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The Best Low-Profile Keyboards [2024]

Are you looking for an affordable, compact, and portable keyboard with a switch that has a nice and short travel distance?

Well a low profile mechanical keyboard may be an awesome option for you. Perfect for gaming and for those who don’t want to bend their wrists as much when typing.

The Best Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboards : Our Top Picks

Let’s dive into our list and discuss why we chose each of these low-profile keyboards as our favorites.

1. Keychron K1: Best Wireless Low-Profile Keyboard

Keychron K1 low profile mechanical keyboard

The Keychron K1 was produced by mechanical keyboard enthusiasts and the design reflects that.

Different Pricing Options

The keyboard comes with different scales of pricing options depending on the number of features you want.

You can pick from either 87-key or 104-key, white backlight or RGB backlight, and between Gateron Low Profile Blue or Red Switches. It comes in a black colorway.

There was recently a new version of this keyboard that was released with more switch options and the K1 was improved across the board.

Wired/Wireless with Mac & Windows Compatibility

This keyboard can be wireless or wired, and it is compatible with Windows or Mac, coming with specific keycaps for each operating system.

Simply use the toggle switch on the side to change between operating systems.

The K1 has an ultra-thin body at 18mm, uses a USB-C plug, and has media keys that work on the Mac as well.

Th Gateron Low Profile Blue switches have a total distance of 2.5mm, an actuation distance of 1.5mm, with an actuation force of 50g. Which make it a pretty basic low-profile switch that gets the job done well enough.

The Gateron Low Profile Red switches have the same total distance and actuation distance, but only requires 45g to actuate. The switches are exposed from the sides with the floating key design.

We have a more in-depth review of this keyboard on our site as well if you want more detail on this keyboard model.

The keycaps are very similar to Mac style keys, with the font and the flat keycap style design.

Wirelessly, it uses Bluetooth technology to connect to up to 3 devices which is great if you want to connect to your phone, tablet, and PC to switch between them seamlessly.

Without the RGB lighting turned on, the keyboard can last for days without needing a recharge.

Do you want RGB Lighting? It’s up to you.

If you pick the RGB version, it comes with 18 different pre-programmed lighting effects.

The keyboard is primarily made from aluminum, and it feels sturdy.

Unfortunately, there is no programmability for RGB lighting, so you cannot make your own custom effects.

Overall, the Keychron K1 is an affordable keyboard that falls at a price point under $100 , but still offers the slim low-profile look, wireless capabilities, and a clean look with backlighting.

You can find the Keychron K1 for a super affordable price on Amazon.

2. Corsair K70 RGB: Best Low Profile Keyboard For Gaming

Corsair K70 RGB mechanical keyboard

Introducing the Corsair K70 RGB MK. 2 Low-Profile version of the Corsair K70. It’s everything the K68 has , except with low profile switches.

The keyboard is on the high-end side, so the price definitely reflects that.

The K70 has dedicated media keys at the very top of the keyboard including a volume scroll for easy quick change.

It has a mute button with dedicated play back controls.

Interesting Design and Features

There is a brushed aluminum frame with a USB passthrough on the back of the keyboard.

There are additional textured keycaps for the MOBA/FPS keys such as WASD, Space, Q and E.

It also includes a flat plastic wrist pad, that offers a little bit of support, but would be better if it was padded or textured.

The switches are Cherry MX Low Profile Speed switches. It looks just like a regular Cherry switch but around the cross stem is a ring of plastic.

Comparing the MX Speed to the MX Speed Low Profiles, they have a lower actuation distance which make them feel a bit different.

The MX Speeds have a travel distance of 3.4mm with an actuation distance of 1.2mm. The Low-Profile MX Speeds have a total travel distance of 3.2mm and an actuation distance of 1.0mm, so slightly less by 0.2mm.

With a low-profile switch, you should get faster reaction times when gaming, but the typing experience will be more uncomfortable due to bottoming out the switches easier.

The software is a huge download, but allows you to edit all the lighting effects and macros on the keyboard.

Many of the features remain the same as the K70 RGB Mechanical Keyboard that we talked about before when discussing the mechanical keyboards that Fortnite pros play on .

Perfect for Gaming

If you are excited about gaming on low-profile keyboards, this keyboard is probably your best bet.

The MX Speeds improve response time via shorter travel distance already, but the MX Low Profile Speeds take that a step further.

With the dedicated media keys and textured gaming keycaps, this keyboard will make your gaming setup look and perform its best.

You can check the price o f the Corsair K70 on Amazon.

3. Cooler Master SK630/650/621 Low Profile Keyboard

Cooler Master Mechanical keyboard with RGB

Comes In A Variety Of Different Sizes

Let’s look at the Cooler Master SK630/650 . Both of which are low-profile mechanical keyboards, except the SK650 is a full-sized keyboard with a number pad, while the SK630 is a TKL keyboard .  

There is also the SK621 , which is a 60% keyboard with Bluetooth.

These keyboards feature extra-flat keycaps and Cherry MX L o w Profile switches , resembling a chiclet style keyboard with an improved feel.

Not Specifically for Gamers

While the overall appearance of these keyboards is not geared towards the gaming community, the keyboards offer easy on the fly backlighting adjustments, changing lighting modes, as well as recording macros.

The keyboards have no Cooler Master branding on them other than the right Fn key is now a subtle logo, just the outline of the logo without the words “Cooler Master” in between.

They both have full RGB lighting with over 15 pre-programmed lighting effects including: Static, Rainbow Wave, Crosshair, Reactive Fade, Stars, Rain, Color Cycle, Breathing, and more. In addition, along the side of the frame is a thin lighting strip that can be customized as well.

Using the software provided, you can go even further with customization of lighting modes and macros.

Cool Features Included

The keycaps and switches together have a floating key design, where the switches and RGB lights are exposed underneath, allowing a bright visual experience to anyone interested.

Like other mechanical keyboards, these ones feature N-key rollover, with accurate keypress detection despite button-mashing or during gaming.

From a design perspective, the keyboard features a brushed aluminum back plate.

However, there is a plastic base that takes away from some of the rigidity.  It has a wedged shape which raises the back of the keyboard slightly.

The TKL and 60% versions are extremely portable, fitting easily into backpacks and purses. Compared to other keyboards, the size is not super slim. However, due to the overall look with the flat keycaps, the short base, and the floating key style, the keyboard looks smaller than it is.

Some Downsides To The Coolermaster Line-Up

A downside is that the keyboard doesn’t have any adjustment in keyboard angle. This means you’re stuck with a flat typing angle – no other options.

The USB-C cable is detachable from the keyboard. It connects through to the backside. The cable is braided, which is a bonus benefit. It is more durable.

There is no USB passthrough. None of the three versions have media-keys or volume controls dedicated onto the keyboard itself. Through Fn keys, it’s possible to do that.

Typing Experience

Despite the keycaps looking appealing, the flat shape makes it difficult to type on because you can have a hard time finding the keys that it needs to press.

There is no tilt of any keycaps, and the edges of each key is squared off and level with its neighbors. They try to reduce the distance between keys, so it may take some time to get used to the keyboard.

You’ll most likely be making a lot of mistakes at first, but will eventually get used to it over time.

The Gaming Experience

Gaming with this keyboard is a better experience due to the short linear switches. You’ll experience faster reaction times and a small boost to your competitive level.

The caveat is, the combination of the flat keys, the shorter travel distance, and the shorter linear switches makes this keyboard difficult to type on with speed and accuracy.

The sounds, compared to other keyboards, is also quieter. This is a very quiet keyboard, which you can take to the office without any trouble.

The SK Lineup from Cooler Master has a lot to offer. The only complaints I have is that the keycaps are flat and not curved at all and it has no angle adjustment for typing.

It’s tough typing on a flat keyboard such as this because you have to float your wrists up, which can cause shoulder and upper trapezius fatigue over time.

You can find the Coolermaster SK600 line-up on Amazon by following this link, with all of the prices listed .

4. Logitech G915 Lightspeed: A High-End Option

Logitech G915 Lightspeed low profile mechanical keyboard with RGB

Quite Pricey, But Worth It

This keyboard is the most expensive board on the list, with a higher-end price that will make most blush.

The Logitech G915 Lightspeed Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a full-sized keyboard, available on Amazon through this link.

One thing to note is that it comes in two versions.. The Logitech G815 is basically the same keyboard, but it has no wireless capabilities which allows you to save on some cash.

Features of the Logitech G815/915

Let’s talk about some of this keyboard’s features. The frame is a brushed aluminum with an aluminum frame. It has full RGB lighting and a thin lighting strip on the sides of the keyboard.

The keyboard offers three variations of switches, clicky, linear, or tactile. These switches are called GL Linear, GL Tactile, and GL Clicky switches.

For more information on the switches, Logitech has a great information page describing all of their switches with graphics and sound bites.

They all have a total travel distance of 2.7mm, an actuation distance of 1.5mm, and an actuation force of 50g making it a standard low-profile switch.

Despite being low profile, the footprint of this keyboard is big.

It has a column of 5 macro keys on the left side for you to program any macros you may need. At the top right of the keyboard, there is a volume wheel and dedicated media controls. The keyboard itself is 22mm tall.

Lots of Customization and Adjustability

At the top of the keyboard are different profile adjustments, macro keys, and lighting keys.

The keyboard is extremely thin compared to other keyboards. With the height adjustment kickstands, the back of the keyboard raises to the height of other keyboards.

The keycaps are curved which offer a nice typing experience.

They are ABS plastic keycaps that are extremely sturdy. One issue that people have encountered is breaking the keycaps when they’re taken out.

The keycaps are hard to find because they’re made specially for the GL switches , so be careful when taking the keycaps out and putting them back in.

If, however, you break a keycap, you can contact Logitech support because they do sell replacements.

The keycaps are bright and shine through nicely. However, only the top legends have light shining through. The other legends are a matte grey, which may be difficult to see in dim lighting.

Speedy Wireless Connection

It has lightspeed wireless, which is graded for a super speedy 1 ms performance for gaming, even wirelessly.

Many wireless keyboards require being connected to offer responsive registration of keypresses for gaming, but this one can be used wirelessly as well.

To connect using Lightspeed wireless technology, you must use the USB receiver in your laptop or computer.

The keyboard also offers Bluetooth technology that can connect to multiple devices such as your phone, which does not have a USB port. At 100% RGB brightness, the keyboard offers a long 30 hours of gaming wirelessly.

To recharge, simply connect the keyboard into your computer, which uses a Micro USB connector.

Despite being the most expensive keyboard on this list, it does offer the best features.

It has Lightspeed wireless technology, so you can game wirelessly, unlike other keyboards that connect via Bluetooth only.

Lots of Different Switch Options

This keyboard offers 3 types of switches of all types, macro keys, dedicated media keys, and more. It’s a keyboard packed with features.

If you have the money for it and want a high-end wireless gaming keyboard with mechanical switches yet have a low profile look, this is the one for you.

Where to Buy the Logitech G815/915

You can find the Logitech G815 and G915 through this link for a competitive price on Amazon.

What are Low Profile Keyboards?

Low profile and regular mechanical keyboard comparison

Low Profile keyboards have a shorter keyboard body and shorter switches. When a keyboard is called low profile, it may have either a short body with regular switches, regular body with low profile switches, or both.

Low profile keyboards most likely resemble the keyboards that are on most laptops, such as Macbooks or Chromebooks.

They have a short travel distance, but many still want to enjoy the benefits of having mechanical switches. A combination of those two features created the low-profile mechanical switch.

Two of the largest switch companies, Cherry and Kailh, have their own low-profile switches that are clicky, linear, or tactile.

Harder to Find

Because low profile keyboards are low in supply as there are not that many models out there that offer this feature, the price points for most low-profile keyboards can be higher than entry-level mechanical keyboards.

Differently Shaped Switch

Low profile switches have a differently shaped stem than the regular MX-style switches, so finding custom keycaps that fit these switches may be a problem currently. In the future, as we expect low profile keyboards to get more popular, more supply in keycaps may pop up.

Shorter Travel Distance

If we compare the original Cherry MX Red to the MX Low Profile Red, the total distance and actuation distances are much different.

The Cherry MX Red has a total distance of 4.0mm and an actuation distance of 2.0mm. On the MX Low Profile Red, the total distance is 3.0mm, and the actuation distance is 1.2mm.

For gamers, this may advantageous since the distance traveled is decreased, allowing increased response time.

Another general feature of low-profile keyboards is the keycap style. Many manufacturers have opted for a short and flat keycap that resemble a MacBook or a Bluetooth keyboard.

These low-profile keyboards may become more popular in the future as a travel keyboard that’s slim and fits into a small carrying case without the keycaps or switches protruding out.

When Swithing a to Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboard

For people switching from keyboard typing to typing on mechanical keyboards , a low-profile keyboard might feel more at home compared to the regular mechanical keyboards that we talk about here.

Being low-profile is also beneficial for wrist position when it comes to ergonomics.

Due to the shorter nature of the switches or the keyboard itself, your wrist doesn’t need a wrist pad or to extend/bend as much as before to be in a comfortable typing position.

Keep in mind, a lot of people find low-profile mechanical keyboard can feel strange to type on becasue the shorter travel distance may feel foriegn and you’ll be typing with the same force as a normal keyboard.

This may lead to some finger pain and there will be a small adjustment window when switching to a low-profile keyboard.

Angled view of Keychron K1v4 low profile mechanical keyboard

We’ve looked at four different low-profile keyboards: the Keychron K1, Cooler Master SK lineup (full-size, TKL, and 60%), Logitech G915 Lightspeed, and the Corsair K70 RGB Mk.2 Low Profile Gaming Keyboard.

They all have their own features, different sizes, lighting effects, different switches such as Gateron low profile switches, Cherry MX Low profile switches, Logitech GL switches, and the Cherry MX speed low profile switches.

For people looking for the style of chiclet keys but the feel of mechanical keys, low profile mechanical keyboards are what you are looking for. The total distances and actuation distances of all of these keyboards are less than the MX-style switches.

Happy typing!

Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboards Are Getting Really Good .

The Best Low Profile Gaming Keyboard DOESN’T Exist!

Was the Hype Worth It? Cooler Master SK650 & SK630 Low Profile Keyboards

Checking out the LOW PROFILE Corsair K70 RGB Mk. 2 Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G915 Lightspeed Keyboard Review – Who Would Buy This?

Keychron K1 Slim Wirelesss Mechanical Keyboard – Unboxing & Review

Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards and other tech work to show the world all of the cool aspects of the hobby.

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  • Best Mid-Range
  • Best Budget
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Notable Mentions

Recent updates, all reviews, the 5 best low-profile keyboards - summer 2024 reviews.

Best Low-Profile Keyboards

Low-profile keyboards offer two major advantages. First, their slimmer design makes them much more portable; they're fairly easy to carry under your arm, while some with more compact form factors are designed to be easily slipped into bags or laptop cases. Second, low-profile models offer comfort and ergonomic benefits since you can rest your palms comfortably on your desk and don't need to angle your wrists sharply upwards to reach all the keys as you often do with taller, conventional keyboards. These advantages make low-profile keyboards popular with students, on-the-go professionals, and gamers.

We've tested more than 225 keyboards and over 25 low-profile units. Below, we've listed our picks for the best low-profile mechanical keyboards and the best low-profile models. This list features a mix of recommendations, including mechanical and non-mechanical picks designed for everyday use, productivity, and gaming. For more focused recommendations, see our picks for the best mechanical keyboards , the best office keyboards , or the best gaming keyboards .

Best Low-Profile Keyboard

NuPhy Air75 V2 [Air60 V2, Air96 V2] Design Picture

The  NuPhy Air75 V2 is the best low-profile option we've tested. It comes in several different mechanical switch options and offers excellent build quality, impressive portability, and flexible connectivity options. It supports Windows and MacOS compatibility modes. You can also toggle between wireless connection types. Its Bluetooth connection is more battery efficient and supports multi-device pairing, while its higher-performance 2.4GHz USB connection provides more than enough raw performance for casual or competitive gaming.

This keyboard has flattened, tile-like keycaps with an unusual profile that may take some getting used to initially. However, their design leaves plenty of surface area and standard spacing between neighboring keys, intended to minimize typos. They're made of high-quality PBT plastic and have a pleasant, slightly textured finish. These keycaps don't have shine-through legends, so even though the keyboard has full RGB backlighting, you can't read the key legends in darker environments.

To top it off, NuPhy sells two additional variants of these keyboards. Apart from their size, each variant is the same, but we recommend checking out the more compact NuPhy Air60 V2 if you have a smaller desk or if portability is your top priority. Alternatively, if you prefer a larger model with a Numpad, check out the NuPhy Air96 V2 instead.

See our review

Best Mid-Range Low-Profile Keyboard

Logitech MX Keys S Design Picture

We recommend the Logitech MX Keys S if you have a mid-range budget. While our top pick above uses mechanical switches, this is a non-mechanical keyboard that uses scissor switches. If you often use a laptop keyboard, it provides a similar-feeling typing experience. But that's not selling it short, as the experience has a snappy, premium-feeling tactility that's missing on cheaper keyboards. It's also considerably quieter than most mechanical options. All build materials also feel high quality, and the keycaps have spherical dish-shaped tops that keep your fingers centered on the keys.

Unlike the NuPhy above, this model has white-only backlighting. It has very legible shine-through keycaps, so you can easily read the legends in all lighting conditions. You can also set it to adjust dynamically to the lighting conditions of your room and to turn on automatically when you approach your keyboard. However, the other major difference that sets it apart from the NuPhy Air75 V2 is that it doesn't pack the same raw performance, so it isn't as suitable if you're primarily interested in gaming. Instead, it's an outstanding choice for everyday desktop browsing and office work.

Additionally, while this keyboard is very slim and comfortable to type on without a wrist rest as part of a desktop setup, its full-size form factor means it isn't a great candidate for stowing in your back and taking with you on the go. If you don't need a Numpad or want something easier to carry around, a smaller version of this keyboard, the Logitech MX Keys Mini , is available and is much more portable.

Best Budget Low-Profile Keyboard

Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard Design Picture

As far as budget options go, we recommend the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard. It's another full-size non-mechanical option like the Logitech MX Keys S above. Given its price point, it feels fairly well-built and delivers good overall typing quality. However, its keys are a bit mushier-feeling, and this model doesn't provide the same premium-feeling typing experience. It also lacks backlighting of any kind.

