The 8 best budget mechanical keyboards

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best budget mechanical keyboards

The right mechanical keyboard can instantly improve a desktop setup for gamers, typists, and even casual computer users — and you don’t need deep pockets to own one. The best budget mechanical keyboards can maximize space and provide satisfying keystrokes for less than $100 dollars.

Unlike membrane keyboards, which use shallow silicone domes to register keystrokes, mechanical keyboards rely on spring-activated switches to process each press of a key. This results in a greater sense of control and precision as you type. There are three main switch types:

Once you’ve decided which type of switch you want, consider the keyboard size that’s best for your needs. There are three common sizes:

  • 100%, or full-size keyboards, have 104 keys or more. These are ideal for people who do loads of data entry or calculations.
  • 80%, or tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards, have roughly 87 keys. These are a convenient way to save space when you don’t need a number pad but prefer to keep function, arrow, and home cluster keys.
  • 60% keyboards are condensed to 61 essential keys. Their compact size makes them well suited for small desks and traveling.

Connectivity is another important feature. Many mechanical keyboards are wired and rely on USB or USB-C cables to operate. If you want a portable keyboard, look for something with Bluetooth connectivity. An added benefit to the Bluetooth keyboards below is that they are often compatible with devices other than PCs, such as tablets and smartphones.

The final factor is aesthetics. Mechanical keyboards come in myriad colors, and some have flashy features like colorful LED backlighting. Keycaps also come in different styles, from basic squares to rounded, vintage shapes. All of these features essentially come down to personal preference.

If you’re ready to upgrade your current keyboard at a reasonable price, these are the best budget mechanical keyboards on Amazon right now.

1. The overall best budget mechanical keyboard

  • Switch type: Linear
  • Number of keys: 87
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Compatible devices: PC

The details: With more than 22,000 five-star ratings, the Redragon K552-KR is one of the most popular and wallet-friendly mechanical keyboards on Amazon. The TKL model has 87 keys that are illuminated with rainbow backlighting, and linear switches provide smooth, fast-acting keystrokes. Extra features include a nonslip grip and splash-proof design, which is essential for marathon gamers who eat while playing. The wired keyboard connects to any USB port and is compatible with most Windows operating systems. Reviewers noted that it has limited functionality on Macs, but another added, “you will make it work due to how awesome the keys feel.”

Helpful review: “I gotta say, this is probably one of the best keyboards I have owned so far. [...] The build quality is excellent, honestly, I don't know how they are making money because this thing is solid [...] There is no bend or give to this thing, its literally like a rock, its a thing of beauty and brings a tear to my eye.”

2. The best mechanical keyboard for Macs

  • Switch type: Tactile
  • Number of keys: 84
  • Connectivity: Wireless and wired modes
  • Compatible devices: PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone

The details: For a mechanical keyboard that's compatible with Macs, the Keychron K2 is an unparalleled choice. The 75% size offers 84 keys with white backlighting, while brown, tactile switches beneath the caps produce a slight bump with each press. Although it works with Windows, the keyboard layout includes all necessary Mac function keys, which eliminates the need for remapping. A wireless Bluetooth connection allows you to use it with desktop computers, laptops, iPads, and smartphones, and the lithium polymer battery lasts 72 hours per charge. For those who prefer a wired connection, the keyboard can also be hooked up to devices using the included USB-C cord.

Helpful review: “I've been trying to break into the mechanical keyboard world for a while now, and I've finally found one that delivers. The Keychron K2 is pretty much perfect, especially at this price point. It's compact without being cramped and the keys have the right amount of click. It also looks really nice with orange accents and two shades of gray. There are a ton of backlight options as well. The fact that you can use it wired or wireless on both a Windows or Mac device is the Cherry switch on top. I honestly haven't found a single fault.”

3. The best customizable mechanical keyboard

  • Switch type: Linear, tactile, or clicky
  • Number of keys: 104
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Compatible devices: PC

The details: Those who like the layout and features of the Logitech K845 mechanical keyboard can have it with their switches of choice. It comes in linear, tactile, and clicky versions, each of which is classified by switch color — red, brown, and blue, respectively. The full-size keyboard has 104 keys, and white backlighting can be adjusted between five modes. It can also be tilted between 4 and 8 degrees for added comfort as you type. The keyboard is powered through a fixed USB cord, and one reviewer noted that “it works perfectly with Linux and Windows.” However, another pointed out that it can work just as well on Macs if the keys are manually re-mapped.

Helpful review: “Overall, this keyboard is very basic, but as a first mechanical keyboard I couldn't be happier. No bells, and the only whistle is the lights, which makes it a very easy recommendation for any level of typist or someone who wants a lot of bang for buck. It does what it says on the tin, and in my opinion, it does it well.”

