60% VS 65% Keyboards: What is the Best Compact Layout for You?

  • Keycaps 101
  • Posted by: amy-golden
  • Mar 28, 2024

In the diverse world of mechanical keyboards, the confrontation of 60% vs 65% keyboard layouts is not only a comparison of compactness, but also a choice between price and flexible functions. These two types of keyboards are attracting the attention of those looking for convenience and professionalism. Let's learn about their unique characteristics so you can make the most accurate choice of compact keyboard.

60% and 65% keyboards are mechanical keyboards designed with a compact size, eliminating some function keys and number keys to reduce the area of the keyboard. These keyboards are great for people with small hands, providing an easier and more convenient experience.

Normally, the biggest difference between these two types of keyboards is that 65% of keyboards have an additional row of function keys and arrow keys compared to 60%. However, there are still some 60% keyboards produced with arrow keys on the market.

Therefore, today you will learn about the following 3 types of keyboards:

  • 60% keyboards
  • 60% keyboards with arrow keys
  • 65% keyboards
Some 60% keyboards don't have arrow keys like the 65% (source: reddit)
Some 60% keyboards don't have arrow keys like the 65% (source: reddit)
Feature 60% Keyboard 65% Keyboard
Compactness Excellent compactness
  • 2cm larger than a 60% keyboard 
  • Weigh more 60% keyboard
Key Layout
  • 58 - 65 keys
  • Removes the numpad key, function keys, and Home, End, Page Up, Page Down keys
  • Multiple case designs as well as PCB layouts
  • 67 - 68 keys
  • Remove the function keys and numpad key
  • Equipped with some additional function keys
  • 2 layouts: All keys smushed together and Separate home cluster and arrow keys
Portability High mobility Not as compact as the 60% keyboard
Compatibility Compatible with custom or self-assembled cases  Work better for a wide range of applications and tasks
Price and Availability
  • A variety of price options
  • Easy to find 
  • A variety of price options
  • A bit more expensive
  • More popular than 60% keyboards
  • Popular among the DIY and customization community
  • Many options to create a personal keyboard
  • Fewer options than the 60% type
  • Limited accessories and replacement parts
Gaming Performance
  • Require to use keyboard shortcuts or the Fn key combination
  • Make gaming more complicated and slow
  • High performance
  • Brings a quick and convenient experience
Typing Performance Use keyboard shortcuts when typing Convenience when typing
Programmable Performance Allow to program and customize the keyboard
  • Have necessary function keys
  • Low programming ability

Overview of 60% keyboard

A 60% keyboard is a mechanical keyboard that is only 60% the size of a standard keyboard. The machine is designed with only 61 - 68 keys, which removes the row of function keys, numpad, and navigation keys, leaving only alphanumeric keys and modifier keys. This helps optimize space for users.

Some 60% keyboards will have the arrow keys removed, while some will still be retained. However, you can still access the omitted function keys through programming layers. The 60% design provides an efficient and neat typing experience.

60% mechanical keyboard (source: amazon)
60% mechanical keyboard (source: amazon)


  • 58 - 65 keys
  • No function keys or number keys
  • Allows key programming
Pros Cons
  • Compact size
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Programming capabilities
  • Customizability
  • Miss function keys and number keys
  • Limited programming ability
  • Long learning curve

Below are some famous and highly appreciated 60% keyboards in the mechanical keyboard user community that you can refer to:

  • Ducky One 2 Mini
  • Keychron K6
  • Varmilo VA68M
  • Leopold FC660M

Overview of 65% keyboard

The 65% keyboard is a mechanical keyboard with an average size between a standard keyboard and a 60% keyboard. With a 67 - 68 key design, the keyboard retains the modifier keys, alphanumeric keys and eliminates the right number key and navigation keys. Therefore, it still has the full functionality of a standard keyboard while still ensuring lightness and neatness.

65% mechanical keyboard (source: amazon)
65% mechanical keyboard (source: amazon)


  • 67 - 68 keys
  • Keep the arrow keys intact
  • No number keys 
Pros Cons
  • Compact size
  • Maintains keyboard functionality
  • Have arrow keys
  • Key programming support
  • Limited customization capabilities
  • No function keys
  • Limited third-party case options

Take a look at a few 65% keyboards that are highly appreciated by users for their quality, typing experience, and unique design:

  • Keychron K65
  • Varmilo VA68M
  • Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini
  • Corsair K65 RGB Mini

Want to explore more options of 65% keyboards? Find your perfect match in our list of the 10+ Best 65% Keyboards, handpicked by experts.

