The Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $50 [October 2020]


We tested and reviewed 10 of our favorite budget mechanical keyboards to help you find the very best mechanical keyboard for the cheapest price.

If you’re looking for a budget gaming option, check out this article.

These are our favorite picks for 2020, all under $50.

We purchased and reviewed every single mechanical keyboard on this list and made an in-depth video and text review for each keyboard to help you decide which one is the right fit for you.

Proof we bought them all

Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $100 – Our Top Picks

The AwardThe KeyboardSpecial Features
Our Top PickTecware PhantomHot-swappable switches
Best for OfficeVelocifire TKL02WSDetachable USB-C cable
Best CompactDrevo Calibur V2Portable 60% layout
Best RGB LightingRedragon Surara K582Quiet red switches

Let’s jump into the list and compare each keyboard based on price, features, and how fun they are to use.

10. Rii K61C: A Super Budget Pick

Features

  • 104 Key Full-Size
  • Red Backlight
  • Outemu Blue Switches

Our Review of the Rii K61C

Coming in at number 10 is the Rii K61C.

This keyboard has the prestigious ranking of last place. We we’re not very impressed.

The overall design is massive and takes up your entire desk. It has an enormous forehead, that looks like it was designed so you can place a small tablet or cell phone into it so it will stay upright.

The bottom portion is also large and acts as a pseudo wrist rest, but doesn’t really provide much support. It’s really just there so they can slap on their logo.

The Rii K61C comes with a Red backlight that you can adjust the brightness levels on, besides that there isn’t any customization features with the lighting.

The stabilizers are the hook-in Costar style.

These kinds of stabilizers aren’t the best, we definitely prefer the Cherry style stabilizers that are mounted independent of each other.

The hook-in style can be frustrating to use, making it difficult to remove the keycaps when cleaning your keyboard.

The keyboard is all plastic and is very loud to type on.

The Blue Outemu switches are pretty nice, but the plastic keyboard causes them to sound very rattly and their is an annoying echo sound coming out as well.

We do not recommend this keyboard, there are so many better ones you can get for a cheap price.

We would almost say a non-mechanical keyboard is better than the Rii K61C. Keep reading for some better recommendations.

9. Eagletech KG010-N: A Full-Sized Budget Keyboard

Features

  • 104 Key Full-Size
  • Blue Backlight
  • Outemu Blue Switches

Our Review of the Eagletech KG010-N

The Eagletech KG010-N is in a similar boat to the Rii K61C. The overall build design is cheap with a full plastic case and the same massive forehead.

The typing experience is very similar in the way that it is very loud and not very enjoyable.

The problem with a lot of these lower-end budget keyboards is they do not do the basic stuff well enough.

The keyboards should be enjoyable to type on, but this one is rattly, tingy, and just not very fun to type on. The stabilizers are not great either.

The cheaper keyboards tend to be very inconsistent, so if you were to order this keyboard the actual quality may be better for you.

It can be tough to tell if some of the issues are caused from one-off production problems or if it’s the true build quality.

We’re just going to assume they are not defective, and the way we received them are design-intent from the manufacturer.

Not much to say about this one, except to avoid it. There are other keyboards on this list that are much much better and are loaded with more features as well.

8. Qisan Magicforce 68: Best 65% Budget Keyboard

Features

  • 65% Keyboard (68 Key)
  • Outemu Blue Switches
  • Detachable Power Cable

Our Review of the Qisan Magicforce 68

The Qisan Magicforce 68 displays the unique 65% keyboard design.

The 65% size is somewhere in between the TKL and 60% layout sizes because it includes the arrow cluster but also removes the F keys and some of the upper right-hand cluster.

This keyboard comes with a detachable micro-USB power cable, which is nice, but would be better if it came with the USB-C design instead.

The USB-C head is reversible so you won’t be stuck trying to flip it over and over until it enters your keyboard.

Much like the other keyboards, this one is very rattly and has a bad metal ringing noise, possibly the worse ringing noise of any on the list.

