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Published Apr 2, 2022 1:00 PM

One of the most compact keyboard sizes available, 60 percent keyboards typically feature between 62-68 keys, omitting the number pad, function row (F1 through F12), arrow keys, and other miscellaneous keys such as “home” and “delete.” Often called “compact” or “programming” keyboards, 60 percent designs have seen a surge in popularity with the ascension of custom mechanical keyboard building, fueled by tech YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and esports pros. The best 60 percent keyboards offer a comfortable, ergonomic, and sleek typing experience. 

Still, they are relatively niche compared to larger full-size and TKL form factors. You won’t find many keyboards of this size from mainstream peripheral brands like Apple or Logitech. Instead, most 60 percent keyboards are made by gaming and enthusiast brands, which offer products ranging from slim and minimal to loud and colorful. That said, there are still plenty of great options for anyone who wants to minimize their keyboard’s desk footprint without building a custom keyboard from scratch. We’ve collected some of the best 60 percent keyboards to help you understand the appeal of this compact keyboard size.

How we picked the best 60 percent keyboards

I’ve been a PC gamer for most of my life and a professional writer for most of my career. Both require a lot of time using keyboards, and my own experience testing different products has helped me understand what makes a keyboard great.

To pick the best 60 percent keyboards, we leveraged our collective keyboard expertise at PopSci, as well as professional and consumer reviews from across the internet. We considered the myriad of qualities that go into making a great keyboard: Case design, connectivity options, software compatibility, ergonomics, keycap print, and, most of all, typing feel. We primarily focused on true 60 percent keyboards, but also included 65 percent keyboards, which typically add the arrows and a couple of other keys, to the compact form factor.

What to consider before buying a 60 percent keyboard

If you normally use a full-size or even a TKL keyboard, the switch to a compact design may feel like a transition. If you’re willing to take the plunge, picking one is not dissimilar from picking any other kind. Here are some of the big questions we think about before picking a new keyboard:

Which keys do you really need?

Keyboards come in a wide variety of sizes. The most popular sizes are full-size (104+ keys), tenkeyless or TKLs (about 87 keys), 65 percent (67-70 keys), and 60 percent (62-65 keys). As the keyboards get smaller, you start losing more keys, including some that people use regularly. The typical 60 percent keyboard omits the number pad, function row, arrows, and additional keys such as the home and delete key. There are advantages and disadvantages to using a smaller keyboard: On the positive side, the keyboard takes up less space. On the negative side, you will need to use more shortcuts and hotkeys for inputs that would have a dedicated button on a larger keyboard. Before you switch, take a good hard look at how you use your keyboard day-to-day, and figure out whether streamlining the keyboard will make your life simpler, or unnecessarily complicate your typing flow.

There is a tiny adjustment period

The formatting also changes: 60 percent and 65 percent keyboards are compressed into a single block of keys, without any spacing. Between the dropped keys, shortcuts, and new layout, users should expect a small learning curve when moving to a smaller keyboard: That doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly forget how to type, but expect to type a bit slower and make more typos in the first couple weeks of using one.

Wired or wireless?

For most daily computing, a wireless keyboard is a convenient way to declutter and give yourself a little more flexibility in how you position your keyboard (and yourself). There are still reasons to use a wired keyboard, though, especially if you play games or produce content on your computer.

Many wireless keyboards, specifically those that connect via Bluetooth, introduce a small amount of latency or input lag. Latency is, in essence, a perceivable gap between when you press a key or button, and when the action you triggered occurs. For most people, a Bluetooth keyboard will not generate a noticeable amount of latency while typing. When playing games or doing a task that requires precise timing, it becomes an issue. But for gamers? Any delay can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Gaming manufacturers have found an alternative wireless technology, using a 2.4GHz connection and wireless USB dongle. If you’re buying a wireless gaming keyboard, that connection is an essential feature. Still wired is the most stable and reliable. Also, wireless mechanical keyboards tend to be more expensive than their simple, wired counterparts.

