The Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard of 2018

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As a gamer, we always want to opt for the best gaming rig we can afford. We read reviews we do our research even we try to go to any shop and try out hardware beforehand. We try to get our hands on the best budget graphics card we can muster, a processor which can deal with our extended hours of gaming without bottlenecking our any of our components but the complete our gaming needs and experience the last thing always is the budget mechanical keyboard for gaming.

I personally feel the pain and can relate to the people who think of getting a cheap pair of those input devices after dropping stacks of money to the high-end rig, it just feels like the right decision. But if you are thinking about doing this then it will be an injustice to your rig after you put so much of money and love. To complete your gaming experience you should get the best gaming mouse and keyboard available in your budget.

Redgear MK881 Invador

Our testing team did research on and tested 18 mechanical keyboards for more than 50 hours of gameplay and declared Redgear MK881 Invador is the best budget mechanical keyboard in this price point. It is having the best multicolor backlight with good long lasting keycaps of any keyboard we have tested. MK881 is having a compact ergonomic design featuring floating keycaps. Which obviously separates it from membrane keyboard but also takes it to a level higher in mechanical keyboard food chain.

The Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard

Design and Build:

Redgear MK881 Invador is having a simple ergonomic design to be favorable to most of the gamers in one go. The keyboard is constructed with very hard plastic and housing a metal plate on top. It feels very sturdy and premium when touched and equipped with Kailh blue/brown switches. The switches are equivalent to MX blue switches. The case is sturdy enough and did not have any flex to it.

Redgear MK881 Invador Wires

We pressed it down hard and tried to twist but never felt the flex. It was quite satisfying while having normal typing or playing games with this keyboard. But we would suggest if you are opting for this keyboard get a separate palm rest for long hours of gaming. This keyboard doesn’t come one. The USB that comes with the keyboard is gold plated and very well made, the wire is braided and is pretty high quality. If you take a little bit of care while using this keyboard it will serve you for a long time.

 

Keys and Keycaps

Redgear MK881 Invador Keys

The keyboard comes with Kailh blue/brown switches. Before choosing the keyboard please check whether you are buying the Kailh blue variant or Kailh brown variable. Kailh blue switches are quite noisy as I personally love the clicky sound but for some gamers or twitchers, it might create a problem. This one is definitely not for use in a silent environment, it will kill the silence in the room in just a minute but if you want to make your presence known then it is a whole different story.

 

 

Kailh Blue Switch

If you prefer more silence then you might want to go for the Kailh Brown variant of the keyboard. They are much more silent than the former. The key is far better than some of the keyboards on this list which uses custom keys at this price point but not as good as Cherry MX. The keycaps are ABS double injection molded and feels are bit lighter than the average premium keycaps. It features perfect design floating keycaps to provide you best distance for each key press. The fonts on the keys are good looking and simple every one of our testers like the font. The key stems are same as Cherry MX and can be easily replaced with any other customer keycaps.

 

Performance

The keyboard really proved its worth during the performance testing. We have tested with high-speed typing to angry gaming (literally ANGRY gaming). In both the scenarios MK881 Invador didn’t let us down. But if you are going to compare the keys with cherry MX red/brown any of them then obviously these Kailh blue/brown switches will lag a bit in performance and comfort. However, in this price point and with these features, MK881 Invador is offering a great deal of satisfaction to its users.

From a gamer’s point of view during gaming the key records where outstandingly fast and instantaneous. The superior all-key anti-ghosting makes it a great choice among gamers. You need not worry that your key click did not register or so. The typing takes a little time to get used to but once you get it down then it will feel more stratifying and comfortable. There is also a window key lock function which is a really good thing. This option is to prevent accidental press on windows key in the middle of hardcore gaming, even if you press it by mistake it will not function and your gaming window will not be minimized.

 

Appearance

Redgear MK881 Invador Full Lit

Here where it really shines. This keyboard is LIT when it comes to Shine. You will not get a full RGB LED setup with this keyboard. Each and every key is having a separate LED attached to them. It is very bright and looks really good with all the colors. The sad part you are not getting any software customizable RGB LED strips to suit your profile but you can create your own custom profiles with inbuilt key commands (Please read the manual in advance for that). The built-in profiles themselves having a fantastic glow to them. The LED they provided is of high quality (not cheap product is some other keyboards) that you can simply tell by the looks of it.

