Some of the best gaming keyboards (opens in new tab) run north of $200, like our favorite plank, Corsair's K100 RGB Optical. No worries if you are of a much more frugal mindset. You have options, as several of the best cheap gaming keyboards (opens in new tab) typically run between $40 and $50. If you want to go even cheaper, though, you can actually bag a mechanical keyboard right now for under $20.
It's an off-brand keyboard—Pictek—but if you check the $2 coupon box on its listing page on Amazon, it costs just $18.39 (opens in new tab). That's about what a regular membrane keyboard costs, without any frills. And for what it's worth, the user reviews for this keyboard are overwhelmingly positive (it has a 4.5/5 star rating out of 620 votes).
Pictek Full Size Mechanical Keyboard |
$31.99 $18.39 at Amazon (save $13.60) (opens in new tab)
You'd be hard pressed to find a less expensive full-size mechanical keyboard. This one uses tactile and clicky "blue" switches and double-shot detachable keycaps, and even offers a bit of spill resistance.
Obviously you are not getting the same level of luxury as what you would if buying a $100 or $200 keyboard. But you do actually get some of those frills, like spill resistance (it has drain holes), detachable double-shot keycaps, media controls baked into the Function keys, and "rainbow" backlighting.
What the latter boils down to is multi-colored lighting, though it's not programmable. You can, however, cycle through nine different lighting effects, or just turn it off altogether.
As for the key switches, they are advertised as "classic blue switches," which means they are both tactile and clicky. I highly doubt these are Cherry MX Blue switches—otherwise the listing would say so—but according to Pictek, they offer the same 60g actuation and 4mm travel distance.
For under $20, it's certainly worth taking a gamble on this keyboard. Or if nothing else, setting it aside as a backup (or for use with a secondary PC).