Best Mechanical Keyboard under 100$ – Give your keyboard an upgrade

Did you just get excited about the prospect of a mechanical keyboard under 100 dollars? 

That’s right. 

Gamers get pumped because it’s possible to get a really sweet mechanical gaming keyboard without breaking the bank. 

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to play a game with a keyboard that is too slow or sounds terrible. 

Ergonomics is also key. 

See what we did there?  Seriously though, you don’t want a keyboard that will lead to wrist issues or aggravate your carpal tunnel syndrome. 

This article will showcase the best mechanical keyboard under 100 to get you an excellent keyboard experience for a reasonable price.

What is a Mechanical Keyboard?

If you are new to the mechanical keyboard world, welcome. 

Chances are you (or your parents) once had a mechanical keyboard, and you didn’t realize it. 

In the 1980s, mechanical keyboards were all the rage.  A mechanical keyboard is made with high-quality plastic key switches that are spring-activated. 

They are better keyboards than the rubber dome keyboards that took over the keyboard industry in the 1990s. There’s something fun about typing on a keyboard when it has a good sound. Right? That is missing in the rubber dome keyboards. Those keyboards were inexpensive to make, so manufacturers started producing them more and more.

The good news is a mechanical gaming keyboard will make your computer and gaming life so much better, and they are available without a hefty price tag. 

We did our research to find out which mechanical keyboard under 100 dollars is worth buying. 

But, before we get to the mechanical keyboards, let’s answer a few more critical questions about them.

Are Mechanical Keyboards Worth the Investment?

We think so, but we can let you be the judge based on our excellent buddy, Mr. Science. A study was performed to investigate the words per minute (wpm), error percentage, and surface electromyography (EMG) of the flexor arm muscle (muscles that decrease the angle between the bones on both sides of a joint) activity.  The participants used a membrane keyboard and a mechanical keyboard in the study. 

The results showed that the mechanical keyboard utilized the flexor muscles significantly less than the membrane keyboard. 

The results are positive for mechanical keyboard users as they are less likely to exhaust their arm muscles after using a keyboard for long periods.

The membrane keyboard did show a higher wpm.

Still Not Convinced?

Let’s look at another study that compared different key travel distance (height of the keys on the keyboard). 

The four different keyboards compared were the Apple Pad iPro (0.55mm), Apple MacBook Pro (0.55mm), Surface Pro 4 (1.3mm), and Microsoft SurfaceBook (1.6mm). 

The conclusions were clear.  The dome keyboards with a travel distance of 0.55mm required more muscle activity, higher typing force, lower typing speed, and twice as much discomfort than the keyboards with a higher travel distance.

The results are consistent with the first study that mechanical keyboards are more comfortable to use.  Let’s be real.  The sound they make is way more satisfying too.

Talk to me about Switches

A mechanical keyboard got its name because of the mechanical mechanism underneath each key that slides down and springs back up. It makes for that satisfying sound that we all know and love. 

There are a few different kinds of mechanical switches that are used on a mechanical keyboard. They each bring something extra to your typing experience, so let’s dive into each one. 

The Cherry MX switches are the best mechanical switches in the market due to their performance and durability. 

The only issue with the Cherry MX is that it makes for a more expensive gaming keyboard. More on that later.

Linear Switches

All of my gamer friends want to pay attention to this one. 

A mechanical gaming keyboard with a linear switch allows the key to go straight up and down without anything impeding its way. 

The key registers once it has hit bottom. These keys are quick, which makes them a gamer favorite. If your gaming keyboard has these switches, your game controller just got way cooler.

Tactile Switches

Moving on, tactile mechanical switches have a bump in the middle of their downward travel before it bottoms out. Unlike a bump in the road, this does several good things.

For one, it means that you don’t have to push the key all of the way down before it registers. This is a typist’s delight. If you thought you typed fast before, just wait until you get a tactile mechanical gaming keyboard. 

Enter speed demon. Since the key doesn’t need to hit bottom, it is much quieter. That small bump has a feel to it, which typists love. If you are trying to hit 100 wpm, this is the mechanical keyboard for you.

Some Cherry MX key switches have that bump and are excellent gaming keyboards, so keep that in mind.

Clicky Switches

The truth is in the name here.  Clicky mechanical switches make a click sound when they hit the bump.

Basically, it is a tactile switch with a click sound. This mechanical keyboard is the loudest—hence the name.

The Cherry MX blue switch is one of the best out there, giving you an awesome feedback sound. 

A bonus is that there are some gaming keyboards under 100 that have Cherry MX blue switches.

Also, a mechanical keyboard with these switches is excellent because the sound is reassuring as you are trying to learn to type or are new to it.  Keep in mind that the loud clicks might lead to some interoffice issues if you work in an office space.  You have been forewarned.

Should I buy a TKL keyboard?

If you just started singing a TLC song (No Scrubs is a firm favorite), you got the acronym wrong, but we applaud you.

A TKL or tenkeyless is a keyboard that is missing the ten key number pad on the right side. If you don’t rely on numbers much, this keyboard is the one for you.

A bonus is that you are closer to the mouse too–a nice option for a gaming keyboard.

Some reviews have said that it is better as a gaming keyboard since it’s smaller. If the number pad is your bestie, we recommend not getting one of these keyboards.  The good news is that if these are your jam, you can find TKL mechanical keyboards under 100$. 

