These are the best budget mechanical keyboards you can buy in 2022

These are the best budget mechanical keyboards you can buy in 2022

Anybody who’s into mechanical keyboards will tell you that it’s an expensive hobby. It’s very easy to get dragged into the rabbit hole of switches and layouts that can break the bank. Even some high-end prebuilt mechanical keyboards easily cost more than $100. Thankfully, there are quite a few budget mechanical keyboards out there that let you experience the joys of mechanical keyboards without spending a lot of money. And in this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the best budget mechanical keyboards you can buy in 2022.

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Best budget mechanical keyboard: HyperX Alloy Elite 2

HyperX mechanical keybaord

HyperX is one of the leading brands in the peripheral space and the company makes a ton of quality products. The company also has a bunch of mechanical gaming keyboards in its product stack that we think are worth considering. The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 is one such option and it’s an excellent mechanical keyboard for less than $100.

The HyperX Alloy Elite 2, as you can see, is a full-sized mechanical keyboard which means it’s got a 100-percent layout. It also has a bunch of additional keys on the top along with a large volume wheel that lets you easily control the system volume. The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 sports a solid steel frame that provides durability and a sturdy feel while typing. The overall build quality of the keyboard seems pretty good. It also has an RGB along on the top in addition to the keys, of course

When it comes to the switches, HyperX is using its in-house mechanical switches on this keyboard. You get HyperX Red mechanical switches which are essentially linear switches with 45g operating force and 1.8mm actuation point. You also get a total travel distance of 3.8mm and HyperX says these switches are good for 80 million keystrokes. These switches also feature an exposed LED for brighter RGB lighting on the board.

The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 features per-key RGB lighting and five brightness levels. One of the best things about this keyboard is that HyperX is including its Pudding keycaps with this keyboard. This particular style of keycap is quite popular in the mechanical keyboard community. It’s obviously not for everyone but those who like RGB lighting will be delighted to have it on their keyboard. You can always swap out the included keycaps to your liking, so it shouldn’t be an issue, really.

You can customize the RGB lighting along with a bunch of other things including macros via the HyperX NGENUITY Software. The keyboard also has onboard memory for up to three profiles, which means you can carry these profiles to other systems that don’t have the access to the HyperX software and still be able to use it without any issues. The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 is a wired keyboard that comes with a braided cable that’s permanently attached to the board. Some other noteworthy features of the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 include USB 2.0 pass-through, 100% Anti-ghosting, and Full N-Key Rollover Functionalities.

All things considered, we think the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 is a great mechanical keyboard to consider. It offers plenty of great features along with a clean design. The inclusion of HyperX Pudding Keycaps for free is also a nice touch and adds more value to the overall product. This particular keyboard is available for as little as $89 right now, which is an absolute steal. It’s often available at discounted prices, so be sure to hit the link below to check out the best price for it online. It doesn’t come with a wrist rest though, so you will have to buy it separately if you don’t have one already.

    The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 is a fantastic mechanical keyboard that costs less than $89. It comes with HyperX pudding keycaps and additional media keys too.

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Best budget mechanical keyboard for productivity: Logitech K845

A black colored Logitech K845 budget mechanical keyboard

When it comes to mechanical keyboards for productivity or just to get through your day-to-day workloads, we think the Logitech K845 is a good option. The Logitech K845 is one of the most popular mechanical keyboards in the mainstream market from Logitech mainly because of how in-expensive it really is. For $60, there’s a lot to like about this keyboard and it offers a lot of value for your money.

The Logitech K845 essentially replaces the older Logitech K840 mechanical keyboard. The new one costs about $10 more but it adds white backlighting to the keys, which we think is essential on a keyboard. You don’t get the RGB bling with this one but that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker considering the fact that this is a simple productivity keyboard to handle day-to-day workloads. Despite that, we think this keyboard has a pretty clean design that’s suitable for any desk setup. It’s a 100-percent keyboard though, so we hope there’s enough space on your desk.

One thing to note about the Logitech K845 keyboard is that it comes with either TTC or Cherry MX mechanical switches. When it comes to the TTC switches, you get the option to choose between linear, tactile, and clicky mechanical switches, so be sure to pick the one that suits your typing style. The TTC Red switches are linear, TTC Blue are clicky tactile, whereas the TTC Brown are quiet tactile mechanical switches. The variants with Cherry MX mechanical switches cost a little bit more, so keep that in mind. There’s not a night-and-day difference between TTC and Cherry MX switches, but keyboard purists may find Cherry MX switches better.