How do you want your keyboard to feel and sound?

Unlike most laptop or budget keyboards, most 60 percent keyboards feature mechanical key switches. Unlike the keys in a laptop or ultra-thin keyboard, Mechanical switches have spring-loaded mechanisms underneath each keycap that trigger the input. When pressed, they make a distinct sound and provide more physical feedback.

Key switches come in a variety of styles, ranging from loud “clicky” switches to streamlined “linear” ones. Choosing a key switch is a major factor in how your keyboard will feel and sound to use. You can learn more about key switches in our best mechanical keyboards guide or from enthusiast sites like Mechanical Keyboards.

The best 60 percent keyboards: Reviews & Recommendations

The best 60 percent mechanical keyboards right now come from a mix of gaming and enthusiast brands like Ducky, Asus, Drop, and Fnatic. Each one offers an excellent typing experience, with its own unique mix of features. With many of our recommendations, you can choose your preferred key switches, so make sure to pick the version you want before pressing “buy.”

Best overall: Ducky One 2 Mini

DUCKY PRODUCTS

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Why it made the cut: Even as a 60 percent keyboard, the Ducky One 2 Mini has a ton of personality, and offers customization through onboard input layers. 

Specs

  • Number of Keys: 61
  • Interface: USB wired
  • Switch options: Assorted Cherry, Gateron, Kailh Box, TTC

Pros 

  • Excellent typing feel
  • High-quality keycaps with clear legends
  • Custom profiles saved onboard

Cons

  • Customization can be confusing
  • Higher than average latency

Simply put, the Ducky One 2 Mini is an outstanding 60 percent keyboard. What it lacks in flair or fancy software it makes up for in build quality, with stellar body, keycap, and key switch feel. Typing on this keyboard feels joyful.

Anyone mourning the loss of function or arrow keys can rest easy using the Ducky One 2 Mini. As is common in 60 percent keyboards, nearly every key pulls double duty, able to input additional commands by holding down keys like Fn. Nearly every key has side-printed legends showing that key’s hidden functionality, making this keyboard more accessible for users new to the 60 percent form factor.

The excellent build quality, plug-and-play design, customizable backlighting, and informative keycaps make the Ducky One 2 Mini one of the easiest 60 percent keyboards to recommend.

Best for gaming: ASUS ROG Falchion

Why it made the cut: A smart design, touch-based volume control, and low latency wireless connectivity make the ROG Falchion one of the most convenient gaming keyboards around.

Specs

  • Number of Keys: 71
  • Interface: USB wired, RF wireless
  • Switch options: Cherry, ROG NX

Pros 

  • Wired and wireless connectivity
  • Touch-based volume slider
  • Easy customization via Asus software.

Cons

  • Lighting customization requires a second app

The ASUS ROG Falchion seems rather plain at first glance. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll discover one of the best compact gaming keyboards around, full of unique features and thoughtful design choices.

The biggest reason we love the ROG Falchion is that it can connect to your computer wired or wirelessly. We were particularly impressed with its wireless connectivity, which provides a stable, low latency connection fit for gaming. It also gets tremendous battery life up to 450 hours (if you turn the RGB lighting off).

The Falchion features a comparatively robust array of special features for a compact keyboard, including a customizable touch-based volume slider. When you store it, the included wireless dongle slots magnetically into a convenient slot at the top of the keyboard, making it great for travel.

In exchange for a slightly larger size, the Asus ROG Falchion makes for a great gaming device with its connectivity options, 65 percent layout with arrows, volume slider, and strong software customization.

Best wireless: Happy Hacking Professional Hybrid Wireless

Why it made the cut: The minimalist design, unique Topre key switches, and stable multipoint Bluetooth connectivity of the Happy Hacking Professional Hybrid Wireless keyboard make it ideal for typing on multiple devices.

