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9 Best Mechanical Keyboards in Their Categories: Cheap, Wireless, for Mac

If you’re looking for the best mechanical keyboard for your PC or Mac, you’ve unquestionably earned the right to join the ranks of the top 1% of computer geeks. I’m saying so because – let’s be honest – it takes a special eye to notice the drawbacks that come with the generic mass-market keyboards.

This is something that even some of the most seasoned computer enthusiasts fail to pick up on. Instead, they prefer to obsess only about the costly upgrades, like new GPUs and whatnot, forgetting that keyboards have an immense impact on the overall PC performance and productivity.

Best Mechanical Keyboard

You can’t, for instance, compare the now popular dome switch keywords with their mechanical counterparts. The former has been the stock option on many laptops and desktop sets not because of its efficiency – rather, the rubber dome design is exceedingly cheap and, hence, perfectly ideal for saving on production costs.

What you stand to gain from the best mechanical keyboard

Mechanical keyboards might indeed have that oldโ€“school look, but they continue to outperform the seemingly modern dome switch models in many different ways. While dome rubber membranes tend to have mushy and inconsistent keystrokes, mechanical keyboards have proven to be twice as responsive and tactile, with the durability of a diamond.

And that’s not all. Leading hardware manufacturers are now producing advanced mechanical keyboards that are exceptionally optimized for gaming and productivity.

This is the special class that we’ll be exploring today. A computer geek, such as yourself, deserves nothing but the best mechanical keyboard that money can buy. And so, here are three options across each of the primary market categories – collectively forming the ultimate compilation of the nine best mechanical keyboards today:

The best cheap mechanical keyboards:

You can go ahead and dig into their features and pricing details. You’ll find all the specifics in the main section of the article.

But, if you prefer to first get the basics right, here’s a brief guide on how you can choose the best mechanical keyboard. These are the core elements that I reviewed to arrive at the following list of the top keyboards.

How to choose the best mechanical keyboard

Size and layout:

Mechanical keyboards don’t always come in the standard full layout that you’re already used to. There’s a wide range of different layout options, and they all happen to fall into these three primary categories:

  • Full-size: Full-size mechanical keyboards offer all the basic types of keys – arrow keys, function keys, modifiers, numbers, letters, plus a number pad. As such, they tend to be the widest and bulkiest, forcing you to position the mouse further from your body. While tall people shouldn’t have a problem at all, shorter guys and girls might feel a strain on their shoulder, neck, and upper arm after prolonged use.
  • Tenkeyless (TKL): This is substantially more compact since it comes with all the essential keys, without the number pad. That makes them ideal for home use, but unsuitable for fast-paced workplaces.
  • Compact: While these tend to be smaller than tenkeyless, the level of compactness for each keyboard depends on its size subclass – which is usually expressed as a percentage. Boards placed under 75%, for instance, have the same layout as tenkeyless, but with less space between the keys. 65% and 68%, on the other hand, leave out the function keys, while 60% drop even the arrow and navigation keys.
Switches:

Switches are the workings underneath the keycaps that register each keystroke. They come in different builds, with each providing a unique typing experience. The three main subcategories you’ll find on the market are:

  • Tactile: Otherwise known as โ€œBrownโ€ switches, Tactile switches deliver a subtle but noticeable bump feedback when pressed down.
  • Linear: Also called โ€œBlackโ€ or โ€œRedโ€ switches, the Linear type provides a much smoother typing experience because it lacks the bump that’s associated with Tactile switches.
  • Clicky: Dubbed โ€œBlueโ€ switches, this is the subclass of mechanical keyboards that feel a lot like Tactile, but with an added โ€˜click’ sound to keep you consciously aware of each keystroke.

What you settle for here depends on the type of keystroke feedback you prefer while typing. You can have your best mechanical keyboard running tactile, linear, or clicky switches.

Hot-swap switches:

While many brands of mechanical keyboards have permanently embedded their switches to the board, some modern models are now taking a different approach. They offer what is known as a hot-swappable board, which allows users to pull out aging switches and then replace them with new ones.

Quite a nice bonus for someone who knows how to work with electrical hardware.

Keycaps build:

As you assess the exterior body of your mechanical keyboard options, you might want to pay special attention to the build of the individual keycaps. You’ll notice that manufacturers make them in different grades of plastic.

ABS is the most commonly used material, and you can easily spot it by its rather shiny and smooth appearance. Such keycaps, as you’ll notice, produce a seemingly mild and soft sound when typing.

