Keyboards are available in a bunch of different switch types and physical sizes. With hundreds of brands offering a range of different keyboards at similar price points, it can be a fairly puzzling task to select the right one for yourself.
The two most popular types of keyboards based on their size are the full-sized keyboards and the tenkeyless keyboards. But which one should you be eyeing? Let us find out!
Tenkeyless keyboards are the perfect choice for gaming and organization freaks who value every last inch of the available desk space on their PC table.
What Are TKL Keyboards?
If you are not sure what TKL keyboards refer to, here’s the thing. Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards do not have ten keys that are always present on a full-sized keyboard. These are the num-pad block of keys located on the right side of a traditional keyboard.
Bear in mind that a TKL keyboard will not always have exactly ten keys less than the standard keyboards. However, the lack of a numeric keypad is their differentiating factor, and that is what you can use to quickly identify these special keyboards.
So even without a num-pad, these keyboards can still have extra function buttons like multimedia controls and function keys. However, TKL keyboards are known and loved for their small form factor, so even these buttons are usually mapped onto some other keys.
What Are the Advantages of TKL Keyboards?
If you are looking for a keyboard to buy for yourself, you should do a cost-benefit analysis as you would with any other purchase. But what are the advantages offered by TKL keyboards over traditional ones? Well, we have compiled them right here for you.
If you feel that any of these are significant to you, you can probably safely pull the trigger on the purchase. Without further ado, let’s look at a detailed list of what these benefits are.
Desk Space Savings
The biggest advocate for the advent of small tenkeyless keyboards versus a traditional full-sized keyboard are the desk space savings you get by opting for the former. This is actually a game-changer for a huge number of users.
If you, for example, work in a small space, or suffer from a cluttered workspace, you know you would love to have everything take just a little less space than it already does. Well, a TKL keyboard will make you feel right at home with the space savings it brings.
One for those who prefer looks over all else, another huge benefit of TKL keyboards are their superior aesthetics. They always look better than a full-sized keyboard, even if not as functionally diverse. Or, we’re just huge fans of minimal design.
Symmetrically, if you look at a full sized keyboard, there is a big rectangle of keys on the left, then some spaced out keys to the right, and a numeric keypad further on the right. On the other hand, a TKL keyboard consists only of one solid rectangle, and some extra function and arrow keys. Neat, right?
Most TKL keyboards are designed with portability in mind. This makes sense because the manufacturers are pushing out smaller peripherals, so the devices should be easy to carry, right?
Most TKL keyboards on the market are going to have a detachable cord, or Bluetooth functionality, so you can just pop the little device into a bag, and pull it out without worrying about wire-based setups anywhere you go.
A TKL keyboard also offers ergonomic benefits for your shoulders, arms and hands. First, a TKL keyboard is naturally easy to centre around the rest of your setup. Since most people place their keyboards right in front of the monitor, a TKL keyboard with its balanced key spread can easily be placed in the front of the exact middle of the screen.
Plus, with the reduction in space taken by the keyboard, you get more room for other peripherals, especially your mouse. When your mouse and keyboard are not spread as far apart, the strain on your arms and shoulders is automatically going to be reduced. This is another advantage that really makes TKL keyboards shine!
Most sellers actually have TKL keyboards priced higher as compared to similar full-sized keyboards. Now, the increased price is probably not going to seem pleasant, but remember that with a higher price usually comes a better quality product.
These compact little keyboards are mostly designed by manufacturers with the best build quality possible since they are preferably targeted at users willing to shell out extra money for such special keyboards.
What About Full Sized Keyboards?
Everyone has used full-sized keyboards. As such, the biggest argument in favour of standard 104-key keyboards is everyone’s familiarity with it. Even if you haven’t used PCs a lot before, this beginner-friendly, good ol’ reliable keyboard is bound to work well for you.
Another important consideration in a traditional keyboard’s favour is the price. You can find a standard keyboard for basically nothing. Compare that to TKL keyboards that are usually much more expensive and you have a solid reason to go for one of these instead.
Finally, if you use the numeric keypad frequently, a TKL will simply not cut it for you. For example, if you input a lot of numeric data, a num-pad is a lot more convenient than a single-row layout of numbers of a TKL, and you are definitely going to feel the difference.
The Verdict: Are TKL Keyboards Better Than Full Sized Keyboards?
TKL keyboards offer a number of advantages over standard keyboards but as some would say, “Old is gold”.
Traditional full-sized keyboards also have their own strengths, and at the end of the day, the final decision power lies with you.
If you aren’t fully convinced in favor of one class of keyboards after reading the listings above, you should probably head out to a store near you and try to get a physical feel for both types. That, paired with the information from this article, should land you at the perfect choice for yourself.
What type of keyboards do you prefer? Please let us know in the comments below.
Keyboard Size FAQs
Is Tenkeyless keyboard worth it?
Yes, Tenkeyless keyboards can be worth it for those who value a compact design and don’t require a dedicated number pad. They save desk space and promote a more ergonomic typing and gaming experience by allowing your hands to be closer together.
Do I really need a full-size keyboard?
Whether you need a full-size keyboard depends on your personal preferences and usage requirements. If you frequently use the number pad or rely on additional function keys, a full-size keyboard might be more suitable. However, if you value a compact design and don’t need a dedicated number pad, a Tenkeyless or smaller keyboard could be a better choice.
Why are Tenkeyless keyboards better?
Tenkeyless keyboards can be considered better for some users due to their compact design, which saves desk space and promotes a more ergonomic typing and gaming experience. They can also be more portable, making them a popular choice for gamers or users who frequently travel.
Should I get Tenkeyless or 60%?
Choosing between a Tenkeyless or 60% keyboard depends on your preferences and needs. Tenkeyless keyboards remove the number pad, while 60% keyboards also eliminate additional function keys and navigation keys. If you want a highly compact and portable keyboard and can adapt to using layers for navigation, a 60% keyboard may be suitable. If you prefer a more traditional layout without a number pad, a Tenkeyless keyboard could be a better choice.
Why do gamers prefer 60% keyboards?
Gamers may prefer 60% keyboards due to their compact size, which saves desk space and allows for a more ergonomic setup. The smaller footprint also makes these keyboards more portable, which can be advantageous for gamers who frequently travel to LAN events or tournaments.
Is a 65% keyboard better than a 60%?
Whether a 65% keyboard is better than a 60% depends on personal preferences and usage requirements. A 65% keyboard maintains the compact design of a 60% keyboard while adding dedicated arrow keys and a few additional buttons. If you need these extra keys but still want a compact keyboard, a 65% layout might be a better choice.
What are the cons of a 65% keyboard?
The cons of a 65% keyboard include a slightly larger footprint than a 60% keyboard, which may not be ideal for users who want the most compact layout possible. Additionally, some users may find the non-standard layout takes time to adjust to, and keycap customization options may be more limited compared to more common keyboard sizes.
What is the disadvantage of a 60% keyboard?
The main disadvantage of a 60% keyboard is the lack of dedicated function keys, arrow keys, and navigation keys, which can make certain tasks less convenient. Users may need to adapt to using layers and key combinations to access these functions.
Why are 60% keyboards so popular?
60% keyboards are popular due to their compact size, which saves desk space and allows for a more ergonomic typing and gaming experience. Their portability and minimalistic design also appeal to many users, particularly gamers and mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.