mechanical keyboard sizes
Keyboards,  Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical Keyboard Sizes Overview

Many computer users these days prefer mechanical keyboards to the standard models simply because they are better for typing, programming, gaming, and other tasks. Their popularity has been increasing gradually due to innovative features and a wide spectrum of physical sizes.

Mechanical keyboards are available in a handful of different sizes, which are proportional to the number of keys they have. The more the number of keys, the bigger the size.

  • Full-Sized Keyboard (100%)
  • 1800 Compact Keyboard
  • 96 Key (96%) Keyboard
  • Tenkeyless (TKL, 87%, 80%) Keyboard
  • 75% Keyboard
  • 65% Keyboard
  • 60% Keyboard
  • 40% Keyboard

There is no best or worst among these various sizes. They indeed differ in key numbers and functions but the ultimate choice depends on personal preferences. Some of the deciding factors are the keys you use regularly, if your work requires using a Numpad, how much desk space you have, and more.

mechanical keyboard
A mechanical keyboard (Source: Patrick Breen / Wikimedia Commons)

Different Mechanical Keyboard Sizes

Let’s dive into the discussion about mechanical keyboard sizes and layouts. These details about the size of each type and their unique features will help you make a better decision if you are thinking of buying one.

Full-Sized Keyboard (100%)

Average size: 17.5″ x 6″ (W x H)

Number of keys: 104 – 108

Keys not included: None


  • Good for office work
  • Feature all keys
  • Fully-functional keyboard
  • Good for data entry, programming, and gaming


  • More expensive than other types
  • Takes much desk space

These keyboards are the standard type used in offices and other formal settings. They feature all necessary keys along with the home cluster, Numpad, arrow keys, and function keys. Usually, the Numpad is located on the right side but some models have it on the left.

Due to their full-size, they take plenty of space on a desk. If you have a small work surface, there won’t be any room left for extra devices or documents.

When to choose this keyboard?

A full-size keyboard is the go-to for people who need all keys for their work. It comes handy if you need to do plenty of data entry or work in the banking sector.

Due to the presence of programmable keys, gamers and programmers will also find this type useful. Also, if you are already accustomed to the standard full-size layout, you will find the layout familiar when typing.

1800 Compact Keyboard

Average size: 15.5″ x 7″ (W x H)

Number of keys: 104 – 108

Keys not included: None


  • Slightly smaller than a full-size unit
  • Has all the keys


  • The new key layout needs relearning

The 1800 models in Cherry’s G80 and G81 lines were the first example of these keyboards. For that reason, this type is called 1800 keyboards.

An 1800 model is a full-size keyboard because it includes all the keys. The differences lie in the size, which is a little compact, and the arrangement of the keys.

In this layout, the navigation keys are above the Numpad. The home cluster is closer to the alphanumeric keys while the arrow keys are stowed in between them.

Such a key arrangement makes it possible for the keyboard to take up slightly less horizontal space than a full-size unit. However, the new key outline needs a bit of a learning curve.

When to choose this keyboard?

If you want the benefits of a full-size model but with a lower price tag and at a smaller size, an 1800 keyboard is the right choice. This is the smallest you can get without omitting any key.

96 Key (96%) Keyboard

Average size: 14.75″ x 5″ (W x H)

Number of keys: 100 – 104

Keys not included: Some navigation keys


  • Compact size
  • Smallest keyboard with a Numpad


  • Touch typing could be difficult

A 96-key model is the most compact unit while having a Numpad. It accommodates as many keys as possible within the smallest framework.

Except for a few navigation keys, nothing is missing from this keyboard. However, the absence of these keys is likely to make touch typing difficult.

When to choose this keyboard?

This is the smallest keyboard you can get with the Numpad. All it misses is some navigation keys, such as “Pause” and “Scroll Lock”. If your work involves frequent data entry but you don’t like or have enough workspace for a full-size model, go for a 96-key keyboard.

Tenkeyless (TKL, 87%, 80%) Keyboard

Average size: 14.1″ x 5.35″ (W x H)

Number of keys: 87

Keys not included: Number pad


  • Offers a balance between size and functionality
  • Cheaper than full-sized models


  • No Numpad

“Tenkey” is the moniker for numeric keypad. As these keyboards don’t have the numberpad, they are called “Tenkeyless”.

This is one of the most popular mechanical keyboard types. It has all functions of a full-size model except for the Numpad, which you don’t need unless you are in the banking sector or do data entry work.

One huge advantage of tenkeyless models is that their key arrangement is similar to a standard model. So, you don’t need to go the extra mile to get accustomed to a new outline.

The compact design is space-saving and weighs less for lugging around easily. Also, the price is a little cheaper compared to other full-size keyboards.

