8 Best Compact Mechanical Gaming Keyboards [2023] – Based on 14+ Hours of Testing! 

A keyboard is crucial for any gaming PC setup. But if your gaming peripheral hogs space, where do your hands go during a heated FPS match? That’s why compact mechanical keyboards are all the rage among gamers nowadays.

Smaller in size but a gladiator in the gaming coliseum, a compact keyboard packs functionality with style while uplifting your gaming performance. Many different types of compact keyboards exist. However, the two most popular are the TKL and 60% variants. 

A TKL keyboard, short for “Tenkeyless Keyboard,” is a keyboard design that retains all the standard keys of a full-size keyboard except for the numeric keypad. Meanwhile, a 60% keyboard is a compact keyboard layout that retains only 60% of the keys found on a full-size keyboard, eliminating the function row, Numpad, and navigation cluster.

Which mini mechanical gaming keyboard is the best for your needs? 

Find out in this tried and tested review of the top 8 mini gaming keyboards. We’ll also throw in some shopping tips and let you in on their prices. Plus, we’ll reveal the favorite compact keyboards of some of the top streamers in the game.

Let the games begin!

Top Compact Gaming Keyboards in 2023 – At a Glance!

  • Razer Huntsman MiniOur top pick! Designed with a 60% layout, this keyboard features clicky Razer Optical switches, 3.5ms latency, N-key rollover, and Synapse 3 software to customize RGB key lights, functions, and macros.
  • G.Skill KM250 RGBBudget mini gaming keyboard with a 65% layout. Features 4.8ms latency, built-in volume dial, hotkey-controlled per-key RGB lighting, discrete media controls, separate Del, PgUp, and PgDn buttons, and a hot-swappable PCB.
  • ASUS ROG AzothA 75% small keyboard featuring 1.6ms wireless and 1.2ms wired latency, sound-dampening, an in-built battery that lasts 2000 hours, pre-lubed switches, programmable OLED screen, volume control knob, and Armoury Crate software for key assignments, macros, and RGB lighting effects.
  • Kinesis TKOThe best ergonomic compact gaming keyboard with a 60% layout. Features adjustable angles with left-right tilting, 1.4ms latency, hot-swappable PCB, 12 RGB options, no-install SmartSet App for programming, and a HyperSpace split space bar for thumb actions. 
  • Corsair K65 RGB MiniThe fastest mini gaming keyboard with 60% layout. Features 0.2ms latency, iCUE software for customization, media hotkeys, 30+ preset secondary controls, two function layers, a swappable spacebar and alphanumeric keys, and Mac compatibility.
  • SteelSeries Apex Pro MiniA small 60% keyboard for gaming featuring OmniPoint 2.0 switches, 1.8 ms latency, magnetic Hall Effect sensors to detect keypresses, adjustable key sensitivity, and SteelSeries GG software to customize macros.
  • Keychron 4 V2The best compact gaming keyboard with a Numpad, 96% layout, 10.8ms latency, 15+ RGB backlights, 12 multimedia keys, dedicated caps lock indicator, Del key, wireless Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, hot-swappable PCB, and 72 hours battery life with RGB.
  • Ducky One 2 Mini RGBA popular compact keyboard among streamers with a 60% layout, 13ms latency, 3-angle adjustable kickstand, RGB lighting with 9 default patterns, 4 DIP switches, and onboard key combinations for macros.

Best Small Keyboards for Gaming: Research and Testing Methodology

In the search for the best small gaming keyboards, we reviewed several online resources and leveraged the expertise of our in-house gaming aficionados. Multiple best compact gaming keyboard Reddit threads were studied for recommendations on subreddits like r/MechanicalKeyboards, r/keyboards, r/BuildAPC, and r/Razer

The threads allowed us to tap into valuable insights and discussions from enthusiastic gamers and their real-life experiences of using different mechanical keyboards.