Specs

  • Number of Keys: 60
  • Interface: USB wired, Bluetooth
  • Switch options: Topre

Pros 

  • Unique Topre key switches
  • Wired and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Swap between four connected devices

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Learning curve
  • Windows-only customization app

The Happy Hacking professional hybrid wireless keyboard is all about design and typing experience. A minimalist, retro aesthetic combines with a unique key switch to deliver an extraordinary typing experience.

The key to Happy Hacking’s great typing feel is its Topre key switches. Japanese Topre switches blend elements of mechanical and membrane switches. Where other membrane and “hybrid” switches are often frowned upon, Topre is widely beloved by enthusiasts. Practically, They feel light, consistent, and comfortable, with a bassier sound compared to other switch types.

Unlike other Happy Hacking keyboards, this model can connect wired or wirelessly to multiple devices via Bluetooth 4.2. We never had connection or latency issues and appreciated the three-month-long battery life via AA batteries.

While its ultra-minimal design is not for everyone, the Happy Hacking professional hybrid wireless is a great wireless typing experience thanks to Topre switches and steady connectivity.

Best typing feel: Drop ALT

Why it made the cut: The Drop ALT’s superior build quality and swappable key switches make it a top pick for keyboard enthusiasts seeking a premium typing experience.

Specs

  • Number of Keys: 67
  • Interface: USB wired
  • Switch options: Cherry, Halo, Kaihua

Pros 

  • Extraordinary build quality
  • High-quality switches and keycaps
  • Hot-swappable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Web-based configuration app is hard to use

The Drop ALT is an enthusiast keyboard, offering incredible build quality and type feel above all else. It does not come with any flashy features like Bluetooth connectivity or volume sliders. Instead, the Drop ALT is focused on build quality, with an all-aluminum frame, durable and legible keycaps, adjustable magnetic feet, and stellar backlighting. We particularly appreciated the addition of a second USB-C port, meaning we could easily plug in accessories like mice or game controllers.

While the Drop ALT doesn’t feature wireless connectivity or exceptional software customization, it does offer more physical tinkering in the form of hot-swappable key switches. That means you can easily swap out individual key switches, mixing or matching to create your ideal typing experience. For typing enthusiasts, hot-swapping, along with amazing built quality, the Drop ALT sets a high-water mark among compact keyboards.

Best budget: Anne Pro 2

ANNE PRO

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Why it made the cut: The Anne Pro 2 offers wired and Bluetooth connectivity, solid typing feel, and excellent software support for less than $100.

Specs

  • Number of Keys: 61
  • Interface: USB wired, Bluetooth
  • Switch options: Cherry, Gateron, Kailh Box

Pros 

  • Wired and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Excellent software customization 
  • Swap between four connected devices

Cons

  • No dongle-based wireless connectivity
  • Occasional disconnects

The Anne Pro 2 does the unthinkable: It provides solid functionality and a great typing experience in an enthusiast 60 percent keyboard, without charging an arm and a leg for it.

For less than $100, the Anne Pro 2 gives you wired and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, with the ability to swap among four different devices in wireless mode. It also offers strong software customization. You can easily adjust key inputs, change wireless settings, program key backlighting, and even create custom commands all through the easy-to-use ObinsKit software.

Great connectivity, software, and typing feel make the Anne Pro 2 an excellent budget 60 percent keyboard on its own merits. The fact that it only costs $89.00 is the icing on the cake.

Best ergonomic: Kinesis TKO

KINESIS

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Why it made the cut: Not many 60 percent keyboards let you customize ergonomics the way the Kinesis TKO does. With four very adjustable feet, you can tent, tilt, and angle your way to comfort.

Specs

  • Number of Keys: 63
  • Interface: USB wired
  • Switch options: Kailh Box

Pros 

  • Tilt and angle adjustable
  • Three-button spacebar
  • Included hardshell case

Cons

  • Confusing software customization

If you are considering the 60 percent form factor primarily for ergonomics, the Kinesis TKO takes ergonomic customization to another level. 60 percent keyboards generally offer ergonomic comfort for gaming by making it easier to tilt your keyboard, minimizing wrist movement. The Kinesis doubles down on ergonomic control by including not two, but four feet underneath the case, which allows you to reverse tilt or “tent” your keyboard by elevating the left or right side. Another standout feature of the Kinesis TKO is its split spacebar. While you can use a traditional spacebar, the TKO includes three smaller spacebars, all of which can be programmed to enter different inputs.

