There are many things to consider to find the best budget gaming keyboard in 2022. Not only are there hundreds of available products to choose from, but you’ll also need to figure out if you’re going to get a mechanical keyboard or a membrane keyboard, what size to go for, and the types of switches that best suits your playstyle.
To help you, we’ve written this guide that will teach you everything you need to about cheap gaming keyboards. We have also looked at the most popular cheap gaming keyboards and hand-picked nine products that have a smooth typing experience and that will last for a long time.
Without further ado, here is the best cheap gaming keyboard in 2022:
Cooler Master CK552
Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard
The Cooler Master CK552 has everything you need in an affordable gaming keyboard. It has a sturdy design with an aluminum base, fast keyboard switches made for gaming, and beautiful per-key RGB backlighting.
When you put your hand on the Cooler Master CK552 gaming keyboard, you know it’s made to last. The midnight black aluminum deck makes it stay in place on the desk and gives it a sturdy first impression. It’s a pretty clean and minimalistic design that works for the most part, but we wish it had dedicated media keys for at least controlling the volume via the keyboard.
Once the PC boots up, you’re going to see the RBG backlighting. It’s possible to change it to 16.7 million colors, and there are multiple color modes to fine-tune it to your taste.
Gaming on the Cooler Master CK552 is a pleasure, thanks to the Gateron Red switches. They have a linear click which means they have no clear bump. This makes the keys perfect for gaming but not ideal for typing.
Another minor nitpick is that the keys are laser etched, which means they will fade after a few years of use. Still, it’s one of the best budget mechanical keyboards on the market and is the top choice right now.
- Affordable gaming keyboard with mechanical switches
- Feels great to type on
- Sturdy aluminum base
- No dedicated media keys or macro buttons
- Laser etched keycaps that will fade over time
Best for Productivity
If you’re looking for an entry-level mechanical keyboard that you use for both gaming and for productivity, go for the Logitech K845.
This cheap gaming keyboard has 104 keys with an included numeric keypad. The keys are mechanical, and it’s possible to select between red, blue, and brown switches. The blue switches are loud but often considered the best for typing, the red ones are best for gaming, and the brown ones give you a nice middle ground between the two.
The keys have a nice curved profile, and the slight angle makes it comfortable for extended typing as well as long gaming sessions. However, the keys are quite tall, which means they might take some time to get used to if you’re coming from a keyboard with shorter keys.
If you’re ever using it in dark conditions, you’re going to love the white backlighting. It’s not as flashy as the more gamer-oriented RGB lighting on some of the other keyboards, but it’s more than good enough for seeing the keys in the dark. The downside of the backlighting is that you have to set it each time you start up the computer.
- Works well right out of the box
- The double-shot keycaps won’t fade over time
- Comfortable for both typing and gaming
- You need to re-set the backlighting every time you boot up the PC
- The tall keys are not for everyone
Havit Mechanical Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Best Cheap Keyboard and Mouse Combo
If you’re just starting out with the gaming hobby and lack both a gaming mouse and a gaming keyboard getting them together is often a great idea since you’ll often save a considerable amount! Havit has some great cheap gaming keyboards, and this deal will give you both a great gaming keyboard and a decent gaming mouse!
For a very affordable price, you’ll get a keyboard with mechanical switches, eight multimedia keys, a nice keyboard backlight, and a 4800 dpi mouse.
The gaming mouse has 6 DPI levels, so you can adapt the sensitivity to fit the game and your playstyle. It’s a pretty basic mouse, and then there are more comfortable gaming mice out there, but it’s good enough for someone just starting out.
The keyboard has red tactile switches that make gaming on it very comfortable. It has N-key rollover, which means the keyboard will not have any problem even if you press down a lot of keys simultaneously. The downside of the sensitive keys is that some people might feel they are too sensitive for word processing.
This gaming keyboard has 21 different light modes, so you can set the backlighting to the way you think it looks best. You can even turn off the lights entirely if the colors aren’t for you!
- Excellent value for the money
- Easy setup
- Good build-quality
- Buggy software
- The sensitive keys are not the best for typing
Keychron K2 (Version 2)
Best Wireless Budget Gaming Keyboard
One of the best budget mechanical keyboards right now is the Keychron K2. It’s a wireless keyboard with a sleek 75% form factor. The 84 keys are available with Gateon G Pro Brown, Red, or blue switches. The G Pro brown switches have a nice tactile feeling with a 0.6mm pre-travel and a 55g actuation force.
It’s possible to connect up to 3 devices via Bluetooth to the Keychron K2 and easily switch between them. It’s also possible to use it as a wired keyboard by connecting it via the USB-C connection.
The Keychron K2 has 4000 mAh battery life. It has decent battery life, but it gets depleted pretty fast if you use it with the backlighting turned on.
This gaming keyboard has high-quality Gateon switches that will last over 50 million keystrokes. It also comes with N-key rollover, so you never have to worry about pressing too many buttons when gaming.
