What if I told you that you don’t have to pay a premium price for high quality gaming peripherals? It sounds crazy, right? But it is true!
Gaming keyboards are the yin to the yang of the gaming mouse. These keyboards won’t only help you step your game up (and maybe even upgrade your office setup as well), but they will also help you save a few bucks in the bank, which we could all do a bit of nowadays.
Related: Keyboard Sizes: Finding the Right Size Keyboard for You
HyperX Alloy Origins TKL Core ($90)
HyperX is known for making high quality products for a relatively low price, and their Alloy Origins TKL keyboard is one of their highlighted products. Retailing at $90 and almost always on sale for $80 or less, the Alloy Origins TKL won’t only save you room on your desk thanks to its ten key less design, it’ll save you money in the bank.
The Alloy Origins Core is available with one of HyperX’s three switches: their classic Cherry MX Red linears, their clicky Blue switches, and their tactile Aqua switches. It comes with a detachable USB-C cable and works just about universally between PC, Mac, and even console gamers alike. It features a full aircraft-grade aluminum body, adjustable feet to create a more comfortable angle for your wrist and incredibly bright RGB backlighting that is customizable through HyperX’s NGenuity software. The Alloy Origins Core TKL also features on-board memory that allows for up to three lighting and macro profiles to be saved directly to the keyboard.
The HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL and that entire Alloy Origins line of keyboards, are a personal favorite of mine considering the premium of a product you get for the lack of a premium price. They are used by esports pros and streamers alike and just may be the best budget peripherals in the market.
Corsair K63 TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard ($110)
If the HyperX keyboards aren’t your thing and you want to save even more money, then the Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (aka the K63) is a worthy consideration. Even though this one comes in just over the $100 budget, for just an extra $10, you get a fully wireless gaming keyboard at a fraction of the price for a solid wireless gaming keyboard. More times than not it’ll be on sale for less than $100.
The K63 is the only wireless keyboard to make this list and despite lacking the extra features that its cousins like the K70 and K95 have (along with the aluminum frame) you get a fairly high-quality mechanical gaming keyboard that’s perfect for couch gaming. It connects via 2.4 Ghz connection for instantaneous response and even at distance won’t interfere with other wireless devices in your immediate area. The K63 comes with Cherry MX Red Linear switches which are almost the standard for gaming keyboards today. It also features a 75 hour battery with the RGB backlighting completely off, although with it on that number gets reduced to a third of the time.
When combined with Corsair’s lapboard, this is almost a perfect addition for couch gamers, even if it’s not on sale and only available for the $110 retail price. Just a few extra bucks for fully wireless gaming is very tempting.
Alternative: Logitech G613 Wireless: If wireless is the way you want to go and you’re on a really tight budget, the Logitech G613 wireless keyboard is also worthy of consideration. It’s fully wireless via Logi’s Lightspeed 2.4GHz connection and Bluetooth and runs well on just a pair of AA batteries, making it good for both gaming and productivity. The only concern with the G613 is that it comes with Logitech’s old Romer-G switches, which were kind of disappointing overall and the reason why Logitech switched to their GX switches for the G Pro series.
Related: 2021’s 5 Best Mouse Bungees for Gaming
Logitech G413 ($70)
Retailing at just $70, the Logitech G413 is a full-sized, wired keyboard that features a USB-passthrough ideal for wired mice, but also means it takes up two USB ports, and some backlighting. It comes with Logitech’s older Romer-G switches which have an actuation distance of 1.5mm, compared to those with dome-switches or standard membrane keyboards that have double the travel distance. This is not a customizable keyboard by any means, compared to other keyboards on this list. You can’t change the keycaps, the switches, nor can you customize the backlighting.
At just $70 you get pretty much what you pay for, and then a little bit extra. For an entry-level keyboard from a top brand, this isn’t a bad deal, and some people may like the Romer-G switches especially for their shorter actuation distance which allows for faster reactions in-game. The G413 does well for productivity use as well, so if you want a cheap keyboard that works well for both gaming and work, this isn’t a bad option.
Steelseries Apex 3 ($50)
At just $50, the Steelseries Apex 3 looks like a mechanical gaming keyboard similar to other keyboards listed. Except, it is not. But for those gamers on a budget, this is the cheapest keyboard on this list from a top brand and it may be better than you think despite what it sacrifices for cost.
The Apex 3 is another full-sized keyboard making this list which also includes a dedicated media button, knob, and a wrist-rest that magnetically connects to the bottom edge of the board which is a welcome addition. It comes with RGB lighting that is fully customizable through Steelseries Engine 3 software. The biggest sacrifice here is the Apex 3 being a membrane keyboard rather than a mechanical one, especially considering that budget mechanical keyboards are achievable. While the keys were quiet when being tested through gaming and typing, the performance compared to mechanical keyboards was noticeable. That’s not to say that you can’t game well on this, because you can play just fine on this and other membrane keyboards like this and the HyperX Alloy Core. However, more experienced, pickier gamers will notice a difference.
For just $50, despite the lack of mechanical switches, the Apex 3 is a full-sized, fully functional, fully featured keyboard that performs just as well as many other gaming keyboards at a fraction of the price. For those just getting into PC gaming, or if you’re simply looking for something simple and cheap, this is a keyboard worth considering.
Alternative: HyperX Alloy Core: The HyperX Alloy Core is almost identical to the Apex 3 in cost, performance, and price. The biggest difference between the two is that the Alloy Core features more dedicated media specific keys making it a bit more functional with brighter, customizable RGB backlighting. The Apex 3’s included wrist-rest is definitely something to consider here, if media features do not matter as much.
Razer Cynosa V2
The Razer Cynosa V2 is also a membrane keyboard much like the aforementioned Steelseries Apex 3 and the briefly aforementioned HyperX Alloy Core, however considering its Razer and the quality of their line of products throughout, something has to be up considering that the Cynosa V2 retails in at $60, $10 more than its competition.
It features dedicated media keys in the upper corner and continues the Cynosa’s trend of low-profile approach with a durable, matte-plastic build. It also comes with per-key RGB lighting which is customizable through Razer’s Synapse software. The Cynosa V2 looks like a premium, full-sized keyboard when it’s all put together.
Then comes its performance. Despite being a membrane keyboard, this keyboard keeps itself on par with the performance of some mechanical keyboards out in the market today at double the price. Its low profile design allows for your fingers to fly across the board for those lightning fast reactions, it’s comfortable to type with and the keycaps don’t feel cheap one bit. The keycaps aren’t doubleshot PBT keycaps that more experienced gamers may want or be used to, but as a whole the board feels incredibly premium.
For more Hardware Guides, check out The 5 Best Silent Gaming Mouse: 2021’s Best Silent Gaming Mice on Pro Game Guides!