If you're looking for a good keyboard on a tight budget, there are many options online. But are they good? 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.
We've tested over 130 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 double-shot 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 low 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 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 still 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 want something a bit smaller, then look into the Redragon K552-RGB. It doesn't have macro-programmable keys like the Logitech G413, but it has full RGB lighting with individually lit keys. It's only available in Outemu Blue switches, which also offer tactile feedback and are light to press, but they're clicky and loud in case you were considering it for an open-office environment. Despite its cheap price, it's very well-built with a plastic and metal frame, and the ABS keycaps feel stable. Sadly, the latency is on the high side, so it's not ideal for competitive, reaction-based gaming, but you might not notice it with lower games.
If you want the best budget keyboard with mechanical keys, you can't go wrong with the Logitech, but if you prefer something cheaper that's smaller, look into the Redragon.
The best cheap non-mechanical gaming keyboard we've tested is the SteelSeries Apex 3. It uses rubber dome switches, which require some force to get over the tactile bump, but they otherwise feel fairly light. It has a fairly high profile, but it comes with a magnetically attached wrist rest to help improve comfort.
It has 10-zone RGB backlighting, and you can adjust the brightness level directly from the keyboard. Also, all of its keys are macro-programmable, which you can set from the SteelSeries Engine software or directly on the board with the macro hotkey. There's a dedicated media key as well as a volume control wheel, making it easy to adjust your audio on the fly. While the latency is higher than on some other gaming keyboards, it should feel responsive for most casual games.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have onboard memory, so you can't keep your settings when you move to a computer without the software installed, but there is a cloud sync option if you have the software. Also, it has ABS keycaps instead of the more durable PBT keycaps, and its plastic frame exhibits some flex. Nonetheless, if you're looking for a cheap, non-mechanical keyboard that's still packed with cool features, this is a good choice.
The best budget keyboard with a Bluetooth connection that 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 quite 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% compact board doesn't have navigation keys or a Numpad, and you can't set macros to any F-keys 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 with the F1-F3 buttons. 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 board, 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 cheap 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 board has a lot of flex to it, 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 board with an ergonomic design, this is a great option.
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.
Dec 22, 2020: Updated text for clarity and structure, no changes in product picks.
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.