There are some people who are stuck between having a compact keyboard and a mechanical keyboard. If you are one of them, you may want to look into a 60% mechanical keyboard as a suitable option for what you are looking for. 60% mechanical keyboards allow you to have more space for your mouse hand to move around to aim, navigate, turn, and browse the web as you please without having to overstretch your arm out to an uncomfortable position.
These keyboards are not only portable, but they are also versatile, comfortable, and even have a long lifespan. 60% keyboards only contain the bare minimum of what is needed for a keyboard. The benefit of switching to this is that you have more room. However, many functions such as delete, arrow keys, home, and more will be on the different layers of the keyboard rather than being the primary function of a key.
Getting used to these compact layouts take time. After that initial learning period, however, the benefits really do start to show themself.
In this list, we’ll be giving you the 7 best 60% mechanical keyboards that are currently available in the market so you can make an informed choice on which one you’re going to purchase.
Best 60% Mechanical Keyboards
|Vortexgear Pok3r||Cherry MX||Yes||Programmable layers, quality build, RGB presets||$$|
|Anne Pro 2||Gateron||Yes||Bluetooth 4.0, tap mode for arrow keys, intuitive software||$|
|Drop ALT||Cherry, Halo||Yes||Solid aluminum, hot-swappable, fully-programmable||$$$|
|Ducky One 2 Mini||Cherry||Yes||Portable, no software needed, in-depth firmware||$|
|Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2||Topre||No||PBT keycaps, aluminum build, contoured frame and keys, no-contact switches||$$$|
|Razer Huntsman Mini||Razer Optical||Yes||PBT keycaps, detachable cable, extensive software||$$|
|Kemove Snowfox/Shadow||Gateron||Yes||Hot-swappable, convenient location of arrow keys on FN layer, Bluetooth 5.0, Mac/Windows compatibility||$|
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One of the neat things about the Vortexgear Pok3r is that it comes with a classy aluminum bezel frame with a black-on-black theme. This allows the RGB colors to really stand out while you’re using the keyboard. It also includes a plate in between its PCB and Cherry MX switches, which add an extra layer of rigidity to the keyboard.
This keyboard was first popularized by gaming streamers on Twitch. It became well known, in addition to its competitors, the Anne Pro 2 and Ducky One 2 Mini.
Since the keycaps are laser-etched PBT keycaps, they produce a premium and durable feel during use. It includes a selection of Cherry MX switches ranging from Blue, Brown, Clear, Red, Silent Red, and Silver.
It’s important to note though that the keycaps do not come with a keycap puller.
An advantage of this keyboard is that it comes with several RGB modes without the need to open any software. It also boasts of excellent macro support that may be quite challenging at the start. Each key has the ability to execute 32 keystrokes. And you can program up to 3 layers. Since the keyboard has a DIP switch, you no longer need to convert the Caps Lock key into an Fn key. You can easily switch between keyboard layouts.
You can also program each individual key color in addition to the preset modes. This customization allows you to edit your gaming keys separate from the others or to make each row a different color. The options are endless.
The included detachable USB cable is a micro USB cable and not the standard USB-C.
The keyboard has grippy pads on the bottom to keep it from moving. The keycap design is floating keycaps, which allows the RGB to shine quite brightly.
The aluminum plate is white, which doesn’t match well with the black look overall. It looks strange when the lights are turned off. With RGB on, the white backpalte makes the light reflect off of it and looks amazing.
The arrow keys on the second layer are located on I/J/K/L. There are also secondary media functions integrated into the stock keyboard.
2. Anne Pro 2
As a crowd favorite, the Anne Pro 2 is one of the most popular 60% mechanical keyboards currently available in the market. One reason for its popularity is the fact that it comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and a built-in 1,900mAh battery that lasts up to 8 hours of use on a single charge. It can also be used while plugged and does not require connecting via Bluetooth. To conserve battery life, the keyboard has an auto-sleep feature.