That notwithstanding, PBT happens to be a much more durable plastic and it’s becoming synonymical with the best mechanical keyboard models. Keycaps that are made from this material have an evenly-textured matte finish that takes considerably longer to wear out than ABS.

The best mechanical keyboards in 2022

Again, here are the categories of keyboards that we’ll be looking into:

The best cheap mechanical keyboards

1. Logitech G413

Best mechanical keyboards: Logitech G413

With a $60 price tag at the time of this writing, the Logitech G413 happens to be one of the best mechanical keyboard models in terms of value. It’s built as a full-size keyboard, available in two flashy color schemes that are further accentuated by Logitech’s traditionally backlit keycaps.

Gamers, in particular, are bound to have a blast with the Logitech G413, as it’s purposely developed as a full-on gaming mechanical keyboard.

You will, for instance, find Romer-G Tactile switches under its aluminum-magnesium hood. These are known to not only be exceptionally durable, but also quite responsive – delivering the type of kick you’d find on pro-grade models.

The keycaps themselves are made of ABS, but that shouldn’t slow down your gaming experience. You can count on the keyboard to maintain low latency during all fast-paced game scenes.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Logitech G413 pricing

On Amazon, you’ll get the Logitech G413 for $60 or thereabout.

๐Ÿ‘ Logitech G413 Pros

  • At $60, it’s one of the cheapest high-performing mechanical keyboards.
  • Has back-lighting for increased operability in poorly lit environments.
  • Comes with a solid body made of an aluminum-magnesium alloy.
  • Its Romer-G Tactile switches are well optimized for durability, plus high performance and fast responses during gameplay.
  • Has a minimalist design that comes in two color schemes.
  • The keystrokes are quiet and exceedingly smooth.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Logitech G413 Cons

  • The keycaps are built of cheap ABS plastic.
  • Only optimized for gamers.
  • Doesn’t have a wrist rest.

2. Keychron C2 Wired

Best mechanical keyboards: Keychron C2 Wired

While gamers obsess about Logitech G413, a professional would go for something like the Keychron C2 Wired. This is another well-built full-size keyboard, but configured for office use across both macOS and Windows PCs. It can also run fairly well on Linux, but don’t get your hopes up too high – some of the keys might turn out to be unresponsive.

Other than that, Keychron has a pretty solid build quality. You get a strong plastic baseplate with firm keycaps that are made of Doubleshot ABS. Then, under all that are Gateron Brown switches, which deliver quite a consistent tactile feedback.

You don’t have to settle for โ€œBrown,โ€ though. The Keychron C2 Wired, as it turns out, is also available in linear Gateron Red and clicky Blue switches – the choice is all yours. Otherwise, you could get yourself a hot-swappable version and then proceed to change the switches whenever you like.

Whichever you choose, at least you’ll be guaranteed fully backlit keycaps, complete with over 15 types of RGB shades. And, although this mechanical keyboard doesn’t feature a wrist rest, at least it comes with two ergonomic incline settings for increased comfort while typing.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Keychron C2 Wired pricing

The Keychron C2 Wired was going for $44 at the time of this writing – making it one of the best mechanical keyboard models under $50.

๐Ÿ‘ Keychron C2 Wired Pros

  • It costs less than $50.
  • It’s a full-size keyboard that’s optimized for office use across Windows and macOS systems.
  • It offers three versions of Gateron switches – Gateron Brown, Linear Gateron Red, and Clicky Blue.
  • Users can also get a hot-swappable version, which comes with replaceable switches.
  • The keycaps are backlit, with over 15 RGB light shades.
  • The keyboard features two ergonomic incline settings for additional comfort.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Keychron C2 Wired Cons

  • The keycaps are made of cheap ABS plastic.
  • The keystrokes on Keychron C2 Wired are not adequately responsive during fast-paced gameplay.
  • It’s not fully compatible with Linux systems.
  • Not all versions are hot-swappable.
  • It doesn’t feature a wrist rest.

3. RK Royal Kludge RK61

Best mechanical keyboards: RK Royal Kludge RK61

If you’re on a budget and have no desire for a full-size mechanical keyboard, you might want to try out the RK Royal Kludge RK61.

This is also recognized as one of the best mechanical keyboard models under $50 but, unlike the Keychron C2 Wired, the RK Royal Kludge RK61 is an ultra-compact build. More specifically, it’s small enough to fit into the 60% category, with a total of 61 keys.

