A mechanical keyboard is a keyboard that features high-quality key switches that are usually spring-activated.
These key switches differ based on user preference or keyboard applications. Why would you need the best mechanical keyboards?
On average, a person types 39 words per minute. This is equivalent to over 10,000 keystrokes per hour and millions of clicks a year. That’s a lot for a regular computer keyboard to handle (Source).
Perhaps your keyboard isn’t equipped to endure all that wear. If so, you will find yourself struggling with dead keys, loose keycaps, and sticky buttons that you have to hold down for a few seconds to activate.
What makes mechanical keyboards special is an authentic tactile response. They are quite loud sometimes, but if you need extra speed and accuracy, this doesn’t matter a lot. Guys who need a keyboard for gaming will appreciate these added features for sure.
However Mechanical keyboards are not meant to be portable and convenient. If you want more comfortable typing during outdoor like traveling, consider buying a quality laser keyboard.
What is a Budget Mechanical Keyboard?
Mechanical keyboards are very similar to just about any other traditional keyboard. They are unique in that they have strong plastic key switches underneath each of the keys. There is also a stem which connects the key to the switch and moves down when you press each key.
As a whole, many people prefer mechanical keyboards since they have a durable design which makes them great for demanding tasks such as typing or gaming.
Those of you who are on a budget have come to the right place. Check out our list of the best budget mechanical keyboards this year.
5 Best Budget Mechanical Keyboards
Redragon’s Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with RGB LED has almost 90 custom mechanical switches designed to last long and perform excellently.
The mechanical keyboard also has LED RBG lights and uses rainbow backlit. It features double shot injection molded keycaps which offer crystal clear uniform backlighting, and the lettering doesn’t fade thanks to this.
The Redragon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard comes with an instruction booklet and is supplied in flat cardboard retail packaging. The coiled cable is kept in place with a Velcro cable tie, while the keyboard is wrapped in bubble wrap. Some deem this protection to the keyboard within the box to be insufficient.
The product comes with instructions in English, German, Chinese, French, and Spanish. While the booklet is quite thick, there are just two pages of use per language providing information on the additional functions of the product.
No Drivers or Software Needed
The keyboard is not shipped with any additional software or drivers, because they are not needed at all. The booklet indicates the keyboard runs on Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP.
According to the product listing, it is also compatible with Windows 10, but neither the listing nor the manual mention anything about Linux and Mac systems.
The programmable lighting function does not work with Mac systems. According to the manufacturer the keyboard can run on Mac.
Plug And Play
That’s it, in a nutshell. The OS installs any software required as soon as the keyboard is plugged in. You can use it in seconds after plugging it in. All features work without requiring additional software.
- Keyboard supports various operating systems
- There are 50 million keystrokes
- Never sacrifices comfort or performance during gaming sessions
- Ultra-durable keys
- Keyboard features sturdy metal alloy construction
- Insufficient shock / damage protection in packaging
This bestselling mechanical keyboard under $50 is equipped with three zones dynamic RGB backlighting along and more than ten preconfigured bright RGB lighting systems.
You have key remaps, strong actions, and combinations with six programmable macro keys. You can also benefit from multi-key anti-ghosting to ensure accurate simultaneous keystrokes.
The 100% anti-ghosting and full key rollover on USB guarantees speed and superior durability. The big font keycaps and advanced lighting control deliver dynamic, vibrant backlighting. Advanced macro and lighting programming for virtually unlimited game customization are enabled via CUE support.
Finally, the detachable soft-touch wrist rest and dedicated multimedia controls ensure easy connections, and the keycap sets serve aesthetic purposes with their interesting texture and contours.
Another thing that makes this keyboard a good choice is amazing programmability. For excessive gaming control, set up the extreme macros or re-assign any key. It will make a big difference in your gaming.
- Quiet and responsive, offering a satisfying sensation
- Features media control shortcut keys.
- Supports Windows 10/8/7/Vista
- Wrist rest
- Onboard macro recording
- The RGB lights are too bright.
- The Shift and Ctrl keys feel a little loose.
3. VicTsing Mechanical Gaming Keyboard With Blue Switches
This powerful keyboard is also plug and play, straight out of the box. Its mechanical keys are raised on a brushed black metal sheet, allowing the glowing LEDs to steal the spotlight.
These lights are so bright they dazzle even in the daytime. You’ll be the envy of all your gamer friends! this is one keyboard will get a few envious looks.
Perfect for Gamers
The keyboard is quite loud, and we can’t really judge if that is good or bad. We think it’s good both for gamers and office users, but it may get on a few more sensitive people’s nerves. Make sure you get a good wrist rest to go with it – unfortunately, it doesn’t come with one.
Lower Pitched Click
Initially, it seems like the VicTsing mechanical keyboard uses Cherry MX switches under the hood. When looking a bit deeper, it emerges that they actually use OUTEMU Blue Mechanical Switches, a clone switch. They produce a lower pitched click compared to the Cherry MX blue but have a very similar click point at around a half press.
