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The 5 Best Low-Profile Keyboards - Spring 2024 Reviews

Updated May 29, 2024 at 09:56 am
Best Low-Profile Keyboards

Low-profile keyboards offer two major advantages. First, their slimmer design makes them much more portable; they're fairly easy to carry under your arm, while some with more compact form factors are designed to be easily slipped into bags or laptop cases. Second, low-profile models offer comfort and ergonomic benefits since you can rest your palms comfortably on your desk and don't need to angle your wrists sharply upwards to reach all the keys as you often do with taller, conventional keyboards. These advantages make low-profile keyboards popular with students, on-the-go professionals, and gamers.

We've tested more than 225 keyboards and over 25 low-profile units. Below, we've listed our picks for the best low-profile mechanical keyboards and the best low-profile models. This list features a mix of recommendations, including mechanical and non-mechanical picks designed for everyday use, productivity, and gaming. For more focused recommendations, see our picks for the best mechanical keyboards, the best office keyboards, or the best gaming keyboards.

  1. Best Low-Profile Keyboard

    The NuPhy Air75 V2 is the best low-profile option we've tested. It comes in several different mechanical switch options and offers excellent build quality, impressive portability, and flexible connectivity options. It supports Windows and MacOS compatibility modes. You can also toggle between wireless connection types. Its Bluetooth connection is more battery efficient and supports multi-device pairing, while its higher-performance 2.4GHz USB connection provides more than enough raw performance for casual or competitive gaming.

    This keyboard has flattened, tile-like keycaps with an unusual profile that may take some getting used to initially. However, their design leaves plenty of surface area and standard spacing between neighboring keys, intended to minimize typos. They're made of high-quality PBT plastic and have a pleasant, slightly textured finish. These keycaps don't have shine-through legends, so even though the keyboard has full RGB backlighting, you can't read the key legends in darker environments.

    To top it off, NuPhy sells two additional variants of these keyboards. Apart from their size, each variant is the same, but we recommend checking out the more compact NuPhy Air60 V2 if you have a smaller desk or if portability is your top priority. Alternatively, if you prefer a larger model with a Numpad, check out the NuPhy Air96 V2 instead.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Low-Profile Keyboard

    We recommend the Logitech MX Keys S if you have a mid-range budget. While our top pick above uses mechanical switches, this is a non-mechanical keyboard that uses scissor switches. If you often use a laptop keyboard, it provides a similar-feeling typing experience. But that's not selling it short, as the experience has a snappy, premium-feeling tactility that's missing on cheaper keyboards. It's also considerably quieter than most mechanical options. All build materials also feel high quality, and the keycaps have spherical dish-shaped tops that keep your fingers centered on the keys.

    Unlike the NuPhy above, this model has white-only backlighting. It has very legible shine-through keycaps, so you can easily read the legends in all lighting conditions. You can also set it to adjust dynamically to the lighting conditions of your room and turn on automatically when you approach your keyboard. However, the other major difference that sets it apart from the NuPhy Air75 V2 is that it doesn't pack the same raw performance, so it isn't as suitable if you're primarily interested in gaming. Instead, it's an outstanding choice for everyday desktop browsing and office work.

    Additionally, while this keyboard is very slim and comfortable to type on without a wrist rest as part of a desktop setup, its full-size form factor means it isn't a great candidate for stowing in your back and taking with you on the go. If you don't need a Numpad or want something easier to carry around, a smaller version of this keyboard, the Logitech MX Keys Mini, is available and is much more portable.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Low-Profile Keyboard

    As far as budget options go, we recommend the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard. It's another full-size non-mechanical option like the Logitech MX Keys S above. Given its price point, it feels fairly well-built and delivers good overall typing quality. However, its keys are a bit mushier-feeling, and this model doesn't provide the same premium-feeling typing experience. It also lacks backlighting of any kind.

