Is there a happy medium between a compact design and a full-sized keyboard? Some consumers can function happily with only a F-row, while others have voted to keep their compact designs so minimalistic that they are willing to remove up to 40% of their keyboard and just keep the essentials. Others cannot fathom leaving behind the 60% of their keyboards and refuse to be so space-restrained. But there does exist a happy medium: The Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard.
These TKL’s do not have a number pad and are much more compact than their regular keyboard counterparts. They are also much more portable because of it. They are also known as 80% layout keyboard, because they are 80% the size of a regular keyboard. This alone is great addition to your gaming setup, because it allows much more space for your mouse movement while you are gaming.
The best TKL mechanical keyboards are mostly used by professional gamers, predominantly in eSports, because of their long lifespan compared to regular keyboards. They also allow you to remove and replace keys easily instead of having to replace an entire keyboard. The mechanical keyboards offer three different variants that include two tactical, one for audible click, one for linear consistent resistance, and one for a non-audible bump.
These keyboards are more expensive than their regular keyboard counterparts, but it’s well-worth the extra money for their high-tech features.
Best TKL Mechanical Keyboard
A quick introduction to TKL Mechanical Keyboards is simple. In all, you’re looking for good quality control, durable construction, the right switches (tactile, clicky, or linear), and any specific feature(s) that you as a consumer are looking for. Make sure to think about your needs before picking a TKL Keyboard. No matter how high quality your preferred keyboard is, if it does not satisfy the needs you originally bought it for, you’ll have to go right back to the drawing board and find an entirely new one. This process is costly and time consuming.
Below are the five top picks for TKL Mechanical Keyboards:
1. Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL Gaming Keyboard– Best Overall
This wired tournament level keyboard is one of the biggest in the gaming gear industry. This particular TKL model comes with multiple distinguishing features, including macros. Razer in general, is known for delivering high durable and high-quality products. They do this by focusing on particular designs and premium materials that optimize maximum performance and comfort for their consumers.
This makes it very easy and comfortable to use from the keys to the initial layout. Not only that, this TKL has software that is so easy to use, that anyone – gamer or not – will be able to use this with ease.
However, with this TKL comes its set of issues that need to be addressed. The most important one of these is the price of the keyboard. Remember that this is usual for the extra features it has and the care you have to take with it. If you are dealing with a significantly lower budget, you will have to look at another option. Besides the price factor, the keys are also very clicky. Clickiness means more noise and may not be good for those who think it that it is more of an annoyance.
2. Durgod Taurus K320 TKL Mechanical Keyboard
This particular keyboard was designed to be easy to use during an extra long gaming session. DURGOD focused on comfortability as well as easy customization with this keyboard, making it one of the best in gaming. It is versatile and comfortable, featuring popular features such as built-in fold-out feet, two cable types, a wide range of OSs that its compatible with, anti-ghosting keys, and almost completely programmable keys.
Durgod Taurus K320
What sets the DURGOD Taurus out is that is comes with many different extra design features. For example, it uses a cable management system that is not something in standard keyboards. This feature is so important because you do not want to be burdened with extra cords while in the middle of a game.
It eliminates the stress of cables, cords, and the like. The keys in this keyboard are also incredibly special: they are highly responsive and quiet. The always have use Cherry MX, which has a response actuation point of 2mm or even less.
The only complaint about the keys is the lack of texture; some gamers have complained that it makes the keys too smooth, and in turn slows your ability to combine keystrokes and movements in complex game movements.
The only other complaint was the RGB backlighting customization kit. Unlike other models of keyboards in the gaming field, this particular keyboard has limited customization.
3. AUKEY TKL Gaming Keyboard
This wired compact keyboard is a straightforward model that is perfect for anyone – gamer or consumer alike. This design is simple, made for efficiency. It does not boast many fancy features, but even though it does not, it is still one of the best keyboards on the market. This keyboard was constructed with ABS molded keycaps, 87 rollover keys that enable anti-ghosting, is water-resistant, and built with Outemu blue switches.
Even without all the added bonuses, this keyboard boasts efficiency and durability. It is crafted with a high-grade plastic finish that makes it portable and lightweight. It is also sturdy. The keys have N key rollover with anti-ghosting to make sure rapid multiple multimedia clicks are accounted for, which absolutely enhances the need for this keyboard.
Flaws are bound to happen. Most gamers like the RGB backlighting, which this best TKL mechanical keyboard lacks. The other flaw is that it is made of plastic – no matter how sturdy it claims to be, plastic does seem to bother most gamers. This also decreases the lifespan of this keyboard, which would be a problem for consumers working on a budget.
4. BLOODY B930 TKL Gaming Keyboard
BLOODY’s latest gaming keyboard was made to extend its life and performance. It comes with every necessary feature you would ever need in a gaming keyboard, but also boasts some unique and different ones as well.
For example, this keyboard is built with a 0.2ms response time (for hardcore gamers), nanocoating for water resistance, 6 RGB backlighting, made with aluminum, and is zero-latency.
The keys in this model are made with digital sensors, and high-quality switches. This was made for comfortability to the user and give better attenuation. It is also equipped with anti-ghosting technology to capture every keystroke. Another unique feature is that this keyboard’s key layout was made for both right and left-handed users. It also comes with extra keycaps … just in case.