60 vs 65 Keyboards: Detailed comparison

Let's compare in detail between 60% and 65% mechanical keyboards to explore the diversity and uniqueness of these two compact layouts. They will help you better understand the pros and cons of each type, thereby making the right decision for your working needs or gaming experience.


 a 65% keyboard is 15 cm larger than a 60% keyboard (source: autonomous)
A 65% keyboard is 15 cm larger than a 60% keyboard (source: autonomous)

With a minimalist design and the removal of some function keys and number keys, the 60% keyboard stands out thanks to its great compactness, only 28.6cm wide. It retains only the keys needed for everyday typing and gaming to create the most compact experience possible.

The 65% keyboard is a combination of compactness and retaining some important function keys. With a width of 30.5cm, it retains the arrow keys and some useful function keys, creating a compact yet comfortable keyboard for working and gaming. Normally, a 65% keyboard is not significantly larger than a 60% keyboard, only about 2 cm. Therefore, there is not much difference in size or weight.

Overall, both of these keyboards are compact keyboards, saving 40 - 45% of desk space compared to conventional full keyboards. You can freely move or rotate the keyboard as you like while working. You will also have more space to move the mouse, decorate your desk or simply want more airiness.

Key Layout

60% of keyboards have a variety of layouts for customization (source: amazon)
60% of keyboards have a variety of layouts for customization (source: amazon)

Designed to optimize compactness, the 60% keyboard has only 58 - 65 keys. It removes the numpad key, function keys (F1 - F12), and some other keys such as Insert, Home, Page Up, Page Down, End, and auxiliary keys. Some 60% layouts also remove arrow keys to ensure high portability.

Shortcuts and Fn key combinations are used to access missing functions. At the same time, there are many case designs as well as PCB layouts designed specifically for 60% keyboards. For those who want a compact and portable workspace, 60% keyboards are a popular choice. However, this minimalism makes starting to use 65% keyboards quite difficult and takes time to get used to.

As for the 65% keyboard, it has the same key layout as the full-size keyboard, but is more compact. This keyboard usually has 66 - 68 keys, keeping most of the keys intact, only removing the function keys (F1 - F12) and the right numpad key. However, they are equipped with some additional function keys, such as Delete, Insert, Home, End, Page Up and Page Down.

Separate home cluster and arrow keys layout of 65% keyboard (source: amazon)
Separate home cluster and arrow keys layout of 65% keyboard (source: amazon)

65% of keyboards are usually designed with two layouts, but both layouts have the same number of keys, the only difference is in the way the keys are arranged.

In Separate home cluster and arrow keys, its keys are arranged similarly to TKL keyboards. The home keys are placed in a square and slightly further away from the rest of the keys on the keyboard, and the arrow keys are placed similarly. This keyboard layout creates a more comfortable and airy feeling.

All keys smushed together layout of 65% keyboards (source: amazon)
All keys smushed together layout of 65% keyboards (source: amazon)

Unlike the separate home cluster and arrow keys layout, the keys of the all keys smushed together layout are placed close together, including the arrow keys. At the same time, the main screen cluster is designed vertically instead of arranged in a box shape like a conventional keyboard. This layout creates a compact keyboard and saves desk space.


Both 60% and 65% keyboards are famous for their ultimate compactness. Their design eliminates many unnecessary keys to optimize area and weight, creating high mobility. This is a popular choice for people who travel often or need a compact keyboard for limited workspaces.

There is no significant difference in the size of the 60% keyboard compared to the 65%, the 65% keyboard is only 2cm larger. Regarding weight, depending on the shell material, type of keycaps, specific design of each product, and additional features such as backlighting and USB slots, each type will have a different weight.

It is very difficult to conclude specifically how many grams they differ from each other. However, typically, a 60% keyboard is a bit lighter than a 65% keyboard because it has fewer keys.


60% keyboard with compact size so easy to carry (source: amazon)
60% keyboard with compact size so easy to carry (source: amazon)

When comparing 60% vs 65% keyboard, it is easy to see that both types are highly compatible so they work well on most popular operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. Both keyboard types are also compatible with most popular applications as well as keyboard accessories such as keycaps, switches, and cables.

However, the 60% keyboard is more compatible with custom or self-assembled cases than the 65% keyboard. Meanwhile, the 65% keyboard retains some important function keys making it work better for a wide range of applications and tasks.

Therefore, choosing between 60% vs 65% keyboards should be based on your personal needs and preferences to ensure the best comfort and performance.At the same time, check the manufacturer's description or detailed reviews on forums to find the keyboard that best suits your needs.

Price and Availability

It's very easy to buy a 65% keyboard (source: google)
It's very easy to buy a 65% keyboard (source: google)

When comparing the prices of 60% vs 65% keyboard, you can easily see that they all have many different prices. Prices may vary depending on brand, material, features and place of purchase. However, some 65% keyboards can be a bit more expensive than equivalent models in 60% form factor, due to additional features and special designs.

