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Best budget gaming keyboard

Which budget gaming keyboard is best?

Video games should be an enjoyable pastime for many, and that shouldn’t be dependent on how much money you spend on them. Having the latest components can increase your enjoyment, but for the most part, it simply isn’t necessary.

This is especially true when it comes to accessories and peripherals. The most expensive gaming keyboards aren’t always the best. There are plenty of budget keyboards available which are often on par with their top-tier counterparts. A good example of this is the SteelSeries Apex 3 RGB Gaming Keyboard. 

What to know before you buy a budget gaming keyboard

Key layout

When you look closely, not all keyboards are the same. It might seem like it, but many have different key layouts. If you are looking at a budget gaming keyboard, pay close attention to how the keys are laid out and where they are positioned. You might want a keyboard with a larger ENTER key or a smaller space bar. 

Swappable keycaps

Changing the keycaps of a keyboard isn’t limited to only the top-tier gaming peripherals. By changing the keys, you can reduce the travel time to the keys, making your actions a bit faster. This is mostly used in mechanical keyboards, and you should keep that in mind when considering a budget gaming keyboard.

Build quality

A big problem with budget gaming keyboards is the build quality. While trusted gaming brands make gaming keyboards with sturdy materials, many cheaper brands will use flimsier plastic. Keep in mind that it might be worth paying a bit more for a trusted brand rather than paying less for something that might not last beyond a few months.

What to look for in a quality budget gaming keyboard

Backlighting and lighting effects

Everybody likes to have a bit of swagger and style, even when it comes to gaming. A good quality gaming keyboard, even in the budget category, will usually have some lighting effects or RGB controllers. This will allow you to set the right lighting when you play games. You can even make it correspond with the title.

Polling rate for fast reaction times

A standard feature in most gaming keyboards, a variable polling rate can help you determine where the sweet spot of the keys is. The polling rate is the frequency at which the keyboard checks for new key presses. The faster it does this, the quicker it will register that a key has been pressed. Even budget gaming keyboards should have a polling rate of 1,000Hz. That means the computer checks for new keypresses every millisecond.

Extra features

Who doesn’t like to get more bang for their buck? Just because it is a budget gaming keyboard doesn’t mean that it only has the bare basics of features. A good quality budget gaming keyboard will have additional features like programable macro keys, multimedia controls or a separate numeric keypad.

How much you can expect to spend on a budget gaming keyboard

While it depends on the maker of the keyboard and the functions that it provides, entry-level gaming keyboards can retail for between $20-$30. Some of the budget gaming keyboards that move towards the mid-tier level can retail for between $40-$60.

Budget gaming keyboard FAQ

Can you get a budget wireless keyboard?

A. Yes, you can, but they are not as popular or readily available for several reasons. Wireless receivers cost more to build into keyboards, and this will increase the retail price. Wireless signals are also slower than a wired keyboard, which can affect your gaming experience.

Can a budget gaming keyboard be used on a Mac computer?

A. The great thing about wired gaming keyboards is that they can be used on almost any device that has a USB port — even on some televisions. You might need to press different keys for the Mac to respond correctly, but it certainly can be used on it.

What are the best budget gaming keyboards to buy?

Top budget gaming keyboard

SteelSeries Apex 3 RGB Gaming Keyboard

What you need to know: This is an affordable keyboard that quickly became a best-seller.

What you’ll love: SteelSeries is one of the leading makers of computer peripherals, and the Apex 3 has been a best-seller. It features 10 different RGB lighting zones, quieter key switches, and a removable wrist rest. It has dedicated multimedia controls, and the keyboard is water-resistant for light splashes. It uses gaming-grade anti-ghosting, which makes sure that no unintended keypresses are registered.

What you should consider: The wrist rest is made from hard plastic, which some users might find uncomfortable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top budget gaming keyboard for the money

Redragon S101 Wired Gaming Keyboard

What you need to know: With more lights than an airplane, you can clearly see what you are doing.

What you’ll love: If you love to show off your flashiness, this is the keyboard for you. It features seven different RGB lighting modes and effects, has four different backlit brightness modes, and can be set to a breathing sequence as well. It has dedicated multimedia controls, can withstand slight liquid spills, and has a built-in wrist rest. It comes with the Redragon RED wired mouse.

What you should consider: Some users have indicated that the backlighting may randomly turn off if the drivers aren’t installed.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Logitech G213 Prodigy Gaming Keyboard

What you need to know: This is a great, affordable gaming keyboard with multimedia controls.

What you’ll love: This full keyboard features five different lighting zones which can be changed depending on the game being played. It has a built-in wrist rest, is splash-proof and dirt can be cleaned off easily. While it isn’t a mechanical keyboard, the keys have been given a tactile feel and incorporate anti-ghosting. At the top of the keyboard, there are dedicated multimedia controls.

What you should consider: The keyboard doesn’t have the ability for macros to be programmed, as only the Function keys can be reassigned.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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