Best budget Keyboards

14 Best Cheap Keyboards 2023 – Mechanical & Membrane Options

If you’re looking for a good keyboard on a budget, there are plenty of options online and it’s not hard to get a cheap one.

But are they really good? We’ve tested several of them and compiled a list of the best cheap keyboards to share with you, so you can get the most for your money.

They may be cheap in price, but they can compete with significantly more expensive keyboards in terms of build quality, features, and typing experience.

Top Picks on Affordable Keyboards for Your PC

1. Redragon K552 RGB – Best Overall

Redragon K552 RGB

The best cheap keyboard with mechanical switches we’ve tested so far is the Redragon K552-RGB.

It offers a decent gaming experience, but you get what you pay for as it lacks the features found on higher-end and more expensive keyboards.

It uses Outemu Blue switches, which are tactile and clickable.

It does not require a lot of force to press the keys, so you get a fast and responsive gaming experience.

The keys are stable and the keyboard has a great build quality as it is made of both metal and plastic.

This keyboard is available in black and white, with full RGB, rainbow or red backlighting, and there is a non-backlit variant for a more office-friendly look.

All backlight customization is done directly on the keyboard as it has no dedicated software.

Sadly, there aren’t a lot of extra features on this keyboard and it doesn’t have macro softkeys, which might disappoint more serious gamers.

Its ergonomics are fine, as it has a tilt adjustment and does not come with a wrist rest.

Regardless, casual gamers can’t go wrong with this keyboard for its price, making it the best cheap mechanical keyboard we’ve tested so far.

Main features:

  • Connectivity: Cable
  • Size: TenKeyLess (80%)
  • Mechanical: Yes

Related: Best Rgb Keyboards


2. SteelSeries Apex 3 – Gaming Keyboard With Hand Support

SteelSeries Apex 3

If you’re looking for a non-mechanical keyboard with more features, look at the SteelSeries Apex 3.

Although it doesn’t have individually lit keys like the Redragon K552-RGB, it does have some features found on other high-end SteelSeries keyboards.

Each key is macro programmable through its software, has dedicated multimedia keys, and has a volume wheel.

Unfortunately, the rubber dome switches are heavy to press and could get tiresome if you type on this keyboard too, but luckily, it comes with a wrist rest.

It’s well built too, as the plastic frame is solid, but with some flex. 

If you’re looking for the best cheap mechanical keyboard, the Redragon is a good pick, but if you want non-mechanical switches, the SteelSeries is a good alternative.

Main features:

  • Connectivity: Cable
  • Size: Full Size (100%)
  • Mechanical: No

3. Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard – Wireless Connectivity

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard

The best cheap keyboard with Bluetooth connectivity is the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard.

It’s a good full-size office keyboard with the good build quality and a low profile, so it shouldn’t be tiring to type on this keyboard.

This keyboard uses rubber dome switches, which offer tactile feedback but require a decent amount of force to act.

They have a short travel distance, which makes it easier to type, and overall, this keyboard offers a good typing experience and is very quiet, which is ideal for use in an office environment.

The keyboard can connect to any device via Bluetooth, but it does not have multi-device pairing. Its dedicated software offers limited customization and is only available on Windows, but macros can be configured on the F4-F7 keys.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a backlight so it’s not ideal for use in a dark environment. It uses AAA batteries, so you don’t have to worry about carrying a charging cable with you.

Overall, this is the best cheap Bluetooth keyboard we’ve tried so far.

Main features:

  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Size: Full Size (100%)
  • Mechanical: No

4. Kensington Pro Fit Ergo – Best Ergonomic Keyboard

Kensington Pro Fit Ergo

The best cheap keyboard with an ergonomic design that we have tried so far is the Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Wireless Keyboard.

It’s a split keyboard with a negative tilt setting, which helps reduce strain on the wrists, but it’s not something we test.

The wrist rest also has a nice leather finish, which is a nice touch for a cheap keyboard.

Like Microsoft’s Bluetooth keyboard, the Kensington has rubber dome switches that require a decent amount of force to press, but the low pre-travel distance doesn’t make the keys too heavy, and they’re also very quiet.

The writing quality is decent, but the keys wobble a bit. This keyboard has multi-device pairing with up to two devices, as one device can be connected via Bluetooth and another with its proprietary receiver, but the button to switch devices is below the keyboard, which is not very convenient.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any customization and it doesn’t have a backlight, but it’s still a great option for office use due to its excellent ergonomics.

The split keyboard layout may take some getting used to, but once you do, it’s the best cheap ergonomic keyboard we’ve tried so far.

Main features:

  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Size: Full Size (100%)
  • Mechanical: No

5. Logitech K380 – Best Minimalist Keyboard For Mobile Devices

Logitech K380

The best cheap keyboard for mobile devices we’ve tested so far is the Logitech K380.

It is a lightweight and compact keyboard that is easy to transport. It connects via Bluetooth and runs on two AAA batteries, and its three-device pairing feature makes it easy to multitask.

It doesn’t have a backlight, which is understandable given that it runs on disposable batteries.

This keyboard uses scissor switches that are lightweight for typing.

The keys require a bit of force to overcome the tactile bump, but the overall typing experience is still light and doesn’t cause any fatigue.

The keys have a circular shape which can aid in typing accuracy and their short travel distance makes the keyboard very responsive.

Plus, with its low profile, most people shouldn’t need a wrist rest for comfortable typing.

Unfortunately, there are only a few keys that are programmable and you can only choose from a list of preset functions, but you can also use their software on Windows or macOS.

Still, the keyboard has excellent compatibility with most desktop operating systems, as well as mobiles.

