Only looking to spend about $100 on your gaming gear upgrade? Do you start with a headset, mouse, mousepad, or keyboard?
What to buy or upgrade first?
Here are my suggestions on the "importance" of your gear and which budget-friendly upgrades you should pick up first. Of course, everyone's situation and circumstances are different, so ultimately I hope I can help you make a good decision for yourself.
- Mouse and mousepad
- Keyboard (and everything else)
Upgrade first: Mouse and mousepad
Most games rely heavily on aim, whether it's aiming a crosshair, a pickaxe, or just organizing your items. When I finally caved and invested in a good mouse, it was the biggest game-changing purchase to my performance.
So first and foremost, I'd recommend starting with a mouse and mousepad upgrade if yours are bad (or non-existent).
Budget mouse pick: Rival 3 mouse (~$30)
The Rival 3 has extremely high precision, looks and feels great, but most importantly, it's insanely durable and built to last for many years longer than your average $30 mouse.
Budget mousepad pick: QcK (~$7 and up)
A good mousepad doesn't slide around your desk or in any way interupt your mouse performance.
The QcK mousepad is the gold standard for mousepad material. It is incredibly affordable; the QcK Small is just $7, and the QcK Medium is $10. Even the QcK Large is just $15, so your never have to deal with a cruddy or non-mousepad surface again.
As a bonus, QcK mousepads are easy to wash, so you can keep it clean and functional for years.
Upgrade second: Headset
Once you've got your mouse and mousepad settled, now it's time for the next quality of life/gaming upgrade: audio. Headsets provide both good audio and a microphone together in one product (so you don't need to pick up headphones and a mic)
Budget headset pick: Arctis 1 (~$50)
The Arctis 1 is a great high-quality headset for $50, plugs into virtually anything. It's durable, folds flat, sounds great, and comes with a detachable mic. It functions as both your everyday gaming headset, as well as a great pair of headphones that you can confidently wear outside of the house.
The $100 setup
With the above mouse (~$30), mousepad (~$7-15), and headset recommendation (~$50) you should come in under $100. I believe that those 3 items will make the biggest difference in your setup right away.
Upgrade if needed: Keyboard
Not that a gaming keyboard isn't important, but if you already have a working keyboard, you shouldn't worry too much about upgrading to a gaming keyboard before you get your mouse, mousepad, and headset upgraded. But if you're all set there, here's the keyboard to pick up:
Budget keyboard pick: Apex 3 TKL (~$44.99)
The Apex 3 TKL keyboard looks amazing and comes with tons of features that you wouldn't expect in the $50 range, like customizable RGB that intrgrates with your games and Discord, media controls, and more. It's built to last longer than any other membrane keyboard; specifically rated IP32 water and dust resistant to survive spills and accidents.
I hope this helps you to put together your budget-friendly setup. Check out the pieces below for more specific gaming needs.
- Best Multiplatform Headsets for Cross-Platform Gaming
- PlayStation 5 Compatible Headsets
- 6 Ways to Make Your PC Setup Look Awesome
- What is the Biggest Gaming Mousepad?
Join us on the official SteelSeries Discord server.