Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $100 for Gaming
Rainbow colored strobing lights. Most gaming keyboards are flashy like that.
What about the solid, satisfying, clicking sound at the press of every key? Love.
There is just something about mechanical keyboards that attracts gamers and geeks.
Having a fancy keyboard that goes with your gaming build is every gaming fan’s first priority. If you have a high end gaming PC that can play all the latest games, you need the gear to back it up and today we’re going to list the best cheap mechanical keyboards for gaming that you can buy for under $100.
Before that however. If you’re new to the mechanical keyboards, here’s a great video comparing mechanical keyboard with membrane keyboards.
Now let’s also quickly look at the most common considerations and factors you should think about before you buy a gaming keyboard (or, just dive into the keyboards with the table below).[table id=2 /]
Considerations before buying a gaming keyboard
The first thing is that you need a keyboard that fits your existing setup. By that I mean your gaming desk space. Some keyboards are wider and longer than others, which means you may have trouble fitting them on a narrow or space-efficient gaming desk.
The second thing, for me at least, is the style and design. Some keyboards adopt a minimalistic design while others are more industrial in their look and feel. This consideration is influenced by your gaming rig’s design and the choice of casing you made for your machine.
Thirdly, you need anti-ghosting to be implemented in your gaming keyboard. This is something a lot of people aren’t aware of. Remember playing games on old IBMs? Sometimes if you were pressing the Up or W key to accelerate your vehicle, pressing the left (A) or right (D) key wouldn’t turn the car.
That’s because the keyboard output could only manage a single key stroke recognition at one time. So while you had W or the Up key pressed, the keyboard couldn’t register the second press. An anti-ghosting keyboard doesn’t skip any additional key presses and the more advanced a gaming keyboard, the more anti-ghosting keys it supports (5, 10 even 20 keys can be pressed simultaneously and the input will be regular).
Fourthly, you need a gaming keyboard that is configurable. That means you’ll get custom keys that can be programmed via a software to perform functions (macros) of your choosing. For instance, if a game has a complicated combo of A+B+C+D keys to be pressed for a move, you can program a custom button on your keyboard to map its input as A+B+C+D – essentially performing the move with a single key-stroke compared to the complicated combo.
Finally there is one more consideration – that of ergonomics. If you are playing MOBAs like League of Legends or Dota, or first person shooters and even racing games, you may only need a handful of keys (pun intended) literally. So you may want to go with an ergonomic one-handed keyboard that does great, saves space and is much more comfortable over extended durations of gaming.
Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s move on to the actual mechanical keyboard recommendations you’ve been waiting for.
This is probably one of the cheapest mechanical-feeling gaming keyboards you’ll find on the market. It features 19 anti-ghosting keys – something we explained earlier in this post – anti-ghosting allows you to press multiple keys simultaneously and still get the desired input.
Now you probably noticed the ‘mechanical-feeling’ bit – basically for the low price this keyboard comes at, it can’t be truly mechanical, but the makers have built-it to mimic the feel, touch and sound of mechanical keyboards, which is the next best thing at this price range.
Another great feature of this keyboard is that you can switch the arrow and WSAD keys with a quick keyboard shortcut in case you prefer one or the other for your gaming.
Other than that the keyboard features backlit keys that can be cycled through various colors, you can also take the keys off for easy cleaning and it needs a USB connection and is compatible with Windows and should work on MacOS too.
- PERFORMANCE KEYBOARD: This colorful Mechanical FEEL gaming keyboard is your essential tool for gaming play ergonomic, although it is not the real mechanical keyboard. But tones clear, feels good, user experience is similar to mechanical keyboard.
- 19 ANTI-GHOSTING KEYS: It have 19 anti-ghosting keys for all systems, perfect signal quality no matter how fast you play. 104 keys on the keyboard is specially designed keys for enhanced durability and tactile feedback.
- WASD AND ARROW KEYS CONTROL: FN+Q can switch the control between WASD and Arrow keys, make it more convenient when playing games.
- USB PLUG AND PLAY: The keyboard is with common USB interface, which is more stable and convenient. No driver needed.
- COMPATIBILITY: Suitable for Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP etc. and any kinds of users.
While not as popular as Razer, AULA gaming keyboards have been fairly common with PC gamers recently. The Demon King is a professional, budget mechanical gaming keyboard and costs under $40 a piece.
It’s got anti-ghosting keys and is a solid keyboard but it lacks on two counts – firstly a backlight and secondly the numpad. The exclusion of a numpad is actually a good move I feel because it makes the keyboard more compact. The backlight is a personal preference though and may be essential for gamers who play in the dark (even then screen light makes things easier).
