The Best Gaming Keyboard Under $100 in 2023
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.
Best Gaming Keyboard Under $100
Akko 3068B Plus
The 65 Sweet Spot
- Hotswap (5-pin)
- Bluetooth 5.0, 2.4Ghz (with receiver), and wired Type-C
There is a group of people that do not necessarily enjoy the 60% keyboard market because to them arrow keys are necessary for work or are simply a preference that they are not willing to give up on yet. For these kinds of people, the Akko 3068B Plus is a perfect choice since it combines a small form factor while retaining the arrow keys.
This is not the only trick the Akko 3068B Plus has since this is a keyboard that has Bluetooth 5.0, 2.4GHz, and a wired Type-C connection for triple-combo connectivity for any kind of environment and need (1800mAh battery). You also benefit from NKRO so you can press multiple keys at the same time without conflict (important for gaming) and you can also swap said keys since the 3068B is a hot-swap board (5-pin hot-swap).
Layout and technical specs aside, the Akko 3068B is a good-looking keyboard with amazing PBT double-shot keycaps (ASA profile with novelty keycaps) that come in different colorways and with RGB with more than 20 effects.
- The keyboard sounds and looks great right out of the box making it a great value purchase
- You can also still mod the keyboard easily since it is hot-swap so you can always try new keycap/switch combos
- The technical aspect of the keyboard is worth its money making this a versatile office/gaming device
- Do not expect the 2.4GHz/Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity to be a gaming-oriented feature – these connectivity modes are mostly for office work
- You can encounter some small imperfections with the keycaps/prints/novelty keycaps but this is not a guarantee and can happen to even premium keycap sets you buy
The 99.99$ Challenger
- 75% 82 Keys
- Hotswap (3/5-pin)
- Bluetooth 5.0, 2.4Ghz, and wired Type-C
- 10000mAh Battery & indicator light
The Epomaker EP75 can be easily described as worth its price when you start unpacking what this keyboard offers for the money you invest in the purchase. The EP75 is a 75% 82 keys keyboard that offers you a layout that includes the function keys and arrow keys for convenience and usability.
At the same time, this is a keyboard that uses Bluetooth 5.0, 2.4GHz a Type-C cable for connectivity with an insane 10000 mAh battery to juice up the wireless modes. The big battery capacity is also good for the tasteful RGB and side light diffusers if you do not want to keep the keyboard wired.
This is also a 3-pin and a 5-pin hot-swap keyboard for modding potential and convenience that comes with its own Pampas PBT keycap set using the ESA profile for a unique typing experience. All in all, this is a gaming beast (with a 1000Hz polling rate) that can also sit on your office desk and look and work as a professional tool.
- Amazing productivity/gaming layout with all the necessary keys
- The hot-swap, 1000Hz, and compact layout make it a great gaming keyboard
- The 10000 mAh battery and triple connectivity make it an office beast
- The keyboard simply looks stunning with the Epomaker ESA profile keycaps and the RGB/side lights
- The 2.4GHz/Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity is not reliable enough for competitive gaming
- You will need to get used to the special ESA keycaps profile – but this can be a plus for some keyboard enthusiasts
Everyone Likes a Volume Knob
- 75% 82 Keys
- QMK/VIA compatible
- Hotswap (3/5-pin)
- Volume knob
You can’t have a keyboard list these days without including at least one Keychron keyboard because the brand offers such great value and performance. The Keychron V1 is no different since this is a fully customizable mechanical keyboard with full QMK/VIA support.
This is a hot-swap keyboard that comes with the Keychron K Pro switches but you can use any 3 and 5-pin switches you fancy to add a different feel to the keyboard. With the V1 you get new screw-in stabilizers for a better typing experience and double-shot PBT keycaps in the OSA profile for a unique look.
Keychron packs the inside of the case with silicone and foam to ensure that the keyboard sounds the best it can straight from the factory and it also saves you some time with mods since most things are already done.
In short, the V1 is packed with neat features like a 1000 Hz polling rate, NKRO, a volume knob, and an overall tasteful look with the see-through case for a better RGB experience.
- You must admit that the V1 one looks excellent no matter how you look at it
- The 1000Hz, NKRO, and QMK/VIA compatibility make it hard to argue about the technical capabilities of the V1
- The screw-in stabilizer, silicone, extra foam, and factory-lubed switches make it so modding is truly optional on the V1 since it sounds and feels great from the factory
- No wireless options for office work
Epomaker EP84 Pro
An Upgrade to a Great Keyboard
- 75% layout
- Hot-swap keyboard 3&5-pin compatible
- Bluetooth 5.0, 2.4Ghz, and wired Type-C
The standard EP84 from Epomaker is a great keyboard but the upgraded version makes it even better by improving the quality of the keyboard overall. This is a 75% layout keyboard with hot-swappable custom switches and 3 connectivity methods.
The keyboard comes with factory-lubed switches but since this is a 3 and 5-pin hot-swap board if you want to experiment with other switch options you are always able to do so. Also, as mentioned above, you can use the EP84 Pro in wired mode, Bluetooth 5.0 mode, and 2.4GHz mode depending on your necessity. To maintain a 1000Hz polling rate Epomaker recommends you use wired or 2.4GHz mode (2700mAh battery).
The cherry on top for this keyboard is the look that is completed by dye-sub PBT keycaps which look vivid and offer greater durability over time compared to ABS plastic (Botanic Garden and Ice Cream keycap sets).
- Comes with factory-lubed Gateron or custom Epomaker switches
- 3 modes of connectivity for office and gaming
- The PBT dye-sub keycaps look amazing for an entry-level keyboard
- The wireless modes can be used for office work
- The software seems to be a bit wonky at times
For the TKL Lovers
- TKL 87-key layout
- QMK/VIA compatible
- Hotswap 5-pin and 3-pin switches
- 360º full transparent Acrylic case
Womier is known for its full pudding keyboard look and the K87 does not depart from its transparent style keyboard while opting for a TLK 87-key layout that can be used for gaming and office work with ease.
The transparent look is achieved by using an acrylic case that is combined with tasteful RBG that can make your typing time a lot more enjoyable. If needed the RGB can be disabled (for office work for example) while the keyboard would retain a professional clean aesthetic.
As with every other keyboard on this list, the K87 is a hot-swap board with 5-pin and 3-pin compatibility to allow the users to change to whatever Cherry/Gateron/Kailh switch for an enhanced typing experience and modding possibilities. You might not even need to do any of these because the K87 comes with pre-lubed Gateron switches which offer a decent experience by themselves.
The keycaps included with the K87 are Cherry OEM profile with a clean white look and simple legends which do not conflict with the overall transparent look of the keyboard.
- No matter how you look at it the K87 is a stunning keyboard
- The hot-swap capability and the relatively simple build allows you to mod the keyboard easily
- The stock switches and OEM keycaps while not glamorous are still great for an entry-level keyboard
- The keycaps are plain and should have at least been also pudding keycaps to compliment the look
- The OEM Cherry profile is nice but it does not give the keyboard an extra level of intrigue like other special keycap profiles
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.
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