- Premium aluminum deck
- Ergonomic design
- Weird USB-C connector placement
- Sub-par battery life
- The squished layout might take some time to get used to
Roccat Magma membrane keyboard
Best Membrane Keyboard
There are many reasons you might not want to go for a mechanical gaming keyboard. Maybe you’re looking for something quieter that works in any setting, or maybe you just enjoy the feel of membrane keyboards. No matter the reason, if you’re getting a cheap membrane keyboard, go for the Roccat Magma membrane keyboard.
This keyboard has silent membrane switches that are reliable and responsive. The included detachable palm rest will allow for a more comfy typing position. Some customers felt the wrist rest was just a piece of plastic that took up space on the desk, while others felt it helped them relieve wrist strain after gaming.
It’s a comfortable keyboard with full RGB backlighting. It’s easy to adjust the lights with Roccat’s software, but there are not many options for customization. It does have five separate zones for the backlighting, but it doesn’t have many effects, and you’ll have to stick with the base colors.
- Easy to clean
- Only a few available backlighting colors
- Plasticky palm rest
- Not the most sturdy keyboard feet
Best 85% Keyboard
If you’re looking to save some space, you might want to get an 85% gaming keyboard. This sleek product from Havit has 89 keys and has both a Numpad and arrow keys.
It’s possible to adjust the height of the keyboard with the two kickstands, which helps prevent any strain on the wrists.
The biggest downside of the Havit KB487L is that it’s not backlit. Another minor disadvantage is legends aren’t fully centered, which gives it an inconsistent look.
It comes with red switches and PBT keycaps giving it a pleasing sound. The black, white, and orange keycaps make it stand out, and the base of the deck has minimal flex.
This is a great option if you like the colorful look and want to save some desk space while still keeping the numeric keypad.
- Solid feel with minimal flex
- Typing on it has a satisfying sound
- Good-looking black, orange, and white color scheme
- It’s not backlit
- The legend is inconsistent
- The compact size means you don’t have all the keys
Who doesn’t love RGB? If you’re looking for a cheap gaming keyboard with vivid colors and tons of customization and effects, you’re going to love the Coolermaster CK530.
It’s one of the more flashy mechanical keyboards on the list. The keys have per-key RGB, and there are a ton of light effects and customization options.
The keyboard has a tenkeyless design and comes with red switches that are great for gaming. The keycaps float nicely over the brushed aluminum deck, but they aren’t the most comfortable.
The included linear keyboard switches are awesome for gaming. The fast red switches and the excellent RGB lightning make this keyboard one of the best cheap gaming keyboards in 2022.
- Fast keyboard switches made for gaming
- Per-key RGB LEDs
- Easy-to-read keycap legends
- Doesn’t feel very sturdy
- Not the most comfortable keycaps
Best 60% Budget Keyboard
When you’re gaming, you might find that you never use many of the keys. Getting a smaller keyboard with just the keys you use will allow for more space for moving the mouse, and since the alphabet keys are more centered, and the mouse is closer to the keyboard, you’re going to have better ergonomics!
The best 60% budget gaming keyboard is the MagicForce 68. As the name implies, it has 68 keys. This means it has no function row, which might be a dealbreaker for some. It does, however, have DEL, PgDn, and PgUp keys.
It’s a very lightweight keyboard with a weight of just 1.28 pounds (582g). Despite the low weight, it feels solid, and the included rubber pads help it prevent sliding around the desk.
One of the things we love about this cheap gaming keyboard is its clean look. It has a nice white backlight and the double-injection moded keycaps as a nice textured surface. The included Gateon brown switches feel a bit lighter than the cherry brown switches and have a bit more tactile bump making the keys feel great for both gaming and typing.
- Compact form factor
- Light and easy to carry
- Gamers love the Gateon mechanical switches
- Dim backlighting
- No function row
A solid alternative for FPS Games
The Redragon K552 is a compact TKL designed for Windows. It’s wired and has 87 keys with N-key rollover. The Outemu red switches have minimal resistance, and since they are linear, they are very fast, making them great for games where it’s important there is no delay for each key press. These switches are similar to the Cherry Red switches, but they have a slightly higher actuation force than Cherry’s red switches. This means they are a bit harder to press fully. These can be a disadvantage when gaming but will also give a slightly better typing experience.
The base of this gaming keyboard is made of metal alloy, and its metal construction makes it sturdy and durable. There is no flex, and feels stable on the desk. The keycaps are made of ABS plastic, but we felt the plastic was a bit thin, which might affect the keyboard’s longevity. Another disadvantage to keep in mind is that changing the color scheme is not possible, so you’re stuck with the default rainbow color scheme.
- Perfect for fast-paced FPS games
- Cool Keycap Font
- The keycap plastic isn’t very thick
- It’s not possible to change the color of the backlighting
How to choose the Right Budget Mechanical Keyboard
The first thing to do when choosing a cheap gaming keyboard is to decide on what size to go for. The most popular size in gaming keyboards is the so-called TKL form factor (read on to learn what that means). The size you go for will depend on what keys you use and how much space you want for mouse movements when gaming. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular sizes and their advantages and disadvantages:
100%, also known as full-size, is the most popular form factor in keyboards. These keyboards have all the keys you’ll need and can be used for everything from data entry to gaming. Since they are the most popular choice, there are a ton of models and designs to choose from. The downside of this size is that the ergonomics aren’t as good as what you would get on a more compact gaming keyboard.