The Logitech K845 sports an aluminum top plate which we think looks great and offers a premium feel to the overall chassis. It’s a durable keyboard that comes with a cable that’s permanently attached to the body. The switches are rated for 50 million clicks and the molded keycaps ensure you don’t have to worry about the labels fading over time. You may not like the font on the keycaps but it’s not an issue considering you can change the keycaps at any given point in time.

There are a few glaring omissions when it comes to the Logitech K845 keyboard. First of all, there are no dedicated macro keys on this board. While this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, we think it’s always best to have those at your disposal. You also don’t have any included software for the Logitech K845 keyboard. This means you’ll have to adjust and play with all the settings on the fly, right on the keyboard including the lighting settings. Also, you only get white LED lights on this keyboard, so you will have to look elsewhere if you want some RGB bling on your desk. If you are a gamer or a power user, then we recommend spending a little more and buying the HyperX Alloy Elite 2. It offers more features and lets you have better control over things like lighting and macro.

    The Logitech K845 is a great mechanical keyboard for office workloads and productivity. It comes with an aluminum body and a bunch of different switch options to choose from.

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Best budget TKL mechanical keyboard: G.Skill KM360 TKL

G.Skill KM360 TKL budget mechanical keyboard

TKL or Tenkeyless mechanical keyboards, for those of you who don’t know, are slightly smaller than the full-sized keyboards. They typically lack the number pad and only have 87 keys. This keyboard size is perfect for those who don’t use the number pad often but still want the function and arrow keys. If you are in the market for a budget TKL mechanical keyboard then we recommend checking out the G.Skill KM360. This keyboard is priced at $55 and offers plenty of great features.

One of the best things about the G.Skill KM360 is that the Cherry MX key switches out the box. This itself makes the KM360 better than a lot of other budget keyboards out there that tend to push low-end switches in the name of a budget option. To be more specific, the G.Skill KM360 mechanical keyboard features Cherry MX Red switches. These are great for gamers who are looking for switches with minimal resistance. The KM360 only appears to be available with Cherry MX Red switches and there seems to be no option to buy it with other switches. The Cherry MX Red switches aren’t ideal for typing, so you may have to look at some other options.

Another good thing about this keyboard is that it comes with a detachable USB Type C cable. It’s always best to buy keyboards with detachable cables as it makes them easy to carry around. That, and the fact that it’s a TKL keyboard, makes the KM360 a very portable option. G.Skill is using ABS Dual-injection keycaps for on the switches. These are simple-looking keycaps as opposed to the Pudding ones we saw on the HyperX Alloy Elite 2, but they’ll last for a long time without any issues.

The G.Skill KM360 keyboard is constructed using a solid aluminum top plate that makes it more durable. It also makes it sturdy and easy to type on. This particular keyboard also lacks RGB which means it’s good for those who don’t like a ton of RGB on their desk. The G.Skill KM360 instead features a white LED backlight that goes well with the black-colored keycaps. You can always change the keycaps but remember to pick up something that’ll make it easier to read the keys and works well with the white LED lighting.

Overall, we think the G.Skill KM360 is a great TKL keyboard. It’s perfect for those who are looking for a minimal keyboard as it’s got a very basic design with no RGB lights whatsoever. Another thing we love about the G.Skill KM360 is that it uses Cherry MX Red switches, which are more reliable and work better than a lot of other switches out there. For just $55, we think the G.Skill KM360 offers plenty of value and is better than most other budget options out there in the TKL space. This particular keyboard, however, tends to quickly run out of stock, so be sure to hit the link below to find the best price for it online.

    The G.Skill KM360 is a solid budget TKL mechanical keyboard that comes fitted with Cherry MX Red switches.

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Alternate best budget TKL mechanical keyboard: HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL

A black colored HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL budget mechanical keyboard

HyperX has a lot of different options when it comes to mechanical keyboards. We’ve already listed the HyperX Allot Elite 2 as our pick for the best full-sized mechanical keyboard. In addition to that, we think there’s another keyboard that deserves your attention — the HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL. The HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL is a great alternative in the TKL space if you don’t mind spending a bit more money.

