Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $100 2020: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

December 20, 2020-Jake Norman
1

SteelSeries Apex 5

  • Smart display based on OLED technology 
  • Hybrid mechanical switches for a great gaming experience 
  • Durability and sturdiness - build with aircraft-grade aluminium alloy frame
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2

Redragon K552

  • Mechanical key switches, which offer a rich gaming experience 
  • Metal-ABS construction and a sturdy build quality
  • LED backlit keyboard 
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3

Logitech G613 LIGHTSPEED

  • Wireless keyboard - can be connected using Bluetooth
  • Wireless technology enables a super-fast 1 ms response rate 
  • High performance - 70 million click cycle life
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Keyboards are one of the most essential computer peripherals. Even though a number of us use laptops, the relevance of external, mechanical keyboards continue to exist. They are important for those of us who are into intensive gaming and typing.

A good keyboard can make your tasks smoother and hassle-free. It can give you an added advantage over other players in multiplayer gaming. They feature spring activated key switches, which are better in terms of quality and comfort than any other keyboard. 

However, buying a good mechanical keyboard can be tricky. There is a wide range of mechanical keyboards in the market, and you need to choose the one which best suits your requirement. In this article, we will help you choose buy a mechanical keyboard that best suits your requirements.

We will review some of the best mechanical keyboards under 100 dollars. Besides, we will also list down all the important factors that you should look for while buying a mechanical keyboard, and also answer some of the frequently asked questions with regards to these products. 

Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $100 2020

1. SteelSeries Apex 5

Top Pick

SteelSeries Apex 5 Best Mechanical Keyboards Under $100
  • Smart display based on OLED technology
  • Hybrid mechanical switches for a great gaming experience
  • Durability and sturdiness - build with aircraft grade aluminium alloy frame
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The SteelSeries Apex 5 is an excellent mechanical keyboard for gaming under $100. It comes with a comfortable magnetic wrist rest. Besides, the high grade aluminium used for its construction makes it one of the most durable mechanical keyboards in the market. 

Powering this keyboard are hybrid gaming mechanical switches. This keyboard style is popular among gamers, as it enables precise keystrokes without tiring the fingers.

Another attractive feature of this keyboard is the OLED smart display. This small screen can display messages and game statuses. Thus, the Apex 5 allows for multitasking. 

In addition, you will find integrated multimedia controls, which include a volume scroll wheel. The keyboard also comes with a IP32 rating for water and dust protection, which implies an added longevity of the product.

2. Redragon K552

Budget Pick

Redragon K552
  • Mechanical key switches, which offer a rich gaming experience
  • Metal-ABS construction and a sturdy build quality
  • LED backlit keyboard
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This is another good gaming keyboard which has made it to our list of the best mechanical keyboards under 100 dollars. This is, however, not a feature-rich keyboard. The purpose of this keyboard is simple: and what it does, it does perfectly! It has a compact design and a solid build quality, and is thus, one of the best budget gaming keyboards. 

The layout of this keyboard is extremely clean. The use of aluminum and hardened plastic adds comfort to durability. The keys do not tire your fingers, even after hours of intensive gaming.

There are a total of 87 keys on this keyboard. The rainbow LED backlit enhances the aesthetics of this keyboard. It also adds to the functionality of gaming in darkness. 

Besides, it also features 12 multimedia keyboard keys. It has a splash-free body to protect itself against water damage. It also features a gold plated, high speed, corrosion-free USB connector for offering a reliable connection.

3. Logitech G613 LIGHTSPEED

Budget Pick

Logitech G613 LIGHTSPEED
  • Wireless keyboard - can be connected using Bluetooth 
  • Wireless technology enables a super-fast 1 ms response rate 
  • High performance - 70 million click cycle life 
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Logitech is one of the most popular brands of computer peripherals worldwide. Its products are known for their quality, and the value for money that they offer.

The Logitech G613 is a high performance gaming keyboard. Moreover, it is a wireless keyboard, eliminating the existence of untidy wires near your PC. With two AA batteries, this keyboard can offer 18 months of gaming.

Besides, the wireless technology used offers a super-fast response rate of 1 ms, which is perfect for multiplayer gaming. It is a Bluetooth enabled device. The mechanical switches have a solid build quality.

They deliver an incredibly precise and quiet performance. Additionally, to the advantage of the users, it comes with six programmable G keys for putting custom macro sequences, and for customising in-app commands for each app. 

