The Best Gaming Keyboard Under $100 in 2021
Finding the best gaming keyboard under $100 is probably an impossible task. There are so many budget models out there and sifting through them all would take years. Luckily, the sub $100 keyboard is filled with quality boards that can be wholeheartedly recommended.
You have excellent mechanical keyboards in all shapes and sizes. You can get a premium rubber dome keyboard if that’s your thing. There are tenkeyless and 60 percent models with extra features such as wireless connectivity or RGB backlight. In other words, you can get an amazing keyboard on the budget market.
Today we’ve gathered some of the best keyboards under $100. We have models great for gaming and typing, wireless keyboards, and both mechanical and rubber dome keyboards. Check them out below.
- Form Factor: Tenkeyless
- Connectivity: Wired and Wireless
- Switches: Cherry MX Mechanical
- Dedicated Media Keys: Yes
The Corsair K63 is an exceptional budget keyboard. This tenkeyless model has it all. Excellent Cherry MX red linear switches that are perfect for fast-paced games and pretty good for typing. Sturdy build quality. Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and USB stick. This allows the keyboard to connect to two devices at the same time, something we don’t often see, even on premium wireless keyboards.
And once the 15-hour battery dies, you can connect the keyboard via USB cable that’s part of the selling package. As we’ve already said, this is a pretty good keyboard for typing but its main purpose is lighting fast gaming responsiveness. The K63 includes a plethora of additional keys. You can adjust volume, control music and videos, lock the Windows button, and adjust backlighting, which is amazing to see on a budget keyboard.
This keyboard has a pretty bright backlight, but it’s limited to one color. The blue backlight does look attractive so the lack of RGB isn’t a big deal. Finally, you also get a comfy palm rest. Overall, the K63 is the best gaming keyboard under $100 you can get. It’s sturdy, has Cherry MX mechanical switches, includes lots of extra keys for controlling stuff, and it has wireless connectivity. You can’t get a keyboard better than this one in the budget market.
- Excellent Build Quality
- Cherry MX Red Switches Are Perfect For Gaming
- Solid For Typing
- Wireless Connectivity
- Palm Rest Included
- No RGB Backlight
Razer Ornata V2 Gaming Keyboard
Excellent Gaming Keyboard With Hybrid Switches
- Form Factor: Full Sized
- Connectivity: Wired
- Switches: Hybrid Razer Mecha-Membrane Switches
- Dedicated Media Keys: Yes
The Razer Ornata V2 keyboard is the second generation of Razer’s hybrid switch keyboard that’s suitable both for gaming and typing. The mecha hybrid switches have a clicky feel to them and are pretty enjoyable to type with. The build quality is excellent, with a thick body made of plastic and low-profile ABS keycaps.
The RGB lighting is pretty good but do note that keycaps aren’t made for RGB and will dim backlighting a bit. Aside from the much better switches, the Ornata V2 also has dedicated media keys and a volume wheel with the mute function. The quality of the wheel isn’t great but it’s more than usable. The keyboard comes with a nice-looking palm rest that will make your hands sweaty after a while.
Overall, the Ornata V2 is a pretty good gaming keyboard with unique switches. They are pretty good for typing and solid for gaming but if you prefer competitive multiplayer titles, we would recommend getting a mechanical keyboard since they offer faster response time. Also, the palm rest isn’t made for hot climates.
- Excellent Build Quality
- Mecha-Membrane Switches Are Great For Typing
- Full RGB Lighting
- Dedicated Media Keys
- Palm Rest Is Comfortable But Will Make You Sweat
- Mechanical Keyboards Are Better For Competitive Games
Logitech G213 Prodigy Gaming Keyboard
Solid Budget Gaming Keyboard With Membrane Switches
The Logitech G213 Prodigy is a slight improvement over the original G213 keyboard that brings better switches. They’re still membrane but now they do a pretty solid job of imitating mechanical switches, with the tactile bump and all. They’re still not as responsive as mechanical switches so this keyboard isn’t the best for gaming but for typing, this thing’s great.
You’ll need a fairly large desk to fit the Logitech G213 Prodigy since this is one of the largest keyboards on the market. It has a relatively slim profile but at the same time, its body takes a huge portion of the desk space.