 

Warranty

The best keyboard can not only be defined by the functionality or the appearance, the after sales services also takes a huge role in that. Redgear MK881 Invador comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty from the date of purchase. And they are providing good customer care service also. You can simply get in touch with them by phone or email and they will guide you through the process. You might have to send the defective product to them by yourself if in your city they are not providing a pickup.

Redgear MK881 Invador

Score : 9.5

"The games are decided in seconds and every advantage counts that is where Kailh switches comes in as it delivers the game-winning performance required by pros."

Pros:

  • Excellent Performance
  • Great Aesthetics
  • Braided Cable

Cons:

  • Quality could be better
  • No warranty for breaking

Our Ratings

  • Design 95%
  • Appearance 90%
  • Keys 80%

Zebronics MaxPlus LED Gaming

If you just missed our best pick we would suggest you get your hands on Zebronics MaxPlus mechanical keyboard. Combined with 1.52KGs of weight and 104 full sized mechanical keys this keyboard is a beast in this budget. Although Max Plus is not having a full RGB LED setup each of the rows having different colored LED which creates an illusion of having full RGB. This mechanical keyboard is housing all the necessary features for gaming or typing and with it, you are also getting a full set of accessible multimedia controls and windows lock and a full n-key rollover functionality.

Design and Build

Zebronics Max Plus is a full-sized mechanical keyboard featuring 104 mechanical keys with multimedia controls with a very simplistic design. Zebronics always kept the build quality of hardware into consideration and never failed its customer to provide superior quality of products. Max plus is also made out of high quality plastic chassis and a metal frame to give it more durability.

Zebronics MaxPlus

The finish on the keyboard is very premium. We can easily notice the textured finish if we look a little bit closer (Not distinguishable from a distance). The keyboard weighs like 1.28 kg itself which is very heavy for a keyboard and having a length of 46.7 cm and width of 15.85 cm. It doesn’t come with a palm rest which is a CON for this item but at this price point, I think it will be a lot to ask for a good quality palm rest also. The keyboard wire is 1.8 meters long and fully braided providing it a long lasting life. The USB is also gold plated no sacrifice was done here in quality.

Keys and Keycaps

Max plus comes with Outemu blue switches which can be put in a similar category with Cherry MX blue. To be frank with you guys when we first started testing it hardly felt any difference between Cherry MX and these switches in the feel of typing. But these keys are having a bit more loudness and feels a bit clicky. If you have used Cherry MX blue switches before only then you will feel a tiny difference otherwise if this is your first mechanical keyboard you will fall in love with the tactile feedback and the actuation.

Zebronics MaxPlus Keys

The Otemu Blue switches having an actuation force of 50-60 g with a travel distance of 4mm and an actuation point of 2.7mm. The key life cycle is 10 million clicks with is 1/5th of Cherry MX blue but it would be a crime to ask for more than 10 million clicks in this price point. The keycaps are double-shots injected which will provide a longer life (far better than those laser printed) and is having a good stem mount on the switch. The keycaps having a textured coating over them not a matte this disappointed us a bit.

 

Performance

As a matter of performance, Max plus does beat most of the competitions single-handedly. We did both kinds of test on this beast typing as well as hardcore gaming and it didn’t even flinch. Please keep in mind first they keyboard is a full n-key rollover. It is not mentioned in the product website or an e-commerce site. While conducting test scenarios our testers had a great experience, they have not faced any ghosting or multiple key press issues during the game. There were neither any glaring flaws nor any delay in response time while gaming.

Max plus is not branded as a gaming only keyboard but it still can be comfortably used as your primary gaming keyboard. But the absence of macro recording functionality might ruin the experience for some competitive gamers. During our typing test they keyboard also performed well you have to press the keys a little harder than the membrane keyboards but it is not a bad feeling at all. Once you get used to typing on this beast you will simply love it.