One thing you won’t get here is a numeric keypad. But, don’t let that hold you back – the RK Royal Kludge RK61 has all the essentials that you might need for programming, copywriting, and even gaming.

Office users, for instance, could opt for its linear switches version, as it maintains the fastest keystroke responses combined with bump feedback. Copywriters, on the other hand, would prefer the less noisy and much smoother brown switches – while gamers should be fine with RK Royal Kludge’s clicky switches.

All in all, this mechanical keyboard is fully compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android systems. What’s more, each of these types of users gets 18 RGB backlight modes.

๐Ÿ’ฐ RK Royal Kludge RK61 pricing

At the time of this writing, users were purchasing the RK Royal Kludge RK61 for about $52.99 on Amazon.

RK Royal Kludge RK61 pros and pons

๐Ÿ‘ Pros

  • At its retail price, the RK Royal Kludge RK61 is one of the best mechanical keyboard models under $50.
  • It’s conveniently small and ultra-compact.
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android systems.
  • Offers the three main types of switches across different versions.
  • It comes with fully programmable keys.
  • Offers 18 RGB backlight modes.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Cons

  • It doesn’t feature a numeric keypad.
  • The keyboard’s switches are not hot-swappable.

The best mechanical keyboards for Mac

4. Varmilo VA87M Mac

Varmilo VA87M Mac

While most of the models featured in our best mechanical keyboard compilation are versatile enough to be used across both Windows and macOS systems, there’s that edge you get from an advanced mechanical keyboard that’s purposely built for Mac.

The Varmilo VA87M Mac is one great example, and it comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an Apple-based product.

Apart from the fact that it’s available in a very refreshing shade of white, the Varmilo VA87M Mac is made of sturdy high-quality plastic and its switches rest on a solid metallic plate.

Speaking of which, the keyboard offers a variety of Cherry MX switches to suit different use cases. You can, for instance, purchase yours in Cherry MX Red if you a fan of linear responses, or maybe Cherry MX Brown for a satisfying tactile bump.

That said, you might want to keep in mind that although this keyboard can comfortably serve professionals and typists, its tenkeyless face is particularly ideal for gamers. They are the ones who wouldn’t necessarily need a numeric keypad.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Varmilo VA87M Mac pricing

The pricing for the Varmilo VA87M Mac mechanical keyboard starts at about $130.

๐Ÿ‘ Varmilo VA87M Mac Pros

  • It’s available in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches.
  • Its tenkeyless face makes it satisfyingly compact and manageable.
  • You can customize some of its functions.
  • The keycaps here are made of well-polished PBT plastic, which feels very nice to the touch.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Varmilo VA87M Mac Cons

  • It lacks a numeric keypad.
  • The keyboard doesn’t have a wrist rest.
  • It’s not fully programmable.

5. Das Keyboard Professional 4 for Mac

Das Keyboard Professional 4 for Mac

Another mechanical keyboard brand name that you’ve probably heard being dropped quite frequently in the Mac computing world is Das – and, to be specific, the one model that has attracted quite a loyal fanbase is the Das Keyboard Professional 4 for Mac.

At first glance, you’ll notice that it doesn’t have that neat and sleek aesthetic of Mac products. But, don’t be mistaken – the Das Professional 4 for Mac makes up for that with a host of premium features that are exclusively optimized for Mac laptops and desktops.

The function keys here, for example, are perfectly aligned with the default macOS controls. The same applies to the accompanying dedicated volume control knob and media controls on the keyboard.

When it comes to typing, the Das Professional 4 for Mac restricts you to two types of Cherry MX switches. Its Cherry MX Blue switches are great for Mac users who don’t mind a sharp click response when typing, while the alternative Cherry MX Brown version is reserved for users who prefer a more laid-back tactile feedback.

Then for additional comfort, you get a magnetic foot bar accessory that doubles up as a ruler. You can attach this to the bottom of your keyboard to angle it for a much more ergonomic typing experience.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Das Keyboard Professional 4 for Mac pricing

Unfortunately, this is not exactly what you’d call a cheap mechanical keyboard for Mac. At the time we were drafting this guide, the Das Keyboard Professional 4 for Mac was going for $169 on Amazon.

