Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $50 – 2020 Buying Guide

Are you a PC gamer and seem to be buying way too many keyboards? Maybe you do a lot of typing and don’t like the heavy feel of your keyboard. The solution to both issues can be solved through replacing your current keyboard with a mechanical keyboard or making certain that a mechanical keyboard comes with your computer setup.

You may or may not have been around the web enough to get a feel for why you might need a mechanical keyboard or what benefits you might get from it. We’re here to help you with that. Using our buyer’s guide, you will get a better feel for the different types and features of mechanical keyboards. In addition, our review of ten mechanical keyboards under $50 will provide an opportunity for you to compare the various features of different keyboards.

Armed with the information we provide in our buyer’s guide and reviews, you should be able to make a much more qualified decision concerning which mechanical keyboard best suits your preferences and needs. With that goal in mind, let’s take a closer look at what features and benefits you should look for in a mechanical keyboard.

 

 

Budget Mechanical Keyboards Buyer’s Guide

 

Why do you need a mechanical keyboard?

If you are a gamer who wants a little bit more wear out of your keyboard along with a better feel, a mechanical keyboard is probably going to enhance your gaming. Even non-gamers who do a lot of typing like the fact that a mechanical keyboard tends to react to a much softer touch and can help to increase typing speed. This softer touch on a keyboard can also help lessen the risk of carpal tunnel issues.

 

What benefits can you expect from mechanical keyboard?

One of the major benefits of a mechanical keyboard has to do with longevity. Mechanical keyboards tend to last longer than budget conscious, dome-switch type keyboards. Mechanical keyboards make use of an actual mechanical switch rather than a silicone dome-switch to complete the circuit. The mechanical switch simply lasts longer; in the neighbourhood of 50 million keystrokes. Where you might replace a dome-switch keyboard twice in the life of you computer, you are apt to have your mechanical switch keyboard still functioning when you replace the computer.

 

What are some features to look for in a mechanical keyboard under $50?

When it comes to choosing a mechanical keyboard, the biggest difference is in the switches. There are various kinds of switches. The best one for you is a matter of preference, which can best be arrived at by knowing a little bit more about each type of switch and their functionality.

 

Cherry MX Switches

The most well known type of mechanical key switches on the market come from a company called Cherry. Cherry MX switches come in various style ranges and provide various types of feedback. In order to avoid confusion, Cherry color-coded their switches in order to represent the features of each switch. Here are those switches and what they do:

Cherry MX Blue

This type of keyboard most closely resembles the buckling spring switch that came on those old-school IBM keyboards. The major difference is that the Cherry Blue features a new-style mechanism. These switches are both clicky and tactile, meaning that they make a clicking noise and you feel some reaction from the key so you know that it has been pressed. Serious typists like this type of keyboard, but it is not nearly as popular with gamers.

Cherry MX Black

When it comes to typing, the Cherry Black isn’t the best choice because these keys are a little bit stiff and don’t allow your fingers to fly over the keys. These switches shine in situations where precision is the key. You will never have to worry about bumping the key a second time. It has to be seriously pushed to react. These switches are neither tactile nor clicky.

Cherry MX Red

Cherry Red switches are neither tactile nor clicky as well. What separates them from the Cherry Black switches is that they require less force to activate. These switches were built for speed in gaming, but they don’t work well for a serious typist because the risk of registering too many keystrokes in one touch is higher with this type of switch due to the act that it is not tactile.

Cherry MX Brown

A person who spends almost as much type with first person shooters as with typing documents will enjoy the Cherry Brown switches. These switches take less force in order to move quickly over the keyboard, but they also have a tactile bump, which helps reduce the risk of duplicating the same keystroke to many times. What separates Brown from Blue is the lack of clickiness in the Brown switch.

Other Cherry MX Switches

The above are the most common types of Cherry Switches, but there are others in the spectrum. Here is a quick overview of the others:

• Cherry Clear switches are tactile, but not clicky, like Brown, but require more force.
• Cherry Green switches are essentially stiffer Blue switches and are both tactile and clicky.
• Cherry White switches are quieter Green switches.