On the other hand, this keyboard is still extremely quiet. It doesn't include a USB receiver, so your computer or device must have Bluetooth support. Also, unlike other picks on this list with Bluetooth support, it doesn't support multi-device pairing. This keyboard uses AAA batteries for power, which can be an advantage if you're trying to keep your desktop setup clear and don't want to worry about charging cables. If you're on the fence about needing to change out batteries, it's worth noting it has an advertised battery life of up to 24 months, so it isn't something you'll need to deal with very often.

That said, if you don't want to bother with charging or batteries or don't need wireless connectivity, we recommend checking out the Dell KB216 instead. It has a very similar, straightforward design, but it's a wired-only model that's typically even cheaper.

Best Cheap Low-Profile Keyboard

Logitech Pebble Keys 2 K380s Design Picture

If you want a cheap option, we recommend the Logitech Pebble Keys 2 K380s. This keyboard is a standout favorite for students and on-the-go professionals. Its compact form makes it easy to slip into backpacks or laptop cases, and it fits snugly into even cramped work or study spaces. It also uses AAA batteries for power and connects wirelessly via Bluetooth, allowing you to use multiple devices simultaneously.

Altogether, this extremely versatile pick has long been unbeatable in this price category. Its circular-shaped keycaps are slightly unusual, and it has a somewhat cramped key layout. These elements may take some time to get used to, but most people will be typing at their normal pace before long. Also, it's worth pointing out that due to this keyboard's portability-focused form factor, it's missing a Numpad, which can be an issue if you often work with numbers. If you need a Numpad or specifically want a keyboard with a built-in tray for propping up small devices like phones or tablets and don't mind sacrificing portability and battery life, check out the Logitech K585 , which is typically around the same price.

Best Low-Profile Keyboard For Gaming

Corsair K100 AIR Design Picture

Dedicated low-profile gaming options are still uncommon in the grand scheme of things, but the best among them is the Corsair K100 AIR. This full-size wireless keyboard uses specialized ULP (ultra low-profile) switches. These butterfly-style switches offer crisp and consistent tactile feedback and have extremely short and responsive-feeling pre-travel that plays a large part in the outstanding latency performance. The second part of that latency equation is that this model supports polling rates higher than 1000Hz, which is the standard for most gaming keyboards. This means it can send input information to your computer more often than most conventional mechanical keyboards, offering a small but measurable latency advantage.

This keyboard also features fully customizable RGB lighting, shine-through keycaps, and dedicated media controls. Using the configuration software, you can also customize a range of options, including lighting effects, macros, and key assignments. Altogether, this keyboard offers a remarkably responsive-feeling gaming experience. Its only downside is its cost, as it's considerably more expensive than other options on this list, so if you're not entirely committed to competitive gaming, consider our top pick, the NuPhy Air75 V2 , instead. While the NuPhy isn't a dedicated gaming keyboard and doesn't quite offer the same top-tier latency performance, it's still excellent for gaming in all genres and is much more affordable.

  • Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad: With its iconic, ultra-slim design, the Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad is a great non-mechanical alternative to the NuPhy Air75 V2 if you exclusively work in a macOS environment and want a full-size model with a separate arrow key cluster and Numpad. It also adds a unique layer of biometric security to unlock your computer with its touch ID feature. Unfortunately, it lacks backlighting and is more expensive than the NuPhy. See our review
  • Logitech MX Mechanical: The Logitech MX Mechanical is essentially a mechanical version of the Logitech MX Keys S. It's a great choice if you prefer typing on mechanical switches and are already in a Logitech peripheral system. However, the NuPhy Air75 V2 offers a better overall typing experience at a similar price range and has significantly better raw performance if you want a keyboard for both work and play. See our review
  • Keychron K3 (Version 2): The Keychron K3 (Version 2) is a straightforward and portable wireless keyboard typically a bit cheaper than the Logitech MX Keys S. It's a standout alternative if you prefer typing with mechanical switches. It has full RGB backlighting compared to the white-only backlighting on the Logitech. It also has a more portable compact (75%) size, which means it's missing a Numpad. It also lacks customization software for reprogramming keys or creating macros. See our review

Jun 21, 2024: We've confirmed the price and availability of all our picks; no changes to our recommendations.

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best low-profile mechanical keyboards and the overall best low-profile options for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper product wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no keyboard that is difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all relevant keyboard reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no product is perfect for every use, most keyboards are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them. Be sure to know your key switch preferences before choosing.

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Full travel vs. low travel keyboards: What’s the difference?

Ashley Biancuzzo

I hate to state the obvious, but it needs to be said. Keyboards are important . In fact, I’d argue they’re the most important peripheral of them all, as they allow us to communicate with our computers. Whether you’re working or gaming, chances are you spend a great deal of time typing on a keyboard. But if you’ve ever read a keyboard review and found yourself by confused by terms like low travel, travel distance, mushy keys, bottoming out, and so on… don’t worry, you’re not alone. If you’re looking to upgrade your keyboard or to better understand the jargon, I’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more.

First, let’s start with the basics. Many non-mechanical keyboards have rubber domes underneath their keycaps. These types of keyboards are known as membrane keyboards and they’re pretty common. The rubber domes are inexpensive to manufacture, sure, but they don’t offer much tactile feedback (aka feeling the bump). If you’ve ever used a bad keyboard, you probably know what it feels like. The board may feel cramped and the keys mushy and unpleasant. In other words, there are no satisfying clicking sounds or bounce back from the keys.

What does travel even mean?

You have to push a key down in order for the computer to register the keystroke, right? Well, the distance the key needs to travel in order to fully depress and send a command to the computer’s brain is the travel distance. This distance is measured in millimeters. When it comes to optimal travel distance, it really boils down to personal preference. For example, the standard distance of a full travel keyboard is around 4mm. Longer key travel is better for most people in terms of accuracy and comfort. Laptop keyboards don’t have much travel, as there’s not much real estate to work with.

Membrane keyboards vs. mechanical

A great wireless keyboard with membrane keys and short, but pleasant travel, logitech mx keys mini.

Logitech MX Keys Mini

The main difference between membrane keyboards and mechanical keyboards is the overall feel of the keypress. Membrane keyboards feel soft because of the rubber domes underneath the keycaps, so they don’t offer much tactile feedback. Mechanical keyboards, on the other hand, have keys that spring back after you press down on them. Instead of rubber domes, there are switches under the keycaps, which allow you to type more accurately.

If you play games often or just like pounding the hell out of your keys, a mechanical keyboard might be a better option, as they offer great feedback and are less prone to accidental clicks. That said, they’re expensive and make a ton of noise due to the click-clacking of the keys. Membrane keyboards are quiet, inexpensive, and more resistant against grime or liquid. Both types of keyboards can have either full or low travel distance.

Low travel keyboard

Low travel keyboards have a key distance of around 1.0 to 2.5mm. That means it takes less pressure or effort to press the key down. If you’ve ever seen or used a scissor-switch keyboard, you’ll notice that, on many of them, the keys sit almost flush with the base. When it comes to shorter or low travel keyboards, sometimes it’s difficult to know when a key is being pressed down or not. That said, they’re usually smaller and more portable as well as pretty quiet to type on.

A great wireless keyboard with mechanical switches and full travel

Razer blackwidow v3 pro.

Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro

Full travel keyboard

The keys on a full travel keyboard will drop down to 3.0mm or higher before bottoming out (aka when a key reaches its full depth). If you like to hammer on the the keys, then you should consider a full travel keyboard. Not only does longer travel help prevent accidental keystrokes, but it also cushions your fingers from hard presses. Most mechanical keyboards have a full travel distance. They’re also incredibly modifiable and durable.

Author: Ashley Biancuzzo , Associate Editor, PCWorld

short travel mechanical keyboard

Ashley Biancuzzo manages all laptop and Chromebook coverage for PCWorld. She's been covering consumer tech since 2016, and her work has appeared on USA Today, Reviewed, Polygon, Kotaku,, and Nerdist. In her spare time, she enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.

Recent stories by Ashley Biancuzzo:

  • Nab this spacious SteelSeries gaming keyboard for just $35
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The Best Compact Mechanical Keyboards

Kimber Streams

By Kimber Streams

Kimber Streams is a writer who has been covering laptops and other tech at Wirecutter for more than a decade. They once built a fort out of keyboards.

If you spend most of your day typing, you shouldn’t be stuck with the mushy keys on your laptop or a cheap, uncomfortable desktop keyboard. Mechanical keyboards allow you to customize their looks and get the typing feel you prefer. And compact keyboards—which are similar in size and layout to a laptop keyboard—take up less space on your desk.

Of the dozens of keyboards we’ve tested, the 75% Epomaker TH80 Pro and the 65% Epomaker TH66 Pro provide the best typing experience and the most extra features for the price.

Everything we recommend

short travel mechanical keyboard

Epomaker TH80 Pro

The best 75% keyboard.

The TH80 Pro provides the best typing experience and the most extra features—RGB, hot-swap, wireless, a knob, and programmability—for a surprisingly reasonable price.

Buying Options

With clipped on-page coupon (limited colors)

short travel mechanical keyboard

Epomaker TH66 Pro

The best 65%/68% keyboard.

The TH66 Pro offers all the quality and features of the TH80 Pro in a slightly more compact layout that lacks the top row of function keys.

short travel mechanical keyboard

Keychron V1 Max

Another great 75% keyboard.

The V1 Max feels nearly as good to type on as our top pick, and it has most of the same features. But it isn’t quite as compact, and it comes only in black.

May be out of stock

short travel mechanical keyboard

Keychron V2 Max

Another great 65% keyboard.

The V2 Max is virtually identical to the V1 Max, but its 65% layout lacks the top row of function keys.

Budget pick

short travel mechanical keyboard

Keychron K6

A starter keyboard.

The 65% K6 feels better to type on than any other cheap mechanical keyboard, though its keycaps and case don’t look or feel as nice to type on as those of our top picks.

Upgrade pick

short travel mechanical keyboard

Keychron Q1 Max

A fancy 75% keyboard.

The Keychron Q1 Max has a heavy-duty aluminum case and feels great to type on. But its included keycaps are tall, and you can’t adjust the case’s height.

short travel mechanical keyboard

Keychron Q2 Max

A fancy 65% keyboard.

The Q2 Max has the same quality and features as the Q1 Max, but it has a 65% layout that does without the top row of function keys.

short travel mechanical keyboard

Keychron V4

The best 60% keyboard.

The V4 is more compact than our other picks, but it lacks wireless support and requires you to memorize shortcuts for commonly used keys.

The Epomaker TH80 Pro and Epomaker TH66 Pro feel wonderful to type on due to their thick PBT keycaps, lubricated stabilizers, and sturdy plastic cases. And our picks come with fancy features typically reserved for much more expensive models, including RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, wireless connectivity, a rotary knob, and the ability to reprogram keys through Epomaker’s software. The TH80 Pro and TH66 Pro come with keycaps for Windows and Mac and can automatically swap between the two operating-system layouts.

If our top picks are unavailable, we recommend the 75% Keychron V1 Max or the 65% Keychron V2 Max . These models feel nearly as excellent to type on, and they have most of the same features, including RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, wireless connections, and Windows and Mac keycaps. And because the V1 Max and V2 Max support the VIA software utility, they’re even easier to program than the TH80 Pro and TH66 Pro. But these keyboards cost a bit more and are not quite as compact, and their black cases and keycaps are less aesthetically flexible.

The 65% Keychron K6 is the best budget option. With its thinner ABS keycaps and non-lubricated stabilizers, it can’t match the typing experience of our top picks, but it still feels great to type on and doesn’t make the worst quality trade-offs typical of cheap mechanical keyboards. The K6 comes with keycaps for Windows and Mac, and it can connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth. The included cable is too short, though, and this model is not fully programmable.

If you want a keyboard with a higher-quality aluminum case and don’t mind paying quite a bit more for it, get the Keychron Q1 Max or Keychron Q2 Max . These models provide an excellent typing experience and have a ton of extra features: They can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth or USB dongle, they’re fully programmable in the VIA software, and they have RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, and a rotary knob. But both models have tall cases with steep slopes that you can’t adjust, and their tall included keycaps exacerbate that flaw.

The Keychron V4 is the best 60% keyboard thanks to its build quality and ease of customization. The V4 is fully programmable in VIA, which is an essential feature for a 60% keyboard that has only the core block of letters, numbers, and modifiers. But this layout isn’t for everyone—you have to retrain yourself to remember key combinations every time you need the arrow or function keys. The V4 is identical in build quality and features to our runner-up picks with two exceptions: It lacks a wireless connection, and it isn’t available with a rotary knob.

The research

Why you should trust us, who this is for, how we picked and tested, our picks: epomaker th80 pro and epomaker th66 pro, runners-up: keychron v1 max and keychron v2 max, budget pick: keychron k6, upgrade picks: keychron q1 max and keychron q2 max, the best 60% keyboard: keychron v4, other good compact mechanical keyboards, what to look forward to, the competition.

A mechanical keyboard favored by this guide's author, shown with red, white, and grey keycaps.

I’ve tested hundreds of keyboards for Wirecutter since 2014. In that time, I’ve accumulated at least 15 of my own—this is too many mechanical keyboards! I’ve spent thousands of hours typing on all these different options to land on recommendations for people who need only one keyboard.

Mechanical keyboards can be more enjoyable to type on, more durable, and more customizable than typical laptop or desktop keyboards. If you spend all day typing, it’s very satisfying to customize the size, switches, keycaps, and layout to your exact needs.

Compact keyboards—with 75%, 68% or 65%, and 60% layouts—get progressively smaller by using space more efficiently than traditional keyboards and by ditching less frequently used keys and hiding those functions behind shortcuts. These smaller keyboards allow you to place your mouse closer to your body , which can reduce strain on your shoulders, neck, and back.

We recommend prebuilt keyboards that you can plug in and use immediately, but there’s a whole world of custom mechanical keyboards. Building your own opens up a ton of size, layout, switch, and programmability options, but such keyboards are less readily available and require more tinkering.

Mechanical keyboards bring with them a lot of jargon— layouts and switches and keycap profiles, oh my—and compact keyboards add complexity with their nonstandard layouts. Here’s a high-level overview of the terms you need to know to buy the right keyboard for your needs. For even more detail, see our explainer on how to shop for a mechanical keyboard .

Three infographics, one of a 75% keyboard, 65% layout, and a 60% layout. Each key is labeled to indicate the differences between the layouts.

  • 75%: This layout is similar to most laptop keyboards—it has nearly all the same keys as tenkeyless models, but they’re all smushed together.
  • 65% and 68%: Keyboards of this size ditch the function keys along the top but keep the arrow keys and a few keys from the navigation cluster.
  • 60%: These boards include only the essential block of letters, numbers, and modifiers—they have no function keys, no arrow or navigation keys, and no numpad. Using a 60% keyboard requires retraining yourself to remember key combinations every time you need the arrow or function keys. You can find even smaller keyboards, but most people need the number row.

Switch options: Mechanical switches come in three main varieties: linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches feel smooth when you press them. Tactile switches have a noticeable bump partway through the keypress. Clicky switches feel similar to tactile switches but have an added click sound to match the tactile bump. If you don’t already have a preference, we recommend tactile Brown switches made by Gateron, Kailh, or Cherry because these popular, readily available switches are good for most tasks and quiet enough for most offices. We cover all the switch varieties in depth in our introductory guide to mechanical keyboards .

Build quality: Cheap keyboards can feel and sound hollow, may flex under regular typing pressure, and tend to have stabilizers that rattle or squeak. Higher-quality keyboards made of metal or thicker plastic feel sturdy and sound melodious with every keystroke.

A close-up of two mechanical keyboards, side-by-side, showing the difference between thin ABS keycaps and thicker PBT keycaps.

Keycaps: Keycap profiles define the height and shape of the keycaps in each row. We prefer keycaps made of PBT because they tend to be more durable and develop less shine than keycaps made from ABS, a more lightweight plastic that’s prone to wear. We also like to see a variety of stylish keycap options because it can be trickier to find replacement keycaps for compact keyboards, which don’t usually have ANSI-standard keycaps .

Removable cable: A removable USB cable is preferable to a built-in one, because if the cable breaks it’s easier and cheaper to replace than the entire keyboard.

Programmability: Many mechanical keyboards allow you to record macros, remap or customize certain keys, and tweak the backlighting. Some keyboards give you switches on the bottom or back to alter the behavior of a few keys. Others offer onboard programming. And still others come with manufacturer-specific software or support VIA , a simple, user-friendly software option. For 60% models, full programmability is essential.

Backlight: If a keyboard comes with backlighting, we prefer it to be either a tasteful white or programmable RGB.

Hot-swap switches: On a hot-swappable keyboard, you can simply pull the switches out and snap new ones into place rather than having to desolder old switches and solder in new ones.

Wireless: We look for stable wireless connections that don’t cut out, lag, or cause double key entries, as well as keyboards that can still work in wired mode when the battery runs out.

We test each keyboard by using it for at least one day of work, which involves lots and lots (and lots) of typing. We pay attention to the quality of the cases and keycaps, and we explore each keyboard’s customization options. Finally, we use the finalists for several more days of constant typing, and we test any wireless and Bluetooth connections on Windows and macOS.

The Epomaker TH80 placed above the Epomaker TH66, both backlit by glowing, bright lights.

The 75% Epomaker TH80 Pro and the 65% Epomaker TH66 Pro provide the best typing experience and the most fancy features for a reasonable price. Both feel wonderful to type on thanks to their solid construction, thick PBT keycaps, and smooth lubricated stabilizers. They also offer extra features such as RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, wireless connectivity, a rotary knob, and the ability to reprogram keys through Epomaker’s software. Our top picks come with keycaps for Windows and Mac and can automatically swap between the two operating-system layouts.

The Epomaker TH66 with two keys removed and scattered nearby a key remover tool.

You can customize them without a soldering iron. Both boards are available with a variety of switches, and we recommend starting with Gateron G Pro Brown switches if you don’t already have a preference. These two models also have hot-swap sockets that support both three- and five-pin switches, so you can change out the switches without needing to solder.

They provide a wonderful typing experience for the price. The thick, white plastic case on each model feels sturdy, sounds pleasant, and looks clean and modern. In our tests the pre-lubricated stabilizers in the TH80 Pro and TH66 Pro felt smooth and sounded quiet. Both keyboards have a flat profile with a gentle slope, and they each have sturdy feet with two height options.

Four keycaps situated in two rows of two with the bottom keys turned upside down.