One of the major drawbacks of this product, however, is that it does not feature LED backlighting. There is, otherwise, no complaint regarding the overall performance of this device.

4. Havit Mechanical Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Budget Pick

Havit Mechanical Keyboard and Mouse Combo
  • Combo - high performance gaming keyboard and gaming mouse 
  • Ergonomic keyboard design with floating keys 
  • RGB lighting effect with 14 backlit modes on the keyboard
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The unique thing about this product is that it is a combo pack of a high-performance gaming keyboard and a gaming mouse. The mechanical keyboard has an all-metal panel and features a floating key design. These keys have high precision, making this keyboard perfect for multiplayer online gaming.

All the 104 keys have individual switches with a full n-key rollover. Thus, it prevents ghosting. The keyboard also features an RGB backlit, adding to its aesthetics and functionality. Besides, it also features a detachable wrist rest. 

The mouse, on the other hand, has an RGB lighting effect and offers seven colors. Together with the keyboard, it creates a colorful game atmosphere. Besides, the mouse is programmable. It has a sensitivity of 6 dots per inch, making it a highly efficient gaming mouse. 

5. Razer Huntsman

Budget Pick

Razer Huntsman
  • 2.4 GHz RF connectivity with an easy setup
  • Rechargeable battery - can last up to 6 months on a single charge
  • Durable build and compact design
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Razer Huntsman makes some of the best mechanical keyboards in the world. This is a highly durable, high performance gaming keyboard, and is meant to provide a superior online gaming experience. It features Razer Optical switches - which use light-based actuation.

It offers a 30 percent shorter actuation distance than other clicky switches. The enhanced accuracy is combined with satisfying and clicky feedback on the keys.

Besides, the product also features individually backlit keys for improved aesthetics and functionality. The aluminum construction of this device makes it extremely durable. It is covered with a matte, aluminium top frame for increased structural integrity.

Razer claims that the keyboard supports up to 100 million clicks. With a two year manufacturer warranty, this is one of the best backlit mechanical keyboards under 100 dollars.

6. Corsair K63 Compact

Budget Pick

Corsair K63 Compact
  • Features dedicated volume and multimedia controls 
  • Anti-ghosting and full key rollover for a great gaming experience 
  • Red LED backlighting for added aesthetics and functionality
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The Corsair K63 has a compact and minimalist design. Unlike some gaming keyboards, it does not feature a dedicated hand-rest. It is ergonomically designed with red LED backlighting and large font keycaps. All of these are meant to enrich your gaming experience.

You can also adjust the lighting on this keyboard in accordance with your convenience. Moreover, the compact design makes it great for travel. It also leaves more room for your mouse. 

Besides, this keyboard also features a cent percent anti-ghosting, and a full key rollover. This means an enhanced accuracy and speed, which is very important for a rich multiplayer online gaming experience.

Also, with the dedicated volume and multimedia controls, you can adjust audio without interrupting your game. 

7. NPET K10 Gaming Keyboard

Budget Pick

NPET K10 Gaming Keyboard
  • Water resistant and a triple protection design 
  • Sturdy build quality with a metal and ABS construction. 
  • Adjustable brightness and breathing speed of the backlit
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The NPET K10 is a highly durable, high performance mechanical keyboard for gaming. It features 104 keys, with 13 multimedia key combinations. These multimedia keys are meant to facilitate the user during intensive gaming.

The ergonomic design of this product offers a comfortable gaming experience. It does not strain your fingers, even if you work on it for long durations. 

One of the most attractive features of this product is that it is water-resistant. It comes with a triple protection design, which protects it against damage from spilled drinks or coffee.

Besides, the USB connector is waterproof as well. It features an anti-interference magnet ring, and a gold-plate interface for stable data transmission. It is more durable than regular PVC cables. 

In addition, this mechanical keyboard features removable keycaps, and a free keycap puller, which makes cleaning the device easier. It also features four LED backlighting modes.

It automatically enters sleeping mode after 10 minutes of no operation. The backlighting automatically turns off, and can be awakened by pressing any key.

8. Corsair K60 RGB Pro

Budget Pick

Corsair K60 RGB Pro
  • Slim and stylish design with an aluminium frame 
  • Dynamic LED backlit 
  • Short distance actuation and a great accuracy
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This is another great offering by Corsair and is designed for those who are into intensive gaming. It features a slim and stylish design and a sturdy anodized brushed aluminum frame for exceptional durability.

The mechanical key switches offer an incredibly short actuation distance of 1.0 mm. Corsair guarantees 50 million keystrokes on this product. It is also a great product for typists, given high accuracy. 