๐Ÿ‘ Das Keyboard Professional 4 for Mac Pros

  • It comes with Mac-specific keycaps.
  • It’s a full-size keyboard that offers professionals all the keys they might need.
  • You even get dedicated media controls.
  • Built with high-quality Cherry MX switches.
  • Provides a foot bar accessory for increased comfort when typing.
  • You get to choose between Cherry MX Blue and Cherry MX Brown switches.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Das Keyboard Professional 4 for Mac Cons

  • The design of the keyboard is not that elegant.
  • It’s not cheap.
  • Its extended size might come off as clunky and bulky to some users.

6. Keychron K8

Keychron K8

If you’re in the market for a wireless compact mechanical keyboard that can seamlessly support both Windows and Mac, you might want to consider the Keychron K8. It only takes the flick of a switch to transition between Windows and macOS modes.

That notwithstanding, I’d say the Keychron K8 is more of a Mac keyboard that happens to support Windows and Linux. The reason is the default keycaps here follow the traditional Mac layout – complete with multimedia controls and function keys.

Another thing you’ll notice about it is, you don’t have to restrict yourself to one device at a time. The Keychron K8 uses a Bluetooth 5.1 connection that’s capable of pairing with up to three devices concurrently.

It’s not entirely wireless, though. It’s also possible to use the keyboard with a USB-C wired connection.

The same level of flexibility is maintained even when it comes to typing. Although the Keychron K8 is popularly bought with Gateron Red, Blue, or Brown switches, you could get yourself a hot-swappable version to try out different types of switches.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Keychron K8 pricing

Going by its Amazon price of $74.99, the Keychron K8 is justifiably one of the best mechanical keyboard models for Mac today in terms of value.

๐Ÿ‘ Keychron K8 Pros

  • It’s compatible with not only macOS, but also Windows and Linux.
  • The default keycaps follow the traditional Mac layout.
  • You can use it with a wire or wirelessly.
  • It’s compact and easy to work with.
  • Offer three options of Gateron switches, along with a hot-swappable version.
  • The Bluetooth 5.1 can connect with up to three devices at once.
  • Comes with super smooth stabilizers.
  • It’s competitively priced.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Keychron K8 Cons

  • The keycaps are made of cheap ABS plastic.
  • Its switches are Gateron, which is not as durable as Cherry MX.
  • The RGB backlighting is a bit duller than on other keyboards.

The best wireless mechanical keyboards

7. iQunix A80 Explorer

iQunix A80 Explorer

For users who want a mix of eccentricity, sophistication, and versatility, the iQunix A80 Explorer should be exceptionally enticing.

While other keyboard manufacturers try to outcompete their rivals with swanky and contemporary designs, the iQunix A80 takes the opposite approach. Its designers chose to drop a vintage-styled keyboard, possibly as a way of paying homage to the rich history of mechanical keyboards.

This classicism, however, doesn’t go much further than that. Under its PBT plastic hood, the iQunix A80’s architecture is as modern as they come.

So advanced is the keyboard, in fact, that it’s one of the few that offer more than two connection options. For wireless use, you could use either Bluetooth 5.0 or a 2.4 GHz dongle, while wired connections come in three different modes – USB-C to USB Type-A.

All in all, Bluetooth 5.0 is the preference for many users because of its stability, responsiveness, and the fact that it stretches to accommodate up to two devices.

What’s more, you don’t have to worry about running out of power while working. The iQunix A80 Explorer has a huge 4,000 mAh battery that’s capable of sustaining continued use over Bluetooth for up to 200 days. The 2.4 GHz connection, on the other hand, can run for up to 60 days.

๐Ÿ’ฐ iQunix A80 Explorer pricing

You need about $200 to purchase the iQunix A80 Explorer. While it’s one of the best mechanical keyboard models on the market, the pricing here is a bit restrictive.

๐Ÿ‘ iQunix A80 Explorer Pros

  • It comes in a sophistical vintage design.
  • Offer multiple connection modes – Bluetooth 5.0 and 2.4 GHz dongle for wireless, along with three wired modes.
  • You can choose between Gateron and Cherry MX switches.
  • The keycaps here are made of high-quality PBT plastic.
  • Has a huge 4,000 mAh battery with enough capacity to run for up to 200 days.
  • Offers a version that supports switch hot-swapping.
  • The keyboard is pretty compact and portable.

๐Ÿ‘Ž iQunix A80 Explorer Cons

  • It’s not cheap.
  • The vintage design can be exceedingly polarizing.
  • It lacks a numeric keypad.