The included keycaps look and feel better than most we’ve tested. The MDA-profile PBT keycaps on these Epomaker keyboards are thicker than those of our runners-up, Keychron’s V Max keyboards, so typing on the TH80 Pro or TH66 Pro produces a richer, more melodious “thock” sound. The keycaps feel smooth, and after months of heavy typing, we’ve found that they’ve developed minimal surface wear. Note that both Epomaker models have nonstandard right Shift and bottom-row keys; you’ll need to look out for those if you want to replace your keycaps.

Screenshot of the TH80 Pro software showing the keyboard's ability to be reprogrammed.

They’re fully programmable. You can make changes to the TH80 Pro and TH66 Pro using Epomaker’s software . It isn’t as intuitive as VIA, but we were able to use it to remap keys, change the knob’s behavior, and customize the RGB backlight on both Windows and macOS.

Both our Epomaker picks laying faced down, displaying their plastic feet.

They support three connection types: wired, wireless USB dongle, and Bluetooth. The wireless connections were solid in our testing, and device switching worked smoothly on a variety of devices. The TH80 Pro and TH66 Pro each come with a removable braided USB-C cable, and you always have that wired connection to fall back on. The TH80 Pro has a small slot underneath to store the USB dongle; the TH66 Pro has no such storage.

An assortment of equipment necessary to change out switches or keycaps.

They work on Windows and Mac. When you connect either keyboard to a device, it automatically swaps to the appropriate operating system, changing the order of the OS keys and the behavior of the function keys in the top row. The TH80 Pro and TH66 Pro also come with keycaps for Windows and macOS, as well as other fun extras.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The built-in batteries aren’t replaceable, but you can use these keyboards in wired mode. All batteries wear out over time, so eventually these keyboards will no longer hold a charge. Several Wirecutter staffers told me that, even though they thought they wanted a wireless keyboard, they ended up defaulting to the wire rather than worrying about whether their keyboard was charged.

The TH66 Pro’s top row has north-facing switches that aren’t compatible with Cherry-profile keycaps, which can present a problem if you want to swap out the keycaps later. (All of the switches in the TH80 Pro are south-facing.) If you need a 65% keyboard with south-facing switches, consider the Keychron V2 Max instead.

The Keychron V1 Max and Keychron V2 Max, our runners up for the best compact mechanical keyboard.

If our top picks from Epomaker are unavailable, we recommend the 75% Keychron V1 Max or the 65% Keychron V2 Max . These models feel nearly as excellent to type on as our top picks due to their sturdy cases, durable PBT keycaps, and smooth stabilizers. Both keyboards have RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, wireless connections, and Windows and Mac keycaps. And they’re even easier to program than our top picks because they support the VIA software utility. But compared with the TH80 Pro and TH66 Pro, the V Max models are more expensive, less compact, and less aesthetically flexible.

These keyboards support hot-swap, but their black cases aren’t as pretty. We recommend the Gateron Jupiter Brown switches, and these models have hot-swap sockets that support both three- and five-pin switches so you can change them later. But the V1 Max and V2 Max are available only with black cases and keycaps that are gray, black, and red—if you prefer the lighter aesthetic of a white case, stick to our top picks.

Our pick for the best compact mechanical keyboard, shown side by side with one of our runner up picks

They feel nearly as great to type on as our top picks. Both of these Keychron models have sturdy plastic cases and smooth, lubricated stabilizers that are similar in quality to those of our top picks. They also offer a flat profile with a gentle slope, as well as sturdy feet with two height options. They take up a bit more room on a desk than our top picks due to their large bezels, but they’re still notably more compact than keyboards with larger layouts.

Close view of the keys on our runner up pick for the best compact mechanical keyboard.

The keycaps are thinner, but they’re still durable and have a comfy shape. In our tests, Keychron’s OSA-profile doubleshot PBT keycaps produced a higher-pitched, less luxurious sound during typing than the keycaps included with our top picks. It’s a very small difference, though—they’re still durable PBT keycaps, and they don’t feel or sound brittle. The keycap legends have some subtle inconsistencies in letter size and spacing. Like our top picks, the V1 Max and V2 Max also have nonstandard right Shift and bottom-row keys, so you’ll need to keep that in mind if you decide to replace your keycaps.

Screenshot of the Keychron V1 Max interface in the VIA key reprogramming software.

These models are fully programmable in the easy-to-use VIA software. At the time of our testing, the VIA software didn’t automatically recognize these keyboards, but Keychron includes accurate step-by-step instructions for both models on their respective product pages. Once the keyboard appears in the software, you can quickly and easily remap keys, record macros, and customize the RGB backlighting.

Close view of the dongle on the back of our our runner up Keychron V1 and V2 Max picks for the best compact mechanical keyboard.

They support three connection types: wired, wireless USB dongle, and Bluetooth. The wireless connections on our runners-up were solid in our testing, and we appreciate the inclusion of both USB-A and USB-C dongles. Each model comes with a removable braided USB-C cable, so you always have that wired connection to fall back on. Both keyboards have convenient slots on the back to store the two dongles when you’re not using them.

Close view of the switches and ports on the back of our runner up Keychron V1 Max and V2 Max picks for the best compact mechanical keyboard.

They come with keycaps for Windows and Mac. Both the V1 Max and V2 Max have a convenient switch on the back left for you to swap between Windows and Mac layouts, and they come with keycaps for both operating systems. Keychron also includes in the box some useful tools for swapping switches and keycaps.

The Keychron K6 compact mechanical keyboard backlit with a green light.

The 65% Keychron K6 is the cheapest decent compact mechanical keyboard—you can’t beat it for the price. With its ABS keycaps, plastic case, and non-lubricated stabilizers, the K6 can’t match the typing experience of our top picks. But it still feels great to type on, and it doesn’t make the most egregious quality trade-offs typical of cheap mechanical keyboards. The K6 comes with keycaps for Windows and Mac, and it can connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth. The included cable is too short, though, and this keyboard is not fully programmable.

It isn’t as customizable as our picks. Our budget pick has a white-only backlight, and hot-swap costs extra. It’s available with Keychron or Gateron G Pro Brown, Blue, and Red switches. Keychron also offers a hot-swap version that’s compatible with three- and five-pin switches—if you can find that model for around $65, go for it, but if you have to spend more than that, you’re better off with one of our top picks.

It isn’t as pleasant to type on as our top picks, but it’s great for a budget keyboard. The K6’s plastic case is sturdy, with no flex, wobble, or ping. Keychron also offers an aluminum-frame version, but our top picks from Epomaker are better for that price. The K6’s stabilizers rattle—they don’t match the smooth, quiet ride of our top picks—but the sound isn’t as bad as the unpleasant racket that our previous budget pick, the Qisan Magicforce , emitted. The K6 is a bit taller than the TH66 Pro, but it isn’t so tall as to be unwieldy. Like our top picks, the K6 has sturdy feet in the back with two height options.

The Keychron K6 situated below the slightly larger Epomaker TH66.

The thinner ABS keycaps feel and sound cheaper, and they will wear out sooner. The K6’s OEM-profile keycaps are comfortable enough to type on, but they’re of notably lower quality than those of our top picks. Compared with other budget mechanical keyboards with even thinner, more brittle keycaps and hideous legends, the K6’s keycaps feel and look just fine. Like our top picks, the K6 has a nonstandard right Shift and bottom-row keys, so you’ll need to watch out for that if you decide to replace the keycaps.

It isn’t fully programmable. You can find a list of our budget pick’s default key combinations on Keychron’s website. Before you buy, make sure you’re comfortable with the combinations for all your most-used keys; for example, the delete function is F1 + [, which I find particularly inconvenient.

A closeup of the USB-C port and Windows/Mac and wireless mode switches on the Keychron K6.

It can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, but its included cable is short. Our budget pick can connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth; in our testing, the connection was reliable. It also comes with a USB-C–to–A cable. That included cable is short—it was too short to reach across my desk—but you can get an extension cable cheap.

Like our other picks, it works with Windows and Mac. The K6 comes with keycaps for both operating systems, and it has a switch on the left side for you to swap between layouts. Keychron also includes a wire keycap puller in the box.

The Keychron Q1 Max and Keychron Q2 Max, our upgrade picks for the best compact mechanical keyboard, shown side by side.

If you want to spend more for a keyboard with a higher-quality aluminum case, get the Keychron Q1 Max or Keychron Q2 Max . Our upgrade picks feel great to type on and have a ton of extra features: They can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth or USB dongle, they’re fully programmable in VIA, and they have RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, and a rotary knob. But both models have tall keycaps and cases with steep slopes that you can’t adjust.

They come in tasteful colors and allow customization. Both Q Max keyboards are available with Gateron Jupiter Brown, Red, and Banana Switches—no clicky-switch option—and both models support hot-swap for easy upgrades. Keychron offers black and white cases and keycaps to choose from, or you can order a barebones model if you prefer to bring your own keycaps and switches.

Our pick for the best compact mechanical keyboard, shown side by side with one of our upgrade picks.

These keyboards provide a top-notch typing experience, but they’re very tall. The Q1 Max and Q2 Max both come with heavy, aluminum cases, and their lubricated switches and stabilizers glide smoothly. But compared with our top picks, our upgrade picks have taller cases with steeper slopes, and they lack height-adjustment options. If you—like me—prefer a keyboard with a more neutral slope, we recommend passing on the Q Max series.

A yellow keycap and a taller blue keycap sitting next to each other on a pink background.

The KSA-profile keycaps are also uncomfortably tall. Their height got in the way of the rotary knob on the Q1 Max, too—I found myself accidentally hitting the Page Up key when I was adjusting the volume. (The Q2 Max’s offset knob doesn’t have the same problem.) We haven’t yet seen any surface wear on the included PBT keycaps, but the legends have inconsistencies similar to those of our runner-up picks, a flaw that’s less forgivable on a $200 keyboard. The Q1 Max and Q2 Max also have nonstandard right Shift and bottom-row keys, as our other picks do.

Screenshot of the Keychron Q1 Max interface in the VIA key reprogramming software.

They’re easy to program in VIA. The software didn’t automatically recognize the Q1 Max and Q2 Max at the time of our testing, but after following the step-by-step instructions on each model’s product page, we were able to quickly and easily reprogram the keys, macros, and backlighting.

Close view of the switches and ports on the back of our upgrade Keychron Q1 Max and Q2 Max picks for the best compact mechanical keyboard.

They can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth or an included USB dongle. Both models, however, lack convenient storage for that USB-A dongle when you aren’t using it. Keychron also tosses in a USB-C–to–C cable with a C-to-A adapter, as well as other tools for customizing the keyboards.

They support both Windows and Mac. Using the physical switches on the back of either keyboard, you can swap between OS layouts and connection types. Both models come with extra keycaps for the two operating systems.

Keychron’s one-year warranty for these models is very limited. If your keyboard has an issue, the company says that it “will only replace the defective parts of the keyboard, not the whole keyboard.” This is disappointing service for such expensive keyboards.

The Keychron V4 sitting on a pink surface with its backlight on.

If you prefer an even more compact layout, the Keychron V4 is the best 60% keyboard. The V4 is identical in build quality and features to our runner-up picks with two exceptions: It lacks a wireless connection, and it isn’t available with a rotary knob. Otherwise, the V4 has everything we look for, including a sturdy case, durable PBT keycaps, smooth stabilizers, RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, and keycaps for Windows and Mac. It’s also fully programmable in VIA, which is essential for a 60% keyboard, as it has only the core block of letters, numbers, and modifiers. You have to use shortcuts in place of arrows, navigation, and function keys.

Three Keychron V models lined up to show size and key layout differences.

It occupies less desk space, but its 60% layout takes getting used to. This model is about an inch narrower than our runner-up picks because it forgoes arrow keys, navigation keys, a function row, and a rotary knob. The 60% layout isn’t for everyone—it requires you to retrain yourself to remember key combinations every time you need the arrows or functions.

The programming screen for the V4.

It’s fully programmable in the easy-to-use VIA software. Full programmability is essential for 60% keyboards because they rely heavily on shortcuts, and everyone has different preferences for those shortcuts. As with our runner-up picks, you can quickly and easily remap the V4’s keys, record macros, and customize the RGB backlighting in VIA.

If you want a fun little screen on your keyboard: The Epomaker TH80-X has an LCD screen that you can customize in Epomaker’s software to display cool animations. Typing on the TH80-X feels and sounds similar to doing so on the TH80 Pro; aside from a few aesthetic differences, they’re similar keyboards. But the TH80-X has limited switch variety—it does have hot-swap, so you can change them later—and it doesn’t come with specific keycaps for Windows and Mac.

If you like linear switches: The 75% Cidoo V75 Pro and 65% Cidoo V65 feel wonderful to type on. I love their pillowy, thocky typing feel and their retro aesthetics so much that I was reluctant to swap each one off my desk to test anything else. (In fact, I’m typing this very section on the V65.) Both models have most of the same features as you’ll find in our upgrade picks—sturdy metal cases, PBT keycaps, hot-swappable switches, RGB backlighting, rotary knobs, VIA support, and wireless connectivity via Bluetooth or dongle—and they cost less. But the V75 Pro and V65 are available only with linear switches, and the V75 Pro is available only with a beige case; if you prefer different switches and aesthetics, stick to our upgrade picks.

If you want replacement keycaps: Keychron sells PBT keycap sets for compact layouts—we tested some, and they’re a good starting point for the price. They include OS keys for Windows and macOS, but be sure to double-check your keyboard’s layout against the keycaps provided.

If you need a number pad: The Epomaker EK21 is the best basic number pad. It feels great to type on, and it has PBT keycaps, hot-swappable switches, and an RGB backlight. The EK21 has three connection options—wired, Bluetooth, or USB dongle—and you can program macros across four layers using VIA.

If you want a fancier number pad: The Keychron Q0 Max has the same excellent build quality as our upgrade picks, and it has more buttons to customize than the EK21. It’s fully programmable in VIA, and it offers five extra macro keys and a rotary knob, so you can set it up as a macro pad of frequently used shortcuts. Like our upgrade picks, the Q0 Max can connect via wire, Bluetooth, or a wireless USB dongle.

At the CES 2024 trade show, Keychron announced the Q1 HE , a $220 mechanical keyboard with magnetic Hall-effect switches that allow features such as customizable actuation points and analog inputs. We plan to test this model—and the new software that Keychron is building for customizing it—once it ships in April.

We spent some time with Epomaker’s DynaTab 75X , a flashy mechanical keyboard with a customizable dot-matrix LED screen along the top. The company plans to launch this model on Kickstarter, but we’ll test it once it’s available at retail (the expected price is $150).

We plan to test the $70 Lenovo Legion K510 Pro Mini Keyboard when it’s available in June.

The Keychron V1 is the previous version of our 75% runner-up pick. It has many of the same features, but it lacks wireless, and the rotary knob costs extra.

The Keychron Q1 Pro was our previous upgrade pick. For the same price, the new Q Max models offer an improved typing sound and feel, and they support a 2.4 GHz wireless connection.

The Asus ROG Azoth didn’t feel as nice to type on as our picks, and the Armoury Crate software was excruciatingly slow and unreliable at the time of our testing.

The Corsair K65 Plus Wireless is expensive, plastic, and available exclusively with linear switches.

The Epomaker EP75 didn’t feel as nice to type on as our top picks. We also had issues with the Bluetooth connection.

Although the Epomaker EP84 Plus is an impressive budget option, it’s available only with linear switches and pink and purple keycaps.

The Keychron K2 Pro lacks a knob, its case is comparatively tall, and its included cable is too short to reach across most desks.

The KiiBoom Phantom 81 V2 is pretty, but it’s difficult to keep clean—despite coming with the largest microfiber cloth I’ve ever seen—and its switch variety is limited.

Despite offering a cute design, a decent price, replaceable batteries, and a reliable wireless connection, the Logitech Pop Keys disappoints, as it has circular keys, which aren’t a great fit for a mechanical keyboard. After weeks of using it, I still struggle to type accurately on it.

Compared with our upgrade picks, the OnePlus Keyboard 81 Pro is available with fewer switch and color options, and the version with linear switches and “Marble-mallow” keycaps was unpleasant to use.

The following models lack a combination of hot-swap, wireless, PBT keycaps, and other features that our top picks have: Drop Sense75 , Epomaker EP84 , HyperX Alloy Rise 75 , Keychron K2 V2 , Keychron Q1 V2 , Razer BlackWidow V4 75% , and Vortex Race 3 .

65% and 68%

The Keychron V2 , the previous version of our runner-up, the Keychron V2 Max, lacks wireless connectivity, and its rotary knob costs extra.

The Keychron K14 is nearly identical to our budget pick—just with an extra column of keys along the right side—but it costs more.

The Keychron Q2 Pro was one of our previous upgrade picks. The newer Q Max version feels better to type on and has a 2.4 GHz connection.

The Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard automatically installs software when plugged in, without any prompt or opportunity to consent.

Although the Cooler Master CK720 felt lovely to type on, it slid around easily, and its hard-plastic feet scratched my desk. I found its rotary knob difficult to use without hitting the Del key.

We love the Drop Alt V2 ’s flatter profile and RGB light bar, but it’s expensive for a keyboard that lacks wireless support. It’s also more confusing to program than our picks, and its Holy Panda X Clear tactile switches didn’t feel as nice to type on.

The HyperX Alloy Origins 65 didn’t feel as nice to type on as our top picks and offers a more limited switch selection.

The Keychron K6 Pro has no knob, a tall case, and a short included cable.

Compared with our budget pick, the Qisan Magicforce ’s case felt hollow and cheap, its keycap legends are ugly (unless you’re lucky enough to snag one of the few units with PBT keycaps), and it lacks warranty coverage.

The Vortex Cypher felt hollow and cheap to type on. It has an ugly keycap font, too, and it doesn’t come with a manual.

The following models lack a combination of hot-swap, wireless, PBT keycaps, or full programmability, among other features: Asus ROG Falchion , Asus ROG Falchion Ace , Asus ROG Falchion NX , Cherry Xtrfy K5V2 , Cooler Master CK721 , Drop Alt , Ducky One 2 SF , Ducky One 3 SF , Ducky x Varmilo Miya Pro , Endgame Gear KB65HE , Keychron Q2 , Leopold FC660MBT , LTC Nimbleback , Meko Push , and Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed .

The Keychron Q4 Pro was one of our previous upgrade picks; we’re waiting for Keychron to launch the improved Max version in this layout.

The Anne Pro 2 is fully programmable but lacks hot-swap and can’t match the typing experience of the Keychron V4.

The Fujitsu HHKB Pro 3 Hybrid is a great Topre keyboard that’s fully programmable—and easy to program—and equipped with Bluetooth support. But it’s expensive, and the classic HHKB layout lacks keys in the bottom left and bottom right of the keyboard.