Overall, if you tend to work on mobile devices while on the go, the Logitech is the best cheap mobile keyboard we’ve seen so far.

Main features:

  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Size: Compact (65%)
  • Mechanical: No

Types of Keyboards

SteelSeries APEX 3 Gaming Keyboard

When buying a keyboard for your PC, there are many factors to consider. One of these factors is the type of keyboard you choose, as there are several different options available on the market. Here are some of the main types of keyboards that you should think about before making a purchase.

1. Membrane 

Membrane keyboards feature rubber domes beneath the keys which, when pressed, make contact with a circuit board and send an electric signal to your computer. These keyboards tend to be inexpensive and reliable but do not offer much tactile feedback when typing and are prone to wearing out over time.

2. Mechanical 

Mechanical ones use individual physical switches beneath each keycap – commonly known as Cherry MX switches – in order to detect key presses and send signals to your computer. They offer more precise control than membrane keyboards and provide tactile feedback when typing but can often be more expensive due to their more complex design.

3. Wireless 

This type uses Bluetooth technology or a dedicated USB dongle in order to connect wirelessly with your computer, providing unrestricted mobility while typing or gaming. However, they usually require frequent battery changes making them less reliable than their wired counterparts.

4. Ergonomic 

These keyboards feature specialized designs in order to reduce fatigue while typing and provide comfortable support for your hands while working or gaming for longer periods of time. However, they may also require some getting used to before you’re able to make full use of them as intended, due to their unusual design layout compared with conventional models.

Factors to Consider Before Buying

Redragon K552 RGB review

When it comes to buying a keyboard, it’s important to make sure you don’t just go for the cheapest option. While it may seem like a good idea in terms of cost, there are several factors you should take into consideration before making that purchase.

Tasks you will use the keyboard for

Will the keyboard be used mainly for typing or will you be doing more complex activities such as gaming or programming? This will determine features such as switch type (mechanical vs membrane), key layout (number of keys and layout), backlighting, and macro functions. Be sure to check if the product suits your needs before deciding on a cheap keyboard.

Key Type

In order to maximize comfort, ergonomics, and typing accuracy, we recommend looking for keyboards with membrane or mechanical keys. Both types provide tactile feedback during use and come in full-size or compact layouts.

Anti-ghosting Technology

Number-crunching gamers and serious typists alike should look for a unit that supports anti-ghosting technology in order to reduce latency while pressing multiple keys simultaneously.

Customization Options 

Most modern keyboards allow users to customize their experience with lighting or programmable macros; these attributes tend to be difficult to come by in cheaper models but are always worth keeping as an option if you’re in the market for something with more features.

Connectivity 

Ensure you check what type of connection will work best for your system, whether it be USB-A or USB-C, wireless, wired (standard 3-in-1 connector), etc., and make sure your system is compatible before moving forward to purchase!

Factors to Consider Before Buying best cheap keyboard - Connectivity 

Budget

How much are willing to spend on a cheap keyboard? How much is too little that it can affect performance? Do adequate market research to find the best prices on keyboards that meet your requirements while fitting within your budget limit.

Durability

Durability is also an important factor when choosing a cheap keyboard — are you going to be using it constantly? If so, then look for long-lasting keyboards with sturdy frame materials such as ABS plastic or metal alloy frames. Additionally, check for warranties offered by the manufacturer in case anything goes wrong with the product down the line.

Aesthetic appeals

Finding a good aesthetic fit complements user experience and allows product styling that matches other peripherals in use.

Customer support

Make sure customer support is available in case any issues arise after purchase — while this won’t be necessary with most products purchased from reputable merchants, knowing support exists adds additional peace of mind when purchasing from smaller websites or vendors.

Taking into consideration these factors before making a purchase will help find not only an affordable product but one that meets all of your needs without sacrificing performance or experiencing potential malfunctions down the line due to low-cost components and build-quality materials used in cheaper keyboards.

Tips for Choosing the Right Keyboard

Tips for Choosing the Right Keyboard

Choosing the right keyboard for your personal computer can be a daunting task if you are unaware of certain factors. To ensure that you get the best quality product at an affordable price point, there are some features you should consider before making the purchase.

The following tips and tricks of the trade may help guide your decision-making process and provide you with an easier way to wade through a large selection of keyboards available on the market today.

• Establish your budget: Before heading out to shop, it is important that you decide how much money you want to spend on a keyboard. Knowing how much you can afford will narrow down which models fit within your price range.

• Understand different sizes: Depending on how much desk space you have or plan to use for a keyboard, choose the size that best fits what you need (e.g., Full-size, Compact, Tenkeyless).

• Check the switch type: Make sure to check what type of switches each keyboard offers (e.g., Mechanical, Membrane) as they all provide different types of feedback while being used; this affects both its feel and performance when typing or gaming.

• Learn about connection types: Decide if wireless or wired is better for your needs; depending on what is more convenient or better in terms of battery life and latency when gaming — this will depend largely on personal preferences as well as what other devices are connected at home or in an office setting.

• Customization options: Some keyboards come with additional features such as RGB lighting or macro keys; make sure these features fit in with the purpose of buying a keyboard so that all investments are worthwhile in the long run!

Conclusion

When choosing a new keyboard, there are many factors to consider. Start by deciding what type of keyboard you prefer and look at several options before making a decision. You should look for the features that best suit your needs; some keyboards offer multiple media keys and programmable function keys to make using your computer easier.

Also, decide whether you need wireless or wired access, as well as what kind of durability you are looking for in a keyboard. Do not sacrifice quality for cheapness; higher-quality keyboards may be more expensive upfront but will outlast the cheaper alternatives in the long run.

1