Great gaming setups can cost thousands of dollars — but they don't necessarily have to. You can find high-quality hardware at reasonable prices, especially when shopping online. The best gaming keyboards under $50, for example, have more than enough features to vastly improve your gaming experience.
First thing's first: membrane keyboards versus mechanical keyboards. Mechanical keyboards have individual, color-coded switches (which indicate their specific resistance levels) underneath each key. Due to those individual switches, mechanical keyboards are typically louder and have a more tactical feel, so they make it easier to type smoothly without looking. They're also more durable and often preferred among serious gamers.
Membrane keyboards, on the other hand, register keystrokes with connected pressure pads. They're harder to personalize and type on — but they're also quieter, more affordable, and easier to transport. Since you're looking for keyboards at a lower price point, most of your options will be membrane. That said, you can still find a few great mechanical keyboards under $50, though you may have to compromise on other features.
Next, as always, check your compatibility before purchasing. Most keyboards have wide compatibility across Windows operating systems (even older ones), but especially if you game on a Mac or a non-PC console, your options will be significantly more limited.
Finally, narrow down your pick using the availability of specific features. Anti-ghosting, for example, is recommended for gaming, as it allows you to press multiple keys at once and ensure that they all register. Then there's ergonomics, wrist support, and multimedia keys, which are convenient, but not necessary. Other features, like personalized backlighting and overall appearance, are entirely dependent on your preferences.
With all that in mind, check out some of the best gaming keyboards in varying categories — and none of them will run you more than $50.
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The Overall Best Gaming Keyboard Under $50
The overall best pick is at the top of this price point — but according to reviewers, it's worth it. With their K55 gaming keyboard, Corsair has created a sleek, comfortable, programmable option at a great price. First, let's talk about functionality: This keyboard offers six dedicated keys for custom macros, as well as volume and multimedia controls so you can personalize the sound without interrupting your game. Next, there's comfort and ease of use. It has adjustable heights and a built-in rest to minimize wrist fatigue, not to mention quiet, responsive keys with anti-ghosting capabilities. Last but not least, this keyboard offers three-zone RGB backlighting with 10 preconfigured modes for various lighting effects.
Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista
Reviewers say: "I love everything that is in this keyboard. The macro keys, the multimedia keys, the relaxing mouse pad and those sexy RGB lights. [...] If someones looking for a keyboard under $50, this one is the best."
The Most Affordable Gaming Keyboard
If you're intent on sticking to a strict budget, look no further than the Havit gaming keyboard, which currently costs just $20 in black and $32 in white. Even though it's shockingly affordable, it offers all the best features: a rainbow LED backlight, an ergonomic wrist rest, multimedia combination keys, four adjustable heights, and a plug-and-play USB cord. It also comes with a 3200-DPI, six-button mouse, which cycles through seven vivid colors and has an epic root pattern on it. You can't customize the colors of either the mouse or the keyboard, but at this price point, it's still a solid option.
Compatibility: Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and Mac OS
Reviewers say: "I bought this keyboard to find an improvement on my previous keyboards and instead discovered the true meaning of love. Its a beautifully crafted piece of mastery, and at its price, we should all be singing of Lord Havit's grace."
The Best Mechanical Keyboard Under $50
As previously discussed, mechanical keyboards have switches underneath each key, which give them the tactical feel that most gamers prefer. This K552 keyboard from Redragon partially utilizes switches that are equivalent to Cherry MX blue, so they're clicky, heavy, loud, and have a long lifespan — all for $33. It cuts costs by remaining 60% mechanical and minimizing backlight options (hope you like red), but it still has a metal alloy base, an ergonomic shape, and a splash-proof design. All in all, it's one of the smoothest keyboards at this price point and offers some serious bang for your buck.
Type: Mechanical, blue switches
Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Limited Mac OS
Reviewers say: "I can't believe that since I started PC gaming more than a decade ago I've been buying cheap $20-$30 rubber dome keyboards because I assumed that I couldn't afford a mechanical. When I saw this keyboard I assumed that it had to have some kind of catch to it, that there's no way that a real mechanical keyboard could be this cheap. Well, I've got good news, this keyboard is the real deal."
The Quietest Option
HyperX is well-known for their gaming headsets, but their Alloy Core gaming keyboard offers the same quality, durability, and comfort as their other products. Most importantly, however, it's the best pick for someone who games until all hours of the night — and needs to remain silent while doing so. The lightweight frame and anti-ghosting, soft-touch keys make virtually no sound while typing. Additionally, this unit offers customizable LED lighting, a spill-resistant design, quick-access buttons, and dedicated media controls.
