On the face of it, a budget mechanical keyboard may seem a little hard to find due to the cost and premium nature of the mechanical switches, materials used, and the tech that goes into them. Thankfully, now mechanical keyboards have become increasingly popular, one can only assume manufacturing costs have been reduced, enabling well-known brands, as well as some you don’t necessarily associate with keyboards to produce fantastic budget editions.
Granted, you won’t be receiving the most feature-rich mechanical keyboard on the market but that’s what happens when you choose a budget option. However, with our top budget mechanical keyboard picks, you should be able to separate the best from the rest, picking one that suits your needs as well as being wallet-friendly.
Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard in 2022
Razer standard of quality
Lack of customizability
Razer, known for its wide range of gaming equipment, makes some of the best mechanical keyboards on the market. While these come at a premium price, they offer up a budget-friendly version of their ever-popular Blackwidow range – the Blackwidow Essential. This full-size mechanical keyboard, while being budget, still details a great overall build quality and Razer’s coveted mechanical switches. Due to these switches being made by Razer themselves, quality control is closely monitored, producing a life span of up to 80 million keystrokes, impressive numbers for a budget mechanical keyboard. The keys on this thing are also fully customizable, allowing you to map whatever functions you want and add macros, a handy feature for those who like to change keys around to suit their needs. In addition, the Blackwidow Essential also comes with Razer Hypershift enabling keys to have a second function, compounding the customizability aspect previously mentioned.
While you’re still getting a brilliant Razer mechanical keyboard, there are some features that it is lacking in. It’s still backlit with the classic Razer green hue but that’s it, there’s no full RGB or any customization options. Furthermore, there’s also no wrist support bundled in, which at the price, you’d expect but compared to the likes of the Razer Huntsman Elite, you can really tell the difference in specs and quality. All things considered though, for a Razer mechanical keyboard that’s around $50, you can’t complain, the proprietary switches and overall build quality feel far superior to the price point.
Full RGB lighting
Premium feeling switches
Great build quality
Cheaper feeling compared to other options
AUKEY, known for its portfolio of budget tech, has yet again produced a quality product while avoiding that premium price. Unlike the Razer Blackwidow Essential, you’ll be getting a mechanical keyboard that has full RGB, making it a much more appealing option for those looking to slot it into a colorful gaming setup. Coupled with the RGB, you’ll also see fantastic customizability options for said lighting with 9 preset lighting effects, and 2 slots for your own configurations. Moving over to the switches on this mechanical keyboard, we can see that AUKEY has utilized Outemu Blue switches, for great responsiveness and typing accuracy. Moreover, they have a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes, which is pretty stellar considering the price point. Yes, you’re not getting the up to 80 million that you get with the Blackwidow Essential but this longevity is more than enough for most. Looking further into durability, we can see double-shot-molded ABS keycaps and a brushed metal panel making the keys and body extremely durable and abrasion-resistant.
Performance-wise, you’re also not going to be disappointed. The AUKEY mechanical keyboard delivers full N-Key rollover and the aforementioned Outemu Blue switches providing stats such as 2.2 mm Pre-travel, 4 mm Actuator Travel, and 50 cN Actuation Force, compounding the accuracy and responsiveness previously stated. Overall, this budget mechanical keyboard offers some great performance vs price, detailing full, customizable RGB lighting, as well as those all-important Outemu Blue switches creating a great price-conscious pick that doesn’t skimp on features and build quality.
Compact & portable
Great build quality
Full RGB lighting
Premium feeling switches
Lacking in customizability
The Redragon K552-RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is the first and only compact keyboard on this list, showcasing a slight variation in features, size, and build materials. Looking initially at the design, the first thing that you’ll notice is the lack of a number pad. Obviously, you don’t lose dedicated number keys completely as they are still situated in the regular place over the letters. This overall makes it very compact, fitting on even the smallest of desk spaces and giving you the portability aspect larger mechanical keyboards do not. Akin to the AUKEY option previously detailed, you’ll get full RGB backlighting but what it is lacking is the customization. You’ll still receive the option to adjust the brightness but there are no options to create user-specific gradients or effects. Moving over to the keys and switches we can see some decent build quality and specs. The Outemu Blue switches are equivalent to that of Cherry Blue MX providing 2mm keystroke travel, an actuation force of 50gf, and a durability of up to 50 million clicks. The keycaps are also precision engineered with top tier ergonomics in mind, allowing for easy typing and a comfortable all-round experience. Finally, looking at the base itself, we can see that it’s made of durable metal alloy, providing that toughness your typical plastic keyboard does not.
