Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard for 2018

You’ve now decided to toss that old dome-shaped keyboard and join the big leagues by upgrading to a quality mechanical keyboard. Or perhaps you’re a gaming nerd just looking to add to your collection of gaming keyboards.

See, mechanical switches have become so popular and for good reasons. As such, we’ve seen manufacturers introduce varied keyboard layouts, a perfect example being a tenkeyless mechanical gaming keyboard.

A tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard is one with a fairly standard key layout but with the numeric pad hacked off. The result is a compact mechanical keyboard with fewer keys, 87 or 88 keys and about 80% the size of a standard mechanical keyboard.

With the many aspects to consider, it can be confusing to pick a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. After hours of research, we identified a couple of quality build space-saving Tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical gaming keyboards that’ll deliver a fluid and satisfying feedback with every keystroke.

These TKL mechanical keyboards employ varying switches and various specs ranging from anti-ghosting, backlighting and N-Key rollover.

Check out the table for instant comparison and the reviews of the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards. We’ve also included a simple buying guide for a better understanding of the tenkeyless mechanical gaming keyboards.

       Top 

     Overall

       Pick!

Top Pick - HyperX Alloy FPS Pro

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro tick all the boxes. It uses Cherry MX Red switches known for their swift response, top-level reliability and precision contact. The braid thick USB cord is detachable allowing for excellent portability. It has cool HyperX red backlighting and all the 87-keys are anti-ghosting with key rollover.

Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards for Gaming

1. CM QuickFire Rapid Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

Sporting a minimalistic design, CM QuickFire Rapid is superior grade TKL mechanical keyboard crafted to offer enthusiastic gamers like you and me a thrilling gaming experience as well as a competitive edge in multiplayer quests.

CM QuickFire Rapid uses the genuine, durable and highly accurate German Cherry MX Blue Switches on ESC, FN KEYS CAPS LOCK and the SPACEBAR. Each keystroke produces an exemplary tactile feel and plus that musical click sound perfect for gaming.

It also comes with 1.5mm PBT keycaps. As you’ll gather, keycaps made from PBT are durable and vulnerable to wear and tear even with sweaty fingers.  

What’s more, CM QuickFire Rapid features switchable OS and key layouts. Using simple shortcuts, you can easily switch from Window/Mac, QWERTY, and Dvorak. 

The Tenkeyless mechanical gaming keyboard also features 6-key and Full-Key Rollover. And even if you press multiple keys at ago, all of them get registered.

         Pros

  • N-Key Rollover
  • Durable & accurate Cherry MX blue switches
  • Robust PBT keycaps
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    Switchable OS & key layouts

Cons

  • Lacks individual key LED backlighting

2. MechanicalEagle Z-77 Tenkeyless Gaming Keyboard

MechanicalEagle Z-77 is an 87-Key Tenkeyless mechanical gaming keyboard specially designed for high-performance gaming.

All the 87 keys are independent of each other and are anti-ghosting with N-Key Rollover. If you press multiple keys simultaneously, you can expect an accurate response with no keystroke lost or unregistered.

MechanicalEagle Z-77 comes with RGB backlit mode. Plus, you can customizable the backlight over 10 RGB lighting modes. To cycle set the backlight mode, hit FN+INS keys. Easily choose the backlight mode by pressing FN+15. Customize the individual key color using FN+ Home.

The gaming keyboard features durable and fast-response mechanical Gaote/Outemu blue switches with medium resistance, a tactile feedback and that satisfying ‘clicky’ sound. Using an included puller tool, you can easily replace and change switches.

MechanicalEagle Z-77 has stepped ABS plastic keycaps such that make it look sleek and professional when placed on a gaming desk. The arc and sloppy keycaps readily fit into your hands effectively preventing fatigue however long the game lasts.

What's more, the keyboard features convenient multimedia keys. The FN+F1 make it possible to control the audio and other aspects of your music and videos without interrupting the game. They also provide a Windows key lock.

           Pros

  • N-Key Rollover
  • Durable & accurate Cherry MX blue switches
  • Robust PBT keycaps
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    Switchable OS & key layouts

        Cons

  • Lacks individual key LED backlighting

3. HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Tenkeyless Gaming Keyboard

If you’re an FPS pro, here is a perfect gaming keyboard for you. Featuring a top plate made of sturdy metal alloy and an exposed steel frame, HyperX Alloy FPS Pro provides a robust platform for gaming.

The keyboard uses an ultra-minimalism tenkeyless design with detachable cables that makes it highly portable. If you have a tournament away from home, simply detach the braided min-USB cord, shove the keyboard into the backpack and carry it with you.