This product from the well-known brand features 104 keys with nine lighting patterns and six colors with cool backlit. The keyboard also has anti-ghosting keys. Apart from this, it has a keycap puller attached, making the product perfect for both gaming and typing.
- There are 12 multimedia shortcuts.
- It is water resistant.
- One-year warranty
- It has 45 days of the money-back guarantee.
- It is too loud for some people
- No wrist rest
The Rii RK902 is a backlit gaming personal mechanical USB wired keyboard. It features automatic sleeping mode without operation and automatic backlight switch-off.
The keyboard is equipped with two stands on the back, so you can adjust the height depending on whether you are typing or playing a game. It is made of robust, sturdy material, guaranteeing sufficient protection from scratching and bumping.
Great Value For Money
This keyboard offers a full five customizable gaming lighting effects. Users can also adjust the effect speed and the brightness of the keys.
What Satisfied Purchasers Are Saying
A verified Amazon purchaser writes: “I love that this keyboard lights up. It makes gaming at night much easier if the lights are off and you can’t see the keys. The clicking noise of the keys enhances the experience, giving it a more vibrant, retro feel. This is the perfect gaming keyboard – I will always recommend this product to other buyers.”
Of course, there have been some negative reviews as well, mostly related to quality. Overall, however, the RK902 has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
- Can endure up to 50 million keystrokes
- Robust and sturdy
- Simple, easy to follow user manual
- Doesn’t make much noise
- Steady while typing
- The font used is hard to read.
- The wrist rest doesn’t come off
Our final choice is the Irealist mechanical keyboard. This product will help you a lot if your job involves a lot of typing. It has an extremely long life cycle and performs exceptionally well. It is durable, customizable, responsive, and comfortable compared to any standard keyboard and most mechanical ones.
The keyboard from the IREALIST brand offers gamers a top experience as well. Its easy-to-use multimedia key design and creative shape are definite pluses, mainly for aesthetic reasons. The keyboard is a combo product that comes with a mouse, enhancing both the gaming and the typing experience. The product is shipped with a mouse pad.
Generally, this is an impressive product that’s well worth the money. It has a nice feel, audible clicks, and some great LED light patterns that come with different modes and customization options. The IREALIST Mechanical Gaming Keyboard & Mouse Combo is on par with many mechanical keyboards that are up to 4 times more expensive.
- Optimal functioning
- Anti-ghosting alloy function
- Effortless to use
- The LED lights make this keyboard look really good
- Ergonomic design guarantees comfort to users
- The mouse is not stable
- The keyboard is clanky sometimes
Features of the Best Budget Mechanical Keyboards?
Although the price may be your top concern, finding the best budget mechanical keyboard means that you need to find a nice balance between price and quality. To help you make your search as smooth as possible, here are the features you should look for.
Familiar and Comfortable Design
As you probably know, keyboards can come in many different styles and designs. Usually, people opt for the best budget mechanical keyboard with a design that is familiar and comfortable for them to use.
Make sure that the key placement, size, and functions are all what you are accustomed to. The last thing you need to do is purchase a nice mechanical keyboard only to realize that it will be hard for you to get used to.
Universal OS Compatibility
Typically, any of the best budget mechanical keyboards will work across multiple operating systems, but it’s important to ensure that this is the case. Many people have made the mistake of getting a new mechanical keyboard only to realize that it won’t even work with their computer. For best results, make sure that it works universally across all the popular operating systems.
Click & Bump Key Feedback
As you are pressing each of your keys down, you should instantly be able to recognize this by feeling a bump as the switch is activated. As you release the key, any of the best budget mechanical keyboards will produce a soft “click” sound when the key goes back up to its normal position.
Unless you have mastered the exact position of each key on a standard keyboard, having backlit keys will help you see each of the buttons in the dark. Many people might also prefer this feature since it adds aesthetic value to the keyboard. If you want one of the best budget mechanical keyboards, you might expect the keys to have backlighting.
Strong and Durable Parts
From the housing to the switches and keys themselves, the parts should all be strong enough for the demanding requirements of gaming. Check out the materials which are used in all the parts and ensure that they will hold up.
If you want a great budget mechanical keyboard, check for features like a metal frame and the ability to handle over 50 million keystrokes.
Most Common Issues
- Key Size & Placement: The size of keys, space between them, and overall design of key placement are all things which aren’t always easy to adjust to. After all mechanical keyboards can come in many different sizes and designs.
- OS Compatibility: Keyboards are sometimes only designed for certain operating systems (OS). If you don’t check the OS compatibility, you can make the common mistake of getting a keyboard that doesn’t support your OS.
- Low Durability: The keys on your keyboard will be pressed countless times while constantly supporting the weight and force of your fingers. Although designed to provide durable keys, certain mechanical keyboards have keys that are much more easily broken than others.
In addition, Keyboards are meant to be used every time. But most of the people are not aware of cleaning it on time. Cleaning a keyboard is always recommended to achieve its best performance and durability.
What To Look For
If you’ve read by here so far, you may find yourself wondering what terms like “feels” mean. The jargon from manufacturers and users can be one of the most daunting aspects of buying your first mechanical keyboard.