Despite its chunkiness, the G213 Prodigy doesn’t have the best build quality. The plastic feels cheap, the same can be said about keys, and the RGB lighting has only five zones and is pretty dim. Overall, this is a great keyboard for typing and occasional gaming but it isn’t suited for fast-paced titles.
- Excellent For Typing
- Dedicated Media Keys
- RGB Lighting
- Competitive Price
- Flimsy Build Quality
- Not Suited For Fast-Paced And Competitive Games
HyperX Alloy Origins Core
Superb Budget Mechanical Keyboard For Typing And Gaming
- Form Factor: TKL
- Connectivity: Wired
- Switches: Mechanical
- Dedicated Media Keys: No
The HyperX Alloy Origins Core is an excellent budget gaming keyboard. First of all, it has a compact TKL design, allowing you to have more space for your mouse while gaming. It also comes with a detachable, USB-C cable. Next, this keyboard’s built like a tank. Thick aluminum frame and hefty weight place it over every other budget offering.
The Alloy Origins Core features HyperX mechanical switches in two flavors: linear (Red) and tactile (Aqua, which are a bit harder to press than the CherryMX Brown). No matter which switches you pick expect an excellent experience in line with other high-end mechanical switches. This makes the HyperX Alloy Origins Core a superb choice for gaming, especially if you pick the linear switch version. The response time is very fast and the keyboard feels great to use for gaming.
Typing is also enjoyable but for longer sessions, make sure to get a wrist rest, which this keyboard doesn’t ship with. When it comes to RGB lighting, it’s fantastic. Very bright, very colorful, and with a ton of options in the NGenuity app. Overall, this is one of the best budget mechanical keyboards. Two things that keep it from conquering the throne are the lack of a wrist rest and no dedicated media keys.
- Perfect For All Kinds Of Games
- Great For Typing
- Best In Class RGB Backlighting
- Superb Build Quality
- Detachable, USB-C Cable
- Doesn’t Include Wrist Rest
- Doesn’t Have Dedicated Media Keys
SteelSeries Apex 3 RGB Gaming Keyboard
Excellent And Affordable Membrane Keyboard
The Apex 3 from SteelSeries is an affordable membrane keyboard for users on a tight budget or who simply don’t like mechanical keyboards. Its keys are solid for typing but their gaming performance is less than ideal. For any form of competitive gaming, get a mechanical keyboard.
Other than that, this is an excellent keyboard. It has high build quality, keycaps don’t feel cheap, RGB backlighting has only 10 zones but it’s bright and does its job. Another big plus for this keyboard is the presence of dedicated media keys along with a volume wheel, which is a nice addition for such an affordable keyboard.
Finally, the magnetic wrist rest is comfortable and a perfect companion during long typing sessions. Overall, the Apex 3 RGB is one of the best membrane keyboards on the market. It’s perfect for people who type a lot and prefer to type on a membrane keyboard. As long as you don’t need a keyboard for competitive gaming, the Apex 3 should fulfill most, if not all, your needs.
- Excellent For Typing
- RGB Effects Are Pretty Solid
- Top-Notch Build Quality
- Competitive Price
- Dedicated Media Keys
- Not For Fans Of Competitive Multiplayer Titles
- Most Users Perfect Mechanical Switches For Typing
Razer Cynosa V2 Gaming Keyboard
Membrane Gaming Keyboard With The Best RGB Effects
The Razer Cynosa is a membrane keyboard but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, switches here work quite well and are better than on most other membrane keyboards. They are great for typing and for gaming but yeah if you want the best get a mechanical keyboard. You also get a set of dedicated media keys along with a volume rocker, which is always welcome.
The best feature on this keyboard though is the per-key RGB lighting. You won’t find better RGB backlighting at this price point and if you need a slick-looking keyboard but you’re on a budget, the Cynosa is one of the best choices there is.
The keyboard also has a pretty solid build quality but its keycaps feel pretty cheap which is very hard to avoid at this price point. Another big downside for typists is the lack of wrist rest. If it had one it would probably be the best membrane keyboard for typing in dark.
- Superb For Typing
- Solid For Gaming
- Best RGB At This Price Point
- Dedicated Media Keys
- Not As Responsive As A Mechanical Keyboard
- Cheap Keycaps
- Lacks Wrist Rest
How To Choose A Gaming Keyboard Under $100
The market for keyboards under $100 is filled to the brim, and that’s not a bad thing. Yes, you’ll be swamped with different models once you start looking for your next keyboard under $100 but there’s a high chance you’ll find a keyboard that’s made just for you. It only takes time and patience.