Some mechanical keyboards come with the same amount of keys as the standard 100% but with a more compact design. As a result, the space between the arrow keys and the rest of the keyboards is a bit more squished, and the space key is sometimes a bit smaller than on a standard 100% keyboard.
One of the most popular form factors for gaming is the TKL size. TKL, also known as tenkeyless, means that the keyboard has no numeric keypad. Therefore, the alphabet portion of the keyboard will be more centered and placed closer to the mouse. This will allow for greater mouse movements and overall better ergonomics. The downside of the TKL size is that they are often a bit more expensive than standard 100% keyboards, and if you buy a standard keycap set, some of the keys will go unused.
As the name implies, this size is 75% of the size of a full-size keyboard. The space between the function row and the number row is smaller, and the arrow keys are much closer to the rest of the keys.
The 80% form factor is very similar to the 75% form factor, but the space between the function row and the number row is larger. This is a size that’s great for productivity.
The 65% form factor has the same layout as the 75% size but lacks a dedicated function row. If you want to use a function key such as F1, you’ll need to press the FN key together with the number key. It’s a very portable size, perfect for traveling, but it might lack some keys needed for maximum productivity.
60% is the most popular size of compact keyboards. You can often find custom keycap sets, and there are quite a few options to select from. It’s not the best for productivity since keys such as the delete key are missing, and you need to instead use a keyboard combination with the FN key.
If you want a gaming keyboard that is as small as possible, go for the 40% form factor. This keyboard size has no dedicated arrow keys, no number keys, and no row of function keys. It’s popular with enthusiasts that want to save as much space as possible.
Another slightly more niche option is getting a gaming keypad. These are made for gaming and are often very comfortable for long gaming sessions. The downside of gaming keypads is that they are often expensive, and they are not good for typing or everyday use. It might also take some time to get used to the layout compared to a more standard gaming keyboard.
Mechanical vs. Membrane
Once you’ve decided on the form factor, it’s time to consider if you want a mechanical or membrane keyboard. The general consensus is that a mechanical keyboard is a better choice. But it might not be true for everyone…
A mechanical keyboard uses physical switches under each key that will send a signal to the computer when a key is pressed down. As a result, they are more reliable, and many people consider them to have a more satisfying click.
Membrane keyboards use multiple layers of plastic membranes that close a circuit when pressed. Compared to mechanical switches, the plastic membrane runs along the entire keyboard and has all the keys on a single sheet. The downside of a mechanical keyboard is that each keypress isn’t as tactile. You won’t feel as much direct feedback when the switch is pressed down, giving the membrane keyboard a more mushy feel. The advantages of membrane keyboards are that they are cheaper, water-resistant, and quieter than mechanical keyboards.
Choosing The Right Switch Type
If you opt for a mechanical keyboard, you need to decide what switch you should go for. A switch is the physical component of a mechanical keyboard under the keycaps that will enable you to type more accurately. There are three main types of switches: linear, tactile, and clicky. Which one to go for depends on what you’ll use the keyboard for.
If you’re a gamer who wants the fastest switches that don’t have any bump, go for a linear switch. These switches are perfect for gamers playing fast-paced games such as FPS and action games where you don’t want any delay when moving the character.
The downside of linear switches is that they are harder to type on since they lack the tactile feedback you might look for when writing text.
Examples of linear switches are Cherry MX Red, Black, Speed, and Razor Yellow switches. Generally speaking, any red or silver switch is almost always a linear keyboard switch.
If you prefer a crisp click each time you press down the key, then go for a clicky switch. These switches are a favorite of writers, gamers, and coders that want a snappy feel and clear feedback each click.
Due to the loud noise, they are not suitable for office settings or if you’re streaming.
Examples of clicky switches are Cherry MX Blue and Razer Greens. Any blue or white switch tends to be a clicky switch.
Tactile switches are similar to clicky switches, but they lack the auditable click. They still have the same tactile bump and have a nice balance of a noticeable bump while still being smooth enough for gaming.
They are a versatile choice, but many gamers prefer the faster linear switches, and people that enjoy an auditable click tend to prefer a clicky switch.
Examples of tactile switches are Cherry MX brown, Cherry MX Clears, Razer Orange, and Logitech’s Romer G Switches.
If you’re still unsure which switch to go for, you can visit your local electronic retail store to get a feel for the switches. It’s also possible to order a so-called switch tester online. Switch testers cost less than 20 bucks and will allow you to get a feel and sound of different mechanical switches.
The last thing to consider before getting the best budget gaming keyboard is whether backlighting is worth it for you. While some cheaper keyboards skip out on having it entirely, it’s often worth it:
Backlighting is a must if you use the keyboard in dim lights or at night. It’s also aesthetically pleasing, and many gaming keyboards allow you to change both the color and the backlighting mode to get some awesome RGB light effects.
The downside of keyboard backlighting is that if you have a wireless keyboard, it will affect the keyboard’s battery life, so if you have a wireless keyboard with lots of flashy lights, be prepared to charge it when it’s not in use.