How Much Should I Spend on a Mechanical Keyboard?

April 16, 2024

Determining how much to allocate for a mechanical keyboard is usually based on your specific requirements, preferences, and finances. With so many mechanical keyboard brands and models in the market, this could be quite a challenge for starters. 

Most mechanical keyboards cost more than standard membrane keyboards. So how much money should you shell out? How are keyboards priced? How much is the average cost of a mechanical keyboard?

Knowing these factors will help you save a lot of money while getting the right mechanical keyboard for your needs.

What Factors Determine the Price of a Mechanical Keyboard?

Several factors determine the price of a mechanical keyboard. Let's check out some of those factors: 

  1. Build Quality and Materials: Mechanical keyboards can be constructed from various materials including plastic, aluminum, stainless steel, or even wood. Keyboards made from higher-quality materials tend to be more durable and expensive.
  2. Switch Type: Mechanical keyboards use different types of switches beneath the keys. Common switch brands include Cherry MX, Razer, and Logitech. Keyboards with premium or specialized switches may cost more due to the quality and engineering involved.
  3. Keycap Material and Design: Keycaps can be made from ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), POM (polyoxyethylene), doubleshot PBT, and more. Keycaps with more durable or aesthetically pleasing materials and designs often come at a higher price point.
  4. Features and Functionality: Additional features such as backlighting, customizable RGB lighting, macro keys, dedicated media controls, and programmable keys can add to the cost of a mechanical keyboard.
  5. Brand Reputation and Warranty: Established brands with a reputation for quality and reliability may charge a premium for their products. 
  6. Customization Options: Some mechanical keyboards offer extensive customization options, allowing users to change switches, keycaps, and layouts. These customizable keyboards may be more expensive but can provide greater value over time for users who enjoy tailoring their keyboards to their preferences.
  7. Layout and Size: Compact keyboards such as tenkeyless (TKL) or 60% keyboards typically cost less than full-sized keyboards due to their smaller size and fewer keys.
  8. Special Editions and Limited Runs: Special edition or limited-run keyboards with unique designs, themes, or collaborations may command higher prices due to their exclusivity and collector appeal.

How to Decide How Much to Spend on Your First Mechanical Keyboard?

an image of a mechanical keyboard

But the big question is, "How much should I set aside for your initial purchase?" Just like all things you want to buy, the right answer depends on several factors, including your budget, typing preferences, and intended use. This guide should help you make a choice.

  1. Set a budget: How are you willing to spend? How much do you have? Mechanical keyboards can range from budget-friendly options under $50 to premium keyboards that cost several hundred dollars. Setting a budget will help narrow down your options and prevent overspending.
  2. Consider your needs: Are you a gamer, a programmer, a writer, or a casual user? Different types of keyboards cater to different needs. For example, gamers might prioritize features like anti-ghosting and customizable macro keys. Writers might prefer keyboards with comfortable, tactile key switches for long typing sessions.
  3. Try different switches: Mechanical keyboards come in various switch types. Each type offers a different typing experience. Some switches are clicky and tactile while others are smooth and quiet. Try out different switches to find the one that suits your typing style and preferences. Try out keyboards at electronics stores to get a feel for different switches.
  4. Research the features: Do you need backlighting for typing in low-light conditions? Are you interested in customizable RGB lighting effects? Do you require dedicated media controls or programmable keys? Make a list of must-have features and prioritize them based on your needs and budget.
  5. Read reviews and recommendations: Look for reviews and recommendations from reputable sources to help you narrow down your options. Check out feedback on build quality, durability, typing experience, and value for money. Websites, forums, and communities dedicated to mechanical keyboards can be valuable resources for gathering information and advice.
  6. Consider long-term value: It is tempting to opt for the cheapest mechanical keyboard available. However, investing in a higher-quality keyboard that will last longer and provide a better typing experience provides better value for your money. A well-built mechanical keyboard can last for many years with proper care, making it a worthwhile investment in the long run.
  7. Explore Entry-Level Options: Check out entry-level mechanical keyboards available that provide excellent performance and value for money. Look for reputable brands that offer budget-friendly options without compromising on quality. 