    On the other hand, this keyboard is still extremely quiet. It doesn't include a USB receiver, so your computer or device must have Bluetooth support. Also, unlike other picks on this list with Bluetooth support, it doesn't support multi-device pairing. This keyboard uses AAA batteries for power, which can be an advantage if you're trying to keep your desktop setup clear and don't want to worry about charging cables. If you're on the fence about needing to change out batteries, it's worth noting it has an advertised battery life of up to 24 months, so it isn't something you'll need to deal with very often.

    That said, if you don't want to bother with charging or batteries or don't need wireless connectivity, we recommend checking out the Dell KB216 instead. It has a very similar, straightforward design, but it's a wired-only model that's typically even cheaper.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Low-Profile Keyboard

    If you want a cheap option, we recommend the Logitech Pebble Keys 2 K380s. This keyboard is a standout favorite for students and on-the-go professionals. Its compact form makes it easy to slip into backpacks or laptop cases, and it fits snugly into even cramped work or study spaces. It also uses AAA batteries for power and connects wirelessly via Bluetooth, allowing you to use multiple devices simultaneously.

    Altogether, this extremely versatile pick has long been unbeatable in this price category. Its circular-shaped keycaps are slightly unusual, and it has a somewhat cramped key layout. These elements may take some time to get used to, but most people will be typing at their normal pace before long. Also, it's worth pointing out that due to this keyboard's portability-focused form factor, it's missing a Numpad, which can be an issue if you often work with numbers. If you need a Numpad or specifically want a keyboard with a built-in tray for propping up small devices like phones or tablets and don't mind sacrificing portability and battery life, check out the Logitech K585, which is typically around the same price.

    See our review

  5. Best Low-Profile Keyboard For Gaming

    Dedicated low-profile gaming options are still uncommon in the grand scheme of things, but the best among them is the Corsair K100 AIR. This full-size wireless keyboard uses specialized ULP (ultra low-profile) switches. These butterfly-style switches offer crisp and consistent tactile feedback and have extremely short and responsive-feeling pre-travel that plays a large part in the outstanding latency performance. The second part of that latency equation is that this model supports polling rates higher than 1000Hz, which is the standard for most gaming keyboards. This means it can send input information to your computer more often than most conventional mechanical keyboards, offering a small but measurable latency advantage.

    This keyboard also features fully customizable RGB lighting, shine-through keycaps, and dedicated media controls. Using the configuration software, you can also customize a range of options, including lighting effects, macros, and key assignments. Altogether, this keyboard offers a remarkably responsive-feeling gaming experience. Its only downside is its cost, as it's considerably more expensive than other options on this list, so if you're not entirely committed to competitive gaming, consider our top pick, the NuPhy Air75 V2, instead. While the NuPhy isn't a dedicated gaming keyboard and doesn't quite offer the same top-tier latency performance, it's still excellent for gaming in all genres and is much more affordable.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad: With its iconic, ultra-slim design, the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad is a great non-mechanical alternative to the NuPhy Air75 V2 if you exclusively work in a macOS environment and want a full-size model with a separate arrow key cluster and Numpad. It also adds a unique layer of biometric security to unlock your computer with its touch ID feature. Unfortunately, it lacks backlighting and is more expensive than the NuPhy. See our review
  • Logitech MX Mechanical: The Logitech MX Mechanical is essentially a mechanical version of the Logitech MX Keys S. It's a great choice if you prefer typing on mechanical switches and are already in a Logitech peripheral system. However, the NuPhy Air75 V2 offers a better overall typing experience at a similar price range and has significantly better raw performance if you want a keyboard for both work and play. See our review
  • Keychron K3 (Version 2): The Keychron K3 (Version 2) is a straightforward and portable wireless keyboard typically a bit cheaper than the Logitech MX Keys S. It's a standout alternative if you prefer typing with mechanical switches. It has full RGB backlighting compared to the white-only backlighting on the Logitech. It also has a more portable compact (75%) size, which means it's missing a Numpad. It also lacks customization software for reprogramming keys or creating macros. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best low-profile mechanical keyboards and the overall best low-profile options for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper product wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no keyboard that is difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all relevant keyboard reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no product is perfect for every use, most keyboards are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them. Be sure to know your key switch preferences before choosing.