Aesthetics-wide, this keyboard is flashy, with customizable backlit keys as well as bar lighting accenting each side of the keyboard. While the lighting is fun, the real selling point of the Kinesis TKO is its ergonomic angling options.

Best low-profile: Fnatic Streak65 LP

Fnatic

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Why it made the cut: The Fnatic Streak65 LP’s slim keys create a light and quick experience great for typing and gaming. Its airy design and compact form factor make it ideal for small spaces.

Specs

  • Number of Keys: 68
  • Interface: USB Wired
  • Switch Options: Fnatic Speed

Pros 

  • Great low-profile switches
  • Compact design
  • Hugely improved keycaps

Cons

  • Software offers limited customization

The Fnatic Streak65 LP is an esports-focused keyboard with low-profile keys, which “travel” less distance between the upright position and fully pressed. Usually, using a low-profile keyboard means sacrificing some comfort for a thin keyboard and/or quicker inputs. In the Streak65’s case, though, you get the best of both worlds: A comfortable typing experience and snappy actuation. It also features some unique bells and whistles for a 60 percent keyboard, including four dedicated macro keys that you can customize via Fnatic’s OP software.

It isn’t without flaws, though. The compressed block of keys feels a bit cramped, even among smaller compact keyboards. Still, the small and lightweight design does make the Streak 65 LP ideal for small spaces and competitive players who carry their keyboards with them.

FAQs

Q: What’s a 60 percent keyboard?

As the name implies, a 60 percent keyboard features approximately 62 keys, or 60 percent of the keys of the 104 keys on a full-size keyboard. Compact keyboards typically omit the number pad, function row, arrow keys, and miscellaneous keys. It is one of the smallest standard keyboard sizes you can find pre-built and provides a small, portable, and ergonomic experience.

Q: How much does a 60 percent keyboard cost?

60 percent keyboards tend to cost less than larger keyboards because of their size, but not that much less. Popular budget 60 percent keyboards like the Royal Kludge RK61 go for as little as $50. We’ve found that most of our favorite compact keyboards cost around $100. Prices don’t vary much between 60 percent and 65 percent keyboards.

Q: Are 60 percent keyboards good for everyday use?

Many people find 60 percent keyboards to be perfect for everyday use. If you want more room on your desk and rarely use a number pad or function keys, a 60 percent keyboard can provide a more streamlined typing experience.

Q: Why do gamers use 60 percent keyboards?

Gamers, particularly competitive players, like using compact keyboards because it’s easier to tilt them at an angle when you play. Tilting your keyboard towards your non-dominant hand frees up more room for your mouse to move, and reduces wrist movement. If you want to know more, check out our list of the best gaming keyboards.

Q: What 60 percent keyboard has the fastest switches?

Many keyboards can use multiple kinds of switches, so there isn’t any single keyboard with the fastest ones. Generally speaking, linear key switches, such as Cherry MX Reds, require the least force to actuate, making them feel “faster.”

Q: Are 60 percent keyboards better?

60 percent keyboards are not inherently better than any other size of keyboard. Some people prefer 60 percent keyboards for their small size and minimalist style. Others prefer full-size keyboards with the largest array of keys. Still others prefer TKL models for a balance between the two. Everyone has their own keyboard preferences, which is why we’ve written many guides about the best keyboards.

Final thoughts on the best 60 percent keyboards

The best 60 percent keyboards are excellent for typists and gamers seeking a smaller, more ergonomic experience. Anyone who can live without the number pad, function keys, and arrow keys should consider this sleek and minimal approach to typing. For everyone else, there are tons of larger keyboard options we recommend, including the best ergonomic keyboards for users dealing with hand and wrist pain.