When it comes to features to look in relatively affordable keyboards, there’s a number of important ones. First of all is the build quality, which often lacks in affordable models. But that doesn’t mean you should settle for an average keyboard.
You also have the age-long debate between mechanical vs membrane switches as well as keyboard’s size and ergonomics. Finally, there’s a number of additional features you can find even in the budget keyboards, if only you take enough time for research. Let’s cover each of the points in detail.
Don’t Settle For Average Build Quality
Average of straight bad build quality was one of the signature features of the budget keyboard market in the past. Most models were made out of cheap plastic, were equipped with hideous keycaps with letters being simply printed onto the keycaps. That would lead to letters being erased in about a year and keyboard being broken before the end of the warranty period.
But today you have excellently built keyboards, even among gaming keyboards under $50. That’s great because you don’t have to settle for less anymore, in case your budget is limited. You can get a great gaming keyboard for less than $100. A keyboard with the base plate made of metal, with laser-etched keycaps, with mechanical switches, and with premium plastic used for the body.
The issue here is that photos featured on online listings cannot tell the tale of build quality. So, after you find a couple of keyboards you consider potential picks, start looking for professional and user reviews to see just how good built quality is on those models.
The best thing you can do is find a video review. Those can provide articulate visual details about the keyboard from all angles. And if it’s possible, trying the keyboard yourself is the best way to check its build quality for yourself.
Mechanical Vs Membrane Switches
This debate is here for more than a decade, ever since mechanical switches made a revolution with gaming keyboards. Since we don’t have a whole day to talk about the two, let’s make this short.
Mechanical switches are more pleasant to type with, especially brown and blue, those that offer tactile and/or clicky feedback. Red and black switches are also great for some people, especially those who mostly game on their keyboards and use them less for typing. The linear nature of red and black switches makes typing less pleasant since there’s no clear feedback from activating keys.
Mechanical switches usually come with incredible durability. You can use them for a decade and they’ll work like the first day. Now, there are many different mechanical switch manufacturers but Cherry is the industry standard. You also have special switches made by companies such as Razer or Logitech, that feature special options such as shorter actuation point, or a combination of rubber done and mechanical switches.
Rubber dome switches, on the other hand, use two mushy membranes instead of a mechanical switch. They feel soggy while typing and usually take more time to activate compared to mechanical switches. If you play fast-paced games, mechanical switches, especially those that feature shorter actuation points (such as the Cherry MX Fast), can make a noticeable difference in games. Typing is also flawed on rubber dome switches.
Overall, mechanical switches are usually better but you have some rubber dome switches that can feel really good. Also, switches that combine rubber domes with mechanical, clicky, actuators, can feel pretty good. Our advice is to look for a mechanical keyboard in the sub $100 price range but to keep your eyes open to models with rubber dome switches. Because sometimes they can feel pretty good. Just remember that this is an exception, not a rule. In most cases, mechanical keyboards are better.
You Can Get Any Mechanical Switches You Want
Now, in the past, only premium mechanical keyboards had Cherry MX switches but today those can be found in the sub $100 market. This is similar to the situation we’ve had with controllers for PC. Back in the day, only premium models came with triggers instead of just L2 and R2 buttons. Nowadays even budget models have full-fledged triggers on the back.
You won’t find many models with brown or blue Cherry MX switches because those are more expensive to produce than linear ones (red and black), but they can be found, you just have to look for one.
There are many budget models with Kailh switches made by Chinese company Kaihua. Those are very similar to Cherry MX but don’t last as long and clicky switches don’t have that Cherry MX Blue signature feeling. You also have Gateron switches, which are also very similar to Cherry MX.
Razer, Logitech, Cooler Master, and others have their own lines of mechanical switches that often combine rubber dome switches with mechanical features. The offering is huge and it’s easy to get lost. The simple rule is that Cherry MX switches are the best. Just decide whether you want linear ones, clicky switches, or tactile and then get a keyboard with switches you desire.
But other manufacturers can also deliver excellent mechanical switches. If you can, it’s best to try switches on your own to see whether they feel good to you. For instance, some people might prefer Kailh switches over Cherry MX. Others might prefer the combination between rubber dome and mechanical switches present in Logitech and Razer keyboards.