The HyperX 60 Alloy Origins has a rattly space bar and lacks hot-swap. It’s fully programmable, but the Windows-only Ngenuity software is not as intuitive as VIA.

The Keychron K12 Pro is comparatively tall and has a short included cable.

The Kinesis Gaming TKO is ridiculously complicated to reprogram.

The following models lack full programmability: Cooler Master SK620 , Corsair K70 Pro Mini Wireless , Ducky One 2 Mini , Ducky One 3 Mini , Epomaker EP64 , Fujitsu HHKB Pro 3 Classic , Keychron K12 , Razer Huntsman Mini , Vortex Pok3r , and Vortex Tab 60 .

This article was edited by Signe Brewster and Caitlin McGarry.

Meet your guide

short travel mechanical keyboard

Kimber Streams

Kimber Streams is a senior staff writer and has been covering laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more for Wirecutter since 2014. In that time they’ve tested hundreds of laptops and thousands of peripherals, and built way too many mechanical keyboards for their personal collection.

Further reading

A black mechanical keyboard covered in hair and crumbs.

How to Clean Your Keyboard and Mouse

by Kimber Streams

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The 7 best portable mechanical keyboards of 2023.


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Why choose a mechanical keyboard, what to look for in a mechanical keyboard, 7 best portable mechanical keyboards, best overall: logitech mx mechanical mini, best budget option: magegee mk-box 60%, best compact diy option: drop + olkb planck mechanical keyboard kit, best backlit option: hk gaming gk61, best wired option: steelseries apex 7 tkl, best high-end option: ficihp mechanical keyboard, best retro option: 7keys tw1867, the perfect portable mechanical keyboard.

Mechanical keyboards make typing a fantastic experience, but not every keyboard is easy to carry around. These seven options are a great place to start if you're looking for a mechanical keyboard that's also ultraportable.

UPDATE: 3/10/23

If you haven't used a mechanical keyboard before, you may wonder what the hype is about. There are many reasons why you should choose one over a membrane keyboard or your laptop's built-in version.

Mechanical keyboards are customizable to your personal preferences. You can choose the way it looks, sounds, and feels. Customization is just one of many benefits of mechanical options compared to membrane models, such as greater durability and build quality.

Choosing your first keyboard can be challenging, especially if you are new to mechanical versions. It is an understatement to say there are many options. It boils down to a few elements: sound, feel, and features.

  • Switches : In a mechanical keyboard, switches will determine your typing experience, so those are the most important items to prioritize. There are three main kinds: linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches are the quietest and don't have a noticeable tactile bump. Tactile switches have a bump you can feel while you type, but they aren't too loud. Clicky switches have an evident clicking noise and a tactile bump.
  • Hot Swap : Arguably the most desirable feature in any mechanical keyboard is "hot swap" capability. This means you can change the switches and swap them out for any others you want. You have to watch out with budget and off-brand keyboards---they are often only swappable with certain brands, such as Outemu. True hot swappable keyboards will be compatible with mechanical switches from any company.
  • Ergonomics : Next, one often-overlooked feature of a good mechanical keyboard to consider is comfort and ergonomics. This is important to note since an estimated 60% of Americans deal with chronic pain every day, many of which involve limited use of hands and fingers like arthritis and carpal tunnel. If you spend a lot of time typing, you could risk developing or exacerbating an issue like this due to repetitive muscle strain. A mechanical keyboard can be customized to be comfortable for long-term use, so you can do all the typing you need without having cramped fingers and wrists.
  • Design : Other features that you should look for in a mechanical keyboard include RGB backlighting, customizable backlighting, wired or wireless functionality, and size. These come down to personal preference. Some people might not care about backlighting, while it will be a must for others. Similarly, the keyboard's size is also totally subjective. We will be focusing on smaller size keyboards that are more portable.

No matter the features you are looking for, there is a great portable mechanical keyboard for you. These top seven include great options for all types of users while prioritizing portability.

The Logitech MX Mechanical Mini is a fantastic choice if you're looking for an all-around comfortable mechanical typing experience that isn't too loud and fits easily in your bag. This is a particularly great option if you want to use your mechanical keyboard in the office---it has a clean, professional look and isn't too noisy.

The low-profile keys make the Mechanical Mini super comfortable to type on, although it's not for everyone. However, this could be the perfect keyboard for you if you're worried about wrist strain. It is important to note that the keycaps and switches are hot-swappable.

Logitech MX Mechanical Mini Wireless Illuminated Keyboard

A great portable keyboard for almost any situation.

You don't have to spend much money to get into mechanical keyboards. The MageGee MK-Box 60% is a $30 mechanical keyboard with two different switch options, single-color backlighting, and a portable form factor. This is a great place to start if you're just starting with mechanical keyboards. You can try one out without losing much money if you don't like it or want different switches.

The switches are not hot-swappable, but you can choose between clicky blue or linear red versions. Plus, the keycaps are swappable. You can choose your own keycaps if you ever decide to do a little bit of beginner customization.

Portable 60% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, MageGee MK-Box LED Backlit Compact 68 Keys Mini Wired Office Keyboard

An affordable portable mechanical keyboard for everyone.

If you are interested in building your own custom portable mechanical keyboard, it's hard to beat a Drop kit. The Drop + OLKB Planck keyboard kit is the perfect base for an ultra-compact keyboard. It slashes off the number pad, function keys, and even the top number row to minimize the size as much as possible.

Drop has plenty of resources for building a custom keyboard using this kit. It already comes with almost everything you need, though. You have to choose your switches and keycaps and pop them in. The fun part is, you can completely customize your keyboard to make it exactly the way you want it. Conveniently, Drop also offers a travel case designed explicitly for Planck-sized keyboards, which is great for protecting your custom build on the go.


The ideal portable mechanical keyboard for DIYers.

Backlighting is an awesome feature to have in a mechanical keyboard, and you shouldn't have to give it up to have a portable size. The HK Gaming GK61 is a great option for a compact keyboard with great backlighting features that also don't break the bank.

The GK61 comes with Gateron optical switches. It is hot-swappable, but you can only swap for other optical versions. It has a 60% layout and all the keys you need while easily fitting in most backpacks. The backlighting is full RGB with full customization, which is fantastic for a keyboard that's less than $100. It's compatible with both Mac and PC, as well.

HK GAMING GK61 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

A portable mechanical keyboard that will please the eye.

The SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL is one of the best keyboards on this list---it is incredibly thin, includes full RGB backlighting, and features gaming-level performance. Plus, it has a magnetic wrist rest for extra comfort for those long typing sessions. You can also choose the switches your keyboard comes with without DIY customization.

Going with a wired mechanical keyboard means you don't need to worry about messing with any wireless Bluetooth settings. You can simply plug in and get rolling. Wired keyboards are also faster, which is a good feature to have if you want to use your portable keyboard for gaming.

SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

If you prefer a hardwired connection, the Apex 7 is for you.

If you have extra money to spend on a fancy keyboard with some unnecessary but admittedly cool bonus features, take a look at the Ficihp Mechanical Keyboard . This unique keyboard has a built-in external display that you can use as an extension of your computer's screen. It's even a touch screen---and way bigger than that little touch bar on Mac laptops.

Conveniently, a case is included right out of the box, so you can easily protect your high-end keyboard. The Ficihp is hot-swappable, as well, and features a keycap and switch puller in case you do decide to dabble in some DIY customization.

Ficihp Mechanical Keyboard, Built-in 12.6 Inch Touchscreen

If you have the extra cash, this portable mechanical keyboard is hard to beat.

Those who want a timeless typing experience should try out the 7KEYS TW1867 , a typewriter-style mechanical keyboard. It has classic round keycaps and hot-swappable switches. There's also built-in backlighting and a convenient stand where the paper would go on a real typewriter.

You can use this to stand up your tablet or phone, so the TW1867 is particularly useful if you want to type on those devices. This is a Bluetooth keyboard, so you don't have to worry about any wires getting in the way on the go.

7KEYS Electric Typewriter Vintage with Upgraded Mechanical Bluetooth 5.0

This typewriter-themed mechanical keyboard travels in style.

Everyone has different needs and preferences, but that's the beauty of mechanical keyboards. There is so much variety and room for customization that you can get exactly what you want. The perfect keyboard doesn't have to be bulky, either. These examples are proof that they can be portable, too.

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The Keychron K3 Low Profile Wireless Mechanical Keyboard Review

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Per-Key Quality Testing

In order to test the quality and consistency of a keyboard, we are using a texture analyser that is programmed to measure and display the actuation force of the standard keyboard keys. By measuring the actuation force of every key, the quality and consistency of the keyboard can be quantified. It can also reveal design issues, such as the larger keys being far softer to press than the main keys of the keyboard. The actuation force is measured in Centinewton (cN). Some companies use another figure, gram-force (gf). The conversion formula is 1 cN = 1.02 gf (i.e. they are about the same). A high-quality keyboard should be as consistent as possible, with an average actuation force as near to the manufacturer's specs as possible and a disparity of less than ±10%. Greater differences are likely to be perceptible by users. It is worth noting that there is typically variance among keyboards, although most keyboard companies will try and maintain consistency - as with other reviews, we're testing our sample only.

Keychron lists the following specifications for its switches. Our unit has the brown versions.

short travel mechanical keyboard

The machine we use for our testing is accurate enough to provide readings with a resolution of 0.1 cN. For wider keys (e.g. Enter, Space Bar, etc.), the measurement is taking place at the center of the key, right above the switch. Note that large keys generally have a lower actuation force even if the actuation point is at the dead center of the key. This is natural, as the size and weight of the keycap reduce the required actuation force. For this reason, we do display the force required to actuate every key but we only use the results of the typically sized keys for our consistency calculations. Still, very low figures on medium-sized keys, such as the Shift and Enter keys reveal design issues and can easily be perceptible by the user.

short travel mechanical keyboard

At first glance, the Keychron K3 appears to be somewhat inconsistent. This is due to the minor tolerances of the optical sensors that the switches are using. As the travel distance is very short, even small actuation point differences translate to large differences in force. The average actuation force is 53 cN, which seems high for Brown-type switches, but it actually is not (as with the table above, Keychron quotes 50 +/- 10). Again, due to the very short travel distance, the resistance of the springs must be higher, or the keys will feel extremely spongy and easily bottom down.

Hands-on Testing

I always try to use every keyboard that we review as my personal keyboard for at least a week. My typical weekly usage includes a lot of typing (about 100-150 pages), a few hours of gaming, and some casual usage, such as internet browsing and messaging. I personally prefer Cherry MX Brown or similar (tactile) switches for such tasks. As I frequently use a laptop, the 75% layout of the Keychron K3 was not an issue for me. Users who only or mainly use 100% keyboards will definitely have to take a short learning curve.

Not only the size but also the extremely low height and travel make the Keychron K3 feeling more like a laptop keyboard than a mechanical keyboard. Regardless, the typing experience is exceptional. The keyboard is very responsive and the feeling of each keypress is fantastic, with very little fatigue even after using it for several hours straight. Its stock Brown switches feel fantastic and are relatively quiet, making the Keychron K3 ideal for productivity in public places. Only in very quiet places, such as small libraries, the use of this keyboard would be annoying to other people in the immediate area.

For gaming, the Keychron K3 does not offer any advanced features other than its very low-profile and short travel switches. Theoretically, the shorter travel distance would cut a few milliseconds off someone’s reaction time. However, any difference is minuscule and has zero real-world meaning. If anything, the lag of the Bluetooth transmitter is much greater than any advantage the shorter travel could ever offer. The zero gap between the top rows also is not ideal for FPS/Action games. It is not a bad keyboard for gaming though, as it is very responsive and exceptionally comfortable. As long as the user is content with the 75% layout and doesn’t seek advanced features, the Keychron K3 will not disappoint.

The battery life of the Keychron K3, with the keyboard used solely for productivity, was roughly 80 hours with the backlighting turned off. That is not bad at all but was lower than the advertised 99 hours. In the manufacturer’s defense, my typical workday can be brutal for any keyboard. Turning the backlighting on and maxed out, the battery life dropped down to about 30 hours, close to the manufacturer’s 34-hour specification.

At first sight, the Keychron K3 feels as if it is more of a fashion item rather than a proper mechanical keyboard, with our initial thoughts being that the company is trying to put too many eggs into one basket. However, the K3 actually is a surprisingly good mechanical keyboard for those that need to combine mobility and productivity with a tiny bit of fanciness for under $100.

short travel mechanical keyboard

The quality of the Keychron K3 is very good, especially considering the price range and the features of the keyboard. Although the design is relatively simple, the materials are great and the assembly job is exceptional. Furthermore, even if a switch gets damaged, a whole pack of switches is just $19 and they are easily replaceable, which bodes great for those who like keeping their devices around for as long as possible. It is also worthwhile to mention that the company was very quick to listen to feedback, redesigned the rear cover and added rear feet to the retail version of the keyboard. This is a very rare choice for any company to make, as the vast majority of designs are never altered up to their end-of-life, signifying that Keychron actually cares about having the best possible version of a product in circulation.

In terms of aesthetics, the Keychron K3 is a little bit all over the place. It is designed to be very thin and elegant, matching a clean, modern desktop. The orange keycaps stand out too much in such an environment but, fortunately, the company includes normal grey keycap replacements for these. The RGB backlighting also is a little extravagant for visually calm and quiet environments but could work under certain circumstances.

short travel mechanical keyboard

The hands-on performance of the Keychron K3 is unexpectedly good, especially for a keyboard with such a short key travel. It is amazingly comfortable and feels great, even after hours of typing. However, it has few advanced features and virtually zero programmability, which will dishearten advanced gamers and coders alike. The 75% layout greatly reduces the footprint of the keyboard and makes it ideal for 14” or larger laptop bags but also requires a learning curve if one is not used to working with such layouts.

Keychron designed the K3 mainly with mobility in mind, for users who need a high-quality keyboard that fits in their bag. Although its battery life cannot compete with electronic keyboards designed for maximum mobility, it is long enough to get most users through a regular business trip or short vacation, especially when the backlighting is turned off. If there is no compartment in your bag just for the keyboard though, it would be wise to purchase the travel pouch offered by Keychron, or another similar pouch, as the keycaps will easily come off if the keyboard is not secured well.

The Keychron K3 is listed on the company website for $84 with the RGB backlights, or $74 with the white backlight.

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Cooler Master SK622 Keyboard Review: Improved Ergonomics and a Short Shift

This 60% mechanical clacker feels solid and works both wired and over bluetooth..

Cooler Master SK622

Tom's Hardware Verdict

Cooler Master's SK622 60% mechanical Bluetooth keyboard feels much better than its predecessor, thanks to sculpted keycaps and flip-up feet. It's a solid, attractive travel-friendly portable clacker, but for most people there are better options that cost less.

+ Compact, solid and attractive

+ Wired or wireless (Bluetooth) operation

+ Very travel-friendly

Short right shift key

Oddly placed delete key

A bit expensive

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test .

What makes for the best wireless keyboard depends a lot on what you do with it and how often you travel. But Cooler Master makes a solid effort with the Cooler Master SK622, a slim and solid-feeling 60% mechanical clacker that makes major strides over its predecessor, the SK621 , thanks to more traditional sculpted keycaps and flip-up feet that lift up the back end for a more traditional mechanical feel. If you're after a very compact, travel-friendly mechanical that can work both over Bluetooth and USB, it's a solid option. But if you have just a bit more room in your bag and don't want to deal with the SK622's oddly placed delete key and its small right shift, Keychron's K3 75% keyboard is worth considering as well. That's especially true given the K3 sells for $84 with RGB lighting, while the SK622 sells for between $99 and $117 , depending on the switch type and where you buy it. 

Cooler Master SK622 Specs 

Design of the cooler master sk622 .

Cooler Master SK622

The shell of the SK622 appears to be identical to the previous SK621, which is good in that it's compact (1.5 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches) and light (0.98 pounds), yet feels solid. We tested the " space gray " color scheme, (which really looks black and silver), but it's available in " silver white " as well. Underneath the keys is a nice, brushed-metal plate that adds rigidity and attractiveness, while no doubt helping the light from the RGB switches reflect back toward your eyeballs. Below the metal plate is a light ring that runs around the keyboard, adding some more RGB goodness.

Cooler Master SK622

But the company has made some key improvements as well. A pair of flip-up feet let you raise the back of the keyboard up to an angle that, personally, feels more comfortable and familiar to my wrists and fingers. And gone are the very flat keys that gave the SK621 an almost laptop-like typing feel.

Cooler Master SK622

Aside from the metal plate and flip-up feet on the bottom, the SK622's shell is fairly devoid of features or other design elements, which gives the keyboard a fairly clean look. There's a wireless/wired switch on the left side and a USB-C port at the center back. Cooler Master includes a nice 5.91-foot braided cable in the box, along with a tool for pulling the keycaps (not that it's really needed). You also get a velvet carrying bag in the box. It's nothing special but appreciated, given Keychron charges $25 for its fancy pouch .

Typing Experience on the Cooler Master SK622

Cooler Master SK622

The keycaps here are much more like keycaps you’ll find on traditional mechanical keyboards than the flat keycaps found on the SK621. And that’s despite the SK622 using low profile mechanical switches. Our review model came with Red (linear) TTC switches, but Blue (clicky) and Brown (tactile but non-clicky) varieties are also available. Cooler Master doesn't list details for these low-profile TTC switches, but a listing for the switches on Aliexpress claims they have a total travel of 3.2mm, an actuation point of about 1.2mm and an operating force of 45g (plus or minus 10). 

This is my first experience with TTC switches, but the Reds feel very close to Cherry MX Reds . And indeed they have the same rated force as MX Reds, with a total tavel that's just 0.8mm shorter than standard (non-low profile) MX Red switches. The keycaps also feel decent but are ABS plastic rather than more premium PBT. So expect them to get shiny and slicker over months and years of use. 

While linear switches are far from my favorite for typing, with the feet flipped up at the back, my fingers mostly felt immediately comfortable typing on the SK622, which is more than I can say for the flat-keycapped SK62. The caps here don't wobble around on their stems, and the build quality as a whole makes for a solid typing feel, despite the keyboard weighing less than a pound. That said, the half-sized right shift key made me periodically slow down to make sure I hit that smaller target. And whenever I had to use the delete key, I had to stop for a second before remembering its odd placement above the right arrow key. But at least those arrow keys are present, which isn't always the case with keyboards this small. Overall, I think Cooler Master has done about as good a job with the key layout here as you can with something this small. That said, Keychron's K3 is just a bit more than 0.5 inch wider and taller, and its 75% layout feels much closer to full-sized. 

