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If you are looking for a small gaming keyboard, you have come to the right place. We have reviewed some great low-profile keyboards and wireless mechanical keyboards with both TKL and 60% layout; all of them are small devices that help you save desk space and offer excellent gaming performance and experience.
1.) Razer Huntsman Mini – 60% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Razer Huntsman Mini is a compact mechanical gaming keyboard that has per-key RGB backlighting and macro-programmable buttons. It supports Razer’s Synapse 3 software which is good for gamers who love customizing their keyboards. The device also lets you use, function keys, arrow keys, and media keys using secondary options and for excellent typing and gaming experience, it uses Razer Optical Switches which provide great tactile feedback and are quicker than other switches.
Design and Features
The Razer Huntsman Mini measures 11.56 x 4.07 x 1.45 inches (LxWxH), it’s available in Classic Black or Mercury White, so you can buy the one which matches your computer. The top plate of the board is made of aluminum, and the base is sturdy plastic. The PBT double-shot keycaps have the thinnest font, and they don’t attract fingerprints as other keycaps do.
You can also replace the keycaps with Razer’s colorful PBT double-shot keycaps or with standard ones. It features a detachable USB-C cable so you can easily replace it if it stops working instead of buying a new device, and it also allows you to carry the board in a small backpack without damaging anything. Under the board, it has two small flip-out feet that slightly elevate the keyboard for better ergonomics.
If you are an FPS gamer, the compact size of a 60% keyboard will help you move your mouse for wide swipes, and they feature all the required keys for FPS gaming. 60% keyboards are widely used by Fortnite players, and they are also good for games such as League of Legends and Dota.
The board uses Razer’s linear or clicky optical switches, which are popular among gamers for their response and feel. They have a short actuation point, and the required actuation force is 45g, which is perfect for gaming.
The PBT keycaps have a grippy feel, and the close keys layout is good for gamers; even though accidental clicks is not an issue but still, the layout can be a bit cramped for some people. If that’s an issue for you too, you can buy a TKL keyboard; they usually have a better layout.
- Black or White color
- Replaceable PBT keycaps
- Responsive optical switches
- Detachable USB Type-C cable
- A bit pricey
2.) HyperX Alloy FPS Pro – TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The HyperX Alloy FPS Pro is a tenkeyless keyboard with great build quality; it is available in Cherry MX Red (Linear), Blue (Tactile), or Brown (Clicky) switches. The keyboard has backlighting, but unfortunately, it is set as a single Red color, which can’t be customized due to lack of software. On the upside, it has ant-ghosting feature and game mode, which disables Windows keys.
Design and Features
If you have seen other HyperX keyboards before, the FPS Pro will look familiar because all of them share a similar design style. The device has a metal deck, plastic base, and the frame is made of sturdy steel thus, the keyboard does not feel hollow like some cheap plastic models do. To keep the device small, it does not feature dedicated media keys, but you can still control volume and media playback by pressing Fn + F6-F11.
It uses a braided USB cable that connects to the mini-USB plug that is placed around the back. The keyboard is light on features, it does not have a USB pass-through, option to replace keycaps, software for customization, but it’s an excellent choice for FPS gamers looking for a plug and play small keyboard.
As mentioned before, the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro uses Cherry MX switches, which are popular among gamers; it has three options; you can select the variant that suits your gaming style. The keycaps have a curve, and they feel smooth while typing and gaming. You can play any game you want, the device quickly registers the click, and the full anti-ghosting lets you use multiple keys simultaneously.
- Removable USB cable
- The internal frame is made of steel
- It’s light on features, but at $70, it’s one of the best small gaming keyboards; thus, we don’t think it has any major con.
3.) Cooler Master Sk-621 – Small Wireless Gaming Keyboard
Cooler Master SK-621 is a 60% wireless/wired mechanical keyboard that uses Cherry MX Red Low Profile switches with short key travel distance and excellent gaming performance. The keyboard has impressive RGB that can be customized using the software. It features flat keycaps, and you might take some time getting used to the layout, but once you get comfortable, it will not disappoint you.
Design and Features
The SK621 is a small gaming keyboard; it measures 12.48 x 4.72 x 2.36 inches (LxWxH) and weighs 424 g. It has a brushed aluminum top plate and a reflective parameter. Most 60% keyboards don’t come with arrow keys to keep the design compact, but SK621 has arrow keys.
As mentioned, it uses low-profile Cherry MX switches with flat chiclet keys that can be replaced with standard keycaps. The chiclet keys and cramped layout aren’t for everyone; there is only 3mm of space between keys; if you have never used a keyboard with a similar layout, you might see a rise in your typo rate, which might decrease over time.
The board comes with a braided and detachable USB-C cable for charging and wired use; you can switch it to wireless mode using the toggle button; it uses Bluetooth and can be connected to three devices at the same time. The battery is claimed to last 15 hours with backlighting on and four months with backlighting off, which is pretty impressive.