This keyboard features custom HyperX mechanical switches that are designed specifically for gaming. You can get this keyboard with either the HyperX Red, HyperX Aqua, or the HyperX Blue mechanical switches depending on what you’re looking for. The HyperX Aqua switches offer a middle ground for typing and gaming. The HyperX Red switches, on the other hand, are good for gaming, while the HyperX Blue switches are ideal for those looking for clicky switches. The switches are mounted on an aluminum body which is quite compact and is full of RGB lighting. The HyperX Alloy Origins Core, just like the HyperX Alloy Elite 2, features per-key RGB lighting with up to five levels of brightness. The switches have exposed LED lights for better brightness.

You can customize the lighting effects, brightness, and more using the HyperX NGENUITY software. The Alloy Origins Core keyboard also comes with onboard memory for three profiles, which is great. Just like the G.Skill KM360 TKL, this one also comes with a detachable USB Type C Cable, which means it’s equally good when it comes to portability. HyperX isn’t adding its Pudding keycaps with this particular keyboard, but that’s not an issue, really. You can always swap out the stock keycaps to add something that you like.

The Alloy Origins Core keyboard, as we mentioned earlier, is built with a full aluminum body. It offers more durability to the keyboard and it also ensures the keyboard remains stable while you type or play games. HyperX has also added keyboard feet that let you choose from three different tilt levels. This keyboard is only available in black color and you don’t get a wrist rest with it, so keep that in mind. You may need a wrist rest, especially if you’re going to be using it at an angle.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL mechanical keyboard. This is a simple, yet reliable keyboard for those who have limited space on the desk or don’t want a 100-percent keyboard. The best thing about this keyboard is that HyperX lets you choose between a bunch of different switch options. We’re adding a buying link to the one that comes with HyperX Aqua switches, but you can also buy it with either HyperX Red or HyperX Blue switches. The HyperX Aqua version of the keyboard is priced at $69 right now, but you may have to pay more for other switch options. As always, you can hit the link below to find the best price for the HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL budget mechanical keyboard online right now.

    The HyperX Alloy Origins Core TKL is one of the best affordable TKLs out there that comes with per-key RGB lighting and tactile switches.

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Best budget 60-percent mechanical keyboard: ROYAL KLUDGE RK61

A white colored RK61 budget mechanical keyboard

Royal Kludge is a popular name in the mechanical keyboard space, especially amongst budget shoppers. You will find plenty of great budget mechanical keyboards from Royal Kludge and we’ve picked the Royal Kludge RK61 Wireless keyboard for this collection. This is available in both white and black color options and it’s one of the most affordable keyboards out there right now coming in at just around $55.

One of the best things about the Royal Kludge RK61 keyboard is that it comes with hot-swappable mechanical switches. This means you can change the mechanical switches on this keyboard with just a simple tool. Being able to swap out the existing switches easily, without having to go through the effort of soldering things, makes it a solid option to consider. The hot-swap PCB on this particular keyboard will allow you to replace 3 pins/5 pins switches.

The Royal Kludge RK61 relies on Bluetooth 5.1 for its connection and comes with a 2.4Ghz dongle. Alternatively, you can also use the included USB Type C cable to connect the keyboard to your PC or laptop. It’s also worth pointing out that this RK61 keyboard works well with many devices including Android phones and tablets too. It’s also worth making a note that this is a 60-percent keyboard which means it’s going to be even smaller than the TKL boards we saw earlier.

A 60-percent keyboard in case you don’t know only has 60-percent of the keys that a standard full-size keyboard does. In addition to the number pad, these keyboards don’t have dedicated function keys too, which means you’ll be relying on the Fn key to get the desired functionality. Notably, these keyboards also lack the arrow keys, so you’ll be accessing those by hitting the Fn keys too.

Another thing to note about the RK61 keyboard is that it doesn’t have RGB lighting. Instead of that, you only get a single color backlit with different lighting effects. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for many but you will have to look at other options if you want RGB lighting. Royal Kludge has a bunch of keyboards with RGB lighting, so be sure to check them out.

All things considered, we think the Royal Kludge RK61 is a pretty good mechanical keyboard that offers a lot of value for your money. For just $55, you get a fantastic board with a hot-swap PCB and wireless capability. Mechanical keyboards with hot-swap PCBs tend to be quite expensive, so this is definitely worth considering if you’re into customization. Speaking of customization, the RK61 is also a good entry point for those who want to get into keyboard customization. Being able to swap out the switches on your keyboard means you have the flexibility to add any switches of your choice, add mods to the board to change the sound and feel of the keys, and more. The possibilities are endless when it comes to customization and we think the RK61 for $55 is a pretty good place to start for beginners.

