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The 7 Best Gaming Keyboards Under $100 (Buying Guide)

Written by Matthew Collins
Last updated Jul 16, 2021

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best gaming keyboard under $100

It can be difficult to choose since so many keyboards are competing in the sub-$100 price range. The best gaming keyboards under $100 include great wireless models, portable 60% keyboards, and jam-packed full-sized boards with enough macro keys to keep even the most dedicated hotkeyer happy.

We’ve looked into all of the best keyboards that can be regularly purchased for under $100 and shortlisted a few from each category, so there should be something here for everyone.

Best Gaming Keyboards Under $100

In this price range, you can get a great keyboard that will last for years. We specifically sought out keyboards that offered excellent build quality, robust functionality, and unique features with good value for your money.

1. SteelSeries Apex 5

Best Gaming Keyboard Overall

The SteelSeries Apex 5 tops our list as the best gaming keyboard under $100. We believe it offers the best blend of typing feel, build quality, aesthetics, and customizability. While there are plenty of mechanical keyboards that have some of the Apex 5’s features, none of them package them all into one product at this price.

The SteelSeries Apex 5 has an aluminum top plate and doubleshot ABS keycaps that make it durable and stable to type on. The model we tried had Hybrid Blue switches, which have the audible and tactile feedback of a Cherry MX Blue but also a membrane layer that makes bottoming out feel smoother. It felt clicky yet soft, and surprisingly satisfying.

Build quality aside, our favorite part of the SteelSeries Apex 5 might be its media control section. We’re big fans of keyboards with volume wheels and the SteelSeries Apex 5 is the only mechanical keyboard on our list with one. Its dedicated media control button also allows you to pause, play, and skip music tracks and control its unique OLED screen.

The OLED screen can be customized to display nearly anything you want. We’ve seen people use it to show what music’s currently playing, integrate with Discord, and even play funny GIFs.

Source: SteelSeries

Finally, the SteelSeries Apex 5 has full RGB backlighting and macro functionality that can be customized for each key and a magnetic detachable wrist rest. Like we said, this thing is feature-packed and offers great bang for your buck.

2. HyperX Alloy Origins Core

Best Gaming Keyboard w/ More Size Options

If you want a solid mechanical gaming keyboard and have no use for a Numpad and other frills, we recommend the HyperX Alloy Origins in its Tenkeyless size. Its standout features are its low-profile full aluminum body and doubleshot ABS keycaps. Its high quality materials allow it to withstand the abuse of intense gaming.

The HyperX Alloy Origins Core also comes in a 60% and full-size layout, but the latter pushes its price past the $100 mark. It uses proprietary mechanical switches that closely resemble Cherry MX switches in feel and quality. You get the option of HyperX Red, Blue, or Aqua (MX brown clones).

Rounding out its features is full RGB lighting with per-key programmability via HyperX’s Ngenuity software. Its lighting effects aren’t as attractive as the other options on our list but it definitely does the job. And every key is also macro programmable which opens up many options for gaming. If you want a durable keyboard dedicated to gaming, it’s tough to beat.

3. Corsair K57

Best Wireless Gaming Keyboard

The Corsair K57 is an excellent wireless full-size gaming keyboard. You get volume and media controls up on the top right, six dedicated macro keys over on the left, and an attachable wrist rest. Its main downside is it has membrane switches.

The Corsair K57’s strongest selling point is its wireless capability that offers some of the lowest latency of any keyboard on the market. At around 17 ms, it’s possibly the most responsive wireless gaming keyboard that can be had for under $100. That means you’ll likely have no problems playing competitive FPS games like CS:GO and Valorant while still enjoying the lack of cable clutter. Of course, playing wired during competitive gaming is still an option too.

corsair k57 gaming keyboard

Source: Corsair

Finally, as you could expect from Corsair, the K57 comes loaded with per-key RGB lighting programmability through its iCUE software. The versatile RGB lighting rounds out the K57 as our favorite full-size wireless keyboard option under $100.