It's also worth noting that the limited key real estate means there’s no dedicated function row, and plenty of other functions and keys are relegated to secondary status, requiring some combination of the Fn key, (which has been replaced by the outline of a Cooler Master logo) and another key or keys to activate. This can be confusing -- and will stay that way unless this is, for the most part, the only keyboard you're using. And while it's good that the company puts all these secondary functions on the keycaps so you don't have to memorize them, it also makes the top of the keyboard look quite busy. In other words, there are a lot of tradeoffs in ease of use and design when you could instead opt for a 75% layout in a keyboard that's barely bigger. You really have to want the 60% layout here.

Gaming Experience on the Cooler Master SK622

Cooler Master SK622

I used the Cooler Master SK622 during a few hours of gameplay, both in FPS titles like Doom Eternal and Borderlands 3 , as well as my current RTS go-to titles, Becastled and Ancestors Legacy . Here, the keyboard felt much more in its element. The odd placement of a few keys that are occasionally important for typing weren't an issue at all while gaming. And the compact 60% layout made it easy to angle the keyboard for perfect gaming comfort, even on my small desk. For gamers on the go, the SK622 is arguably ideal, save for the fact that there are many similarly sized options that sell for less. One other thing to note is that serious gamers will probably want to keep the keyboard plugged in via the included USB cable. Cooler Master says the keyboard has N-key rollover in wired mode. But to save battery life, you only get 6-key rollover when connected via Bluetooth. 

The company also doesn't make any express claims about battery life. But the fact that it has the same 4000 MAh battery spec as the previous model means unplugged longevity should be decent, especially if you keep the lighting off or low when on the go. Since I tested the keyboard in a mix of wired and wireless scenarios, it never ran down. But as a rough analogue, Keychron's slightly larger 75% K2 also has a 4000 MAh battery and is rated to last up to 240 hours on a charge (with the backlighting off). If you have the SK622’s backlight on and cranked up high, I'd expect to have to charge the battery every couple of days of heavy use.

Software for the Cooler Master SK622

There are plenty of low-priced, compact mechanical keyboards available from the likes of Royal Kludge, Redragon and even Dierya. But most don't come with software -- and honestly, would you want to install Dierya software anyway? But Cooler Master has its MasterPlus+ software, should you want to use it for per-key RGB controls and programming complex macros.

Cooler Master SK622

As the company is quick to point out, the software isn't completely necessary, as you can change the lighting and perform many other tasks through keyboard combos. But installing it also means regular checks for firmware updates. And tasks like macro recording and preset jugging are a lot easier to do on a big screen and software, rather than studying a small paper manual to get the key combos right. MasterPlus+ is simply laid out and was stable during my time using it. It's there if you need it, just like Sarah's friends at the end of Labyrinth .

Bottom Line

Cooler Master SK622

The Cooler Master SK622 is a solid, compact travel-friendly clacker that's a major improvement over its predecessor. And thanks to simple but refined software and a mostly minimal design, it looks and feels more polished than most of the small keyboards from lesser-known brands. That partially makes up for the $119 MSRP, but there are plenty of very good compact keyboards available for less. Also note that pricing can vary depending on your choice of switch. For instance, when I wrote this the Red-switch model was selling for $117 , but the version with Blue switches was a more reasonable $100 . If you're after a mechanical keyboard specifically for on-the-go gaming that feels familiar and is built for frequent travel, Cooler Master's SK622 is a good option--especially if you want to avoid the no-name models that can sell for less than half as much. But for most, especially those who type regularly as well as game and don't need such long battery life, the Keychron K3 is a better option at $84 with hot-swappable switches. If you can live with white backlighting rather than RGB, the K3 starts at just $74 . It doesn't feel as rigid as the SK622, but its slightly larger frame and 75% layout is much more friendly for touch typists, without taking up much more room on a desk or in your bag.

After a rough start with the Mattel Aquarius as a child, Matt built his first PC in the late 1990s and ventured into mild PC modding in the early 2000s. He’s spent the last 15 years covering emerging technology for Smithsonian, Popular Science, and Consumer Reports, while testing components and PCs for Computer Shopper, PCMag and Digital Trends.

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KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge RGB Split Mechanical Keyboard | Cherry MX Speed Silver Switches | RGB | Ergonomic | Detachable Palm Support | Fully Programmable | TKL | Available Tenting

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KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge RGB Split Mechanical Keyboard | Cherry MX Speed Silver Switches | RGB | Ergonomic | Detachable Palm Support | Fully Programmable | TKL | Available Tenting


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About this item.

  • ERGONOMIC: Versatile split design great for typing and gaming: move the right module out of the way and bring your mouse in close for improved endurance and more precise aim (eSports proven). rotate the left module for optimal key coverage or to squeeze into a tight space at a LAN. Or split the modules up to 20 inches and put your stream mic, HOTAS, or mouse in the middle for easy access. Separate the modules to shoulder-width for an ergonomic typing posture and add the lift kit tenting accessory to reduce forearm strain. The detachable Palm Supports now include all-new thick cushioned palm pads for even more comfort.
  • 100% MECHANICAL SWITCHES FOR MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE: Genuine Cherry MX Silver speed mechanical switches (low-force, short travel) offer professional-grade responsiveness and unmatched durability (50M clicks).
  • IMMERSIVE RGB LIGHTING FOR A CUSTOM LOOK: 16.8M color per-key RGB Backlighting with 10 customizable effects like wave, spectrum, rebound, pulse, rain and much more. Install lighting expansion pack 1 to add Dual layer lighting and two-tone effects.
  • SMARTSET PROGRAMMING ENGINE: All 95 keys are fully programmable for complete customization: Use the dedicated SmartSet key for convenient on-the-fly Remaps and macros, or use the all-new SmartSet app for special actions or to customize lighting effects. 9 Available profiles with dual layers, powerful macros, quick Remaps, 9 game keys, 1ms response time, NKRO, game mode, & much more. All profiles and settings save directly to the keyboard's 4MB onboard memory for Tournament play.
  • 100% plug-and-play: compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome. No special drivers required. RGB SmartSet App 3.0 for Windows and Mac available for download. Designed in the USA.

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KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge RGB Split Mechanical Keyboard | Cherry MX Speed Silver Switches | RGB | Ergonomic | Detachable

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Product information

Warranty & support, what's in the box.

  • Detachable Cushioned Wrist Rest

Videos for this product

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KINESIS GAMING Freestyle Edge RGB Split Mechanical USB Keyboard (MX Brown)

Olga Von Light

short travel mechanical keyboard

Installing and Adjusting the Lift Kit and V3 Pro on the Freestyle Edge RGB

Kinesis Corporation

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Freestyle Edge RGB

Product description, comfort. control. performance..

kb975 edge rgb freestyle mechanical

Full-size keyboard when you need it

Use the included 20″ link cable to separate the modules to shoulder-width to keep wrists straight for maximum comfort. Stow extra cable in the compartment on the underside of the keyboard to keep your desk free from clutter. 20" is plenty of separate for all body-types.

Uncompromising style, performance, and ergonomics

The all-new Freestyle Edge RGB is the most ergonomic RGB keyboard ever designed. The Edge takes our award-winning Freestyle split-adjustable design and adds full onboard programmability, premium cushioned palm supports, per-key 16.8M color RGB backlighting, and Cherry MX mechanical key switches.

Maximum Ergonomics

  • Separate the key modules to shoulder-width to reduce ulnar deviation.
  • The new cushioned palm supports and zero-degree slope eliminate harmful wrist extension.
  • The tenkeyless design brings the mouse in closer to your body to eliminate painful "over-reach".
  • Low-force, full-travel mechanical key switches feel great, but also reduce fingertip impact for less strain and fatigue.
  • Want an even more ergonomic experience? Attach the popular Lift Kit or V3 Pro accessory for adjustable tenting (3 heights) to reduce forearm strain.

The Edge is plug-and-play compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome. And thanks to its subtle styling and matte black finish, it looks great at home or in the office.

cherry mx mechanical

Cherry Mechanical Switches

freestyle edge rgb

All-New Freestyle Edge RGB

The most powerful split keyboard ever made... just got a whole lot better.

  • 20″ Adjustable Split
  • NEW- Per-Key RGB Backlighting
  • NEW- Premium Cushioned Palm Supports
  • Choice of Cherry MX Mechanical Switches
  • SmartSet Programming Engine (Driverless)
  • Available Tenting (Lift Kit & V3 Pro Sold Separately)

Kinesis Gaming

Designed and engineered in the usa.

Kinesis has been the worldwide leader in computer ergonomics for more than 25 years. Kinesis keyboards are known for their top-notch build quality, unsurpassed durability, and striking designs.

  • Performance


9 Programmable Macro Keys at Your Fingertips

Assign custom hotkeys and macros to the 9 available hotkeys to boost productivity and eliminate awkward key combinations. Cut, Copy, Paste, Mouse Clicks, Media Controls, Passwords, Frequently Used Emails etc. The potential is limitless.


Brilliant RGB Backlighting

Choose from own of our stock animations like Wave, Rain, Spectrum, Reactive, Ripple, Rebound (and more), or build your own Freestyle pattern. Assign a custom color/effect to the Fn Layer or custom keys for easy visual reference.

lift kit ac910 kb975

Add the Lift Kit for Even More Ergonomics

Attach the Lift Kit Accessory (#AC910) for adjustable tenting with 3 different heights. *Palm Supports required.

**Sold Separately

kc975 mac edge kb975

Customizable for Mac

Add the Mac Modifier Keycaps (#KC975-MAC4) and use the SmartSet App to convert the Edge to Mac Mode.


Tenting without Palm Supports

Want tenting without the Palm Supports. No problem, choose the V3 Pro (#AC930) accessory kit for the same great tenting at the Lift Kit.


Unmatched wrist support

Our new premium palm pad is now included with the Edge for even more value. Don't like them, just detach palm supports for a smaller desktop footprint.

Mac Keycaps

Cushioned Palm Supports

From the brand

advantage 360 pro

The absolute best in ergonomics, since 1992.


Kinesis was founded in 1991 in Seattle, Washington with the objective of developing the first computer keyboard optimized for comfort and productivity.

Thirty years later and we're still creating innovative and award-winning ergonomic keyboards for both work and gaming.

Learn More at:

KINESIS Advantage360 Split Ergonomic Keyboard - USB-C | Mechanical Switches | Fully Programmable ...

Great Office and Gaming Models

Visit the Store


Premium Design and Features

Kinesis has a keyboard for you. Choose from Mechanical or Membrane, Programmable or Basic, Flat or Tented, Bluetooth or USB and more.


Ergonomics come first

Our products are designed to address Ulnar Deviation , Wrist Extention , Forearm Extension , Mouse Over-reach , and Fingertip Impact.

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Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.

To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.

Customers say

Customers like the appearance, color pattern options, ease of use, and comfort of the keyboard. They mention that it has a great ergonomic design, the wrist rests are some of the best they've ever had on a keyboard and that the lighting is nice.

AI-generated from the text of customer reviews

Customers like the quality of the keyboard. They say it's a reliable, high-quality, and solid keyboard. Some say it is the best relatively-conventional ergonomic keyboard you can buy. The build quality feels solid and the switches deliver consistent Cherry MX quality. The keyboard has a heavy braided cord and a good quality USB cable.

"...There is certainly no issue typing with the cherry reds and it feels more like a traditional non mechanical keyboard...." Read more

"...: Right now, the Kinesis Freestyle Edge is the best relatively-conventional ergonomic keyboard you can buy. No exceptions...." Read more

"...The Freestyle Edge is an adequate keyboard for gaming. The keys are responsive and easy to press, but the function keys are a bit out of reach for me..." Read more

"...I love the on board profile and remap ability. Buttons have a nice feel to them, quality is fantastic, very durable. Highly recommend!..." Read more

Customers like the comfort of the keyboard. They say it's a nice comfortable experience, and they can work with a very comfortable arm position throughout the day. The wrist pads are comfortable. However, some customers have reported issues with the design flaws.

"...There is a crispness when typing with the browns similar to the cherry blues that you don't get with the cherry reds or any standard membrane..." Read more

"...It is the case anymore. The other significant benefit is the posture it puts you in . You can adjust both parts as comfortably as possible...." Read more

"...The keycaps are nice. They are very soft to the touch , but you can customize your keyboard with third-party caps if they fit MX switches...." Read more

" Super ergonomic , with the risers it makes it blissful to type with! I love the on board profile and remap ability...." Read more

Customers are satisfied with the color pattern options of the keyboard. For example, they mention it's easy to customize and has programmable keys and profiles. Some appreciate the 5 additional programmability keys and tactic feedback. Overall, most are happy with the high customization and intuitive customization software.

"...I use browns, oranges, and reds so the keyboard is easy to look at in low light...." Read more

"...But it is tentable, adjustable, programmable , comes with your choice of three types of Cherry mechanical keyswitches (not cheap Chinese knock-offs)..." Read more

"...This keyboard comes with nine programable macro keys that can be easily adjusted on the keyboard or through the official software...." Read more

"...+ RGB lighting is nice, if a bit limited on options+ Programmable keys are awesome , and being able to create macros on the fly without needing..." Read more

Customers like the lighting of the keyboard. They mention that the RGB lighting is nice, and a big fan of it. They appreciate the ability to customize lighting per key, and the ability of rebinding the lights. They also like that the lights are pretty, and dimmable.

"...The second reason I wanted this keyboard is for the illuminated keys ...." Read more

"...You can adjust both parts as comfortably as possible...." Read more

"...The Edge RGB adds fully addressable RGB backlighting , for the loss only of the Scroll Lock key which honestly NOTHING EVER USES ANY MORE ANYWAY...." Read more

"...The photo does not properly illustrate their dimness ; with an light on in my office they are very difficult to make out...." Read more

Customers like the ease of use of the keyboard. They say that programming is very easy, mapping of the keys is easy and intuitive to use, and it's plug-and-play. They also appreciate the quick technical support and the web interface. Some customers mention that the software is clunky and that programming more complex macros can be accomplished.

"...on any key, this keyboard gives you 8 keys on the left side for easy programming and easy access...." Read more

"...YES, THIS KEYBOARD GETS FIRMWARE UPDATES. Updating firmware is simplicity itself : Copy the update to the keyboard's firmware folder, unplug the..." Read more

"...The installation is very easy , even if you have no prior experience.The Freestyle Edge is an adequate keyboard for gaming...." Read more

"...keyboard--but the docs, examples, and general help on programming it are woefully inadequate ...." Read more

Customers like the appearance of the keyboard. For example, they mention the lighting is solid, the wrist rests are nice, and the layout is perfect. Some appreciate the split design, which is comfortable and fantastic for ergonomics. Overall, most are happy with the product's appearance.

"...So a great job to the engineers formaking a well designed , comfortable to use, reliable keyboard...." Read more

"...for a mechanical keyboard, with RGB lighting, and is the epitome of ergonomic , THIS is the board for you...." Read more

"...I do like the mechanical keys, wrist rests , and optional tilt mechanism of this keyboard better than the Microsoft keyboards...." Read more

"...I'm not a gamer, but I like pretty stuff and this is pretty . Only negative for me is that it's not wireless...." Read more

Customers are mixed about the value of the keyboard. Some mention that it's worth the price, reasonable, and highly affordable for a mechanical keyboard. However, others say that it was pretty expensive and the tilt kit is overpriced.

"...The major drawback of this keyboard is its price. It is not reasonably priced , I believe, but almost all of the premium keyboards are not reasonably..." Read more

"...I do miss the number pad at times, but the trade off is worth it ...." Read more

"...No exceptions.Yes, it's expensive , as keyboards go...." Read more

"...Unfortunately, the kit is an additional $28 , and you have to install it yourself...." Read more

Customers have mixed opinions about the noise produced by the keyboard. Some find the keys not too loud, satisfying, and responsive, while others say that they're too noisy for office work. The brown switches aren't completely quiet, and the sound takes some getting used to.

"...The brown switches aren't completely quiet , and you do get some sound, but it isn't as loud as some of the cheaper mechanical keyboards out..." Read more

"...The sound is not quiet, but also not loud . This didn't bother me but if you work in an office with others this may be a consideration...." Read more

"...(worn to a shine on my 3-year-old one). Linear switches aren't completely silent ...." Read more

"...And it doesn't hurt that dome-based keys are nearly completely quiet , no clacking of the mechanical keys that can bother other people..." Read more

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The Best Mechanical Keyboards

If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more . Please also consider subscribing to WIRED

White computer keyboard with white grey and red keys

Best for Productivity Keychron Q5 Pro and Q6 Pro Read more

Razer BlackWidow V4 keyboard

Best Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Razer BlackWidow V4 75% Read more

Black computer keyboard with blue and red keys

Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard Keychron V1 Max QMK Read more

Closeup of a computer keyboard with a keycap missing displaying the parts underneath

Best Hall Effect Keyboard Keychron Q1 HE Read more

Your keyboard is the most direct line of communication between yourself and your computer —whether gaming, working from home, or doing anything else in front of a screen. Why not invest in one that's reliable, fun, and enjoyable? I love mechanical keyboards—I even open up boards and tinker with them. Over the past few years, I have tested dozens, ranging from the fastest gaming keyboards to those offering elevated typing experiences. These are the best mechanical keyboards of the hundreds you can find online.

With keyboard advances over the past few years, you can’t go wrong with anything in this guide—everything I recommend is well-built, sturdy, and feels great to type on. That said, what I like might not be what you like—more than anything else, the “best” keyboard comes down to what features you want and what kind of feel you prefer when typing.

We have more PC peripheral guides, including Best Keyboards (which include styles like chiclet keyboards), Best Gaming Mice , Best Computer Speakers , and Best Computer Monitors .

Power up with unlimited access to WIRED . Get best-in-class reporting that's too important to ignore for just $2.50 $1 per month for 1 year. Includes unlimited digital access and exclusive subscriber-only content. Subscribe Today .

First, Read Our Mechanical Keyboard Explainer

Glowing colorful keyboard

Things can get pretty in-the-weeds when shopping for a mechanical keyboard. You'll probably come across terms like switches, PBT keycaps, hot-swappable, 75% keyboards, TKL, and so on. If you're curious about what these mean, I recommend you read my comprehensive How to Choose and Customize a Mechanical Keyboard guide.

