If you’re interested in getting more serious about PC gaming, then there’s no getting around the fact that you’re going to have to invest some money in getting your build set up.
Sure, you can get away with playing a few older games on basic hardware, but if you really want the best possible PC gaming experience, you’re going to have to invest in some dedicated gaming hardware.
Along with your monitor setup, graphics card, and other items to consider, you’ll probably want to pick up an actual gaming keyboard.
Quality gaming keyboards can actually be found for pretty reasonable prices, and to make things even easier for you, we’ve gone ahead and tested out a bunch of them.
The results of our many hours spent testing keyboards can be found with this list. It will show you seven of the best gaming keyboards under $50.
Kicking things off for the best gaming keyboards under $50 is the Gofreetech Gaming Keyboard. One look at this keyboard is enough to tell that it’s been designed specifically with gamers in mind. Offering an ultra-thin light compact design, the keyboard also has RGB backlighting and is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.
Gofreetech have built a keyboard that is both thinner and lighter than most other mechanical keyboards thanks to the fact it’s made from top-grade ABS and aluminum alloy metal material. The anti-ghosting keys allow multiple keystrokes to work at once with zero conflict, with a 1.5mm response distance. You can simply plug this keyboard in and be good to go – there are no drivers required.
And finally, Gofreetech have designed this keyboard with ergonomics in mind, ensuring a comfortable experience whether you’re using the keyboard for gaming or just to get some basic writing work done.
This is an especially good keyboard for games that are key intensive like League of Legends or DOTA. It feels incredibly responsive and it’s literally a fraction of the price of a lot of other quality mechanical gaming keyboards.
The keyboard is rather compact, which can be a pro or a con depending on who you are. For us, it was just a bit too compact for our liking. However, if you’re a gamer who prefers smaller keyboards, then you shouldn’t have any complaints with this product.
Moving on, Redragon’s K551 RGB Backlit Gaming Keyboard is the second entry on our list of budget gaming keyboards. As far as entry level options go, there’s a lot to like about this keyboard. It marries the perfect blend of features, durable design, and comfort – all at an incredibly affordable price point. Not only is this keyboard a great looking option, but it’s also built with ergonomics in mind and even though it’s a full-featured keyboard, it doesn’t take up a lot of desk space.
Redragon have noted that they over-engineer their keyboards, and it definitely shows – this is one incredibly durable product, featuring an aircraft grade aluminum and ABS construction with plate mounted keys, double-shot injection molded keycaps, high-end switches, and adjustable RGB backlighting. It’s also designed to be splash resistant, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally knocking over your drink during a heated gaming session.
The mechanical switches on this keyboard are custom built, and they offer great durability and responsiveness. As with the Gofreetech keyboard we discussed above, the K551 works exceptionally well for playing games that are rather key intensive. Overall, it just feels great to sit down and fire up a quick game with this keyboard.
The most noticeable flaw that we could find with the K551 is that it’s very loud. It didn’t matter whether we were typing a search entry into Google or grinding in the newest season of Diablo 3, it was definitely noticeable. We also experienced a bit of key repeating. It’s also not as comfortable as some of the other keyboards that made our list (although that’s largely a matter of personal opinion as many other users have no complaints regarding that).
Despite some of the minor complaints we had regarding the Redragon K551 keyboard, it’s still a great entry-level keyboard for gamers. In fact, we were actually impressed enough with how Redragon designs their budget keyboards that we just HAD to include their K552 KUMARA product as well on this list. It offers nearly all of the same great features as the K551 with a few notable differences that were distinct enough to warrant its inclusion on this list as well.
The K552 unsurprisingly contains nearly identical features as the K551. You’ll get all of the great highlights that include a durable aluminum and ABS construction, adjustable red LED backlighting, plate mounted keys, and a gold-plated USB connector. The major difference between the two keyboards is that the K552 has 87 keys compared to the full 104 on the K551. The K552 is also equipped with a Cherry Blue equivalent custom mechanical switch.
As always, gaming with a high-quality mechanical keyboard just feels great – especially considering that you’re getting that quality for less than $30 with this keyboard. It’s also quite a bit more comfy to use for longer gaming sessions when compared with the K551.