Other Switches

Other companies have come up with switches that either mimic or are meant to improve upon the functionality of Cherry MX switches. Some do add some improvement and others do not. Here is a basic rundown of other switches you might run into:

• Mecha-Membrane or chiclet. Blending mechanical and silicone, these switches utilize a mechanical process to activate a silicone dome-switch.
• Buckling Spring. These keyboards are throwbacks to the old IBM Model M keyboards from the 1980s and have either survived through the years or are being manufactured by Unicomp.

Additional Features

Setting switches aside, mechanical keyboards tend to offer additional features which you need to keep in mind as you compare one with another. Here are some of the additional features to consider:

• Number of Keys. The standard Windows keyboard has 104 keys. This includes cursor and function keys as well as the number keypad or ten key keypad. Variations of this tend to reduce the number of keys by removing the number keypad and some of the Windows and program keys.

• Interface. There are only two possibilities at this point; wired or wireless.

• Backlighting. Many gamers like to play in the dark, so backlighting your keyboard becomes important in such situations.

• Programmable. Controlling and being able to program certain functions, whether using the function keys themselves or adding dedicated macro functions to the alpha numeric keys is an important function in various aspects of computing.

 

With this information in mind, let’s make an in-depth comparison of ten mechanical keyboards that you can bring home for under $50.

 

 

Ten Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $50 Reviews

 

Gigabyte Mechanical Cherry Red Keyboard (GK-FORCE K83 RED)

This Gigabyte Mechanical Keyboard is built for gaming speed. The keys have amazing responsiveness combined with accuracy. Ghosting is not a problem with this keyboard, which is fully programmable for all of the various functions you require. The modern island design helps to keep your keyboard circuits protected from the buildup of debris or accidental spills.

Specs:

Switch Type: Cherry Red
Number of Keys: 104
Interface: wired
Backlighting: none
Key Finish: wear resistant keycaps, island design (prevents debris and liquid from getting to circuit board)

The Good

Simplicity is built into the design of this keyboard. It is about as close to the old mechanicals as you can get without the clickiness or tactile response. The closed switch design of this keyboard will make it last a very long time. Key response is about as good as you’re going to get as well.

The Not So Good

This keyboard provides no backlighting. It also does not have the clickiness and tactile response, which is one of the reasons people purchase mechanical keyboards.

A Great Choice If…

You are a serious gamer who needs speed and accuracy in your keyboard. You really won’t be pleased with this keyboard for typing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redragon K552 KUMARA LED Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (Black)

The Redragon Kumara Gaming Keyboard utilized as more streamlined 87 key keyboard. This keyboard comes with Cherry Blue equivalent switches for the ultimate in both tactile and clickey response. It is backlit by red LED, includes both metal and ABS plastic construction in its keys so that it can withstand a beating and utilizes fully enclosed switches to avoid spills from ruining your keyboard’s circuits.

Specs:

Switch Type: Cherry Blue Equivalent
Number of Keys: 87
Interface: wired
Backlighting: Red LED
Key Finish: molded keycaps

The Good

Durability is a major plus with this keyboard, which is over-engineered when it comes to strength of materials. This keyboard allows you to enjoy that clickness and tactile feedback of a mechanical keyboard. It is backlit by crystal clear LED lighting.

The Not So Good

This really isn’t a great choice for those who use their keyboard for a lot of typing or other office functions because it lacks some of the keys. The clickiness of this keyboard might drive others around you crazy if you are using it in an office setting or where others have to listen to you working or playing.

A Great Choice If…

You tend to be alone when you are gaming and aren’t really using this to double as a word processing keyboard. You won’t be happy with this keyboard for office use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EagleTec Gaming Keyboard Mechanical Illuminated Keyboard LED Backlit for PC Gamer

This EagleTec KG010 gaming keyboard is as durable and dependable as they come. Made of aircraft grade bushed aluminum, the case on this keyboard has the feel of a higher priced keyboard at a lower price. It makes use of real blue switches under ABS plate-mounted keys. It is blue backlit for a softer glow and the numbers and letters won’t scratch off the molded keycaps.

Specs:

Switch Type: Cherry Blue Equivalent
Number of Keys: 104
Interface: wired
Backlighting: Blue LED
Key Finish: spill-proof ABS

The Good

The durability of the case and keys is certainly a plus. It is built for multiple uses where accuracy and response are a plus. You’re getting solid value at a pretty easy to swallow price.