HyperX Alloy FPS Pro employs Cherry MX Red mechanical key switches. Cherry MX mechanical switches are known for their swift response, top-level reliability and precision contact.

Even more, the keyboard features Game Mode functionality that ensures there are no distractions and that you focus 100%.

The 88-keys are through and through anti-ghosting with N-Key Rollover. You can press multiple keys and each keystroke will be registered accurately.

It also comes equipped with the adjustable HyperX red backlighting. Customize the backlight to your preferred lighting effects.

         Pros

  • Strongly built keyboard
  • Quick-response, high precision Cherry MX red switches
  • Detachable USB cord for portability
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    N-Key rollover & anti-ghosting

      Cons

  • Needs two open USB ports on your PC

4. AUKEY KM-G9 Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

It doesn’t matter if you want a TKL mechanical keyboard for gaming, typing or other purposes; AUKEY KM-G9 will suit your purpose nicely. It's matte black with a modern, clean and refined design.

It’s compact with a robust steel top panel that renders it highly durable and stable. The double-shot molded keycaps are solid and never wear out. Even better, this keyboard is water-resistant and will survive an accidental water spill.

AUKEY KM-G9 features convenient functional keys. With these, you have total control over the media player. Easily open an internet window, lock the Windows key. Lock/Unlock the full 87 keys, all without the trouble of having to minimize the current window or even using the mouse.

Featuring durable and fast-response Outemu Blue switches, every key press, however fast, will feel incredibly satisfying. And yes, you’ll feel the click sound. The key switches boast an incredible 50 million keystrokes lifespan.

Even if you’re a fast typist capable pressing multiple keys at the same time and in quick successions, AUKEY KM-G9 will handle it. The 87 key rollover with anti-ghosting ensures that each keystroke gets registered accurately.

Pros

  • High-response & durable Outemu Blue mechanical switches
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    Convenient media control function keys
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    N-Key rollover & anti-ghosting
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    Robust double-shot-molded keycaps

      Cons

  • Not backlit

5. Logitech G410 Atlas Spectrum Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Designed and tested by professional gamers, Logitech G410 Atlas Spectrum sports a compact tournament-ready tenkeyless design. The keyboard hacks off the number pad. Placed on the table, it leaves extra mouse space allowing you to make wider mouse swaps. Not only is it light but also highly portable. Slide it into your backpack and carry with you.

Logitech G410 features highly responsive Romer G-Mechanical switches, which, compared to the Cherry mechanical switches boasts 25% faster actuation. The switches are durable meaning, however intense the game gets, they'll last for years. 

The keyboard also features dynamic RGB lighting. Customize the individual key backlighting depending on the specific game or event from the 16.8 million cool RGB colors. Easily set illumination pattern and synchronize the effects and colors with other Logitech devices. And with the uniform color illumination across the keycaps, read the lettering on each without any errors in low lit settings.

Display in-game info, integral system statistics and more on your Android as well as iOS devices using Logitech Gaming Software and plus the compatible Arx Control mobile app.

      Pros

  • Faster response Romer G-Mechanical switches
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    Customizable individual key RGB backlighting
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    In-game notifications on Android and iOS
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    Compact, lightweight and portable

    Cons

  • USB cable not detachable

6. SteelSeries Apex M750 TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

SteelSeries Apex M750 packs compact 10-keyless design that has not only excellent ergonomics but also provides sufficient room to maneuver your mouse.

Build using a simplistic 5000 Series Aerospace aluminum metal alloy, the keyboard’s frame packs a simplistic yet highly robust design complete with an immaculate matte black finish.

SteelSeries Apex M750 features QX2 mechanical switches unique to SteelSeries. Enjoy quicker responsiveness and faster gameplay. These QX2 switches are known for low force and linear actuation.

Take advantage of the customizable Discord Chat notifications that display new messages, mute status, etc. to stay ahead of the competition. With the exclusive SteelSeries GameSense event-based lighting, savor the in-game alerts displayed in the form of reactive notifications for events such as kills, money, health, and cooldown timers.

It also comes equipped with PrismSync lighting. Easily sync the customizable multi-color lighting among all your SteelSeries Prism enabled gear. Use PrismSync to control the style of your battle station through click lighting effects to complex shadows.

      Pros

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    Robust built
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    Cool and dynamic PrismSync lighting
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    Customizable Discord Chat notifications
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    Fast-response Q2X mechanical switches

    Cons

  • Non-detachable cable

7. HUO JI E-Element Z-77 Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Crafted using superior grade ABS material and metal material plus matte finish, HUO JI E-Element Z-77 is built to last. With three drain holes, the keyboard is water-resistant and capable of surviving an accidental water spill.

