Tenkeyless mechanical keyboards have been gaining popularity lately. They’re perfect for those who are looking for looking for a great compact gaming mechanical keyboard, but should you buy a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard? What are the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards?

Well, we will be covering everything you need to know about tenkeyless mechanical keyboards in this article!

What Is A Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard?

As the name suggests, tenkeyless mechanical keyboards are essentially standard full-sized keyboards without a ten-key / number pad. Other than that, there really is not much difference function wise.

Benefits Of Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards:

You might be surprised to know that getting rid of the number pad does actually have a few benefits. One of these benefits includes much more desk space which allows for comfortable right-handed mousing. Some FPS gamers prefer this setup as it gives them more freedom of movement.

Another benefit is that tenkeyless mechanical keyboards are in fact more ergonomic than their full-size counterparts. When using a TKL keyboard you naturally align your shoulder with your mouse since it’s closer to the center of your body.

Drawbacks Of Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards:

Along with the benefits, there are some drawbacks to choosing a TKL keyboard over a full-size one. The most obvious will be that you can’t play games well that use the number pad for some controls. I found that I had to use a controller to play GTAV since doing certain things required a number pad, and of course, mine was missing.

Another drawback is that if you work with numbers a lot, you’re going to definitely miss having a number pad.

Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard: Our Top 3 Picks For 2017

#1: WASD Code 87-Key Illuminated

First on our list, we have the WASD Code 87-Key Illuminated, this is the best tenkeyless mechanical available to buy currently. The Code 87-key is manufactured by WASD, a very popular keyboard manufacturer among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts as they provide solid performance and build quality.

The Code 87-Key manages to balance the fine line between flash and class better than almost any other keyboard we’ve reviewed. It has a minimalistic look matched with some beautiful white backlighting. The combination really is amazing.

When it comes to mechanical switches, you will be happy to know that WASD makes the Code-87 in a wide variety of Cherry MX switches so you will be able to find one that suits your needs. My personal recommendation would be to go with the Cherry MX Browns, but again it really is personal preference.

In terms of build quality, the Code 87-Key features a solid matte black construction and has some flex when a bit when torsional pressure is applied (grabbing the case and twisting in opposite directions).

Overall, you won’t be disappointed with this keyboard.

CODE 87-Key Illuminated Mechanical Keyboard with White LED Backlighting - Cherry MX Brown
  • Cherry MX Brown "Tactile Bump" Mechanical Switches. Gold plated contacts rated at 50 million cycles.
  • Full white LED backlighting with 7 levels of brightness adjustment. Onboard memory saves your last lighting preference.
  • NKRO/6KRO technology allows any number of keys to be pressed simultaneously over PS/2. 6 keys + modifiers available over USB.
  • Hardware-level configurable output modes with built in DIP switch.
  • Slim case design with multi-channel cable routing system and detachable Micro USB cable.

#2: CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i

The CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i provides a great mix of features, comfortable gaming and typing experiences, all within a compact package.

In terms of design, you will find that the keyboard is relatively small and quite light. This means that there will be some flex in the keyboard, much like the WASD Code-87 above. As with the WASD Code-87, this keyboard also features beautiful white backlighting. This backlighting can be adjusted in terms of brightness and style. The backlighting options are surprisingly granular, ranging from solid to pulsating, to lighting up only after users strike a key.

When it comes to switches, you will be happy to know that the QuickFire Rapid comes in just about every Cherry MX switch available.

Overall, another great tenkeyless choice you won’t be disappointed with.

CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i Fully Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with ActivLite Technology and Per-Key Lighting (Blue Switch Model)
  • Fully Mechanical CHERRY MX Blue Key switches - Audible, Click Feedback Made for Gaming
  • Ten keyless Form Factor - A compact, ergonomic design makes it easy for travel and allows you to keep your mouse arm closer to your body for enhanced comfort
  • Fully White LED Backlit - Total Illumination for Complete Visibility in Low-Light Environments
  • Activity Technology - Instant Response and trailing light effects, powered by a 32-bit ARM processor
  • Individual Key Lighting - Save up to 4 different lighting profiles for different games or usages

#3: Corsair Vengeance K65

I’m a huge fan of Corsair keyboards, their keyboards always look great and provide good quality. The Corsair k65 is no different, the first thing you will notice is the brushed aluminum chasey that gives the keyboard a premium feel.

However, unlike the other keyboards on this list, the k65 doesn’t feature any backlighting which might be a deal breaker for some. There is, however, the k63 version, which features red backlighting but doesn’t have the brushed aluminum chasey.

In terms of switches, the k65 only comes in Cherry MX Reds. Which is a let down if you already have a switch in mind. Having used Cherry MX reds for over a year now, I will say that they are really nice for gaming and typing, so if this is your first mechanical keyboard, you will enjoy it.

Overall, this keyboard focuses on being minimalistic while providing top build quality.

Sale
Corsair Vengeance K65 Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  • Compact 10-Keyless Design - Fits into smaller desktop spaces and packs easily for transport to gaming events
  • Cherry MX Red Mechanical Switches - Smooth, linear key response for ultra fast double and triple taps without the audible click
  • Full Sized Keys - Uses standard mechanical keys for full sized keyboard comfort
  • Brushed Gunmetal Anodized Aluminum Chassis - Professional-Grade look and feel plus the rugged durability needed for hours of gaming
  • Full Key Matrix Anti-Ghosting with Full Key Rollover on USB - Every keystroke translates into accurate gameplay-even when multiple keys are pressed

Mechanical Switch Guide

Not sure which type of switch to choose or how mechanical switches work? Linus made an awesome video showing you everything you need to know, check it out below:

Another thing you can do is purchase a mechanical switch tester kit to see which mechanical switch will be best for you.

In Summary

As with anything, there can only be one winner. The title of the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboard has to go to the Code 87-Key. There’s just something about its simplicity that really catches your eye.Either way, choosing any of the keyboards on this list will provide you with a great gaming and typing experience.

Either way, choosing any of the keyboards on this list will provide you with a great gaming and typing experience. If you are not sure on which Cherry MX switch to go with we recommend purchasing a switch tester kit so you can get a feel for each type of switch before you make a decision on which keyboard to purchase.