Mechanical keyboards have been getting cheaper and cheaper over the years. Before, at 50 USD, you could only buy a decent membrane keyboard; now, that 50 can give you a great mechanical keyboard. This list is not only for those who want to enter the mechanical keyboard trend; this is also for enthusiasts looking for alternatives. So, without further ado, here are some of the best keyboards you can buy for $50 USD!
Royal Kludge RK61 (White-LED, Bluetooth)
A 60% keyboard with a very sleek design, this is the best buy if you’re looking for a solid form-factor, Bluetooth, hot-swappable keyboard. Yes, priced at only 49 USD; this is a keyboard you can use wired (USB-Type C) or wirelessly with Bluetooth connectivity, making it very portable to use. Its 1500mAh battery can give you up to 13 hrs of continuous use and 350 hrs of standby time; not only that, you can connect this to any device, whether it’s a PC, laptop, mobile, or MAC. It comes with Red, Blue, or Brown Royal Kluge’s mechanical switches; however, since this is a hot-swappable keyboard, you can always customize the switches to your liking, whether you like Cherry MX or Gateron Kaihl, etc. It comes with removable double-shot ABS keycaps and decent stabilizers, tho it only has one lighting (white) with has 17 dynamic backlight modes. Even so, Royal Kludge has the same wired-only version that does not come with Bluetooth connectivity, tho; it will give you that gamer aesthetics with that perky RGB lighting. Both keyboards have the same build design with that stair-up keycaps design that brings maximum comfort to keep the hands in the most natural state to minimize hand fatigue after longtime use.
Redragon K617 Fizz
The Redragon Kumara (K552) might be the most popular keyboard on Amazon; however, the new Redragon K617 Fizz can give you more for a lower price. At only 39.99 USD, this is the cheapest keyboard on this list; even so, don’t let the price fool you. If you’re looking for value, this keyboard has it all, a 60% form factor design, hot-swappable, a detachable USB-Type C cable, an easy-to-use software where you can customize different keybindings, and vibrant RGB lighting; this keyboard is a no-brainer for its price. Though the form factor design is excellent, the keyboard is mainly plastic. It is not as sturdy as the RK61 and does not have a premium feel like the Keychron C1. However, that should not stop you from buying this product as this is the only keyboard below 40 USD with these features. Its 90 degrees detachable USB cable is a huge bonus, it makes the keyboard tidy, and of course, it’s hot-swapability; you can swap any switch you like, Kaihl or Cherry MX, linear or tactile. Out of the box, it has Outemu Red with lubed stabilizers, making it even better. This is also a portable, lightweight keyboard, though it does not support MAC devices.
Smart Duck XS-84
Shopping Links: Amazon US
The Smart Duck XS-84 has a compact 75% TKL design; the layout is quite different from the usual TKL; it is a small form factor yet still has all the function keys, the Page Up/Down, even the arrow keys. Yes, the layout is somewhat weird, but this keyboard rocks. Priced at 45.99 USD, it has unique features that stand out, it is built with high-quality plastic, not only it looks premium, but it also sounds premium, this keyboard sounds so good it’s as if you’re using a high-end modded keyboard, the keys and stabilizers are lubed from the factory. It has a detachable USB-Type C cable that can be rerouted from left, proper, or middle, and significant RGB lighting, customized by using their software. Though the keyboard is not fully hot-swappable, it comes with either Red, Blue, or Brown Outemu switches. Now, you might be asking, not fully how-swap? Yes, there are specific keys on this keyboard that is hot-swappable. Those are left shift, space, enter, backspace, the letters Q, W, E, R, A, S, D, and F. Its compact form factor design is also a very portable keyboard, though it is not compatible with MAC devices.
Tecware Phantom 87
Shopping Links: Amazon US
If you are not a fan of 60% keyboards, this might be for you. With its tenkeyless (TKL) design and price of around 45 USD, this keyboard is packed with great features. Like the RK61, it is hot-swappable, meaning you won’t need to solder whenever you want to swap switches. The keyboard is plastic; however, it has an aluminum backplate that significantly improves the build quality, making the keyboard more sturdy. The stabilizers were pretty decent; they were lubed at the factory, which is rare from keyboards with this price point making that premium feel when clicking larger keys like the spacebar, shifts, etc. It has perky RGB lighting with 18 dynamic light configurations, double-shot ABS keycaps, and comes with either Outemu Blue, Brown or Red switches with additional keycaps and key switches included. It has very intuitive software to customize that RGB lighting and other features like remapping keys. It has a built-in shroud which is sold separately if you want a sleeker design, or you can choose the Tecware Phantom 104 for the full keyboard design for a lower price, though that model is not hot-swappable. The only weakness of this keyboard is that it does not have that removable cable. Yes, Bluetooth connectivity at this price point is extremely rare; however, they should’ve followed the detachable cable trend, as it can give keyboards additional years of service. Another con is that it is not MAC supported, meaning it won’t work on your MAC devices, but if you’re using windows, this is an excellent value for your money.