However, there are some drawbacks. The main complaint with this keyboard is the software system. It has been said to be exceedingly difficult to use, and not user-friendly. If you’ are not technology savvy, this could stand to be a real problem. The other major complaint with this keyboard is that there are not any dedicated media keys. This keyboard was made for gaming, and only gaming.
5. PICTEK TKL Mechanical Keyboard – Budget Pick
This is truly a gamer-friendly keyboard. They looked for materials and features that led to an overall better gaming experience, as well as better performance and customization. They came up with a 87 key compact design, anti-ghosting keys, a built-in foldable stand, a plug in and play model, double-shot injection keycaps, 27 modes of lighting, and it is compatible with multiple OSs.
PICTEK TKL Keyboard
This all shows what a great decision this keyboard would be, especially with the value for your money. Not only is it inexpensive, it is also crafted with the highest grade materials and components from the base of the keyboard down to the keycaps – these keycaps are even something in themselves: they are topped with double-shot ABS.
That, combined with how they crafted it for ease of use as well as comfort, provides a seamless gaming experience. It was also designed for easy cleaning, which in turn helps the keyboard’s longevity.
There are a few complaints with this model, however. One of them is that this keyboard does not have a number pad. Now, tenkeyless keyboards usually do not have one, and you are normally required to purchase one if you need one. It also does not come with a mouse or any extra cords.
How To Choose The Right TKL Mechanical Keyboard
The most important thing to know the difference between a desktop keyboard and a mechanical keyboard. Desktop keyboards, in most instances, have some kind of rubber dome design. Basically, you push the keys all the way down, and make contact with a dome that in turn triggers a press.
However, the downside to desktop keyboards is that the rubber domes are not consistent, and you have to push all the way down on the key every time. Laptops are very similar with what they call scissor switches. These keyboards offer little tactility and can be a bear to replace.
Mechanical keyboards are basically board switches that actuate before the point of bottoming out. When you press the key down, a stem moves into a housing in the keyboard which allows metal contacts to touch. They are also much more efficient and precise due to the consistent feel of the keys. This is what makes mechanical keyboards the preferred keyboard for heavy gamers. They are made for smoother and faster keystrokes and are built to last. Each key and keystroke is made for millions of presses, which means even a heavily-used mechanical keyboard can last for many years.
Here are some things to consider before buying the Best TKL Mechanical Keyboard:
The first step is choosing the right TKL keyboard you want is to know what layout you want and/or need. The most common is still the traditional full-size keyboard, but if you want to customize, there are plenty of options available. A full-size keyboard has all the keys you need to operate your computer without worrying about function or accessibility.
The only drawback to this is that it is larger and in turn, inefficient. That is where TKL some into play. They are also sometimes known as 80 percent keyboards. These do not rely on function layers for their basic features, though, and there is not a number pad equipped. This in turn pulls the mouse closer, and makes the board much closer.
Another huge point to consider before buying are switches. Every time you press a key, you are actually pressing a switch. This is a feature that is unique to mechanical keyboards, because of the variety of switches that are available and how different every single one can be depending on how you want them to feel.
Now, most of the switches you have today are Cherry or Cherry clones that are broken down into three unique types: linear (they are responsive and offer little to no resistance when pushed, however can be difficult to type with. They are highly recommended by gamers, however, due to the speed you can press them and the speed of the keystrokes), clicky (they have a crispier feel to them as well as a clicking noise that is popular with typists), and tactile (they offer a less clicky feel and produce much less noise. These are recommended by consumers that type frequently)
Mechanical keyboards are made to be much more durable than your usual membrane desktop and laptop keyboards. When you are in your search for a mechanical keyboard, look for a keyboard that is made of aluminum (or any other strong material that is comparable to it), that ensures increased durability. Also, if you’re ever worried about spilling any sort of liquid on your keyboard, search for a keyboard that’s water resistant as well.
Mechanical keyboards are not economical. However, this is one situation where it is recommended because the more you spend, the higher quality keyboard you will end up with. You should, however, be able to pick up a very decent quality mechanical keyboard around $30, although most quality ones run from $50-$100. The price goes up from there depending on features, durability, brand, and designs.
Before you buy your mechanical keyboard, here are some especially important tips: skip the USB (these often don’t have enough power to even consider them a pro feature), add O-rings (if your switches are too loud, this is an easy fix: just add your own O-rings to them), customize your own keyboard (build artisan caps, although they are expensive and somewhat hard to come by), and buy a switch tester (test all the main variations of your mechanical keyboard switches before you buy it)
The best tkl mechanical keyboards are compact and easy to use. Without the use of a number pad, you get many advantages, such as more space on your desktop area, as well as enough room for your mouse. These are also lightweight which makes them easy for portability, secure packing, traveling, and safety. Remember – size matters when it comes to a keyboard, depending on what you want to use the keyboard.
If you are intending on using it for gaming purposes, then you will definitely want to invest in a smaller, more compact keyboard. However, these keyboards are a perfect mechanical keyboard for everyone (from exclusive gamers, heavy coders, business people, wireless fanatics, students, teachers, or just the regular consume), due to its functionality.
If you are planning on purchasing a TKL Mechanical Keyboard, you can click on any of the hyperlinks underneath of the listed ones above. Or if you are looking for a cheaper keyboard, find out the best gaming keyboard under $30.