8 Best Tenkeyless (TKL) Mechanical Keyboards
TKL (tenkeyless) keyboards are compact keyboards that gave away the numeric part in order to have a smaller desk footprint. And the tradeoff made sense because, with TKL keyboards, you get almost the same set of features you can find on full-sized models and you also get more space on your desk. This was a winning formula for lots of people, making TKL keyboards quite popular in recent years.
Combine the TKL design with wireless connectivity or removable cables and you’ve got yourself a theoretically perfect portable keyboard that can be carried anywhere inside a small backpack or even in hands. The 60% keyboards took the portable throne away from TKL keyboards but TKL models are still the best choice, except if you really don’t like the function key row.
Anyway, the market is teeming with hundreds of TKL mechanical keyboards so we’ve decided to look for the best models and then share them with you. Note that we’ve mostly included big-brand keyboard models. Below you’ll find some of the best TKL mechanical keyboards in various categories. We have the best budget keyboards, best wireless keyboards, the most compact models, low-profile keyboards, as well as high-end models. Let’s check them out.
Best TKL Mechanical Keyboards – Our Picks
|The Most Affordable TKL Mechanical Keyboard||PICTEK TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard|
|Best Budget TKL Mechanical Keyboard||Redragon K552|
|Best Budget Wireless TKL Mechanical Keyboard||Corsair K63 Wireless|
|The Best TKL Mechanical Keyboard for Mac Computers||Keychron K2 RGB|
|Best Low-Profile TKL Mechanical Keyboard||Logitech G915 TKL|
|Best Mid-Range TKL Mechanical Keyboard||Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL|
|Best High-End TKL Mechanical Keyboard||SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL|
|Best TKL Mechanical Keyboard for Typing||Ducky One 2 Horizon TKL|
The Most Affordable TKL Mechanical Keyboard
Okay, this keyboard costs fifty percent less than our budget choice and for the money, you get lots of keyboard. First of all, the build quality isn’t great but it’s pretty solid, especially if we take the price into account. The body is made of solid plastic and the keyboard features double-shot molded keycaps, which are great to see in such affordable keyboard.
This model doesn’t feature any extra options but it provides the basics. You have RGB backlighting, alternate functions for controlling various stuff on your gaming PC, foldable feet, and blue mechanical switches (nondisclosed, probably Kaihua). Overall, for the price, this is an excellent TKL keyboard. If you need something simple and cheap think about getting this one.
Best Budget TKL Mechanical Keyboard
Once we step into the proper budget category the Redragon K552 stands out as the obvious choice for the best budget TKL mechanical keyboard. This keyboard has excellent build quality and it feels really sturdy. The body is made of plastic, while the backplate is aluminum-made, giving the keyboard satisfying weight and stability when on the desk. On the other hand, it doesn’t look great, with too many details on keys, and cramped key placement that doesn’t look good as on some compact TKL models. But it feels sturdy and like it can last for a long time.
On the other hand, it looks like the company decided to save money on the foldable feet and keycaps. Both feel rather cheap, a complete opposite of its sturdy body. This keyboard should be pretty good for typing since it comes with blue mechanical switches (Oetemu switches), which are clicky and can be rather loud when typing on the keyboard. Again, you get the basics with this keyboard. That means no dedicated media keys, no detachable cable, no multiple switch options to choose from, and no wireless connectivity. But for the price, this is a very good TKL mechanical keyboard.
As for alternatives, we have a couple of big-brand models. First of all, there’s the Corsair K63, which is a pretty solid keyboard that costs more than the Redragon K552 but offers stuff like dedicated media keys, better keycaps, and overall better design and build quality. You also have the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro, which is a great option for users who travel a lot. This one features a detachable cable, compact form factor, and a selection between Cherry MX Blue and Red switches. Finally, the Redragon K587 is another budget choice from Redragon but this one comes with lots of extra features. Stuff like the wrist rest, dedicated media keys and volume control, and macro keys.
