Any serious PC gamer worth his salt knows that having a good gaming setup goes just beyond the high-end processors and the high-performance graphics cards.
Today’s top-rated gaming keyboards made by the most well-known brands in the industry will significantly enhance the way you play. Unfortunately, those options have relatively hefty price tags attached to them.
Perhaps you’re new to making your own gaming setups, or maybe you’re still waiting to have enough cash to get your hands on a high-end keyboard. No matter the case, we’re here to help you by bringing you the ten best mechanical keyboards under $50.
Top Rated Mechanical Keyboard under 50 dollars
For those looking for quick answers, we’ve taken all the best options under the $50 price limit so you can get your hands on one ASAP. Check out what we got for you:
|Redragon K552 Kumara||Cherry MX Blue||Red LED||No||Check Price|
|Eagletec KG010||Outemu Blue||Blue LED||No||Check Price|
|VicTsing Gaming||Red Switch||Red LED||No||Check Price|
|Velocifire VM01||Outemu Brown||Blue LED||No||Check Price|
|Havit HV-KB39L||Kailh Brown||RGB||Yes||Check Price|
|AUKEY KM-G9||Outemu Blue||No||No||Check Price|
|Ajazz AK33 Geek||Zorro Blac||RGB||Yes||Check Price|
|DIERYA DK63||Cherry MX Brown||RGB||No||Check Price|
|Hcman H02||Outemu Blue||RGB||No||Check Price|
|GIGABYTE XK700||Gigabyte Switches||RGB||Yes||Check Price|
Prices may vary a bit depending on where you’re buying them, but they can all be bought for $50 or less. If you want to know more why these options made it to the list, you can read more about the basics of how we are picking a good keyboard in our buyer’s guide further down.
That’s enough talk about our criteria, now it’s time to check out what’s on our list!
The Best Mechanical Keyboard under $50 in 2019
1. Redragon K552 Kumara
Redragon has been around since the 90s working as a third-party component manufacturer for more prominent companies in the industry. Two decades later, they are now making their own brand known in the gaming scene, catering to the low and mid-range audience. One of their main products is the K552 Kumara.
First impressions – The K552 Kumara has a tenkeyless design, which means it doesn’t have the number pad you’d find in most full-sized keyboards. This feature – or rather the lack of it – makes the K552 a very compact option. Combine it with its rather simple design and you have something that will fit most gaming setups.
Keys – The K552 Kumara uses Redragon’s custom switches, which are supposed to be identical in performance to the popular Cherry MX Blue mechanical switches found in some high-end gaming keyboards. After playing a few games, we found that the custom switches fell just a bit stiffer than the Cherry switches that we are familiar with. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the extra stiffness can help you make more precise inputs especially during heated moments when playing.
The keycaps have a concave profile, which provides decent comfort and easy finger placement. Our only main gripe about it is that it has static color backlighting, with only the brightness being adjustable. Other than that, there’s really nothing much to say about the K552’s keys.
Comfort – This is where the size and profile plays an important role and we’re glad to say that the K552 does not disappoint. While the lack of a numpad may be a minor issue to some, we found that the smaller profile allows a greater range of adjustment for mouse and keyboard placement. Furthermore, since the keyboard is less than 5 inches from front to back, you’ll probably have plenty of space on your desk to add a wrist rest if you find working with just the base plate a bit too cramped for you.
2. Eagletec KG010
Eagletec is yet another new-ish brand in the gaming keyboard industry so we didn’t really know much about it until we did a little digging around. What’s interesting to note is that it seems to be a sister brand of Redragon launched 5 years later by the same company. So what does this keyboard bring to our gaming table? Read on to find out.
First impressions – We were surprised by how good the KG010 looked like for a sub-$50 mechanical keyboard. Instead of a cheap, plastic look, this budget-friendly pick looks as solid as other more expensive alternatives thanks to its aluminum body. The key labels are easily recognizable, and the blue backlight glow is rather easy on the eyes. However, like with the Redragon K552, we felt a bit let down by the lack of RGB customizability.
Comfort – The KG010 is a full-sized keyboard, so it takes up more space than the K552. Fortunately, this isn’t much of an issue at least in terms of ergonomics. To make things even better, the keyboard also features a shaped bottom lip designed to accommodate many attachable wrist wrests if you want to attach one. Smaller hands may find the front edge a bit too high, but we didn’t experience any discomfort even without a wrist rest.
Keys – The KG010’s mechanical switches are a mixed bag. On one hand, they do provide audible clicks and slightly more tactile feedback than a membrane keyboard. On the other, we found that the switch feels too soft compared to the switches on other more popular keyboards. In fact, it’s safe to say that the switches perform more comparably to membrane keyboards instead of other mechanical options.