On Amazon, you can find 60% of keyboards priced from about $17 to $90. On Drop, the price can range from $70 to $1,602. Meanwhile, the price of the 65% keyboard also varies by brand, features, and build quality. On Drop, prices can range from $70 to $210. Other sources list 65% of keyboards priced between $70 and $180.

Note: Please note that prices as shown are valid at the time of publication and are subject to change without prior notice.

In terms of availability, both 60% and 65% keyboards are quite popular, so are often easy to find at computer retailers, online stores, and E-commerce sites. 65% keyboards are more popular than 60% keyboards because they create the perfect balance between compact size and possessing the necessary keys to ensure convenience for daily gaming or work activities.


60% keyboard offers many options for customization (source: carousell)
60% keyboard offers many options for customization (source: carousell)

Both the 60% and 65% keyboards offer customization to meet the user's individual needs.

The 60% keyboard is popular among the DIY and customization community. Many keycap sets, cases and plates are designed specifically for 60% keyboards. This gives users many options to create a personal and unique keyboard. The ease of finding replacement parts such as switches and stabilizers is another strong point of this keyboard.

The 65% keyboard also allows for customization, however, there may be fewer options than the 60% type. Some 65% keyboard models have special features and designs that may result in more limited accessories and replacement parts. This may reduce the ability to customize and change the keyboard.

Gaming Performance

65% keyboard suitable for all types of games (source: usa today)
65% keyboard suitable for all types of games (source: usa today)

When comparing the gaming ability of a 60% vs 65% keyboard, it can be concluded that both can play games well.

The 60% keyboard is the ideal choice for gamers who require flexibility and free desk space. Games that do not need many macros or function keys such as FPS, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) or Valoran can all work well on this keyboard. If you are proficient in programming classes, the 60% keyboard is also a suitable choice for League of Legends players.

Meanwhile, the 65% keyboard with the perfect combination of compact size and function, suitable for most types of games. You can use it for games that require flexibility in moving the mouse like FPS or League of Legends. It also provides enough function keys and navigation keys for MOBA games, Arma 3, strategy games or games that require quick reactions like eSports

Typing Performance

60% of keyboards require keyboard shortcuts when typing (source: youtube)
60% of keyboards require keyboard shortcuts when typing (source: youtube)

In the battle of 60% and 65% keyboards, it is difficult to conclude whether the 60% or 65% keyboard offers a better typing experience. Usually the typing feel of the keyboard depends on the switch, keycap and plate used. Both keyboards can be customized for a typing feel that suits your preferences.

If you are familiar with keyboards with full function keys and arrow keys or simply need convenience when typing, the 65% keyboard may be more suitable for you. It makes data entry and navigation simple.

However, if you like shortcuts and compactness, the 60% keyboard is also an option for your typing. Choose them based on your preferences. If you're still wondering, you can try experiencing both before deciding to buy.

Programmable Performance

60% keyboard allows programming to your liking (source: youtube)
60% keyboard allows programming to your liking (source: youtube)

Because they aim for compactness, the 65% and 60% keyboards have eliminated the numeric keypad on the right like regular full-sized keyboards. To ensure the same functionality as a traditional keyboards, these two types of keyboards allow users to use programming layers.

Both the 60% and 65% keyboards have good programmability. They are loved by programmers because their compact design helps minimize hand movement as well as reduce fatigue when working for long periods of time. You can program their layers according to your preferences through QMK.

The biggest difference between them is the arrow key set. Some programmers feel that having the 65% keyboard's physical arrow keys is more convenient for programming. Meanwhile, the rest love using layers to program the arrow keys, they also think that switching layers is faster than moving the hand towards the navigation cluster. Whether physical or programmable keys, they all have the same function.

Whether you are a writer or programmer, if you love compact size, save desk space or often travel, then the 60% keyboard will be for you. It is also especially suitable for games that require agility and flexibility such as FPS, CS:GO…

Meanwhile, if you are someone who loves full functionality and navigation keys but still wants to experience compactness, the 65% keyboard is a good choice. This also makes it a popular choice for games that require complex operations like MOBA games, Arma 3, or a writer who doesn't like complicated programming classes.


Finally, after the detailed comparisons of 60% vs 65% keyboard that we have provided, you probably have the answer to the question "What compactness and flexibility are you looking for?" Each person will have their own answer, depending on personal needs and priorities. Hopefully you will have a good experience with your new compact keyboard.



I work as a freelance blogger in Seattle, Washington. I've been freelancing full-time for 5 years. I'm interested in anime, resin art, and mechanical keyboards.


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