Best budget gaming keyboard 2021: Our favourite cheap mechanical and membrane keyboards

If you’ve spent time researching the best budget gaming keyboards, you’ll probably have realised it’s a bit of a minefield. While many of the big names in gaming offer cheaper alternatives to their most expensive keyboards, there are also a huge number of lesser-known brands offering exciting-looking gaming keyboards at unbelievably low prices. The question is: Are cheap gaming keyboards really any good?

The answer is yes, with a few caveats. The best budget gaming keyboards need to offer unbeatable value for money, rather than simply being cheap. They might not have the bells and whistles of their high-end counterparts but they should at least nail the basics; after all, the last thing you want is to purchase a keyboard for a ridiculously low price only to find that it’s horrendous to use. And as you’d imagine, this is an easy mistake to make when investing in a product that keeps the cost down by making sacrifices.

That’s why we’ve been busy testing a range of gaming keyboards that cost under £50. Below, you’ll find our pick of the best budget gaming keyboards we’ve found.

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The best budget gaming keyboards to buy

1. Trust GXT 856 Torac: Best budget Trust gaming keyboard

Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon

The GXT 856 Torac is an ideal first gaming keyboard. It’s made of a combination of aluminium and plastic and feels sturdy, with no flexing or rattle when you start whacking the keys mid-game. The keys actuate firmly and you’ll need to press quite decisively to hit the actuation point, but this only adds to the feeling that the Torac is built to put up with a good hammering. It’s worth noting however that the keys do not lend themselves well to typing.

Like most cheap gaming keyboards, the Torac has media controls assigned to the Function keys along the top row. The LED backlighting is controlled by a button to the right of the space bar – it’s on or off, however, so don’t expect any jazzy effects, just the twinkling rainbow of colour presented when you plug the Torac in.

Sadly, you won’t find a wrist rest here, or the option to customise macros, and although the Torac does have anti-ghosting, it lacks n-key rollover.

Key specs – Switches reviewed: Unspecified membrane; Backlit: Single zone LED; Wrist rest: No; Additional ports: None; Dimensions: 188 x 468 x 37mm (HWD)

Image of Trust Gaming GXT 856 Torac Metal Gaming Keyboard with UK Layout (USB Plug and Play, Full-size layout, Breathing multicolour illumination, Anti-ghosting, Game-mode switch, PC/Laptop) Black

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2. Razer Cynosa Lite: Best budget Razer gaming keyboard

Price: £26 | Buy now from Amazon

The Razer Cynosa Lite is a remarkable effort from a brand more frequently associated with gaming keyboards that can cost over £200.

Despite being Razer’s cheapest keyboard, the Lite shares the same quiet, spill-proof membrane keys and wedge-shaped frame as its more expensive sibling, the Cynosa Chroma V2. It’s built almost entirely from plastic but doesn’t flex too heavily under pressure, and it’s a fair bit lighter than a lot of gaming keyboards as a result.

Given the price tag, you will notice substantial sacrifices. The backlighting, while compatible with Razer’s Synapse desktop application, is static, and it can only produce a single colour at once – although Razer claims you have 16.8 million colours to choose from. The Lite also forgoes anti-ghosting technology and has 10-key rollover, so in really intense gaming situations you might find it struggles to keep up.

It’s unlikely that you’ll notice the 10-key limit unless you’re playing competitively, however, and for that reason the Cynosa Lite is an easy recommendation. Unless you’re a competitive gamer, the Cynosa Lite is a fantastically cheap keyboard from a very well-known brand.

Key specs – Switches reviewed: Razer Gaming Grade Keys; Backlit: Single zone LED; Wrist rest: No; Additional ports: None; Dimensions: 174 x 457 x 33mm (HWD)

Image of Razer Cynosa Lite – Essential Gaming Keyboard (UK Layout)

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