Best tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboards in 2022
When it comes to best TKL keyboards, there are lots of brands competing for your attention.
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 while also getting more free space on your desk. This proved to be a winning formula for lots of people, making TKL keyboards quite popular. Yes, 60% keyboards and other portable form factors took the portable throne away from TKL keyboards, but TKL models are still the best choice for many people. They are the perfect middle ground between portability and usability for many mechanical keyboards connoisseurs.
Anyway, the market is teeming with hundreds of TKL mechanical keyboards, so we’ve decided to look for the best tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboards and then share them with you. Note that we’ve mostly included big-brand keyboard models and models that are available on Amazon. 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.
Okay, this keyboard costs fifty percent less than our budget choice, and for the money, you get lots of keyboards. First of all, the build quality isn’t great, but it’s far from being terrible, 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 an 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 a decent TKL keyboard. If you need something simple and cheap, think about getting this one.
2. Redragon K552: 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, the K552 doesn’t look great. It has too many details printed on lots of keys, and its cramped key placement doesn’t look as good as on some other compact TKL models. On the flip side, the keyboard feels sturdy and like it can last for a long time. Also, you can get it in black or white color choices.
Being a budget option means making lots of cuts to meet the projected price. Here, the company decided to save money on foldable feet and keycaps. Both feel rather cheap, the complete opposite of their sturdy body.
This keyboard comes with blue, red, or brown mechanical switches (Oetemu switches). Blues are clicky and can be rather loud when typing on the keyboard, linear red switches should be great for gamers, and brown switches are for inbetweeners.
Again, budget price bracket equals lots of cut features. In the case of the K552, that means no dedicated media keys, no detachable cable, no multiple switch options to choose from, and no wireless connectivity. However, considering its low price, the K552 does offer a lot for the money.
3. Corsair K63 Wireless: 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 and are made of ABS plastic. Could be better but for the price, these are fine.
This keyboard is great for typing and gaming alike. Cherry MX Red aren’t tactile or clicky but are pretty enjoyable 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.
4. Keychron K2 RGB: The best TKL mechanical keyboard for Mac
If you own a Mac or just want an ultra-compact TKL (it’s a 75% model but let’s just imagine for a minute this being a compact TKL design since Mac-specific keyboards are few and far between) 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 makes this keyboard excellent for typists and gamers.
When it comes to the build quality, it’s great. An aluminum frame in combination with quality plastic makes 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 still 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. More of a quirk than a full-fledged downside but a negative nonetheless. We also don’t like the fact that the USB-C (Yay!) charging cable has a connector placed at the side of the keyboard, making it hard to use 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.
5. Logitech G915 TKL: 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 lean keycaps. This combo 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 a 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 quality a TKL mechanical keyboard the G915 TKL is, it’s still extremely expensive. Also, you don’t have a wrist rest, which is baffling for a keyboard at this price point.
6. HyperX Alloy Origins Core: Best mid-range TKL mechanical keyboard
HyperX always had great prebuilt mechanical keyboards, and the Alloy Origins Core is the company’s latest bullseye. This TKL mechanical keyboard has lots of plusses and a few downsides.
The two best parts of the Alloy Origins Core are the build quality and the RGB backlighting. The keyboard’s built like a tank, with an all-metal body made of aluminum and zero flex while still being fairly slim. Check out our hands-on review for more details regarding the design and build quality.
Next, the RGB backlighting is one of the best implementations we’ve seen on a mechanical keyboard. Colors are richly saturated and super bright, with the underglow augmenting RGB effects thanks to the flat plate and the placement of switches, which allow keycaps to hover above the plate. If you like RGB, this is the keyboard to get.
The typing experience is amazing, thanks to the Red (linear) and Aqua (tactile) switches. The former is excellent for gaming and typing alike. The Aqua switches’ subtle tactile bump, on the other hand, makes them perfect for typing while still being a pretty solid choice for gaming. The keyboard comes with a detachable USB-C cable and adjustable feet with two levels of incline.
When it comes to the negatives, the most obvious one is rattly stabilizers that can get quite loud when typing. Sadly, this is a common issue with most mass produces keyboards. Luckily, you can lube stabs without pulling them out, so that’s something.
Next, the ABS keycaps aren’t great, are loud, and don’t feel quite as luxurious as the rest of the keyboard. Despite its shortcomings, the HyperX Allow Origins Core is one of the best TKL mechanical keyboards on the market. It’s great both for gamers and typists alike.
7. SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL: 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 can be quite handy for gamers who type a lot since you can set two profiles, one for typing and one for gaming.
Multiple actuation profiles allow users to have ultra-fast responsiveness 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. Almost everything else on this keyboard is also top-notch, which equals a high selling price. But if you’re ready to pay the price premium, the SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL is the best high-end TKL mechanical keyboard out there.
8. Ducky One 2 Horizon TKL: 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 Black and Brown switches, which are excellent for typing and gaming alike. Blacks are better than Browns both for typists and gamers, so you know which switch flavor to pick.
As well as all other Ducky keyboards, the Ducky One 2 Horizon TKL features extremely durable keycaps, a 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.
9. GMMK TKL Hot Swap Edition: Best hot-swappable TKL keyboard
While TKL keyboards are quite popular, there aren’t that many hot-swappable models. Most hot-swap keyboards come in 60% and 65% form factors, with 75% hot-swappable keyboards also growing in popularity. Out of the current offerings, we like the GMMK TKL best.
It has excellent build quality, great per-key RGB backlighting, a detachable USB-C cable, and a great price. The keyboard is available in prebuilt and barebone editions. We suggest getting the barebone edition if you already have switches and a keycap set lying around. Further, the prebuilt version comes with brown switches, which aren’t everyone’s favorite cup of tea. Also, the font on the Glorious keycaps isn’t the prettiest.
As for the wrist rest, you probably won’t need one since the keyboard has quite a slim profile. When it comes to downsides, the PCB supports only three-pin switches. This means you’ll have to cut the extra pins if you have five-pin switches. Next, the RGB LEDs are north-faced, which might cause issues with certain keycaps sets.
Also, the pre-lubed stabilizers are decent but not great. Finally, the keycaps in the prebuild version are ABS, but considering the price, that’s not such a big issue. Overall, the GMMK TKL Hot Swap is a quality product with a superb build quality and extremely competitive price.