Best Gaming Keyboards Under $30

Now that PC gaming has assumed a larger place in the gaming industry, specialized keyboards are returning to the market. Once used by those who worked with complicated spreadsheets and visual programs, the features that originally made them so productive in the office now make them desirable for online gaming.

Far more responsive than the use of a mouse and a drop down menu, built in keys and shortcuts can quickly complete tasks without the need to adjust the user’s focus or hand position. The best gaming keyboards are therefore those which have the greatest number of keys and preset functions. Learning all the possible key combinations may be the greatest challenge in switching from a console to a keyboard.

Here is a list of those gaming keyboards which rise to the top in this vast market. While most are quite similar, there are some powerful differences and some special features which will meet the personal preferences of a select few.

1. VicTsing USB Wired Gaming Keyboard with Ergonomic Wrist Rest

An Amazon Best Seller listing, this all metal panel comes without the noisy clicking sound of other keyboards. The rubberized coating feels smooth to the touch, is spill-resistant, and prevents shock from the metal components. Key height is only half of other popular models which leads to quicker keystrokes and the laser etched characters remain visible long after others fade. The adjustable brightness and breathing speed of the 7 Rainbow LED colors offer customizable light patterns for a great night-time gaming experience. The integrated ergonomic wrist rest and 12 multimedia shortcut keys reduce fatigue both in the office and during a long session of active play. Each key works independently and has anti-ghosting properties to keep lag time to a minimum. Besides function, directional and letter keys, the keyboard also includes a separate number pad for quick computations. The keyboard is compatible with most recent operating system but it should be clear that some multimedia shortcuts do not work with Mac systems that do not have Macros. Additional functionality can be added with a programmable gaming mouse (sold separately).


2. TeckNet Mechanical Wired Gaming Keyboard

This 87 key layout and spill resistant design by TeckNet has all the options any gamer could want. The mechanical style keys are optimised for quick data entry with each key communicating independently. Fast-response time and anti-ghosting nature is not only great for the gamer but for others such as writers and programmers. Unlike some keyboards, this one does have a keystroke sound that gives both tactile and auditory feedback. The aluminum housing provides stability during times of heavy use. The customizable backlight feature has 8 different colors and 7 patterns for playing at night and without light. The keyboard is missing a standard number pad but all keys are full sized. The keyboard comes in black and will work with most gaming mice (sold separately) Supporting most operating systems including Windows and Mac OS, a special feature of this keyboard is the designated blue switch keys which perform special media functions. A good keyboard for the serious gamer who wants to enjoy high-end games and night time play.


3. Redragon K552-R Compact Gaming Keyboard

Most often seen in full sized keyboards, this gaming keyboard is a compact 87 key version that performs well in tight spaces. Its backlit rainbow lighting effects and highlighted blue switches help keep night time play interesting. The Mechanical keys are designed for longevity and offer medium resistance to any touch. The clear clicking sound of the keys and a smooth feel to the keystrokes help the gamer stay focused on the game. The backlit effects can be customized to suit the night time player. The keyboard itself if fashioned out of steel and ABS materials for durability. The keys are anti-ghosting for typing and gaming without ever skipping a keystroke. It connects through a standard USB hookup and is compatible with most Windows operating systems. Mac Users may have limited capabilities with the function keys. Made to be compact but ergonomically responsive, the design has a non-slip coating and is splash-proof. This keyboard can be combined with a gaming mouse (sold separately) for the ultimate PC gaming experience.


4. E-Element K-9999 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard by HUO JI

Each key of this 104 keyboard is controlled by an independent switch letting the user enjoy high-grade games and faster response time. The keyboard’s anti-ghosting feature ensures that each stroke counts whether it is typing a book, entering spreadsheet data or keeping up with the action in the latest video challenge. The keyboard is plug and play and is compatible with most Windows operating systems. Key shortcuts, blue switch technology and ergonomic design increase the responsive nature of the keyboard’s use. Specially designed to fit the arc and slope of the hand, the stepped keycap give its use a sleek feel. Preset and customizable options allow the user to choose from 9 back-lighting modes and permit the user to turn on some keys while disabling others. Made of the best metal and ABS materials, the keyboard feels sturdy when used and has a matte-finish and texture to had a tactile quality to play.


5. Delux T9 46-Key Singlehanded Wired Gaming Keyboard

While not really a keyboard and not really a gaming console, this unique option offer some interesting options for the gamer who tends to be more mobile that most. Designed to work with one hand, the control pad has 19 of the 16 letters of the alphabet, all numbers, direction and function keys in a wired compact pad that works well with those who want the benefits of both keyboard and mouse(sold separately) when gaming. Key layout is something of a circular pattern with Esc, Return, Ctrl and other function keys on the perimeter. In the center are Red Caped AWSD keys for quick maneuvering. The unique keypad is portable, lightly back lit and has a cable that is long enough to bring the keyboard to you. While it does not have programmable options and can only be used with a Windows operating system, it offers freedom to those gamers who would prefer to curl up in a favorite chair for hours of play. The item is imported and shipping does take some time but if one handed game play is what you are looking for this option fills that void.