The low gutter space between keys is not an issue while gaming. It uses Cherry MX Low Profile linear switches, which have a travel distance of 3.2 mm and 1.2mm actuation point; thus, they feel responsive, and they are also quiet.
- On-the-fly controls
- Wired/Wireless (Bluetooth)
- Some keys are oddly placed
4.) Keychron K2 Version 2 – Small Gaming Keyboard For Mac
The Keychron K2 version 2 is a TKL wireless mechanical keyboard for Mac and Windows users. It can connect with up to three devices at the same time via Bluetooth and USB cable for wired use. The keyboard is specially designed for Mac users; it has required Mac functioning keys and also includes extra keycaps.
Design and Features
The keyboard is made of black aluminum, and its keys are light and dark gray, and the ESC key is Orange. The curved keycaps have good gutter space between the keys, and it uses Gateron mechanical switches (red, brown, blue), they feel pretty responsive and have short key travel distance.
Under the keyboard, it has adjustable feet for slightly changing the angle for comfort, and on the left side, you’ll find toggle switches for wired or wireless use and Windows/Android and Mac/iOS. It has a 4000 mAh battery, which allows you to use the keyboard for about a month with the backlight on, so the battery backup should be enough for most people.
If you have ever played using the older version: Keychron K1, then the gaming experience is going to be similar. Though K2 has shorter key travel, most people might not notice the difference. The keyboard does not favor any particular genre; you can play pretty much any game you want without any difficulty.
- 4000mAh battery
- Solid build quality
- Various Lighting effects
- Connectivity up to three devices
- LED bleed-through
5.) Logitech G915 TKL – Low-Profile Gaming Keyboard
The Logitech G915 TKL is a small but expensive gaming keyboard. It uses wireless technology (Bluetooth or USB Type-A dongle) and has excellent RGB lighting switches. It has a slim and premium frame, and it takes less desk space because of its compact design.
Design and Features
The keyboard measures 15.2 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches, which is small, but if you want something smaller, we recommend 60 % keyboards; they typically measure around 11.6 x 4.25 inches.
It features a metal chassis which feels pretty smooth. On the top right, it has a volume wheel and media keys. And on the left side, it has buttons for Game Mode, Bluetooth, 2.4 GHz wireless, and shortcuts for macro recording. You’ll also find Caps lock and Battery indicators in the top center. The plastic bottom has a compartment for a USB dongle and features two flip-out feet, which elevate the keyboard for a comfortable angle.
It is available in Clicky, Linear, Tactile switches, and there is also a white version with tactile switches. The keyboard supports Logitech G Hub software for customizations; it has great features and lets you control RGB effects and color of the G logo.
For FPS gaming, get the tactile GL switches variant, and for action games and MMO, the variant with linear switches is the best.
Its low-profile GL tactile switches have a 2.7mm travel distance, and the actuation point is 1.5mm; they feel fast and more responsive than traditional mechanical switches. The keyboard does not have n-key rollover, but on the upside, it allows on-the-fly macro recording, and you can also toggle between three profiles using the FN keys.
The G915 uses Logitech’s Lightspeed wireless technology that offers an excellent wireless connection without any dropouts or latency issues. If you are looking for a small wireless gaming keyboard without risking connectivity issues, the G915 is one of the best options. Although it’s a bit expensive, the lightspeed technology, build quality, and features the keyboard offers are “pro-grade.”
- Sturdy build
- Low-profile switches
- Aircraft-grade aluminum top plate
- No USB pass-through
Buying Guide For Small Gaming Keyboards
In this buying guide, we have mentioned all the important factors you should consider before buying a gaming keyboard. We have also defined terms related to keyboard and keys so you can understand every keyboard review you read and choose a device that suits your gaming style.
Things to Consider When Buying a Gaming Keyboard
Build quality: This is one of the most important things; make sure the keyboard is made of strong aluminum chassis, and if you can’t find an aluminum keyboard, you can also buy a plastic keyboard, but the plastic should be sturdy, and the board should have high-quality keycaps as well.
Keycaps: If you are spending more than $50, the keyboard is most likely to have ABS keycaps. Abs keycaps are durable keycaps, but their top can become shiny after months of heavy use. That’s why you should buy a keyboard that uses POM or PBT keycaps. POM keycaps are good, but they are rare, look for a device with PBT keycaps. PBT keycaps don’t become shiny, and they are strong and durable.
Key response time: Key response time matters a lot for gamers; it is the time the device takes to recognize and register your keypress. Some models allow you to change key response time using the software; it’s always advisable to set it at the lowest value available.
Customization options: More customization means better control over the keyboard; gamers prefer a keyboard that lets them customize RGB lights, reprogram keys, and disable certain keys while gaming. There are other customization options which might improve your gaming experience, so make sure the keyboard you are buying supports a customization software.
Onboard Memory: With customization options, the keyboard also needs to have Onboard Memory. Onboard Memory is not mandatory, but it helps people who like to save their customization settings so they can connect the keyboard to other computers and use it without customizing the settings again.
