When gaming or typing, you may have heard the term “mechanical keyboard” being thrown around. But when you start looking them up on the internet, you see that they’re not exactly low-cost or budget-friendly, especially if it’s your first mechanical keyboard. You want to test it before deciding you want to jump in on the deep end and spend over a hundred dollars on a PC peripheral.
However, it’s completely possible to find budget-friendly and high-quality mechanical keyboards nowadays that won’t break the bank or make you regret your purchase if it ends up being not for you.
There are some sacrifices that do come when buying a budget keyboard, and that’s okay, since you just want to experiment and see what mechanical keyboards are all about.
If you do end up liking it, it’s always possible to save up money and get another one down the line, if you choose to.
Let’s jump in to the list first, and then we’ll discuss the benefits of a mechanical keyboard.
Best Budget Mechanical Keyboards Under $30
The PICTEK TKL is a budget-friendly mechanical keyboard that has all of the basic features of a mechanical keyboard such as 100% anti-ghosting, N-key rollover, RGB lighting, and mechanical switches.
TKL means that there will be no number-pad. This compact layout allows more space for your arm to move, but if you’re doing a lot of number entry, this may not be the board for you. There are other full-sized keyboards on this list.
The switches inside this keyboard are Oetemu blue switches, which are clicky switches that make an audible click when you press on them. These switches also have a tactile bump in the middle, so you’ll know when the keypress registers with your PC. If you’re around people all the time, these switches might annoy them and be too loud, so keep that in mind.
Like most mechanical keyboards that are popular for gaming, there are many lighting effects that are preset into the keyboard that you can change via keyboard combinations. The Pictek TKl has 27 different modes available.
The keyboard itself doesn’t have programmable per-key RGB editing, but the different lighting modes and effects will allow you to do many effects that can match your aesthetic. The keyboard is pretty much stuck in rainbow color, since each zone of the keyboard has a different color LED (red, yellow, green, blue, purple.) The colors of these zones are not programmable. This means you cannot have a single static color on the keyboard but always a rainbow effect.
It uses doubleshot ABS keycaps, which means the legends (lettering) won’t wear off over long periods of time. It also allows the lighting to shine through brightly, so that you can use your keyboard at night.
The keyboard has a non-detachable wire to connect to your PC. It is compatible with Windows and Mac. However, on Mac, the multimedia shortcuts on the Function row will not work.
The multimedia keys on the keyboard are:
- F1 Stop
- F2 Previous track
- F3 Pause/play
- F4 Next track
- F5 Desktop
- F6 Internet
- F7 Mail
- F8 Calculator
- F9 Music player
- F10 Volume down
- F11 Volume up
- F12 Mute
These keyboard shortcuts are extremely useful for changing sound settings while in game without having to click off screen for it.
This keyboard has a ton of cool features and is very affordable for a budget-friendly mechanical keyboard. There are many more options, so be sure to check them out before deciding what you want in the end.
The keyboard is a compact, tenkeyless layout that has no number pad. It comes with the basic mechanical keyboard features: 100% anti-ghosting and N-key rollover, so that your PC will register your keypresses no matter how fast or how many you do at once.
The E-YOOSO TKL keyboard is available in two different switches: blue or brown. The blue switches are clicky and loud with a tactile bump, whereas the brown switches have the bump without the loud click.
If you want something more quiet, go for the brown switches. If you’re okay making clicks every single keypress, then blue is the way to go. Both provide a tactile feedback so you know where to stop pressing.
On the function row, there are 12 multimedia functions to increase productivity and accessibility with the media keys:
- F1 Windows
- F2 Internet
- F3 Calculator
- F4 Music
- F5 Previous track
- F6 Pause/Play
- F7 Next track
- F8 Stop
- F9 Mute
- F10 Volume down
- F11 Volume up
- F12 Windows lock
The keyboard itself only has blue LED lights for the backlighting. But it also has RGB lights on either side for more accenting your aesthetic. With the blue backlight, you have 9 different effects that are built in. The side lights can be also be adjusted with color, effect, and speed of the effect.
The keycaps are doubleshot ABS, allowing light to shine through. The downside of ABS is that it accumulates shine and finger oils after significant use, but it is the same as the plastic keycaps on normal membrane keyboards.
This keyboard is very durable and has some water-resistance in case of small spills. That doesn’t mean go dump a full glass on water on it. But it does provide some extra protection.
If you do need the number pad, it is also available in a full-sized version here.
The Anivia MK1 is an 87-key (tenkeyless) mechanical keyboard with a bunch of great features for an affordable price as well.
It does not have a number pad, has the 100% anti-ghosting and N-key rollover to register every keystroke and combination. It also has water resistance up to a degree.
The MK1 has blue clicky switches, with a loud click and tactile feedback when typing or gaming. It is compatible with Windows and Mac. However, the multimedia keys won’t work on Mac OS.
A large benefit of this budget mechanical keyboard is that it has an aluminum frame. Many budget keyboards skimp out on the overall case material, and therefore, are fragile and damaged easily if dropped accidentally.
It has ABS plastic keycaps with doubleshot legends that last through many years of use without the letters wearing down.
It also comes with kickstands in the back to adjust your keyboard angle to your taste. On the back are rubber feet to prevent slipping. Many users have had positive reviews for this keyboard and absolutely love it for their kids.