    The ROYAL KLUDGE RK61 is an excellent compact keyboard that comes with a hot-swap PCB and wireless connectivity.

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Alternate best budget 60-percent mechanical keyboard: Keychron K12

Keychron K12 60-percent mechanical keyboard

Keychron is a popular brand in the mechanical keyboard space. From full-sized 100% to smaller 60-percent boards, Keychron has a lot of great keyboards in its portfolio. If you are in the market to buy a new 60-percent mechanical keyboard then we think the Keychron K12 is a really good option to consider. It’s a compact keyboard that is available to purchase with a bunch of different switch options.

One of the best things about this particular keyboard is that it can be used in both wired as well as wireless options. It’s also compatible with both Windows as well as macOS and you also get dedicated keycaps to be used with each OS such as Windows, Options, Command, and more. You can connect the Keychron K12 with up to three devices via Bluetooth 5.1 and switch between them easily without any issues. The keyboard also comes with a USB Type C cable to be used in wired mode.

Another interesting thing about the Keychron K12 mechanical keyboard is that it comes with hot-swappable keys which means you can swap out the pre-installed Optical Switch with something else that you may prefer. We always recommend buying mechanical keyboards with hot-swappable switches as they make it very easy to swap out the existing ones to offer more customization options. The Keychron K12 keyboard comes fitted with optical switches out of the box. You get a couple of different options to choose from while purchasing including Optical Banana Switch, Optical Blue Switch, Optical Brown Switch, and more.

The Optical Mint switches, according to Keychron, offer good tactile responsiveness and they’re guaranteed to last for up to 100 million keystrokes. The Keychron K12 keyboard also comes with a massive 4,000 mAh battery with which it can last for a long time. Keychron says it can last for up to 200 hours with the backlight off, which is pretty good. The keyboard also has two level adjustable feet and an inclined bottom frame for great ergonomic support. The Keychron K12 can be a great keyboard for typing, although you will have to get used to the lack of a number pad, function, and even arrow keys.

All in all, the Keychron K12 is a great 60-percent keyboard that doesn’t burn a huge hole in your pocket. Also, the fact that it’s a hot-swappable keyboard makes it that much better than a lot of other keyboards. The Keychron K12 is also wireless and is compatible with both macOS and Windows which makes it better than a lot of other budget keyboards out there. You really are getting a lot of value for $65, so it’s definitely worth considering. In fact, this keyboard is often available at discounted prices, so be sure to hit the link below to find the best price for it online right now. Unlike the RK61 keyboard, however, this one is only available in the black color option, so keep that in mind.

    The Keychron K12 is a great 60-percent mechanical keyboard that costs less than $70 and comes with hot-swap PCB.

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Best budget low-profile mechanical keyboard: Keychron K3 Ultra-slim

Keychron K3 V2 ultra-slim mechanical keyboard

We’ve already added the Keychron K12 60% mechanical keyboard to this collection as a reliable option for those looking to buy a compact board for their desk. But if you are somebody who likes using low-profile keyboards then we can’t recommend the Keychron K3 Ultra-Slim mechanical keyboard enough. This particular keyboard starts at $74 and it essentially combines the low-profile design of the K1 with the compact 75 percent layout of the K2.

One of the best things about the Keychron K3 ultra-slim is that it sports a hot-swap PCB which means you can swap out the pre-installed Optical switches to try other ones. Being able to swap out the switches allows you to completely change the feel of your keyboard without having to deal with additional steps like soldering. These hot-swappable optical switches are available in different varieties including linear switches like white, red, and black, or clicky switches like blue or orange. We think that’s a healthy amount of options for the keyboard and you can buy those switches directly from Keychron for as little as $19.

The base variant of the Keychron K3 for $74 only comes with a white backlight. You can also buy an RGB version of this keyboard, but that’ll cost you slightly more. And if you don’t mind sticking to a particular switch, then you can also buy the K3 with low-profile Gateron switches.

Low-profile switches are great for those who are accustomed to a laptop keyboard. While the low-profile keys don’t feel like you’re hitting on mushy rubber keys, they’re also nowhere close to the feel of regular Cherry MX switches. It’s definitely something to get used to, especially if you are coming from a standard mechanical keyboard that uses one of the mainstream switches. One of the main benefits of these low-profile switches is how thin they allow the keyboard to be. Even at its thickest point, the Keychron K3 is just a little over 22mm off the surface of your desk. According to Keychron, its low-profile switches are just 10.77mm tall, which is particularly impressive when you compare them to a conventional switch with 17.9mm in height.