When to choose this keyboard?

You should definitely choose this keyboard when you don’t really need the Numpad. Tenkeyless models have all other keys present in a standard full-size keyboard.

A more compact design frees up desk space for other items and allows the mouse much closer to the hand to prevent overreaching.

75% Keyboard

Average size: 12.75″ x 5″ (W x H)

Number of keys: 82 – 84

Keys not included: Numpad and some navigation keys


  • Smaller than TKL
  • Provide almost the same functions as a TKL


  • The new layout needs learning time
  • Typing mistakes can happen

75% keyboards are slightly smaller than the TKL version. The key arrangement in this model is done smartly to save space. The only problem you can face is getting used to the key placement. Also, typing mistakes could happen due to the closer proximity of the keys.

When to choose this keyboard?

If you want a more compact version of tenkeyless models without sacrificing many functional keys, a 75% model is a good option. The space-saving layout has been designed by minimizing the gap between the keys instead of removing keys.

65% Keyboard

Average size: 12.6″ x 4.25″ (W x H)

Number of keys: 67 – 68

Keys not included: Function row (F1–F12), a few navigation keys, Numpad, and home cluster (some models)


  • Compact and light
  • Suitable for gaming


  • No Numpad and function keys

65% keyboards are light and portable without sacrificing much functionality. Most computer users rarely use the home cluster and function keys. Also, you don’t need the Numpad since it still has the numeric row.

This type is not quite common but still has a small fan-base in the mechanical keyboard community.

When to choose this keyboard?

A 60% model is just like a 75% unit with the function row. This is the smallest keyboard available with the arrow keys. Go for this style when you want a small keyboard but still need the arrow keys and several navigation keys, which are unavailable in the smaller models.

People who want a compact gaming keyboard will like this style. The arrow keys will help with all the movements in a game.

60% Keyboard

Average size: 11.5″ x 4″ (W x D)

Number of keys: 61

Keys not included: Function row (F1-F12), arrow keys, Numpad, and navigation keys

60% keyboard
A 60% keyboard (Source: BareSphereMass / Wikimedia Commons)


  • Highly functional compact keyboards
  • Convenient for carrying around
  • Great for experimenting with layouts


  • Challenging to learn the functions

Despite being quite compact, 60% keyboards are not popular among general consumers. However, professional gamers and mechanical keyboard devotees appreciate this model for its versatility.

It could be challenging to learn the functions of 60% keyboards but everything becomes easier once you get a hold of it. After the full-sized and TKL, this is the most common mechanical type. So, finding a pre-made product or keycaps for custom-building is easier and cheaper.

When to choose this keyboard?

People who love to build custom keyboards will definitely choose this 60% layout for its compact size and symmetrical shape. A couple of 60% formats are available, which is great if you like to experiment with your mechanical keyboards.

Also, you should choose this if you travel around a lot and want a fully-functional keyboard without dealing with an inconvenient size. A 60% keyboard has keys for the missing functions. For example, an Fn key can replicate the functions of Function keys, Arrow keys, and Navigation keys by pressing it with other keys.

40% Keyboard

Average size: 11″ x 3.15″ (W x H)

Number of keys: 49

Keys not included: Function row (F1-F12), Numpad, arrow keys, navigation keys, and several modifier keys

40% keyboard
A 40% keyboard (Source: Meisam / Wikimedia Commons)


  • Super compact design
  • Able to do 90% of computing functions
  • Fast touch typing


  • Finding keycaps is challenging
  • A completely new key layout

A 40% unit has the smallest layout possible for a fully functional keyboard. It does not have a Numpad, arrow keys, numeric row, home fluster, and function row, and some non-letter keys. There are just letters and modifiers
For putting on numbers, the keyboards have programmable functions. It may take some time to get used to the outline and all features. However, once you do, you will appreciate its practical design.

Typing on this keyboard does not mess with your postures because you don’t need to move hands. Moving the fingers is enough since all keys are just one space away. Also, touch-typing is more effortless in this format because the finger movements are easier to remember after a while.

The only problem is the unavailability of such keyboards. Mainstream companies don’t produce 40% keyboards due to less demand.

When to choose this keyboard?

A 40% keyboard is more of a choice rather than a necessity. People don’t buy it for saving desk space or money. It’s about going for a particular style of a keyboard that is unique without compromising with functionality.

You can also choose this keyboard if you lead a minimal lifestyle or have a tiny workstation. This keyboard can perform 90% of computing for most people. Whether you need to do some form filling or minor spreadsheeting, this model is more than capable.

Eli Civil

A software engineer, entrepreneur, and keyboards enthusiast. I spend my time click-clacking on keyboards. About Eli Civil

Don`t copy text!