The small design and plastic case make it easy for the sound to transmit and echo.

If you’re looking for a budget compact keyboard, the Qisan Magicforce may be a good pick, but we recommend checking out the other keyboards first because there are some better TKL/60% keyboards further down.

Considering that it’s the only 65% keyboard, you may be stuck with this keyboard if you’re dead-set on this layout size. We were expecting this keyboard to be better and were a little disappointed.

7. Redragon Vara K551: Great RGB Lighting

Features

  • 104 Key Full-Size Keyboard
  • No Backlight
  • Outemu Blue Switches

Our Review of the Redragon Vara K551

Out of the 10 keyboards we reviewed for this list, 3 of them were Redragon keyboards.

The K551 was our least favorite of the three.

A lot of people are big fans of Redragon keyboards so we feel a little bad giving this a negative review, but compared to the other keyboards on the list it just doesn’t match up.

Plus we think a lot of the reviews on Amazon are not entirely honest because they are formed from sending people free keyboards to review.

We try to be as honest and brutal as possible when reviewing these.

Overall the K551 keyboard is OK for the price, but the ringing noises and loud metal tinging noises really bring it down.

It just doesn’t do the basic stuff well.

It has a lot of RGB color settings (18) which is nice for people who enjoy the light show, but besides that, it’s just not very fun to use.

If you can look past the ringing noises, the keyboard is not bad to use for gaming and can be nice for your first mechanical keyboard.

But if you’re looking at purchasing a Redragon keyboard, we recommend one of the other models we reviewed (K552 or K582) as they are much better in our opinion.

6. Havit Mechanical Keyboard & Mouse Combo

Features

  • 104 Key Full-Size Keyboard
  • RGB Backlight
  • Blue Outemu Switches
  • Gaming Mouse
  • Wrist Rest

Our Review of the Havit

The Havit is basically a cheap value pack which contains a mechanical keyboard, wrist rest, and mouse all thrown in for the same price as the other keyboards on the list.

The keyboard comes with Outemu Blue switches and RGB backlighting.

The Havit branding is pretty cool in my opinion, it has some Batman vibes to it and overall everything looks pretty nice. The overall performance of the keyboard and mouse is not the best though.

It’s exactly what you would expect for the price.

They feel light and cheap, but they get the job done and aren’t too bad to use. Definitely not enjoyable, but better than the alternative of a rubber dome keyboard.

Much like the other keyboards on the lower-end of the list, typing produces a lot of rattling and tinging noises, so be ready for that when using the keyboard.

5. Redragon Kumara K552: A Great TKL Budget Option

Features

  • 87 Tenkeyless
  • RGB Backlight
  • Outemu Blue Switches

Our Review of the Redragon Kumara K552

Coming in at number five on the list is the Redragon K552. This keyboard comes in the compact 87 key (TKL) size with RGB backlight and clicky Outemu Blue switches.

It features a high profile design with a slight lip around the edges.

Some of the main issues we have with this keyboard is the protruding Redragon branding above the arrow cluster. It stands out in a bad way and does not fit into the overall design of the keyboard.

The arrow cluster itself does not have the arrows centered on the keycaps, which is a bit of a nit-pick, so it may not bother other people.

The keyboard tends to echo and rattle a lot when typing, we don’t recommend using this keyboard with anybody in the same room as you because you’ll drive them crazy.

The full plastic case does not dampen the noise very well, but if you enjoy a loud clicky keyboard, this may be a good fit for you.

We’re not a fan of the non-detachable power cable, but we are suprised by the gold plated connector. Kind of a strange flex by Redragon, but it looks nice.

Similar to their other Redragon keyboards, it slides around a lot when flat. But when the kickstands are up, it’s a lot more stable.

4. Redragon Surara K582: Best Redragon Option Under $50

Features

  • 104 Key Full-Size Keyboard
  • RGB Backlighting
  • Outemu Quiet Red Switches

Our Review of the Redragon Surara K582

Coming in at number four is the Redragon K582.