The Chonchow TKL mechanical keyboard with blue switches is also very budget-friendly and makes for a great first mechanical keyboard.
The switches provide a loud click and tactile bump when in use. This may or may not be good for you, depending on your environment.
It has 16 different rainbow backlit effects and 6 other modes for reflect the keys you need for different games.
Like the other keyboards on this list, it has 100% anti-ghosting, N-key rollover, multimedia keys in the function row, a non-detachable cable, and is compatible with Mac and Windows.
Another benefit is that it has Windows lock, which prevents you from exiting your games in the middle if you press Windows accidentally.
The keycaps are doubleshot ABS with durable legends that will last a lifetime. The keyboard has a drainage hole on the bottom in case of any water spills on your keyboard during use. It has two kickstands to adjust the angle to your needs.
Whether you use WASD or the arrow keys for your navigational needs, it is easy to switch between them with FN+W. This is super convenient for gaming.
This keyboard has a lot of good features, looks amazing, and performs well. If you want something more quiet, this may not be the best option.
Also available in full-sized version here.
The One-Up TKL mechanical keyboard also comes with blue switches and is black. Like other keyboards on this list, it has 100% anti-ghosting, N-key rollover, RGB lighting, and a non-detachable USB cable.
For a quiet environment, this is not the ideal keyboard because blue switches are loud and clicky. They do provide a nice tactile feedback when you press each switch.
The keyboard has different lighting effects, 12 multimedia keys on the function row (although they are not labeled unfortunately), and water-resistant switches and casing.
It is compatible with Windows and Mac, although the multimedia keys won’t work.
The keycaps are made of ABS doubleshot plastic, so your legends will never wear off no matter how much you use them. The top frame of the keyboard is made of aluminum, and the rest is a lightweight ABS plastic. This allows the keyboard to be rigid yet still be lightweight and portable.
This is a great budget-friendly option for a mechanical keyboard. It is a little harder to use than the other ones because the multimedia functions are not labeled on the keycaps themselves.
The Eagletec KG040 is a well known budget-friendly keyboard. It is a tenkeyless compact design with blue click switches as well.
It has a medium resistance and provides a nice click and bump when in use. It only has blue backlight, so if that’s not your color, this is not the one for you. With the blue backlight, you do get 9 different effects, 6 different brightness levels, and adjustable effect speed.
The keycaps are ABS doubleshot plastic to allow the lights to shine through at night and to prevent wear of the lettering.
It has the basics: 100% anti-ghosting, N-key rollover, mechanical switches, non-detachable cable. One downside of this one is that the frame is slightly bulkier than others with very large branding at the top of the keyboard.
However, this keyboard does have a nice aluminum frame that prevents any flex. It is built like a tank and works great! It’s compatible with windows and has windows lock to prevent accidentally exiting your game screen.
The Velocifire 78-key mechanical keyboard is very unique from the others on this list. The layout is different as it is much more compact and has less empty space.
There are still arrow keys, the function row, and all the regular keys. However, the right shift is very very small compared to its usual size. This may take some getting used to.
The switches are Oetemu brown switches, which don’t have a loud click when in use, so it’s appropriate for typing and programming. However, it may still be too loud for the library or office.
The keycaps are doubleshot ABS and allow the blue backlight to shine through and minimize wearing down of the lettering over long periods of time.
It has the basics: 100% anti-ghosting, N-key rollover, non-detachable cable, mechanical switches, and non-slip rubber feet.
The size of this keyboard is super convenient if you have a small desk or need even more mouse space. However, keep in mind the right shift is very small compared to its usual size.
Benefits of a Mechanical Keyboard
Some of the benefits of having a mechanical keyboard include certain features. These will be defined below.
Ghosting occurs on a keyboard when keypresses are lost or disappear because you pressed them at the same time. The strokes occurred too close to each other, causing some of them to ghost. 100% anti-ghosting doesn’t allow this to happen, and all of your keypresses, even simultaneous ones, will register.
N-key rollover essentially is saying what anti-ghosting is. This means that no matter how many keys you press at once, the keyboard will register them. To check whether you keyboard has N-key rollover or not, you can use a switch tester online such as this one. Slam both hands on as many keys as you can, see how many registered.
If the keyboard registered all of them, then it has N-key rollover. Some mechanical keyboards only come with 6-key rollover, meaning it will only register 6 keys at once.
In a mechanical keyboard, each individual key has a switch underneath. When pressed, these switches send electrical signals to your computer.
There are many different brands of switches and types of switches. The different brands include Cherry, Oetemu, Gateron, Kailh, and more. Cherry is the most common brand because they set the standard for switches back in the day. Nowadays, there are so many switch brands that it may be hard to keep up.
The three types of switches are:
- Linear – are smooth keypresses with no tactile bump
- Clicky – provide a tactile bump and a loud click
- Tactile – provide a tactile bump with no click
Mechanical keyboards have their benefits, and it’s not all just bright lights and fancy switches. They come with functional differences as well as such N-key rollover, that is useful for gamers or fast typists.
Switch types also behave differently, so you can search and find the perfect switch for you.
Making the switch to a mechanical keyboard may seem daunting and expensive, but it really shouldn’t be. There are so many budget-friendly mechanical keyboards out there. Instead of worrying about whether you like it or not, try one for an affordable price and then be certain about your opinions on them.
Anyways, hope this list helped you out.