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How to Pick an Affordable Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

by William Beel

Mechanical keyboards have a cult following of gamers and enthusiasts alike. Their high actuation force and low actuation point make them great for typing and gaming. With its custom RGB backlighting and Cherry MX switches, the expensive variety is also fantastic for typing. Here are some factors to consider when picking an affordable mechanical gaming keyboard to make an informed decision.

Size and shape

The first factor to consider is the size and shape of your keyboard. First, measure the distance between your mouse and the keyboard. Next, measure your desk surface to get an idea of how much space you have. Remember that you’ll need at least a few inches of space on either side of your keyboard to use it comfortably. If you don’t have enough room on your desk, a compact keyboard could be a good option.

Cherry MX switches

Cherry MX switches are what they call the “gold standard” of mechanical switches. They have a high actuation force, typically around 60 grams, and a low actuation point. You don’t need to press the key down to register a keystroke, but it will still feel like you did something on your keyboard.

Cherry’s MX Red switches are most famous for gaming because of their lightweight and high resistance to accidental key presses. They’re also reasonably quiet, so these can be perfect for you if you’re trying to type quietly or in a library.

RGB backlighting

The RGB backlighting is the first and most noticeable difference between a budget mechanical gaming keyboard and an expensive one. Budget keyboards usually come with red or blue backlighting, depending on which switch type they use. This is because LEDs are cheaper to produce for a single color than RGB.

If you want to get the advantages of RGB without spending more money, then try purchasing your keyboard with brown or white switches. You can still enjoy the tactile feel of pressing down on keys, but with the added benefit of customizable colors.


The first thing to consider is the cost. There are many mechanical keyboards under $100 and some that even come in at around $50. Many of them are compact, which means they won’t take up a lot of space on your desk. If you want a more full-sized keyboard, others go for as little as $80.

Many mechanical keyboards boast their low actuation point and high actuation force, making them great for typing and gaming. The expensive variety also includes RGB backlighting, but what about those who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars? There are affordable mechanical gaming keyboards available with all the advantages–the only difference is how much they cost.

Key feel

We’ll start with a consensus: the actuation force and low actuation point make mechanical keyboards good for gaming.

Gamers also appreciate the tactile feedback and sound of clicking on a mechanical keyboard. These benefits can be replicated in different ways, so it’s unnecessary to get a fancy keyboard to enjoy those features.

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