The Not So Good

It lacks a lot of programming features which enhance gaming. Single color static backlighting.

A Great Choice If…

You are looking for a durable office or infrequent gaming keyboard that is built to last. You won’t be happy with its lack of additional programming features for gaming enhancement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOMOKO Water-Resistant Mechanical Keyboard with Blue Switch, 87 Non-Conflicting Keys

Ideal for typing and office related work, the Tomoko provides the necessary tactile and clicky feedback to speed up typing with greater accuracy. You will get a great deal of wear out of this keyboard because it is built with high quality materials in its metal base and ABS, laser engraved keycaps. It also comes with the best in Cherry Blue switching. Cascading keycap design also helps to reduce fatigue.

 

Specs:

Switch Type: Cherry Blue Equivalent
Number of Keys: 87
Interface: wired
Backlighting: none
Key Finish: molded ABS keycaps

 

The Good

Compact size and metal case durability makes this keyboard travel friendly. Cherry Blue switch design helps you get into a good typing rhythm without worrying about registering double keystrokes. Spill resistant key setup prevents you from ruining the keyboard’s circuits if you spill something on it.

 

The Not So Good

No backlighting option for gamers. Programmable functions are pretty limited for gamers as well. The 87 key design leaves off the ten-key keypad, which is sometimes essential for coding and office work.

 

A Great Choice If…

You tend to do mostly typing and fewer other office or coding functions. You won’t be happy with this keyboard for gaming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Razer DeathStalker Essential Gaming Keyboard

The Razer DeathStalker Essential Gaming Keyboard makes use of mecha-membrane or chiclet switches for a partially mechanical feel without the tactile or clicky feedback. It includes a lot of programmable syncing functions to help enhance game play, comes with backlighting and delivers the response of a Cherry Red switch.

Specs:

Switch Type: Mecha-membrane
Number of Keys: 104
Interface: wired
Backlighting: Green LED
Key Finish: molded keycaps

The Good

This keyboard is a good middle of the road keyboard, which has the more substantial feel of a mechanical keyboard, but the responsiveness of a membrane type keyboard with a quicker function. It has a rollover of more than 10 keys, which allows you to rapidly issue commands that will continue to be carried out even after clicking the keys. Great software comes with this unit and it does have the wrist rest.

The Not So Good

Some of the programming functions with macros don’t work well. The risk of registering double keystrokes when typing is higher with this keyboard than with other mechanicals with better feedback.

A Great Choice If…

You are looking for something that has the hybrid mechanical and membrane feel to it. You might not be impressed with this keyboard when it comes to typing and coding work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaming Keyboard, BlueFinger Mechanical Computer Keyboard USB Wired LED 3 Color Red/Blue/Purple

You can’t deny the attractiveness of the cracked design of the BlueFinger Mechanical Keyboard. The uniqueness novelty of this cracked design can be lit in blue, red or purple. This keyboard includes durable and high quality ABS materials in its construction. Its programmability of nineteen non-conflicting keys is among the best in gaming.

Specs:

Switch Type: Mecha-Membrane
Number of Keys: 104
Interface: wired
Backlighting: Red/Blue/Purple LED
Key Finish: ABS molded keycaps

The Good

The ABS hard plastic construction is not only durable, but cool to the touch. It has powerful key combination functions with 19 non-conflicting keys. The novelty of its design is certainly a conversation starter as well.

The Not So Good

It is not a true mechanical keyboard, but rather a hybrid mecha-membrane or chiclet type. You have to unplug this keyboard from your computer to turn off the lighting.

A Great Choice If…

You are want a keyboard that is partly mechanical, but all novelty. You will probably tire of this keyboard quickly because it is a little obnoxious.

 

 

 

 

CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard – Quiet & Satisfying LED Backlit Keys – Media Controls – Wrist Rest Included – Onboard Macro Recording

Another mecha-membrane or chiclet type gaming keyboard is the Corsair K55. This keyboard features three-zone lighting with an RGB background and comes with more than 10 preconfigured lighting modes. There are six programmable macro keys as well as dedicated multimedia controls. This keyboard has a Cherry Brown feel to it, with a bit more tactile response than most membrane type keyboards.

