Best budget gaming keyboards for 2021

These keyboards can help you step up your game without breaking the bank.

Image by HyperX via Amazon

A good gaming keyboard can make all the difference for a competitive gamer.

Gaming keyboards not only feature superior switches and solid build quality, but they often come with gaming-centric features like RGB lighting and special keys for assigning macros. 

While some expensive gaming keyboards might have the most features, there are a ton of budget-friendly keyboards available too. Budget keyboards often lack the more advanced options that come with a pricier keyboard, but that doesn’t mean they can’t perform.

Here are the best budget gaming keyboards.

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

Image via HyperX

The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is a tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard specifically designed for gamers. This small but mighty board offers a surprisingly solid experience for a keyboard that is so affordable. While this is the most expensive keyboard on this list, it is also the board that asks you to make the least number of sacrifices regarding features and build quality.

This board features 87 keys total, each of which is backlit with a red LED. The LED lighting effects can be lightly customized to add a little style to your gaming setup. However, the LED backlighting only comes in red, so if RGB lighting is essential to you, there are some better options on this list.

This board comes with either Cherry MX Blue or Cherry MX Red mechanical switches. Both of these key switches are excellent and should offer you a top-tier gaming experience. Blue switches provide more tactile feedback, while Reds will be a little quieter while you are typing or gaming.

The HyperX Alloy features an all-steel frame, making for a durable design. The TKL size makes this keyboard the perfect option for anyone dealing with a smaller desk. Despite some HyperX keyboards being compatible with consoles, this keyboard is only compatible with PC.

This keyboard comes with the essential gaming features, and it is built like a tank, so it should last for many years to come.

Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard

Image via Logitech

The Logitech G213 gaming keyboard is a full-sized keyboard designed with precision and affordability in mind. This board won’t be winning any awards for style or build quality, but it gets the job done at an affordable price.

Logitech’s G213 features full-color spectrum RGB backlighting, with access to 16.8 million colors. You can change the colors and customize your lighting effects using Logitech’s G HUB software. The included keycaps are specially designed to limit the amount of light leaking from under the keycap, giving this board a cleaner aesthetic.

The biggest drawback of this keyboard is its membrane key switches. The ideal version of a gaming keyboard would be equipped with mechanical key switches, even if they are on the low end. Mechanical switches activate your keystroke before you bottom out the key and provide a superior typing experience overall. They are better for gaming because they put less stress on your fingers while paying since you don’t bottom out your keys with every keystroke.

As a small bonus, this keyboard comes with some built-in media keys. These media controls let you adjust your system sound without having to tab out of your game. Media keys are not required on a gaming keyboard, but they are a nice addition to see on a budget-friendly keyboard.

The Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard is a great option for any gamer who wants a complete RGB set up on a tight budget. If you can’t afford to spring for an RGB keyboard with mechanical keys, this is probably the next best option.

Razer Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard

Image via Razer

The Razer Cynosa Chroma gaming keyboard is a budget-friendly membrane gaming keyboard with many of the same benefits and drawbacks as the Logitech G213. While this keyboard is RGB enabled and comes in at an affordable price, it features less than ideal membrane keyboard switches.

Razer’s full-size keyboard comes with Razer’s Chroma backlighting and is powered by Razer’s Synapse software. Synapse lets you customize the colors and lighting effects at will. You can also adjust your macros, rebind various keys, and even save a variety of customizable profiles to the cloud. This keyboard’s RGB lighting can even sync with other Razer peripherals.

This keyboard is spill-resistant, in part due to its membrane switches. While you won’t be able to dunk the whole keyboard in water, it will take a small amount of moisture without completely breaking down. This feature has the potential to extend the longevity of the board.

Despite being labeled “gamer-grade”, the key switches definitely leave something to be desired. Razer describes these keys as having a soft-cushioned feel, but that might not be what every gamer wants in a gaming keyboard. Ideally, you want your key switches to provide precise feedback and a responsive design. While you can still certainly game on these keys, the membrane keys don’t feel as responsive as mechanical switches.

Just like the Logitech G213, the Razer Cynosa gaming keyboard is a solid, entry-level board that is perfect for anyone looking to maximize their RGB options on a budget. Just keep in mind that buying this keyboard demands a sacrifice in keyboard switch quality.

Havit TKL Mechanical Keyboard

Image via Haveit

The Havit Mechanical keyboard is a budget-friendly keyboard that sacrifices RGB backlighting in exchange for high-quality keycaps and a superior mechanical switch design. This compact, TKL keyboard is the perfect workhorse for anyone looking to work or play on a small desk.

This 89-key keyboard does not feature RGB backlighting at all. However, the keys themselves do feature a fun orange, white, and black color pallet. These keycaps are the only ones on the list made of high-quality PBT material. PBT keycaps are superior to the ABS keycaps regarding their feel and long term durability. If keycap material is a priority for you, this might be the best keyboard option for you.

This keyboard comes standard with Jixian Red mechanical switches. While Jixian is considered a lower quality brand, the inclusion of mechanical switches on this board is still a big improvement over the previous two boards featuring membrane switches. Red switches are silent and offer a fast gaming response, which may improve your in-game movement control. 

The Havit mechanical keyboard prioritizes functionality over flash, making it a perfect budget option for any gamer. If you are looking for a tenkeyless keyboard that can get the job done and you don’t care about RGB lighting, this Havit keyboard might be the product for you.

AUKEY Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Image via AUKEY

The AUKEY mechanical gaming keyboard is the most affordable option on this list. It is also surprisingly well featured for its price. Not only does this keyboard come equipped with LED backlighting, but it also comes with mechanical switches.

This full-size keyboard features 104 keys total, all of which are backlit with a 6-color Rainbow LED backlight system. Each row of keys is backlit with a specific color. The top row is indigo, the next row is purple, followed by green, orange, pink, and then finally red. You can customize the lighting effects on this board across 9 different presets, but you can’t change the actual colors of the rows.

As a result of its limitations, the featured RGB lighting isn’t as good as the other RGB enabled boards on this list. It lacks the customization found on both the Logitech and the Razer boards. If RGB customization is your thing, consider one of the other RGB boards instead.

This keyboard’s biggest draw is its standard Outemu Blue mechanical switches. Some gamers consider these switches to be equivalent or superior to Cherry’s MX style switches. The included Outemu switches on the AUKEY gaming keyboard add a decent amount of value.

It is difficult to find RGB backlighting and mechanical switches in the same budget keyboard, which makes the AUKEY gaming keyboard a steal.

Redragon K552 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Image via Redragon

The final option on the list is the Redragon K552 mechanical keyboard. This TKL keyboard comes standard with Outemu switches and customizable RGB lighting, all in a compact package. Its condensed design makes this board a perfect option for anyone who has limited desk space or wants to take their keyboard on the go with them.

The keyboard features a total of 87 keys. Each key is equipped with a crystal clear LED backlight. While you won’t have quite the level of RGB control found on the Logitech or Razer boards, this keyboard still features better lighting options than the AUKEY board. You can choose between nine colors for each key with five different brightness options. You can also set your keyboard to breath mode, which slowly pulses the colors on and off.

The Redragon K552 uses the same Outemu Blue key switches found on the AUKEY board. They work just as well in this more compact form factor and offer a huge leg up over the membrane keyboard options on this list.

This keyboard is also built to last, with all-metal construction and durable keycaps, which should stand up to many gaming sessions without wearing out.

The Redragon K552 gaming keyboard is the cheapest tenkeyless option on this list.

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