Based on the information gathered from the various sources, we created an initial list of 12 compact gaming keyboards for testing.

We performed rigorous testing on each unit that stretched over 14+ hours, all within a controlled gaming setup. 

Our testing approach was to thoroughly evaluate the responsiveness, rollover capabilities, macros, keystrokes feel, and the overall build quality of each unit. 

We played popular games like CS:GO, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and League of Legends to gauge the performance of our shortlisted keyboards. Here’s what we looked for while running the tests:

1) Latency – We performed latency testing for each keyboard to find the exact moment a key was pressed and when it was registered in the game. Using a 240 fps camera, we took three measurements to evaluate the average latency. 

2) Rollover Functionality – We evaluated responsiveness and rollover functionality, assessing how effectively the keyboards registered key presses during intense gaming sessions. To do this, we pushed for complex moves, rapid reactions, and skill combos that needed impeccable key recognition. 

3) Macro Functionality – We examined the presence and functionality of macro keys, ensuring they added value by enhancing gameplay and competitive advantage. In addition, we checked for customized macros. We observed how easy it was to record, edit, and execute these macros within the gaming environment. 

4) Keystroke and Actuation Force – Tactile feedback and the force needed for each key press were recorded too.

5) Sturdiness – We scrutinized the build quality and the materials used for each keyboard, paying particular attention to the sturdiness of the chassis and the stability of the keycaps.

6) Ergonomics – We also looked at the keyboard ergonomics focusing on key placements, wrist support, incline, and overall comfort during marathon gaming sessions. 

In the end, we picked the 8 best compact keyboards, organizing them into different categories like the best overall, budget pick, most ergonomic choice, etc. 

So what is the best mini keyboard for gaming?

1) Razer Huntsman Mini – Best Compact Gaming Keyboard Overall

Razer Huntsman Mini is the best overall compact mechanical keyboard that will look slick in any gaming setup. Sporting a 60% layout, plastic construction, and aluminum casing, it feels solid despite its small form. You get incline settings but no wrist rest.

The keyboard boasts Doubleshot PBT keys, offering impressive responsiveness while typing, and clicky Razer Purple Optical switches with 100 million keystrokes ratings, providing a tactile bump. You can also access media controls, navigation, and function keys with secondary functions. 

Additionally, the Razer Huntsman Mini features a whopping 1,000Hz polling rate, N-key rollover with anti-ghosting, per-key RGB lighting, and customizable macros. There’s an array of built-in lighting effects too. We found the hues and underglow pretty impressive–in fact, the best on this list. You can customize the key lights using the Synapse 3 software.

You’ll find a USB-C cable and a user guide inside the box. The keyboard features a standard PCB. While switch replacement is possible, it involves disassembling the entire case and soldering the switches individually. 

We gave the Huntsman Mini a thorough four-hour gaming run and found the keycaps respond well even to light touches. The stabilizers don’t wobble, and the switches offer great tactile feedback. 

The keyboard’s latency averaged 3.5ms while playing Call of Duty, which was great. After two hours, we felt the lack of a wrist rest, though. Decent ergonomics but not great! Additionally, the rubber pads underneath the keyboard didn’t prevent slipping when hitting the keys harder. 

We also missed having dedicated macro keys. Meanwhile, the Synapse 3 software lacked Mac compatibility. Overall, Razer Huntsman Mini is suitable for both minimalist and flashy setups, particularly for gamers needing extra mouse space. It is our top pick for the best compact gaming keyboard!