 

Specs:

Switch Type: Mecha-membrane with Cherry Brown feel
Number of Keys: 104
Interface: wired
Backlighting: Red/Green/Blue LED (programmable)
Key Finish: glossy molded keycaps

 

The Good

The programming function of the macro keys, especially on-the-fly recording is a major plus with this keyboard. The multi-media keys are easily accessible. The key matrix is well optimized for gaming.

 

The Not So Good

Glossy keycaps are not very scratch and wear resistant. This is not a true mechanical keyboard, but really just mimics one. No rubber pads on the keyboard feet.

 

A Great Choice If…

You want a membrane type keyboard with something of a mechanical keyboard feel. You won’t be happy with this keyboard if you want true mechanical keyboard functionality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mechanical Keyboard-Backlit Rainbow Wired Gaming Keyboard-104 Keys with Preset and Customizable Lighting Effects for PC and Mac Gamers-Pro Gamers

You get a great Cherry Blue mechanical feel from this Backlit Rainbow Mechanical Keyboard with a minimalist design. This keyboard has preset functional lighting effects and programmable function keys to enhance gaming. The case and switch construction on this keyboard is durable and will last you a very long time.

 

Specs:

Switch Type: Cherry Blue Equivalent
Number of Keys: 104
Interface: wired
Backlighting: Rainbow LED (customizable)
Key Finish: ABS molded keycaps

 

The Good

This keyboard is pretty good to use as either a start up gaming keyboard or as a typing keyboard. Its backlighting options make it great for gaming as do its programmable key functions. The price on this keyboard will fit any budget.

 

The Not So Good

This keyboard lacks macro-key recording functionality. It isn’t quite as well built as some of the keyboards in its class.

 

A Great Choice If…

You need a starter keyboard as a gamer or a decent typing keyboard with Cherry Blue functionality. You might not be impressed with the lack of macros on this keyboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

104-Key Wired Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Gateron Blue Switch

This Gateron Blue Switch Gaming Keyboard is a Chinese knockoff of a true Cherry Blue switch keyboard. It provides Cherry Blue response from its mechanical keys to provide the feel of mechanical keyboard gaming. It has 13 programmable function keys, 8 backlight settings and comes with a 6 ft. plug and play USB cable.

 

Specs:

Switch Type: Cherry Blue Equivalent
Number of Keys: 104
Interface: wired
Backlighting: 8 programmable LED colors
Key Finish: suspension with aluminum cover

 

The Good

This keyboard is durably constructed of aluminum alloy and ABS plastic keycaps. Though it is what is considered a Chinese knockoff of a Cherry Blue mechanical keyboard it still retains a lot of the higher end functionality at a budget price. The longer cord is something to keep in mind if you like to move your keyboard around a bit.

 

The Not So Good

No macro recording functions come with this keyboard.

 

A Great Choice If…

You want a Cherry Blue keyboard and don’t mind that it is a Chinese knockoff. You might not be happy with the lack of macro recording functions on this keyboard.

 

 

 

 

Rottay 104-Key Led Backlit Wired Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

You get full professional mechanical blue switch functionality from the Rottay 104-Key LED Backlit Mechanical Keyboard. This keyboard is built solid with extremely durable ABS construction and it offers six backlighting colors in 19 different illuminated modes. You get anti-ghosting 104-key rollover allowing all of your keys to work simultaneously. You get programmable macros and a full range of function keys as well.

Specs:

Switch Type: Cherry Blue Equivalent
Number of Keys: 104
Interface: wired
Backlighting: 6 color adjustable LED
Key Finish: ABS molded keycaps

 

The Good

The durability of the keyboard is right up there with the best of them. You get full gaming functions and a solid choice of backlighting with this keyboard as well. This is a true Cherry Blue switched mechanical keyboard.

 

The Not So Good

This keyboard has occasional key-sticking issues at random time on random keys. This keyboard also seems to need a little tighter keystroke than your typical Blue.

 

A Great Choice If…

You are a frequent gamer who is looking for a decent Cherry Blue Mechanical keyboard at a budget price. You might not be happy with the tightness of the keys and the sticking issues.

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