Looking for a great gaming keyboard that won’t cost you a fortune? Don’t worry, you’ve got more options than you might realize. Some of the best gaming keyboards under $50 have come out in the last few years.
We’ve put together a list of all the best options in a variety of styles and form factors so there’s something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for a compact membrane keyboard for travel, or a full-size mechanical board for serious competitive gaming.
Our Picks for Best Gaming Keyboard Under $50
When putting together this list, we wanted to cover a variety of boards that met our criteria for a good gaming keyboard, all while staying under a $50 budget. Specifically, we wanted to make sure we found keyboards that offered good ergonomics, solid reliability, and a large degree of customization, without breaking the bank.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the best keyboards under $50.
First up, we have the Corsair K55 RGB, which consistently rates as one of the top keyboards for gaming. Corsair is known for making solid peripherals, and this keyboard does nothing to harm that reputation.
Full disclosure: this was actually my main keyboard for a very long time, and while I did eventually upgrade to a much more expensive board, I had zero reasons to be unhappy with the K55 while I owned it.
It’s a full-size keyboard with a number pad and dedicated media keys, so you have full keyboard functionality, plus the ability to pause, play, and skip music tracks and adjust media volume while gaming.
I play a lot of FPS games, and the option to easily listen to Spotify or watch a YouTube video without having to Alt+Tab in between rounds is great. You also get six programmable macro keys that could also come in handy for certain games.
Now, while we typically don’t love rubber dome key switches like the ones in this keyboard, we have to make some compromises to get under our target $50 price point. That being said, the Corsair K55’s keys don’t feel too mushy at all and are quite pleasant to type on.
You also get some solid RGB backlighting with three customizable zones. You have several different color and pattern options, which is great if you can’t stop fussing with your RGB layouts like us. Finally, you get a detachable wrist rest that comes with ergonomic rubber inserts that are surprisingly comfortable.
As the only keyboard on our list with dedicated media controls, macro keys, and an ergonomic wrist rest, the Corsair K55 RGB offers incredible bang for your buck.
Next up, we have the Tecware Phantom, which is one of our favorite mechanical keyboards in this price range for its customizability. The fact that it is hot-swappable makes it possibly the best mechanical keyboard under $50.
Hot-swappable means that you can quickly and easily change out the mechanical switches if you feel the need to, but it is available from the factory with Outemu Blue, Red, or Brown switches. While we’re linking to the 87 Key version of the Phantom, it’s also available in a full size.
The Phantom’s doubleshot keycaps are also incredibly high-quality. Doubleshot means that they’re injection molded in two stages, so the legends (the markings that tell you which key is which) can’t wear off like the legends on cheaper keycaps. In other words, no more losing the markings on your WASDs after a year or so of regular usage.
This keyboard is also fully RGB-addressable, which means you can program the lighting of each key individually. This feature usually only comes with more expensive keyboards, making the Phantom easily one of the best backlit keyboards under $50 as well. If you favor customization, it’s hard to go wrong with Tecware’s Phantom at its price.
Redragon’s K552 is another mechanical keyboard priced affordably and perfect for gaming because of its responsive keys and compact size. Its Tenkeyless (TKL) design means it has no Numpad though, so keep that in mind if you need it for work.
The K552 Kumara comes with Outemu Blue switches, which are clicky and a little on the loud side. So while they may not be ideal for a quiet office, they’re perfect for faster-paced gaming performance as the pre-travel distance is low and the tactile feedback makes it so you’re less likely to fat-finger the wrong key at a critical moment.
The board also features individually addressable RGB lighting, a metal mounting plate that improves durability, and is splash-resistant. It is available in either black or white. For our readers out there on a mission to build an all-white gaming setup, the Redragon K552 is for you.
The EagleTec KG010 is another full-size mechanical keyboard that just barely squeaks in under our $50 price point, but we’re glad it does because it’s definitely earned its place on this list.
While it is full-sized, its aluminum construction makes it light enough that you aren’t going to hate lugging it around to the office or the occasional LAN event. It’s not heavy, but it doesn’t feel like cheap plastic either. Unfortunately, it’s only available with Blue switches, so if you don’t like an audible click you’re going to be out of luck.
While we didn’t test EagleTec’s claims of a “spill-proof” design, this keyboard’s plate-mounted design should make it fairly splash-resistant. You still shouldn’t be eating soup and downing Kool-Aid with reckless abandon near any keyboard.
