Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards for Gaming and Office Use
Modified: February 7, 2023
Upgrade your desktop computer setup with these tenkeyless mechanical keyboards! Discover how they can improve your typing and gaming experience.
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A keyboard is one of the cheapest computer peripherals you can buy. It’s so affordable that you can get a good one for just less than $100! Now before you make a purchase, you need to know why you’re buying one. Are you going to use it only for typing or is it also for playing online games? If it is for typing, then try to look for models with ergonomic features. But if it’s for gaming, it’s better to choose something that has accurate mechanical switches. Fortunately, there’s a keyboard that is suitable for both gaming and office work — the tenkeyless mechanical keyboard.
What is a Tenkeyless (TKL) Keyboard?
Non-techies are probably scratching their heads now, wondering what a tenkeyless keyboard is. Simply put, it’s a keyboard without a 10-key numeric keypad.
Regular, full-sized keyboards usually have a total of 108 keys. So, if we remove the entire numeric keypad, how many keys does a TKL keyboard have left? Only 87 keys. Some have 88 keys (or more) because mechanical keyboards usually have extra special “macro” keys.
The advantage of using a keyboard like this is more desk space. After all, tenkeyless keyboards can fit into a small corner computer desk with no trouble!
Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard vs. Regular Keyboard
For casual computer users, all keyboards are the same. They only see differences in style, but not when it comes to functionality. However, each keyboard is manufactured differently. Some have a rubber-dome membrane, while others have built-in switches. Those with a rubber dome membrane are the regular, mass-produced keyboards. Meanwhile, others with built-in switches are what you call mechanical keyboards.
So, what’s the difference between the two? Which one is better? Well, it depends. If you need an affordable keyboard for your office desk, you can never go wrong with conventional membrane keyboards. Alternatively, if performance is the more valuable quality to you, then a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard is way better.
With a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard, relaying information to a computer is faster because each key has an individual switch. If the key stops working, you can replace it with a new one to make your keyboard functional again. You can’t do this with a membrane keyboard because it uses only one silicone keypad for the keys. If one key fails, the entire keyboard is rendered useless.
No key rollover is also one of the advantages of a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. This means you don’t have to push the key all the way down for it to register. You’ll find this beneficial if you have to type fast or if you play games that require quick response time, such as first-person shooter (FPS) games.
Even though mechanical keyboards have more advantages than other conventional types, this doesn’t mean that membrane keyboards aren’t worth owning. Membrane keyboards are relatively quieter than most mechanical alternatives. This is a huge plus if you value tranquility in your area. Although you can find some silent mechanical keyboards, they usually come with a higher price tag. Therefore, it’s still better to choose membrane keyboards if you prefer an affordable silent keyboard.
8 Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards
Tenkeyless mechanical keyboards are much better than regular, membrane keyboards, so it’s a natural choice should you have the budget. If you decide to get one, you have to consider a few factors: the type of switch, build quality, and programmability. However, we won’t get into the technical details of each factor. Instead, we’ll list some of the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards to help you narrow down your long list of options. Here are some of them.
If your goal is to become an eSports player someday, you should invest in a good tenkeyless mechanical keyboard like this one from Corsair. It has a tournament switch that allows one to activate the static backlighting feature. You’ll find it easier to focus on the game with a static backlight than with moving RGB lights. This tournament switch also disables macro activations that could potentially distract you from the game.
Aside from gamers, this mechanical keyboard is also advantageous for fast typists. It features a fast response time with an actuation distance of 1.2mm. This refers to the distance that a key has to travel to the actuation point or the switch that relays the signal to a computer.
- Hyper-processing technology
- Durable, aluminum frame
- 88 keys
- 1.55 mm thick
- USB connectivity type
- Fast response time
- Convenient tournament switch for gaming
- Takes 100 million keystrokes before the keyboard wears out
- Has harsh lighting effects
Most membrane keyboards are cheap because they are made of plastic. Whereas, mechanical keyboards have superior durability because most have an aluminum frame. This Compact Mechanical Keyboard from Corsair uses an aircraft-grade anodized aluminum alloy. It is a type of aluminum that is resistant to corrosion and has high strength. Some manufacturers even use aircraft-grade aluminum as an alternative to heavier metals. So, expect this mechanical keyboard to last for years!
- Multi-color backlighting
- Programmable tenkeyless keyboard
- 87 keys
- RGB LED color
- 2mm actuation distance
- Looks exquisite with its anodized-brushed aluminum frame
- Allows you to sync the keyboard lights with your other computer peripherals
- Lights are not vibrant enough
Spending long hours typing on your computer could potentially cause wrist injury. One way you can prevent this is by using a keyboard with a wrist rest. Fortunately, this RGB mechanical keyboard from Redragon has a detachable palm rest with a tilt adjustment. These ergonomic features will make all-day keyboard use comfortable to use.