In addition to these things, the Anne Pro 2 is very well-built and features a sleek design. Despite having a plastic frame, it feels very solid. It has PBT keycaps with a matte finish. The keys have a wobble to them but aren’t too noticeable when typing. They are doubleshot shine through PBT, and the legends will never fade over years and years of wear.
Each key is fully programmable and comes with a customizable RGB lighting in every key. The keyboard is available in a number of Gateron switches with varieties of Cherry MX and Kailh switches. Gateron switches are considered as a top-tier “copycat” of the Cherry MX switches. Over the years, users have come to respect this as an entirely unique switch that manages to live up to the expectations of the original Cherry MX.
The downside of using this mechanical keyboard is that it has mediocre ergonomics brought about by its lack of incline options. It also doesn’t have a palm rest. And since it is a tad bit smaller than the average key size, it could be difficult to use by some.
The keyboard is also available in all white as well as all black. It features a standard 60% layout, so the keycaps can be changed without any trouble. The keyboard includes color keycaps to play around with the bottom row and improve customization.
There is a keycap puller to make switching keycaps easy. The weight is sturdy and well-built, although it is still portable. The bezel look is very classic and repels dust and hair, unlike the floating keycap design.
The software is very easy and intuitive to use without having too steep of a learning curve. It can also reassign keys and functions. There are 3 different layers and the tap layer too, which makes using the arrow keys very easy.
Want to see our full hands-on review of this keyboard? Check it out here.
3. Drop ALT
When it comes to mechanical keyboards, Massdrop is a name that is trusted by enthusiasts. It popularly goes by the name DROP nowadays, but it used to start as a proxy for group buys. With their immense success, they were able to start their own keyboard line. The ALT mechanical keyboard is the brand’s 60% option and it can easily be considered among the best ones in the market. Not to mention, it comes with a reasonable price tag.
The ALT comes in a high-profile and a low-profile design, depending on what your preference for aesthetics are. The price between the two versions vary a lot. The keycaps are a nice two-toned doubleshot shinethrough PBT with very clean and simple legends.
There is an option between the Blue or Brown Cherry MX switches with RGB or you can also get the Halo True and Clear switches. Unlike other mechanical keyboards, the Massdrop ALT is a hot-swappable keyboard. This means that you can easily remove the switches without the need to desolder and solder them back on.
The Drop ALT supports 3-pin or plate-mounted switches. When you are looking to replace the switches, make sure to look out for this feature.
Another thing to lookout for is that the ALT has a smaller right shift key, at 1.75u. Many keycap sets have this key, but just look to be sure.
The ALT has a USB-C port on the top left and right side to work with your setup. One issue with the ALT is that it takes a lot of power to work. That means that changing to a different power cable may not work 100% of the time.
Massdrop has designed the ALT keyboard to be the smaller brother of the CTRL. It has a compact layout with 67 keys. There are no Fn keys, but there are shortcuts and secondary layers that provide functionality. There is also a full number of arrow keys.
The keyboard is fully programmable with QMK compatibility. It also comes with plenty of customizable RGB lighting. QMK doesn’t require any software to be downloaded because you can edit everything from the DROP configurator on the website.
One of the things that make the Ducky One 2 mechanical keyboard stand out is that it has a unique style. It comes in a variety of options, switches, and sizes. Users rave about the ease of typing on the keyboard.
There are also a number of features that are built directly on the keyboard so this means there is no need for software. The Ducky One 2 comes with Cherry MX switch stabilizers. It has RGB lighting, which allows customization. You can even change the color of the keycaps. The keyboard feels responsive and is well-built.
The different switch types available are Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown, Black, Silent Red, Silent Black, and Speed.
It does include a generic-looking USB-C cable. But since it is detachable, it can easily be replaced. That said, it is wired only and cannot be used wirelessly.
The One 2 Mini has excellent stabilizers on all of its bigger keys: the shift keys, enter, backspace, and space bar.
