The Best Gaming Keyboard Under 50 Dollars


No matter how good of a gamer you are in terms of skill, without the proper gear you will never be able to unlock your true potential. And the keyboard plays a huge role in your overall gaming experience. Gamers need a keyboard that allows them to respond quickly, while also containing features such as backlighting and anti-ghosting. You will be using this peripheral for several hours each day, so it needs to be comfortable. The ergonomics of a keyboard are just as important as the type of switch that it uses. And in case you don’t want a mechanical keyboard because most of them are a little too noisy, you can always look into membrane options which are cheaper and much quieter.

In this article we shall review a number of popular keyboards, to determine the best gaming keyboard under 50 dollars.  With a little research you can enjoy a premium gaming experience without having to pay too much. Sure, there are keyboards that cost well over a 100 bucks but those aren’t exactly something the average gamer needs. Ultra high-end gaming keyboards are more about build quality and luxury features, and a lot of the stuff you see on them can be found in cheaper models. If you spent less than 1000 dollars on a gaming PC, you shouldn’t need to spend over 50 bucks for a solid keyboard too.

 

Here’s our top 4 contenders for best gaming keyboard under 50:

GIGABYTE Mechanical Cherry Red Keyboard (GK-Force K83 RED)

GIGABYTE Gaming Keyboard FORCE K83 RED

Overview:

Need a cheap, no-frills mechanical gaming keyboard for competitive gaming? Well, the Gigabyte FORCE K83 is perfect for you. It’s got no fancy lighting, no extra media buttons or macro keys, and there is no software that you have to install. Just plug it in, and start gaming. And the best part is that you get a solidly built keyboard with Cherry MX Red key switches for less than 40 bucks.

Features:

The FORCE K-83 series of keyboards is manufactured by Gigabyte, a company that is famous for making some of the finest graphics cards and motherboards for PC enthusiasts. They recently ventured into peripherals, and are focused on developing no-nonsense, reliable, high-performance gear for gamers. A fine example of their excellent design is this keyboard, it comes with authentic Cherry MX Red switches and costs half as much compared to other gaming keyboards which use Cherry Red switches.

But that’s not all, it is also built like a tank and the shell is capable of taking some really hard knocks without twisting or cracking. Even if you drop it a couple times, there will be no real damage to the internals. A couple keycaps may fall off, but you can just pop them right back on. And talking of keycaps, they are laser-etched to ensure a long lifetime. The characters will not fade away even after years of heavy usage.

And the best part about it is that it needs no software. You just plug it in and start gaming, like a Zowie mouse. All the media controls are integrated into the function keys, and there are no extra macro buttons. Despite featuring a full-size island-style layout with a numpad, the K83 is surprisingly compact and lightweight. It includes anti-ghosting so your input doesn’t lock up when you press multiple keys together. The Windows- lock key allows you to game with confidence without having to worry about jumping to the desktop if you accidentally press the Windows key.

Pros:

  • Classic design so anyone can get familiar with the layout within hours
  • No software installation needed, just plug and play
  • Lightweight and compact despite being a full-size keyboard with numpad
  • Authentic Cherry MX Red key switches
  • Anti-slip folding rubber feet on the bottom
  • Windows-lock key
  • Full-range anti-ghosting

Cons:

  • The lack of macros means that this keyboard isn’t the best choice for MMOs and RPG style games
  • No backlights, so you will have trouble using this in low-light conditions

 

 

 

CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard - Quiet & Satisfying LED Backlit Keys - Media Controls - Wrist Rest Included – Onboard Macro Recording

CORSAIR K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard

Overview:

If mechanical keyboards are not your style, try the Corsair K55 RGB. It features membrane switches and is incredibly silent compared to the average mechanical keyboard. And you get customizable RGB lighting for a really cheap price. There are dedicated media control keys, along with 6 macro keys which come in handy if you play games like Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls, Guild Wars, StarCraft, etc.

