A mechanical keyboard is a great investment. You’ll type faster, with greater accuracy, and maybe enjoy some RBG lighting effects, too. The difficulty is finding an excellent mechanical keyboard that suits your budget.
So, here are the best mechanical keyboards for under $100.
1. VicTsing Mechanical Keyboard
Let’s kick things off with the VicTsing Mechanical Keyboard, a well-priced wired budget mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting.
The VicTsing model is a full keyboard, giving you a proper 104-key configuration. Each key comes with an individual LED backlight, which allows you to light-up your keyboard with one of nine different lighting modes. Lighting modes include breathing, streaming, racing, and more, as well as adjustable brightness and speed.
The VicTsing Mechanical Keyboard uses Outemu Blue Switches, rated for 50 million keystrokes. The Outemu Blue Switches are the equivalent of Cherry MX Blue switches, providing an audible click and tactile feedback. The Outemu Blue Switches are well-reviewed as a budget replacement for Cherry MX switches in general, so these are a great entry-level option.
2. Razer Ornata V2
The Razer Ornata V2 remains one of the top-selling gaming mechanical keyboards under $100 in the US, even topping the charts between 2017 and 2019.
It offers a hybrid mechanical switch, combining the benefits of a membrane-based keyboard and a mechanical keyboard into one. Those benefits come in fast key actuation and response, a clicky tactile bump, and the softness of a regular membrane key. The Razer Ornata V2 keys are rated for 80 million keystrokes. Plus, they’re fully programmable via the Razer Synapse 3 desktop app.
The Razer Ornata also integrates with Razer’s Chroma RGB synchronization tool. Chroma RGB helps you sync your color schemes across any other Razer RGB devices you own. If you have a special color scheme for your favorite game, each device will sync up and use it for that experience.
Another plus for the Ornata is integrated media keys. Media keys aren’t the be-all and end-all for a keyboard, but they’re certainly a handy addition.
Trying to decide between a controller or a keyboard for gaming? Check out our article on controllers versus keyboard and mouse to finally settle the issue.
3. Corsair K63 Compact
If you don’t have much desk space but still want a mechanical keyboard, consider the Corsair K63 Compact.
This reduced-size mechanical gaming keyboard uses a ten-keyless design to reduce its footprint by 20-percent. (A ten-keyless keyboard means it doesn’t have a number pad.) Still, even with the reduction in size, the K63 Compact includes some handy media keys, which is always a welcome addition.
The Corsair K63 Compact uses Cherry MX Red mechanical switches, which provide a linear actuation but no click or tactile bump. For anyone working in a shared office space or just wanting a quieter experience, the K63 Compact could be the mechanical keyboard for you.
Unfortunately, the Corsair K63 Compact doesn’t offer a full RGB effect (again, a plus for office workers), but it does have red LED backlighting for use in darker environments.
4. Redragon K556 RGB
Redragon is a mechanical keyboard brand that sometimes flies under the radar. It isn’t as well known as a Corsair or Razer but still delivers excellent mechanical keyboard options under $100. The Redragon K556 RGB is another strong option from the Chinese manufacturer.
The K556 itself features a slimline 104-key design, with a number pad but no wrist rest. In fact, there isn’t even much of a bezel on the K556, which could make it a decent option for a minimalist desk style. The keys use Outemu Brown Switches, which mimic their Cherry MX Brown counterparts. The brown switches provide a tactile bump without an audible click.
Interestingly, the Redragon K556 includes a switch removal tool and a pair of Outemu Blue, Black, and Red switches. You can then switch out specific keys to try them, and perhaps order an entire set if you enjoy their feel.
5. SteelSeries Apex 5
The SteelSeries Apex 5 is a top gaming mechanical keyboard for under $100, crafted from high-grade aluminum and complete with a comfortable magnetic wrist rest.
Powering your keystrokes on the Apex 5 are hybrid gaming mechanical switches that provide a tactile bump, but the softness of a membrane-based keyboard. The hybrid mechanical keyboard style is popular with gamers as it allows precise keystrokes without becoming tiring.
The SteelSeries Apex 5 features an OLED Smart Display, too. The small OLED screen can display small messages, game statuses, and even GIFs. Alongside the OLED screen, you’ll find integrated multimedia controls, including a tidy volume scroll wheel. And to boot, the Apex 5 is rated IP32 for dust and water protection, warding off splashes and stopping the ingress of damaging dirt .
Overall, the SteelSeries Apex 5 is one of the best mechanical keyboards under $100 you’ll find.
6. Dierya DK61E
So, if the Corsair K63 Compact was still too large for your requirements, you need to check out the Dierya DK61E 60-percent mechanical keyboard. A 60-percent keyboard is similar to a ten-keyless design, doing away with the Numpad. But it also takes it one step further, pushing the keys closer together and trimming any excess keyboard fat. The result is a mechanical keyboard under $100 that will fit in any bag or office table.
The DK61E uses Gateron Brown Optical Switches to provide a decent tactile bump but with a sharper click than you might find with other mechanical switches. Underneath the switches is a full RGB LED array, allowing programmable light displays using the Dierya desktop software. The desktop app allows you to assign special keys and create keyboard macro s, too.
Finally, the Dierya connects to your PC using either Bluetooth or via a USB Type-C cable. When using the wireless mode, the Dierya DK61E makes use of a 1,900mAh battery, which will give you days of cable-free keyboard time.
Wireless keyboards and mice reduce the number of cables on your desk, which is great. But can you perform well in online games with a wireless mouse ?
Should You Spend More Than $100 On a Mechanical Keyboard?
These six mechanical keyboards show that you don’t need to blow your budget on an expensive option. You can find excellent quality for under $100, even finding items from some of the best mechanical keyboard manufacturers around.
Once you install your new keyboard, it’s time to start brushing up on the ultimate guide to Windows keyboard shortcuts —they’ll save you heaps of time!