Gaming is a great way to spend your free time. Do you know what’s not so great, though? Playing a PC game on a terrible keyboard that isn’t designed for gaming. A poor quality gaming keyboard can truly ruin your overall experience.
With that in mind, you’re on the hunt for a new gaming keyboard. You’ve encountered a problem, however. Gaming keyboards can cost a lot of money. Fortunately though, it’s entirely possible to find a good quality gaming keyboard, even if you’re on a budget.
In this article, we’re going to delve into some of the best gaming keyboards under $100 that the marketplace has to offer. We’ve also written a nifty buyer’s guide and a summary on how we’ve chosen the products on this list!
How We Picked
Sure, you’re on a budget, but that doesn’t mean you need to settle for a basic keyboard with minimal functionality. In writing this list, we’ve considered a few different things that are important in a gaming keyboard. The first is the price. If you’re on a budget, you don’t really want to be spending more than around $100. We’ve also thought about the type of gaming keyboard, and other cool features such as whether the keyboard is backlit and how many gaming specific keys it has. Naturally, we’ve considered the functionality and durability too.
Best Gaming Keyboard Under $100 in 2021
Attractive, simple design
The keys aren’t very noisy
It can often be difficult to find a truly spectacular keyboard when you’re on a budget. With that being said, you are sure to be very impressed with the Steel Series Apex 5. This keyboard is one of the best gaming keyboards in the market, and it’s certainly worth considering if you want to take your gaming experience to the next level.
The Steel Series Apex 5 will give you an unrivalled gaming performance. With this keyboard, you will be able to play your games flawlessly, without having to worry about your keyboard being too slow. It is incredibly affordable too, which is perfect for a gamer on a budget. You will even get an OLED display. If you are gaming in the night or in low lighting conditions, this really is a must have.
If that wasn’t enough, you will also enjoy the minimalist design. The keyboard looks simple and sleek in design, but the backlighting makes it look really striking in the dark. Perhaps the only real issue with this keyboard is that the keys are incredibly quiet, though this may not be a huge problem for everyone.
Dual function keys
Takes up very little space
The Bluetooth connectivity is rather slow
The Anne Pro 2 is a keyboard that you may not have heard of before. Even so, it’s a fantastic option that will serve you well for your gaming needs. With a premium feel at a budget price tag, you can’t go wrong with the Anne Pro 2.
There are a lot of things to love about this gaming keyboard. First, this is a 60% keyboard. This means that it’s perfect for when you don’t have a lot of space on your desk but you still need a high quality gaming keyboard. It means you will have additional space to move your mouse too. It’s a mechanical keyboard, resulting in the optimal performance for gaming. It has full RGB backlit key mapping too.
In addition to this, you will also get dual function keys on this keyboard, and it even has Bluetooth and Cable support. It is worth noting, however, that the Bluetooth connectivity can be a little slow. This can sometimes be inconvenient, so you should keep this in mind before you buy it.
Great wireless connection
If you’re looking for a fantastic wireless keyboard for your gaming setup, you are in luck. The Corsair K63 is a fantastic portable wireless option that’s ideal for when you want to play video games on the move. It has fantastic connectivity too, despite being a wireless option.
The biggest selling point is the strength of the wireless connection. You won’t need to worry about this keyboard suddenly disconnecting when you’re in the middle of a pivotal gaming moment. It comes with a wide range of features too, so you won’t need to worry about losing functionality thanks to the wireless connection.
The keyboard comes with stunning backlighting that’s very helpful for when you’re playing in dim lighting. It’s very comfortable to use too! It is somewhat expensive, but it’s still under the $100 mark so it’s great if you’re on a budget and you have a little extra cash to splurge.
Soft touch keys
Comfortable to use
Can get greasy quickly
Membrane or mechanical – what is the better choice of keyboard for you? Well, you don’t have to choose when you buy the Razer Ornata V2, because you will get the best of both styles of keyboard!
The first thing to note is how comfortable it is to use this keyboard. It has soft touch keys that are rather enjoyable to use, especially while gaming. The keyboard makes satisfying noises when you tap the keys, though they can take a little while to adjust to. The low actuation is very handy for when you are gaming, too.
The ergonomics on this keyboard are pretty great, and this is partially down to the pleather wrist wrest. This is incredibly comfortable for your wrists while you are typing for long periods of time. It is worth noting however, that the enter key is rather small so you should be aware of that when you are gaming. Also, the keycaps can get a little greasy, so try not to play your video games after eating a McDonalds!
Interchangeable arrow and WASD keys
Portable – ideal when you have limited desk space
Durable and splash resistant
Doesn’t come with macro keys
Redragon is a fairly new name on the gaming market. Nevertheless, you can expect a fantastic level of performance from this keyboard. It’s ideal for the budget conscious gamer, since it’s so affordable and yet it’s also reliable.
The keyboard is made out of metal but with a durable plastic covering. It’s comfortable to use, and it’s super durable. You could probably throw the keyboard at a wall and you still won’t get any issues, though this is not recommended if you want your keyboard to last for a long time. It is splash resistant too, so if you spill your drinks you don’t need to worry. The keyboard consists of 87 keys but it doesn’t have a NUMPAD. It’s very portable thanks to the small size, which is ideal if you like to game in different locations. It comes with 12 multimedia control keys too.
One especially great thing about this keyboard is the Red LED backlighting. This looks great, especially in the dark. The travel between the keys is ideal if you are going to be typing for many hours of the day. The keyboard is perfect for left handed gamers too, and the WASD and arrow keys are even interchangeable. The one thing that could be seen as a negative is that the keyboard doesn’t come with macro keys.