HUO JI E-Element Z-77 has 87 anti-ghosting keys complete with N-Key rollover. Each key has an independent switch and if you press multiple keys at a go, each keystroke with register accurately and fast. Is there any better way to enjoy extreme game genres?

What’s more, the keyboard has its keycaps stepped rendering it sleek. The arc and the slope ensure that it can easily fit in your hands effectively preventing fatigue.

The keyboard uses Outemu pluggable blue switches. The custom mechanical key switches are known for excellent responsiveness, durability and medium resistance. Each keypress returns that audible click with a tactile feedback. Included are 5 spare replacement switches.

HUO JI E-Element Z-77 also comes with double-shot injection keycaps made from durable ABS material.

This TKL gaming mechanical gaming keyboard features dynamic backlighting. Press FN+INS to choose one of the 9 preset backlight modes. Use FN+ (1-8) to set up the key lighting pattern among the 8 built-in modes. Hit FN+ (9, 0) to turn off the lighting of some keys.

For more enhanced gaming convenience and better game control, press FN+W to make WASD and the arrow keys switch places. Lock the Windows key with FN+ Windows key to focus entirely on the game and avoid any interruptions. FN+F12 will lock the entire keyboard.

Integrated into the board are convenient function shortcut keys FN+F1-F12. With these, you can easily access your calculator, email, open the web browser and control your media with just the click of a button.

      Pros

  • Dynamic & customizable backlighting
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    Anti-ghosting & N-Key rollover
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    Stepped ABS keycaps for comfort
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    Convenient Function Keys
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    Water resistant

    Cons

  • Keycaps not PBT

8. iKBC CD87 Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Featuring black durable ABS plastic top and bottom panels, iKBC CD87 is a high-performance keyboard designed to make your gaming and typing a more rewarding experience.

The keyboard employs a simplistic and streamlined tenkeyless design with ergonomic wide PBT plastic keycaps tilted at 7° angle, which guarantees the ultimate comfort when typing or gaming. And unlike ABS keycaps, keycaps made from PBT are much more durable.  And included in the package, too, are a set of 10 pieces PBT replacement keycaps. 

iKBC CD87 uses Cherry MX Blue Switches popular for their extra resistance, a tactile feedback and a ‘clicky’ satisfactory sound perfect for typists and gamers alike.

All the 87 keys have the anti-ghosting property with full key rollover on USB and 6-key rollover with the switching mode. When the need arises, press multiple keys simultaneously and each keystroke will be registered with ultimate precision.

iKBC CD87 also features 3-Way Cable Through that allows for better cable management. It has a lockable Win key that helps avoid game interruptions if you happen to press the wrong key. Use the convenient multimedia keys to control the volume, mute, access calculator and more.  

      Pros

  • Anti-ghosting and full-key rollover
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    Durable PBT keycaps
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    Robust, responsive and ‘clicky’ Cherry MX Blue switches
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    3-Way Cable Through
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    Detachable cable

    Cons

  • Not backlit

9. Glorious Modular Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Ever wanted a mechanical keyboard that allows to you replace switches at leisure? Glorious Modular Tenkeyless Mechanical is your best ally. The keyboard employs a minimalist design with a sandblasted aluminum faceplate and raised keys. No branding.

It comes preinstalled with mechanical switches. Glorious Modular Tenkeyless Mechanical is enough. Even better, there’s no need to disassemble or solder your switches. If you have Cherry MX switches installed, pop them out and replace with Gateron switches.

Glorious Modular Tenkeyless Mechanical features 87 anti-ghosting keys with a full-key rollover or 6-key rollover. Press multiple keys at a go and each keystroke gets registered as intended. It has double shot injection durable ABS keycaps.

The keyboard has RGB LED backlighting in multiple modes. And with 16.8 million RGB LED colors to choose from, your keyboard will be adorably illuminated.

What’s more, it comes with a 6ft braided cord. If you have a tournament away from home or want to type using your keyboard only, detach the USB cable for enhanced portability.

      Pros

  • RGB LED backlighting
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    Easily changeable mechanical switches
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    Detachable USB cable
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    Anti-ghosting and key rollover

    Cons

  • Keycaps not PBT

10. EasySMX X52 Wired Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

EasySMX X52 is a black wired 87-key tenkeyless mechanical gaming keyboard for advanced gaming. With Gemini Injection technology for the keys, the lettering will never wear out. It’s been designed for Mac but is also compatible with Windows PC.

