When it comes to gaming or just straight-up typing, nothing beats a mechanical keyboard. The mechanical keyboard has been around since the advent of personal computers and has withstood the tests of time, membrane keyboards, and even those cool-looking-but-ultimately-pretty-disappointing projection keyboards.
It’s simple: mechanical keyboards just have a superior touch-feel. It helps people type faster, and it’s been known to reduce finger fatigue. Mechanical keyboards also last longer than its more “high-tech” membrane and projection brethren, and is the weapon of choice for eSports athletes.
Mechanical keyboards do have one major downside: they cost a lot. You see, mechanical keyboards have individual, mechanical switches for each and every key on board. This means there’s a large number of moving parts, making them more expensive. However, these mechanical switches are what helps reduce the finger fatigue: they make it easier to press keys, which means users apply less force than on membrane keyboards.
Yes, they can be on the expensive side, but we’ve taken the liberty of scouring the market and finding the best mechanical keyboards under $50 so you won’t have to. Check them out:
TOMOKO 87 Key Water-Resistant Mechanical Keyboard
Probably one of the cheapest high-quality mechanical keyboards in the market today, the TOMOKO 87 manages to blend great aesthetics, sturdy construction, and extensive functionality without piling on a huge price tag.
With its blue Outemu switches and floating key design, the TOMOKO is ideal for both gaming and typing, blending fast switch-response time with ease of use. As the name suggests, it is water-resistant and splash-proof (although we weren’t able to test that feature. Hit us up in the comments below if you have!). The vanilla model doesn’t LED backlighting, but for a few dollars more, you can get one with customized backlights. It costs more, but is still under $50.
In terms of functionality, the TOMOKO 87 has a ton of features for a “budget” model. It has multiple multimedia shortcuts that can be accessed via the FN button, while the top function keys (F1 to F12) perform as normal. For gamers, it also features N-Key Rollover Anti-Ghosting keys as well as a nifty Windows lock key, a must-have for any serious eSports enthusiast. The TOMOKO 87 supports Mac OS, as well as all versions of Windows from Vista onwards.
Redragon K552 Kumara LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
As a compact mechanical keyboard, the Redragon K552 Kumara is more suited for gaming than for typing, thanks to its tenkeyless design. However, don’t let its diminutive size fool you: it comes woth 87 standard keys, and 12 integrated multimedia keys that can be accessed with the FN button.
The Kumara comes with Cherry MX Blue clones, although they look and feel exactly Outemu Blue mechanical switches, albeit with slightly more give than non-clones, and they tend to make more noise. However, from a tactile perspective, it works pretty well and is advertised to last 50 million keystrokes. We haven’t tested that last part yet, but we gave it to one of our interns to work on, and he’s been banging away at it for over a week and give-or-take a hundred man hours. So far, no complaints! Some of the staffers here didn’t like the font on the keys, but personally, I didn’t mind.
The Kumara is made from ABS construction using high-quality aluminum and features double shot-molded keycaps that give you a feeling of strength and reliability. It has red LED backlighting, although these effects can be customized to your liking. For gamers, Anti-Ghosting keys are on hand to make your gaming experience better.
One downside, however, is its non-detachable USB cable. This makes it a little less mobile than we’d like, but it makes up for it with its gold-plated connectors that give the Kumara great connectivity and helps it avoid corrosion. It’s advertised as having a splash-proof design, but just like the TOMOKO 87, we didn’t test it for that. However, as a general rule, keep it away from water or any other liquids just to be safe!
AUKEY KM-G7 Mechanical Keyboard
As a well-known computer accessories brand, AUKEY has built a reputation of creating high-quality products like power strips, chargers, headphones, USB cables, and power banks, among other things. Their entry into the mechanical keyboard market, then, was only a matter of time. With their experience in creating good quality things, they give us the AUKEY KM-G7, a compact 87-key, LED backlit keyboard.
Let’s talk about the backlight for a bit. For a “budget” model, the AUKEY KM-G7 comes with pretty cool backlights: 6-color LED backlights with 9 preset lighting effects and 2 additional slots for custom effects. That’s pretty comprehensive for a mechanical keyboard under 50 bucks!
But what about functionality? Well, much like the 2 products preceding it, the KM-G7 also has Outemu Blue mechanical switches, giving it great tactile feedback. Multimedia keys are clubbed and integrated with the F keys and can be accessed with the FN button . Much like the Kumara, the G7 is also tenkeyless, but with a more minimalist, sleek, and smooth design. It also has double shot-molded, ABS keypads and an all-metal construction. Again, much like the Kumara, it’s also advertised as being splash-proof, and much like the TOMOKO 87, it is billed as being waterproof as well.
We mention this because, at almost 40 dollars, the G7 features functions that you could find in cheaper models. While this doesn’t necessarily make it bad, it’s also not the most cost-efficient purchase you can make.
Ajazz Firstblood Geek AK33 RGB Mechanical Keyboard
Just a cent short of our 50 dollar budget is the Ajazz Firstblood Geek AK33. Tenkeyless and compact, the 82-key AK33 comes with custom black floating keys. These are usually great for both gaming and typing, although they don’t give the same satisfying “click” or tactile feedback as the Outemu Blue. However, the custom black keys of the AK33 have less give than the Outemu, which means less finger fatigue.
But let’s talk about the AK33’s main selling point: it’s a full RGB keyboard that can support more than 16 million colors and displays them using one of its 18 backlit modes. Not a fan of a particular color? Not a problem! Each colors brightness can be controlled and customized. It has an N-key Rollover Anti-Ghosting key for gamers, and a detachable USB cable to keep it mobile. Unlike other Chinese keyboards, the font on the AK33 is pretty readable, and its ABS construction gives it a very sturdy feel. Overall, it’s one of the better purchases you can make if you have just 50 dollars to spare, which is why it’s at the top of our best mechanical keyboards under $50 list.