How to Choose the PERFECT Keyboard Size (60%, 65%, TKL, 100%)

How to Choose the PERFECT Keyboard Size (60%, 65%, TKL, 100%)

This blog post Hardware Canucks is going to explain all the keyboard sizes that exist and why they are used, so you can buy the perfect keyboard size as per your needs and preferences.

Full Size/100% Keyboards

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So let’s begin with a full-size chunker known as the 100% keyboard or a full-size keyboard, it has the full number pad, home cluster, F keys up top, arrow keys and etc.

The main advantage of this keyboard size is the options, it is by far the most popular keyboard size and probably the most sold too.

It’s great for data entry because of numpad and especially for keyboards that have the numpad on the left side, there’s so much variety in design.

And if you’re looking for unique features, interesting designs, they generally come to full-size keyboards first.

This may include digital dials or detachable macro clusters, insanely high pulling rates, USB and audio pass-throughs, proximity sensors for illumination and every switch in existence you can imagine is most likely available.

Also since many full-size keyboards are not worried about being compact, many gaming keyboards have the macro columns on the left side for that additional functionality.

Many also come with a wrist rest but I have yet to stumble upon a full-size keyboard with a removable cable so that’s kind of reserved for the smaller keyboards.

And also chances are your very first mechanical keyboard was full size because of reasons sometimes buying a smaller keyboard feels like a compromise because of the missing keys.

Full Size/100% Keyboards
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And if you’re worried about the gaming space there’s still hope for a properly aggressive slant with a full-size chunker so you can still manage to have enough room for your mouse to maneuver.

If you never really use the numpad and prefer the much better ergonomics for typing with a smaller keyboard then there is no need to go for a full-size keyboard.

Buy Full-Size Keyboards




1800 Compact Keyboards

1800 Compact Keyboards
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This size category is a strange downsize of a full-size keyboard but with the same number of keys without the dividing spaces making the body a little bit more compact thus the 1800 compact classification.

It offers all the same advantages of a standard full-size keyboard but just with a slightly less chunky frame, this is the version where all the keys are in the same row offering a very unique look.

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But a more common solution of the 1800 compact form factor is this type above with the lower position arrow keys and the slightly closer numpad.

Personally, I don’t see many reasons for this form factor to exist aside from the slightly different look that you might expect from a full-size keyboard and they are actually quite easy to find on amazon so they are pretty common now.

Buy 1800 Compact Keyboards




TKL/Tenkeyless Keyboards

TKL/TenKeyLess Keyboards
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TKL stands for ten key less but in reality it’s more like seventeen key less, imagine just cutting off the numpad to the right of the arrow keys and that’s your TKL keyboard meaning you still have the dedicated F keys and the handy home cluster.

Just like with full size variety is plenty in this form factor both from the mainstream sector and lots of entry enthusiast options that focus on TKL.

TKL/TenKeyLess Keyboards
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Many gaming brands focus on TKL sales because it’s the perfect compromise between comfort and usable keys with lots of new available space for mouse movement after you properly angle the keyboard that is the primary advantage of TKL over full-size keyboards.

Also not only is it great for space conscious setups but ergonomically it’s just far superior for typing because the alphabet portion is just more centered when placed at the same distance from the mouse.

The only complaint with TKL is the price, many times it’s more expensive than the full-size keyboards and if you end up getting a custom keycap set which normally comes to cover a full-size keyboard you end up having many unused keycaps.

Buy TKL/Tenkeyless Keyboards



75% Keyboards

75% Keyboards
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Moving down the list we no longer have the names for the keyboard sizes instead they’re based on the percentages of a full size 100 keyboard.

So the 75% keyboards are becoming more popular especially with the introduction of the Glorious GMMK Pro.

Basically it’s a more compact version of TKL with minimal spaces between the F row and the home/arrow cluster.

The bottom row on the right of the spacebar shrinks in size and the shift key is also smaller to accommodate the up key but the rest of the keyboard is identical for keycap swapping and such which is why it’s reserved for maybe the enthusiast market or the custom community.

