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What is a tenkeyless keyboard? The space-saving peripheral explained

If you’re shopping for a new keyboard, you may have come across the term “tenkeyless”. But, what exactly is a tenkeyless keyboard? 

Read on to discover everything you need to know about tenkeyless keyboards, including what they are, how many keys they have and how they compare to other keyboards, including full-size keyboards and mini keyboards. 

What is a tenkeyless keyboard? 

A tenkeyless – or TKL – keyboard is a keyboard that doesn’t include a 10-key numeric keypad. 

How do tenkeyless keyboards compare to other keyboards?

TKL keyboards typically have around 87 keys. This makes them significantly more compact than a full-size 104 to 108-key keyboard, saving space on your desk and making them easier to slip into your bag than their larger alternative. 

However, while TKL gaming keyboards have become common, not all gamers will enjoy the numeric keypad-less setup. Some titles are optimised for the number pad and gamers accustomed to navigating their games with these keys may need some time to get used to their absence. 

On the other hand, the smaller keyboard leaves more space for mouse movement on less spacious desks, which many gamers will appreciate. For non-gamers, this space can be used to make more room for your phone, tablet or anything else you need space for on your desk. 

Of course, it isn’t just gamers who benefit from the numeric keypads on full-size keyboards. People who work jobs that require them to enter a lot of numbers will lose out on the efficiency the cluster of numbered keys brings to full-size keyboards if they choose to trade theirs in for a TKL accessory. 

However, for most, tenkeyless keyboards represent a nice middle ground between full-size keyboards and mini keyboards. 

Mini – or 60% – keyboards are keyboards that cut out not just the number pad, but also the arrow keys and a handful of function keys. This makes them the smallest option of the three and a great option for cramped desk layouts and portable use, whether that be on a train, in a coffee shop or in the library. 

However, the lack of certain function keys can be a dealbreaker for some users, making tenkeyless the ideal compromise between size and functionality.

Tenkeyless keyboards we’ve recently tested

If you’re interested in picking up a tenkeyless keyboard, here are a few we’ve reviewed recently:

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