If you’re in search of a 65% mechanical keyboard then you’ve come to the right place.
For its inclusion of a full set of arrow keys (and often a cluster of home keys), the 65% layout is one of the most preferred layouts by custom keyboard enthusiasts.
The compact size generally contains around 68 keys, and may or may not have any white space on the board depending on the model. Besides this, there’s an assortment of other features for you to choose from e.g. Wireless compatibility, Hot-swappable keys, and RGB backlighting, etc.
Below, we will take a look at some of the best mass-produced models on the market right now.
What is the best 65% Mechanical Keyboard?
15. ROYAL KLUDGE RK68 Plus
The RK68 Plus is a budget 65% mechanical keyboard with an exploded 68-key layout. Its size somewhat resembles its predecessor (the ever-popular RK61), but it does have some upgraded features. These include tri-mode connectivity, user hot-swappable switches, and PBT keycaps.
Built from a tough ABS plastic, the casing is sturdy and there’s quite a bit of heft. Under the case are four rubber feet that balance the board at an 8°-12° angle. Moreover, on top is a removable top shell. This allows you to change the case design from a high profile to a low profile.
The board itself is equipped with a hot-swap PCB that supports both three and five-pin mechanical switches. For switches, you can choose from three Gateron colors: Blues, Browns, and Reds. However, any other Cherry MX-style switch or clone is fully compatible.
Tri-mode connectivity (2.4 GHz, Bluetooth, and wired) is another standout feature of the RK68. The 2.4 GHz dongle plugs straight into your PC or console to establish an instant connection. Thanks to the 3150mAh battery, it can last about one week (8 hours/ day) on a full charge.
Despite having ABS keycaps, we especially like that the legends are transparent, which allows the stunning backlighting to shine through. Also that they are double-shot. All in all, the RK68 Plus is a fantastic budget keeb with huge potential.
14. YUNZII KC68 Shimmer
The Yunzii KC68 is a stylish 65% mechanical keyboard that combines a frosted translucent case and hot-swap capability. It has 68 compact keys including a set of arrows and four modifiers. Moreover, it draws its power through a wired USB-C connection but it cannot function wirelessly.
The two-part acrylic case design of the KC68s is quite unique. While the sides have a dark grey frosted tint, the top casing and case bottom are slightly more transparent. Due to this, the RGB LEDs can penetrate light easier through both of these places, resulting in a gorgeous aesthetic.
You’ll be glad to know that the PCB features north-facing, per-key LEDs and 3/ 5-pin hot-swappable sockets. For switches, the board comes with Gaterons, however, the sockets are also compatible with any MX profile mechanical switch. On top is an attractive set of XDA profile shimmer keycaps.
As for the typing experience, the KC68 feels and sounds great out of the box. This is thanks to Yunzii factory pre-lubing the stabilizers and inserting sound dampening foam between the PCB and mounting plate. We did have to remove and re-lube the space bar stabs but that was about it.
Lastly, the Keycool software allows you to create, control, and save RGB light effects and macros straight into the keyboard’s memory. Alternatively, this can be done through the onboard controls. Using the FN + Pause/ Home, you can flick through 19 RGB dynamic effects and 7 backlight colors.
13. Epomaker TH66
The Epomaker TH66 is a hot-swappable 65% mechanical keyboard with a modified gasket-like structure. It has 66-keys, including a full set of arrows, two Home keys, and a rotary knob on the top right of the board. Additionally, it features three modes of connectivity and RGB backlighting.
Constructed from plastic, the two-part case has a frosted acrylic top shell and a solid plastic bottom. On the bottom of the case are four rubber pads, a pair of two-stage feet, and a switch for toggling between wireless modes. Furthermore, on the back left of the case is a recessed USB-C port.
The mounting method is a hybrid-gasket-sandwich design with two layers of dampening foam. This consists of gaskets around the edges of the board, as well as a couple of center screws to secure the plate and the PCB. The result is a more stable tactile typing experience with quieter typing sounds.