This was our favorite of the Redragon keyboard lineup and was the most satisfying keyboard to use from Redragon.

This keyboard is full-sized with lots of RGB lighting options.

The silent linear switches were nice and smooth, although they weren’t actually that quiet. The keyboard was still pretty loud even with the quiet switches due to the plastic case making everything rattle and flex a little bit.

That being said, this keyboard was a lot more quiet than the other Redragon keyboards because the metal base plate makes the build more stable and rigid.

The stabilizers were pretty nice too, considering the cost.

One thing to note is the keyboard slides around a lot when typing unless the rubber feet are up. When the keyboard is flat it’s very difficult to keep it in one spot.

In the box they also included a keycap puller, switch puller, and extra switches.

The keycap puller is also difficult to use, it seems like it would scratch the surrounding keycaps because of how wide the keycap puller is.

Overall the K582 is very good for the price, and is great for someone looking for a budget full sized mechanical keyboard.

We would recommend this to someone who is into gaming and wants the full RGB mechanical keyboard experience.

3. Drevo Calibur V2: Best Compact Budget Keyboard

Features

  • 60% Keyboard
  • Cherry or Outemu Brown/Red/Blue Switches
  • RGB Backlight & Sidelight
  • Detachable USB-C Cable
  • Removable Magnetic Feet
  • PC/Mac Compatibility

Our Review of the Drevo Calibur V2

The Drevo Calibur V2 is an exciting keyboard on this list because is comes in a smaller size, 60%.

If you’re looking for a compact 60% keyboard for under $50, this is the one we recommend. This keyboard is portable and easy to take on the go.

A unique feature is the PC/Mac compatibility, this keyboard makes it easy and flawless to change between each operating system.

On top of that, it has RGB backlighting and side-lighting features that set it apart from the other keyboards on the this list.

The USB-C detachable power cable also helps makes the keyboard more portable and increases the quality level of the keyboard.

A detachable USB-C cable is always a great find on a cheap keyboard.

Our main complaint for this keyboard is the stabilizers are horrendous. They rattle and shake worse than an 8.0 earthquake on the Richter scale. You can listen here.

RGB Side-Lighting

Another complaint is the keycaps. After touching them, they develop a shine and look extremely greasy. It looks like you ate a bag of potato chips and rubbed your fingers all over the keyboard.

Of course, if you’re willing to overlook the wobbly stabilizers and shiny keycaps, this can be a great 60% keyboard for someone on a budget.

The overall feel and quality of this keyboard is great.

2. Velocifire TKL02WS: Best Tenkeyless Budget Keyboard

Features

  • 87 Tenkeyless
  • Wired/Wireless
  • Content Brown Switches
  • Detachable USB-C Power Cable
  • White Backlight
  • Adjustable Legs

Our Review of the Velocifire TKL02WS

Out of all the keyboards on the list, this mechanical keyboard is the most clean and sleek looking.

It would be a great keyboard for the office or for working in a public space. The white backlight looks nice and is not very distracting.

If you are a fan of RGB backlighting, we would recommend the Tecware Phantom.

There is two light settings for this keyboard: on or off, and the only color is only white. Not exactly the right lighting for someone who enjoys a light show when typing away.

The switches are unique, they use Content Brown switches which are a Cherry MX knockoff. Most of the keyboards on this list use Outemu’s. The Content switches rattle less than the Outemu’s and are slightly better, which is a win for the Velocifire.

The keys sound nice and have minimal rattle except for the spacebar. The stabilizers on this keyboard need some work, and our main complaint is how much the spacebar and larger keys rattle.

Everything else sounds and feels really good, it’s just the larger keys with stabilizers underneath that need help. Not quite as bad as the Drevo, but they definitely need work.

This keyboard does the basic stuff really well, with the exception of the stabilizers, but you can’t always get what you want with a budget keyboard.

