What is a mechanical keyboard? It is a keyboard that features high quality key switches that are usually spring-activated. These key switches differ based on user preference or keyboard application.
And why would you need a mechanical keyboard? On average, a person types 39 words per minute. This is equivalent to over 10,000 keystrokes per hour and millions of clicks a year. That’s a lot for a regular computer keyboard to handle (Source).
If your keyboard isn’t equipped to endure all that wear, you will find yourself struggling with dead keys, loose key caps, and sticky buttons that you have to hold down for a few seconds to activate.
Those of you who are on a budget have come to the right place. Check out our list of the best budget mechanical keyboards this year.
Best Budget Mechanical Keyboards 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Budget Mechanical Keyboards 2018
- 2 1. Redragon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard With RGB LED
- 3 2. Corsair Best Seller Mechanical Keyboard
- 4 3. VicTsing Mechanical Gaming Keyboard With Blue Switches
- 5 4. Rii RK902 Mechanical Keyboard
- 6 5. IREALIST Mechanical Gaming Keyboard & Mouse Combo
- 7 What To Look For When Purchasing A Mechanical Keyboard
- 8 Our Final Say On The Best Mechanical Keyboards
|Redragon Mechanical gaming keyboard with RGB LED|
|Corsair Best Seller Mechanical Keyboard|
|VicTsing Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Blue Switches|
|Rii RK902 Mechanical Keyboard|
|IREALIST Mechanical Gaming Keyboard & Mouse Combo|
The Redragon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard comes with an instruction booklet and is supplied in flat cardboard retail packaging. The coiled cable is kept in place with a Velcro cable tie, while the keyboard is wrapped in bubble wrap. Some deem this protection to the keyboard within the box to be insufficient.
The product comes with instructions in English, German, Chinese, French, and Spanish. The booklet is quite thick, but there are just two pages of use per language providing information on the additional functions of the product.
No Drivers or Software Needed
The keyboard is not shipped with any additional software or drivers, because no such are needed. The booklet indicates the keyboard runs on Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP. According to the product listing, it is also compatible with Windows 10, but neither the listing nor the manual mention anything about Linux and Mac systems.
The programmable lighting function does not work with Mac systems. According to the manufacturer the keyboard can run on Mac.
Plug And Play
That’s it, in a nutshell. The OS installs any software required as soon as the keyboard is plugged in. you can use it in seconds after plugging it in. All features work without requiring additional software.
The 100% anti-ghosting and full key rollover on USB guarantees speed and superior durability. The big font keycaps and advanced lighting control deliver dynamic, vibrant backlighting. Advanced macro and lighting programming for virtually unlimited game customization are enabled via CUE support.
Finally, the detachable soft-touch wrist rest and dedicated multimedia controls ensure easy connections, and the keycap sets serve aesthetic purposes with their interesting texture and contours.
Perfect for Gamers
The keyboard is quite loud, and we can’t really judge if that is good or bad. We think it’s good both for gamers and office users, but it may get on a few more sensitive people’s nerves. Make sure you get a good wrist rest to go with it – unfortunately it doesn’t come with one.
Lower Pitched Click
Initially, it seems like the VicTsing mechanical keyboard uses Cherry MX switches under the hood. When looking a bit deeper, it emerges that they actually use OUTEMU Blue Mechanical Switches, a clone switch. They produce a lower pitched click compared to the Cherry MX blue, but have a very similar click point at around a half press.
This product from the well-known brand features 104 keys with nine lighting patterns and six colors with cool backlit. The keyboard also has anti-ghosting keys. Apart from this, it has a keycap puller attached, making the product perfect for both gaming and typing.
Great Value For Money
This keyboard offers a full five customizable gaming lighting effects. Users can also adjust the effect speed and the brightness of the keys.