The PCB itself can support both 3/ 5-pin switches and has RGB LEDs. Unusually, the top row of LEDs (on the F-row) are north facing and the rest are south facing. Epomarker may have done this to help illuminate the top of the board. Nevertheless, the RGB backlighting is bold, bright, and wonderful.
For stock switches, the TH66 is available to buy in Gateron Pro mechanicals. Supporting these are a set of factory-lubed stabilizers. Moreover, on top are a dye-sub set of PBT keycaps. These come in a unique MDA profile. MDA is essentially a lower version of the SA profile with a similar sculpted form.
Overall, those searching for a budget board with a soft typing experience and all the latest features should get their hands on the Epomaker TH66.
12. Epomaker Akko 3068B
The Akko 3068B is an attractive 65% mechanical keyboard with 68 compact keys. Considering the affordable price, it sports an impressive set of features. Some of these include three modes of connectivity, hot-swappable switches, and RGB backlighting.
In terms of the build, the case uses a hard plastic, which is quite similar to what you find from Royal Kludge. On the bottom is a molded lip that elevates the board at a slight angle. This houses two flip-up feet at the back that have two stages of adjustment.
To keep costs competitive, the 3068B comes equipped with its own AKKO CS Jelly switches and PBT keycaps. The switches have a life span of 50 million clicks and require 35g of force to actuate. As for the keycaps, these are noticeably high quality. They have an ASA Profile and look great.
Offering three modes of connectivity, the 3068B can connect over a wire, Bluetooth 5.0, or via 2.4 GHz wireless. Pairing with Bluetooth is easy, and the 2.4 GHz works just as it should. Unfortunately, the 1800 mAh battery is quite small but it can still last approximately one week with the RGB on.
All in all, the Akko 3068B offers amazing value for money. It’s definitely up there with some of the best budget 65% form factors.
11. Keychron K6
The Keychron K6 is a versatile 65% mechanical keyboard that aims to maximize your workspace. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac, however, Mac users will find this device particularly appealing as it’s one of the few keyboards that comes with extra Mac keys.
Connectivity is one area in which the Keychron excels. Due to supporting Bluetooth 5.1, it allows you to easily switch between three different wireless devices; whether this is your smartphone, laptop, or gaming lighting. Of course, you can also use it wired via the detachable USB Type-C.
For those who are after a wireless keyboard, the K6’s large 4000 mAh battery capacity is another highlight feature. It can last up to 72 hours (with static RGB lighting), or up to nine, eight-hour days without. When compared to other similar priced 65% boards (such as the GK68XS), this is a big plus.
Due to the cases aluminum mounted panels, the build quality is actually very good. A few downsides though is that it does comes with ABS keycaps (rather than PBT). Furthermore, although it features eighteen types of RGB backlighting, this is not exactly the brightest.
All in all, it’s a great multi-tasking keyboard for the price.
10. Keychron K7
Anybody that liked the look of the K6 but would prefer a thinner, low-profile version instead; should turn their eyes to the Keychron K7. Similarly, it features wireless/ wired modes, a hot-swap PCB, and cross-platform compatibility. The only real differences are the low-profile case and LP switches.
Much like the K6, the K7 has a tough aluminum enclosure. For plenty of rigidity, the case consists of two reinforced, aluminum pieces that screw together. On the bottom is a pair of adjustable, two-step feet. Then, on the back is a USB Type-C port, and two notches for wireless/ OS layout modes.
The K7 is available in either low-profile optical or mechanical switches, however, the mechanical version is non-hot-swappable. Personally, we prefer optical switches on this board. Developed by Keychron themselves, these are approx. 1mm smaller than their mechanical counterpart.
By taking advantage of the same Bluetooth 5.1 chipset (as the K6), wireless connectivity is another key feature of the K7. Fast and secure, it can connect up to three devices and allow you to switch between them simultaneously. Whether this is your PC, Laptop, or Android smart phone.
To accommodate a smaller low-profile, Keychron has had to compromise on the battery size. Powering the K7 is a slightly smaller 1550 mAh battery. We found this could last about half the time, (roughly 34 hours) On the plus side. It has a three-hour charge and is usable with a wire.