1. Tecware Phantom: Our Top Pick

Features

  • 87 Tenkeyless
  • Hot-swappable
  • RGB Backlight
  • Outemu Blue/Brown/Red Switches
  • Non-detachable Power Cable
  • Keycap Puller Built into the Case
  • Adjustable Legs

Why the Tecware Phantom is #1

This keyboard is absolutely packed with features, but on top of that, it does the basic stuff really well.

Overall, this keyboard is a steal.

The hot-swap feature alone is quite rare to find on a keyboard under $150, let alone under $50.

This allows you to swap-out and test different switches on the same keyboard without having to solder.

The keyboard is plastic, but it has an aluminum back-plate that improves the build quality and makes the keyboard feel more rigid.

It doesn’t fall into the trap of ringing too much or having the keys rattle with each keystroke.

Of course, there is some slight ring and rattle, but it’s not bad for a keyboard in this price range.

The stabilizers are very impressive.

The spacebar and other larger keys have minimal rattle and are nice and secure. This is big for cheaper keyboard, because they tend to feel cheap and flexible, but this keyboard is solid.

We noticed the stabilizers were actually lubed at the factory which is quite rare and explains why they feel so smooth.

The only feature we don’t like is the non-detachable power cable. It’s clunky and awkward. It makes the keyboard less-portable and can lower the overall lifespan of the keyboard if the cable breaks.

A detachable cable would be a BIG upgrade if Tecware ever decides to implement that feature.

The Tecware Phantom is on another level compared to the rest of the keyboards on the list, with only a few complaints.

But we understand that for under $50 you can only ask for so much, and overall we are really impressed by this keyboard.

If you’re looking for a budget keyboard, you can’t go wrong with this one.

You can find the Tecware Phantom on Amazon for a really good price.

Wrapping Up The List

Rank Mechanical Keyboard RGB Lighting Detachable Power Cable Mac Compatible Wireless
#1 Tecware Phantom X X X
#2 Velocifire TKL02WS White Lighting
#3 Drevo Calibur V2 X
#4 Redragon K582 X X X
#5 Redragon K552 RGB Lighting X X X
#6 Havit X X X
#7 Redragon K551 X X X X
#8 Qisan Magicforce 68 X X X
#9 Eagletech KG010-N Blue Lighting X X X
#10 Rii K61C Red Lighting X X X

Overall, we’re pretty relieved to be done reviewing budget mechanical keyboards.

There are so many cheap keyboards out there to review, but we think we did a good job filtering out the best of the best.

The Tecware Phantom knocked our socks off and we think it’s truly a gem for the price it’s available at.

The Velocifire and Drevo Calibur are also great keyboards and you can’t go wrong with anyone of those. The keyboards that ranked 8-10 place on the list were all equally bad in our opinion and would recommend avoiding them.

Anything that is ranked six and up were decent, but the top 2-3 are by far the best. We made a table to review all of the different features in an easy to digest way.

How we Ranked the Mechanical Keyboards

To make sure each mechanical keyboard got a thorough and fair review, my wife and I tested each keyboard for an extended period of time.

We then combined our list of all the features and notes and ranked the mechanical keyboards based on those metrics. Here are some of the different metrics we used when reviewing these keyboards:

How Fun they Are to Use

Our most important metric was how enjoyable these keyboards were to type on, ignoring all other features.

This of course is subjective, but most of it came down to how much the keyboards rattled and shook, and if there were any loud metallic echoing sounds.

Also, it looked at how well the stabilizers worked and how they kept the keys stable and feeling nice.

This is one thing cheap keyboards tend to fail at. I think if the budget keyboard manufacturers honed in on making the keyboards feel better, more people would purchase them.

Cool Features

Removing Hot-Swap Switches

Another metric was any cool features that really elevated the keyboard.

Some examples include, metal casing, hot-swappability, RGB features, etc.

These features are always a nice extra when comparing budget keyboards because it really shows the extra love that went into these designs by the manufacturers.

The Tecware Phantom really stood out to us because of the hot-swap feature.