You do not need to understand all of these words if you want a fun, good, mechanical keyboard that just works—almost all of my recommendations below are fully assembled keyboards. They're all hot-swappable, so you don't have to feel locked to a particular type of switch. Spend some time with your new board, and if you want to make a tweak or try a new set of switches, well, that's the beauty of mechanical keyboards—you can customize them whenever you'd like.

Best for Productivity

Several WIRED Gear team members use Keychron mechanical keyboards every day. The company has a vast selection of keyboards (you'll find a few more in our guide), and they're all generally well-built with a simple user experience. Excellent straight out of the box, these are sturdy, reliable, and satisfying to type on. Everything from the gaskets to the stabilizers is dialed in from the start, meaning there’s hardly anything you need to upgrade save for personal preference. Between a full-metal case, great repairability, customizability with hot-swap sockets, and a solid typing sound, I don’t have any real issues with the wireless Q5 Pro or Q6 Pro ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends )—or anything else in the Q Pro line. These even support QMK/VIA, making remapping keys a breeze via the software.

I think the Q5 Pro’s layout is a good balance between the compactness of a tenkeyless (TKL) layout and the functionality of a traditional full-size keyboard (the Q6 Pro is the latter). It retains the number pad, arrow keys, and function row while cutting down the horizontal footprint by two keys, resulting in a layout that offers every key you'd need, with less hand movement than a full-size board. Overall, this keyboard is a fantastic option for efficiency-oriented typists who want an enjoyable typing experience and a sturdy build quality.

Linear or tactile switches (hot-swappable). Wireless (Bluetooth) or wired. Includes USB-C to USB-C cable and USB-C to USB-A adapter. Separate Mac and Windows keycaps.

Best Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

The BlackWidow V4 75% ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ) incorporates a lot of great innovations from the custom keyboard space into the framework of a gaming keyboard, improving almost every aspect of the average keyboard. I had a few small gripes with this keyboard’s assembly and repairability, but it’s a fantastic option for gamers who want to upgrade their typical Razer keyboard with extra features. This is a 75% layout, so it's smaller, eliminating areas like the numeric keypad typically found on a full-size keyboard.

The factory-lubed Razer Orange switches have a strong tactile bump and a satisfying typing sound, and the (expectedly) bright and flashy RGB lighting that’s typically absent in premium keyboards, along with an ultra-fast 8,000-Hz polling rate that’s perfect for fast-paced gaming. While some details like the lack of wireless connectivity and the plastic bottom case weren’t ideal, the typing experience and overall build quality more than made up for it.

Tactile switches (hot-swappable). Wired. Includes wrist rest and USB-C to USB-A cable. Windows keycaps.

Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard

Keychron's V1 Max has most of the benefits of the BlackWidow V4 without the extra bells and whistles to keep the price under $100. It's gasket-mounted , meaning the keyboard's plate is held into the case around the edges using strips of foam to isolate the plate from the case. This allows for some bounce and offers a quieter and more consistent typing sound across the keyboard. You also get wireless connectivity, RGB lighting, hot-swap sockets, and a great overall typing feel out of the box. Like the Q5 and Q6 Pro above, it’s fully programmable using QMK and VIA software, meaning every key can be remapped. The V1 Max only has a 1,000 Hz polling rate compared to Razer’s 8,000 Hz (how fast the keyboard sends information to the computer), but 1,000 Hz is more than enough for most fast-paced games. Its RGB is much more rudimentary, but the rest of its specs more than make up for this considering the price.

In the time I used this keyboard, I found its typing experience fantastically poppy and crisp, and all the materials are shockingly nice—solid keycaps, great switches, and a simple two-piece plastic case that’s easy to take apart. The largest trade-off is the quality of the case: The plastic isn’t super thick, and the entire keyboard easily flexes when bent. However, the gasket-mount system makes this hard to notice in regular use. More than that, a plastic case like this is lighter than metal, and any scrapes and dents it picks up will be much less obvious, making it an ideal candidate for use on the go or in an office, especially with the included wireless dongles for both USB-A and USB-C.

Linear or tactile switches (hot-swappable). Wireless (Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz with USB-C or USB-A receiver) or wired. Includes USB-C to USB-C cable and USB-C to USB-A adapter. Separate Mac and Windows keycaps.

Best Hall Effect Keyboard

Keychron’s Q1 HE ( 9/10, WIRED Recommends ) is probably the most refined Hall effect keyboard out there. Hall effect switches use magnets to identify keypresses and are much more responsive and durable than mechanical switches. They're also adjustable—you can configure the W key to actuate with a slight press versus a full press, which can be handy for certain games. This is all available in Keychron’s in-browser Launcher software, which lets you adjust actuation points and response times, create multiple inputs at different distances, and even emulate a traditional controller joystick.

With great switches, immense customization, and Keychron’s usual high-quality gasket-mount system, I enjoyed typing on and gaming with this keyboard more than any other optical or Hall Effect keyboard I’ve used. Typing feels and sounds great, with a lower-pitched typing tone and smooth keypresses. The bottom-out feels softer than a traditional mechanical switch, but this softer typing feel can be better for longer typing sessions. Overall, it's just a really enjoyable keyboard and delivers an experience that won’t disappoint, even if the Q1 HE doesn’t do anything crazy.

Hall effect switches. Wireless (Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz) or wired. Includes USB-C to USB-C cable and USB-C to USB-A adapter. Separate Mac and Windows keycaps.

Black computer keyboard

Best Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboard

When I first learned about the Lofree Flow, I was skeptical. I’ve tried a few low-profile mechanical keyboards and never really saw the point—they all just felt (and sounded) like glorified laptop keyboards. But the Flow is different: With Kailh's full POM low-profile switches , a gasket-mounted metal case, and an impressive build, I genuinely found myself wanting to come back to this keyboard despite a pile of traditional mechanical keyboards (both personal and review samples) sitting next to me.

While I love the typing experience and assembly, my only gripe is a small one: The LED backlighting doesn't work perfectly for the provided keycaps, since the LED is on the bottom of the switch and the text is on the top. Besides that, it’s one of the first genuinely good low-profile keyboards I’ve typed on. Typing is smooth and satisfying, and the durable build reinforces all the best qualities of these fairly unconventional switches.

Linear or tactile switches. Wireless (Bluetooth) or wired. Includes USB-C to USB-C cable. Mac and Windows keycaps.  

White computer keyboard

Best for Programmers

The Happy Hacking Keyboard is a mainstay in the keyboard community: It’s portable, durable, utilitarian, and great for almost every use case imaginable. More than that, it has a slightly altered version of the traditional QWERTY layout that’s just fantastic to use. All of my personal keyboards have been reprogrammed to replicate a few different aspects of this layout: Replacing the Caps Lock key with an extra control key is something I never knew I needed, but now I can’t live without it. The HHKB also uses Topre switches , a kinda-mechanical, kinda-membrane switch using a rubber dome with a spring underneath. While there are debates around whether this is a “true” mechanical switch, I don’t think there’s any debate around how satisfying these switches are to type on: Their deep typing sound and distinct, rounded tactility have amassed a cult following over the years. The only true downsides to Topre switches are that you can’t swap them out for other switches, or easily change keycaps, due to their unique shape and assembly.

The Pro Hybrid Type-S model includes a few extra bonuses, like Bluetooth connectivity and silencing rings. It’s reprogrammable using HHKB's proprietary app , although there’s not much reason to modify the existing layout unless you want a specific macro or change to the function layer. It's worth noting that while this keyboard is expensive, it’s incredibly easy to find either the Hybrid Type-S or any other HHKB models on the used market for around half the price. I’d recommend this route if you can’t justify the high cost.

Topre switches. Wireless (Bluetooth) or wired. Mac and Windows keycaps.

Computer keyboard with tan and beige keys and black trim all around

Best Sounding Keyboard

The Bakeneko 60 is the most well-known “entry-level” custom keyboard in the mechanical keyboard hobbyist space. It sounds good, feels good, and has a mounting method I can best describe as “jarringly simple.” (Stretch a giant O-ring around the keyboard internals and press the entire assembly into the case—the internals are suspended by the friction between the O-ring and the case.) Why does something so basic work so well? How does it work so well? I have no clue, but it’s one of my favorite mounting methods in terms of both sound and feel.

While the original Bakeneko 60 is a great place to start if how a keyboard sounds is important to you (it's also reasonably priced), it’s not the only O-ring mount keyboard available. You can get different variations, each with slightly different layouts and sound signatures. I like the styling of the Parallel Sequence ($169) , a wonderfully simple 65% O-ring mount board. The Ciel65 ($210) is another that's pricier but adds a brass weight to improve typing sound and add some weight. Along with this, CannonKeys offers the original Bakeneko in a 65% layout ($150) , and with an internal weight ($190) . However, I do think the original Bakeneko 60 is the most cost-effective option.

Just remember, with any of these, you have to source the switches, keycaps, and stabilizers yourself. But part of the beauty of an O-ring mounted board is that almost any combination of these things will at least sound acceptable, and if it doesn’t work, you can take it apart and try again without needing to turn a single screw. I’ve tried these keyboards before with Gateron Ink Blacks , Cherry MX switches , and a few others, both linear and tactile. Almost all of them worked, and chances are, there’s already a sound test online for whatever switch you’re thinking of using. Oh, and the Bakeneko 60 supports QMK and VIA, so it's easy to reprogram.

Switches and keycaps not included. Wired.

A collection of 5 small square components for a mechanical keyboard

Best Switches

Switches are a huge part of a mechanical keyboard—if you already have a board, try swapping the switches if you want a fresh experience. I'm working on a guide to my favorite switches, but below are my recommendations if you want a silent, tactile, or linear switch.

  • Silent Switches: One of the most frequent things friends and family ask me about is silent switches. For coworkers, roommates, family members, or partners, the constant clicking and clacking of a mechanical keyboard can be grating. There are silent linear and silent tactile switches, but I find that silent linears are more acceptable in terms of typing feel and actual silence. However, even the best silent linear switches will feel a bit off compared to a non-silent switch. The best silent switch available today is the Haimu Heartbeat ($11 for 36 switches) . Once lubed, this switch is almost perfectly silent and, more importantly, manages to do it with hardly any of the “mushy” or “squishy” feeling most silenced switches have. Instead, it has a clean and slightly soft bottom-out that’s only betrayed by the lack of audible response to accompany it. In second place sits the slightly more silent Gazzew Bobagum . This switch is almost dead-silent, and while it does have the usual “mushy” bottom-out feeling of silicone, it isn’t that bad when the rest of the switch is as smooth as it is. If you’re a fairly light typist who doesn’t bottom-out keypresses, or you don’t mind a slightly mushier bottom-out, these are also great.
  • Linear Switches: Linear switches are often the default choice for mechanical switches. My two favorites are from Gateron: Oil King switches ($49 for 70) and Cream Soda switches ($53 for 70) . Oil Kings are one of the best linear switches available today. Out of the box, they’re smooth, sound great, and require zero modification. You don’t need to lube them, film them, swap the springs, or anything else. Just put them into a keyboard, and you’re golden. The Cream Soda switches, on the other hand, are a great mix of different switch technologies. Utilizing a long-pole stem for a more distinct bottom-out sound, proprietary Ink plastic for a smooth and deep sound, and factory lube that’s on par with hand-lubing, they feel incredibly smooth and sound great right out of the box, although they can still benefit from adding film.
  • Tactile Switches: I find that a lot of people look for the wrong things when shopping for tactile switches. While ultra-tactile switches with distinct bumps are popular online, I find these kinds of switches often only feel good on their own and can be difficult to adjust to for the average person. Instead, I always advocate for something in the middle: a crisp, responsive bump that isn’t so drastic that it distracts from typing or feels uncomfortable after prolonged periods. The classics always hold up: Durock T1 ($59 for 110) switches are a great starting point, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Novelkeys' Cream Tactile ($12 for 10) switches, even if you need to break them in quite a bit compared to other switches. Drop’s Holy Pandas ($42 for 35) mostly deserve their reputation—they’re a solid, heavy tactile that feels great to type on, and I’ll always love the Boba U4T ($84 for 70) for their fantastic sound profile and great tactile bump too.

Black computer keyboard with a bright yellow fabric strap overlapping one side that reads take control

Honorable Mentions

These are keyboards I tested that are not quite good enough for the spots above or are good across the board without standout features. They don’t do things quite as well as their competition but are still good in their own right.

Wooting 60HE+ for $175 : Between an archaic mounting method and long wait times for delivery, I just can’t recommend the 60HE over Keychron’s Q1 HE. While I still think it’s a fantastic Hall effect keyboard, it just doesn’t have the same polish and refinement as Keychron’s offering. The 60HE still uses a tray-mount system that, while modular, doesn’t sound or feel great to type on. Along with that, the plastic case is disappointing at the price; it was once an acceptable trade-off for customizable Hall effect switches, but Keychron offers a full-metal, gasket-mounted keyboard for around $50 more, and I think the improvements are worth the money unless you prefer a 60% layout or want the ability to use the 60HE’s wide range of aftermarket cases.

Cherry KC 200 MX for $90 : The KC 200 MX is an incredibly simple and barebones keyboard that doesn’t add anything new, or remove anything necessary. It’s a full-size mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX2A switches , a metal plate, and hardly anything else. It’s not customizable, it’s not programmable, but I can say for sure that it will be durable, reliable, and at least somewhat enjoyable to type on for years to come.

Left to right white computer keyboard with rainbow illuminated keys overhead view of black keyboard and closeup view of...

Avoid These Keyboards

Not every keyboard will be a winner. Here are a few I don't think are worth the price.

HiGround Opal Base 65 for $120 : In my testing ( 5/10, WIRED Review ), I found the Opal Base 65 fell behind the competition in almost every way. With a tray-mount assembly, clunky software, and a single-piece plastic case, I just can’t find any reason to pick this keyboard over anything else.

KSI Wombat Willow for $145 : I wanted to like this keyboard, as it has everything I should like: a unique layout, a metal case, PBT keycaps, and Gateron switches. But it just doesn’t work that well. The typing sounds hollow and rattly, the typing angles are either entirely flat or almost flat, and for some reason, every time I enable Caps Lock, it automatically types “20 02 00” (and after performing a factory reset, it types “01 06 07” instead). I couldn’t find any way to fix this using KSI’s WB Pouch software. However, it does do some clever things: The number pad is placed so that the main keyboard’s Enter key can be pressed with your thumb during use, and the two rows of Function keys consolidate a lot of keys vertically to save on horizontal space. I wish the assembly and polish matched up to this keyboard’s great vision, because the idea itself is fantastic.

short travel mechanical keyboard


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How To Travel With A Mechanical Keyboard

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  • Gaming & Entertainment



Are you a passionate typist who can't bear the thought of leaving your beloved mechanical keyboard behind when you travel? Fret not, as it's entirely possible to bring your trusty companion along for the journey. In this guide, we'll delve into the ins and outs of traveling with a mechanical keyboard, from selecting the right one for your needs to safeguarding it during transit and making the most of it on the go.

While many travelers opt for compact and lightweight keyboards, mechanical keyboards offer a typing experience that's unparalleled in terms of tactile feedback and key response. Whether you're a writer, programmer, or simply someone who values the feel of a sturdy and responsive keyboard , the idea of parting ways with your mechanical keyboard during travels might seem disheartening. However, with the right approach, you can bring your mechanical keyboard with you and enhance your productivity and comfort while on the move.

In the following sections, we'll cover everything you need to know to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience when traveling with your mechanical keyboard. From choosing the right keyboard to packing it securely, we'll provide practical tips and insights to help you navigate the world of portable mechanical keyboards. So, if you're ready to embark on a journey with your trusty typing companion, let's explore the world of traveling with a mechanical keyboard.

Choosing the Right Mechanical Keyboard for Travel

When selecting a mechanical keyboard for travel, several key factors come into play to ensure that it meets your specific needs while remaining portable and practical. The first consideration is the keyboard’s form factor. Compact keyboards, such as 60% or 75% layouts, are popular choices for travelers due to their reduced size and weight. These layouts eliminate the number pad and often the function row, resulting in a more streamlined and portable design.

Another crucial aspect to consider is the switch type. Mechanical keyboards offer various switch options, each providing a unique typing experience. For travel purposes, you might prefer switches that strike a balance between tactile feedback and noise level, such as Cherry MX Brown or Gateron Brown switches. These switches offer a tactile bump without the audible click, making them suitable for typing in diverse environments without causing disturbance to others.

Furthermore, the keyboard’s build quality and durability are paramount for travel. Opt for a keyboard with a sturdy construction and reliable keycaps to withstand the rigors of transit. Additionally, consider keyboards with detachable cables or wireless connectivity to enhance portability and minimize cable clutter in your travel bag.

If backlighting is essential for your typing preferences, select a keyboard with customizable RGB lighting or white backlighting for improved visibility in varying lighting conditions. However, keep in mind that backlighting can impact battery life for wireless keyboards , so assess your priorities accordingly.

Lastly, weight and size play a significant role in the portability of a mechanical keyboard. Aluminum or plastic cases contribute to a lightweight build, making the keyboard easier to transport. Compact dimensions and a slim profile are also desirable attributes for travel-friendly keyboards, ensuring that they fit comfortably in your bag without adding unnecessary bulk.

By considering these factors, you can narrow down the options and find a mechanical keyboard that aligns with your travel requirements while delivering a satisfying typing experience. Now that you have a better understanding of the key considerations, let’s explore how to pack and protect your chosen mechanical keyboard for travel.

Packing Your Mechanical Keyboard

Properly packing your mechanical keyboard is crucial to ensure its safety and functionality throughout your travels. Begin by selecting a suitable carrying case or sleeve designed specifically for keyboards. These cases provide a protective layer against impacts, dust, and moisture, safeguarding your keyboard from potential damage. Additionally, consider a case with extra padding or a hard shell for added protection, especially if you anticipate rough handling during transit.

Before placing your keyboard in the case, ensure that it is free from any debris or foreign particles that could interfere with the keys or switches. Cleaning the keyboard beforehand can prevent potential issues and maintain its performance while on the go.

When packing the keyboard, position it securely within the case to prevent movement and minimize the risk of damage. If the case features compartments or pockets, utilize them to store cables, keycap pullers, and any additional accessories you may need during your travels. This organization not only protects the keyboard but also ensures that all essential components are readily available when needed.

If you’re traveling with a wireless mechanical keyboard , remember to remove or disconnect the batteries to prevent accidental activation and conserve power. For keyboards with detachable cables, coil the cable neatly and secure it to prevent tangles and potential damage.