 

Appearance

Appearance does play a great role for a gaming keyboard. And without a bit flashy LEDs, you will never consider a keyboard as a gaming rig. Zebronics max plus offer great LED backlight which illuminates the keyboard in such a way that it feels like an RGB LED is going on. The keyboard doesn’t have RGB LED itself. But every row of keys is having different colored LED which does provide an RGB effect.

Zebronics-MaxPlus-Stands

There is no software provided with the item to configure LEDs or their effects there are no customization options comes with this but you can still select one the selected options that come inbuilt with the keyboard itself. To access them simply press FN+HOME/INSERT/DELETE etc. There is 7 available backlight mode you can choose from.  Pulse effect, Fade in Fade out, Keypress Ripple, Wave mode, Gaming mode, Keypress mode and all LED off, you can refer the website or the manual for all the effects.

Warranty

Zebronics is a very old player in this market and always provided a satisfactory customer service to the users. You will find many of the service centers in the majority of cities.  Max Plus comes with 1-year manufacturer warranty which is more kind of enough for these budget keyboards.

Zebronics Max Plus

Score : 9

"Max Plus is a sturdy USB mechanical keyboard with 104 keys along with 12 additional multimedia keys. It has multi color LED with 7 LED modes and 5 LED brightness levels. It’s a heavy duty keyboard weighing 1.27 Kgs for all that gaming action."

Pros:

  • Metal Chassis
  • Great Lighting Effects
  • Non Braided Wire

Cons:

  • Heavy weight
  • Not full RGB

Our Ratings

  • Performance 85%
  • Appearance 80%
  • Keys 85%

Zebronics Max USB Mechanical Keyboard

If both of our previous picks are unavailable at the moment of your buying and you are considering downgrading a bit and can sacrifice the use of number pad then we can suggest you get your hands on Zebronics Max Mechanical keyboard. In case of you wondering these downgrading will make you sacrifice your gaming experience then you are wrong. Zebronics Max provides seamless gaming experience with great aesthetics and a great tactile feedback.

Design and Build

Zebronics Max Full Body

As mentioned previously Zebronics always provide a great quality of build in keyboards and mouse, Max is no exception to that. The keyboard is made out of pretty high-quality plastic chassis with full metallic base providing a great premium feel to it and is pretty durable. Zebronics Max is not a full-sized keyboard as it is a ten-key-less keyboard which doesn’t have any num-pad. The keyboard weighs 1.15KG, 39.1 cm in length and 15.8 cm in width and comes with premium high-quality rubber pads providing grip. This keyboard also doesn’t come with a palm rest so it might be a problem for some people.

 

Keys and Keycaps

Zebronics Max is having an exact duplicate key spacing and key types of Zebronics Max Plus. Max comes with Otemu blue switches having a 50-60g actuation force with an actuation point of 2.7mm. The keycap fonts are no different than Max plus which I personally dislike as the font is neither a gaming rig font nor a normal font. I am not elaborating about the point as it was fairly discussed with Zebronics Max Plus.

Performance

In the matter of performance, Max lags a little behind of Max Plus as the design is not at all ergonomic that you will not feel any hand aches after playing for like 7+ hours. This keyboard doesn’t come with anti-ghosting or n-key rollover that really is a disappointment.

We spent several hours and multiple genres of gaming on this keyboard and the performance was decent for a keyboard at this price point currently using it to write this piece of article and to be frank with you guys I am having a hard time typing with these keys (I use membrane keyboard for typing).

Our other testers also did the typing test but we all concluded this keyboard is not that good for typing not because of the switches but the design flaws. If you are thinking about getting the keyboard only do it if both of our top picks are unavailable because you will get a better performance with hardly any price difference.

 

Appearance

Zebronics Max Front

Aesthetics is a point which no gamer could exclude. Zebronics Max housing same kind of effects as Max Plus. This keyboard is also not having RGB backlights but similar to 2nd Best pick it is having different LED lighting in each row of the keys providing an illusion of an RGB strip. No software provided with the keyboard to control the lighting but you can change the backlight profile with inbuilt key commands.