Best Budget Wireless TKL Mechanical Keyboard
Corsair made a marvelous product with the K63 wireless TKL keyboard. The company produced an excellent wireless keyboard that won’t break the bank offering features usually found on the more expensive models. Stuff like the wrist rest and dedicated media keys, which are really nice to find on a budget wireless mechanical keyboard. On the other hand, you get only a single-color backlight, which shouldn’t be a big deal to most users. We don’t mind it, especially because the blue backlight looks rather nice.
As for the build quality, it’s great. The plastic used feels nice under the fingers and the keyboard has a solid weight. As for the keycaps, they are above average, made of ABS plastic. Could be better but for the price, these are pretty solid. This keyboard is great for typing and gaming alike. Cherry MX Red aren’t tactile or clicky but are pretty solid for typing. The wireless connection is stable and the battery can charge via the provided detachable cable. It has a disappointing life of about 15 hours, which is the most glaring downside of the Corsair K63.
If you want an alternative, check out the Logitech G613 LIGHTSPEED. This is another budget wireless TKL mechanical keyboard that offers Logitech’s best in class Lightspeed wireless technology along with Romer G mechanical switches, dedicated media keys, a wrist rest, and one row of macro keys. Also, this one uses AA batteries instead of a rechargeable unit, offering a battery life of up to 18 months. A much better solution than the rechargeable 15-hour battery, if you ask us. This is an excellent package for the price but if you need something compact and wireless, take a look at our next choice.
The Best TKL Mechanical Keyboard for Mac Computers
If you own a Mac or just want an ultra-compact TKL mechanical keyboard the Keychron K2 RGB should be on your watch list. This is a wireless keyboard that doesn’t cost too much and that comes with a full set of Mac-specific keys. You receive a set of replacement keys for Windows-centric functions so don’t worry about this keyboard working on Windows.
What we like with this keyboard is its ultra-compact design, a choice between the Gateron Blue, Brown, and Red mechanical keys, and its wireless connectivity. The choice between the tactile, clicky, and linear switches make this keyboard excellent for typists and gamers. When it comes to build quality, it’s great. Aluminum frame in combination with quality plastic make this one an excellently built piece of engineering. Keys are also feeling durable and well-built. Another plus is the ability to use this keyboard with up to three devices at once. Just flick the switch on its side and you can switch the device in a millisecond. Finally, the RGB backlighting isn’t the brightest but it looks rather pleasant.
Now, for the downsides. First of all, the rechargeable battery can last up to one week, if you aren’t using RGB lighting. That won’t break any records but that’s okay. What we don’t like is the fact that the USB-C (Yay!) charging cable has a connector placed at the side of the keyboard, making it hard to use it while charging. Next, the keyboard doesn’t come with dedicated media keys. Finally, it doesn’t include any wrist rest. For the price, we would like one. Nevertheless, this is the best TKL mechanical keyboard for Mac users and one of the best portable mechanical TKL keyboards on the market.
Best Low-Profile TKL Mechanical Keyboard
Among the low-profile TKL mechanical keyboards, the Logitech G915 TKL is in front of the pack. This keyboard features superb build quality in a compact body combined with think keycaps. This creates one extremely thin mechanical keyboard that’s sturdy and tough, and that can take a beating after a hard loss in Modern Warfare.
When it comes to its wireless connection, you can pick between the USB dongle and Bluetooth. The USB dongle is by far the better choice thanks to Logitech’s Lightspeed wireless tech that massively reduces latency allowing wireless peripherals to have the performance of their wired counterparts. Bluetooth connection is also stable and can be used for typing but gaming isn’t advised since it can lag a bit from time to time.