The final decision is up to you but the good news is that you don’t have to limit yourself to one mechanical switch manufacturer, even in the budget, sub $100 market.
Keyboard Form Factor
The sub $100 keyboard market is populated by full-sized and tenkeyless models but you can also find the latest form factor, 60 percent keyboards. You can get any size you want, just make sure you know which form factor is the best for you.
For users who often type in large amounts of data, including numbers, the full-fledged keyboard is probably the best choice. When it comes to gaming, a tenkeyless keyboard should be the best. It shaves a large portion of the body by cutting the numeric part but keeps function keys, which are often used for quick save and quick load as well as for screen recording, or showing and hiding RivaTuner overlay. They are also great as portable devices to use on LAN parties or both on work and at home.
Finally, 60 percent keyboards are perfect portable devices. They are also great for people who like a minimalistic layout on their desk. When it comes to typing the size doesn’t really matter. If you want a great keyboard for typing to forget about the form factor and focus on the switches and keycaps.
Many budget keyboard models come with wrist rests, so don’t let that be a limiting factor when choosing your next keyboard. Also, the key layout isn’t set in stone. You can find different, unique keyboard layouts even on the budget market.
There are plenty of budget gaming keyboards that offer excellent backlight. Most come with just one color but there are also RGB models out there, and there are more and more of budget RGB keyboards with each passing year.
You can also find budget keyboards with USB passthrough, just remember that you’ll find only USB 2.0 passthrough on the budget market. Wireless keyboards are the norm, even in the sub $100 market. You can find an excellent wireless keyboard, even with Cherry MX mechanical switches. The same goes for removable cables, just don’t think you’ll find a keyboard with a USB C port that easily in the sub $100 market.
Finally, when it comes to additional keys such as media controls, backlight settings, and volume knobs, there are budget keyboards out there that have all of those. Well, maybe not volume knobs since those are a sort of a premium feature. But you can find a model with volume keys. They aren’t as nice and precise as a volume knob, but they do their job.
To summarize. As you can see, the sub $100 gaming keyboard market includes amazing keyboards. You don’t have to limit yourself in any way. You can find a keyboard that’s perfect for you. A mechanical keyboard with a palm rest featuring media keys, removable cable, or even wireless connectivity. It’s up to you to discover your favorite switches and form factor. Once you do that, you can find a perfect keyboard for your needs, even on the budget, sub $100 gaming keyboard market.
Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite vs. Razer Naga X
If it’s hard for you to decide which one you want, the Scimitar or the Razer. Here is a review of both Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite vs. Razer Naga X. Their main differences will give you a closer look and probably help you with your decision. Keep reading our article and find out the similarities […]
QLED vs OLED. Which is Better?
OLED, short for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, is a display technology that, unlike regular LCD displays, doesn’t utilize any form of LED backlight. Rather, every single pixel on the display lights up on its own and functions as its own light source, which means there’s no need for the LCD screen to display the image. There […]
Logitech G703 LIGHTSPEED vs. G403 HERO
Logitech is a well-known name that comes first in a gamer’s mind when discussing PC peripherals. However, they are also suitable for all kinds of uses like developers, designers and of course for everyday uses. This makes it possible for you to choose the best mice if you’re going for gaming vs. regular mouse. Today […]
Logitech vs. Razer. Which Brand to Choose?
When looking to find the best peripherals for a PC, most people would turn to Logitech vs. Razer because both of these companies are known for making the most quality products. You may have already asked yourself, what is it about these two brands that are always competing in the gamers’ minds? What makes them […]
What is Razer Synapse? Razer Synapse 2 vs. 3
Razer Synapse is software designed and released by Razer to configure the majority of their hardware lineup. The Razer Synapse was released back in 2011, and it is currently on its third version. First and foremost, this software keeps your drivers for your Razer products updated and additionally serves as the settings link for different […]
FreeSync vs G-Sync. Which One is Better?
When in the market for a high refresh-rate monitor, you will have to choose between FreeSync and G-Sync. Both are adaptive sync technologies and replace the V-Sync option that you can find in the graphics settings of games. FreeSync and G-Sync balance the output of your graphics card and what you see on your monitor. […]