All in all, those after a portable, low-profile, 65% mechanical keyboard, have their answer in the K7.
9. Fnatic Streak65
The Fnatic Streak65 is one of the fastest, lightest, and most compact gaming keyboards to date. Developed specifically for esports by the Fnatic rooster themselves, it has an extremely low-profile design featuring custom speed switches and ultra-low-profile floating key-caps.
Weighing just 400 grams, the Streak65 is also extremely portable, making it ideal for pros who are always on the move. Even so, it lacks no strength as the build utilizes a solid aluminum top plate. For this reason, there’s very little flex to the board and it does not feel flimsy in any way.
To add to the build quality, you’ll be glad to know that the switches come pre-lubed to prevent any rattle or inconstancies when typing. In terms of the typing experience, the speed switches are linear and have a very short 1.0mm actuation distance. This greatly reduces travel time for a faster multi-press.
For an immersive gaming experience, per-key RGB backlighting is a feature. The LEDs are nice and vibrant and spread lots of light across the whole keyboard. Unfortunately, one downside about this is that only basic RGB modes and configurable options are available through the software.
In terms of aesthetics, the board looks quite minimal with soft, rounded corners and clean legends. There is some branding on the top of the board, on the back, and both sides, though it’s not too visible or bothersome from the front. Also on the back is a Type-C USB port for a wired connection.
Overall, the Streak65 is an awesome 65% mechanical keyboard for gamers on a budget.
8. Razer V3 Mini HyperSpeed
The BlackWidow V3 Mini is a wireless 65% mechanical gaming keyboard with Razer Chroma™ RGB. Designed to be compact enough for any space, and versatile enough for all setups, it provides the perfect balance of form and function for a seamless gaming experience.
In terms of the build, the body is mostly plastic but it does have an aluminum top plate. Considering its compact size, there’s quite a bit of heft and it’s not going to let you down in terms of quality. Aesthetically, the case follows the rest of the black widow lineup with an indistinguishable front lip.
For switches, the Mini comes in two Razer variants; Greens and Yellows. Greens are the clicky, tactile switch that offer optimized actuation, while yellows are linear, and include sound dampeners. On top are ABS double-shot keycaps that have extra thick walls to withstand prolonged use.
Although the build quality is impressive, it’s the excellent connectivity makes this keyboard stand out. Besides connecting via a detachable cable or Bluetooth, the V3 Mini features Hyperspeed technology through a wireless 2.4 GHz dongle. As a result, you won’t have any issues with dropouts.
No wireless keyboard is truly worth buying unless the battery life is there to match it. Fortunately, this is another area where the V3 Mini excels. Regardless of whether it’s in HyperSpeed wireless or Bluetooth mode, you’ll get up to 200 hours of battery life from just under five hours of charge.
7. ASUS ROG Falchion
The ASUS ROG Falchion is a wireless 65% keyboard with some innovative features. On the side is an interactive touch panel that lets you conveniently adjust volume, or create shortcuts for switching apps. It also has a real-time battery level indicator so you can see how much power you’ve got left.
For the layout, the Falchion incorporates the arrows and navigation keys into one compact 68 key block. As a result, it measures just 306mm in length, making it almost the same size as a 60% keyboard. If you’re moving up from a 60% board you will quickly adapt to this layout.
The board comes with Cherry MX mechanical switches and durable PBT double-shot keycaps on top. As this is a gaming keyboard, the keycaps have a gamer-style font. Due to being printed in a white font, all of the secondary functions are clearly visible from the front.
To give you long-lasting performance, the Falchion boasts a whopping 450 hours of battery life. It connects via a 2.4 GHz USB dongle, however, you can also use it wired.
6. Keydous NJ68
The Keydous NJ68 is a compact, 65% mechanical keyboard featuring Bluetooth 4.1 and a hot-swappable PCB. It’s available in three different colors black, white, or pink. The white version includes several additional keycaps to support a Mac multimedia layout.
