to other rubber dome keyboards, though there's a bit of force required to get over the tactile bump. While this results in a heavier typing experience, it means you're less likely to make typos as it's a bit more difficult to accidentally press a key. Though it doesn't come with dedicated media keys, they're still accessible in the functions row as hotkeys, so you won't have to minimize your work to skip through playlists or lower your volume. Also, you won't have to worry about any cables, as it uses two AAA batteries for power.
Unfortunately, it lacks backlighting, so it's not a good choice if you tend to work in a dark environment as your keys will be harder to see. Also, it doesn't have any incline settings or come with a wrist rest, so its ergonomics are only decent. If you're looking for a cheap keyboard to use in the office, this is a good choice.
If you're looking for a cheap ergonomic board for your office setup, the best we've tested is the Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard. It has a curved shape and a split layout to help reduce the strain on your wrists. The three incline settings angle the board at a negative incline, providing a more natural posture for your wrists, and it comes with a comfy wrist rest attached.
It connects wirelessly using Bluetooth and with its dedicated USB receiver, and you can pair it with one device on each connection type simultaneously. It's great if you have a multi-device setup since you can easily switch between devices using a toggle on the bottom of the board. You won't have to worry about cable management as the board uses two AAA batteries for power. Also, the rubber dome switches are fairly light to type on and provide decent tactile feedback to know when a key's been registered.
Unfortunately, it's a large keyboard that takes up a lot of space on your desk, and you can't detach the wrist rest to free up more space. Its typing quality isn't anything special, as the rubber dome switches feel mushy, and the keys have a noticeable wobble. With that said, it's a budget-friendly and comfortable option if you don't want to spend a fortune on an ergonomic board.
The best cheap mobile keyboard that we've tested is the Logitech K380. It's a simple keyboard available in a compact size, and it's also lightweight, so you can easily slide it into your bag to carry around. You can connect with up to three devices at once over Bluetooth and switch between each at the touch of a button.
The low profile means your wrists rest directly on your work surface, so you aren't prone to strain from tilting your wrists upwards. The scissor switches provide a light typing experience, and while the circular-shaped keys may take a bit of getting used to, the design helps this compact board from feeling too cramped as the keys feel well-spaced from each other.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have any backlighting, so it will be hard to see the keys if you need to use them in a dark environment. While you can remap some function keys through the Logitech Options software, it's only available on Windows and macOS, so you can't do that with mobile software, and you're limited to a preset menu. With that said, it's still a great option if you're looking for a cheap keyboard to take with you on the go.
Apr 12, 2022: Text updated for clarity and readability; no changes to picks.
Feb 11, 2022: Moved the Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard to 'Best Cheap Ergonomic Keyboard'; no other changes to picks.
Dec 14, 2021: Restructured article to reflect user needs; replaced the Logitech G413 with the EVGA Z15 as the Best Budget, and removed the Redragon K552 as 'TKL Alternative'; added the Redragon Dragonborn K630 as 'Best Compact'; moved the Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless to the 'Ergonomic Alternative' to the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard, which was renamed to Best Office; moved the Logitech K380 to its own category; updated Notable Mentions based on changes.
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.
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.