We would like to see all of the competition in this area really make the keyboard designs better.

What we Could’ve Done Better

It’s always important to be aware that we are subject to our own opinions and that affects the overall rankings.

For example, we have a tendency to enjoy the TKL/compact sized keyboards more and we like the switches and keyboards that are more quiet overall. We tried to remove all of our bias when comparing these keyboards, but that of course is very difficult.

We could have reviewed more budget keyboards as well.

The problem is that hundreds of mechanical keyboards come in from China on Amazon, and a lot of them are duplicates.

Because of that, we picked out the 10 most popular keyboards under $50 and reviewed those. We feel confident that we were thorough and fair in our reviews.

Should you get a mechanical keyboard under $50?

Mechanical keyboards are expensive, especially compared to rubber dome/membrane keyboards.

Most mechanical keyboards are in the $100 range, and for a lot of people a price that high is not feasible. Because of the steep price, there are many budget mechanical keyboards available, such as the ones on this list.

Better than Rubber Dome Keyboards

There are some downsides to cheaper mechanical keyboards, but overall I think they can be worth it for those who need an upgrade from a rubber dome keyboard.

The main downsides are the keys tend to rattle more and the switches are not consistent because many brands just buy the cheapest Cherry knockoffs at any available time.

The switch brands are non-descriptive on the product page so they can change up the switch brand whenever they can source cheaper parts.

Consider Raising your Price Range

While budget keyboards can be great, we think the sweet spot for mechanical keyboards is in the $80-100 range.

If you’re willing to spend 30ish dollars more, there are many keyboards that have way better build quality. Features such as aluminum cases, better switches, detachable power cables, etc.

Some of our recommended keyboards in this price range are the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro and Razer Blackwidow.

You can Make a Budget Keyboard Better

ComponentsExpensive Mechanical KeyboardCheap Mechanical Keyboard Material
Keyboard CaseAluminumPlastic
KeycapsPBT PlasticABS Plastic
Switch BrandCherry MX, Kailh, ZealPCGateron, Outemu, Content
LightingRGB & UnderlightingWhite lighting, No lighting

There are some really cool and relatively cheap ways to make a budget keyboard more enjoyable.

It’s possible to buy nice set of keycaps on Amazon, that you can swap out to make your keyboard feel better and look awesome.

It’s also possible to mod your stabilizers to make the larger keys sound better and feel more stable.

I would say the most important difference between expensive and cheap mechanical keyboards is the case and PCB. Expensive keyboards are build in way that reduce the amount of rattle and make the keystrokes feel smooth and stable.

Aluminum cases are usually the best and the cheaper keyboards tend to be made entirely out of plastic.

The switch type is usually condusive of the quality as well, if the switch type is not Cherry, Kailh, or ZealPC, usually it’s a knockoff switch that is made to be cheaper and less durable.

For example Cherry MX switches are rated for 100 million keystrokes, while Outemu switches are rated for 50 million.

Conclusion

Overall, we’re happy with the results of the 10 mechanical keyboards we reviewed. We were a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to recommend any of them to due to crappy quality, but we were pleasantly surprised by a lot of them.

We’re confident that you would be happy with any of the top three keyboards on the list.

Our top three picks were the Tecware Phantom, Velocifire, and Drevo Calibur V2. The others on the list are decent as well, such as the Redragon keyboards.

As long as you avoid the bottom few, the quality of the keyboards should be decent.

Just keep in mind, a lot of cheap keyboards are inconsistent with the quality, materials, and shipping.

For example, we received the wrong type of switches on one of our keyboards, and other people have that same issue as well.

My wife and I put a lot of work into reviewing all of these mechanical keyboards, so I really hope you found this helpful and it brought you some insight into the different budget mechanical keyboards.

Although I have to say, we’re happy to finally get rid of all the boxes of keyboards in our apartment.

As always, happy typing!

Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards and other tech work to show the world all of the cool aspects of the hobby.

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