Shopping Links: Amazon US
Another 60% keyboard, at 49.99 USD, has the best build quality on this list; with a detachable USD-Type C cable, it is also hot-swappable. It comes with either Red, Brown, Black, Silver, Clear, or Yellow Gateron Optical switch. But the most significant selling point of this keyboard is its double-shot PBT pudding keycaps. Yes, the only keyboard on this price point with decent PBT pudding keycaps makes the keyboard more visually pleasing, especially when the RGB is on. An additional bonus is that this keyboard is waterproof, meaning drops and splashes of whatever beverage you drink won’t harm this keyboard, another feature high-end keyboards have. It is also compact, portable, and compatible with MAC devices.
Keychron C1 (White-LED, Gateron Mechanical)
Who would have thought that a company like Keychron would have an entry into this price range? The Keychron C1 is one of their most affordable product, but don’t let the price fool you as this keyboard is one of the best in this price range. Though it does not have wireless connectivity, it does everything Keychron keyboards do. It has a TKL design and detachable USB-Type C wired connection. It is compatible with both Windows and MAC; this keyboard has MAC multimedia keys, making it the best budget mechanical keyboard for MAC users. Though most of its build is plastic, this is one of the lightest mechanical keyboards out there, a very portable device while still having that Keychron premium build. Like the Tecware Phantom, keys and stabilizers are lubed at the factory, making that satisfying click whether it’s the Red, Brown, or Blue Gateron switch. An additional bonus is its dual angle adjustable kickstand; this is a huge bonus for a keyboard at this price point. The keyboard’s angle is exceptionally comfortable, making it suitable for long hours of typing or gaming. This is an excellent buy if you’re rocking a MacBook; its lightweight design makes it a perfect keyboard for traveling. It also has an RGB and a hot-swappable variant; however, those are a bit more expensive.
Drevo Calibur V2 TE
Shopping Links: Amazon US
Another uniquely designed keyboard, the Drevo Calibur V2 TE, offers a 71 key layout. These keyboards are usually called 70%, sacrificing the function keys while still having the arrow and side keys. Of course, it is bigger than the 60% because it offers additional keys, which is more practical to gamers or typists if you want to rock that form factor design. Priced at 42.99 USD, this keyboard has that “aggressive gaming design” it has an angular and sharp design and RGB lighting on both sides of it. This keyboard is not hot-swappable; however, it comes with the great Outemu Red, Brown, or Brown switches; if you have that extra bucks, you can go for the original Cherry MX Red or Brown switches, though it is far more expensive than the Outemu ones. It has a detachable USB-Type C cable, which is a great inclusion, though most of the keyboards do not have those flip-up feet. What they did is they included magnetic feet, where you can attach on the top rubber feet to get the angle that you want; even so, that is not a bonus cause the keyboard does not feel that secure. The magnetic feet have some wiggle so that the keyboard might wobble. The keycaps have great legends; the fonts are good, especially when you turn on that RGB; however, the keycaps are not great. They are ABS laser-etched and very thin; they don’t sound that good and don’t feel great, they will have that shiny look over time, and they will fade. A bit disappointing since most of the keycaps on this list are double-shots. Given that this is still an excellent buy for your money, it is portable, unique looking; Outemu switches are great, plus that detachable USB-Type C cable, and surprisingly, this is MAC supported.
Havit Mechanical Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Shopping Links: Amazon US
If you’re not fond of TKL or 60% design and want a traditional keyboard design, this might be for you. Bundled with a mouse for only 42.99 USD (43.99 white version), this is an excellent bang for the buck deal. The keyboard is quite decent, the full-metal panel makes it very sturdy, and the floating keys design adds that classy look. The keyboard switches are not hot-swappable and only come in blue switches; it also has a rainbow backlight (fake RGB) though, it has different lighting modes and a permanent USB cable, though it has a cable sleeve and the USB is gold plated, the free wrist rest is also a great bonus. The mouse is pretty decent; it has seven programmable keys, lighting effects and can be adjusted up to 4800 DPI. This might not be the keyboard with many features; however, if you’re starting to get into mechanical keyboards, this is a great entry, the bundled mouse is a huge incentive, plus it is MAC supported.
In a Nutshell
In conclusion, all of these keyboards are great for your money; you have to pick which one suits you the best. Here is a breakdown of their features together with the price.
|Mechanical Keyboard||Price (USD)||Lighting||Design and Layout||Hot-Swappable||Detachable Cable||Wireless||MAC Supported|
|Royal Kludge RK61||49.99||White LED||60%/ 61 keys layout||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Redragon K617 Fizz||39.99||RGB||60%/ 61 keys layout||✓||✓|
|Smart Duck XS-84||45.99||RGB||Modified TKL/ 84 keys layout||Not fully hot-swappable||✓|
|Tecware Phantom 87||45.99||RGB||TKL/ 87 keys layout||✓|
|Ractous RTK61||49.99||RGB||60%/ 61 keys layout||✓||✓||✓|
|Keychron C1||45.00||White LED||TKL/ 87 keys layout||✓||✓|
|Drevo Calibur V2 TE||42.99||RGB||70%/ 71 keys layout||✓||✓|
|Havit Bundle Combo||42.99||Rainbow Backlit LED||Full keyboard layout||✓|
So what do you think? Did we miss something?