4. Logitech G413

Best for Mixed Use

Next up, we have the Logitech G413, which has one of our favorite minimalist full-size designs. If you’re looking for a gaming keyboard that doesn’t look too much like one, look no further. It’ll look just as fitting at work as it would in your home gaming setup.

The G413 has a beautiful brushed aluminum top plate finished in either a dark “Carbon” gray or silver. Depending on the model you choose, its keys are backlit in either red or white. The silver model with white-backlit keys is shown below.

logitech g413 mechanical gaming keyboard

Source: u/rcra1895

The G413’s Romer-G mechanical switches include an integrated buffer and an RGB channel that keeps the light from the LEDs bleeding out around the base of the keycap. Instead, just the top of the keycap is illuminated, which gives the keys a subdued appearance that we appreciate.

As far as typing goes, we’d say the Romer-Gs feel like softer Cherry MX Browns. They give you tactile feedback while hardly make a sound — another great reason it can work well in an office. And to top off why we love the G413 for mixed usage, it has a handy USB 3.0 passthrough perfect for using a flash drive.

5. Durgod Taurus K320

Best for Mechanical Keyboard Enthusiasts

If you value high-quality mechanical keyboard components, it’s hard to beat the Durgod Taurus K320 in this price range. It is the only mechanical gaming keyboard on our list that uses authentic Cherry MX switches. On Amazon, you can choose from nearly all of Cherry’s offerings including Black, Blue, Brown, Red, Silver, and more. You also get six different case and keycap color combinations.

Speaking of keycaps, the Taurus K320 uses doubleshot PBT plastic that is extremely durable and pleasant to type on. That means you will never have to worry about worn-out letters or smoothed, shiny keycaps over time.

The Durgod Taurus K320’s software is robust and allows you to program every single key save the function key. You can also save and switch between multiple profiles, which is great if you need different macros for MMO and FPS games for example. The model we linked doesn’t have RGB lighting but a more expensive variation does.

6. Anne Pro 2

Best Portable Gaming Keyboard

The Anne Pro 2’s excellent wireless functionality combined with its lightweight 60% form factor makes it the most portable mechanical keyboard on our list. If you aren’t sure what we mean by 60%, you can get the full scoop from our guide to keyboard sizes. But in short, you lose all navigational keys including the arrow keys in exchange for an ultra-compact keyboard.

The Anne Pro 2 works fine hooked up to your PC of course, but its standout feature is its wireless capability. It can pair to four devices at once, allowing you to use it interchangeably between your work and home computer, and even to your phone and tablet if you’re about that life. Its Bluetooth latency is respectably low (under 20 ms) and its battery life can last you weeks as long as you use its full RGB backlights sparingly.

anne pro 2 mechanical keyboard

Source: u/HidingCat

At its 60% size, the Anne Pro 2 lacks many extra features. But its versatile software allows you to program custom key combinations and functions to make up for it. There will be a learning curve to make this keyboard work for you smoothly, but if you value portability, it’s your best bet for under $100.

The Anne Pro 2 is also available in an all-white.

7. Razer Ornata V2

Best for RGB Enthusiasts

If RGB backlighting is your priority over typing feel, check out the Razer Ornata V2. We’ve always thought membrane keyboards made RGB look better because the rubber helps diffuse the lighting. The Razer Ornata V2’s high-profile plastic case also enhances the effect and blends colors beautifully. All of that combined with Razer’s versatile Synapse software take its RGB backlighting to another level.

Interestingly, its rubber dome switches are designed to feel and sound clicky like a mechanical blue switch. While its typing feel can’t compare to a true mechanical keyboard, it’s not all that unsatisfying to type on. Those who don’t care much for traditional mechanical switches likely won’t mind.

