Desk space is at a premium these days. More and more people are working, gaming, and socializing at their desks and the amount of different peripherals and accessories required to achieve all of those goals often adds up to quite a cramped space to work in. So it makes sense that smaller keyboards, which are often the largest peripheral on any given desk, have become so popular. Not to mention the ergonomic advantage of being able to put your keyboard hand close to your mouse hand. A 60 percent keyboard gives up quite a bit in the realm of keyboard sizes. No number pad, no function row, and no arrow keys means that you'll likely be using key combinations for some of the more superfluous functions that your keyboard provides. But think of all of the space you'll be able to reclaim, and after an adjustment period most of you likely won't even notice having to do an occasional extra key press to achieve something. Besides, when you're gaming the most important keys are often W, A, S, and D. So take a look below to see our picks for best 60 percent gaming keyboards.
As a note: you'll often see keyboards listed as 60 percent that are actually up to and including 80 percent at many retailers. A 60% keyboard traditionally has no function row or arrow keys (of course there are exceptions), while an 80 percent keyboard is most commonly a full-sized layout missing only the number pad. For 80 percent keyboards (also referred to as TKL) check out 2021’s 5 Best TKL keyboards.
Anne Pro has been a big player in the mechanical keyboard game for a while now. The Pro 2 pops up in the mechanical keyboard community quite often, and for good reason. It features a 1900 mAh battery, double shot PBT key caps, a removable USB type-C cable, and full per-key RGB. It uses contextual presses to define the arrow keys, meaning that quickly tapping the function keys in the bottom right of the layout causes them to act as arrow keys. It also includes Bluetooth, full key rollover, and can be customized with multiple types of key switches. Currently it's offered in black or white frames with Gateron, Box, or Cherry switches. Customized macros and settings are stored on the keyboard itself, and can be adjusted in ObinsLab software. It also comes in a wired option for those who don't need a portable solution.
The Qisan Magicforce is a good middle ground between a true minimal 60 percent keyboard and its larger 80 percent sibling. It still does away with the function row for maximum space efficiency, but retains the arrow keys for those of you who still make use of them (such as left-handed users). It comes in a variety of switch manufacturers and types, as well as two colors. Qisan also offers matching dedicated number pads for you occasional ten-key users who don't want to sacrifice the desk space to having one permanently on your keyboard proper.
The Ducky One 2 Mini v2 RGB, in addition to being a mouthful, is another true 60 percent layout with three different adjustable height levels, a removable USB type-C, and full RGB. Ducky has been around for a little while now, and is well known for offering special editions of their mechanical keyboards, usually based on the Chinese Zodiac. They also offer specialty key caps, and real-deal Cherry MX key switches. It's also one of the more stylized keyboards in this size category, with Ducky's branding along the back edge and a two-tone case design for most of their different color and design options. So if you're looking for something that stands out a bit even without fancy artisan key caps, the Ducky One 2 Mini will do nicely.
Corsair makes a ton of gaming peripherals, and their K65 line of keyboards includes several sizes and layouts. The K65 RGB Mini includes per-key RGB, double-shot PBT key caps, and side-printed functions for easy access to the secondary key layer. Corsair uses Cherry MX Speed Silver key switches, which are specifically designed for gaming with a shorter, linear travel compared to Cherry MX Blue or Blacks. Like most Corsair peripherals, it's also compatible with their iCUE software suite. They also advertise an extremely fast response time using their Axon processor technology, which is good news for esports players. Corsair also offers their own alternative key caps for their mechanical keyboards, but any Cherry MX compatible key caps should work fine.
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Razer is legendary in the PC gaming peripheral game, and keyboards and mice has been their bread and butter product category for many years. The Huntsman Mini uses their proprietary optical switch technology, which purports to offer substantially faster response time compared to other key switch brands. It also offer side-printed functions, removable USB type-C, an aluminum frame, and a litany of on-board RGB profiles that remove the need for their Synapse software (although additional functions are offered by Synapse). They offer both their clicky and linear optical switches, with 1.5mm and 1.2mm actuation force, respectively. Despite their proprietary nature, key caps designed for standard Cherry MX style keys (and Cherry clones) should fit, but double check with your key cap manufacturer if you're looking to swap them out to be sure.
Some larger manufacturers have caught on and started making 60 percent keyboards, and it has been a favorite size in the mechanical keyboard community for years now. And it's easy to see why: it's small without sacrificing keys necessary for typing, function keys can provide less-commonly used keys, and it saves a ton of space on your desk. When choosing a keyboard specifically for gaming you'll most likely want to look for key switches that advertise as linear, as opposed to clicky. Clicky and tactile key switches are generally best for good typing feel, but can slow down key presses as far as gaming is concerned.
For more hardware guides check out How to Clean a Laptop Keyboard | Safely Clean Your Laptop Keyboard and 2021’s 5 Best Fabric Gaming Chairs on Pro Game Guides.