mechanical programming keyboard
Keyboards,  Mechanical Keyboards,  Programming

Cheap Mechanical Keyboards for Programming

Keyboards are the weapons of programmers as their performance greatly depends on this device. A reliable and high-quality keyboard will provide the best programming experience. However, such a mechanical keyboard is expensive, so I’m going to suggest the best cheap mechanical units which are great for programming.

Some of the best cheap mechanical keyboards for programming in the market are:

  • Obinslab Anne Pro 2 – Best Compact Keyboard For Programming
  • Glorious GMMK Modular Mechanical – Best Overall Full-Size Programming Keyboard
  • Razer BlackWidow Lite Keyboard – Best Value-for-Money for Programming
  • SteelSeries Apex 5 – Best Hybrid Mechanical for Programming

A good programming experience demands a keyboard that has a simple design, has all the necessary keys of a standard layout, and switches with excellent feedback for a precise response during typing. It also needs to have macro functions, so the users can remap the key layout according to their convenience. If you are looking for solid inexpensive units to code on, I’ve got you covered with these five suggestions.

It’s hard but not impossible to find cheap mechanical keyboards for programming. (Source: PiqSels)

Obinslab Anne Pro 2 Best Compact Keyboard For Programming

Size: 60%

Connectivity: Bluetooth/Wired


  • A nice compact keyboard
  • Excellent build
  • Each key is programmable
  • Customizable RGB lights
  • Excellent typing experience


  • Ergonomic is slightly off
  • Minimal extra features

Anne Pro 2 is a 60% wireless keyboard that has a solid build quality despite having a plastic frame. Its PBT keycaps are high-quality but wobble slightly if you type by applying high pressure.

This is a Bluetooth compatible unit that can pair up with four devices at the same time and you can switch between the devices smoothly. Charging is done via a USB-C cable that also works as a wired connection if you don’t want to use Bluetooth. However, it’s compatible with Windows and iOS devices, not Android.

Each key has an individual backlight and you can customize the RGB lighting through the provided ObinsKit software.

The compact size cancels out overreaching but the ergonomic is slightly off due to the absence of wrist pad and incline. People with large hands should not use this keyboard as the keys will feel cramped, causing muscle fatigue after typing a while.

Why Is It Good for Programming?

The first reason is the programmability of each and every key. You can remap them for making it more convenient to navigate the software you use for work. The software offers an onboard memory option, so there’s no need to set up the functions every time you use the keyboard.

Programmers need to type a lot and this keyboard is excellent for typing, thanks to the Gateron Brown switches. Without making loud sounds, the keys provide good tactile feedback. They are also light, responsive, and require a little actuation force. A long pre-travel distance prevents wrong keypresses.

The good news is that the keyboard comes in five more types of switches. So, if you don’t like Gateron Brown, switch Kailh Box White, Gateron Red, or something else.

Razer BlackWidow Lite Keyboard Best Value-for-Money for Programming

Size: Tenkeyless (80%)

Connectivity: Wired (detachable)


  • Programmable keys
  • Sleek design
  • Low actuation force
  • Short pre-travel distance


  • No wrist pad
  • No onboard memory
  • Does not have RGB lighting

If you consider the features and price point, Razer BlackWidow Lite is undoubtedly one of the best value-for-money units for programming.

Featuring a solid plastic framework, the keyboard has a compact, clean outline. The Orange Tactile switches are similar to Cherry MX Browns in terms of performance, and you can replace them with another switch type. It will break no sweat since Razer provides a keycap puller.

The keyboard has a white backlight for better visibility in darkness. It’s possible to adjust the brightness level too but there’s no RGB backlighting. Just like Anne Pro 2, the ergonomic of this keyboard is slightly off because of minimal incline and no wrist pad.

Why Is It Good for Programming?

Through the Razer Synapse 3 software, it’s possible to customize every key and set up macros. However, other than this option, the software does not offer much. There is no onboard memory but you will get the cloud sync option. Mac users will be disappointed because it’s compatible with only Windows OS.