Still, the extra protection is nice, as is the fact that this board comes in a blue-only backlighting option. If you don’t care about or want full RGB, you can save yourself $10 by going with the blue backlit version.
It also has one of my favorite features: a lockable Windows key. This is great if you like using your Windows key during regular computer usage, but you also can’t count on yourself not to occasionally panic and hit Windows instead of Ctrl when you’re gaming.
What gaming keyboard list would be complete without an entry from Razer? Love them or hate them, they are the biggest name in gaming peripherals because they actually make some great products.
One of those great products is their new Cynosa line of gaming keyboards. These full-sized boards are extremely customizable, allowing you to program each key to do something special, and you can program your RGB to the nth degree.
The Razer Chroma suite of RGB tools lets you program wave patterns, sync your lighting with whatever is happening in the game you’re playing, or even sync it with external lighting smart lighting.
And of course, if you already have or are looking to buy a Razer mouse, mousepad, speaker set, or headset, it will sync with that as well. Beyond that, it has a spill-resistant design that does a lot to keep your keyboard safe from accidental spills and leaky water bottles.
The Cynosa V2 doesn’t have mechanical keys but it isn’t a mushy membrane either. While the Cynosa V2 doesn’t offer the most high-end typing experience, it’s perfectly comfortable, very quiet, and offers dedicated media buttons. We think PC gamers will appreciate this one’s attractive aesthetic.
Budget Keyboard Buying Guide
When you’re shopping for an inexpensive keyboard, there are a few features to look for to make sure it can hold up to extended use and stress that gaming tends to put on it.
Build & Material Quality
First and foremost, it’s important to keep build quality in mind. There are some very expensive $200+ boards out there that are made with sub-par materials that will let you down in the long run, just as there are sub-$50 keyboards like those on this list that will last you for years and years.
High-quality features to look out for include doubleshot keycaps (pictured above), aluminum cases, and plate-mounted switches if you’re going with a mechanical. You’ll also want to look at the spill resistance and the average number of presses the key switches are rated for.
Being selective about the quality of the materials will not only get you a longer-lasting keyboard, it’ll also get you something that doesn’t feel cheap. So much about the world of keyboards is subjective, but everyone appreciates the feeling of premium materials.
Membrane vs. Mechanical Switches
Being selective about the switches in your keyboard is always important, but nowhere more so than when you’re picking up a budget gaming keyboard. Switches can make or break a budget board, so it’s vital that you get something that you like and can count on to last for a long time.
If you’re buying a keyboard with rubber membrane switches, make sure that you’re buying from a well-known brand because low-end rubber dome keyboards from small-time manufacturers tend to offer a less than stellar typing experience.
As far as mechanical switches go, Cherry MX switches or clones are going to be your best bet. Something like the Outemu Blue switches in several of the boards above would be a good option, as are switches from Durock and Gateron.
And if you aren’t fully aware of all the differences between mechanical and membrane keyboards, be sure to check out our article on how to choose between the two. In short, we firmly believe real mechanical switches offer a superior typing and gaming experience.
RGB Lighting and Customization
RGB backlighting is often what separates “gaming” keyboards from standard typist keyboards. We love our RGB boards and being able to customize them based on our mood, desktop background, and what game we’re playing. But if you don’t care about the lighting, this is something you can ignore.
That said, if you are in the market for that sweet, sweet rainbow RGB backlighting, try to find a keyboard that has individually addressable keys so you can have more fun customizing them.
And make sure that the board you’re looking at is RGB and isn’t just a static red or blue backlit version as the cheapest keyboards usually only come in static colors.
Best of all would be finding something like the Razer Cynosa V2 that has a robust lighting program so you can program light patterns and integrate the keyboard with other lighting in your gaming PC setup.
Gaming keyboards have come a long way in the last several years, and while you can spend a fortune on a fully custom board with the exact mechanical switches and keycaps of your dreams, you can also get a truly great keyboard for under $50.
All the keyboards on this list are solid performers and stand out in their unique way. There should be something for everyone here, whether you want a full-size keyboard with multimedia keys or a compact option with just the basics.
We even found good mechanical keyboards with nice, clicky keys and sound construction, which would have been impossible at this price point just a few years ago.
The only question is, which one do you like the best?