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The 5 Best TKL Keyboards - Spring 2024 Reviews

Updated May 23, 2024 at 12:29 pm
Best TKL Keyboards

TKL or TenKeyLess keyboards are full-size keyboards without a Numpad. This makes them a particularly popular choice for gamers as they free up added space for dynamic mouse movements and allow you more freedom to position or angle your keyboard more ergonomically to suit your desktop setup. They're also an increasingly popular compact form factor if you travel with your keyboard in tow, whether it's just between your kitchen and your living room at home or between hotdesk stations at the office.

We've tested over 225 keyboards and over 40 TKL models. Below are our picks for the best TKL mechanical keyboards. These recommendations include dedicated gaming models and versatile ones for more casual gaming and everyday use. If you're only interested in one or the other, check our picks for the best gaming keyboards or the best office keyboards instead. For other focused recommendations, see our picks for the best wireless keyboards or the best quiet keyboards.

  1. Best TKL Keyboard

    The SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL (2023) is the TKL keyboard we recommend for most people. Designed for gaming, it has excellent latency performance and build quality, durable PBT keycaps, and a detachable wrist rest for added comfort. It even has a customizable OLED screen and control wheel.

    This keyboard's Hall effect switches, which use magnets to register your keystrokes, set it apart from the pack. They allow you to precisely adjust the travel distance of individual switches. In practice, this means you can set your keys to super a low setting for the quickest, lowest-latency performance on frequently used keys, like the WASD cluster, or dial down the sensitivity on any keys you tend to register accidentally.

    Another software feature, Rapid Trigger, allows you to customize the switch reset distance. This can be a game changer for tap strafing or other situations that call for fast, repeated keys. On top of it all, the software offers further options, including RGB effects and custom profiles. At the end of the day, this keyboard is a standout gaming pick if you like to customize settings to match your needs. If this keyboard has a standout weakness, it lacks some of the more typing quality-oriented features found on other options, like our budget pick, the Keychron V3 Max.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range TKL Keyboard

    At a mid-range price point, we recommend the Corsair K70 RGB TKL. Another dedicated gaming keyboard, the major difference between this and our top pick, the SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL (2023), is that the Corsair offers slightly better raw gaming performance, largely thanks to its higher maximum polling rate of 8000Hz which produces marginally lower and more consistent latency performance. However, the tradeoff is that it uses conventional mechanical switches that don't provide the ability to adjust pre-travel and reset distance.

    This keyboard is available with either Cherry MX Red or even more sensitive Cherry MX Speed switches for the quickest, most responsive-feeling experience. While it also lacks a programmable OLED screen, it does have a scroll wheel and a full set of dedicated media keys. Its software also allows you to customize a range of expected settings, including macros, custom profiles, and RGB lighting effects.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget TKL Keyboard

    We bought and tested this keyboard family's larger (96%) model, pictured above. However, we recommend its smaller TKL variant, the Keychron V3 Max, as the best tenkeyless model to buy if you're on a budget. This model isn't a dedicated gaming keyboard like our two top picks, but it's an inexpensive wireless model that takes heavy inspiration from the more niche, custom keyboard market. It has a gasket mount design that produces a softer, slightly springy-feeling typing experience. It's also available at purchase with pre-lubed linear or tactile switch options and has a hot-swappable PCB if you want to change these switches out for others of your choosing. It even comes with a toolkit to disassemble your keyboard if you want to customize the hardware further.

    Also of note are its multiple layers of sound-absorbing materials inside the case. These materials make it a significantly quieter pick than the other models on this list. They do a great job of minimizing rattling or pinging noises that mechanical keyboards are often susceptible to. Lastly, in terms of connectivity, it includes a 2.4GHz USB Type-C USB receiver that provides excellent performance suitable for gaming in all genres, as well as Bluetooth support that's well suited for work or everyday desktop use and allows you to pair with up to three devices simultaneously. Overall, this keyboard is a highly flexible option that takes many of the best ideas of more expensive custom keyboards and offers them in a budget package.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap TKL Keyboard

    The Keychron C1 Pro is essentially a more basic, wired-only model similar to the Keychron V3 Max above. While it doesn't quite compare in terms of typing quality, it still has a few surprising features in common with the V3 Max and other more expensive custom keyboards, including pre-lubed switches, PBT keycaps, and south-facing LEDs that allow for greater compatibility with aftermarket keycap sets. You can also choose between several configurations at purchase, with choices between white-only or full RGB backlighting and the option to add a hot-swappable PCB that allows you to change out the stock switches easily.

    Again, this keyboard is compatible with VIA configuration software that lets you record macros, create custom profiles, and adjust backlight settings, among other options. This keyboard is a surprisingly full-featured and well-built option that provides excellent value at an entry-level price point.

    See our review

  5. Best TKL Keyboard For Enthusiasts

    If you're in the market for the best TKL mechanical keyboard that offers the widest range of hardware customizability options, we recommend the NuPhy Gem80. This keyboard is currently only available directly from NuPhy's website. Also, it's only available as a barebones kit in either a wired or wireless configuration. All the internal components—including the PCB, sound-dampening material, and stabilizers—are in place straight out of the box. However, you'll have to buy and install your own switches and keycaps.

    But that's just scratching the surface of the customizability. It also comes with an impressive selection of mounting hardware, including several gasket mount pieces so you can dial in how soft or springy your typing experience feels. It's also compatible with VIA for additional software-level customization. Lastly, while this isn't designed specifically for competitive gaming, it still has impressive raw performance, making it more than suitable for gaming in any genre and at any competitive level.

    The only real downside to this keyboard, and the reason it doesn't snag our top spot in this article, is the added hassle of adding your own switches and keycaps, which isn't something everyone will be happy to tackle. It's also worth noting that the added cost of switches and keycaps means the total package of this keyboard is more expensive than other picks on this list, which come fully assembled.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard: The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard is a gaming-focused wireless model that's typically available for the same price as the Keychron V3 Max. While it lacks backlighting, it offers slightly better raw performance, especially for rhythm games or older arcade titles. It also comes with a separate two-button game module, and, as its name suggests, it has a throwback visual style reminiscent of old gaming consoles. Just note that it comes with clicky switches. These switches have a satisfying, old-school tactility but are also quite loud. See our review
  • ASUS ROG Azoth: The ASUS ROG Azoth isn't technically a TKL. It's a slightly smaller compact (75%) model, which only means it's missing a few more keys from the navigation cluster. It's an outstanding wireless alternative to the SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL (2023) if you're looking for a keyboard that combines superb gaming performance with the sound and feel of more premium custom mechanical keyboards. However, unlike the SteelSeries, you can't customize the pre-travel distance of the switches, and it's significantly more expensive. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best tenkeyless models for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.

If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, below is a list of all our relevant keyboard reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no keyboard is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences often aren't noticeable unless you really look for them.