 

Warranty

Zebronics max comes with 1 Year of manufacturer warranty. You can simply visit any Zebronics certified service center to get your issues resolved. Be aware of fake sellers online. Once you get your item please verify the serial number either on Zebronics website or Customer care.

Zebronics Max

Score : 8.7

"Perfect mechanical keyboard with three mode LED lighting enabling users to use even in dark lighting conditions. With great build quality and beautiful design, it's the perfect keyboard for both gamers and PC users."

Pros:

  • Cheap Price
  • Small but effective
  • Well Placed Keys
  • Trust of Zebronics

Cons:

  • No Number Pad
  • No Software for Lights
  • Not full RGB

Our Ratings

  • Performance 70%
  • Appearance 80%
  • Keys 70%

Cosmic Byte CB-GK-07 Aurora Mechanical Keyboard

This is the last and budget entry of this list. Readers who are on a tight budget might want to get for a cheaper option. With all the feels and the features Cosmic Byte CB-GK-07 Aurora can provide you the experience you want from a mechanical keyboard in a cheaper price point. Yes, we really cannot expect the same quality as our best pick or any other pick in this list. But considering the budget this mechanical keyboard really takes the cake.

Design and Build

Cosmic Byte CB-GK-07

CB-GK-07 Aurora is a full sized (104 key) mechanical keyboard made with high quality of plastic and premium matte finish. The keyboard is not that heavy (only 399 gm) and having a simple design without any palm rest. But the design is ergonomic and keys are easy to reach. There are enough spaces between the keys to making your gaming experience comfortable. The keyboard is sturdy but when we pushed it down and tried to twist it we felt a little bit flex to it. The keyboard wire is braided but USB is not gold plated (Don’t even think of gold plating at this price). Overall the design is decent at this price point.

Cosmic Byte CB-GK-07 Wire

 

Keys and Keycaps

The keyboard is packed with Jiate blue switches which are claims to be equivalent to Cherry MX blue. During the testing, we found nothing like Cherry MX blue. The switches are the cheapest blue switches and hardly any keyboard company uses that. The keys are decent, makes loud clicking noises similar to other blue switches but it doesn’t give a little bit of feeling even remotely close to Cherry MX. We couldn’t exactly tell how many click lifecycle those keys can survive as we did only 8-10 hours testing on this. The fonts on the keycaps are eye-catching gamer fonts similar to Max Plus. Aurora is having raised keycaps which makes it very suitable for easy cleaning.

Cosmic Byte CB-GK-07 Keys

 

Performance

While we performed our testing we tested many scenarios to evaluate the keyboard at its best and the worst. In our opinion it performed average. There was a very fast response time with each key press and did not feel any kind of lag at all. We also tried with many keys roll over but it seems the keyboard is having n-keys rollover system. We tried with many pairs of hands with ghosting. With many tires, we did not receive any of the ghosting issues. The keycaps were smooth. So there were no problems during typing also. (Had to use force more than we used to). If you want to give mechanical keyboards a shot and want to get something below 2k we think this keyboard will serve you the best.

 

Appearance

Cosmic Byte Aurora Numpad

In the world of gaming rigs, appearance is the key. Aurora is having RGB backlit with rainbow-backlit effect with 3 level of brightness control. The LED transition can easily be customized with the help of inbuilt key commands (Read the manual everything is written there in a good manner). Each of the keys is having different LEDs which gives a very great backlight effect but we thought kind of betrayed as there are no other options for backlight profiling.

 

Warranty

The cosmic byte is providing a 1-year warranty with this keyboard. And their servicing is decent. You can get their contact information on their official website (Get the details that are valid for India). You can either call them or you send them a mail. I personally advise you to get into the call you will get a faster response.

Cosmic Byte CB-GK-07 Aurora

Score : 7.5

"Cosmic Byte CB-GK-07 Aurora Mechanical Keyboard with Rainbow LED, Backlight Effects, Anti-Ghosting."

Pros:

  • Braided Wire
  • Full RGB
  • Bright LED

Cons:

  • Cheap Plastic
  • Key Caps Can be Better
  • Anti-Ghosting is not so good

Our Ratings

  • Performance 70%
  • Appearance 70%
  • Keys 70%

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