The keycaps have a clean and simple profile, with the smallest dip in the middle that keeps them from feeling completely flat. Combine it with the relatively smooth feedback and you have something that feels “just good enough” that you won’t be making too many accidental inputs. We do, however, appreciate the fact that the keys and switches have a solid build, which complements the KG010’s aluminum body.
3. VicTsing Mechanical Keyboard
VicTsing is one of the newest names in the gaming keyboard market, having only entered the scene earlier this year. While the brand already has a selection of keyboards, what really got our attention was their backlit mechanical keyboard. For this review, we got our hands on the red switch variant; there’s also a blue one which sells for much cheaper.
First impressions – The VicTsing mechanical keyboard has a plastic body, which is quite the contrast to the Eagletec KG010. Sure, it looks better than an office keyboard, but without the backlight and the logo on the detachable wrist rest, it looks almost like one. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the keyboard looks flimsy, and we’re still looking at a decently-built piece.
Keys – The red switch version of the VicTsing mechanical keyboard is supposed to be the quieter mechanical switch, and an attempt to imitate the performance of Cherry MX Red switches. However, when we tested the keyboard, we found that it’s a bit stiffer than the more popular switches. Still, the switches are softer and quieter than Cherry Blues, so it’s a good compromise between that and Cherry Reds.
We must say that the keycaps are the VicTsing Mechanical Keyboard’s weakest point. While we didn’t have any problems navigating the keyboard purely by touch, we found the keys to look a bit tacky (with rather cheap-looking labels), and a bit too much side wobble. However, you have to remember that this is a sub-$50 keyboard, and it beats most keyboards at that price point in terms of keyboard quality.
Comfort – The VicTsing mechanical keyboard comes with a detachable wrist rest, so that’s definitely a plus for us. However, we understand if the moderate stiffness of the switches and the wobble on the keys would earn it mixed reactions, especially for long-term use. We found that the keys are also more elevated than your typical mechanical keyboard, so it may take some time to get used to them if you have small hands, even with the wrist rest attached.
4. Velocifire VM01
Velocifire is a company that started in 2015, hoping to focus on gaming keyboards. However, they decided to shift to mechanical office keyboards somewhere down the road. Fortunately, developments for their office keyboard have allowed them to manufacture mechanical keyboards that are good enough for both gaming and general office work. Today, we’ll take a look at their Velocifire VM01.
First impressions – The VM01 is a very clean-looking board; a clear reminder of their shift to more office-oriented products. However, the keyboard still has recognizable callbacks to its gaming routes in the form of its icy-blue backlighting. Fortunately, the design works so well that it looks great on both office computers and gaming setups alike.
Keys – The VM01 features Outemu Brown Keys, which is a compromise between the soft, easy feel of membrane keyboards and the clearer tactile feedback of mechanical ones. You will barely feel the keys pushing back on your fingers, especially during frantic gaming moments. This results in a quieter keyboard, but it’s also prone to causing accidental key presses.
Typical for a keyboard below the $50 price point, we found that the keys were decent enough but with a few clear flaws. The key labels are painted on, so expect them to get worn out over time. Furthermore, the fonts seem to be trying to tell you that, yes, it can be a gaming keyboard, but it just looks dull overall. However, we have no complaints about the keycaps’ shape and feel, which is on par with everything else we tried so far in this list.
Read also: Best Gaming Keyboards Under $50
Comfort – For a sub-$50 gaming keyboard, the VM01 is not really the most comfortable option out there. What really caught our attention is the lack of flip-out feet and an oddly-sloped front profile which left no room for adjustment unless you’re willing to prop one end with something to adjust the angle of the keys. We feel that this is the VM01’s greatest weakness, but for its price, it’s still a fully-functional mechanical keyboard.
5. Havit HV-KB39L
Made by China-based company HAVIT, the HV-KB39L is a part of their Magic Eagle line of gaming peripherals and it comes bundled with a similarly-styled gaming mouse. However, we’ll focus mostly on the keyboard part of the bundle, though we must say that the mouse is a big bonus, especially for those still starting with their gaming setups.
First impressions – For something that costs less than $50 and comes bundled with a decent gaming mouse, we were impressed by the HV-KB39L. You don’t expect a full-sized mechanical keyboard at that price point, let alone one that features RGB lighting with multiple patterns. Despite the extra RGB flair, the keyboard still manages to have a minimalist, clean look. It’s easily the prettiest pick in our list of sub-$50 keyboards.
