Save desk space and minimise clutter with one of the best 60% keyboards
Whether you’re moving around for work, or you’re trying to save on space, buying the best 60% keyboard you can find is a worthwhile investment. Hunching over your laptop or tablet to type can be uncomfortable and tiresome, but you don’t want to lug something plank-like around in your bag just for writing. A 60% keyboard allows you to position your laptop/tablet comfortably without occupying much room on whatever you happen to be using for a desk.
Even for gamers, getting a 60% keyboard can be highly beneficial. You’ll instantly get a lot more mouse real estate, which lets you work with more muscle memory and lower sensitivities. There are only a few games that use the numpad these days, and most games let you rebind keys anyway.
Or, if you’re intent on decluttering and have already been considering making the leap to a good wireless mouse and keyboard, why not take it a step further and get rid of keys you never use?
There’s a jungle of keyboards out there, but don’t worry: we’ve tested a wide variety from every brand and cherry-picked our favourites on this page. If you don’t know where to start in your search for your next favourite typing and gaming tool, you can read our buying guide below.
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How to choose the best 60% keyboard for you
What is a 60% keyboard?
A 60% keyboard simply bins the Function row, home cluster/cursor keys, arrow keys and numpad found on a full-sized keyboard. You’re left with the bare essentials in a lightweight package. In short, a 60% keyboard is a smaller, more portable keyboard for whatever device you need to type on.
There are also 65% keyboards that usually add the arrow keys plus a few others from the home cluster back into the mix. These are a nice halfway house, as many people rely on the arrow keys more than they realise for work.
What’s the difference between a 60% keyboard and a TKL keyboard?
TKL stands for tenkeyless, meaning it’s got everything a normal keyboard has except for the ‘ten’ keys of the numpad. It’s an alternative for those who want a smaller keyboard but aren’t ready to sacrifice the home cluster, arrow keys or Function row.
Why get a smaller keyboard?
Firstly, it saves you desk space. Everyone knows the hassle of trying to fit a keyboard and a mouse on a small desk without risking your mouse falling off the side of the table or constantly crashing into the keyboard when you’re scrolling around. It also makes it that much easier to transport, in addition to having fewer keys to clean when that time comes around.
Will it lack features?
As the keyboards in this list show, getting rid of keys doesn’t mean getting rid of features. Plenty of 60% keyboards still have volume controls, cursor buttons, and buttons dedicated to messaging, so you won’t be left wanting.
Most 60% or TKL keyboards use the Function (Fn) key to enable secondary key functions – the arrow keys, for example, are often assigned to letter keys on the right-hand side of the board. It’s less convenient, yes, but it means you can retain the functionality of a full-sized keyboard without the space consumption.
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Alternatively, you can create your own macros and bind your own alternative functions to keys using the various companion applications usually provided by manufacturers.
How we test 60% keyboards
Every keyboard we receive for review undergoes a thorough testing process. We put the keyboard to extensive use over a span of at least a week to form a subjective assessment of the keycaps and switches, be they mechanical or membrane. To assess the build quality and flex, we subject the keyboard to stress tests, and if possible, we remove keys to gauge the simplicity of the process. Though media controls are rarer on 60% keyboards, we’ll use them exhaustively with a selection of desktop applications if they’re present. Where we can, we’ll explore the companion app, using it to create macros, reassign keys, and experiment with the LED lighting. If the keyboard is wireless, we can gauge battery life by noting the amount of time it takes to drain from full to 50%, a process that might take the full week.
To many, the point of a small keyboard is portability, and that often means using it on different devices than you would at home, like your laptop or your phone, and that’s what this keyboard does best. Using clever low energy Bluetooth functionality, it can seamlessly switch between up to 3 connected devices at a time, no matter their operating system.
You won’t have to reach for the USB-C charging cable too often, either, with it anecdotally lasting for an entire month on a single charge as long as you keep the adaptive backlight turned off. With the light on, it’ll still last you for an entire week.
The concave chiclet buttons make for a comfortable typing experience, and with volume buttons, copy-paste transfers and even emoji keys, this is the little keyboard that could. It will easily suit any needs you might have when it comes to having a portable keyboard, and as if that wasn’t enough, it looks good, too.
2. HyperX Alloy Origins 60: Best mid-range 60% keyboard
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Amazon
This is a no-fuss, minimalist keyboard for the gamer who just wants to get down to business, or simply lacks desk space. In our tests, the keys actuated cleanly with minimal resistance, making it the perfect keyboard for a typist as well as a gamer. Even better, you can get a version of this keyboard with mechanical switches to make typing an even more tactile experience.
With the RGB lighting and the translucent pattern on the spacebar, it’s a neat addition to any gaming setup that’ll give you some extra space whilst retaining the most important functions you need to be at your best when working and playing. The Function keys and arrow keys are still accessible by holding the Fn key, so the Origins 60 really doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing much at all.
3. Ducky One 2 mini: Most versatile 60% keyboard
Price when reviewed: £115 | Check price at Overclockers
Although we’ve only reviewed the HyperX version of the Ducky One 2 mini which had limited edition HyperX switches, this is a keyboard we love to recommend. It’s available with Cherry MX Brown switches, which are a good middle ground that will let you use this keyboard for typing with comfort and gaming with precision. It’s durable build-quality is also notable, seeing as you won’t need to worry about it getting damaged in a bag when you carry it to and from the office. It’s got full per key RGB lighting, which means the light won’t fade out toward the edges as with cheaper keyboards.
Add to that the fact that it comes with its own macro recording function called Ducky Macro 2.0 which can be activated with a combination of certain keys, and you’ve got a tidy and highly convenient piece of gaming gear that’ll serve you just as well in-game as in real life.
4. Razer Huntsman Mini Analog: Best high-end 60% keyboard
Price when reviewed: £150 | Check price at Razer
The Razer Huntsman Mini Analog is a pint-sized version of the regular Huntsman Analog, one of our favourite keyboards. As with the regular Huntsman Analog, the main attraction here is the key switches: dive into Razer’s Synapse application and you can manually adjust the actuation point, effectively choosing the level of resistance and typing experience that suits you best. You can even assign two inputs to a single key and differentiate them based on how hard you press. It’s an excellent idea, although we should note that you cannot change the switch type – just the amount of travel.
As long as you like typing on linear keys, the Huntsman Mini Analog delivers an unbeatable, personal typing experience. It’s great for gaming, too – as well as tweaking the travel depth to your liking, you could also assign a second function to a long press of the WASD keys, such as sprinting, reloading or throwing a grenade.
Elsewhere, the Huntsman Mini Analog delivers the standard 60% experience in a clean, minimalist way. Alternative functions are assigned to most of the keys and accessed by holding the Fn key. That includes media/lighting controls, arrow keys and home cluster buttons, so while it is more difficult to access them, you are at least well covered. The lighting meanwhile can be customised to your heart’s content via Razer Synapse.