For the price we feel this is a solid and reliable mechanical gaming keyboard that’s good to get your practice on and do casual gaming without having to worry about rough usage. As a bonus you can also lock down the Windows key to prevent accidental start menu pop-ups.
- Ergonomic gaming style design and high quality.
- Aula blue mechanical switches, crisp key click, strong tactile sense, up to 60 million keystrokes, lets gamers have boundless mechanical feeling.
- Heavy duty design with Aula mechanical blue switch, perfect for gaming.
- User-friendly design with a set of shortcut function keys cooperated with FN key.
- Lock/Unlock function for WIN key to avoid distraction in games.
This relatively cheap mechanical gaming keyboard by HAVIT is a little more expensive than the AULA offering above, but features an RGB backlight that can be cycled through and also customized for variable breathing rates (you cannot however customize lights on a key-by-key basis).
It has 104 keys and features unlimited anti-ghosting so to speak and is of course completely mechanical and features a blue switching platform. If you’re all about the clicking sound of every key press, this keyboard is a solid bet.
Additionally, the top housing is sanded aluminum for a premium feel and the keyboard also features side bumpers to protect against accidental scratches and scruffs. It’s a good entry if you are looking for a relatively affordable mechanical keyboard that covers most essential features.
- 104 keys RGB mechanical keyboard, constructed with floating keys, blue switches (Gaote switch/Otemu switch), programming is not supported (No driver needed).
- Adjustable multiple backlit mode (including unique marquee mode), all the backlit modes are pre-programed, therefore key-by-key backlighting adjustment is not supported.
- 4 levels of brightness and 10 levels of breathing rate, Aluminum top housing with sanded finish, metal base(Note: Additionally, it allows backlit brightness adjustment by pressing FN + Up/Down Arrow Key in any non-breathing mode).
- Gold plated USB interface guarantees efficient and stable data transmission (Note: RGB mechanical keyboards take a bit more power than the traditional keyboards, it would be better for them to work with desktop since some older USB 2.0 laptops may not be able to provide enough output. Similarly, it may work better with USB ports locating at the back of the computer case than those in the front).
- Every floating key with independent blue switch and LED light, Full anti-ghosting, N-key-rollover technology-All keys can work at the same time (Notice: Mac OS support 6-key rollover only).
aLLreLi isn’t a big brand but they’ve got some great products that I’ve recommended to a lot of people, including their bluetooth speakers and this excellent one-handed budget mechanical gaming keyboard.
The T9 Plus also won the Red Dot Design Award and is made with the popular MOBA, League of Legends in mind. Playing LoL with the T9 Plus is a breeze and the 29-key gameboard comes with individually backlit keys, which means you can program the LED light for each key separately (something not all backlit keyboards offer).
Similarly, the packaged software allows you to program FN keys for macros and you can also phase between various RGB backlight patterns. Other than that you get a comfortable palm rest and an ergonomic space bar button.
The cable for this gameboard is braided for extra strength and it features blue switches for people who love the extra clicky key presses. I highly recommend this keyboard due to it’s relatively affordable price and great gaming performance, especially for MOBAs like LoL and Dota.
- FULL MECHANICAL KEYS of Kailh Blue mechanical switches to use more comfortable, 10 colors RGB backlit function, multiple colors can be adjusted to enjoy
- PROGRAMMABLE DESIGN All 29 keys can program to take full command when Macro programming configuration with driver, personality backlit setting
- ERGONOMICS KEY layout for gaming, comfortable big palm rest, perfect user experience
- HARD AND DURABLE Aluminum bottom cover, braided cable with magnetic ring and golden usb port, to prevent leakage
- WON the RED DOT AWARD Professional Desingning for League of Legends (LOL), convenient for one hand use
Featuring a small form-factor, this tenkeyless mechanical keyboard manufactured by Thermaltake is perfect for eSPORTS enthusiasts, finding a balance between ergonomics and heavy-duty usability.
You get two switch color options with this keyboard – brown or blue, and it comes down to personal preference. Other than that you get backlit keys and N-key rollover, which means almost no ghosting regardless of how many keys you press.
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While this keyboard is a bit pricey compared to other offerings, you pay for higher build quality, solid keys (no wobble) and high quality switches, making for long-lasting use and reliability.
- TENKEYLESS FORM FACTOR The POSEIDON ZX comes in the ten keyless form factor; which is 80% the length of a regular full sized keyboard.