The Razer Ornata V2 comes with dedicated media keys including a volume wheel. Its detachable magnetic wrist rest is made of a comfortable faux leather. It’s a bit bulkier than we like but we can see it going perfectly with many of our readers’ full RGB gaming setups.

Mid-Range Gaming Keyboard Buying Guide

Once you move on from the sub-$50 price range into the sub-$100s, you’ll get to enjoy a few additional luxuries like PBT keycaps and wireless capability. If you plan to do additional shopping in this price range, here are the main features to look out for.

Build Quality

A keyboard’s build quality will affect how long it lasts and impact typing and gaming experience.

Keyboards with plastic cases and build plates don’t feel sturdy when held and also tend to flex and shift while typing. In the under $100 range, you’ll be able to find gaming keyboards with aluminum and steel construction which improves sturdiness and typing feel.

We also recommend avoiding PVC keycaps, as these will usually not stand up to high-volume gaming. You may have noticed this before in keycaps that smoothen over time.

worn out keycaps

Source: u/DDynastyy

Instead, look for keycaps made from either ABS or even better, PBT. ABS and PBT are much more resistant to the natural oils in your skin than PVC and are also thicker and feel nicer to type on. Thinner keycaps will have a higher-pitched sound while thicker keycaps have a rounder, deeper sound.

Lastly, look for keycaps with “doubleshot” legends, which means the letters are part of the mold rather than printed on. You won’t ever have to worry about letters fading.

Wireless vs Wired

Some of you may recoil in horror at the idea of using a wireless keyboard for serious PC gaming, but don’t worry. Wireless tech has gotten a lot better and you can now safely play competitive games like CS:GO and Overwatch without the latency from wireless keyboards dragging your MMR down.

We’ve already done the digging for you for the products recommended on our list. But when assessing other wireless keyboards, check a benchmarking site like RTINGS to make sure its wireless latency isn’t outrageous. Under 20 milliseconds is pretty good.

anne pro 2 wireless latency

Source: RTINGS

That said, you should still plug in your keyboard if you want to maximize gaming performance. And we think wired keyboards make more sense for most people who just leave their keyboard plugged into their gaming PC permanently. But if you travel with your rig or like to swap devices, wireless makes sense. Most wireless keyboards can also be used while plugged in, so you’d get the best of both worlds.

Membrane vs. Mechanical Switches

At this price point, you still have to decide whether you want mechanical key switches or if you’re fine with more typical rubber domes/membranes that typically don’t give you as much tactile feedback when typing.

Fortunately, you get to choose from higher quality mechanical switches from Cherry and Gateron as well as more interesting membrane options like the hybrid switch from SteelSeries or Razer’s “clicky” rubber dome switch.

But giving up mechanical switches entirely will often afford you additional features like wireless capability.

RGB and Macro Customization

RGB customization may not be the absolute most important thing for a keyboard’s performance, but who doesn’t like playing around with their lights and making everything look nice? If RGB is important to you, you’ll be happy to know that most of the keyboards in this price range are full RGB and allow you to customize lighting on a per-key basis.

The big thing to look at here is the software that is used to program the RGB. Some of these GUIs are less than stellar, but in general, most of the big-name manufacturers like Corsair and Razer have excellent software suites that are easy to use.

razer synapse rgb lighting customization

Source: Razer

Macro and per-key customization also become the norm in this price range. You’d be surprised how nice it is to be able to quickly open Steam or YouTube with just a button press, and you can only get more creative from there.

If the manufacturer of your keyboard doesn’t have native software that can do macros, you can technically use a third-party program like AutoHotkey, but third-party scripting programs like these don’t usually work as well as native software.

Conclusion

When you step up from budget keyboards to the best gaming keyboards under $100, it’s no longer a question of what features you can get, but instead which features are best for you. Hopefully, you can now answer that question with confidence.

All the keyboards on this list have a solid feature set, good build quality, and offer great value for your hard-earned dollars. The only thing you have to do is pick the one you like the best.

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