The Redragon K551 and K552 both share a similar issue with key repeating happening over time (or keystrokes not even registering) when keys are pressed in quick succession. This is an especially glaring issue when playing rhythm games that require repetitive key tapping.
Next up we have this DBPOWER LED Backlit Keyboard that has been designed specifically for gaming but works equally well for home office use. It’s the first membrane keyboard to make our list, although it should be noted it has been designed to look and feel like a mechanical keyboard. While we usually tend to prefer mechanical keyboards for gaming, the overall design of this keyboard is so polished that it’s more than deserving of a spot on the list of the best gaming keyboards for under $50.
The keyboard is full featured with 104 keys that have easily removable keycaps and a space bar that’s been further strengthened to withstand continuous use. It also has great looking three color LED backlighting with changeable breathable or permanent settings. You also won’t need to install any drivers – the keyboard is completely plug-and-play.
Using this keyboard feels incredibly responsive, which is especially great for when you’re playing an intense game where you need to rely on lightning-fast reflexes in order to respond to the action going on around you. And even though it’s a membrane keyboard, it feels remarkably similar to many entry level mechanical options.
The only complaint we have regarding this keyboard is that the keys honestly aren’t secured very well – they can come off rather easily. However, on that same note, that also means they’re fairly easy to quickly pop back on.
If you know anything about gaming keyboards, then it should come as no surprise that a Corsair keyboard has made its way onto our list of the best budget gaming keyboards. The Corsair K55 is simply a fantastic keyboard that gives you a ton of value at a reasonable price point. Considering that Corsair makes some of our favorite gaming keyboards (especially their higher end products), it’s hardly surprising that their budget options are of an exceptionally high quality as well.
Unsurprisingly, as a membrane gaming keyboard, the K55 is incredibly quiet when in use. Aside from that, it shares many of the same great design highlights as the more expensive Corsair products, while still clocking in at under $50. You’re getting three-zone dynamic RGB lighting, six programmable macro keys, dedicated volume and multimedia controls, and multi-key anti-ghosting. It also comes with a detachable soft rubber wrist wrest that provides some much needed added comfort for those longer gaming sessions.
While the K55 isn’t loaded up with speedy custom switches like some of the more higher end gaming keyboards out there, it’s still a terrific keyboard for both hardcore and casual gamers alike. The programmable macro buttons are also incredibly quick and easy to set up – even gamers who usually aren’t big on macro usage will probably find them to be quite useful.
If we’re being perfectly honest, there was next to nothing about the Corsair K55 that we didn’t like. Sure, there’s little things we could nitpick, like some software compatibility issues and whatnot, but overall, there’s simply just a lot to like about this keyboard.
Our sixth recommendation for gaming keyboards under $50 is the Ombar K617 LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard. This keyboard is equipped with all of the usual bells and whistles that make for a great gaming keyboard – all at a rock solid price. Ombar also puts their keyboards through a 10,000,000 times keystroke test and a 76cm height drop, ensuring that the K617 is incredibly durable and built to last.
The K617 keyboard features three color LED backlighting that can be configured for either three color changeable breathing or permanent lighting mode. There are 10 programmable multimedia shortcuts to go along with the 104 anti-ghosting keys, with 19 non-conflict keys. On top of that, the ergonomic wrist design has larger palm rest areas that help to improve typing accuracy and speed while providing long lasting comfort for marathon gaming sessions.
Out of all of the budget keyboards that we reviewed and compared for this article, the Ombar K617 just might be the most comfortable to use. The wrist rest feels great and we really appreciated the larger-than-usual spacebar. Never once did we experience any pain or fatigue with this keyboard, even after a couple of gaming sessions that lasted for several hours.
Normally when using a membrane gaming keyboard, you would expect the keystrokes to be relatively quiet. This wasn’t the case with the K617 as we found that it actually sounded kind of squeaky. It’s not a big enough deal to be a deal breaker but it was still mildly annoying nonetheless.
Last but not least on our list of the best gaming keyboards under $50 is the NPET K10 Backlit Gaming Keyboard. Of the seven entries on this list, the K10 is the most inexpensive option – so if you’re simply after a quality gaming keyboard and you only want to pay the lowest price possible, this is the keyboard for you.
