Mechanical keyboards are great for typing and gaming on, but the prices for them are typically much heftier than the standard keyboard. Some mechanical keyboards even cost more than regular keyboards for gaming. Despite all this, there are still a ton of mechanical keyboards under $50 available for purchase at retailers, most of which are online. Walmart, Best Buy, eBay, and Amazon all carry mechanical keyboards costing less than 50 bucks. The quality keyboards that I have tested personally are listed below. Be sure to read reviews and frequently asked questions prior to purchasing a new board, considering many fall apart within months or simply do not function as well as they advertise.
Mechanical keyboards <$50:
Redragon K552 KUMARA
The KUMARA was actually the first keyboard I thought to mention here, partly because a full review is underway for it. We rarely do full reviews, but Redragon was kind enough to gift us a keyboard for use and asked for our input. While the review isn’t quite complete — we will link back to it here –, I can say that I am completely satisfied with the mechanical keyboard manufactured by Redragon. It is properly backlit and looks pretty darn cool while doing so. The design is absolutely monster, with the sick Redragon logo to the side, and the keys feel clicky for a board that retails for $49.99. I will say one thing I didn’t like, however, and that is the overall color scheme. At night, it gets difficult for me to read the keys and the backlighting does not help because black and red is simply not a workable color scheme.
TOMOKO Mechanical Keyboard
If you are only looking for a regular old keyboard that also happens to be mechanical, look no further than TOMOKO. The aesthetic design and colors remind me of a normal office keyboard, which isn’t necessarily bad if you were looking for that style. It basically complements any desktop, but it won’t really add any appeal either. Besides the regular look, you are getting a perfectly functional mechanical keyboard that costs much less than $50. The build itself feels like it was made of hard plastic, which is fine for a board of its price. It is also waterproof with holes around the bottom so any drink you spill will just go through. Be sure to actually give your keyboard care, though, since sticky drinks such as juices can mess up the mechanical keys and ruin the point.
One thing to note is that the keys actually curve in an attempt to match the typing posture your hands create. I will say that if you aren’t used to this, it will probably take a while to get used to it, but other than that it truly isn’t a big issue.
I’d also like to note that you should not fear the TOMOKO name if you have never heard it. Many brands, especially on eBay, sell very cheap and poorly made “mechanical keyboards”. These brands, in my opinion, ruin it for smaller companies like TOMOKO because they give the reputation that if it isn’t name brand, like Razer, then it simply isn’t worth it. Despite this, TOMOKO has managed to sell well on various platforms and has gained my confidence as a trustworthy keyboard manufacturer.
Corsair Vengeance K65
The Vengeance K65 is a very compact keyboard, ridding the 10-key pad that comes with almost all other keyboards. This has its pros and cons, but in summary, people that are tight on space (eg. apartments, shared rooms, or just general limited desk space) or people that travel a lot will find its compactness incredibly useful. It fits perfectly in my backpack, for example, without any struggle on my end to zip the whole thing up. If you are wondering, by the way, I bring my laptop with me from time to time and while its built-in keyboard is useful, I love the mechanical nature of the Vengeance, especially if there is a chance I can catch a game or two. To add to that, the precision on the keys are top notch, so when I need to write a blog post or reply to some emails, I love typing on an actual keyboard, much less a mechanical keyboard, rather than on one built-in to my laptop.
Despite its size, the keys are definitely full-size and feel just like a keyboard. I would say everything but the frame remains the same size, so do not worry about your hands cramping up while typing or playing. The design is very basic, going with a gray and black colorway and absolutely no backlighting. That’s fine for simple people, plus if you were going to travel with this thing, you likely wouldn’t need backlighting anyway. The chasis of the device is well-built and feels really sturdy, unlike mechanical keyboards made of plastic.
The board also has designated places to put the USB cable away so it stores nicely, rather than having to wrap the cord all the way around the board.
(Video credit to Newegg.)
Is it worth it to buy more expensive mechanical keyboards?
My opinion says no if you are a casual gamer. These three mechanical keyboards, all of which cost under $50 at the time of writing, are enough if all you need is a mechanical keyboard. Other features start to creep up once you get past the $50 budget such as more backlighting options to match with your desktop setup, custom keys, programmable keys, better designs and materials built-in, and of course the brand names that you trust. If you need or want those, by all means venture out to more expensive mechanical keyboards. But this post was to clarify that it is indeed possible to buy a mechanical keyboard for less than $50 without sacrificing build quality.