This concept describes the physical switches the keyboard uses. For example, your feels may involve scissor switches, which technically are mechanical keyboards, but not in the conventional sense.
It may also include situations like rubber dome to ALPS, the buckling spring, and the more common Cherry MX. Topre is the best choice if you’re looking for high end feels.
Percentage of the Keyboard
The percentage is meant to be a general way of determining the size of a keyboard, which can correlate with the features of the keyboard in question. Sometimes, this is not the case. Below is a brief list of common percentages and types:
- 75%: Miniature layout with function keys.
- 65%/70%: Miniature layout with arrow keys and a total of 66 keys.
- 60%: 60 or 61 keys with no function key row.
- TenKeyLess: Full-sized keyboard without a number pad.
- TenKey: Full-sized keyboard with number pad.
The vast majority of keyboards are 60% or TenKey.
Switches are an endless world in and of themselves. Entire books have been dedicated to them. In an attempt to clarify them in laymen’s terms, we’ll say they are mechanisms that determine or actuate when the user has pressed a key on their keyboard.
Switches provide the tactile response when typing. They also affect how much noise is produced and the amount of pressure needed to press down.
Click & Bump
Click refers to the noise the switch makes when the key is depressed to the activation or actuation point. On the other hand, the bump is the tactile feedback the user receives when pressing a key.
Many people neglect these two features when looking for a keyboard. However, bear in mind that “click” and “bump” have an impact on the typing experience.
Another thing you need to take into account is the motion distance. It is the distance traveled between a fully actuated key (pressed) and fully extended keys (at rest).
Bear in mind that it can differ widely between various devices. For example, the movement distances of laptop keyboards are often shorter than those of desktop keyboards.
As mentioned earlier, mechanical keyboards are notably loud. Luckily, there are virtually silent models on the market these days.
Nevertheless, the noise will not be a big problem for you if you are gaming alone in a room. But if you’ll use your keyword in a room with other people or in an office, be sure to choose a mechanical keyboard that is quiet.
This is a question of user preference. If you have experience in touch typing, meaning you do not look at the keys while typing, then the backlight will probably not be an important thing to you. However, you will want to see your keyboard and keys when using it in the dark, so check if it comes with this feature.
Some high-end keyboards offer programmable lighting, which allows you to control which type of light is on at a certain time. There are also keyboards with flashy lighting modes. While looking attractive, all those bells and whistles add to the cost.
Recognize A Good Deal
You don’t need to spend more than $50 on a mechanical keyboard that will serve you for life. That’s the point of this review! Feel free to read other reviews or look around. You need to research and experiment with different grade keyboards to make an informed decision.
Factors that go into this decision include establishing whether you need to go with a high-end switch or a more affordable model, whether you need a number pad or not, whether you need a backlit keyboard or not, and how long you are going to need the keyboard to last.
Know What You Need It For
Mechanical keyboards, unlike the typical scissor or membrane-style keyboard, are often shipped with specific switches depending on your goals. For instance, some switches require you to depress the key fully before you actuate it, while others have shorter motion distances for faster clicks.
Gamers tend to prefer longer motion distances, while gamers would rather fully depress keys to avoid accidental presses. This can make the difference between winning and losing a game!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Mechanical Keyboard?
This is a keyboard that comes with spring activated high-quality key switches. Based on the user preference or application of keyboard, these key switches can vary greatly.
Keyboards with mechanical switches have been around since the 1980s. Rubber dome keyboards have exploded in popularity since the 1990s. They represent over 90 percent of today’s keyboards. Mechanical keyboards take this to a whole new level.
What Are Switches on Mechanical Keyboards and What’s the Difference?
Generally speaking, switches on mechanical keyboards feel better than rubber domes on traditional keyboards. Switches make a keyboard have a specific feel. If you like the switches when typing, you will probably like a keyboard. A mechanical keyboard can make you a more effective typist or gamer.
Why Are Mechanical Keyboards Better?
Mechanical keyboards use high-quality switches as opposed to inferior rubber dome switches on standard keyboards. While mechanical switches may vary widely, most are equipped with individual springs. But it’s not all about the switch.
Each of their features outperforms standard keyboards, including functionality, framing, key construction, type print, slew, and PCB board. All these improvements come down to something called “feel.” Simply put, mechanical keyboards feel much better than any traditional keyboard.
Are Mechanical Keyboards Good for Gaming?
Many gamers appreciate these keyboards because they are faster, more tactile, and extremely durable. All of these factors come into play when it comes to the gaming experience. However, some gamers prefer membrane keyboards because of the lower price, smaller footprint, and higher portability.
Ready To Buy The Best Budget Mechanical Keyboards?
Our top choice is the KUMARA K552 because it is very nice to type on and we think it is better than any domed or membrane keyboard we have ever had. It is far superior for productivity tasks than popular models like MAX Blackbird and Havit HV KB366L.
If you find the resistance too limited, adding rubber O-rings is a clever, efficient option – they are easy to place and very affordable.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the 5 budget mechanical keyboards. Each of the products reviewed here will suit your typing needs.