- FULLY BACK-LIT KEYBOARD With an LED under each cap, the POSEIDON ZX is a fully back-lit keyboard, offering 4 levels of adjustable brightness via the Fn (function) + F11/F12 keys.
- TteSPORTS CERTIFIED MECHANICAL BROWN SWITCHES The TteSPORTS Certified Mechanical BROWN switches are built for speed and durability, offering a pronounced tactile feel and audible click feedback.
- N-Key rollover over USB & DISABLE WINDOWS KEY FUNCTION With full N-key Rollover, the POSEIDON ZX will allow you to hit any combination of keys and register them all to make sure your gaming session is as fluid as it can be
- ACCESSIBLE MEDIA KEYS With the Fn (function) + F1-F7 keys, you can control your volume and media player anytime, without having to minimize your current game or program.
Corsair has been one of the most reputed gaming component providers in the market for more than a decade now. The STRAFE is their latest release, a keyboard that comes with loads of customization options and gaming-grade circuitry.
You also get the luxury of picking your preferred switch type – red, blue or brown and all switches are Cherry MX – which are professional, German-made mechanical switches with exceptional tactile feedback and actuation.
Corsair’s own bundled software also allows for extreme programmability, where you can customize each single key’s function for macros and combos. Another really useful feature is the texturized key caps for WASD buttons and the space bar, providing extra grip and making them easy to identify without having to look down.
You do get only a single backlight color (Red) in the standard version, and if you want, you can pay a little more to get the RGB version. However, if you want an exceptional mechanical gaming keyboard while staying within your $100 budget, this Corsair offering is a solid option.
- 100% Cherry MX key switches – Gold contact Cherry MX mechanical gaming keys deliver the ultimate competitive advantage
- Dynamic backlighting – Brilliant RED backlighting enhances the experience with virtually unlimited lighting adjustability
- Fully programmable – Reassign any key or set up the most extreme macros for effortless gaming
- USB Pass-Through Port – Positioned for uninterrupted game play and ready for your mouse, wireless headset adapter, or your phone
- FPS/MOBA keycap sets – Textured and contoured keycaps enable maximum grip and enhanced fee
- Gaming Grade Circuitry – 100% anti-ghosting with 104 key rollover on USB ensure no matter how fast your play, all your keys register
- Easy-access multimedia controls – Efficiently adjust volume on the fly
Razer needs no introduction as a brand, and while the company makes some top of the line gaming keyboards like the BlackWidow – we are featuring the Ornata, which isn’t even a fully mechanical keyboard per se, but deserves a mention due to its innovative technology.
Mecha-Membrane, as Razer calls it, is a patent-pending technology that brings together the best of both membrane based keyboards and mechanical keyboards, making for cushioned keystrokes that are still crisp and give quick actuation.
The keyboard also features individually backlit keys, custom lighting controls, 10-key rollover functionality and software programming for macros and combos.
Even though the keyboard isn’t exactly cheap, it’s worth the price with it’s premium feel and implementation of the new technology which does make for good feedback without causing fatigue over long gaming sessions (something that purely mechanical keyboards can do due to the effort required to press the keys).
- Designed from the ground up, the all-new Razer Mecha-Membrane combines the soft cushioned touch of a membrane rubber dome with the crisp tactile click of a mechanical switch
- The Razer Ornata Expert features a custom designed keycap that has been made shorter to reduce the time it takes for your actions to register
- The Razer Ornata features individually programmable backlit keys along with dynamic lighting effects all set easily through Razer Synapse
- Ergonomic wrist rest – For extended gaming comfort
- 10 key roll-over anti-ghosting
Mechanical Keyboard Switches Guide
Before we end this post, I think it’s also important to go over the different mechanical keyboard switch types and what you need to know about them. Basically if you go through mechanical keyboards online you’ll read about switches – red, blue and brown, that are responsible for the tactile feedback and the clicking noises mechanical keyboards are known for.
Red switches are the least noisy – so if you want a mechanical keyboard that feels great but doesn’t sound too loud, you should pick one with red switches. On the other hand you have blue switches, which are the loudest, and a lot of people prefer them, not just for gaming but ordinary typing as well. Finally you have brown switches which are in between red and blue. Not too loud and not too quiet either.
Now you know what mechanical keyboard switches mean and we hope this helps you choose better. This is all for now folks. We’ve listed some of the best mechanical gaming keyboards here (including pseudo mechanical ones) that you can buy while staying under $100. We hope you like this list, if you have any suggestions or recommendations, please drop us a line.