Best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards in 2017
Think about this – how often do you really use the numpad on your mechanical keyboard?
If you’re like most people, your hand rarely ventures over there. Unless you work heavily with spreadsheets and numbers, most of your typing is going to be done on the main alphanumerical section of the keyboard. This is true especially for gaming enthusiasts – gamers hardly ever need to use the numpad. In fact, I find that numpads are only essential for the office. Other than that, the numpad on mechanical keyboards are pretty much untouched. So, in this article, we’re going to cover the absolute best tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboards for serious gaming or typing enthusiasts, updated for 2017.
Tenkeyless mechanical keyboards are a great form factor for anyone who can survive without a numpad. The extra space on your desk will be greatly appreciated, and it also allows your body to type and move the mouse with less side-to-side arm movement, increasing your ergonomics. If you still aren’t quite sure what you need, check out our starting page before moving on. In this guide, we’ll talk about why you would want a tenkeyless keyboard and some of the best tenkeyless keyboards out there.
Here’s a list of some pros and cons of a tenkeyless compact mechanical keyboard.
Benefits of Compact Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards
- Right-handed mousing is much more comfortable. You no longer need to glide your hand an extra 4-5 inches over the numpad, so it’s quicker to switch back and forth (speed matters for gaming!).
- Increased ergonomics. For the same reason as the previous bullet point, you can more naturally align your shoulder with your mouse since it’s closer to the center of your body.
- The keyboard doesn’t require as much space on your desk. More room for everything else!
- Tenkeyless keyboards allow for lower weight and extra compactness, which is great for those who travel a lot.
Drawbacks of Compact Tenkeyless Keyboards
- No numpad! Some games may require one for certain hotkeys. Also if you work with numbers a lot, you’re going to sorely miss it.
- Entering non-standard characters (º, ¿, Ü, etc.) becomes more difficult or impossible (not a huge drawback for gaming).
Take a day of typing without using your numpad if you’re on the fence. Stick a sticky note over it to make sure you don’t relapse, and consider if you’d miss it or not. If you’re still unsure about getting a TKL keyboard, you can rest assured that you can actually buy the numerical keypad separately, check out our review of one here. This should help alleviate any major concerns you may have about purchasing a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard and can definitely add convenience if you travel a lot or really like a mechanical board on our list.
Now that you’ve had some time to consider if a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard is right for you, we’ll continue with some suggestions. If the keyboards below don’t catch your attention, head over to our list of the best mechanical keyboards for a few more tenkeyless options. If you still need more choices, we have one last article that you can look through which talks about other forms of mechanical compact keyboards (non-TKL). Without further adieu, here is out 2017 list of the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards you can get right now.
CM Storm QuickFire Tenkeyless
The mechanical tenkeyless keyboard QuickFire has been named our best compact mechanical keyboard, so it’s only fitting it shows up first on this list. Affordable and proven by thousands of enthusiasts, this tenkeyless mechanical keyboard is sure to please. It’s available with 4 different Cherry-MX switches and has a detachable USB cable for easy transportation. The USB cord channeled to come out of whichever side of the keyboard works best for you, and there’s a set of red WASD keycaps, should you want to use them. If you haven’t heard of CoolMaster before, they’re a company that focuses on gaming accessories and are known for great mechanical keyboards. I highly recommend you check out their tenkeyless version if you’re looking for something a little more lightweight.
Corsair Vengeance K65
The K65 is an awesome looking mechanical tenkeyless! It features a brushed gunmetal aluminum chassis for a solid look and feel. The K65 comes with Cherry-MX Red mechanical switches and a detachable USB cable. It also has some features typically seen only on full-sized mechanical keyboards like dedicated volume control buttons and full key rollover. This TKL keyboard is definitely a sleek looking board that has all of the functionality a gaming or typist would ever need.
Razer Tournament Mechanical Keyboard
Razer makes a great tenkeyless gaming mechanical keyboard, and their Tournament line is made for easy transport. The Razer Tournament compact keyboard uses Razer’s propitiatory mechanical switches which are designed for fast activation for gaming. This keyboard has a braided fibre USB cable that’s detachable, making it even easy to travel with. The “Stealth” version of this mechanical keyboard also does a great job at delivering a quieter mechanical switch, more-so than Cherry MX varieties. The keycaps are laser-etched, so no matter how much action your keyboard sees, no fading letters! Razer doesn’t need an introduction – they make quality PC accessories (usually geared towards gaming). The quality of this mechanical tenkeyless keyboard is no different. If you’re looking for something a little more name brand for quality assurance, check out their lineup of mechanical keyboards. This Tournament version is definitely a top contender for one of the best mechanical tenkeyless keyboards out there and you can be confident that Razer has been making mechanical keyboards for a long time.
CoolerMaster Storm QuickFire TK
Our final mechanical keyboard technically isn’t a tenkeyless! It is a compact mechanical keyboard though, fitting the same form factor as a tenkeyless. The CM Storm QuickFire TK combines the numpad and the navigation keys to share the same space. The use of a function key toggles the functionality between numpad and navigation, so you don’t sacrifice as much functionality. We had to put this on the list as not only does it meet the form factor of a tenkeyless board, but it also inlcudes the numpad. So, if not having the numpad is a turnoff, check this mechanical keyboard out – a sweet comprimise that still puts the compactness of tenkeyelss keyboards first.
Gaming enthusiast or not, there is always a tradeoff between size and convenience but with tenkeyless keyboards, you can get a good compromise between both. In this guide, I covered what we think are the best mechanical tenkeyless keyboards to date. And of course, you can always purchase a numpad afterward if you really end up needing it. This can actually be a better solution – if the numpad is standalone you can leave it at home if you’re out and about. Best of all, some of these mechanical keyboards are pretty cheap considering that they’re not the standard size.