Here are some average or ballpark figures for high-end, mid-range, and budget-friendly mechanical keyboards as a guide. Note that these prices fluctuate depending on market conditions.

  1. High-End Keyboards: High-end mechanical keyboards usually range from $150 to $300 or more. These keyboards often feature premium materials, advanced switches, customizable RGB lighting, and additional features like dedicated media controls or macro keys.
  2. Mid-Range Keyboards: Mid-range mechanical keyboards usually range from $80 to $150. These keyboards provide a balance between quality, features, and price. 
  3. Budget-Friendly Keyboards: Budget-friendly mechanical keyboards can be found for under $80 with many options available in the $50 to $80 range. These keyboards provide a basic mechanical typing experience without many extra features. They may have simpler designs, fewer customization options, and less premium materials compared to higher-priced options.

Building a Custom Mechanical Keyboard: How Much Should You Allocate?

One of the best assets of a mechanical keyboard is its modularity, which means you can customize it to your preferences and needs. That's why mechanical keyboards are often the favorite devices of gamers, electronics hobbyists, and computer enthusiasts; customizing them is a hobby.

Building a custom mechanical keyboard can be a fun and rewarding experience, but the cost can vary greatly. Here's a breakdown of the typical costs involved in building a custom keyboard:

  1. Keyboard Kit: The cost of the keyboard kit itself can vary significantly depending on factors like the materials used (aluminum, brass, etc.), the size of the keyboard (60%, TKL, full-size, etc.), and any additional features included in the kit. On average, a custom keyboard kit can range from $100 to $300 or more.
  2. Switches: Switches are among the most important components of a mechanical keyboard. Their cost can vary based on the brand, type, and quantity needed. Expect to budget around $0.50 to $1.50 per switch. Premium or specialty switches can cost even more.
  3. Keycaps: Keycap sets come in various materials (ABS, PBT), profiles (OEM, Cherry, SA), and designs, which can affect their price. Basic keycap sets can start from $20 to $50, while more premium sets or artisan keycaps can cost $100 or more.
  4. Stabilizers: Stabilizers are essential for larger keys like the spacebar, shift, and enter keys. Set aside $10 to $20 for a set of stabilizers.
  5. PCB (Printed Circuit Board): The PCB is the electronic component that connects the switches to the computer. Prices can vary based on features like RGB lighting, hot-swappability, and compatibility with different layouts. Budget around $40 to $100 for a decent PCB.
  6. Case: If you're not purchasing a kit with a case included, you'll need to budget for a separate case. Case prices vary widely depending on material, design, and manufacturer, but expect to spend around $50 to $200 for a case.
  7. Additional Components: Depending on your customization preferences, you may also need to budget for additional components like LEDs, stabilizer lubricant, switch opener, and soldering equipment if you're assembling the keyboard yourself.

The total cost of building a custom mechanical keyboard can range from $200 to $700 or more, depending on your preferences and the components you choose. 

Conclusion

Investing in a mechanical keyboard is a worthwhile decision that can significantly improve your typing or gaming experience. However, since they are often more expensive than standard membrane keyboards, you do have to consider a few factors to determine the value you'll be getting for the dollars you'll be spending.

Take your time, conduct thorough research, and select the keyboard that truly connects with you.

Chris Greiner, a Mechanical Keyboard specialist, boasts a solid educational background with dual bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Business Management from Lewis University. His additional certification in Mechanical Keyboard Design showcases his dedication to staying on the forefront of keyboard technology. Chris primarily writes for keyboard enthusiasts and has been featured on platforms like Jestik, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the mechanical keyboard community.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Pinstack

Pinstack is a dedicated online media platform focusing on selling and reviewing mechanical keyboards. Our commitment is to provide comprehensive reviews, in-depth guides, and much more. With our active presence on YouTube and our website, we strive to deliver top-quality content across multiple platforms, aiming to bring the best to our audience.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Subscription Form
We care about the protection of your data. We’ll never share your details.

Pinstack is an Amazon Affiliate. All earnings from this website are from qualified purchases. Learn more about our affiliate disclosure terms.
2023 - Copyright, All Rights Reserved
magnifiercrossmenu
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x