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Best Cheap Keyboards 2013

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Although a keyboard can be one of the most oft-used computer peripheral, you may just have no desire to spend a ton of money on one. Maybe you typically tote your laptop around the house, and you just need something for those rare times that you're in your home office. Or maybe you have kids and don't want to shell out too much money for something you know if going to get sticky and (probably) broken.

Fear not: There's a keyboard for everyone, and this list has the best of the cheap ones that this site has reviewed.

1. Genius SlimStar i815

For just about $30, you get a bare-bones keyboard with the Genius SlimStar i815, and the company even throws in a mouse to boot. Both use 2.4GHz wireless technology and operate via a mini receiver. The keyboard features 104 keys with a design meant to mimic an Apple keyboard, and it also has a handful of media-control keys. What you don’t get are any type of ergonomic design elements (other than a set of raised feet), but that’s to be expected for what shakes out as a lightweight desktop set for a low price.

2. Logitech K310 Washable Keyboard

The Logitech K310 Washable Keyboard looks nice, weighs very little, and lets you give it a scrubbing under the faucet. As with the SlimStar i815 (and, really, the rest of the list), you’re not getting much in the terms of ergonomics. But you do get the peace of mind that knowing you won’t have live with Cheetoh dust forever embedded in your arrow keys. Logitech is even kind enough to throw in a little brush! The company also says it has "laser printed and UV coated" the key characters, so you don’t have to worry about them fading after multiple washes.

3. Logitech Media Keyboard K200

Another Logitech device up for contention: the K200 Media Keyboard. Although this keyboard doesn’t go as far as the K310 in terms of cleaning pledges, it does have a spill-resistant design. What this means is that there are a few holes bored in the bottom to allow liquids to seep through, hopefully without damaging anything. Logitech only promises survival for up to 2 ounces of liquid (that ain’t much), but it is better than nothing. Spilled milk and coffee aside, the K200 is lightweight, simple and even more affordable than its Washable sibling. Note: For both keyboards, you want to make sure you avoid getting the USB connector wet.

4. Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 2000

The Wireless Keyboard 2000 from Microsoft is an option for those who put a huge priority on security (along with price). The keyboard and mouse set -- which can also be purchased separately -- features AES 128-bit encryption. Simply speaking, this means that you won’t have to worry about people hacking into your system via your USB transceiver. The transceiver and keyboard are paired together at the factory, only allowing communication between them and no other devices, according to the company. Security aside, the keyboard is not the most comfortable one out there, but it does have a few media keys, shortcut keys and a handy battery-status indicator.

5. Kensington Keyboard For Life

Yet another spill-proof keyboard, the Kensington Keyboard For Life has a “sealed membrane” design, so it won’t get ruined by all your coffee and cookie crumbs. Although its price tag is so low that you probably wouldn’t feel too bad if you still managed to ruin it, Kensington throws in a lifetime warranty. It's a wired keyboard with your basic 104-key build.
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