Constructed from a hard ABS plastic, the casing is solid and has some premium weight to it. The stock stabilizers come pre-lubed and do not rattle. Moreover, the PBT, double-shot keycaps are pretty thick (1.4mm) and have sharp, clean legends. Overall, the build quality is very high.
Featuring Kailh sockets, the board is compatible with both 3-pin and 5-pin switches. The hot-swap sockets aren’t overly tight, making it easy to try out new switches with no soldering required. For stock switches, you can choose from either Kailh Box’s or Cherry MX’s.
Another big pro of the NJ68 is its eye-catching 16m color backlight. The RGB effects are abundant and the white is clean. To program the backlighting or set macros, Keydous provide their own native software. However, due to the rough Chinese translation, this is a bit difficult to understand.
Lastly, as this is a Bluetooth keyboard, it has dual connectivity. The Bluetooth is stable, and the 3100 mAh lithium battery life is impressive lasting over two weeks on a full charge. To preserve the battery, simply plug the USB into the Type-C port at the center-back of the board.
5. Ducky Miya Pro
The MIYA Pro is a collaboration between Ducky and Varmilo. This board is the real deal and comes in an assortment of unique designs – some of which are quite sort-after and can be very difficult to get your hands on in different regions of the world.
Besides the fantastic aesthetics, the build quality of this model is extremely high. The plastic frame has a steel plate inside to make sure it’s durable and rigid, and it’s much heavier than you’d think. As a result, it has very little rattle or ping, and you can tell it’s a premium product all round.
In terms of the layout, the Miya Pro is favored for having the Numpad and arrow keys offset in their own little cluster. This is a deal-breaker for some gamers, as it can help to prevent any unexpected accidents that might occur when your arrows are right next to your modifiers.
Like most other Ducky products it uses Cherry-style switches and has PBT Keycaps. It does only support white backlighting, however, this allows you to fully appreciate the artwork.
4. Glorious GMMK 2 – 65%
The Glorious GMMK 2 is a high-quality, modular RGB gaming keyboard. It has a compact 65% layout that packs a full set of arrows, three Home keys, and a Delete key in the right-hand corner of the board. The small footprint makes it ideal for all sorts of games and productivity tasks.
Constructed from a thick, anodized aluminum top frame and a plastic bottom, the GMMK 2 feels solid in your hand. At 1.9 lb., it does have some premium weight so it’s not going to slide around on your desk. To help prevent this, four textured rubber feet are on the bottom of the board.
The keyboard itself has an exposed low profile case design with floating keycaps. Moreover, on the side of the case is a diffused RGB lighting strip that sits in-between both case materials. Then, on the bottom are a pair of extendable feet that raise the board from a 7-degree angle to 14-degrees.
In contrast to the first iteration of GMMK boards, the GMMK 2 supports both three and five-pin mechanical switches. For stock switches, it comes with its own Glorious “Fox Linears”. These are similar to Gateron Reds with a 45g actuation force and a 60g bottom out.
You’ll appreciate that both the switches and plate mount stabs are factory pre-lubed and sound surprisingly good out of the box. The stock spacebar has little rattle and the switches have no scratchiness. Another big pro is that the PCB also supports screw-in stabilizers and GSV2s.
Finally, RGB backlighting is one of the best features of the GMMK 2. The RGB lighting is super bright and looks amazing as it shines through the ABS keycaps and syncs with the side accent strips. Eighteen effects are customizable on the board, and more are configurable via the software.
Overall, those searching for an affordable 65% keyboard can’t go wrong with the GMMK 2. It’s ideal for those seeking a well-built option that excels in aesthetics, sound, and responsiveness.
3. Ducky One 3 SF
Ducky produce some of the best mechanical keyboards in the world, with the One 3 SF being the latest 65% installment from the Taiwanese manufacturer. Revamped and improved, it flaunts a fresh new style, enhanced acoustics, and eagerly awaited hot-swap functionality.
The geometric case design is one of the biggest differences from its predecessor. Aesthetically, it looks a lot more modern, with sleek bevels that reduce some of the bulk. Although the case has a metallic finish, it’s still only made from hard plastic to help keep costs low.
