Whether you're a casual or serious gamer, looking for a gaming keyboard that suits your needs is difficult, and models can get very pricey. Luckily, there are options on the market for less than $100. Although most of them will lack the features found on higher-end keyboards, like extra macro keys, better build quality, or sometimes even full RGB lighting, they're still reliable for gaming. When looking for a gaming keyboard, it's important to take into account which types of switches you're most comfortable with, as some come with mechanical switches while others have rubber dome switches, which feel mushier than mechanical ones.
We've tested over 105 keyboards, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards under $100 that are available for purchase. Also, see our recommendations for the best keyboards, the best mechanical keyboards, and the best keyboards for gaming.
The best gaming keyboard under $100 with mechanical switches we've tested is the SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Although it doesn't use typical mechanical switches, it has hybrid switches that give you the tactile feedback of a mechanical one and the soft touch of a rubber dome switch.
It's excellent for gaming and comes with the same features as other SteelSeries keyboards, but for under $100. It has individually-lit keys, an OLED screen, and a scroll wheel. The SteelSeries Engine software is compatible with both Windows and macOS. You can also customize its RGB lighting, set macros, or reprogram any key, and it has onboard memory. The keys are easy to press, ensuring your actions are registered quickly.
Unfortunately, the keys are loud and will distract others around you in an office environment, but that shouldn't be a problem if it's for your at-home setup. Luckily, it's really well-built and comes with a wrist rest. Overall, this is a very good model, making it the best mechanical keyboard under $100 we've tested.
If you're looking for a small option to have more space for your mouse, then the Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is a fantastic alternative. Its software doesn't offer cloud sync like the SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, but it's a 60% compact model that has an excellent build quality and has all the gaming features you need. It has full RGB backlighting with individually-lit keys, you can set each key to a macro, and it's available in a variety of switches, so you can get the one you like. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a wrist rest or any incline settings, but it connects with up to four devices at once via Bluetooth.
If you're looking for the best mechanical gaming keyboard under $100, the SteelSeries is an excellent choice, but if you want something smaller, you can't go wrong with the Obinslab.
The best gaming keyboard under $100 with a wireless connection that we’ve tested is the Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. This TenKeyLess mechanical model connects with up to two different devices at the same time, either via the USB receiver or through Bluetooth. It’s also rechargeable, so you don’t have to worry about changing batteries in the middle of your game. However, its ergonomics are only decent as it’s a straight board with only one incline setting and a wrist rest that feels a little cheap.
It's only available with linear Cherry MX Red switches, which require a bit of force to actuate and offer no tactile feedback. The pre-travel distance is also slightly longer than other gaming keyboards, though the switches still feel very responsive and shouldn’t cause any fatigue. It has some extra features, like dedicated media keys and a Windows lock that prevents you from accidentally minimizing your game, and although there aren’t any dedicated macro keys, you can reprogram or set macros to any normal one.
Unfortunately, the backlighting is limited to a single blue color, but at least the keys are individually lit and you can control the brightness directly on the board. The build quality is also only decent, as the frame is made out of plastic that feels a little cheap. That said, if you’re looking for a gaming keyboard that’s both wireless and under $100, this is an excellent choice.
The best gaming keyboard under $100 with non-mechanical switches that we’ve tested is the Razer Ornata V2. This full-sized model uses clicky Razer Mecha-Membrane switches, which feel a lot like typical rubber dome switches, but with the addition of audible feedback. It provides a good typing experience, but due to the longer pre-travel, it might not feel as responsive as some other gaming keyboards with mechanical switches.
It has good ergonomics thanks to its detachable wrist rest and two incline settings. It also has full RGB backlighting that’s easily customizable within the Razer Synapse 3 software, and there are a few extra features like dedicated media keys, a wheel for volume, and a Game Mode that acts as a Windows key lock. It’s also possible to macro-program any key, although there aren’t any dedicated ones.
Unfortunately, the build quality is only decent, as its frame is made out of plastic and has a lot of flex to it. Also, the software is only compatible with Windows, and there’s no onboard memory to save your settings. That said, this is an excellent option if you don’t want mechanical switches, and is one of the best gaming keyboards we’ve tested at this price point.
If you’re looking for something even more affordable, take a look at the SteelSeries Apex 3. It doesn’t have individually backlit keys, and its typing quality isn’t as good as the Razer Ornata V2, but it feels better-built and comes with a lower price tag. It has a solid plastic frame that doesn’t exhibit too much flex and its keys are very stable. It has dedicated media keys, a volume wheel, and a few hotkeys to control the RGB lighting brightness, set macros to any key, and change profile. It uses standard rubber dome switches with a tactile bump and a fairly long pre-travel distance, so it may feel quite unresponsive. Also, using it for long gaming sessions can be tiring for some, but at least it comes with a wrist rest.
If you want an excellent non-mechanical gaming keyboard with better typing quality, choose the Razer, but if you prefer something that feels more solid with a lower price tag, go with the SteelSeries.
The best gaming keyboard under $50 we’ve tested is the Redragon K552-RGB. It’s a compact TenKeyLess model with a simple but functional design. Its build quality feels great and robust, as it’s made of a mix of hard plastic and metal, with no signs of flex. The keycaps are made out of doubleshot ABS, and also feel very stable and nice to the touch, though the space bar has a slight wobble.
It comes with Outemu Blue clicky tactile switches that don’t require too much force to actuate and give good feedback. It also has a short pre-travel distance and should be responsive enough for gaming. That said, there’s an audible click when a key is registered, which can feel satisfying, though it doesn’t quite align with the actuation and can be quite loud. It has full RGB backlighting, but keep in mind that the customization options are a bit limited.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any software support and doesn’t have any macro programmable keys. The ergonomics are also only okay, being a straight board with one incline setting and no wrist rest. Nonetheless, this is a decent gaming model that offers good value and is one of the best cheap keyboards we've tested.
Feb 12, 2021: Updated text for clarity and accuracy, no change in recommendations.
Aug 19, 2020: Added Razer Ornata V2 as Best Non-Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, changed SteelSeries Apex 3 to an alternative, moved Razer Cynosa Chroma to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming keyboards under $100 for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper product wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no keyboard that is difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all keyboards we've tested under $100. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no product is perfect for every use, most keyboards are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them. Be sure to know your key switch preferences before choosing.