Removable cable: If a keyboard comes with a detachable cable, you can replace the cable instead of replacing the whole keyboard if you damage it. Also, while traveling, you can remove the cable and keep it in a pocket to avoid damage.
Backlight: Some gaming keyboards only feature white backlit, and some come with RGB lighting with customizable effects. While RGB lighting is a common feature and most gaming keyboards come with it, you need at least white backlight if you don’t want RGB lighting. Backlight is not just for aesthetics; it allows you to type in the dark and helps you avoid accidental clicks.
Keyboards come in many sizes, and with different layouts, there are three main keyboard sizes: Full-size (100%), Tenkeyless (TKL), and 60%.
- Full-size keyboards are the biggest keyboards.
- They feature a Numpad on the right side.
- On top, they have rows of alphanumerics and function keys.
They come in three main layouts: ANSI (USA), JIS (Japan), and ISO (EU) and have all the keys required by a gamer, but if you are looking for a small gaming keyboard, you will not find a small variant, as mentioned all of them feature a horizontal Numpad that increases the keyboard length.
Tenkeyless (TKL): Tenkeyless Keyboard is the perfect keyboard size for most gamers. They are like full-size keyboards without the dedicated Numpad; they have rows of alphanumerics and function keys on top and are still pretty compact. TKL keyboards are popular among gamers because of their compact size and presence of required keys.
60%: If you want something smaller than TKL keyboards, you can buy 60% keyboards. They don’t have dedicated Numpad and function keys row, but function keys can still be used by pressing (Fn) with alphanumerics.
Both TKL and 60% keyboards are good options for people looking for small gaming keyboards, but we recommend TKL keyboards; they are slightly bigger than 60% keyboards but provide a better experience; also, there are more options for TKL keyboards than 60% keyboards.
Ordinary Keyboards vs. Mechanical Keyboards
There are multiple types of keyboards, and all of them provide a different experience. If you are buying a gaming keyboard, make sure it has mechanical switches instead of ordinary switches with a membrane rubber dome that recognizes the keystrokes. Rubber dome keyboards are usually seen on laptops, and they are good for browsing the internet and other casual tasks. But for gaming, you need a mechanical keyboard because of their fast response and precise control.
Which mechanical switch should I choose?
There are three types of mechanical switches; all three of them have different characteristics and provide a different user experience.
Linear switches: They are silent, feel smooth, and do not provide tactile feedback when you press them.
Tactile switches: They provide tactile feedback with a gentle bump when the key reaches its actuation point.
Clicky switches: Clicky switches are like Tactile switches, but with tactile feedback, they also make clicky noise.
Terms Related to Keyboard keys & Switches
Keyboard reviewers use technical terms most beginners don’t know about. But it’s important to understand what these terms mean so you can buy exactly what you need. Below we have defined some important and widely used keyboard and switches related terms, so make sure you read all of them.
What is the key travel distance?
Key travel distance is the distance keyboard keys travel from top to bottom when they are pressed. Different switch types have different key travel distances, so you need to research and find out if you need short key travel distance or high key travel distance.
What is actuation Point?
The actuation point is the point where the keyboard recognizes the keypress and registers it. The actuation point and key travel distance are different things, so don’t get confused. The actuation point is always shorter than the key travel distance. Example: A switch can have a 2mm actuation point and a 4mm travel key travel distance.
What is the actuation Force?
Actuation force is the force required to actuate the keys. Switches that require low actuation force feel light, and switches that require high actuation force feel hard to press. There is no right and wrong; it depends upon what you want. The force is usually measured in Centinewton (cN) or gram-force (gf).
What are keyboard macros?
This is the term used in almost all advanced gaming keyboard reviews, and most people don’t care about defining it for beginners.
Macros are like shortcuts for giving multiple instructions. Some high-end gaming keyboards feature dedicated macros that can be customized using the keyboard software.
What does anti-ghosting keys mean?
Just like macros, this is another feature that helps improve the gaming experience, it is Anti-ghosting technology, this feature lets you click multiple keys simultaneously. In simple language, it means the keyboard with anti-ghosting technology will register your response even if you press multiple keys at the same time.
Are small keyboards good for gaming?
There is no “Yes” or “NO” answer to this question. The answer is it depends; TKL keyboards are small and have everything a gamer needs, while 60% of keyboards are also small and great gaming keyboards. That does not mean all small keyboards are great for gaming; there are some excellent small gaming keyboards that offer impressive performance and experience, so you need to buy the right device.
Do you need a dedicated Numpad for gaming?
No, Numpads are usually used for data entry. A missing Numpad will not impact your gaming experience unless you are a left-handed gamer who uses the Numpad as a right-hand gamepad.
- Mike Epstein, Razer Huntsman Mini, PC Mag.
- Michael Ansaldo, Cooler Master SK621 review, PC World.
- Logitech G915 TKL Wireless Gaming Keyboard Review Tom’s Hardware.