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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!