Switches – The HV-KB39L features “Kailh” Brown switches, yet another brand’s attempt to emulate Cherry MX Switches. However, don’t let the color fool you; those keys feel closer to Cherry MX Blue switches instead of the brown ones, so expect moderate tactile feedback and very audible clicks. This makes the HV-KB39L the perfect pick for those looking for precision and accuracy over speed.
Keys – We really can’t help but appreciate the quality of the HV-KB39L’s keycaps both in terms of looks and function. Keys labels are made of transparent plastic instead of simply being painted on, so there’s no problem with long-term fading. The keycaps have a shallow concave profile, but just enough to help you find the right keys without looking. There is some slight wobble, but for something at this price point, it’s not bad at all.
Comfort – This is where the HV-KB39L starts giving us mixed results. While some will find the fixed wrist rest convenient, others may find it rather annoying, especially for those with rather big hands. However, the floating keys can also be rather awkward for those with small hands. Last but not least, the fixed wrist rest can make it a bit inconvenient, especially when you have a setup with a limited desk space.
Extra Features – This is actually the first sub-$50 keyboards that warrant this particular section. The RGB lighting customization is the best one you can find in a keyboard at this price point, despite being limited to only 7 colors and 4 glow patterns. However, what really sold us on this keyboard is that it supports on-the-fly macro for up to 5 keys. Add the mouse bundled with it and you have yourself quite the steal.
6. AUKEY KM-G9 Mechanical Keyboard
AUKEY makes a wide variety of tech devices, but they also have a few forays into the gaming keyboard industry. One of their products that fit into this list is the KM-G9. We have another tenkeyless design, but is it in any way comparable to the K552 to warrant a place in our list?
First impressions – We thought the K552 already had a minimalist design, but the KM-G9 manages to outdo our Redragon pick in that regard. With floating keys almost flush against the edges of the base plate, the lack of RGV lighting, and an overall plain design this keyboard screams “bare bones”.
Switch – The KM-G9 features Outemu Blue switches that are heavily based on the Cherry MX Blue switches. In terms of performance, they are very, Very similar, with distinct tactile feedback and stiffness. However, the Outemu Blue switches have a different clicking sound, which sounds a bit higher than the sound Cherry MX blue switches make when pressed.
Keycaps – The keycaps on the KM-G9 is as basic as it can get; they have no backlighting, the labels are in a subtle, gaming-inspired font, there’s and slight concave for better ergonomics. It would’ve been better if the keyboard went for a matte finish on these keys; the gloss makes the keycaps look cheap. Although they’re not the best looking keycaps around, they are good enough considering the price tag.
Comfort – With a very lightweight body and MX Blue-like switches, we were expecting the KM-G9 to be a rather awkward keyboard to game with. Fortunately, we were proven wrong. The keyboard’s rubber base provided a solid base to keep the entire thing firmly in place, so you don’t need to worry about having to readjust your keyboard every now and then. Another thing about the KM-G9 is that it somehow manages to feel just right even without arm rests, because the keys being almost flush along the edges of the base plate gives you plenty of desk space to add your own wrist rests (or use it on its own).
7. Ajazz AK33 Geek RGB
Ajazz Gaming has released multiple mechanical keyboards for the market, but we were looking for something great from them around the sub-$50 price range. After checking out what they have, we settled for the AK33 Geek RGB. This keyboard has a 75% profile, which is even smaller than a tenkeyless design, but is it proof that good things can come in small, budget-friendly packages?
First impressions – Cheap compact keyboards rarely look good, but that’s not the case with the AK33. However, one of the first things we noticed was that the keys feel a little too close to each other for comfort, plus certain keys (most notably the shift keys) can be a bit too small. The RGB lighting is definitely one of the best ones among keyboards in this list and adds a more “midrange” feel to it. The aluminum base plate and floating keys gives it an overall solid build – perfect for moderate gaming.
Switch – The AK33 uses Zorro switches which perform very similar to their cherry MX color counterparts. We had doubts about the quality of these Cherry MX clones but we must say that the difference won’t be obvious to all but the most dedicated keyboard enthusiasts.
Keys – The AK33’s keycaps are almost perfect considering their price point in terms of build quality and aesthetics, especially with the RGB lighting on. The only reason you’d want to pass on these switches is if you prefer something with a matte finish because the AK33’s glossy keycaps are prone to having fingerprints all over them.
Comfort – As with any 75% keyboard, we found that comfort can be a hit or miss with the AK33. Even users with small hands will feel the different sensation of having slightly cramped finger positions. This is not a keyboard that you can seamlessly transition into.