Just like many other Keychron keyboards, the K3 Ultra-slim also works in both wired as well as wireless modes, which is very handy for those who have multiple devices other than a desktop. It relies on Bluetooth connection for wireless mode and works over a USB Type C cable for wired mode. The battery life in wireless mode, however, is said to be slightly less compared to the K2.

Overall, it is safe to say that the Keychron K3 is a great keyboard that targets a very specific set of users. You’ll love using the Keychron K3 if you’re accustomed to laptop keyboards. Also, being able to swap out switches to try new ones makes it better than plenty of other budget mechanical keyboards on the market. The Keychron K3, as mentioned earlier, starts at just $74, which means it’s a great budget keyboard.

    The Keychron K3 ultra-slim mechanical keyboard sports Gateron low-profile mechanical switches and supports both wired and wireless connectivity.

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Best budget mechanical keyboard & mouse combo: Havit Mechanical Keyboard and Mouse

RGB budget mechanical keyboard with a gaming mouse

The Havit mechanical keyboard and mouse combo is worth considering because it’s the most affordable listing in this collection. For just $42, you get a full-sized mechanical keyboard with blue switches and a mouse to go along with it. This is great for those who are building a new setup at home, be it for work or for gaming.

The keyboard, as you can see, has a pretty standard design with just the essential keys. Unlike a lot of other 100% keyboards, this one lacks the additional media keys, volume wheel, and more. Well, that’s not really a surprise considering the affordable price. The extras are usually reserved for more premium offerings, so you might want to consider checking out the HyperX Alloy Elite 2, which is our pick for the best overall budget mechanical keyboard.

Another thing that’s worth pointing out about this particular keyboard is that it’s wired and connects to your PC via a USB Type-A port. Even the included mouse in this combo is wired and they both are non-removable, permanently attached cables. That makes them less travel-friendly, but this is usually a given in the budget space. The keyboard also has RGB lighting, however, we’re only looking at zoned RGB lights instead of the per-key option. This essentially limits the RGB effects you can have on the keyboard, but it appears to work well and looks more in line with the lighting on the mouse.

The Havit mechanical keyboard also has an all-metal panel which makes the chassis more durable. It also acts as a sturdy platform while typing or playing games on it. The keyboard, as you can see, has floating keys on the metal panel with an N-key rollover. The floating layout also does a great job of accentuating the RGB lights. The keyboard is also compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and more, which means it works with a variety of devices. There is no wireless option, so keep that in mind.

The keyboard comes with Blue mechanical switches, which means they’re going to be tactile and super responsive with great feedback. This is not a hot-swappable keyboard, so you will have to stick to the blue switches. Another thing that’s worth pointing out about the keyboard is that it comes with a detachable wrist rest. It’s probably not the most premium wrist rest you’ll ever use, but it’s a good addition. This is great, especially in this price range because most budget keyboards don’t come with a bundled wrist rest.

Overall, we think the Havit mechanical keyboard and mouse combo is a good addition to this collection. It’s a simple, yet functional full-sized mechanical keyboard that offers the essential features for a very little price. And for less than $50, you also get a gaming mouse in the bundle, so it’s a great way to add a new mouse and keyboard to your new or existing setup. This combo tends to fly off the shelves really quickly, so be sure to hit the link below to see if it’s available right now.

    The Havit mechanical and mouse combo is great for those who wants to add a new keyboard and mouse to either their new or an existing setup.

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Best budget mechanical keyboards to buy in 2022: Final Thoughts

Well, that brings us to the end of this collection. Mechanical keyboards tend to be very expensive but you can definitely find some affordable options out there too. We think the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 is a great option for most people who are looking to buy a new mechanical keyboard. It’s got a 100-percent layout and a whole lot of RGB lights that can be turned off if you want to use it in a more professional setting. If that’s too much for you then you can also consider buying the Logitech K845 which is yet another fantastic affordable mechanical keyboard for day-to-day office workloads and productivity. Those leaning towards smaller form-factors can check out the RK61 or the Keychron K12. We’ve also added some other interesting options to the mix, so be sure to check out the list.

If you think we’ve missed any of your favorite budget mechanical keyboards then be sure to let us know by dropping a line in the comments below. If you don’t fancy these budget keyboards then you can also check out our best mechanical keyboards collection to find more options. Also, if you’re building a new setup from scratch then you might be interested in some of our other collections too including the best monitors and the best webcams.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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