Building a gaming PC setup on a budget can be hard sometimes, but thankfully, having good peripherals can be done without breaking the bank. A mechanical keyboard is often considered the best option when it comes to gaming, and you can find some under $100. They might lack some high-end features, but for the most part, they're solid and can even use standard switches like the Cherry MX or proprietary ones.
We've tested over 140 keyboards, and below is a list of our top recommendations for the best budget mechanical keyboards. For more options, you can also check out our best mechanical keyboards, the best gaming keyboards, and the best gaming keyboards under $100.
The best budget mechanical keyboard that we've tested is the Logitech G413. This full-size gaming keyboard is versatile for other uses as well. Despite its low cost, it's still very well-made with a plastic frame and solid aluminum plate on top, so you shouldn't experience many issues with its build.
It's only available with proprietary Romer-G Tactile switches, which are light to press and have low pre-travel distance and good tactile feedback. Typing quality is good, and the keys are stable, but they can also feel a bit stiff and cause some fatigue after long periods of use. Click latency is very low, which is great for a responsive gaming experience. It has individually lit keys, but sadly it only has red backlighting, but at least you can still see your keys if you game in a dark room.
Unfortunately, even though you can reprogram the function keys, you can't reprogram any other key. That's somewhat expected for a cheap keyboard like this one, and at least the Logitech G HUB software is easy-to-use if you want to use it. Overall, this is the best cheap mechanical keyboard that we've tested.
If you want something smaller in a TenKeyLess size, then check out the Redragon K552-RGB. You can't reprogram any keys, but this variant has full RGB lighting and costs less than the Logitech G413. It's a pretty basic keyboard with Outemu Blue switches, which are clicky and provide a light and responsive gaming experience. Typing quality is decent as the keys feel nice to touch, but the click doesn't line up with the actuation, which can be annoying to some. Due to its size, it doesn't have a Numpad, but it still has media hotkeys. As mentioned, it doesn't come with dedicated software, so you can't customize any settings. Also, click latency is high and not ideal for competitive gaming.
If you want the best budget mechanical keyboard, then you can't go wrong with the Logitech, but if you want to spend less money for something smaller at the cost of programmable keys, then check out the Redragon.
The EVGA Z15 is the best mechanical keyboard under $100 that we've tested. It's a low-cost keyboard with a ton of features that makes it compete with more expansive models. It's full-size and comes with a comfortable wrist rest for good ergonomics, so you shouldn't feel fatigued during long gaming sessions.
It's available with linear Kailh Speed Silver and clicky Speed Bronze switches. The Bronze switches we tested have a short pre-travel distance, are light to press, and offer some tactile feedback, just not as much as other clicky or tactile switches. Click latency is low for a responsive gaming experience. You can reprogram and set macros to every key through the EVGA Unleash RGB, and it has full RGB backlighting with individually lit keys.
Unfortunately, the switches on our unit are too loud for a noise-sensitive environment, but the linear ones should be quieter. Also, the ABS keycaps are prone to shine, and the keys may feel too sensitive to some while typing, but it still provides a great typing experience. The keyboard is also hot-swappable, so you can put whichever compatible switches you prefer. Overall, it's one of the best budget mechanical keyboards we've tested.
The best wireless mechanical keyboard for less than $100 that we’ve tested is the Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. It's versatile and has good ergonomics thanks to the included wrist rest and the adjustable incline setting. You can connect it with two different devices at the same time, either with the USB receiver or via Bluetooth, and you can easily switch between them directly on the keyboard.
It uses linear Cherry MX Red switches, which require some force to actuate and don’t offer any tactile feedback. The switches feel very responsive, and typing on it shouldn’t cause any fatigue. It also has a few extra features, like dedicated media keys and a Windows key lock, and although there aren’t any dedicated macro keys for MMO players, it's possible to reprogram any key.
Unfortunately, the build quality is only decent, as it’s entirely made out of plastic that feels a bit cheap. Also, there isn’t any onboard memory or cloud sync feature, so you can’t keep your customization settings when you switch devices. Note that this keyboard has blue backlighting only, so fans of RGB may be disappointed. That said, among all the wireless options we've tested, this is the best cheap mechanical keyboard.
If you prefer a model that takes up even less space on your desk, consider the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. While it doesn't have dedicated media keys or dedicated arrow keys like the Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, it has full RGB backlighting, and it's a 60% compact keyboard, giving you more space to move your mouse while gaming. Also, it can pair with two more devices than the Corsair can, and its latency is significantly lower, so it should feel very responsive while gaming over a wired connection. It's available with a variety of Gateron, Kailh, and Cherry MX switches. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with any incline settings or wrist rest.
If you're looking for the best budget keyboard in the wireless category with dedicated media keys, arrow keys, and a function row, go with the Corsair. On the other hand, if you want a compact keyboard with RGB backlighting, get the Obinslab.
Oct 12, 2021: Replaced the SteelSeries Apex 5 with the EVGA Z15 because it provides better gaming performance for less; added the EVGA Z20, HyperX Alloy FPS RGB, Keychron K8, and Keychron C1 to Notable Mentions.
Aug 13, 2021: Verified availability of products and updated text for clarity and accuracy.
Jun 15, 2021: Added the Logitech G413 as the 'Best Cheap' and moved to the Redragon K552 to 'Smaller Alternative' for consistency purposes; moved the Obinslab Anne Pro to 'Compact Alternative' to the Corsair K63; moved the Razer BlackWidow Lite to Notable Mentions.
Apr 16, 2021: Added the HyperX Alloy Origins 60 as a Notable Mention; no change to main product picks.
Feb 16, 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 mechanical 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 mechanical 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.