If you’re looking for the best possible gaming keyboard, there are plenty of options to choose from, but for those who don’t have the luxury of a massive disposable income, paying hundreds of dollars for a single keyboard could be way out of your budget. Not to mention that the high costs are often for extra features that may or may not even be relevant to you, depending on your individual gaming needs.
And while the more expensive options tend to be higher in quality and therefore last much longer, plenty of the best gaming keyboards are budget options that are nearly just as good and won’t ravage your wallet either.
In fact, considering the current global inflation crisis it’s becoming more commonplace for gamers to look for better deals rather than the most tricked-out option. And the market has responded, with more retailers slashing the prices of their keyboards, and a growing number of manufacturers offering more reasonably-priced versions of long-running brands.
Whether you’re a beginner at PC gaming and just need a keyboard that will make your sessions easier, or if you’re a more seasoned gamer who’s looking to cut costs in your PC build without sacrificing too much in quality, finding a great gaming keyboard for under $100 is absolutely doable.
Figure out what you’re looking for in a gaming keyboard
Before even searching for gaming keyboards by price, first you should sit down and think about the kind of gamer you are, and what needs your keyboard has to fulfill. Without knowing that, you’re just going to stare at options like ‘mechanical keys,’ ‘macro recording,’ ‘super short actuation,’ ‘RGB lighting,’ ‘hyperfast responses,’ and more all day.
For instance, if you’re like me and tend to play more turn-based JRPGs or lower-budget indie games, then you probably won’t need macro recording. Macro recording is a tool that records a series of user actions and allows a user to repeat those actions with a press of a single key. This is extremely useful for competitive gaming for titles that require split-second timing and reactions, but if you’re on Steam playing Final Fantasy X or Stardew Valley you’re not going to need it.
Some might find that a key feature they need is that the best keyboard for them has to fit on very limited desk space. From there you’ll need to narrow your focus to gaming keyboards that are thin but come with the basic features of most other keyboards. A good example is the HyperX Alloy Origins 60, which has a gorgeous premium build and long-lasting mechanical keys. It doesn’t include macros but if that’s not what you need then it’s a feature that will only jack up the price.
On the other hand, if your needs include a keyboard that’s heavily programmable, then something like the Corsair K55 RGB Pro would be ideal. It comes with per-key RGB lighting, six programmable macro keys and a dedicated macro recording button, dedicated media keys, and Elgato support for streamers.
Of course, this comes with some caveats like a plain design and keys that are a bit unsatisfying to press, but if you’re a hardcore or professional gamer who needs a budget keyboard, then those are features that have little impact on your experience and worth giving up to bring down the costs.
Don’t worry too much about the aesthetics
For some people, the best gaming laptop and the best gaming PC absolutely must have customizable RGB lighting. While it can have some purpose such as functioning as a backlight for night gaming, it’s not very practical despite the beautiful optics.
But looking at it from a price standpoint, why get this feature when you can instead opt for a gaming keyboard that only has simple backlights like the one we saw in our Logitech G413 gaming keyboard review or the Corsair K63 Wireless? Both offer the simplest option for lighting, but keep costs down by not enabling a more expensive feature that many budget gamers will simply not need.
There are other keyboard options that offer an all-round balanced product but avoid tacking on more complex options to keep the price affordable. One of the cheapest options around is the Havit HV-KB558CM, which not only includes a gaming keyboard but comes with a gaming mouse as well.
As one would expect, between the package deal and the extremely low price, it’s missing a lot of the other standard gaming keyboard features like a premium build, macros, or super-fast response times for key presses. And the design and build aren’t very high-quality and even comes across as gaudy. But it’s still a solid beginner set and those without the funds would immediately receive two pieces of tech for well below the price of what most would spend for one.
Make sure you buy new
No matter what gaming keyboard you set your sights on, just make sure of one thing: always buy new.
Even the more expensive options have a set amount of times that the keys and other features will remain functional before starting to fail, and the more use you get out of your keyboard the faster that use-by date will arrive.
Now imagine how much less time you have with a keyboard that’s built with affordability rather than longevity in mind. Normally the trade-off is well worth it, but by buying used you can significantly decrease the amount of time you have with your purchase and, unless you’re getting that keyboard for basically nothing, the discounts might not be worth it.
If you do need to slash those cheaper prices even lower, there are other methods that won’t compromise your keyboard’s shelf life.
The easiest way is by waiting for general sales events like any major holidays, retail sales, or special events such as Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday. Oftentimes, tech products are some of the first to have their prices slashed as sellers seek to liquidate their back stock and make way for upcoming releases.
So why not wait and take advantage of these sales? Sometimes you can even get your hands on more premium gaming keyboards for a fraction of the price.