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Full-size vs TKL vs 60% - Optimal Keyboard Size Guide For Your Setup

7 Mar 2021

Whether it’s a budget membrane keyboard for home office use, ergonomic keyboard for long typing sessions or a gaming keyboard for the maximum edge over your opponents, keyboards come in a range of different sizes and styles to suit all kinds of needs.


Gaming keyboards have been getting a lot of attention recently as mainstream manufacturers have started to produce a wider variety of keyboard form factors to fit their growing user bases. In the past, only at the high end of custom mechanical keyboards were there multiple layouts and options available. Here are some of the most common sizes for keyboards today which are widely available for purchase:


  • The standard full size or 100% keyboard has been around forever, setting the standard for the amount and placement of the keys on a desktop board.
  • An up and coming favourite is the TKL or tenkeyless form factor. These keyboards are typically almost identical to a full-size keyboard but are just missing the number keys and additional function keys on the right side of the full-size keyboards.
  • 60% keyboards are also becoming a more popular choice for users wanting an extremely compact form factor keyboard which retains most of the functionality needed for day to day use.

Let’s go over each of the form factors in more detail – what each one brings to the table, or what compromises are made in the process.



Full Size | 100% Keyboards

Most people will be familiar with the 100% or full-size keyboard. They have the standard traditional keys, a row of function keys, arrow keys and a full-size number pad. A standard full-size keyboard will usually either have 104 keys or 108 keys including some extra media function keys.



PROS :

  • Full functionality for basically any use case or application
  • Easy for business and office use when entering long strings of numbers or frequently using the number pad to enter data.

CONS :

  • Large size, takes up lots of space on the desk
  • Not everyone uses the number pad often, especially since there are number keys in the function row.

OUR FAVOURITES :



Tenkeyless | TKL | 87% Keyboards

Many gamers are becoming more familiar these days with TKL or ten-keyless keyboards becoming very popular. These keyboards are sometimes referred to as 87% keyboards and usually have 87 keys – A full size keyboard with the number pad removed from the right. There are also some TKL keyboards which have the arrow cluster removed and replaced by the numberpad, but this is not quite as common.



PROS :

  • More compact than a full-size keyboard, saves space on a desk and is easier to carry around.
  • A shorter length could mean more space for mouse movement on the right side, which is potentially good for low DPI gamers.

CONS :

  • Not all games are 100% optimized without the number pad, such as the very popular GTA V – flying vehicles are much easier to control and manoeuvre using the number pad.
  • If you need to edit lots of data using the number-keys then over time it is much more efficient to use a number pad.

OUR FAVOURITES :



Ultra Compact | Mini | 60% Keyboards

This is the most common type of keyboard after full size and TKL and is generally the smallest size that a wide range of user can take advantage of. These keyboards cut out the number pad, arrow cluster and the function keys above the main alphanumeric zone. This leaves basically the bare minimum for most people in terms of a usable typing experience. Most of the time any extra functions and number keys that are needed can be accessed as another layer on the keyboard through a function key.



PROS :

  • Super compact layout with minimal space taken up, this gives it a very minimalist aesthetic as well!
  • The sheer reduction in size when compared to a TKL keyboard make it ideal for travel.

CONS :

  • Not having the extra function keys can be a hassle if you find that you need to use them one day for some applications.
  • If the layout of the keys and how the function key access is setup is not done well the keyboard can be difficult to use.

OUR FAVOURITE :



There are various other sizes of keyboards available on the market such as 75% and 40% keyboards, but they are mostly focused at the moment on the DIY section of the industry and not too many people can take full advantage of that kind of board layout for day to day use. The more niche sizes are also generally much more expensive than the more standard sizes, this is due to various factors including things like the volume of units being produced being lower etc.


Check out our full range of gaming and productivity keyboards online, or head into our showroom to get a feel for some of the keyboards that we have available on display!



Author:

Computer Lounge

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