Ever wondered why keyboard switches cost so much? Premium keyboard switches might be small, but they are extremely powerful and feature extensive tools.
This is why many people look for the best cheap keyboard switches.
You can find thousands of switches on the market, from those that can cost you a fortune to cheaper and more affordable ones. We'll be discussing the latter today!
Gateron Milky Yellows are the best cheap keyboard switches out there! If you're a gamer, you can buy Akko CS Silver, or if you are a typist, you can go for Akko V3 Cream Blue. You can also opt for Durock T1 switches if you love tactile feedback or Kailh Pink if you love clicky switches.
All these switches are budget-friendly and offer great value for money.
Buying supreme quality switches is not easy for everyone, especially if you are new to mechanical switches.
In this article, I will shed some light on different kinds of cheap keyboard switches with the best value for money.
Best Overall Cheap Keyboard Switch
Gateron switches are pretty well-known and widely used by both gamers and typists. The Gateron Milky Yellows are their one-of-a-kind production. These switches are great in all aspects, regardless of their price, providing excellent value for money to their users.
These budget-friendly switches are linear, which means there is no bump or click during actuation. They are available in both white-milky bottom and black-bottom variants.
The latter is more recommended than the former because it is less scratchy.
Gateron Milky Yellows operate at an actuation force of 50–55 g and a pre-travel distance of 2mm. This means that it requires a very normal amount of force to register a key press.
The total travel distance of the switch is the standard 4.0mm.
The overall feel of the switch is super smooth and buttery, with no scratchiness or friction. Moreover, the sound of these switches is super thocky, muted, deep, and low-ended.
Best Cheap Switch for Typing
Looking for an amazing typing experience without breaking the bank? The best budget-friendly switches, especially known for their excellent typing experience, are the Akko V3 Cream Blue.
These switches are in high demand and are positively regarded for their sharp, tactile nature. Unlike most tactile switches, which have a tactile bump in the middle, these switches offer sharp tactile feedback right at the beginning of actuation.
The stem of these switches is made from Polyoxymethylene, the top housing is made from Polycarbonate, and the bottom housing uses Polyamide.
The Akko V3 Cream Blue has an actuation force of 38g and a bottom-out force of 58g. The pre-travel and total travel distances are 2.0mm and 3.5 mm, respectively.
Along with very satisfying tactile feedback, these switches are perfect when it comes to smoothness. The sound of these switches is the signature Akko tactile sound, which is not very loud.
Best Cheap Switch for Gaming
Gamers require intense speed, instantaneous response times, and a comfortable experience for extended usage. You get all three with the lightning-fast Akko CS Silver Switches, specially designed for gamers!
These switches are linear, and their most highlighted quality is their extraordinary speed. No other switch in their budget range comes close when it comes to their speed.
The CS Silver has a dust-proof POM stem, a polycarbonate top housing, and a polyamide bottom housing. Both the actuation force of 43g and pre-travel distance of 1mm are relatively lesser than most of the switches.
As a result, these switches are super light and fast to register keystrokes.
Moreover, these switches are pretty much on the silent side and can be used in public spaces without disturbing those around you.
These switches are 3-pin and have a built-in LED slot for DIY enthusiasts.
To sum it all up, if you are a gamer looking to buy super-speedy switches at a very reasonable price, the Akko CS Speed Silver is your perfect match!
Best Cheap Switch for Programming
Programming with mechanical switches is a different kind of comfortable sensation. If you are a little low on cash and want to experience the magnificent feeling of a premium switch, Meletrix WS Brown has got you covered!
The pre-lubed tactile switches are guaranteed to take your programming efficiency and experience to a whole new level. The rounded tactile bump on these keyboards can help prevent typos and accidental keystrokes, enhancing productivity.
WS Brown switches have a POM-made tactile stem and nylon-made top and bottom housings.
They have an actuation force of 55g, an operating distance of 2.0mm, and a total travel distance of 3.80mm.
The overall feel of these switches is smooth and consistent, and the tactile bump enhances this feel. WS Brown switches are also not very loud and can be used in offices.
Best Cheap Tactile Switch
For all tactile switch lovers with a limited budget, my best pick would be the Durock T1 tactile switches.
Tactile switches offer a slight bump as they actuate; this noticeable bump is known to enhance the typing experience and is loved by many tactile switch fans!
Durock is better known for its stabilizers and might not be as popular as Gateron and Akko when it comes to switches, but their switches have great build quality and a great user experience.
These switches offer a sharper, stepped tactility rather than the very common rounded tactility bump.
These switches have a POM stem coated with gold and a housing made with a mix of Polymer Nylon and Polycarbonate.
These switches are heavier than their tactile counterparts and actuate at a force of 67g. The total travel distance is 4.0 mm, and the operating distance is 2.0mm.
I would summarize the sound and feel of the Durock T1 in just two words:
Heavy and Snappy. The feel of these switches is heavy and crisp, giving you an excellent typing experience.
Moreover, these switches are highly durable, with a rated lifespan of over 60 Million keystrokes, and they are easily compatible with any 5-pin PCB.
Best Cheap Clicky Switches
Clicky switches are another type of switch that makes a 'click' sound when registering a key press along with a tactile bump. There are many good clicky options available, but the Kailh Crystal Pink Switches are the best if you're on a budget!