6. One-Handed Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with RGB LED Backlit

Called a mini keyboard, this rectangular option for the single-handed gamer looks very much like the left half of a compact keyboard. It includes a large hand rest for ergonomic reasons and the new button layout is designed for fast, flexible and accurate play. Keys have color coded labels but are in the standard position as in any other QWERTY keyboard. Blue switches sound crisp for a strong sense of rhythm and provide special functions. The remaining keys are designed for powerful performance. The backlit feature has preset color patterns and is adjustable providing a cool experience during low light play. With just 35 keys, this keypad is very portable and the braided wire connection last far longer than others. The keypad is compatible with most Windows and Mac operating systems and should have plug and play capabilities.


7. AUKEY Mechanical Keyboard, TKL Gaming Keyboard with Blue Switches

This TKL (ten-key-less) keyboard provides the same function that full size keyboards do but without the inclusion of a 10 key number pad. This minimalist unit works well in places where space is limited or when working with numbers is not a normal part of the everyday routine. The mechanical keys provide efficiency and a good typing experience. The case is sleek and matches most black monitors or towers. Making use of “blue switch” technology, the individual clicky keys deliver accurate commands during fast typing. The full keypad has anti-ghosting provisions to make sure no keystroke is missed regardless of how quickly the fingers fly. Compatible with most Windows operating systems, this model may not have all the bells and whistles but has simplicity on its side. Durable and water-resistant, the company offers a 45 day money back return policy and 24 month product replacement warranty.


8. PICTEK Rainbow LED Backlit Gaming Keyboard with Wrist Rest

This model by PICTEK, offers much in the way of functionality at a slightly lower price. With marvelous anti-ghosting provisions, and a 26 non-conflict key feature, more keystrokes and shortcuts can be pressed for fast and responsive typing or game play. The full keyboard comes with a 104 QWERTY style layout, standard directional keys and number pad. The Keyboard has a backlit option that rolls through a 6 color rainbow of lighting effects. Brightness and modes are adjustable. Multimedia shortcuts control 12 different operations. The ergonomic keyboard comes with two foldable stands that raise the back and a detachable wrist rest to protect the wrist and hand from fatigue. The plug and play design is compatible with most Windows and Linux operating systems but Mac users may not be able to use the function keys. Last but not least, the keys are set in a durable and ultra-thin housing that resists scratches and has a comfortable typing feel that reinforces each keystroke with a stable clicking touch. Not just great for gamers, this keyboard serves those who type or use shortcut keys with the same accuracy and responsiveness.


9. UtechSmart Rainbow LED Backlit 104 Key Gaming Keyboard with Wrist Rest

Much the same as the other keyboards on this list, the full size, 104 key layout has a full QWERTY keyboard, with directional keys, number pad and function keys to keep the video game acton going. The seven color backlit keyboard has adjustable brightness, and automation breathing transitions. With the lock and unlock feature, the user can disable the on board content menu to avoid accidental game interruption and the keyboard comes with 20 easy access multimedia functions. Designed with drainage holes and rubberized coating on keys make the unit nearly waterproof while the ergonomic design has a handle wrist rest to guard against hand fatigue. Groups of keys can be used simultaneously without conflict for fast reaction time. The keyboard is compatible with most Windows operating systems but Mac operating systems do have some limitations. Pair this with a gaming mouse and the gamer has all the tools he/she could possibly want for enjoyable play.


10. DBPOWER Three Colors Backlit LED Keyboard for Gaming, Office

Slightly simpler than some of the other models on this list, the DBPOWER keyboard has many of the same features but not the hype. It has a full 104 key QWERTY keyboard, directional keys and number pad. The keycaps are removable and specially designed for durability and tactile feedback. Drain holes make the unit spill proof. Night time play is just as bright but with only 3 colors in the action it may not be as colorful. The USB plug and plan model has a strong braided cord design that does not required additional software. In general, it is highly compatible with all Windows operating systems. Mac users will have some limited use of function keys. As with other models, the keyboard has non-conflicting keys for fast shortcut use and a user-friendly, ergonomic design for comfort while playing. Perhaps not the flashiest model, it still offers much to the gamer who prefers to play with the lights on.


These models all are reasonably priced and have functions which enhance the video game experience. Some, like the one handed models, take the concept of a gaming keyboard in a non-traditional direction. Others, like those without great LED lighting effects, will probably appeal more to the occasional gamer who spends more time working than gaming. Overall, the qualities of a gaming keyboard are the same as those for a gaming mouse or console - faster response time and more accuracy. Well rated for those qualities, any choice on this list should give a positive experience. Will they turn you into a competition level gamer overnight? Probably not, but one can only reach his/her potential with good equipment that works well with individual skills.