You might think you need to shell out a small fortune to get a good keyboard. Well, we're here to tell you that isn't the case. We've bought and tested a lot of keyboards, over 185 to be more precise, and through all that testing, we've found five standout models that we consider to be the best budget keyboards available. Though they're cheap, they still offer a solid build quality and a satisfying typing experience.
Many of the keyboards on this list use scissor or rubber dome switches, so if you're interested in a purely mechanical option, check out our recommendations for the best budget mechanical keyboards. Or, if you're looking specifically for a gaming keyboard with a low price point, there are our picks for the best gaming keyboards under $100. If none of those work for you, there's always our best keyboards article.
While we've tested quite a few keyboards, we've only found one that hits the perfect balance between a low price point and high functionality: the Logitech K380. This compact model is a favorite among students for its portability, wireless versatility, and ease of use. As a fully wireless unit, you'll never have to worry about bringing around charging cables as it uses two AA batteries for power, lasting up to 24 months with a fresh set.
It only connects with Bluetooth, so you won't run the risk of losing a USB receiver anywhere. You can pair it with up to three devices at once and easily switch between devices using hotkeys on the function row. The base version comes with both Windows and macOS legends printed on it, but there's a Mac-specific variant available with a few different color schemes if you're only in a Mac ecosystem. Considering its price point and versatility, it's an exceptional little unit with great build quality, though it may take a bit of time to get used to the smaller-sized circular keycaps.
Many gaming keyboards come with a fairly steep price tag, so it can be a bit difficult to find a good unit with a cheap price tag. Fortunately, there's the EVGA Z12. This keyboard has many features, like full RGB backlighting, five macro keys, and dedicated media keys. It also has companion software to let you customize the lighting and program macros, and the Z12 even has onboard memory to save your custom settings.
Of course, as it's a cheap board, it has some downsides. Namely, the latency isn't as low as more expensive options, but it's still low enough to handle casual gaming and slower-paced games. Plus, the rubber dome switches feel a bit mushy to press, but they're surprisingly light and extremely quiet during operation, making it a good choice if you're looking for a gaming board to use in shared spaces like dorms or a living room. All told, it's a great entry-level board that gives you a taste of all the most common gaming features without the steep price tag.
The Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard is the most straightforward keyboard on this list, making it a great choice for the office or the less tech-savvy. It only connects with one device at once using Bluetooth, so you can use it with any mobile device, tablet, PC, or TV that supports a Bluetooth connection.
You might not expect this cheap unit to be one of the quietest keyboards we've tested, but it is. Thanks to the rubber dome switches, and soft-touch covering that goes all around the keyboard, it's nearly silent to type on. It's also fairly satisfying to type on as the rubber dome switches have good tactility, so you'll always know when you've registered a key press. It's important to note that this keyboard frequently goes on sale, so be sure to check in frequently if you're eyeing it up.
If you tend to work off iPads, tablets, or even your mobile phone, we recommend the Logitech K480. It's a compact unit that's very similar in design to our top pick, the Logitech K380, but features a built-in device tray so you can prop your mobile devices up at a nice viewing angle while in use. It only connects with Bluetooth and pairs with up to three devices at once, and you can switch between devices using a nifty little dial in the corner. It comes with two AAA batteries for power, which can last up to two years before you need to replace them.
It uses rubber dome switches, which provide good resistance to help you from making typos and missed presses. They're also extremely quiet to use, so if you work in libraries or co-working spaces, you won't bother anyone around you. As with any cheap keyboard, there are a few downsides, like a lack of backlighting, and a cramped typing experience at first. But, that said, it's still a decent-feeling board that's great if you need something to work with while you're on the go and using mobile devices.
Dec 16, 2022: Text updated for clarity and accuracy; no changes to picks.
Oct 18, 2022: Updated the text of the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard entry for clarity and accuracy.
Aug 19, 2022: Re-categorized the article to better reflect current market conditions and user needs; altered the intro for readability.
Jun 21, 2022: Overhauled picks and recommendation categories to better align with user expectations.
Apr 12, 2022: Text updated for clarity and readability; no changes to picks.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best budget 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.