Plus, this tenkeyless mechanical keyboard has programmable MACRO keys. These are keyboards keys that you can configure to perform a specific task. It works just like a speed dial on a mobile phone.
- Precise, tactile feedback
- Ergonomic, detachable palm rest
- 101 keys
- 6 ft. detachable USB-C Cable
- Item dimensions: 15.17 inches x 8.35 inches x 1.4 inches
- Includes MACRO keys and multimedia keys
- Has a volume control wheel to adjust the audio
- Loud keyboard typing sounds
Are you the type of person who doesn’t like loud, clicky keyboard noises? Luckily, this Mechanical Keyboard is one of the quiet tenkeyless keyboards you can buy on Amazon. Compared to most mechanical keyboards with a clicky switch, this one has an almost inaudible tactile switch. You’ll find this useful if you frequently play MMO (massively multiplayer online) games, where communication with other gamers is relevant. The silent tactile switch is also great for casual computer users who don’t want unwanted attention in coffee shops and co-working spaces.
- Detachable USB cable
- O-Ring sound dampeners
- Individually backlit keys
- 80-million keystroke lifespan
- Item dimensions: 5.24 inches x 14.22 inches x 1.42 inches
- Looks aesthetic because of the white LED lighting
- Macro support feature allows the execution of complex commands
- Metal plate is quite thin
Nothing beats wireless computer peripherals when it comes to convenience. Just like this Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard from Logitech. Since it’s wireless, it allows you to work on the computer at the most optimal position. You don’t have to adjust to make sure the wire doesn’t tangle on the desk.
As for the performance, this TKL mechanical keyboard doesn’t fall short. The clicky tactile switch sounds satisfying while you are typing. It’s as if you are typing on a vintage typewriter but with softer keys.
- Tactile, clicky switch
- LIGHTSYNC technology
- Low-profile mechanical switches
- Item dimensions: 15.2 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
- Available in 3 options: tactile, linear, and clicky
- Thin but durable frame
- No cords and wires; keeps desks clutter-free
- LIGHTSYNC technology allows you to personalize the LED color of each key
- No wrist rest
People Who Search For Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards Also Search For
Maybe you’ve had a wireless device before, and the battery drains easily, so you are now hesitant about buying a wireless keyboard. Luckily, this TKL mechanical keyboard from RK ROYAL KLUDGE has a 1850mAh battery capacity. If fully charged, it could last up to a week as long as the backlight is off. Moreover, it has two modes: wired and wireless. The wired mode is helpful if you are experiencing keyboard connectivity issues.
- Wired and wireless mode
- 16.8 million RGB colors with 9 custom backlit modes
- 87 keys
- Wireless 2.4G technology
- Overall dimensions: 14 inches x 5.3 inches x 1.5 inches
- Adjustable brightness and glowing speed
- Software support for customizing macro settings
- No liquid resistance/ anti-spill feature
Tenkeyless keyboards are, indeed, highly durable, but they are not completely indestructible. Some mechanical switches might fail, especially if they are dirty. You could replace the switch, but you still have to disassemble the keyboard first and use a soldering tool to remove the faulty switch. If you don’t want to go through such hassle, consider investing in this Tenkeyless Gaming Mechanical Keyboard from DROP. It has hot-swappable switches that allow you to replace a broken switch easily.
- Hot-swappable keys
- Dual USB-C connectors
- Customizable RGB backlighting
- 87 keys
- USB 2.0 speed
- 70-million keystroke lifespan
- Ergonomic, 6-degree TKL mechanical keyboard
- Customize macros using the QMK software
- Extra USB connectors for charging and connecting devices
- Quite expensive
We all know how expensive mechanical keyboards are. Fortunately, you can still get a budget tenkeyless mechanical keyboard with fairly good specs – like this Pink Mechanical Keyboard from HUO JI. Not only does it have hot-swappable keys, but it also has anti-ghosting, NKRO (N-Key Rollover) features. They allow you to press multiple keys at once, and they will all be registered correctly. You’ll find this advantageous if you are a fast typist.
- N-Key Rollover and anti-ghosting
- Hot-swappable switches
- 87 keys
- Available in different colors
- Item dimensions: 14.5 inches x 6.5 inches x 1.2 inches
- Cute pink color
- Slightly quiet, tactile keys
- Made of top-grade ABS plastic and metal
- Some loud switches
You don’t necessarily need to buy a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard as regular membrane keyboards nowadays are good enough already. However, if you want something that would last for at least a decade, consider upgrading to a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. Not only are they highly durable, but they are also equipped with advanced features that help elevate typing and gaming experience.
If you are going to buy a keyboard and other computer peripherals, don’t forget to also shop for some desk decorations! You might want to check out some of these desk decor ideas to get inspiration for a productive home office setup.