Despite the fact that the K10 is an entry-level gaming keyboard, it’s still been designed with the needs of professional gamers in mind. There are four LED lighting backlit models that are bright and adjustable, double-shot injection molded keycaps, a gold-plated USB connector, 104 keys with 26 of them being non-conflicting, and it’s even water-resistant on top of all that.
Using the NPET K10 just felt right. It’s definitely not the best gaming keyboard we’ve ever used (which is to be expected considering it’s rock-solid bargain pricing) but we also can’t say anything bad about how it feels either. For well under $50, this is an excellent choice for an entry-level keyboard for anyone who may be dipping their toes into the waters of PC gaming.
The LED lighting options on the K10 aren’t nearly as customizable as the other keyboards that made our list. It’s not a big deal if your primary concern is functionality while gaming, but it’s definitely a noticeable blemish on an otherwise stellar product.
When you’re shopping for a gaming keyboard, you’re going to have different needs than somebody who just wants a new keyboard for basic typing work and web browsing. With that in mind, we’ve put together this brief buyer’s guide to give you a better idea about what sort of features you’ll want to look for when making your purchasing decision.
Considering the nature of this article, it’s only fitting to start out by mentioning the different price ranges of gaming keyboards. While it’s definitely possible to get a great gaming keyboard for under $50, it’s also true that in general you’ll be able to get a higher quality keyboard with a bigger budget.
An extremely important thing to keep in mind (especially if you’re a PC gamer who tends to play for hours at a time) is whether or not the keyboard is ergonomically designed. Nothing could be worse for a PC gamer than developing carpal tunnel syndrome and not being able to enjoy your favorite hobby like you used to be able to.
Many gaming keyboards are designed with extra keys, which are invaluable for fans of MMO games. These extra keys make it incredibly easy to assign macros that will help you to get an edge over your opponents. Just keep in mind that when you start looking at optional features like extra keys, the price range of the keyboard tends to go up.
Many gaming keyboards these days don’t just help you play at your best – they also look incredibly cool on your desk as well. A lot of gaming keyboards will have either monochromatic or full RGB color backlighting. It’s especially helpful when you’re gaming late at night or in the dark, as it makes it quick and easy to see all of your keys. As with extra macro keys however, when you look at gaming keyboards with backlighting, the price will be a bit higher than otherwise in most cases.
If the extent of your PC gaming involves playing games like The Sims or the occasional pick up and play title you found on a Steam sale, then you’re probably alright just gaming with a standard keyboard.
Along those same lines, if you’re mostly using your PC to play console ports, then you might also be better off just using a dedicated gaming controller for best results.
However, if you get your PC gaming fix by playing MMOs like World of Warcraft, real-time strategy games like Starcraft, or if you’re a hardcore FPS gamer who stays up late into the night playing Fortnite or Counter-Strike, then you should definitely be considering a dedicated gaming keyboard – especially when there are so many great options available to you for under $50!
While both membrane and mechanical keyboards have their pros and cons, when it comes to PC gaming, we would have to strongly recommend going with a mechanical keyboard.
The reason behind our recommendation is that mechanical keyboards are generally of a higher quality (that’s not a set in stone rule however) and they feel slightly more responsive. When you’re playing an intense game of Starcraft and the difference between victory or defeat can literally be decided within seconds, you’ll appreciate the better overall feel of a mechanical keyboard.
Keep in mind, that’s solely our opinion. If you find that a membrane keyboard feels better to you, then by all means, go with whatever option helps you perform at your very best.
If you took the time to thoroughly read through each of our individual reviews for all seven gaming keyboards above, then it should come as no surprise to you that the Corsair K55 RGB Backlit Gaming Keyboard is our No. 1 pick for the best gaming keyboard under $50 in 2018.
With a lightweight and comfortable ergonomic design, using the K55 was just an incredibly pleasant gaming experience from start to finish. The six programmable macro keys are a nice bonus, as are the multitude of customization options for the RGB backlighting. The included wrist rest attachment is simply the icing on the cake of this fantastic budget keyboard.
However, if you’re looking to spend significantly less than $50, you really can’t go wrong with the NPET K10 Backlit Gaming Keyboard. As we described above, it offers near unbeatable value for the price you pay for it.
Whatever you decide on, if you go with any of the 7 gaming keyboards we’ve covered above, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll be getting a high quality gaming keyboard at a rock solid price.