What Is A Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard | TKL

A tenkeyless, or TKL, is a keyboard that has the functionality of a full sized keyboard, but lacks the number pad. Since it reflects the full sized keyboard, it does not lack any of the directional or functional keys. Tenkeyless keyboards are a great addition to small desk spaces.

The tenkeyless has become a welcome choice to the gaming and writing community. Computer desks have changed over the years to accommodate a wider range of mouse activity, meaning our mouse pads have grown larger in order to give space for lower DPIs, giving way to increased accuracy. In order to fit into this lifestyle, the tenkeyless was one of the presented solutions as an option. For those who have no need of the number pad, it was easy to dismiss and save some space on their desk with a smaller keyboard. It's especially beneficial when it comes to smaller desk spaces. 


A Great Keyboard - When it comes to our keyboards and the games we prefer to play, we all have different preferences. Your keyboard should mirror these traits and, most importantly, give you with the best gaming experience possible. Be sure to read my article called: What Makes A Good Gaming Mechanical Keyboard to learn what makes or breaks an excellent gaming keyboard.


According to Meesh, Computer Product Analyst, "For instance, I use a tenkeyless at home when I am working. I have to have a desk that can raise to let me stand and work – I can't sit down all day long – and it's not a very big desk at that. I was using a full sized keyboard and it hurt my shoulder typing all day at the angle I had to have it positioned in order to fit. The opportunity arose for me to use a tenkeyless and I noticed a significant difference. I am not the only one, either, who had to adjust their living and working conditions after COVID-19."


What Is A Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard | TKL


So let's take a look further into the TKL.


      1. Size

      2. Function & Gaming

      3. Popularity


  1. No number pad

  2. Price



Why is it a good idea to have a 60% mechanical keyboard?



Not everyone has a large area dedicated to their computer, whether it's work space or gaming. If you are a big PC gamer, most likely you have a large tower on your desk or somewhere very near. That itself takes up a lot of space, along with larger mouse pads, dual to triple monitors and so forth. Sometimes it's not even about that, it's about the space in that room and the desk that you have in order to make it fit.

Another factor that comes into light with a smaller keyboard is comfort. For both writing and gaming, it can be easier to have a keyboard of a shorter distance, especially when you are consistently touching your mouse. For instance, taking in my current situation with a full sized keyboard, there's more tension in writing and then having to move my hand further away to reach the mouse. It's a rather minimal problem, I will admit, but when you are at your computer all day long, it can become a problem after a while.

Take a look below of my full sized keyboard vs. my tenkeyless.

What Is A Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard | TKL

What Is A Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard | TKL

As you can see, the TKL isn't too far off from the full sized keyboard, unlike the 60% and 65%.


The tenkeyless is optimal for gaming performance. It's smaller, which means tilting the keyboard for precision. Take into consideration large E-League games, competitions and tournaments with several different varieties of gaming. Counter-Strike, WoW, League of Legends, Overwatch. Every one has their own keyboard preference. And every time you watch a professional player during a game, you will see more than one with a tilted keyboard. You have to move your fingers with quick precision and angling them to fit your hand and fingers can be the difference between life and well, you know, dead.


What I mean by this is that the TKL is a popular choice in the keyboarding world. Unlike the 60% being confined to only certain brands and places, the tenkeyless its just about everywhere. If a particular brand that you are fond of doesn't have one yet, most likely they will come out with one sooner or later. With the variety of the tenkeyless mechanical keyboard, you will be able to obtain the switches you prefer, lighting, design and more. TKLs are taking over the keyboarding world. And that's not necessarily a bad thing!


Why is it not a good idea to have a 60% mechanical keyboard?

No Number Pad

If a number pad is required for you, then perhaps the tenkeyless isn't the best buy. If you also have to utilize ALT codes for whatever reason may be, then having no number pad may be a hindrance. If you want the TKL because of the space, there is an easy fix to the number pad issue. They make separate mechanical keyboard number pads/keypads that you can use and then put away. The only unfortunate part to this is that the separate number pads can still be at least $50 for some of the more popular mechanical keyboard brands. However, since it is also separate and perhaps not as important, then a cheaper one will do the job and if it breaks, well that's fine you can get another.

For people who heavily rely on their on their number pad will have to use macros for missing keys, sometimes having to program them yourself.


Like the 60% and the 65% sized mechanical keyboards, the TKL is about the same, if not the same, price as a full sized keyboard, depending on what brand you are looking at. As well, if you do go cheaper, you will end up sacrificing some of the things that make mechanical keyboards cool. HyperX and Corsair make a red back lit mech for about $50 - $75, the K63 Compact and the HyperX Alloy FPS Pro. With Corsair, that's pretty decent on price. You do get Cherry MX Reds, however, if you like those. They doesn't have the RGB lighting, which really isn't that big of a deal. My Varmilo has no back lighting. I cared more about the feel of my switches. Granted, it's also a very beautiful keyboard on it's own.

And of course, if you do want one that has RGB lighting, or maybe you want a TKL to try it out, Redragon make durable and affordable keyboards for a better price range. More brands and names are coming to light as users try them. There could very well be another keyboard that won't break the bank, but at the same time last up to a couple years without breaking.

What Is A Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard | TKL



The advantages of a tenkeyless in comparison to the disadvantages are considerably greater. All they removed was the number pad - the ease of the keyboard is still fluid. I believe that the TKL is a mechanical keyboard that will become more frequently bought and enjoyed by both writers and gamers alike. Like growing plants in small places, keyboards are taking their journey into our homes, onto our work environment and gaming setup.