Best Mechanical Keyboard

Let’s get to listing what mechanical keyboards are going to rock your socks off for a reasonable price.

Remember, you don’t have to break the bank for the best gaming keyboard.  While some gaming keyboards can be close to 200, you can get some solid mechanical keyboards under 100.  It might not have all of the high-end features but think of it as a nice Honda–reliable and efficient. 

Let’s check out some of the best mechanical keyboards for under 100.

Cooler Master CK530 V2 Gaming Keyboard

Y’all, this one has backlighting, and it looks really cool.  That aside, you are looking at a mechanical gaming keyboard that has over 50 million key presses.  Some settings allow for on the fly customization.

The soft wrist rest is great for ergonomics and lengthy gaming sessions.

Since this keyboard is a TKL, it is one of the best gaming keyboards since it is smaller and easier to use.

Users like how easy it is to upgrade the firmware. Also, it comes in Gateron brown, red, and blue switches–one of the heaviest switches available. Some users did say the Gateron brown version was too loud and recommended buying the red version.

Pros:

  • Wrist rest is a nice addition
  • Great price point
  • LED software works great
  • Solid build

Cons:

  • No ABS keycaps
  • No macro keys
  • Smaller than standard size – no ten key pad

Qisan Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Looking for a gaming keyboard that is like a mini-me of mechanical keyboards?  Queue Austin Powers

The Qisan mechanical keyboard has a mini design with a 68 Outemu switch key layout.  While Outemu is a knockoff of the expensive Cherry MX switches (the best switches on the market), some have said the Outemu switches are even better because they are more crisp and deep than the Cherry MX switches. 

This mechanical keyboard is the perfect size to work with a laptop and ergonomically friendly.  It’s an excellent price for a sturdy device.  A detachable input cable comes with a unique location that prevents the connector from wear and tear.  While the keypads are not top quality, they are quite good for the price.

Pros:

  • Great price/quality
  • Sturdy and well built
  • Very portable
  • Equivalent to the Cherry MX, at a much better price

Cons:

  • Mini USB cable
  • The right ALT key and Fn key are reversed compared to all other keyboards
  • Loud typing

Epomaker Magicforce

A keyboard with a solid aluminum front plate and Gateron brown switch keys is a good value for your money.  That is what you will get with the Epomaker Magicforce.  With 82 keys, this is a fantastic mechanical gaming keyboard.  A backlight rounds out this keyboard with nine different backlights and six levels of brightness.

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Comes pre-lubed
  • High-quality PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) keycaps, one of the hardest and durable keycaps on the market
  • Keycaps also have an anti-grease coating

Cons:

  • Fakespot gives this brand a C grade, meaning that its Amazon reviews are susceptible to some level of manipulation
  • Keycaps are barely legible in a dark setting – recommendation to change keycaps for use at night

Velocifire TKL02

A TKL mechanical keyboard, this device is perfect for copywriters, programmers, or editors who find themselves in front of a computer for hours at a time.  The tactile keys are ideal for typists who need feedback with every press.  Excellent battery life and durability round out this excellent mechanical keyboard.

Pros:

  • Great battery life
  • Clean design
  • Out of the box media controls
  • Macros available without software

Cons:

  • Only white LED available; not great for gamers
  • Switches with Cherry MX brown clones could be better

Redragon K552 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

If you are looking for a mechanical gaming keyboard built to last, you need to check this one out pronto.  For one thing, it’s rainbow LED RGB (red, green, blue) backlit.  One review even mentioned that they could see the red lights under their fluorescent lights at work.  With 87 keys at a 2mm travel distance and 19 different lighting effects, this Outemu red switch is the epitome of durability.  You expect not to get an excellent keyboard at such a low price, but this one is a steal.

Pros:

  • Cheap alternative to the Cherry MX red switch
  • Stunning LEDs
  • Excellent build quality

Cons:

  • Quite a few users reported malfunctioning keys
  • Keycap quality could be better
  • Limited support for MacOSwork

Rosewill Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

This one is ice cream with a cherry on top, literally.  The Cherry MX brown, red, or blue switches are top-notch for programmers and gamers alike.  With 104 keys and a steel backplate, this mechanical gaming keyboard comes with LED-backlit functionality for all you gamers out there.  If backlighting is not your thing, there are versions with no LEDs as well.

While there is extra software available, you can utilize the Fn key without needing additional software. 

A bonus feature is that the customer service is phenomenal.  One customer’s review mentioned they had a key mapping issue with their keyboard, and Rosewill replaced it free of charge.  Customer service for the win!

Pros:

  • Pads on the bottom to the table well
  • Sturdy and heavy – perfect for permanent setups
  • USB and PS/2 cables included

Cons:

  • Letter tend to fade quickly
  • The USB cable has been reported to break with use

Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review Done!

After looking at the best gaming keyboards, we know that you are excited to buy one for under 100 dollars.  We have helped you find a mechanical keyboard that won’t feel cheap and will rock your gaming or typist lifestyle.  There is nothing worse than typing or playing a game on a keyboard that sounds terrible or doesn’t have the functionality you need.  Explore our options and get one that is lit!  We mean that both literally and figuratively.  Game on!

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