There are lots of reasons to love the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 (HHKB). It comes with a top case and a bottom case with a seam running across it. This seam sometimes feels bumpy, depending on where you place your fingers.
It does include a classic design and top-grade PBT keys. The keyboard makes use of the Topre electrostatic capacitive switch, which is responsible for getting rid of key chatter. It also provides extra comfort, maximum tactility, and keystroke precision.
The layout of the HHKB is different than other boards. For example, due to its design, the Ctrl key is now moved to Caps Lock. And backspace is moved to the backslash key that sits above Enter. Getting used to it may take some time, but many have said that they cannot switch back after going to this layout.
The keyboard was developed by programmers for programmers, to help make sure speed, reliability, and accuracy is prioritized.
The Razer Huntsman Mini is a new release by Razer. It is a 60% compact mechanical keyboard that is very similar to its big brother, the Huntsman TE.
The Mini features a standard layout with double-shot shine-through PBT keycaps. It is available in either black or white with two different switch options.
The Razer Optical switches, designed for speed and fast reaction, are available in the red linear option or the purple clicky option. Both have very fast actuate points and light spring force.
It has a detachable USB-C cable on the top right side that attaches in very snugly. For gamers who are focused on speed, reaction time, and the best performance, this is the one to pick.
It comes with 7 preset lighting effects that are programmed on-board. For custom RGB effects, Razer Chroma Studio has to be used and open all the time. The keyboard itself is able to store macro profiles, but not RGB profiles.
For Razer, this is a big move and a nicely designed keyboard.
The Kemove Shadow/Snowfox is a 60% mechanical keyboard that has a ton of features packed into it for its affordable price tag.
It has hot-swappable sockets that allow you to switch between different switches without having to desolder and solder. The Kemove keyboards also have updated Bluetooth 5.0 to connect up to 3 devices and switch between them easily with keyboard macros.
The FN key is located on the very right corner, with the arrow keys near that to allow one-handed use of the arrow keys.
It has two kickstands at the back for one angle each. The bezel design repels dust and hair from the case.
The top right side has a detachable USB-C port for its braided cable to enter.
Inside the box, you also get a switch puller, keycap puller, different Gateron switches to try out, and the braided cable. The keyboard comes in two different colors (black or white) and has a variety of Gateron switch options: red, blue, black, and brown.
Pros and Cons of a 60% Mechanical Keyboard
Benefits of 60%
A 60% mechanical keyboard is a great option for anyone who wants a compact keyboard with a mechanical feel. Full-sized keyboards normally have 104 keys. A 60% keyboard, on the other hand, have lesser keys.
When it comes to size, it comprises 60% the size of standard keyboards but it does not sacrifice the number of keys. They simply don’t include the number pad and the Home, Page Up, and Scroll Lock keys that people don’t usually use. Some compact keyboards don’t even include arrow keys.
The good news though is that the missing keys are usually available when you press a combination of a standard key and the Fn key. Once you’ve gotten used to this, you’ll enjoy having a 60% mechanical keyboard on your desk.
Drawbacks of 60%
The biggest downside to a 60% mechanical keyboard is that it does not have arrow keys. Most keyboards also do not include the common top row F keys that make it easier to access shortcuts. In lieu of this, you will have to use the Fn key so you can use shortcuts.
Thankfully, manufacturers love to listen to the issues that users complain about. And as a result, they have made workarounds to make it easier to use a 60% mechanical keyboard.
See below for more details on the 60% mechanical keyboards in our comparison list:
There are plenty of reasons why you should switch to a 60% mechanical keyboard.
In any case, you need to remember that there will always be tradeoffs between convenience and size. But if you want a balance between these two things, a 60% mechanical keyboard makes a great choice.
In this guide, I talked about some of the best 60% mechanical keyboards available in the market. You always have a choice on which model you want to go with, depending on your typing preference.