8. Logitech G613 Lightspeed

Logitech G613 Lightspeed

In the world of wireless gaming, Logitech is one of those brands that continues to lead the market in terms of capabilities and pricing. The company is renowned for making some of the most advanced hi-tech gaming keyboards, and then selling them off at very competitive rates.

The Logitech G613 Lightspeed, for instance, has built a name for itself as one of the best mechanical keyboard models for wireless gaming. While it’s not exactly the most advanced gaming keyboard on the market, gamers love it for its increasingly favorable balance between high performance and pricing.

For as low as $63, you’ll be getting a full-size wireless gaming mechanical keyboard with a super-fast relay rate of 1ms. That’s thanks to its inbuilt proprietary Logitech Romer-G tactile mechanical switches, which have been proven to maintain a low actuation force and a short pre-travel distance.

This whole system works fine on not just Windows PCs, but also Linux, Android, and macOS 10.12 or later versions. You can go ahead and use either Bluetooth or the keyboard’s dongle to establish your wireless connection.

Logitech G613 Lightspeed doesn’t stop there, though. In case you’re running multiple devices, this mechanical keyboard can wirelessly connect with two of them at the same time.

All this power is, surprisingly, generated from just 2AA batteries – which can potentially serve you for months before being replaced.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Logitech G613 Lightspeed pricing

To purchase Logitech G613 Lightspeed, you’ll be required to part with at least $63.

๐Ÿ‘ Logitech G613 Pros

  • It’s optimized for super-fast wireless gaming.
  • It can wirelessly connect with your devices via Bluetooth and its dongle.
  • It’s incredibly cheap for the performance it delivers.
  • The Keyboard’s Bluetooth can accommodate up to two devices at once.
  • Compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android systems.
  • Comes with a wrist rest.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Logitech G613 Cons

  • It’s only optimized for gaming.
  • Pulls its power from AA batteries.
  • The keycaps are made of cheap ABS plastic.
  • You can’t remove the wrist rest.

9. Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro

Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro

While Logitech’s G613 is remarkable for gaming but an average performer in typing, the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro tries to give you the best of both worlds.

Its secret weapon is something it calls Razer Green switch technology, which operates as a mechanical switch for gaming. This is the feature that helps the keyboard deliver quick response rates with just 50G of actuation force – resulting in consistency and accuracy across both gaming and typing operations.

It’s worth noting, however, that gamers are required to connect via the keyboards HyperSpeed Wireless technology for the best experience. This is a proprietary wireless connection channel that Razer has tweaked to optimize the data transfer protocol between your keyboard and PC. In other words, it’s meant to eliminate those annoying gaming lags.

The Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro also supports Bluetooth connection – but, unlike the HyperSpeed Wireless option, this is meant for instances when you want to minimize your power consumption.

Other than that, it’s possible to run the keyboard on a wired connection. This is courtesy of its USB-C port, which doubles up as the charging port.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro pricing

On Amazon, the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro has a price tag of about $236.

๐Ÿ‘ Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro Pros

  • It maintains high performance during gaming and typing.
  • Its inbuilt Razer Green switch technology increases response accuracy.
  • Supports two types of wireless connections, and one type of wired connection.
  • Its HyperSpeed Wireless channel comes optimized for fast data relay.
  • The keycaps are illuminated by customizable RGB backlighting.
  • Comes complete with a wrist rest.

๐Ÿ‘Ž Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro Cons

  • The Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro is comparatively pricey.
  • Its battery drains its power rather quickly.

Other notable mechanical keyboards in 2022

Other notable mechanical keyboards that you might want to check out in 2022 include:

The best small mechanical keyboards:

  • Keychron Q1 QMK Custom
  • Ducky One 2 Mini V2
  • Obinslab Anne Pro 2

The best premium mechanical keyboards:

  • Cloud Nine C989M ErgoFS
  • Drop CTRL High-Profile
  • WASD Code V3 87-Key

Over to you – finding the best mechanical keyboard for your needs

Now that we’ve sampled the best mechanical keyboard options, you might want to try out the select few that tickle your fancy. You could, for instance, proceed to a computer hardware shop and have a go at these nine models, plus maybe a couple of other critically acclaimed mechanical keyboards on the market.

Whichever you end up choosing as your own best mechanical keyboard, we still invite you to keep checking the space. We’ll be updating the post from time to time as manufacturers continue to release new and improved versions of their mechanical keyboards. This is the place to learn about upgrades that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

What’s your take on the topic of the best mechanical keyboard? Did we miss your favorite model? Let us know in the comments below.

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