Since finding keycap replacements for 75% body is a bit more challenging, generally it’s not as common as TKL but functionally it serves basically the same purpose of being compact without losing your F row, the home cluster or the arrow keys but it might not be your style visually because how close the keycaps are to each other.

Buy 75% Keyboards



80% Keyboards

80% Keyboards
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The 80% layout has all the same keys and basically an identical layout as a 75% keyboard but the function row is separated from the numbers row so it’s kind of a hybrid between a TKL and the 75%.

They look unique that’s for sure and I generally found in the special colorway designs and something you might get as your like main desktop productivity keyboard if all the other sizes are a bit too generic for you.

Buy 80% Keyboards


65% Keyboards

65% Keyboards
Hardware Canucks

The 65% has the same layout as the 75% but without the dedicated functions row making the keyboard even smaller depth wise, this means the functions row is now built into the numbers row as secondary controls usually activated with the Fn key.

This is the smallest keyboard that you will be willing to use because it still has the dedicated arrows key plus that home cluster that is in the single column above.

The main advantage here with a 65% keyboard is that it’s a perfect complement for your notebook you can travel around with this in your backpack or give you maximum space for mouse movement in an FPS environment.

The main disadvantage is the activation of secondary keys like your F row, the tilde key and all your home cluster that are all one Fn click away.

And given this keycap swapping for the smaller non-standardized layouts becomes challenging as the secondary controls are not all the same plus the bottom row is not standardized especially on the right of the spacebar on most models.

Unless you find a keyboard like the ROG Falchion which has basically a standard bottom row because of a slightly shorter spacebar.

Buy 65% Keyboard



60% Keyboards

60% Keyboards
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If all you care about is the was zoned for gaming you can go even smaller into the 60% form factor.

These 60% keyboards are quite popular since the keycap layout is mostly standardized across this category meaning your colorway options are plenty.

60% Keyboards
Hardware Canucks

You can see the 60% interior is the same as on a full-size keyboard and just like with the 65%, the functions row is built into your numbers row but so are the arrow keys and the home cluster that are usually scattered throughout the keyboard and are activated as secondary functions

If you use them enough they become easy to recognize and learn but it’s definitely an adjustment coming from anything larger.

60% Keyboards
Hardware Canucks

The biggest benefit is the even smaller size of the keyboard going at a slight angle to give you that maximum mouse movement which is awesome for FPS gaming.

But on the other hand, It can be very uncomfortable using a 60% keyboard in any productivity environment since even the delete key is combined with backspace, and constantly have to press Fn to activate any of the F rows.

60% Keyboards
Hardware Canucks

And even if you put a 60% keyboard right next to a 65% keyboard the size difference is one column of keys which is quite significant from a usability standpoint which is why the 65% keyboard is the minimum to recommend even for space saving purposes since you gain so much additional functionality.




Gaming Keypads

gaming keypads

An alternative for gaming only are gaming keypads from Razer or Redragon or others but they serve that very specific purpose and they’re generally quite expensive and with the layout that you will need to learn to be good with.



40% Keyboards

40% keyboards

Now going even smaller we have the highly niche size of 40% keyboards these only have the full alphabet without the arrow keys without, the functions row.

The purpose is to go as small as possible and as unique as possible as well with reliance on your own configuration of different layers of functionality.

It’s a pretty cool concept and it’s something that I would recommend only if you’re willing to experiment.

Conclusion – What is the best Keyboard Size?

And so that is the keyboard sizes explained if you have a preferred keyboard size let me know in the comments, I realized that full size keyboards are still by far the largest sales in terms of proportions to anything else that is below It.

But TKL is probably going to be the gamers favorites because it’s a really good balance between compact having all the functions still available to you and anything smaller you will have to adapt but still 65% keyboard if you haven’t tried It, It’s fantastic as long as you don’t really use the functions row.


I hope this blog post helped you with your query? let me know in the comments below, and thank you for reading.

Also, Check Out

Keyboard Terms EXPLAINED – A Guide to Switches, Stems & More!

Top 5 Gaming Mice Buying MISTAKES & How to Avoid Them

Mechanical Or Membrane – Which One Is The Best Keyboard For You and What are their differences

How To Improve Your Gaming and Productivity Setup With These 10 Simple Steps!

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