Things To Consider
When it comes to buying a gaming keyboard, you don’t want to buy the first one that you see. You need to put some serious thought into what you are buying in order to ensure that you get the best option for you. With that in mind here are some of the things that you should consider when you are buying your gaming keyboard.
Rubber Dome vs Mechanical Keyboard
There are two main options when buying a gaming keyboard – mechanical or rubber dome keyboards. The rubber dome keyboard is going to cost you a lot less money to buy than a mechanical keyboard. They consist primarily of plastic and rubber components. As the name suggests, a mechanical keyboard is made out of metal plates. Thanks to these metal plates, you will get a much faster response time from a mechanical keyboard, but you will need to spend more money for a mechanical keyboard.
A lot of gamers enjoy playing their video games in the dark, so having a keyboard with backlighting is rather useful. It’s also handy when doing other kinds of work during low lighting conditions. There are a few kinds of backlighting available for gaming keyboards.
First is a single color backlight, and the other option is RGB colors. If you want to customize the lighting to your own personal tastes, it’s best to go for the RGB colors but this will cost you more money. RGB colors are pretty cool though, since you can truly customize the keyboard exactly to your lighting, which can improve your gaming experience. You can divide the keyboard according to different colors, which means that you don’t need to think so much when you’re using the keyboard. Some keyboards will even allow you to choose a certain backlight color for each and every key. It may seem excessive, but it’s rather handy for hardcore gamers.
For under $100, you are more likely to find single color keyboards. You can find some RGB keyboards at this price range, but you may need to look a little harder to find them!
Media Playback Buttons
If you’re gaming, you may want to listen to some music in the background! Of course, you don’t want to exit your game every time that you want to change the song… So, get a keyboard with media playback buttons included!
Wired or Wireless
There are two main keyboard options on the market – wired or wireless keyboards. Both have their own pros and cons. If you get a wireless keyboard then you are going to have fewer cables cluttering up your desk. On the other hand, a wireless keyboard isn’t entirely great in terms of latency for your gaming. If you are looking for a keyboard for gaming, it’s in your best interests to get a keyboard with a wired connection for the best response times in your game.
When you’re gaming, you are pounding away at your keyboard. This can often mean that your keyboard makes a lot of noise. This isn’t always ideal when you have other people in your room or if you’re also going to be using your keyboard for work purposes in the office. In general, a rubber dome keyboard is going to be significantly quieter in operation than a mechanical keyboard. With that being said, it is possible to get mechanical keyboards that produce very little noise.
You want your keyboard to last a long time, right? Well, for that reason it’s important to look for a gaming keyboard that is durable. A mechanical keyboard is going to be your best choice in terms of longevity, since rubber dome keys can lose flexibility when you lose them a lot. They can still be durable, but it’s better to get a mechanical keyboard for the best longevity.
Keyboards can get messy fast, so it’s always a good idea to look for a keyboard that can be cleaned easily. It’s possible to find keyboards with removable keycaps, which makes cleaning them that much easier. It’s often harder to remove the keycaps on membrane and rubber dome keyboards, so it’s important to keep that in mind as you make your decision.
Size of Keyboard
Another thing that you need to think about when buying a gaming keyboard is how large it is. A gaming keyboard is usually a little larger than your average gaming keyboard, since there are other keys needed for gaming.
Your first choice is a full size keyboard. This will have around 104 keys, including the main letter keys, a number pad, function keys and directional cursor keys. These keyboards are very wide, meaning that they aren’t the best choice for a cramped workspace. It’s a good choice if a number pad is a priority for you though.
If a full size keyboard doesn’t sound like the best choice for you, you can get a tenkeyless size instead. This is much smaller so it’s good if you have a cramped desk space, but it doesn’t come with a number pad section.
Customization and Macros
It’s also important to note that it’s a good idea to ensure that your keyboard has macro and customization options. These are ideal for gaming, as they can give you easy shortcuts that you can use. Certain keyboards come with buttons that are designed to activate macros in game. For instance, there are keyboards especially designed for games like World of Warcraft. Instead of manually typing a command, all you need to do is click the macro and the task will be done with minimal effort. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it can certainly be a useful thing to have on a keyboard for gaming.
If you’re still stuck for choice, it’s worth considering what additional features your keyboard comes with. For instance, what accessories come with the keyboard? Look out for things like carry bags which can help you to carry the keyboard around much more easily. Look out for keycap pullers and spare gaming keycaps too, just in case some of your keycaps break off while you’re using the keyboard. You can also look out for a USB passthrough, since this will allow you to charge your devices directly from the keyboard. Pretty handy, huh?
Ergonomics are also an important thing to consider. Think about how easy it is to type on the keyboard if you are also planning on using it for things like work. Think about whether the keyboard comes with a wrist rest, since this will make it significantly more comfortable to use. A keyboard that comes with more extra features is going to be more expensive, however, so that’s important to keep in mind.
The best gaming keyboard for your existing rig will depend on what you’re looking to upgrade from, and what you’re hoping to get out of a new keyboard. Are you looking for something with better functionality to improve your performance, or something more for the aesthetics?
The Steel Series Apex 5 offers the best of both worlds, and at a reasonable price, too. If you can handle the slightly slower performance offered by Bluetooth connection, the wireless Anne Pro 2 gaming keyboard is worth your attention.
With the Razer Ornata V2 you can enjoy soft touch keys and comfortable control, whereas the Redragon K552 is the better choice in terms of portability and durability, but ultimately, any of the above options would be a great addition to your gaming set up.