The G915 offers an excellent selection of features that not only includes dual wireless connectivity, allowing the keyboard to work with two devices at the time. You have dedicated media and some extra keys, as well as the volume knob. Next, the RGB backlighting is excellent, with bright and saturated colors that provide the perfect backdrop for the brushed aluminum surface of the keyboard. On the flip side, no matter how the quality of a TKL mechanical keyboard the G915 TKL is, it’s extremely expensive. Also, you don’t have a wrist rest, which is baffling for a keyboard at this price point.
Best Mid-Range TKL Mechanical Keyboard
The mid-range TKL mechanical keyboard market is teeming with excellent products. The Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition is the logical choice for most users since it combines compact design with the great build quality, slick minimalistic design, and solid price. When it comes to typing, this keyboard is pretty good. The optical-mechanical keys are comfortable to use but they are very easy to press which can lead to more typos until you adjust to their specific behavior.
When it comes to gaming, this keyboard is a killing machine. Ultra-responsive keys in combination with small actuation force make Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL extremely responsive and fast. You need to barely press a key and it will respond, which is excellent for games where every millisecond matters. When it comes to build quality, it’s excellent. The plastic used is tough as nails and feels like indestructible and the aluminum backplate is there to give the keyboard needed rigidity and weight.
The keyboard also has bright and saturated RGB backlighting, which can be tweaked to infinity with the Razer Synapse app. When it comes to issues the first we’ve noticed is the lack of wrist rest. Next, the keyboard doesn’t have any dedicated media keys. Which would be okay since it does feature compact design made for carrying the keyboard around. But then, why the cable isn’t removable!? Overall, this is a great keyboard for gaming, but some strange design choices and high price are pulling it down.
If you want an alternative, check out the Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL. It features regular mechanical switches made by Razer, it has a wrist rest and is great for gaming and typing. Next, we have the Cooler Master MK730 with Cherry MX Brown switches. This is another excellent mid-range TKL mechanical keyboard. It’s great for typing, comes with a wrist rest, and features a compact design with the superb build quality. Finally, we have the Logitech G PRO, which is great for gaming but its Romer G switches aren’t the best for typing.
Best High-End TKL Mechanical Keyboard
The SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL is a high-end TKL mechanical keyboard that comes with a wide range of features. First of all, the all-aluminum body feels durable and looks excellent. This keyboard looks like it can last for decades. Next, you have superb RGB backlighting with lots of modes to pick from. You also get a comfortable wrist rest along with dedicated media keys. Finally, the keyboard includes a small OLED screen for showing various bits of info and adjusting the keyboard settings.
The OmniPoint switches allow users to individually adjust actuation distance for almost every key on the keyboard. This is great for gaming and typing since you can set two profiles, one for typing and one for gaming. This allows users to have ultra-fast responsive while gaming and at the same time enjoy a typing experience with switches having the same actuation distance as regular Cherry MX switches.
Overall, this is an excellent keyboard. We really love its switches, which are great for gamers and typists. But everything else on this keyboard is also top-notch, which also brings a high price. But if you’re ready to pay the price, the SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL is the best high-end TKL mechanical keyboard out there.
Best TKL Mechanical Keyboard for Typing
If you want a TKL mechanical keyboard for typing, we cannot recommend Ducky’s One 2 series enough. It includes a lot of different TKL designs that come with various mechanical switches. But all of them offer the same base selection of features. Stuff like the perfect build quality, top of the line keycaps, excellent typing feel, detachable cables, compact design, and slick looks. You have models with RGB lighting and without it, and you can use Ducky keycaps to create your own unique design.
We’ve picked the Ducky One 2 Horizon TKL because of its slick design and Cherry MX Blue switches, which are the best for typing. Just put O-rings on those keys and you’ll be able to enjoy the clicky and silent performance. As well as all other Ducky keyboards, the Ducky One 2 Horizon TKL features extremely durable keycaps, detachable USB-C cable, and three-level stands to adjust the keyboard height. The only major downside is the lack of backlighting. Also, these keyboard comes without a wrist rest. Overall, this is an excellent TKL keyboard. If you want more choice check out the entire One 2 keyboard series.