The best budget keyboards for PCs and laptops

Making sure you've got a reliable keyboard at your fingertips doesn’t have to cost the earth.

The best budget keyboards for PCs and laptops

by William Lobley |

If you use a computer, a keyboard is essential. This is never clearer than when your keyboard bites the digital dust, leaving you in the lurch, unable to access files, reply to critical work emails, or even search for the latest viral cat video.

If you find yourself in this position or terrified at the prospect of it happening to you, a reliable keyboard should be at the top of your "to-buy" list.

On a tight budget? Have no fear. While it’s easy to think that getting yourself set up with some decent computer essentials, like keyboards, mice and monitors, is an expensive game, we’re here to tell you it’s not. Making sure there's a reliable keyboard at your fingertips doesn’t have to mean parting with piles of cash. There’s quite a selection of affordable keyboards out there, just waiting to be scooped up.

The best budget keyboards shortlist:

Related: Essential working from home tech

But it isn’t just desktop PC users who might be on the lookout for a cheap new keyboard. Laptop users can really benefit from connecting up an external keyboard and mouse - the flexibility they offer makes them much more comfortable to use for prolonged hours. This is especially true in the wake of the pandemic, UK-wide lockdowns and the advent of working from home.

Affordable keyboards aren’t going to be loaded with macro keys and mechanical switches like premium gaming keyboards, or fancy input-dials and USB-pass-throughs like the high range professional models, but they’re able to provide you with a solid and reliable workhorse.

With all the choice out there, we’ve rounded up the best:

The best budget keyboards:

Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard Bundle

Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard Bundle
Amazon

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The Logitech MK270 is a basic wireless QWERTY keyboard with a ten-key numpad. There are dedicated media keys, and it offers up pleasant keystrokes when typing. The bundled mouse is a nice touch, allowing you to switch over to a fully wireless setup in an affordable way. The battery in both units is long life and should easily see the casual user through the year.

Pros Cons
• Affordable • Uses non-rechargeable batteries
• Reliable
• Bundled mouse
Specifications
Connection: Wireless via USB dongle
Media keys: Yes
Other: Includes mouse, uses AA batteries

Microsoft 600 Wired Keyboard Bundle

Microsoft 600 Wired Keyboard Bundle
Amazon

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This set from Microsoft is a nice little bundle that'll provide you with a high-performing typing and general use keyboard. It remains comfortable to use, even after a few hours of typing, and the mouse is satisfactory for general browsing. For the average PC user, this is a more than adequate purchase.

Pros Cons
• Bundled mouse • Wired connection
• Reliable
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: No
Other: Includes wired mouse

Kensington ValuKeyboard

Kensington ValuKeyboard
Amazon

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This USB keyboard from Kensington is a simple solution to a simple need, as it provides a full-sized keyboard at an affordable price. A really nice feature of the ValuKeyboard is its sealed membrane, which is spill-resistant and therefore protects the internal electrical components.

Pros Cons
• Cheap • Very basic
• Full-sized • Clunky
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: No
Other: n/a

Microsoft 850 Wireless Keyboard

Microsoft 850 Wireless Keyboard

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For the feel of an old school keyboard with the modern convenience of wireless connectivity, pick the Microsoft 850 keyboard. It can be used with any PC or laptop via a USB dongle (provided). Uses two AAA batteries.

Pros Cons
• Nice typing • Uses non-rechargeable batteries
• Reliable build
• Good wireless
Specifications
Connection: Wireless via USB dongle
Media keys: Yes
Other: Uses AAA batteries

Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Keyboard

Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Keyboard
Amazon

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The K400 is primarily designed for use with PC-to-TV media and home cinema setups, offering a clutter-free all-in-one solution for controlling the system at a distance. With its full QWERTY keyboard, integrated touchpad and dedicated media keys, it fulfils this need completely. These facts also make it a fantastic option for those who enjoy casually browsing the internet on a laptop but prefer an external keyboard. Wireless is achieved via the included USB dongle.

Pros Cons
• Wireless • Not ideal for professional use
• Integrated touchpad
• Great for casual use
Specifications
Connection: Wireless via USB dongle
Media keys: Yes
Other: Built-in touchpad, uses AA batteries

Razer Cynosa Lite Wired Gaming Keyboard

Razer Cynosa Lite Wired Gaming Keyboard

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Gaming keyboards are purpose-built for - you guessed it - gamers. This entry-level pick brings robust soft-touch keys, lighting effects and ten functional hotkeys.