The keyboard is equipped with mechanical blue switches each key operating independently. As such, you can expect high-response plus a faster gaming and typing experience. Each keypress returns a click-clack sound.

EasySMX X52 has its keycaps ergonomically designed with more curve and varying heights. They fit your fingers naturally allowing you to type and game without getting overly fatigued. Included in the package is a keycap puller you can use dustup or replace the keycaps if and when needed.

It comes with 29 conflict-free keys with anti-ghosting. Press multiple keys in quick succession and execute up to 29 commands at a go. We doubt there’s a better way to be formidable in multiplayer quests.

EasySMX X52 comes with convenient function keys and multimedia keys. Press FN+ Win to lock the Windows keys when in Game Mode to avoid exiting upon an accidental key press. Use the F5-F12 multimedia keys to control the audio your music and video audio conveniently. Easily switch to the web browser, calculator and email with just a couple of key combinations, all without exiting the game.

The keyboard hooks to your PC via a thick braided USB cable. It’s durable, tangle-free and will not easily fall off.

      Pros

  • Uses robust high-response mechanical blue switches
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    Ergonomic keycaps with a curve for additional comfort
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    Anti-ghosting
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    Highly functional multimedia keys

    Cons

  • USB cable not detachable

Tenkeyless Comparison Table – A Quick Buying Guide

What makes for a good tenkeyless mechanical keyboard? Before we can embark on the real stuff, let’s start with the question of the day. Here goes;

Is a Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard Worth It?

TKL mechanical keyboards have become so popular among gamers due to the compact sizes that make them highly portable. Got a tournament away from home? Simply shove it into your backpack and carry it with you.

Tenkeyless mechanical keyboards are a couple of inches shorter on the right. As such, you have more space to move your mouse freely (if right-handed). Plus, it helps your arms rest in a more neutral position as your fingers hover over the keys.

Playing together should-to-shoulder with others at a long desk? Then a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard will leave you with plenty of breathing space such that you don’t invade into your neighbor’s space.

Compared to their full-sized counterparts, tenkeyless keyboards appear sleek. Aside from saving you space, a TKL mechanical keyboard will get your desk looking tidier and professional.

Ergonomics

TKL mechanical keyboards allow your arms to rest in a more neutral position. As such, they can be remarkably comfortable to use. Other than that, some are wrist-health friendly with wrist rests and ergonomically designed keycaps that guarantee maximum comfort.

It’s rare to find a split Tenkeyless keyboard since the focus is to make them compact while at the same time enhance usability, functionality and performance.

Types of Mechanical Switches

How do you want the key presses to sound and feel? For most gamers, Cherry MX switches remain the best mechanical switches although it boils down to personal preference.

If you prefer the clicky-clack feeling, then go for a keyboard with MX Blue or MX Green Cherry MX variety of switches.

A tactile feedback will be achieved with either Cherry MX Brown or Clear and is more about the feeling other than sound.

Tenkeyless mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX Black and Red switches deliver a linear (straight down to the bottom) feedback. No bump, click or resistance that keeps the keys from bottoming out.

Each of these above mechanical Cherry MX switch types features different degrees of actuation and bottoming out.

Programmability

Although this property is not a must-have, it helps enhance convenience and the overall gaming experience. Some tenkeyless mechanical keyboards allow you to program the functions using macros for customized gaming.

Backlighting

RGB and LED lighting help highlight a gaming atmosphere besides aiding in spotting the keys in the low-lit battle stations. Some keyboards have advanced such that it’s possible to customize the backlight.

Keycap Material

What material has been used in the making of the keycap? ABS is the most common but it’s usually thin and flimsy unless with double shot injection. PBT is more solid and thick. TKL gaming keyboards with PBT keycaps are resistant to shine, i.e. the lettering will not wash away for years.

Detachable Cables

If possible, go for the TKL mechanical keyboard whose cable can detach from the main unit. Such a keyboard will be easier to carry around and store.

Extra Keys

Although they may not be necessary, multimedia controls allow you to control the music and video audio right from the keys without disrupting the game.

In Conclusion

As a hardcore gamer, a tenkeyless gaming keyboard grants you the awesomeness of a mechanical keyboard in a more compact unit, but without the number pad. As you’ve gathered, the mechanical switches are a primary consideration in choosing a TKL mechanical gaming keyboard. Programmability, keycap material, cable detachability and more, further enhance your experience with a particular TKL keyboard. We hope you’ve found an excellent tenkeyless mechanical gaming keyboard that’ll transform your gaming experience.

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