Esto también se puede leer en español.

Leer en español

Don't show this again

#BlackoutTuesday Roku Channel launches 100 free live TV channels Facebook employees stage virtual walkout PS5 event delayed Apple stores close amid widespread protests Rick and Morty season finale
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Best cheap gaming keyboards to rev up your work-from-home experience

Improve your stats "in the office" and after hours with a good gaming keyboard that's less than $100.

Whether you're working from home or simply spending more time PC gaming than you were a couple of months ago, a new game-friendly keyboard might be in order. The good news is you don't have to spend more than $100 to get one that will improve your performance and make gaming more enjoyable. We tested out a bunch starting as low as $36 and found that all but one performed really well for the money (and, yes, it was the cheapest that we'd skip).

Just like picking out a new gaming mouse, getting the right gaming keyboard has a lot to do with personal preference, from ergonomic design to whether you prefer RGB lighting, a mechanical gaming keyboard, a wireless keyboard, or a full-size keyboard. For instance, I like tactile switches -- ones where you can feel the actuation point -- but don't care for clicky key switches that make a sound when actuated. Also, some keyboards might feel great for gaming, but you might not like them for day-to-day typing. With this in mind, we tried to stick to models with switches that feel good for both. You can check out this glossary of keyboard terms, too, to help narrow your keyboard design preferences.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Even on Logitech's lower-end models such as the G413 backlit gaming keyboard, the company doesn't cheap out on build quality and components. It uses the same Romer-G Tactile switches found on its more feature-filled models and has the same slim, simple and durable keyboard design with brushed aluminum-magnesium alloy top case. It has a braided USB cable with a USB passthrough port on the back right and channels underneath for mouse and headset cable management.

The tactile switch is relatively quiet with no click when actuated, just a subtle bump and a short actuation. If you love to hear and feel your keypresses, this probably isn't the best switch for you. There's just one color for the backlight -- red -- but the backlighting is bright and the key font on this full-size keyboard is easy to read. Logitech includes 12 faceted keycaps, which is nice but we didn't feel much difference.

The G413 is programmable with Logitech's G Hub software, letting you set up macros and custom functions on the F1-F12 buttons and there's a game mode that shuts off the Windows key. Overall it's a more polished mechanical gaming keyboard than the others here, but it's also pricier.

Read more: The best gaming router of 2020  

Sarah Tew/CNET

Aukey makes everything from power banks and chargers to dashcams and yes, budget gaming keyboards. The $40 G6 mechanical gaming keyboard uses Outemu Blue mechanical key switches that are clicky and you'll have no problem feeling the actuation point as you go through your keystrokes. They are also loud, so if you're typing or gaming in a shared space be prepared for some side-eye. Also, the keycaps are on the small side, which resulted in a lot of mistakes when typing and gaming. Unless you're really accurate or have slender fingertips (I don't) you'll likely need time to adjust.

The keyboard is short on features -- you won't find any macro keys -- and there's no software to install for programmable buttons. As for lighting, you're limited to a single color per row, but there are nine lighting modes to choose from and you can create two custom lighting effects. That's really it, though, so if you're just looking for a budget mechanical keyboard with lights, media shortcut keys and a number pad, this hits the spot.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're most comfortable doing your office work on a membrane keyboard, the Cynosa might be the gaming keyboard for you. It's a membrane keyboard not mechanical, so the keys are quiet and definitely feel softer than the others here. Some people might find them downright mushy. Oddly, you need to apply quite a bit of force to get the keys down. If you're looking to use one keyboard for both work and play, though, this is a fine compromise for its current $46 price.

This is also one of the most programmable keyboards here. There are a lot of preset lighting effects to pick from and you can also create your own using the Synapse 3.0 software. There's also Razer's Hypershift feature that lets you set up a secondary set of functions for your keys that are accessed with a "shift" key you choose. You can also rebind keys and set macros with the software.

Read more: CES 2020: All the gaming hardware you should keep an eye on

Sarah Tew/CNET

Wireless gaming keyboards are a rarity because the last thing you want to do is potentially introduce lag into your performance. The G613's Lightspeed wireless performs as good as wired and its battery life is stellar at up to 18 months on two AA-size batteries. That said, the keyboard has no backlight whatsoever, which while understandable for the power savings, no keyboard backlighting really kills the gaming experience in the dark. You do get six programmable buttons down the left side, so that's something.

The G613 uses the same Romer-G Tactile mechanical switches as the G413, so everything I said about that one applies here. I happen to like the feel of this switch for gaming and typing, though I was in the minority for our testing. It's definitely one you should try before you buy if you can.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want wireless and lights, consider the K57. This budget wireless keyboard uses rubber-dome switches with a pronounced actuation point, which gives it more of an office-keyboard feel like the Razer Cynosa. Gaming on it requires a touch more force than the mechanical keyboards here and rollover is limited to eight keys. Aside from those, the experience is just fine.

The K57 wirelessly connects to your PC via low-latency Bluetooth or Corsair's 2.4GHz Slipstream technology that uses a tiny USB-A adapter for lag-free gaming. It can also be used wired with the included Micro-USB cable, which charges up the keyboard, too. While it doesn't have the longevity of the Logitech when you're using the per-key RGB lighting, you can get through several days of gaming without needing to charge it up.

A row of dedicated macro keys on the left and discrete media controls on the right round out the features. Plus, Corsair's software is straightforward to use, which makes creating custom keyboard lighting and setting up those macro keys pretty painless. At $80, however, you're definitely paying more for those features.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Made from ABS plastic and aluminum, the $40 waterproof K561 (yes, waterproof) mechanical gaming keyboard feels as solid as it sounds. Like the Aukey, it uses Outemu Blue switches that are tactile, clicky and loud. The keycaps are slightly bigger, though, so if you have rounder, wider fingertips you might find Redragon a better choice. This one is tenkeyless, too, for those who don't want or need a numberpad, but the company makes several other mechanical keyboards and all are less than $70 if you're looking for a full-size keyboard.

The Redragon software is amateurish compared to Logitech's and Razer's. You can set up single-key macros and up to three separate profiles. There's no control over setting per-key backlighting, but that's hardly a surprise at its $40 price. You can pick from 19 different light patterns and adjust speed, brightness and direction of light movement. Whether it's for comfort or you're looking to save space on your desk or in your backpack, the K561 mechanical gaming keyboard is a good pick.

Read more: Best gaming PCs for 2020

Sarah Tew/CNET

The G12 steps up from the G6 mentioned above by giving you some additional programmability. There are seven color presets and 12 lighting-configuration presets that can be switched without any software. And you can save a custom lighting setup, too, though at that point you're better off going through the company's G-aim software. G-aim lets you control lighting as well as set up macros or change key functions. You can even sync the lighting between other G-aim-supported devices like the KM-P6 RGB mousepad, which looks good paired with this keyboard's RGB band around the base. 

The only real potential turn-off, aside from its metal top and plastic bottom, is the Outemu Blue switches. I like them for both typing and gaming but they are clicky and loud and make an echoey spring sound within the body -- not great if you have to share an office space. Still considering it's less than $60 and can be combined with the company's ultralight GM-F3 mouse and RGB mousepad for less than $100, the G12 is a bargain. 

Read more: Best game subscription services: Here's how to choose

Originally published last year and updated periodically.