Besides, it comes with a customizable LED backlight. You can get a wide range of colours and effects on this keyboard. Moreover, it features customizable macro programming of keys.

It is a full n-key rollover keyboard with cent percent anti-ghosting. Thus, no matter how fast you play, all your keypresses are registered in real time. 

If you are playing an iCUE integrated game, the LED backlight is fully synchronized, providing the users with a rich gaming experience. All these features make it a good gaming keyboard under 100 dollars in the market.

9. Logitech K845

Budget Pick

Logitech K845
  • Adjustable tilt for a comfortable typing experience 
  • White backlighting for working in the dark
  • Full size keyboard with a number pad and FN keys
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The Logitech K845 is a perfect device for professionals, and especially for typists. If you are in a job that demands a lot of typing, such as that of a content writer, then this is the best mechanical keyboard under 100 dollars.

It features an adjustable 4 to 8 degree tilt, which lets you type at a comfortable angle. Moreover, it offers a noise-free experience while typing. The keys offer a high degree of accuracy and tactile feedback. 

Besides, the product features a white backlighting in five different patterns. It adds to both aesthetics and functionality, as it lets you type in the dark.

The aluminum design gives it a sturdy build, and offers a decent gaming experience. Despite being a full keyboard, it has a compact design, which is a major plus point of purchasing this product. 

10. Razer Cynosa Lite Gaming Keyboard

Budget Pick

Razer Cynosa Lite Gaming Keyboard
  • Gaming keyboard at an affordable price
  • Full key rollover and anti-ghosting
  • Spill resistant design which protects against liquid damage
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The Cynosa Lite is an excellent gaming keyboard offered by Razer. It is designed in a manner such that it can execute up to ten commands at the same time.

It features a full key rollover and an anti-ghosting technology. They provide the much needed accuracy for multiplayer online gaming. Moreover, this is a full keyboard, and hence, it has a number pad. 

The product also features a Single Zone Razer Chroma backlighting, which supports 16.8 million customizable colour options. Moreover, the macro keys are completely customizable as well.

The Razer Hypershift technology enables all the keys and keypress combinations to be remapped in order to execute complex commands. Besides, Razer also offers a two-year warranty on this mechanical keyboard. The spill-resistant design of this keyboard protects it against water splashes and liquid damage.

11. Havit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo Rainbow Backlit

Budget Pick

Havit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Combo Rainbow Backlit
  • Made for gaming - a combo of gaming keyboard and gaming mouse
  • The mouse has a high precision 
  • Aluminium alloy top case of the keyboard ensures its durability
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This is another great combo product, offered by Havit, and is entirely designed for gaming. Both the keyboard and the mouse are backlit, and you can switch between the 21 different light modes for the keyboard, and 7 different light modes for the mouse. Moreover, the brightness and the light-changing speed can also be manually adjusted.

The keyboard features a classic blue switch design, which provides clicky and tactile feedback. It offers an excellent degree of accuracy. And with the cent percent anti-ghosting and full key rollover technology, you can play any game with the maximum level of comfort and efficiency. 

The mouse, too, has a high-precision positioning. It has a sensitivity of 6 dots per inch. You can also adjust the dots per inch to match the mouse speed instantly for different game scenarios. Apart from gaming, this keyboard also provides a great typing experience for a long time with its suspended keycap keyboard. It also features 12 multimedia keys. 

12. Logitech G413 Backlit

Budget Pick

 Logitech G413 Backlit
  • Minimalist design with few multimedia keys 
  • USB port for connecting a mouse and for charging devices
  • Precise, red key lighting for gaming in the dark
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This is a great gaming keyboard offered by Logitech. It is purpose-built for high performance and durability. The backlighting on this keyboard is different from other keyboards, as it offers a precise, red key lighting through the keycap. The keys are thus, always visible, and offer no distraction during late-night gaming.

Moreover, the structure of this keyboard is built of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. The keys feel comfortable on the fingers, and do not tire your hand even after hours of gaming or typing. Moreover, it offers a 26 key rollover. 

One of the unique things about this mechanical keyboard is that it features a USB pass-through port, which lets you connect a mouse to the keyboard, or use it as a charging port for your other devices. Loaded with all these features, the Logitech G413 is one of the best mechanical keyboards under 100 dollars.