When packing the keyboard in your luggage or carry-on bag, consider its placement to avoid unnecessary pressure or impact. Position the case in a manner that shields it from other items and provides a cushioned buffer against external forces. If traveling with fragile items, such as camera gear or electronics, consider placing the keyboard in a separate compartment or layer to minimize the risk of damage from adjacent items.

By taking these precautions and investing in a suitable carrying case, you can ensure that your mechanical keyboard remains protected and functional throughout your travels. With your keyboard securely packed, let’s explore essential measures to safeguard it during transit.

Protecting Your Mechanical Keyboard During Travel

Traveling can subject your mechanical keyboard to various hazards, including impacts, pressure, and environmental factors. To safeguard your keyboard during transit, it’s essential to implement protective measures that mitigate these risks and preserve its integrity. One of the primary safeguards is to place your keyboard in a dedicated compartment within your bag, separate from other items to prevent potential damage from shifting or external pressure.

Consider utilizing additional cushioning, such as foam inserts or protective padding, to further shield the keyboard from impacts and vibrations. This extra layer of protection can absorb shocks and minimize the risk of damage, especially when traveling with other items that may inadvertently exert pressure on the keyboard.

For air travel, where baggage undergoes rigorous handling, opt for a carry-on bag to keep your mechanical keyboard within close reach. This allows you to monitor its safety and reduces the likelihood of rough handling experienced by checked luggage. Additionally, if you’re carrying sensitive electronic devices, including your keyboard, through airport security checkpoints, be prepared to remove and present them separately for inspection, ensuring a smooth and efficient screening process.

If you anticipate exposure to moisture or extreme conditions during your travels, consider placing your keyboard in a waterproof or weather-resistant case. This protective enclosure can shield the keyboard from environmental elements, safeguarding it against water damage and humidity-related issues. Furthermore, storing silica gel packets in the case can help absorb excess moisture and maintain an optimal environment for the keyboard.

When using public transportation or navigating crowded spaces, be mindful of your surroundings to prevent accidental impacts or jostling that could potentially damage your keyboard. Secure your bag to prevent it from shifting or falling, and avoid placing heavy items on top of the bag containing your keyboard to minimize pressure and potential harm.

By implementing these protective strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of damage to your mechanical keyboard during travel, ensuring that it remains in pristine condition and ready for use whenever and wherever you need it. With your keyboard safeguarded, let’s explore how to make the most of it while on the go.

Using Your Mechanical Keyboard on the Go

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you can maximize the utility of your mechanical keyboard by creating an ergonomic and efficient typing setup. If you’re staying in a hotel or temporary accommodation, consider utilizing a portable lap desk or compact keyboard tray to establish a comfortable and stable typing surface. This setup not only enhances your typing experience but also minimizes strain on your wrists and promotes better posture during extended typing sessions.

For remote work or leisure activities, pairing your mechanical keyboard with a compact and versatile laptop stand can elevate your overall typing experience. The stand provides an elevated platform for your laptop, allowing you to position the keyboard at an optimal height and angle for improved ergonomics and comfort. Additionally, a laptop stand enhances airflow around the laptop, aiding in heat dissipation and preventing overheating during prolonged use.

When using your mechanical keyboard in public spaces or communal areas, such as co-working spaces or cafes, be mindful of noise levels to maintain a considerate and respectful environment for those around you. If your keyboard features tactile or clicky switches that produce audible feedback, consider using dampening accessories, such as silicone or rubber sound dampeners, to reduce the noise without compromising the tactile feel of the keys.

Furthermore, if you’re working in shared spaces, it’s beneficial to use a compact and portable keyboard layout to minimize the footprint of your setup and maintain a clutter-free workspace. Compact layouts, such as 60% or 75% keyboards, offer a balance of functionality and space efficiency, allowing you to optimize your workspace while enjoying the benefits of a mechanical keyboard.

When using your mechanical keyboard in diverse environments, consider the convenience of wireless connectivity for enhanced mobility and flexibility. Wireless mechanical keyboards offer the freedom to position the keyboard according to your preference without being constrained by cable length, providing a seamless and uncluttered setup for on-the-go typing.

By incorporating these strategies, you can harness the full potential of your mechanical keyboard while traveling, creating a personalized and ergonomic typing experience that aligns with your preferences and enhances your productivity on the go.

Embarking on a journey with your mechanical keyboard can elevate your typing experience and productivity, whether you’re traveling for work or leisure. By carefully selecting a travel-friendly mechanical keyboard that aligns with your preferences and packing it securely in a protective case, you can ensure that your beloved keyboard remains safe and functional throughout your travels.

Implementing protective measures, such as utilizing cushioning and weather-resistant enclosures, can safeguard your keyboard from potential hazards, including impacts and environmental factors. Additionally, being mindful of your surroundings and employing ergonomic setups when using your keyboard on the go can enhance your typing experience and promote comfort during extended use.

Ultimately, traveling with a mechanical keyboard allows you to maintain familiarity and efficiency in your typing, regardless of your location. Whether you’re working on a novel in a bustling café, coding in a co-working space, or simply staying connected while on the move, your mechanical keyboard can serve as a reliable and personalized tool for expressing your creativity and achieving your tasks with precision.

As you venture into the world with your mechanical keyboard by your side, remember to embrace the versatility and comfort it offers, adapting to diverse environments while staying true to your unique typing style. With the right approach and thoughtful preparations, traveling with a mechanical keyboard can enhance your overall experience and empower you to stay productive and inspired wherever your adventures take you.

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The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming

From clicky to linear, here's what you need to know about mechanical keyboard switches.

Wooting Two HE gaming keyboard with Lekker switches


Cooler master, membrane/rubber dome switch, scissor switch.

A great keyboard is made up of many great key switches, and it's in these switches that the true variation in typing experience comes into play. You can find switches with clicks, bumps, or a smooth press all the way down. Some are firm, others light. Some use mechanical connections and others use the power of light, or magnets. There's genuinely tons out there to choose from, so we've tried to help you out with a guide to what's what. 

Actuation Point: The distance at which the switch needs to depress to register as an input. Measured from the top of the keycap.

Reset Point: The distance at which the key needs to rebound for the switch to reset.

Travel: The total distance a switch can depress.

Bottom-out: Pressing the key until it hits the bottom.

Hysteresis: When the actuation point and the reset point are misaligned. This is problematic because the switch needs to rebound higher than the actuation point for the key to reset.

Debounce: In the short period that two metal contacts complete a circuit, multiple signals can be generated. This is called signal bouncing and is an undesired effect in mechanical key switches. Debouncing is a signal processing technique that ensures only one signal is registered. 

There are two core keyboard types: mechanical and rubber-dome. There are actually a whole bunch more keyboard types out there, but let's stick to basics for now.

Mechanical keyboards have individual key switches and metal springs. Rubber dome keyboards—most modern, cheap keyboards—have a sheet of rubber that provides the resistance, tactile feeling, and registers the keypress to the computer. Mechanical key switches give an unmistakable, stronger feedback as you type in the form of feeling a bump, hearing a click, and/or feeling a smooth bottom out to the keyboard’s base. Not only does it feel more satisfying than a rubber dome keyboard, it can be more precise and responsive, too. 

In the early days, choosing a gaming keyboard often meant choosing between either Cherry MX or membrane. That’s no longer the case. Instead, the market is now saturated with a ton of switches that offer a wide range of characteristics. The massive selection can be overwhelming even for a seasoned gamer. We’re hoping to make that decision a little less daunting with our keyboard switch guide. 

If you don't care much about the mechanics of mechanical keyboards and just want to know what to use for gaming, or you want to use your new-found smarts to pick up your next keyboard, here are the best gaming keyboard options right now. And here are the best mechanical keyboards .

Parts of a keyboard switch

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Before we dig into the different switch types, let’s get the basics out of the way. A conventional mechanical switch can be broken down into the following key parts, ordered from top to bottom: 

  • Keycap . The plastic top cap with the letter printing.
  • Stem . This is what the keycap is mounted on. The shape of the stem differs from switch to switch. 
  • Switch housing . The case that holds all the components together.
  • Slider . The slider pushes against the spring and interrupts the connection between the metal contact leaves mounted on the side off the switch.
  • Metal contact leaves. These are what registers a keystroke when they strike one another.
  • Spring . The spring wraps around the base of the slider and pushes the switch back into its resting position after release.

Rubber dome switches, on the other hand, usually consist of only 3 to 4 parts:

  • Silicon membrane layer
  • Printed circuit board (PCB) with electrical circuits

Mechanical switches and You

Regardless of make, the behavior of any switch can be divided into three categories:

  • Linear . The keystroke is consistent and smooth.
  • Tactile . A bump in the middle of travel, usually around the actuation point.
  • Clicky . A bump in the middle of travel accompanied by a sharp “click” sound.

No matter which type of switch you pick, mechanical keyboards are well-suited for playing PC games because they offer unmistakable feedback when pressed. That said, part of the fun of mechanical keyboards is getting one that perfectly suits your needs, and for that, you need to find the switches right for you.

With tactile and clicky switches, you have confirmation every single time you type that what you pressed is registering on the computer, with feedback in the form of a click or the feeling of the bump when you hit the actuation point. The actuation point is when the keystroke is registered on the computer. This means that the gamer doesn't have to press down fully to get the keystroke to register, leading to faster typing. This can be useful in game types such as RTS where your Actions Per Minute can play a factor in winning.

If you’re into faster-paced game types such as first-person shooters, linear switches may give you an edge. Because there is no dome to compress or a click to overcome, you can press the keyswitch faster and register keystrokes faster. 

Mechanical keyboards are also much more durable than rubber dome keyboards. For example, Cherry MX switches are rated to a lifespan 20-50 million keystrokes depending on the switch type. Rubber domes are rated to last 5 million.

First released in 1983, the Cherry MX switch family is arguably one of the most successful keyboard switches ever made. Each switch type in the lineup is marked with a distinct color to reflect its characteristics.

Cherry MX Red

short travel mechanical keyboard

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Gamers looking for fast action with minimal resistance. There isn’t a tactile bump in the middle to overcome. But for this exact reason, the Cherry MX Red may not be ideal for typists as it lacks that tactile feedback.

Cherry MX Black

short travel mechanical keyboard

Feel: Heavy

Actuation Force: 60g

Sound Level: Quiet 

Recommended for : Fast-paced gaming with more resistance than Cherry MX Red.

The linear characteristics of Cherry MX Blacks make them ideal for spamming in fast-paced titles. Since the slider is a single piece, there’s no hysteresis.

Cherry MX Blue

short travel mechanical keyboard

Behavior: Clicky

Actuation Force: 60g to get over the tactile bump

Sound Level: Loud

Recommended for: Primarily typing. The Cherry MX Blue has a distinct “click” sound when depressed beyond the tactile point, making it the loudest switch in the Cherry MX family. The Cherry MX Blue’s separated slider construction also provides the highest tactile feedback out of all Cherry MX switches. With that said, the two-piece slider construction also introduces a very pronounced hysteresis, making rapid firing a bit more challenging than linear switches.

Cherry MX Brown

short travel mechanical keyboard

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium

Recommended for: A good blend of typing and gaming. Cherry MX Brown is widely considered to be the best “middle-ground” switch. Its tactile bump, silent travel, and medium actuation force makes it a versatile switch. Because the tactile bump is produced by a bump in the interruption fin, the hysteresis is less pronounced than the Cherry MX Blue.

Cherry MX Speed

short travel mechanical keyboard

Actuation Point: 1.2mm

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The Cherry MX Speed is the only switch in the Cherry MX family that isn’t categorized by the color of its stem (It’s grey, in case you were wondering). Cherry most likely produced this switch to compete against the newer switch types with a higher actuation points. 

Cherry MX Low Profile Red


Total Travel Distance: 3.2mm

Recommended for: Gaming laptops. These switches will work wonders in a gaming laptop, though they will need some extra wiggle room over some slimmer switch types usually found in laptops.

Cherry MX Low Profile Speed


Actuation Point: 1mm

Recommended for: Gaming laptops. These switches will work wonders in a gaming laptop, though they will need some extra wiggle room over some slimmer switch types usually found in laptops. The Speed version is just that little bit quicker to actuate than the Reds, too.

Cherry MX Ultra Low Profile

Cherry MX Ultra Low Profile tactile key switches side on.

Actuation Force: 65g

Actuation Point: 0.8mm

Total Travel Distance: 1.8mm

Recommended for: Gaming laptops and ultra low profile keyboards meant for incomprehensibly fast, but still purposefully heavy typing. And for converting people to low profile switches .


Kailh, also known as Kaihua Electronics, is a major China-based switch manufacturer. Since its founding in 1990, the company has expanded its presence all over the globe. Not only do its in-house Kailh switches compete directly against the Cherry MX, Kaihua also build custom switches for peripheral partners.

Commonly referred to as “Cherry MX clones”, the Kailh switches are identical to Cherry MX in design. They even have the same characteristics corresponding to the same color schemes. As such, keycaps designed for Cherry MX stems are also compatible with Kailh switches.

Behavior : Linear

Feel : Light

Actuation Force : 50g

Actuation Point : 2mm

Total Travel Distance : 4mm

Sound Level : Quiet

Rated Lifespan : 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve : Here

Kailh Black

Kailh brown.

Actuation Force: 50g

It’s almost impossible to search for gaming anything without bumping into Razer. In 2014, Razer teamed up with Kaihua to develop the Razer mechanical switches, which were then promptly installed on the Razer BlackWidow series of gaming keyboards. Since then Razer has developed its own production lines for the switches, with multiple manufacturers producing them, including Kaihua,  Greetech, and possibly others. 

There are currently three primary versions of the Razer switches in circulation: Razer Green, Razer Yellow, and Razer Orange.

Razer Green

Actuation Force: 55g

Actuation Point: 1.9mm

Sound Level: Loud 

Rated Lifespan: 80 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Primarily typing and gaming. The actuation point is slightly higher than that of the Cherry MX and Kailh. Other than that, its behavior is nearly identical to that of Cherry MX Blue and Kailh Blue. Razer claims that it was able to reduce hysteresis by shortening the distance between the actuation and reset points to 0.4mm.

Razer Yellow

Total Travel Distance: 3.5mm

Recommended for: Competitive gaming. This is Razer's speed switch, and that means it's great for rapid-fire competitive gaming or really, really fast typists.

Razer Orange

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. The Razer Orange is almost a carbon copy of the Kailh Brown. It has a silent tactile bump and a single-piece slider design.

Razer Clicky Optical

short travel mechanical keyboard

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3mm

Rated Lifespan: 100 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. Razer’s newest opto-mechanical switch is identical to the Bloody LK Libra Orange. Razer claims that it enforces a strict QC process for its clicky optical switches.

Razer Linear Optical

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. Razer claims that it enforces a strict QC process for its clicky optical switches.

Razer Mecha-Membrane

Behavior : Tactile

Feel : Medium

Actuation Force : unknown

Actuation Point : unknown

Total Travel Distance : unknown

Sound Level : quiet-to-medium loudness

Rated Lifespan : unknown

Force Curve : unknown

Recommended for : Gaming and typing. Razer’s Mecha-membrane switch is proprietary to the company and comes in its Ornata Chroma keyboard. Razer combines both membrane and mechanical technologies into one switch, claiming that you get the best of both worlds. What Razer means is, you get the soft land of a membrane keyboard combined with the the tactile feel of a clicky mechanical. 

In our preliminary tests with an Ornata Chroma prototype, the Mecha-membrane switches felt unusual at first, but after some use became quite enjoyable to type and play on. 

Logitech developed its Romer-G switch in partnership with Omron, a prominent Japanese electronics manufacturer. Currently, the Romer-G switch is only available in the Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum and the G910 gaming keyboards.

The Romer-G switch was designed from the ground up to overcome some of the flaws in mainstream mechanical switches. The Romer-G’s actuation point is set at 1.5mm, 25% shorter than the 2mm actuation point on Cherry MX and Kailh. It features a set of redundant contacts that not only ensures every keystroke is registered, but also extends its life expectancy to 70 million keystrokes per key. There’s a very subtle tactile bump at the actuation point that’s almost unnoticeable during intense gaming. The center of the switch is carved hollow to make room for a surface-mounted LED and a light guide for a more vibrant, even lighting. 

Romer-G Tactile

short travel mechanical keyboard

Behavior: Slightly tactile

Rated Lifespan: 70 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The Romer-G’s short travel distance plays a huge role in improving the rate of repeating keystrokes. The reset point is closely aligned with the actuation point so there’s no hysteresis.

Romer-G Linear

short travel mechanical keyboard

Recommended for: Gaming. Building upon the legacy of the original Romer-G tactile, the Romer-G linear removes the tactile point and further enhances the actuation speed.

Total Travel Distance: 4.0mm

Recommended for: Typing. Unlike the Romer-G switches, the clicky GX Blue employs a traditional mechanical key switch design. Both its internal mechanism and behavior are identical to that of the Cherry MX Blue. It is, however, still rated to last for 70 million keystrokes per key, just like the Romer-Gs.

Glorious Panda

Actuation Force: 67g

Sound Level: Medium

Recommended for: Everything, but typing especially. These are Glorious' take on the venerable Holy Pandas, and they've been well received as a great version of that highly respected switch.

Drop + INVYR Holy Panda

Drop holy panda switches

Recommended for: Everything, especially typing. Much like the switches above, these Holy Panda-a-likes are made to match the much loved switch.

Drop Halo True

Drop Halo true key switch

Feel: Medium–heavy

Actuation Force: 54g

Recommended for: Typing. These are slightly heavier than you might expect from the specs, and are a great middle ground for heavy typists.

Drop Halo Clear

Drop Halo Clear key switch

Actuation Force: 52g

Recommended for: Typing. These switches are a little lighter than the Halo Trues, but they are still best used by typists.

SteelSeries turned to Kaihua to develop the fastest switch possible. What emerged from their partnership is the QS1, a switch that first made its debut on the SteelSeries Apex M800 gaming keyboard.

The QS1 has a similar structure to the Logitech Romer-G. A spring sits in the hollow center, providing the support for the keycaps. At the base of the switch is a surface-mounted LED, but it lacks a light guide. 

short travel mechanical keyboard

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The short total travel distance helps the keys rebound quicker after bottoming out. The light actuation force and higher actuation point makes spamming easy.

Feel: Light to Medium

Actuation Force: 30g, 35g, 45g, 55g

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. The speedy and tactile Topre switch makes it ideal for general use. Although there’s a tactile bump at the actuation point, there’s no hysteresis to overcome since the switch is capacitive.