What Satisfied Purchasers Are Saying:
A verified Amazon purchaser writes: “I love that this keyboard lights up. It makes gaming at night much easier if the lights are off and you can’t see the keys. The clicking noise of the keys enhances the experience, giving it a more vibrant, retro feel. This is the perfect gaming keyboard – I will always recommend this product to other buyers.”
Of course, there have been some negative reviews as well, mostly related to quality. Overall, however, the RK902 has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
The keyboard from the IREALIST brand offers gamers a top experience as well. Its easy-to-use multimedia key design and creative shape are definite pluses, mainly for aesthetic reasons. The keyboard is a combo product that comes with a mouse, enhancing both the gaming and the typing experience. The product is shipped with a mouse pad.
Generally, this is an impressive product that’s well worth the money. It has a nice feel, audible clicks, and some great LED light patterns that come with different modes and customization options. The IREALIST Mechanical Gaming Keyboard & Mouse Combo is on par with many mechanical keyboards that are up to 4 times more expensive.
What To Look For When Purchasing A Mechanical Keyboard
If you’ve read by here so far, you may find yourself wondering what terms like “feels” mean. The jargon from manufacturers and users can be one of the most daunting aspects of buying your first mechanical keyboard.
This concept describes the physical switches the keyboard uses. Feels range from scissor switches (which technically are mechanical keyboards, but not in the conventional sense) and rubber dome to ALPS, the buckling spring, and the more common Cherry MX. Topre is the best choice if you’re looking for high end feels.
Percentage of the Keyboard
The percentage is meant to be a general way of determining the size of a keyboard, which can correlate with the features of the keyboard in question. Sometimes, this is not the case. Below is a brief list of common percentages and types:
- 75%: Miniature layout with function keys.
- 65%/70%: Miniature layout with arrow keys and a total of 66 keys.
- 60%: 60 or 61 keys with no function key row.
- TenKeyLess: Full-sized keyboard without number pad.
- TenKey: Full-sized keyboard with number pad.
The vast majority of keyboards are 60% or TenKey.
Switches are an endless world in and of themselves. Entire books have been dedicated to them. In an attempt to clarify them in laymen’s terms, we’ll say they are mechanisms that determine or actuate when the user has pressed a key on their keyboard. Switches provide the tactile response when typing. They also affect how much noise is produced and the amount of pressure needed to press down.
Click or Clicky
This refers to the noise the switch makes when the key is depressed to the activation or actuation point.
Bump is the tactile feedback the user receives when pressing a key.
The motion distance is the distance travelled between a fully actuated key (pressed) and fully extended keys (at rest). For example, the motion distances of laptop keyboards are often shorter than those of desktop keyboards.
Recognize A Good Deal
You don’t need to spend more than 50 dollars on a mechanical keyboard that will serve you for life. That’s the point of this review! Feel free to read other reviews or look around. You need to research and experiment with different grade keyboards to make an informed decision.
Factors that go into this decision include establishing whether you need to go with a high-end switch or a more affordable model, whether you need a number pad or not, whether you need a backlit keyboard or not, and how long you are going to need the keyboard to last.
Know What You Need It For
Mechanical keyboards, unlike the typical scissor or membrane-style keyboard, are often shipped with specific switches depending on your goals. For instance, some switches require you to depress the key fully before you actuate it, while others have shorter motion distances for faster clicks.
Gamers tend to prefer longer motion distances, while gamers would rather fully depress keys to avoid accidental presses. This can make the difference between winning and losing a game!
Our Final Say On The Best Mechanical Keyboards
Our top choice is the KUMARA K552 because it is very nice to type on and we think it is better than any domed or membrane keyboard we have ever had. It is far superior for productivity tasks than popular models like MAX Blackbird and Havit HV KB366L.
If you find the resistance too limited, adding rubber O-rings is a clever, efficient option – they are easy to place and very affordable.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the 5 budget mechanical keyboards. Each of the products reviewed here will suit your typing needs.
We wish you luck – share your experience here with us in the comments section down below. Also, check out our recent post about laser keyboards.