Qisan Magicforce is another brand that has been making the rounds for the last year. Their keyboards feature an array of switch, backlighting, color, and key layout options at various price points. It’s rare for a budget keyboard manufacturer to have such a diverse product line that can cannibalize sales from one another. But I’m not complaining – this is great for the consumer. A lot of information is available on their various models, so I’d encourage you to shop around if you’re interested in options beyond what their lowest-cost model provides.
MechanicalEagle is staking out a reputation as a manufacturer of affordable, quality backlit mechanical keyboards on the shoulders of intensely aggressive marketing. They’re not up to snuff with higher end vendors like Corsair, Ducky, or Max, but you’re getting what you pay for in the keyboard universe.
The Mechanical Eagle Z-77 is one of a half-dozen or so reputable mechanical keyboards with backlighting under $50 USD. The other main features are cookie cutter standard for budget mechanicals: Outemu Blue switches, n-key rollover, and anti-ghosting. The main reason this board sells are its design and backlighting. But don’t be fooled by the various colors – it’s not RGB. The top LED row is red, second row is orange, etc, down to bottom pink row. It’s a big distinction but probably the best you’re going to do sub $50. Let’s have a closer look.
Plugable is a newcomer to the keyboard manufacturing scene and launched its first two keyboards – a tenkeyless model and a full-size equivalent – in November of last year. Plugable is a U.S.-based manufacturer and previously staked out space for itself in the computer hardware manufacturing world by developing various products including display docking stations, USB hubs, and graphics adaptors. The mechanical keyboard market is highly competitive and Plugable needs to deliver to carve out a new product sector for themselves.
Purchasing a genuine mechanical keyboard is no longer synonymous with dropping a ton of cash. The expiration of the Cherry MX patent unleashed the floodgate of Chinese switch manufacturers and a host of sub-$50 models were introduced in 2015 and 2016. We’ve compiled a list of the best and cheapest mechanical keyboards on the market right now.
Whether you’ve never used a mechanical keyboard before or you’re an enthusiast looking for a good base to build off, these keyboards are worth your attention. There are a variety of board designs, layouts, and backlighting effects in the top models, enabling you to find a keyboard that best suits your needs and preferences.
6. Tomoko 87-Key
The barebones keyboard, cheapest on the list, that maintains all essential functionalities of a good board (N-key rollover, anti-ghosting) with a relatively generic design and zero flash. The keycaps are cheap and the labelling will fade, but the features and price make this keyboard worthy of its hype. Great if you’re trying mechanical keyboards for the first time.
Read the full review ->
Tomoko is a bit of a head scratcher to me – they’re a small Chinese company that has earned bragging rights for one reason: manufacturing the lowest cost genuine mechanical keyboard on the market. Coincidentally this is also their only product that actually sells. All of their other mechanical keyboard and gaming mice products COMBINED do not exceed the sales of this keyboard. If you’re researching Tomoko, you’re doing it for this reason. You want a mechanical keyboard. And you want it cheap.