Kailh Crystal Pink uses a unique approach to registering a key press, named the "Click-bar" approach, which gives these switches a noticeable and crisp metallic sound on both actuation and release.
These switches have a proprietary clear top and bottom housing, an identical stem to Cherry MX, and come pre-lubed from the factory.
The switch is resistant to water and dust, thereby making the overall build quality amazing.
The actuation force for Crystal Pink switches is 65g, which is inclined a bit towards the heavy side. The operating distance is 1.8 mm, and the total travel distance is 3.6mm.
These switches have a great typing experience, especially if you love the click sound. Nevertheless, they can be loud as well.
This can be a turnoff for many users, as using these switches is suitable for offices and shared spaces.
Best Cheap Linear Switch
We have already talked about the Gateron Yellows, which are one of the most popular linear switches on the market. Now I will be talking about an underrated gem, the Haimu WS Yellow Switches.
This switch is the best linear option that you can get cheaply. Not only does it last for a long time and provide excellent performance, but it is very affordable as well.
Moreover, these China-made linear switches might not be very popular, but they are on par with leading brands such as Gateron and Akko when it comes to quality.
They have a soft click and a smooth feel, making them perfect for those who desire a smooth and consistent typing experience.
These switches have a 22mm double spring, a POM-made stem, and a housing made from fine-quality Nylon.
These switches operate at a force of 53g and have a total travel distance of 3.8mm.
These switches feel smooth and have a distinct clack sound that is not too loud. They can be used in public spaces and offices without any hassle.
If you are looking for a fully assembled, ready-to-go premium switch with great attention to detail, Wuque Studio's Yellow Switches are perfect for you.
What is the best cheap hot-swappable keyboard?
Budget-friendly hot-swappable keyboards with great features are difficult to find. In my opinion, the finest inexpensive hot-swappable board is the Royal Kludge RK61.
Keyboards are way more expensive than switches, and usually, the cheaper keyboards come with fixed keys that are not very great. But that's not the case with the RK61.
Considering its highly reasonable price, this keyboard has amazing plus points. One of them being its hot-swappable PCB. You can easily replace the pre-installed Royal Kludge switches in this board with any 5-pin compatible switches.
Moreover, you can also replace the stabilizers with no major difficulties. There is no sort of soldering required on this board.
Other than that, this keyboard has a sufficiently good typing and gaming experience. It supports both wireless and wired connectivity and is compatible with all major operating systems and mobile devices.
The unique backlighting features and clarity of the keyboard are also worth a mention.
However, Royal Kludge does not have any software to program the controls of the keyboard, and the build quality of the keyboard is just fairly good and not very top-notch.
But anyway, you can't demand more from a keyboard that falls in this price range. It's one of the best you can get!
Which Keyboard switches feel the best?
Tactile switches are prioritized by typists, as they enjoy the slight bump and haptic feedback as they type. This also helps in avoiding accidental keystrokes and typos, hence enhancing productivity.
The best-feeling tactile switches are Cherry MX Brown and Gateron Pro Brown.
On the other hand, linear switches are preferred by gamers because of their speed and smooth actuation curve.
The best-feeling linear switches include the Cherry MX Red and Gateron Milky Yellows.
Finally, there are Clicky switches that produce a very pronounced sound when registering a key press. Cherry MX Blue and Kailh Crystal Pink are some of the finest-feeling clicky switches.
To sum up, each keyboard switch feels different. And although the change might not be very evident to beginners, it is easily noticed by enthusiasts like me.
In the end, different users have varying preferences when it comes to the best-feeling switches.
Where to buy cheap keyboard switches?
You can easily find budget-friendly keyboard switches online at marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay. Other than that, you can buy switches from the official websites of manufacturers as well.
If you're not much of an online buyer, then head over to a keyboard store and look at the switch collection there.
Which keyboard switches are best for beginners?
In my personal experience, I think it is wiser for beginners to start with budget-friendly linear switches such as the Gateron Milky Yellows rather than premium Cherry switches.
Beginners are yet to experience and figure out their switch preferences, and affording a switch tester is not easy for everyone.
Continuing forward, Gateron Milky Yellows are an excellent linear choice for starters.
Their linear nature makes them highly versatile, and they can be used for both typing and gaming. Moreover, Milky Yellows are very pocket-friendly and won't cost you a fortune.
Other great options for beginners would be Outemu switches, Kailh switches, and different variants of Gateron Pro switches.
Keyboard switches are available at all different price tags, and affording premium switches like Cherry is not a piece of cake for most enthusiasts. They can alternatively opt for budget-friendly switches; the best of them are the Gateron Milky Yellows.
But other than that, there are still many options to choose from, depending on the kind of work you do and the feeling you are after.
In this article, I focused mainly on inexpensive switches that you can easily buy without breaking the bank.
To learn more about the best keyboard switches and read detailed keyboard reviews, keep visiting TheTechSetup.com!
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- 7 Best Silent Linear Switches
- 5 Best Akko Linear Switches
- What Keyboards Do Pro Gamers Use?
- History of Mechanical Keyboard Switches
- Are TKL Keyboards Good For Programming?