Features – This is the second keyboard in our lineup where extra features warrant an extra section. After fiddling with the keyboard app (downloadable from their Chinese website), we were able to access a ton of customizability options for the RGB lighting, including individual backlighting colors for each key. The program also allows you to program macros, although you will have to think of which keys to bound those macros are.
8. DIERYA DK63
The AK33 may be small, but there’s something even smaller than that on our list of the best sub-$50 keyboards. The DK63 is a 60% RGB mechanical keyboard, but there’s something else that makes it even more special. Before we tell you what sets it apart, let’s take a quick look at the tiniest option on our list.
First impression – The DK63 is a very tiny keyboard, only 11 inches long and 3.9 inches from front to back. Despite its compact nature, the closely-packed keys and RGB lighting gives it a busy look. The floating keys are flush along the edges so there’s nothing jutting out of the DK63.
Switch – We tried searching for more info on the DK63’s switches, but our test unit came with ones that work similarly to cherry MX blue switches. We must say that it was a good decision for something so small; anything softer combined with the ultra-compact design could result in a lot of accidental inputs!
Keys – The DK63’s keycaps leave much to be desired. For such a compact design, you’d think they’d go for more concave profiles, but you get rather shallow keys – for something so small, finding the right keys can be an issue during fast-paced gaming moments. Fortunately, the keys don’t have that cheap, loose feel that plagues many affordable options.
Comfort – If you find yourself having an awkward experience with a 75% keyboard, don’t expect things to get better with the DK63. Combined with the relatively flat keycaps and the odd key proportions necessary to save space, even users with smaller hands may have to spend some time getting used to it. While this is not an issue with most FPS games, MMO or RTS players may want to settle for larger keyboards on the list.
Features – What really makes the DK63 unique is that it supports a wireless feature via Bluetooth 4.0. You got that right; for less than $50, you can get an RGB Mechanical Wireless keyboard. While we don’t recommend playing wireless (especially over Bluetooth), just the fact that you have the option to do so is a big bonus.
9. Hcman H02
Electronics manufacturer Hcman is barely a recognizable brand, but the H02 looks like it can be a mainstay for budget-friendly gaming setups. This keyboard has one of the lowest price tags in this list (some sellers put this at a 20%, but does that also mean it loses out in terms of quality? We’re inclined to disagree.
First impressions – The H02 looks impressive for something that costs so little. We were even surprised that it was one of the larger tenkeyless keyboards in this list! The keyboard’s RGB does a good job of making it look good, and the ABS base plate is lined with aluminum at the edges to give it a more solid-looking build. If we were ranking keyboards based on looks, the H02 can definitely place higher than even some $100 options.
Switch – The H02 has Outemu blue keys that feels and very similar to Cherry MX blues; once again you’ve something perfect for games that require a lot of accuracy. Unfortunately, it also sounds about as loud as the popular clicky switches so it could turn away gamers looking for a quieter keyboard.
Keys – Hcman did a good job with the H02 keys; the concave profile is deep enough to make sure you won’t be slipping, especially with the extra force needed to push those switches. Also, unlike some of the keyboards in this list, the text doesn’t look too “gamified” to the point that they become an eyesore, even with the customizable RGB patterns in full blast.
Comfort – The H02 is a breeze to use for an extended amount of time even with the MX Blue-like switches. Even with narrow rubber pads, it manages to provide a solid base so you won’t have to worry about readjusting your hand and keyboard position every few minutes (especially for something with stiffer keys). The H02’s rear flip stands don’t offer much in terms of adjusting the angle, but it’s better than nothing.
10. Gigabyte Xtreme Gaming XK700
When it comes to sub-$50 keyboards, you’ll rarely expect a big brand to be one of the top picks. However, Gigabyte managed to make it to the list with its XK700. It’s a full-sized, RGB, mechanical gaming keyboard from Gigabyte at a budget-friendly price – let that sink in. Without further ado, let’s check out our last entry for the best gaming keyboards under $50 for 2019
First impressions – The only thing cheap in the XK700 is the price tag. At first glance, you’d easily mistake it for a mid or even high-end keyboard. The brushed aluminum baseplate, the unique shape of the keyboard’s footprint, the sleek black keys with clean-font labels and a tiny tagline near the directional keys and numpad: “Challenge Your Limits”. This is a gaming keyboard that wants to be seen, and it’s quite the sight to behold.
Switch – The XK700 uses Gigabyte’s own Gaming Mechanical Key Switches, which provides linear tactile feedback and produces very little noise. This one can be a hit-or-miss, especially if you want to play with better accuracy. However, if you want speed then the 2mm actuation distance will greatly help you with fast inputs.