Taking all of these features into consideration, this budget mechanical keyboard exudes that premium feeling you get from the most expensive keyboards and with its compact design, it looks a little more unique. You won’t get the full RGB lighting customization you get with the AUKEY but this is something that we’d be happy to gloss over, especially when you get a better overall looking piece of kit.
Fantastic build quality
Brilliant customizability options
Full RGB lighting
Design might be a bit quirky for some
Philips and mechanical keyboards are something that you might not have expected to hear together. Of course, they are known for products like sound systems, TVs, and lighting, so they know their tech but peripherals like these may be unexpected. However, with the Philips SPK8614 mechanical keyboard, it’s not only a great product but you’re getting it at a great price too. The design of this keyboard is more than stellar. It has a classy steel body and black RGB backlit keys that ooze premium. Additionally, this is the only budget mechanical keyboard in this list that includes a wrist rest, a welcomed addition for those at their screens for the majority of the day. Speaking of setting it apart from the rest, the RGB Ambiglow lighting is the best on this list. It has a crazy 19 breathing effects and three lighting key maps allowing you to tailor it to suit your individual wants and needs. Additionally, there’s a handy little dial to control these effects and adjust volume, another reason why this budget mechanical keyboard is special.
Taking a look at the switches and their specs we can see that Philips has created proprietary blue switches that offer the mechanical feeling while also being silent, meaning they’re considering your fellow office workers sanity in mind. With these proprietary switches, you’ll receive full N-key rollover for superior accuracy as well as a 2mm key trigger sensitivity. Summing this keyboard up, we can see that while Philips aren’t known for their peripherals, this is a true achievement, providing a top tier product at a really low price. You’re getting great customization, build quality and the performance necessary for accurate and responsive typing.
Things to consider
As shown with our picks above, you can get mechanical keyboards in different sizes. You can have a full layout, or the more compact layout, dropping that right-hand number pad. You might think ‘what’s the point in losing the number pad?’ well, for those with limited space, a smaller keyboard will be beneficial especially on those smaller desks. Additionally, gamers who don’t utilize that section at all have no need for it, so opting for the more compact variant seems a sensible choice. They’re lighter and more portable too thus making it far easier to transport to those pro gaming events.
So, while all of the keyboards we have listed have mechanical switches, there are in fact different variants, giving keystrokes varied feedback and overall feeling. Paying a more premium price for the likes of Cherry MX Black switches means you’ll be getting optimal performance but even with Outemu Blue switches, you’ll still get that mechanical feeling and much better typing experience than that of the bog-standard keyboards you usually see.
Aesthetics are not the most important aspect but one that certainly needs to be considered, especially when trying to get that perfect setup. If you’re a gamer that wants an RGB backlit mechanical keyboard or one that slots right into a color-coordinated office, there is a wide range of designs out there. Additionally, due to the customizability levels of keyboards themselves, you can change the keycaps to revamp the whole look, making it last longer in the process.
All in all, as mentioned earlier, you can get a really good mechanical keyboard on a budget. The options we’ve gone for provide some top mechanical switches, essential for gamers and typists alike while also being really aesthetically pleasing, fitting into gaming setups as well as the more traditional office environments. This is proven especially by the Philips SPK8614 mechanical keyboard. However, while all of our budget mechanical keyboard picks do have some respectable build quality, you do get what you pay for. So, rather than opting for the Razer Blackwidow for example, if you want better switches, more premium materials, and general longevity, you’re going to have to have deeper pockets and opt for a Razer Huntsman Elite variant.