Inside the case, Ducky have gone for a dual-layer PCB with Kailh sockets and north-facing LEDs. Cherry MXs continue to be the switch of choice. Furthermore, On top, you’ll find a higher-quality set of tri-tone PBT keycaps. These are now dye-sub with an extra grippy texture for gaming.
As for the typing experience, the One 3 SF sounds excellent out of the box. This is thanks to its factory pre-lubed stabs and multi-layered padding design. The padding consists of a supplementary layer of EVA foam pad under the PCB, plus a thicker piece of foam between the PCB and the plate.
Finally, RGB is another standout feature of the Ducky One 3. The backlighting is bright, saturated, and looks drop-dead gorgeous as it reflects of the white top plate. Using the onboard controls, it’s easy to flick through any of the preset lighting effects without the need for any software.
Once you purchase this keyboard, you will quickly learn what all the fuss is about!
2. Drop ALT Mechanical Keyboard
The Drop ALT is easily one of the best 65% mechanical keyboards on the market right now. As a streamlined version of the CTRL model, it packs 67 keys into a tight compact space, but still has room for a full set of arrow keys and numerals that so many gamers often prefer.
Due to being constructed with an aluminum frame, the build quality is solid and there’s very little flex or bend. In addition to providing strength, the frame also acts as a built-in switch plate. This gives you the freedom to swap out the native switches and replace them with Cherry-style MX’s or clones.
RGB Backlighting is another prominent feature of the ALT. A diffused light bar wraps around the entire casing of the keyboard, and optimized light pipes are built into the base of the switches. In turn, this helps to deliver a beautiful lightbox effect that glows evenly through the floating keycaps.
Using the QMK firmware, all of the keys are fully programmable. The backlighting is also fully customizable. With so many stand out features, this might be the last keyboard you ever need to buy!
This board also comes in a low-profile model.
1. Keychron Q2
The Keychron Q2 is a luxury-enthusiast 65% mechanical keyboard with a double gasket-mount design. It has 66-keys, including a full-set of arrow keys and a configurable volume knob on the top-right of the board. Additionally, it features RGB, a hot-swappable PCB, and QMK/ VIA support.
Constructed from aluminum (with a rigid steel plate), the build quality is especially high. Coming in at 3.13 lbs., the board has plenty of weight, even more so than most full size boards. As a result, you have a real solid product that sits on the desk like a brick and provides excellent stability.
Underneath the case are four rubber feet that help to raise the case just above the ground. Additionally, there are eight screws for easy-disassembly when modding. Then, on the back left is a USB Type-C port as well as a toggle switch for switching between Windows and MacOS layouts.
Due to having a gasket mount structure, the plate provides 2.5mm of generous flex. This aims to reduce vibrations from bottoming out switches and eliminate resonance throughout the keyboard. Compared to other gasket mount implications, Keychron have implemented this incredibly well.
In between the gasket-structure is a hot-swap PCB with south-facing RGB LEDs. For switches, this particular board comes with Gateron G Pro Reds. Also included are a nice pair of screw-in stabs. These are Gaterons’ owns factory-lubed, silver-plated stabilizers that sound decent out of the box.
In terms of software, the Keychron Q2 relies solely on QMK and VIA support. QMK is a popular open-source software that allows you to program/ remap each key, configure the backlighting, and more. Thanks to its clean layout and simple tabs for customization, we find it very straightforward to use.
Overall, the Keychron Q2 is a solid, 65% keyboard that does almost everything right. For pre-built keyboards around the two-hundred dollar price point, you won’t find a better deal than this.
Click here for the Black version!
What is a 65% Mechanical Keyboard?
A 65% keyboard is essentially a keyboard that is 65% of the size of a standard keyboard. It’s the Goldilocks fairytale of keyboards; not too little and not too big but just about perfect. They typically accomplish this by eliminating the numeric keypad, half of the home keys, and function-row.
Instead of having an F-row, the majority of function keys operate as secondary functions on the numbers 1-9 instead. Similarly, the missing home keys e.g. Page Up, Page Down, Print Screen, etc. are available through secondary functions on the remaining Home keys.