Compatibility: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10
Reviewers say: "This is the quietest keyboard I’ve ever encountered and I love it. I have a sensitivity to noise like no other, and my husband is a PC gamer. After three and a half years of maddening clicks, arguments, and a lot of frustration, we tested several 'silent' gaming keyboards and this was by far the best of the bunch. This keyboard was worth every penny and I’d buy it again in a heartbeat."
The Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard
Full disclosure — wireless gaming keyboards at this price point are likely not suitable for pro gaming; top-of-the-line options typically cost double or triple. That said, for casual gaming, the Klim wireless keyboard is considered one of the best. Even though it's cordless and rechargeable, it has a quick response time and supposedly performs just as well as its wired counterparts. Since it weighs less than a pound, lasts for several hours on a single charge, and works from dozens of feet away, it's a great option for those who prefer to game from their couch or bed. It also has adjustable brightnesses, three modes, and a durable frame.
Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Mac
Reviewers say: "Great wireless gaming keyboard at a price that's scary cheap. [...] I'm a gamer and have had zero issues. It has quick response time (I can't tell the difference between this and my wired Razor Black Widow keyboard.)"
The Most Durable Gaming Keyboard
Crumbs, dust, accidental spills, rage quits — this keyboard can stand up to it all. The VicTsing is fully waterproof and extremely durable, all thanks to its mechanical design and ABS plastic construction. The red switches have passed the 60-million keystroke test, and buyers say it shows no signs of wear and tear even after a couple years of regular use. In addition to the longevity, you can expect anti-ghosting capabilities, nearly countless lighting options, 12 multimedia shortcut keys, a detachable ergonomic wrist rest, and relatively quiet sound output (for a mechanical).
Type: Mechanical, red switches
Compatibility: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and Mac OS
Reviewers say: "Had this keyboard for a month now, by far one of the best budget keyboards I have purchased [...] It is advertised as sold, truly water resistant as I have rinsed off the keyboard after accidentally spilled soda onto my keyboard. Great keyboard for typing on and gaming with."
The Best Ergonomic Keyboard
For gamers who are at a computer for hours a day, an ergonomic keyboard can help to minimize discomfort and poor circulation. That said, most ergonomic designs (like split and contoured keyboards) are well over $100, especially when they're made for gaming. Microsoft, luckily, offers one for just $37. While it's still one single piece, the angled keys, wave shape, and break in the middle accommodate the natural positioning of your hands while typing. It also has a cushioned palm rest and an integrated lift for added support. Besides some media keys, this one is pretty light on the features — no rainbow illumination here — but gamers say it's a worthy sacrifice if comfort is your top priority.
Compatibility: All Windows operating systems; Mac OS may have to install enclosed software.
Reviewers say: "As a software developer that spends 40+ hours a week working at a computer desk, and additional hours for gaming, this has been a very comfortable keyboard solution. [...] Before I purchased this ergonomic keyboard five years ago, I had many issues with wrist/shoulder pain. With this keyboard along with a good mouse, and chair, I don't have nearly the same degree of issues with extended use."
The Best One-Handed Gaming Keyboard
A one-handed keyboard (sometimes referred to as a keypad) is a great option if you're looking for portability and clutter-reduction, as well as if you're gaming on a laptop or using VR. Some gamers also add them to their existing setups for additional key access. At this cost bracket, the Redragon K585 is one of the best one-handed keyboards you can get. Even though it's slim and ergonomically designed, it provides all the basic keys you'd need for gaming, plus seven programmable macro keys and function keys. This option also offers full anti-ghosting, a detachable magnetic wrist rest, five backlit modes with countless color options, a clicky, tactile mechanical experience, and a USB pass-through port to connect your mouse or charge your phone.
Type: Mechanical, blue switches
Reviewers say: "I always game competitively with mechanical switch keyboards but I typically (like 99%) of the one only use half of it. Having this half keyboard allows me to have my gaming keyboard, typing keyboard, and gaming mouse in perfect reach. It’s stable with the rubber supports on the bottom. I slay with this thing."
The Best All-In-One Gaming Bundle
If you're new to gaming and you're looking to cover all your bases in one single, affordable purchase, the Redragon gamer bundle offers everything you need to get started — at a shockingly low price. For $44, you get an ergonomic, backlit keyboard with adjustable RGB modes, brightness levels, and multi-media keys. You also get an adjustable 3200 DPI gaming mouse with six buttons, a lightweight stereo headset with memory foam cushions, a built-in microphone, and 40-millimeter directional drivers, and a large, silk-like mouse pad for precise movements. With over 1,000 reviews and a 4.3-star rating, buyers are obviously impressed with the overall quality and value of this combo.
Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, Limited Mac OS
Reviewers say: "This bundle is the best [money] I’ve spent in who knows how long. The mouse is made well and looks like it won’t be having buttons or side grips falling off like others I’ve had in the past. The headset quality is great, and the keyboard is cool too. Did I mention the free mousepad that’s waterproof?"