13. DIERYA DK61E

Budget Pick

DIERYA DK61E
  • Most compact gaming keyboard with a 60 key design 
  • IPX4 certified circuit board, making it waterproof 
  • Customisable keys
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This is a great gaming keyboard offered by Logitech. It is purpose-built for high performance and durability. The backlighting on this keyboard is different from other keyboards, as it offers a precise, red key lighting through the keycap. The keys are thus, always visible, and offer no distraction during late-night gaming.

Moreover, the structure of this keyboard is built of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. The keys feel comfortable on the fingers, and do not tire your hand even after hours of gaming or typing. Moreover, it offers a 26 key rollover. 

One of the unique things about this mechanical keyboard is that it features a USB pass-through port, which lets you connect a mouse to the keyboard, or use it as a charging port for your other devices. Loaded with all these features, the Logitech G413 is one of the best mechanical keyboards under 100 dollars.

14. AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard

Budget Pick

AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard
  • Full n-key rollover 
  • LED backlit keyboard with a six colour backlight 
  • ABS keycaps and brushed metal panels are extremely durable
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This is a good keyboard for both typists and gamers. It is backlit and features a 6 colour backlight. Each row has a different specific colour. There are 9 pre-set lighting effects. Besides, two slots are available for assignable lighting effects. You can choose a preset effect, or choose a configuration through customization to match your PC setup. 

This keyboard features clicky, classic blue switches, which deliver accurate, responsive key commands. AUKEY claims that the switches have a 50 million keystroke lifespan.

In addition, this 104 key keyboard has a full key rollover, which means that you will never miss a keypress. This is a very important feature for gaming. The product is also water-resistant to a great extent. 

15. Ajazz AK510 Retro

Budget Pick

Ajazz AK510 Retro
  • A unique, retro classic-grey white design 
  • SA spherical PBT keycaps for a better touch feeling 
  • RGB LED backlight
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This is a unique product in terms of design, and has a superior build quality. In fact, in our verdict, this is the best mechanical keyboard under 100 dollars in the market.

The classic grey-white colour scheme of this keyboard takes you back to the 90s. Moreover, the keys are designed for the ultimate comfort of the users.

It uses SA spherical PBT keycaps, which are more plump and complete in shape than the common key caps. The side lines of these keys make them a better fit with the fingers. On the top of this, the PBT material provides a more delicate surface and a better feeling on touch. 

The specially modified Brown switches on this keyboard offer a similar experience as the Cherry MX Brown switches. Ajazz claims that they have a lifespan of up to 60 million key presses. Moreover, these switches are softer and quieter than other switches, making them perfect for typing in the office. 

This is a backlit keyboard and features an RGB backlight. You can choose the colours of 16.8 million colours via the software. Moreover, it features a 104 keys n-key rollover, which makes it a highly efficient keyboard for gaming.

The USB connector used on this keyboard is of superior quality. It is an anti-interference braided cable, which ensures a stable data transmission. It is also highly durable

Factors To Look For While Buying A Mechanical Keyboard

1. Size And Layout

The first thing to consider while buying a mechanical keyboard is the size and layout that you want. There are a range of options when it comes to these in the market. However, they fall into three main categories - full-size, tenkeyless and compact.

As the name suggests, full size keyboards have all the keys. These include letters, numbers, function keys, and a number pad. These keyboards are meant for those who use the number pad frequently.

Wide keyboards, however, require you to keep the mouse away from your body, which results in strain on shoulders, neck and the back. 

Tenkeyless keyboards, on the other hand, do not have the number pad, but have all the other keys. This size is recommended for most people, because it is more compact than full-size, but has most of the  keys. 

There is no singular definition for a compact keyboard. Keyboards which range between 60 to 80 percent of a full size keyboard are called compact keyboards. They have the same number of keys as that of a tenkeyless keyboard.

However, the keys are all squished together, such that the keyboard does not have much empty space. In our review of the best mechanical keyboards under 100 dollars, we have included some of the best compact keyboards, as well.

2. Switches

A key component on any mechanical keyboard are the switches. They are located beneath individual keys. They make the style of the keyboard more durable, easier to repair and more customizable than scissor and butterfly cables. There are three main variants of mechanical switches - linear, tactile, and clicky. 

Linear switches give out a smooth feeling when pressed down, from top to bottom. Tactile switches, on the other hand, have a bump partway through the keypress, so that you know that you have pressed the key. Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches, but they make an added click sound to match the tactile bump. 

These switches have their own variants, which is defined by their actuation force and actuation point. The former refers to the effort taken to activate each key, whereas the latter refers to how far down you have to press to activate a key.