4. The best compact mechanical keyboard

  • Switch type: Linear
  • Number of keys: 61
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Compatible devices: PC

The details: For a compact mechanical keyboard with portability, the Redragon 617 is a convenient option. The space-saving, 60% layout provides 61 keys with linear switches for smooth, quiet typing. There are 20 preset backlighting modes for dynamic effects, as well as an optional, nonslip stand that angles at 8 degrees to keep wrists comfortable as you type. The keyboard is compatible with any PC, and a removable USB-C cord makes it easy to travel with.

Helpful review: “The keyboard is almost better than expected. I think this is a great keyboard especially for those on a budget and who want to get something decent. [...] 10/10”

5. The best typewriter-style mechanical keyboard

  • Switch type: Clicky
  • Number of keys: 108
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Compatible devices: PC

The details: This typewriter-style keyboard by Royal Kludge combines old-school looks with high-tech functionality. It’s a full-size model with 108 round, retro-style keys that are reminiscent of a classic typewriter. Blue clicky switches provide a bump and audible click with each keystroke, while seven colors and 168 lighting modes add modern effects to your typing experience. Back legs allow for angle adjustment, and a detachable wrist rest provides extra support if you need it. Note that the wired USB connection should make this compatible with any PC, but one reviewer reported that it was incompatible with his Mac.

Helpful review: “If you have never used a old style keyboard before, this is going to be a learning curve for you. But after you have learned, your typing speed is going to see an increase as you are much more sure about what keys you have actually typed out as you can truly feel each stroke. [...] Over all, this is a nice quality keyboard and I hope it lasts a long time.”

6. The best mechanical keyboard for budget gaming builds

  • Switch type: Clicky
  • Number of keys: 104
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Compatible devices: PC

The details: This full-size mechanical keyboard by Havit is a popular model that costs less than $40. Its 104 keys employ blue clicky switches, which give you audible confirmation that your keystrokes have registered. The rainbow backlighting comes with 21 preset modes, and a mouse with seven light modes is also included. The keyboard runs on USB power and is compatible with Windows, but shortcut key combinations are not available with Mac and Linux systems. A number of Amazon reviewers noted that the price point for this keyboard is excellent for beginning gamers, while another added, “I mostly program with it instead of playing games, but it excels perfectly fine at both general tasks and 'performance' inputs.”

Helpful review: “Overall, this combo is an excellent option for budget gaming builds. They perform on par with those $100+ branded ones. [...] Will I buy this again? Well, this is my second set for another build, so yes. Highly recommended.”

7. The best compact mechanical keyboard for multiple devices

  • Switch type: linear, tactile, and clicky
  • Number of keys: 61
  • Connectivity: Wired and wireless
  • Compatibile devices: PC and gaming consoles

The details: If you want to maximize your desk space, the DIERYA compact mechanical keyboard is a smart choice for both gamers and typists. Its 60% layout comes with 61 backlit keys, and the switches are available in linear, tactile, and clicky versions. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to pair this keyboard with up to three devices, but a USB-C cable is also included if you prefer a wired connection. The keyboard not only works with PCs, but it can also be connected to Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles. A few reviewers noted hiccups when using it for Mac, but the keyboard has still earned more than 6,000 overall five-star ratings on Amazon.

Helpful review: “The size is perfect, it feels and sounds very solid (doesn't feel cheap in the slightest), the keys feel durable, and the whole thing looks very nice and understated. It even comes with a nice braided usb-c cable that has a right angle connector. [...] I am in love with this thing. Right now I see zero cons and I just want to sit here and type. The brown switches seem to be just right.”

8. The best mechanical keyboard according to Esports pros

  • Switch type: Linear
  • Number of keys: 88
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Compatible devices: PC

The details: The CORSAIR K70 is designed for serious gamers in search of a superior mechanical gaming keyboard. The space-saving TKL design uses silver linear switches that register keystrokes at lightning fast speed. Backlighting can be programmed to match your team's colors, and a detachable USB-C cable makes it easy to pack if you travel for Esports events. There's even a tournament switch, which provides static backlighting and reduces distractions during tournament play. Although the Windows-friendly keyboard has limited functionality on Mac and Linux operating systems, it still boasts the endorsement of popular professional gamers — including CS:GO player syrsoN — and it has more than 6,400 five-star ratings on Amazon.

Helpful review: “The quality of the keyboard is absolutely top notch. The solid metal construction, the wrist rest, the packaging, the RGB lighting. All amazing. I could easily see this keyboard lasting me the rest of my life.”

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