To accommodate a compact 65% form factor, it’s common for 65% keyboards to have some unconventional key sizes. Generally, most have 1.5u keys between the spacebar and left arrow key (instead of three 1u keys). The right shift is also 1.75u rather than the full 2.75u of a standard layout.
As the world has embraced fast-paced, portable living and not everyone that works or games at a computer desk is an accountant, it makes sense that the streamlined keyboard was only a matter of time. Ask yourself, how often do you really use those extra keys.
When it comes to keyboards, the variety of choices is so many that articles such as this one are required to break them all down into some semblance of order. When it comes to the 65% keyboard, it likes to play the middle ground between larger and “mini’ keyboards.
Advantages of a 65% Keyboard
Some of the advantages we’ve already glossed over above, with a smaller keyboard fulfilling a consumer need for portability, space-saving, and getting rid of that irritating numeric keypad. In fact, there are several more advantages to using a 65% keyboard.
- It will save you a lot more desk space than you think
- Freedom of movement for your mouse hand
- Retains macro key functions
- It’s still a fully functional keyboard
- Bluetooth for portability and wired as a desk-space-saving option
Not everyone has a gigantic amount of desk real estate and you would be shocked at how much space eliminating the numeric keypad creates. It’s very advantageous, especially for those who embrace chaotic organization or simply have a lot going on with their desks.
All of your macro key functions are here as well. It’s not like ditching a traditional keyboard cuts out the best features of a keyboard, after all. A 65% keyboard, boiled down to its essence, is a fully functioning keyboard with horizontal numbers over the top of the alphabet keys.
They’re much easier to use in terms of portability as well. Bluetooth, 65% keyboards are a dime a dozen and if you’re constantly on the move, the size is just right.
How to Choose a 65% Mechanical Keyboard?
Mechanical keyboards are the old school keyboards of the past that have still managed to retain their superiority in the keyboard market. Dropping a mechanical keyboard from a full to 65% was only the next, logical step. But how to choose the right one?
You already know what kind of size that you’ll be getting, at least in general terms. With a mechanical 65% keyboard, you probably won’t have an F-row or a numeric keypad, so you’ll want to ensure that it comes with plenty of macro-key functionality and plenty of shortcuts as well.
You also want something that is solid, either a plastic or an aluminum construction that doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap. That way it won’t flex or bend when you’re smashing away on the keys. You won’t have to worry about it breaking if you accidentally drop it on the floor either.
Switch Type/ Stabilizers
There are three types of mechanical key styles, clicky, tactile, and linear. All of them are quality keys but it amounts to what is best for you
- Linear: linear switches feature no tactile feedback and are dead silent when pressed. It’s like typing on a well-oiled machine
- Tactile: Tactile switches are attractively loud, like clicky keyboards, but there is a higher degree of tactile feedback on each press
- Clicky: Clicky is like tactile but the only difference is the clicky keyboards lack the degree of tactile feedback found in tactile switches
Lastly, you want a good stabilizer so that your keys aren’t shaking back and forth. You don’t want lateral movement when you press a key, only straight up and down.
Hot-Swappable or No
Hot-swappable is a worthy feature because it allows you to change keys and conduct preventative maintenance quickly and efficiently without having to disassemble your keyboard.
PBT keycaps are far the most durable keycaps; a huge step-up over ABS keycaps.
This depends on you. There is a lot of different 65%, mechanical keyboards out there and some are Bluetooth while most are wired. It boils down to what you want in your workspace and your level of portability.
- Minimalist desktop setup
- Excellent stabilizers
- Floating keys
- Switch options
- PBT keycaps
- Plenty of ports
If you go wireless, battery life is essential and that’s usually because you’re going to be on the go with your keyboard and the worst thing that can happen is the battery dying. High-quality keyboards will give you four days or more of moderate use so you shouldn’t accept anything less.
We hope you found a 65% Mechanical Keyboard on this list.
Click here for the 25 best Hot-Swappable Keyboards!
Click here for the best 75% Mechanical Keyboards!