Features:

The K55 takes a lot of the features found exclusively on high-end gaming keyboards, and brings them within the reach of the average gamer who has a budget of 50 dollars. It has RGB lighting, macros, dedicated media controls, and a detachable hand rest. The K55 appeals to a wide variety of gamers, and is extremely silent because it isn’t mechanical. Most serious gamers prefer mechanical keyboards because their response times are faster, and they make a very distinctive sound with each key press. The tactile feel and experience of using a mechanical keyboard is hard to beat. But when you just need silence and don’t want to compromise on features, get the K55.

The RGB lighting is brilliant and through Corsair’s CUE software engine you can create, edit, and save lighting combinations for your keyboard. Each individual key can support a wide variety of colors, and there is 3-zone lighting for maximum immersion. Are you a gamer who plays lots of MMOs and strategy games that require several key presses to execute complex sequences of commands? Well, the K55 has 6 dedicated macro keys labeled “G” on the left side. These macros keys can be customized through the software and you can set them up to execute any sequence of commands with just one press.

Multimedia controls are present on every keyboard through the function keys, but what if the function keys are found to some command within your game? What if you want to change the soundtrack or volume without exiting your game? The Corsair K55 has dedicated media controls for that very purpose. And multi-key anti-ghosting makes this keyboard perfect for sports games and fighting games (even though you might prefer a controller for those).

Pros:

  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Dedicated media controls
  • Six macro keys
  • Detachable soft rubber coated wrist rest
  • Multi-key Anti-ghosting (8-key rollover)
  • Quiet rubber dome switches
  • Windows-Lock key

Cons:

  • Requires 2 USB ports
  • Non-braided cable
  • Slightly larger footprint compared to other keyboards

 

 

Gaming Keyboard Mechanical Keyboard K551 VARA by Redragon 104 Key RGB LED Backlit Mechanical Computer illuminated Keyboard with Blue Switches for PC Gaming Compact ABS-Metal Design

 

Redragon K551 VARA Gaming Keyboard

Overview:

This is a 104-key mechanical gaming keyboard and uses Cherry Blue- equivalent switches. These are not authentic Cherry mechanical switches, but feel very much like the real thing. The layout is reminiscent of an old-school keyboard from the 90s and the construction feels extremely sturdy. Customizable RGB lighting lets you choose from 5 brightness levels and five lighting modes.

Features:

Want a backlit mechanical keyboard with clicky switches? The Redragon K551 is affordable and built to last while simultaneously offering luxury features such as customizable RGB lighting and a corrosion-resistant gold-plated USB connector. It also packs some essential gaming functions such as N-key rollover, meaning that all 104 keys can be pressed together without any conflict in the input (not that any human could possibly do that, but still- you can).

The custom mechanical switches are advertised to be Cherry Blue- equivalents, which means that they have a low actuation force and non-linear key press. You will get a distinctive “click” sound as soon as the key passes its actuation point, and it also has a longer reset compared to linear mechanical switches. While it is good for gaming, these switches are best for typists who love to feel that tactile bump when they type. Once you get used to this keyboard, you will know exactly when you pressed a key so there will be fewer errors while typing. And while it is noisy, there are many gamers and PC enthusiasts who actually like the sound because it is reminiscent of older keyboard models and typewriters.

Pros:

  • Five lighting modes, including rainbow, pulse, breathing, etc.
  • Five brightness levels for the RGB backlight
  • N-key rollover
  • Metal/ ABS construction- the mechanical switches are mounted on a metal plate while the shell is made from thick ABS plastic
  • The splash-proof design makes this keyboard easy to clean and maintain
  • Satisfying clicky feel from the custom switches, great for typing
  • Corrosion-free gold-plated USB connector

Cons:

  • While it has RGB backlighting, the keyboard only lets you select from 12 colors unlike more advanced RGB keyboards which let you choose from hundred of color combinations
  • The design is classic and simple, but that also means it lacks any dedicated media controls or macro keys

 

 

 

MechanicalEagle Z-77 Mechanical Keyboard with 10-Mode RGB Backlit,Tenkeyless Wired Gaming Keyboard with Blue Switches - DIY Replaceable Switches - Black

Granvela MechanicalEagle Z-77 Gaming Keyboard

Overview:

When it comes to customizability, even the most expensive gaming keyboards don’t go any further than lighting and macro settings. But how about a keyboard which lets you swap out the actual switches? The Granvela MechanicalEagle Z-77 features an innovative design which lets you customize it down to the level of actual physical hardware.