Keycaps – The keycaps are deep enough to prevent slippage, but what really makes the XK700 stand out is the angled surface. The keys are sloped down, towards the middle rows. This may not seem like much, but it’s actually an ingenious way to help gamers find keys relative to how far those keys are from the middle. Replacement orange keycaps are also available for your favorite keys (WASD and the nearby number keys come to mind)
Comfort – We had a great time trying out the XK700 even for an extended period of time. The ergonomics of a full-sized keyboard gives Gigabyte’s budget board an edge over its more compact counterparts. Add the unique key angles and the relatively soft switches and you have one of the comfiest mechanical keyboards at any price tag.
Features – The XK700 is a very macro-friendly keyboard. With the Xtreme Gaming Engine Software, it’s possible to create macros for every single key. TO make things even better, the XK700 also lets you store up to three keyboard profiles so you optimizing your keyboard for different games is a breeze. Last but not least, the RGB lighting can also be customized and assigned to these profiles so you can easily keep track of what mode your keyboard is currently in. We really can’t believe something this good is available under $50.
What to Look for When Buying a Budget Mechanical Keyboard
A lot of gamers planning to complete their gaming setup know that gaming keyboards are just as important as their mice or headset. However, many also make the mistake of just getting the first keyboard with the word “gaming” slapped on the box. If you want a good gaming keyboard, you must take a look at certain aspects of the hardware.
Must Be Mechanical
The first thing you need to check when looking at any gaming keyboard is if it’s a membrane keyboard or a mechanical one. What do we mean by this, and how important is it for a gamer like you?
Mechanical keyboards do away with the flexible membrane and instead feature individual switches for each key. This means that problems commonly associated with membrane keyboards are rarely an issue. A mechanical keyboard will let you press more keys simultaneously while also being completely immune to rollover. Furthermore, mechanical keyboards can be chosen according to your personal preferences in gaming, which brings us to the next point.
Selecting Your Switches
Mechanical keyboards are a lot more varied than membrane keyboards, thanks to their switches. Depending on the type of switch your keyboard has, it can provide you with a unique “feel”. Some feel linear, with the keys only going up and down when pressed. Others have a discernible “bump” when pushed down so you know when a successful input was made. Aside from those characteristics, switches can also be stiff or smooth, which can affect their sensitivity.
Switches are a mix of what you need, and what you want. For example, if you’re an avid first-person player, you’d want a keyboard with a good enough actuation so you know exactly which inputs you’re making and to prevent accidental key presses. In games where rapid tapping may be involved, you’d want a keyboard with smoother switches and higher sensitivity.
The keycaps are the plastic parts that go over individual keys; they’re the ones with the symbols over them. The quality of the keycaps will have an effect on several aspects of your keyboard, including ergonomics, durability, and even input quality.
Some keycaps are flat, while others are either notched or profiled so your fingers can easily “find” the keys you need to press. Many gamers prefer slightly concave keycaps because it keeps the fingers over the right keys even while resting.
Some keyboards also feature more prominent keycaps for more frequently used buttons such as WASD (directional keys), the space bar, and Ctrl keys. Other keyboards even come with extra keycaps in case the original ones get worn down over time.
Size and Profile
While the general keyboard layout hasn’t changed much over the decades, you’ll find that gaming keyboards are available in so many different sizes and profiles. The size dictates how much desk space you’ll have to allot to your keyboard. More importantly, it also affects how wide you have to position your arms when holding both the keyboard and the mouse. Since most gaming setups have plenty of desk space to spare, you should pick the size based on its more functional aspects.
One of the main advantages of gaming keyboards over regular ones is the presence of extra features. While there are plenty of possible additions such as detachable rests, USB pass-through, and media keys, two features stand out as things gamers would want to have: macro keys and RGB lighting.
Macro keys are special “extra keys” that can be programmed to perform a sequence of inputs with a single press. Macro keys are especially helpful when playing games where you expect to perform the same sequence on a regular basis, such as queuing abilities in an RPG or buying a favorite loadout in a first person shooter.
RGB lighting may seem like a “vanity” feature for some people, but keyboard lighting can also have a functional purpose. This is especially true for gamers who play under low-light conditions, where finger placement when playing and typing may require some visual guidance. Of course, you can’t deny that a gaming setup using a keyboard with RGB lighting can also help.
Wrapping things up
That wraps up our discussion on the top mechanical gaming keyboards under 50 dollars. We hope this has helped you understand that getting a good setup doesn’t always have to break the bank.
Do you have any other sub-$50 options that you want to recommend? Feel free to leave a comment below!
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