Pros Cons
• Robust build • Limited gaming features
• Gamer-pleasing lights
• Ten hotkeys
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: Yes
Other: Ten hotkeys, under-key lighting

Perixx Periboard-512 Ergonomic Keyboard

Perixx Periboard-512 Ergonomic Keyboard
Amazon

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Though it may look intimidating, the split and curved design of the ergonomic Periboard-512 provides a comfortable and natural key arrangement. This design allows the user's wrists to bend and turn naturally, reducing strain on the wrists, arms and shoulders. It's a larger keyboard, but it is loaded with a full key selection and quick-function operation keys.

Pros Cons
• Ergonomic • Large size
• Lots of function keys • Budget ergonomic design
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: Yes
Other: Ergonomic layout, quick function keys

Advent K112 Keyboard

Advent K112 Keyboard

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Cheap and cheerful - thatu2019s what you get with the Advent K112. It does exactly what it should. While itu2019s not going to be the most robust option, for occasional and casual use, itu2019s going to do the job.

Pros Cons
• Cheap • Not overly robust
• Does what you need
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: No
Other: n/a

Logitech MK540 Wireless Keyboard Bundle

Logitech MK540 Wireless Keyboard Bundle
Amazon

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This wireless full-sized QWERTY keyboard is perfect for hours of precision typing thanks to the contoured palm rest and keys. The wireless is great for anyone looking to declutter their workspace, the battery life is long, and it's plug-and-play so it's very easy to set up. The bundled mouse is also pleasant in the hand and more than acceptable for general office use.

Pros Cons
• Reduces clutter • Mouse is small for big hands
• Bundled mouse
• Comfortable
Specifications
Connection: Wireless via USB dongle
Media keys: Yes
Other: Includes wireless mouse, uses AA batteries

Sandstorm SFSWKBG17 Wireless Keyboard

Sandstorm SFSWKBG17 Wireless Keyboard

View offer

This is a budget take by Sandstorm on the excellent Logitech MX Keys. Itu2019s a smart and well-laid out option that offers 90-hours of power from two AAA batteries.

Pros Cons
• Nice layout • Uses non-rechargeable batteries
• Nice keys
• Business-like design
Specifications
Connection: Wireless via USB dongle
Media keys: Yes
Other: Uses AAA batteries

Advent AKBMM15 Wireless Keyboard

Advent AKBMM15 Wireless Keyboard

View offer

Advent's wireless keyboard is ideal for anyone who works on the go and needs a portable keyboard solution. It's got an impressive battery life of 40 hours and runs on your PC from a simple, discreet USB dongle.

Pros Cons
• Portable • Compact design not ideal for professional use
• Impressive battery
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: No
Other: Four hotkeys (calculator, email, browser & sleep)

Cherry KC 1000 Keyboard

Cherry KC 1000 Keyboard
Amazon

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The Cherry KC 1000 is a good option for those with basic PC administrative needs. The membrane keys are comfortable and quiet to use, and there are several hotkeys providing quick access to a calculator, email, browser and sleep. It's low-profile and connects to a PC via a wired USB connection.

Pros Cons
• Affordable • A tad old fashioned
• Good for basic use
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: No
Other: Four hotkeys (calculator, email, browser & sleep)

Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard

Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
Amazon

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Microsoft's affordable keyboard promotes a natural typing position, with the slight rise and wave of the keyboard toward the centre allows for a natural movement in the wrist joint while the cushioned palm rest offers additional comfort and support. Altogether, the keyboard reduces arm fatigue and promotes a healthy typing posture.

Pros Cons
• Excellent ergonomics • Pushing the definition of ‘budget’
• Pleasant keystrokes
• Good for long stays at work
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: Yes
Other: Ergonomic layout hotkeys

Redragon K552 Mechanical Keyboard

Redragon K552 Mechanical Keyboard
Amazon

View offer

For a gamer on a budget looking to try out the world of mechanical gaming keyboards, the Redragon Kumara K552 is a good place to start without blowing the big bucks. The Kumara K552 is a budget mechanical ten-keyless gaming keyboard that, according to Redragon, delivers high-speed, high-control, and high response. You can read the full review here.

Pros Cons
• Accurate mechanical switches • Lacking finesse
• Satisfying type noise
• Robust body
Specifications
Connection: Wired USB
Media keys: No
Other: Mechanical switches

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William Lobley is a Senior Content Writer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in technology, gaming and outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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