Features:

When you purchase the Z-77, you get a bunch of extra stuff within the box. These aren’t goodies, but parts for the keyboard. You get a keycap puller, along with 5 extra mechanical switches. These replacement pieces are Outemu Blue switches, the same type that is used throughout the keyboard. You can buy them in packs like this, and attach them to the keyboard without having to do any soldering. Just pull out the old switch, and plug the new one in. And there is no software programming required either whenever you replace the switch. You can do some really funky stuff with this keyboard like replacing some of the Blue switches with brown and black switches.

The Z-77 uses double-shot molded ABS keycaps, so the legend will never fade away even after years of typing. In case you want to replace the keycaps with custom designs, you can easily do so because the switch stems support any keycap designed for standard Cherry MX switches. Outemu Blue switches are clicky and loud, similar to Cherry Blues. They have medium resistance and a slightly louder sound signature compared to Cherry Blues. Reliability should not be a concern since Outemu switches are tested for up to 50-million keystrokes.

Thanks to the 10-keyless design, the Z-77 is extremely small and lightweight making it perfect for LAN parties. There are no dedicated media controls, although most media controls are integrated alongside the function keys. N-key rollover means that you can press all 87 keys simultaneously without any conflict. We really like the fact that RGB lighting on this keyboard can be controlled with the keys and no software is needed. Read the included guide, it tells you how you can change backlight patterns and brightness using the function keys.

Pros:

  • Removable mechanical switches, so you can easily replace a damaged switch or change out a set of switches for a customized typing experience
  • RGB lighting can be controlled directly from the keyboard, no need to install any kind of software
  • The 10-keyless design makes this a very compact keyboard, so you can easily take it over to your friend’s house for a LAN party\
  • Doubleshot-molded ABS keycaps
  • N-key rollover and Windows-lock key

Cons:

  • No macros
  • While the lack of a numpad makes this keyboard compact, it also means that you will not like this model very much if you do a lot of typing or data entry work
  • The lack of software for lighting customization means that you have a very small set of lighting

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Mechanical keyboard or membrane keyboard?

This is something that comes down to personal preference, with plenty of arguments to validate either option. Mechanical keyboards generally tend to be on the more expensive side, and are also louder. Due to the nature of their switches, mechanical keyboards are harder to protect against spilled liquids. There are water-resistant mechanical keyboards such as this one, but in general most of them won’t like it very much if you spill your beverage on them while gaming. However, mechanical keyboards also have their advantages- they are more precise, faster once you get used to them, and will last longer compared to the average membrane keyboard.

Rubber dome switches (membrane) are what you find on all laptops, and any office keyboard made in recent years. They are cheap, somewhat resistant to spills, and don’t make much noise. The keypress is shorter, and you don’t need to practice on them in order to get faster. However, membrane keyboards are not as precise because each key stroke feels mushy and lifeless, there is no tactile feedback from the keyboard to your fingers as you type. And what some people call noise on mechanical keyboards is music to others ears, because the sound of a mechanical switch like the Cherry Blue is unique and reminiscent of old keyboards from the 80s and 90s, or even typewriters.

What are the different types of mechanical switches?