3. Key Build Quality

Cheap keyboards come with plastic cases and plastic backplates, which make them sound hollow when you type. On the contrary, a keyboard made of a metal, such as aluminium alloy feels great in hand.

When it comes to keyboard frames, there are two options: a frame that sets the key within a plastic case and a frame that has switches sitting on top of the case. Neither of these frames is better than the other. It is, rather, an aesthetic choice. 

4. Keycaps

ABS keycaps are a lightweight type of plastic, which is more prone to wear and tear. They can become smooth and shiny with usage over a long time. Keycaps made of PBT, on the other hand, are more durable and have a nice texture.

It is the keycap profiles which determine how the keycaps are shaped in each row. A number of keyboards come with keycaps in-built. On the other hand, if you buy keycaps separately, there is a wide range of different profiles to choose from. 

5. Programmability

This is one of the important aspects which you should factor in while buying a mechanical keyboard, especially if you are buying it for gaming. Programming means that you can change the default behavior of certain keys to perform other actions.

A number of non-mechanical keyboards cannot be programmed at all. But a good number of mechanical keyboards can be customized.

One of the ways you can do this, is via the DIP switches on the bottom of a keyboard, which can alter the layout or behaviour of a few keys. For instance, you can switch between Windows and Mac layouts, or disable some of the OS-specific command keys for Windows and Mac. 

Some keyboards also offer on board programming. This means that you can press certain keys to record macros and customise backlighting. Others come with softwares, which can be used to record macros, rempa and customise certain keys. A number of keyboards offer a total customizable layout.

6. Removable Cable 

A keyboard with a removable USB cable is always preferred to one with a built-in cable. This is because it is easier to replace just the cable than replacing the entire keyboard.

7. Backlight

Backlighting is an essential feature on keyboards, especially if you are someone who has to work on a night schedule. Besides, backlit keyboards are also great for gaming in the dark, allowing you to experience an immersive gaming experience. However, get a keyboard which has either white, or a programmable backlighting.

8. Gaming Mode

As the name suggests, keyboards which feature a gaming mode are meant for gamers. Putting the keyboard on gaming mode disables the Windows key, in order that you do not accidentally pull up the Start menu and knock yourself out of a multiplayer game.

9. RGB Lighting

RGB backlighting on a keyboard is not a useful feature, but it definitely adds to the aesthetics of the device. It is a fun feature which allows you to customize the keyboard’s backlight. Some keyboards can even synchronise the RGB lighting in accordance with the game scene. 

10. Macro Recording 

This feature is useful only for those who play massive multiplayer online games, or MMOs. It is also useful for those who play simulation games. However, in general, too, this is a nice feature, as it makes repetitive keystrokes easier.

Conclusion 

Mechanical keyboards are an essential computer peripheral for gamers and typists. They boast of spring activated key switches, which are meant to provide a comfortable user experience.

However, buying a mechanical keyboard can be tricky. Not only there are a number of manufacturers, but these products differ in terms of specs, features, and pricing.

Therefore, in this article, we have provided you with an extensive buyers’ guide for mechanical keyboards. We have listed down all the important things which you should look for while buying a mechanical keyboard for your computer.

In addition, we have reviewed some of the best mechanical keyboards under 100 dollars in the market.

We have also answered some of the frequently asked questions about these products. We would advise you to go through this buyers’ guide thoroughly. In the end, you will have to make a choice for yourself, in accordance with your budget and what suits your requirements.

Make the choice cautiously, and read the product description carefully before buying a mechanical keyboard for your PC.

FAQs on Mechanical Keyboard Under $100

Q1. What Makes Mechanical Keyboards Better?

The commonly used keyboards use cheap rubber dome switches. On the contrary, mechanical keyboards use high quality mechanical switches. While these switches vary a bit from one another, most of them contain individual strings and are better in quality than rubber dome switches. 

Other features which make mechanical keyboards better are key rollover, key plastic, PCB board, LED backlighting, and so forth. Mechanical keyboards are always preferred by gamers to any other kind of keyboard.

Q2. Would You Type Faster On A Mechanical Keyboard?

Generally speaking, typing skills do not necessarily improve with typing on a mechanical keyboard. However, due to the tactile feedback of the keys, mechanical keyboards are usually preferred by typists. In fact, some of the best mechanical keyboards under 100 dollars listed in our review section are especially designed for those who need to type a lot.

 

Jake Norman

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