Whether you're a casual or serious gamer, looking for a gaming keyboard that suits your needs is difficult, and they can get very pricey. Luckily, there are keyboards on the market for less than $100. Although most of them will lack the features found on higher-end keyboards, such as 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 reviewed over 60 keyboards so far, 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 so far is the SteelSeries Apex 5 Hybrid Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Although it doesn't use typical mechanical switches, it has a hybrid switch that gives you the tactile feedback of a mechanical one and the soft touch of a rubber dome switch.
This is an excellent gaming keyboard that comes with the same features as other SteelSeries keyboards but for under $100. It has individually-lit keys, an OLED screen that you can display anything you want on, 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 on it, and the keyboard 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 keyboard, making it the best mechanical keyboard under $100 we've seen.
If you're looking for a small keyboard 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 keyboard 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. It might cost you over $100, but you can also find it under that price.
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 wireless gaming keyboard under $100 we've tested so far is the Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. This TKL keyboard comes with Cherry MX Red linear switches and blue backlighting. The keyboard can be connected via its USB receiver or via Bluetooth, which makes it quite versatile.
The overall typing experience is great, and the linear switches don't have to go over a tactile bump before actuating, which is great for games. You can easily control your computer's volume thanks to dedicated media keys, and switching between devices is easy and quick. The USB cable also has an adapter for the receiver, which adds range and is easier to put closer to the keyboard, for better performance. It comes with a nice and fairly comfortable wrist rest, although it isn't plushy like some other high-end products.
Unfortunately, this keyboard is a bit cheaply made and doesn't feel the most durable. Also, it doesn't have dedicated macro keys, but every key can still be reprogrammed or set to macros. On the upside, the Corsair has a dedicated Windows Key lock that prevents your game from accidentally minimizing.
The best gaming keyboard under $100 with non-mechanical keys is the SteelSeries Apex 3. It has most of the features found on higher-end SteelSeries keyboards but with rubber dome switches, so if you're a casual gamer or if you're on a budget, it still provides decent performance.
Every key on this keyboard can be reprogrammed through the SteelSeries Engine software, which is available on both Windows and macOS. There are hotkeys that allow you to change profiles or set macros directly on the keyboard and change the backlighting brightness. There are also dedicated media keys, including a volume wheel. It has 10-zone RGB backlighting, which still has a few lighting presets, including a rainbow effect that makes it obvious where each zone is. This keyboard has good ergonomics as it has one incline setting and comes with a wrist rest.
Unfortunately, the keys are heavy to press so they don't provide the quickest gaming experience, and they're not ideal for long typing sessions. On the upside, the keyboard has a great build quality, and you shouldn't have many issues with it. Overall, the SteelSeries provides a decent gaming experience, making it the best non-mechanical keyboard in this price range we've seen so far.
If you want a non-mechanical gaming keyboard with individually-lit keys, consider the Razer Cynosa Chroma. It doesn't have a wrist rest, and its software isn't available on macOS like the SteelSeries Apex 3. However, it's full RGB backlighting can be customized on a per-key level. It has other good gaming features like macro programmable keys, and it has a 'Gaming' mode, which acts as a Windows Key lock, so you don't accidentally close your game while gaming. Unfortunately, the rubber dome switches are even harder to press than the SteelSeries, and it has a mediocre build quality.
Overall, the SteelSeries is the best non-mechanical gaming keyboard under $100 we've tested so far, but if you prefer individually-lit keys instead of zone lighting, the Razer is a good alternative.
The best cheap gaming keyboard under $100 we've tested so far is the Redragon K552-RGB. This TKL keyboard is very well-built for the price, and its base is made out of a metal alloy and feels durable.
It features full RGB backlighting that can only be controlled via the board directly and features clicky mechanical switches. The Outemu Blue switches have a fairly short travel distance and provide both tactile and audible feedback at each keypress. Its typing quality is decent, although it's quite noisy. Gamers will enjoy the TKL format as it allows more room for your mouse, especially when playing FPS games.
Unfortunately, the backlighting settings might be a bit complicated to understand at first as you don't have dedicated software to play around with the settings. While its form is great for FPS players, MMO players might be disappointed by the lack of macro buttons. Nevertheless, this keyboard is quite surprising for its price point and is one of the best gaming keyboards under $100 we've tested so far.
06/18/2020: Minor text and structure changes; no change in recommendations.
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 our keyboard reviews. 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.