For the serious gamer, a gaming keyboard is a must. It has backlights to allow for gameplay in the dark, it is specially designed to comfortably fit your hands and they also come with several macro and media keys that you can set with shortcuts to make gameplay easier.
In general, most gaming keyboard manufacturers create keyboard models with either mechanical switches or membrane switches. A membrane switch keyboard uses a rubber dome under each keycap. By pressing the key, the rubber dome is pressed as well. The rubber dome then makes contact with the base of the switch registering which key was pressed. On the other hand, mechanical keyboards use a physical switch that registers your keypress directly. This type of switch creates that satisfying sound that is so important when typing and gaming.
Mechanical keyboards are usually more expensive than membrane keyboards. Gamers are looking for the best of both worlds, with the tactile response that mechanical keyboards offer with the low-price points of membrane keyboards. As a result, some manufacturers create membrane keyboards that still have a physical feel that they call mem-chanical or mecha-membrane. They do this by adding a plastic plunger to the membrane to create that typing sound.
Here are some of the best budget keyboards available on the market today:
The Corsair 55 is the best overall option on the market currently. It is a great budget gaming keyboard that is solidly built, with multi-colored backlighting at a tiny cost of $50. The keyboard is a membrane keyboard with some similarities to a mechanical. It is silent when being used, which is typical of a membrane keyboard and it uses three-zone RGB lighting under the keycaps. The real draw of the product are the six macro keys and dedicated media keys. The keyboard is outfitted with soft wrist rest for easy playing that is also detachable.
SteelSeries Apex 150
The SteelSeries Apex 150 keyboard option has great keys and backlighting for $50. This keyboard doesn’t have as many features in the way of macro keys, media control or even a wrist rest. Instead, the keyboard offers a switch that makes the keyboard feel semi-mechanical and gives you that nice tactile sound. This keyboard comes with five lighting zones and comes with the handy SteelSeries GameSense software. The software allows you to record macros but you must allocate them to random keys on the board. Make sure when you allocate them, that you do not use the keys that you need for gameplay.
Razer Cynosa Chroma Pro
This keyboard sells at a price point of $80 and is the membrane board with the best lighting on the market. The keyboard has backlit keys and additional under-glow lighting for a really cool effect. It is durable and solidly made with fast keys. While it is quite expensive for a membrane keyboard, if you are a gamer who loves cool lighting, this keyboard is the only way to go.
Cooler Master MasterSet MS120
This keyboard is a semi-mechanical membrane keyboard that sells at a price point of $90. It is relatively small, so it does not include any dedicated media or volume controls. It includes RGB backlighting and comes in a combo pack with a mouse that has matching backlighting as well.
This mechanical keyboard is one of the biggest keyboards on the market and sells for $50. It has a large wrist rest, RGB lighting and dedicated media keys.
While a gaming keyboard elevates gameplay it is not an item that you can’t live without. So, when shopping for a gaming keyboard, leaning toward a nice budget keyboard would be the best option.