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 quite solid and can even use standard switches like the Cherry MX or proprietary ones.
We've tested over 120 keyboards, and below is a list of our top recommendations for the best cheap 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, have low pre-travel distance, and offer 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, which is still good 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 in case you want to reprogram them. All things considered, 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 at least this variant has full RGB lighting and costs less than the Logitech G413. It's a pretty basic keyboard that comes 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 cheap 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 best budget mechanical keyboard under $100 that we’ve tested is the SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. This wired-only option feels very solid and durable, thanks to its aluminum alloy top and doubleshot ABS keycaps. It also has good ergonomics as it comes with a wrist rest and one adjustable incline setting.
It uses proprietary SteelSeries Hybrid Blue Mechanical switches that feel very responsive and have a satisfying tactile bump as well as an audible click when a key is actuated. The keyboard comes with a good number of extra features, like an OLED screen that can show you almost anything you want and a Windows key lock to prevent you from minimizing your game accidentally. It's also highly customizable within the user-friendly SteelSeries Engine software.
Unfortunately, typing on it is fairly loud due to the audible click of the switches. It also doesn’t have any dedicated macro keys, but you can reprogram any key. It has full RGB backlighting, which is great for dark-room gaming, and you can easily control its brightness directly on the board. If you're looking for an exceptional mechanical gaming keyboard for under $100, this is an excellent choice.
The best wireless mechanical keyboard for less than $100 that we’ve tested is the Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. It's quite 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 a bit of 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 something in a compact design, then check out the Obinslab Anne Pro 2. It doesn't have a wrist rest like the Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, but it's available in more switches, so you can get the ones you prefer. We tested Gateron Brown switches, which are very light to use, and the typing quality feels excellent thanks to the doubleshot PBT keycaps. The Anne Pro 2 can connect with up to four devices at once via Bluetooth, and you can even use it wired to get very low latency. Every key is macro-programmable through the ObinsKit software, and you can customize the RGB lighting. Unfortunately, the compact size may take some time to get used to, and it doesn't have any incline settings.
If you're looking for the best budget mechanical keyboard with wireless connectivity, you should enjoy the Corsair, but if you need something smaller then the Obinslab is a good alternative.
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.
Dec 18, 2020: Updated text for clarity and structure; no changes in product picks.
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.