Cherry switches and their various Chinese knockoffs constitute the vast majority of mechanical switches on the market. There are some unique ones like the Toper capacitive switch, but keyboards using these switches are rare and expensive. Most use red, blue, black, or brown switches from Cherry, Kaihl, or Outemu. Cherry reds are linear, with a small actuation force and no tactile feedback. They are very much like rubber dome switches, but much faster once you get used to them. Blue switches are the most widely known variety, thanks to their unique clicky sound and tactile bump as you press down on them. Blues are perfect for typing, and are okay for gaming. Brown switches are a hybrid with characteristics of both reds and blues- not completely linear like reds, but not as loud as blues. Blacks are the heaviest switches, and make sure that you really know what you are doing since they require a lot of force to press down. There are some recent gaming keyboard models which use optical switches, these are supposed to be much faster than traditional mechanical switches. Learn which switch is best for you here.

What is N-Key Rollover?

Some keyboards have NKRO or N Key Rollover meaning that you can press any number of keys simultaneously and the keyboard will treat each keypress as an individual command instead of lumping them all together. Cheaper keyboards and non-gaming keyboards don’t have this feature, which is why you will notice jamming and ghosting if you type really fast on them. On a cheap keyboard without anti-ghosting, you can introduce unwanted alphabets and characters into your sentence if you type too fast. While gaming, you may need to hold down multiple keys simultaneously which is not possible on a regular keyboard. Some gaming keyboards have multi-key anti-ghosting which means you can press a specified number of keys together, but not all of them. Usually it is 6 or 8 keys. But keyboards with true NKRO will let you press every single key together and register them all individually.

Difference between RGB and non-RGB?

Would you prefer a single backlight color or the whole spectrum of colors? Some people like to keep it simple, while others want a miniature Christmas tree on their gaming desk. Modern RGB gaming keyboards allow you to choose from thousands of colors, and assign unique colors to each individual key on the keyboard. You can do all kinds of cool stuff, with different lighting patterns. Pulses, breathing effects, rainbows, flowing waves of water, and space- you can recreate all of that on a modern RGB gaming keyboard like the Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire. And you can even download lighting profiles created by users on internet forums, then load these profiles into your keyboard memory and customize them. Some keyboards offer limited RGB lighting in which you can only select from a pre-programmed set of patterns, other RGB keyboards give you full creative freedom.

How do I know which keyboards will last longer?

Look for keyboards with double shot PBT/ ABS keycaps. Doubleshot keycaps are created by molding together two layers of plastic such that the legend cannot fade off or get chipped. Laser etched keycaps can last pretty long too, depending on the quality of the laser etching. But in general, double-shot keycaps will outlast laser etched ones.

Mechanical keyboards with a metal plate between the switches and the PCB will not flex as much, and can easily take a fall without damaging internal components. There are also premium gaming keyboards with brushed aluminum plates on top of the ABS plastic shell for a more premium feel. Corsair, SteelSeries, and Gigabyte make some of the sturdiest keyboards in the gaming industry. And if you want long-lasting quality, be prepared to spend the extra money on a good mechanical gaming keyboard from a proper brand.

 

 

So, which One Should You Buy? What is the best gaming keyboard under 50?

While our list contains some really cool keyboards, there can only be one winner. And that winner is the Corsair K55 RGB, with its amazing customization options and dedicated macro keys. No other keyboard on the list offers dedicated macro and media keys, and while there are other RGB models on our list none of them offer the same degree of lighting customization as the Corsair. It is also built to last, and features a tough ABS plastic shell. With the Corsair CUE software you can set up customized lighting zones, unique RGB patterns, and incredibly complex macro sequences that execute with one button press. Gaming at night is never a problem with the K55 because it is so quiet and won’t be a complete nuisance for anyone sleeping in the next room. While it lacks mechanical switches, the rubber domes used in this keyboard are of high quality and provide more tactile feedback than you would expect.

We hope you found our breakdown of the best gaming keyboard under 50 dollars to be helpful. If you’re shopping for more than just a keyboard, you might be interested in a few other in depth reviews we’ve conducted on gaming accessories below. Happy gaming!

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