Typing on this keyboard feels good because the Orange Tactile switches require a low actuation force and have a short pre-travel distance. Pressing the switches feels responsive and light, putting no pressure on the fingers. The high profile of the keys could feel fatiguing a bit, but using a wrist pad will solve this problem.

Keystrokes don’t create a loud sound and you can quieten them even more by using the included O-rings.

Glorious GMMK Modular Mechanical Best Overall Full-Size Programming Keyboard

Size: Full-size

Connectivity: Wired (non-detachable)


  • Solid frame and keys
  • Hot-swappable board
  • The board support various switch types
  • Each key has backlighting
  • Excellent typing experience


  • Non-ergonomic design
  • Wire is non-detachable

A well-made full-size keyboard that has a plastic frame with a metal edge and plate. It’s an overall good keyboard for typing and programming. You can also play games without any hassle, thanks to the hot-swappable board.

It’s possible to change the switches and use the ones that are the most compatible with your work. Just pop out the switches (no soldering required) and install the new ones. Changing one key does not need more than 5 seconds.

The PBT keycaps and Gateron Brown switches add more strength to the already well-made framework. Solid and stable keys provide a great user experience.

Each individual key has RGB lighting, which is fully customizable through the Glorious software. Customization is possible from the board too since there are several presets available. However, you can apply any light effects you want, even changing the light color of each key. It means it’s possible to create an innumerable number of lighting effects.

Like most other inexpensive keyboards, the ergonomics of the Glorious GMMK is not good. There is only one incline setting and the board lays completely flat when you don’t use it. However, it does not slide when typing or gaming because the bottom rubber feet are grippy. There is no wrist pad but you can buy a matching one as Glorious sells a few.

Why Is It Good for Programming?

The Glorious GMMK is a great option for programming work. Through the software that comes with the keyboard, you can remap each and every key and reassign functions that are the most convenient for your task. The Fn keys double the functions by working as some medial hotkeys.

Unlike many other cheap mechanical devices, this keyboard is compatible with Windows, iOS, and Linux. The only problem is the non-alphanumerical keys that are not compatible with the last two operating systems.

Due to being a full-size board, it has Numpad and arrow keys, so you can use it for all kinds of tasks. Typing on this board also feels good, thanks to the Gateron Brown switches. The keypresses are snappy and precise. Also, even spacing between the keycaps reduces typos.

However, if you don’t like the feel of these keys, change them with the type you feel comfortable with. Also, it’s possible to use a combination of various switch types. For example, you can use Gateron, Cherry MX, Zeal, Kailh, and other types of switches at the same time. The hot-swappable board supports all types.

SteelSeries Apex 5 Best Hybrid Mechanical for Programming

Size: Full-size

Connectivity: Wired (non-detachable)


  • Excellent build quality
  • Ergonomic is great
  • Various customizable options
  • Dedicated media keys


  • Loud typing sound

With a plastic base and aluminum alloy top, the SteelSeries Apex 5 has an excellent build quality. Coupled with the sturdy frame, there are Doubleshot ABS keycaps, which are highly stable and add to the longevity of the keyboard.

Apex 5 has dedicated media keys and you can adjust the volume through a scroll wheel. An OLED screen on the right corner is a nice touch, which is customizable with gifs, messages, and more.

The keyboard is more suitable for personal use than in an office environment because of the loud key sound. Keystrokes are clacky that may annoy others around you.

Why Is It Good for Programming?

The Engine software from SteelSeries is amazing because it offers several customizing options. You can reprogram the key functions, set up macros, and modify the RGB backlight of each individual key.

It’s possible to create several profiles and the onboard memory will remember them along with the reassigned key functions. You can use a cloud sync feature too but it requires opening an account in the software, which is available for Windows and iOS.

The hybrid mechanical switches are similar to Cherry MX Blues in terms of audible click after every keypress. They are highly responsive and require less force for actuation.

Typing accuracy will be excellent because of the generous spacing between the switches. You will not feel fatigued even after typing for long hours.

Eli Civil

A software engineer, entrepreneur, and keyboard enthusiast. I spend my time click-clacking on keyboards. About Eli Civil

Don`t copy text!