Cooler Master uses Cherry MX switches on all of its keyboards—except for one. The Cooler Master Novatouch TKL, the most esteemed plank in Cooler Master’s inventory, uses Cooler Master’s proprietary Hybrid Capacitive switch.

The Cooler Master Hybrid Capacitive switch is basically a modified Topre. It adds Cherry MX stem to the center of the Topre stem, giving users the flexibility to install custom keycaps.

short travel mechanical keyboard

Rated Lifespan: 60 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Typing and gaming. The Hybrid Capacitive switch behaves identically to Topre. Cooler Master claims that it has an actuation point of just 1mm, which is 1mm shorter than the 2mm actuation distance on the normal Topre switch.

Bloody has had a long tradition of using optical switches for its high-end gaming keyboards. Optical switches detect a keystroke when a laser under every switch is interrupted. Because they don’t rely on metal contacts, there are fewer moving parts and fewer potential points of failure.  

LK Libra Orange

short travel mechanical keyboard

Recommended for: Gaming and Typing. Unlike traditional clicky mechanical switches, the LK Libra Orange doesn’t rely on a two-piece housing to produce the click. By keeping the tactile mechanism and actuation mechanisms separate, hysteresis is reduced to nearly zero. Each switch also has its own stabilizing bar to reduce key wobble during depression. Fans of Cherry MX Blues looking for a lighter, more responsive alternative should definitely give this switch a try.

Bloody LK Libra Brown

short travel mechanical keyboard

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The Bloody LK Libra Brown is the linear counterpart to the LK Libra Orange. It offers an alternative to gamers who want the benefits of the LK Libra optical switch without the noise. 

Roccat is a mechanical keyboard veteran, but it’s fairly new to the proprietary switch deal. Despite the seemingly lack of experience, its first venture – the Titan mechanical switch – is damn impressive. In addition to carefully tuned actuation characteristics, the Titan is able to reduce switch bouncing and register keystrokes sooner due to the use of higher quality components. Roccat also pairs the switches with ultra-thin, lightweight keycaps. They help to reduce the weight the switch has to push against to bounce back.  

Roccat Titan

short travel mechanical keyboard

Actuation Force: N/A

Actuation Point: 1.8mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.6mm

Rated Lifespan: N/A

Recommended for: Gaming and Typing. The tactile and silent Titan feels like a heavier version of the Cherry MX Brown. It wobbles much less than a standard mechanical switch. The wobble-free travel significantly enhances the responsive feel.

Tesoro employs a wide range of low-profile mechanical switches for its Gram series low-profile mechanical keyboards.   

short travel mechanical keyboard

Recommended for: Gaming. The Tesoro Agile switch is identical to the Kailh PG1280 switch. In addition to having a shorter 3.5mm travel, its switch housing has been reduced in height as well. This allows for thinner, more flush keyboard designs.

Recommended for: Typing

short travel mechanical keyboard

Recommended for: Typing. This TTC-made ultra-slim mechanical switch is even shorter than the Tesoro Agile. With a super-thin casing and actuating at just 1mm, it helps to cap the height of the keyboard to a mere 24mm. With that said, I’m hesitant to recommend the Tesoro ultra-slim Blues for gaming due to its terribly inconsistent actuation point distance.

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The Tesoro Slim also comes in a linear Red variant. If you’re okay with using flat chiclet keys, then the speedy 1mm actuation distance could help you spam in game. 

Matias of Canada produces three of their own Alps-mount switches and a few keyboards. Matias switches are clones or derivatives of the Alps Electric Corporation switches produced up until around 1996. Alps-mount switches have a high actuation point compared to Cherry MX switches. Matias produces quality keyboards, offers many of their parts for sale, and are involved in the enthusiast DIY community.

Matias Quiet Click

short travel mechanical keyboard

Feeling: Tactile

Actuation Point: 2.2mm

Sound: Quiet

Recommended for: These are tactile switches so a lot of the same ideas from the MX Brown section can be applied here. These switches have hysteresis just like Browns too. However, the actuation point on the Matias switches is much higher than MX switches. If you learn a soft touch, you can type and input commands even faster.

Matias Linear

short travel mechanical keyboard

Feeling: Light

Actuation Force: 35g

Actuation Distance: 2.2mm

Recommended for: These are linear switches, so a lot of the same ideas from the MX Red and Black sections can be applied here. These switches don’t have any hysteresis. However, the actuation point on the Matias switches is much higher than MX switches. If you learn to not bottom out, you can type and input commands even faster. These switches are the second lightest switches on the list, meaning the force needed to press down on the keys is very low.

short travel mechanical keyboard

The membrane/rubber dome switch is the most common type of keyboard switches. Its simple structure and low cost makes it an ideal solution for budget keyboards. 

The principle behind the rubber dome switch is simple. When the key is pressed, the rubber dome underneath depresses to complete the circuit on the PCB below. The electric signal is then allowed to pass, signaling a keystroke. Because the circuit is printed on the PCB, the switch must be bottomed-out for the keystroke to activate. 

Being a budget product, the membrane switch has a significantly shorter lifespan compared to mechanical switches—lasting only 5 to 10 million keystrokes on average. It’s also notorious for becoming “mushy” as it slowly degrades due to wear.

Behavior: Varies

Feel: Varies

Actuation Force: 50-60g

Total Travel Distance: 3-4mm

Rated Lifespan: 5 -10 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Gaming and typing on a budget

short travel mechanical keyboard

The scissor switch is a variation of the rubber dome that’s commonly used for laptops and low-profile keyboards. The keycap sits on top of two pieces of crisscrossed plastic stabilizers. It has a much shorter travel than that of the traditional rubber dome.

Behavior : Varies

Feel : Varies

Actuation Force : 50-60g

Actuation Point : 1mm

Total Travel Distance : 2mm

Rated Lifespan : 5 - 10 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for : Gaming and typing on laptop or on a budget.

Gateron is a Chinese manufacturer which makes MX-stem switches. Like Cherry, they have a range of different switch types which are classified by their stem colors. The enthusiast community has recently seen an influx of these switches and some say they favor the Gateron Clear and Black linear switches.

SKCL/SKCM “Complicated” Alps (Alps Electric Corporation)

These switches were made by Alps Electric Corporation from around 1983 until 1996. They are referred to as complicated Alps because they are comprised of 9 different parts. Like the rest of the switches on the list, they are differentiated by their stem color. Complicated Cream Alps serve as the basis for the Matias Quiet Click key switch. Like the Matias switches, they have a square stem, instead of a cross shaped stem like the MX-mount. Just like Matias switches, SKCL/SKCM switches also feature a higher actuation point. These switches are found in vintage keyboards.

Final Thoughts

There is no such thing the best switch for gaming. While it’s generally agreed upon that mechanical keyboards offer superior durability and performance, the choice of what to purchase depends entirely on your preference. 

We’ve seen professional StarCraft players excel using keyboards equipped with Cherry MX Blues. We’ve also seen Counter Strike players dominate using membrane keyboards. 

So try out the different switches to see which flavor suits your fingers the most. 

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short travel mechanical keyboard

Here's How I Fixed Mechanical Keyboard Chatter for Good


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What is chatter in mechanical keyboards, and why does it happen, how to fix mechanical keyboard chatter.

Whether you're a gamer or just someone who types a lot, chances are you've got a mechanical keyboard sitting at your desk. However, for all the advantages and features they bring compared to cheaper membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards aren't perfect, and have some annoying quirks that can be really troublesome from time to time.

One of the biggest issues you can likely face on a mechanical keyboard is key chatter. That said, as annoying as keyboard chatter is, it can be rather easy to fix.

Simply put, keyboard chatter, also called key bounce, is when certain keys seem to repeat keystrokes two or more times very rapidly when pressed just once. As you can guess, this can be very annoying if it happens frequently, as you'll find yourself hitting backspace more than you're typing. In games, this can throw you off, especially if you're playing a game where you need the keystroke to register just once.

Given how mechanical keyboard switches work, it's not difficult to understand why keyboard chatter happens. Generally speaking, it's the result of a faulty keyboard switch and is otherwise a very rare problem.

However, if your switch or underlying circuit board inside the keyboard is rather dirty, dust and debris can get inside the switches and cause the problem. Most keyboards come with factory-lubed switches. As you use your keyboard, the switches tend to dry out, especially the metallic leaf inside the switch that registers a key press. This increased friction inside the switch can also contribute to chatter.

Thankfully, keyboard chatter isn't difficult to fix, but it does depend on how your mechanical keyboard is built. There are both hardware and software solutions, so if you're not comfortable taking apart your keyboard, you can find software that'll make the problem go away. That said, considering it's a hardware issue at the core, it's best if you address the problem by fixing the faulty hardware.

Try Cleaning the Keyboard and Switch

The first thing you should do when encountering keyboard chatter is to clean up your keyboard and switches. As mentioned above, dust and debris can get inside your keyboard over time and can cause all sorts of issues, let alone chatter. Dried-up switches can also contribute to the problem, so chatter can be a very good indication that your keyboard requires some maintenance.

Start by removing the keycaps, dabbing a piece of microfiber cloth or cotton in some rubbing alcohol, and running it alongside your switches. You can also put a drop or two inside your switches to see if that helps the problem.

Alternatively, if you're comfortable, you can also take apart the keyboard and lube your switches. There are multiple ways of doing this. If you've never lubed your switches before, we've explained how to lube switches in both the traditional and an "easy" way . It's a bit cumbersome, but it can be a fun activity from time to time.

Replace the Switch

The most obvious solution is simply swapping out the faulty switch with a new one. If you have a hot-swappable keyboard, this is going to be as easy as chucking the old switch out and putting a new one in. If you're looking for recommendations, we've compared Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh switches , and there are heaps more options available.

However, if your keyboard has switches soldered to the circuit board, the process is a little complicated. It's not impossible to desolder a keyboard switch and solder a new one in place, but it does require some electrical and soldering knowledge. If you feel like you're up for the challenge, you can give it a shot. Otherwise, it's best to move on to the next method.

Software Solutions

Mechanical keyboard chatter can sometimes also happen because of a messed-up debounce routine in the keyboard firmware. All mechanical switches have a certain "bounce" time that the switch takes to return to its original position, and if the keyboard firmware isn't set right, it can end up detecting one keypress as multiple ones.

Regardless of whether your chatter problem is hardware or software-based, there are software solutions out there that can help rectify the issue. You can try out the Keyboard Chatter Blocker and Keyboard Unchatter tools. They're free, open-source, and available on GitHub if you want to take a look at the source code.

One advantage of using software tools to address the chatter problem is that they can be customized individually for each switch. This allows you to fix the problem across the board and customize the feel of your keyboard. You will have to play around with them to figure out what works best, though.

Consider Replacing Your Keyboard

Finally, if nothing else works,, your best bet is to replace the entire keyboard. This is especially true with cheaper, entry-level keyboards that don't offer hot-swappable switches.

The mechanical keyboard space has come a long way in the past couple of years, so there are plenty of options to choose from without hurting the wallet. If you're just getting started and need a good mechanical keyboard without any specialized features, my recommendation would be the Keychron K2 V2 . That said, you can always browse around and see what works best for you.

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Crash of a Tupolev TU-144D in Kladkovo: 2 killed

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Killer.Cloud the Serial Killer Database

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Serial Killer Stranglers by: Kevin Smith ISBN10: 1733630600

#1 Stranglers

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Sergei Ryakhovsky

The balashikha ripper, the hippopotamus,   active for 6 years (1988-1993) in russia, confirmed victims, possible victims.

  • Serial Killer Profile
  • Serial Killer Type
  • General Information
  • Characteristics
  • Cognitive Ability
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  • 8 Timeline Events
  • Serial Killers Active During Spree
  • Boolean Statistical Questions
  • 12 Books Written About Sergei Ryakhovsky
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Sergei Ryakhovsky (Sergei Vasilyevich Ryakhovsky) a Soviet-Russian serial killer known as the Balashikha Ripper and The Hippopotamus. Ryakhovsky was convicted for the killing of nineteen people in the Moscow area between 1988 and 1993. Ryakhovsky's mainly stabbed or strangulated his victims, he mutilated some bodies, mainly in the genital area. Allegedly Ryakhovsky carried out necrophilic acts on his victims and stole their belongings. Ryakhovsky standing 6’5" tall and weighting 286 pounds, gaining him the nickname, The Hippo. Sergei Ryakhovsky died on January 21st 2005 from untreated tuberculosis while serving his life sentence in prison.

Sergei Ryakhovsky Serial Killer Profile

Serial Killer Sergei Ryakhovsky (aka) the Balashikha Ripper, The Hippopotamus, was active for 6 years between 1988-1993 , known to have ( 19 confirmed / 19 possible ) victims. This serial killer was active in the following countries: Russia

Sergei Ryakhovsky was born on December 29th 1962 in Balashikha, Moscow Oblast, Soviet Union. He had a physically defect. During his education he had academic, social or discipline problems including being teased or picked on.

Sergei Ryakhovsky a necrophile male citizen of Russia.

Prior to his spree he had killed, commited crimes, and served time in jail.

In 1988 (Age 25/26) Sergei Ryakhovsky started his killing spree, during his crimes as a serial killer he was known to rob, commit acts of necrophilia , torture , strangle , rape , mutilate, and murder his victims.

He was arrested on April 13th 1993 (Age 30), sentenced to death by firing squad at a maximum-security penal colony in Solikamsk, Perm Oblast, Russia. He was convicted on charges of murder and other possible charges during his lifetime.

Sergei Ryakhovsky died on January 21st 2005 (Age 42), cause of death: natural causes, untreated tuberculosis at a maximum-security penal colony in Solikamsk, Perm Oblast, Russia.

Profile Completeness: 62%

Sergei Ryakhovsky has been listed on Killer.Cloud since November of 2016 and was last updated 5 years ago.

Sergei Ryakhovsky a known:

( 651 killers ) serial killer.

The unlawful killing of two or more victims by the same offender(s), in separate events. Serial Killer as defined by the FBI at the 2005 symposium.

( 308 killers ) RAPIST

Rape is usually defined as having sexual intercourse with a person who does not want to, or cannot consent.

( 60 killers ) NECROPHILIAC

Necrophilia, also called thanatophilia, is a sexual attraction or sexual act involving corpses. Serial Killer Necrophiliacs have been known to have sex with the body of their victim(s).

( 89 killers ) TORTURER

Torture is when someone puts another person in pain. This pain may be physical or psychological. Tourturers touture their victims.

( 251 killers ) STRANGLER

Strangulation is death by compressing the neck until the supply of oxygen is cut off. Stranglers kill by Strangulation.

Sergei Ryakhovsky Serial Killer Profile:

Updated: 2019-06-30 collected by, 8 timeline events of serial killer sergei ryakhovsky.

The 8 dates listed below represent a timeline of the life and crimes of serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky. A complete collection of serial killer events can be found on our Serial Killer Timeline .

Back to top Serial Killers Active During

The following serial killers were active during the same time span as Sergei Ryakhovsky (1988-1993).

David Parker Ray 3 Victims during 43 Years

Gregory brazel 3 victims during 9 years, john floyd thomas 5 victims during 53 years, david edward maust 5 victims during 30 years, serial killers by active year, books that mention sergei ryakhovsky.

Book: Serial Killer Stranglers (mentions serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky)

Kevin Smith

Serial killer stranglers.

Book: Serial Killer Rapists (mentions serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky)

Serial Killer Rapists

Book: Butterfly Skin (mentions serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky)

Sergey Kuznetsov

Butterfly skin.

Book: Believing in Russia (mentions serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky)

Geraldine Fagan

Believing in russia.

Book: Freedom of Religion Or Belief. Anti... (mentions serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky)

Danny Schäfer

Freedom of religion or belief. anti-sect move....

Book: 100 of the Most Famous Serial Kille... (mentions serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky)

100 of the Most Famous Serial Killers of All...

Book: The New International Dictionary of... (mentions serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky)

Stanley M. Burgess

The new international dictionary of pentecost....

Book: Global Renewal Christianity (mentions serial killer Sergei Ryakhovsky)

The Unique Burial of a Child of Early Scythian Time at the Cemetery of Saryg-Bulun (Tuva)

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Pages:  379-406

In 1988, the Tuvan Archaeological Expedition (led by M. E. Kilunovskaya and V. A. Semenov) discovered a unique burial of the early Iron Age at Saryg-Bulun in Central Tuva. There are two burial mounds of the Aldy-Bel culture dated by 7th century BC. Within the barrows, which adjoined one another, forming a figure-of-eight, there were discovered 7 burials, from which a representative collection of artifacts was recovered. Burial 5 was the most unique, it was found in a coffin made of a larch trunk, with a tightly closed lid. Due to the preservative properties of larch and lack of air access, the coffin contained a well-preserved mummy of a child with an accompanying set of grave goods. The interred individual retained the skin on his face and had a leather headdress painted with red pigment and a coat, sewn from jerboa fur. The coat was belted with a leather belt with bronze ornaments and buckles. Besides that, a leather quiver with arrows with the shafts decorated with painted ornaments, fully preserved battle pick and a bow were buried in the coffin. Unexpectedly, the full-genomic analysis, showed that the individual was female. This fact opens a new aspect in the study of the social history of the Scythian society and perhaps brings us back to the myth of the Amazons, discussed by Herodotus. Of course, this discovery is unique in its preservation for the Scythian culture of Tuva and requires careful study and conservation.

Keywords: Tuva, Early Iron Age, early Scythian period, Aldy-Bel culture, barrow, burial in the coffin, mummy, full genome sequencing, aDNA

Information about authors: Marina Kilunovskaya (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dvortsovaya Emb., 18, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation E-mail: [email protected] Vladimir Semenov (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Candidate of Historical Sciences. Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dvortsovaya Emb., 18, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation E-mail: [email protected] Varvara Busova  (Moscow, Russian Federation).  (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences.  Dvortsovaya Emb., 18, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation E-mail:  [email protected] Kharis Mustafin  (Moscow, Russian Federation). Candidate of Technical Sciences. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  Institutsky Lane, 9, Dolgoprudny, 141701, Moscow Oblast, Russian Federation E-mail:  [email protected] Irina Alborova  (Moscow, Russian Federation). Candidate of Biological Sciences. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  Institutsky Lane, 9, Dolgoprudny, 141701, Moscow Oblast, Russian Federation E-mail:  [email protected] Alina Matzvai  (Moscow, Russian Federation). Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  Institutsky Lane, 9, Dolgoprudny, 141701, Moscow Oblast, Russian Federation E-mail:  [email protected]

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