Razer Huntsman Mini 60% Gaming Keyboard
  • Faster Than Legacy Mechanical Switches: Razer Optical switches use light-based actuation, registering key presses at the speed of light (30% shorter actuation distance than other clicky switches at 1.5 millimeter) with satisfying, clicky feedback
  • Ultimate Personalization and Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma: Fully syncs with popular games, Razer hardware, Philips Hue, and gear from 30 partners; supports 16.8 million colors on individually backlit keys
  • Quality, Aluminum Construction: Covered with a matte, aluminum top frame for increased structural integrity
  • Oil-Resistant Doubleshot PBT Keycaps: Made of textured, high-grade PBT for a more durable and textured finish less prone to long-term grime buildup
  • Fully Programmable Macros: Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands

2) G.Skill KM250 RGB – Budget Mini Gaming Keyboard

If you don’t want to break the bank on a gaming keyboard, the G.Skill KM250 RGB is your best bet in the $50 range. It rocks a compact 65% design with a 67-key layout, a plastic body, and resistant wear PBT dual-injection pudding-style keycaps with translucent sides. 

Moreover, the keyboard flaunts linear Kailh Red mechanical switches with a 50 million keystroke rating, providing consistent actuation. A built-in volume dial allows you to mute and easily control system volume, while a 2-stage standoff enables you to adjust the keyboard height at a comfortable angle. 

The KM250 offers hotkey-controlled RGB lighting per key, and you’ll get 18 customization options for various colors. You can manage the lighting effects from the keyboard. No software for customizing key lights or macros. 

The KM250 mini mechanical gaming keyboard provides an impressive 1000Hz polling rate and an N-key rollover with anti-ghosting. Additionally, it comes with wired connectivity, discrete media controls, and separate Del, PgUp, and PgDn buttons. 

Inside the box, you’ll get the keyboard, a detachable, braided USB Type-C cable, a key switch puller tool, and a quick start guide. The keyboard boasts a hot-swappable PCB, so you can easily swap the original switches with your favorite 3 and 5-pin compatible ones without having to use a soldering iron.

We were pleasantly surprised by the G.Skill KM250 RGB during testing – especially considering it’s a budget-friendly price tag. Despite lacking stabilizers and dampening, the linear switches performed strongly with smooth, quiet typing. 

In our latency test during CS:GO gameplay, we observed an average of 4.8ms latency. While the switches lacked a tactile bump, the hot-swappable PCB compensated for this. Overall, the KM250 is ideal for budget gamers seeking a mechanical RGB keyboard with hot-swappable keys and a smooth, silent typing feel.

G.Skill KM250 RGB 65% (67-Key) Mechanical Keyboard
  • Compact 65% Layout (67-Key) Design
  • Durable PBT Dual-Injection Pudding Keycaps
  • Hot-Swappable Keyswitches
  • Detachable, Braided USB Type-C Cable
  • Volume Control Knob
  • 2-Stage Standoff Feet

3) ASUS ROG Azoth – Wireless Small Gaming Keyboard

Looking for a wireless keyboard with a small footprint? Consider the ASUS ROG Azoth. This 75% compact wireless gaming keyboard boasts 81 keys, a gasket-mounted build, an aluminum casing, a plastic base, and textured PBT keycaps. FYI, 75% keyboards are simply TKL keyboards with smudged navigational keys and function row.

The ASUS ROG Azoth features sound-dampening material and pre-lubed linear ROG NX Red switches, durable for 70 million keystrokes. You can also pick tactile NX Brown or clicky NX Blue switches, all pre-lubed. A programmable OLED screen and control knob allow adjusting settings like battery status, media, custom gifs, and system info. 

Two incline options offer customization for comfort. You get full RGB lighting on each key that can be tweaked and personalized to create custom lighting effects using the Armoury Crate software. The software also allows custom key assignments and macros programming.

Azoth offers wired, 2.4GHz wireless, and Bluetooth connectivity. The battery can last up to 2000 hours in wireless mode without RGB and OLED use. A 1000Hz polling rate and an N-key rollover functionality with anti-ghosting make the keyboard even more impressive.

When unboxed, you get a USB receiver, an extender, three extra ROG NX switches, a keycap and switch puller, a switch opener, and the keyboard itself. You also receive lube, a lube station, a brush, USB-A to USB-C cable, ROG stickers, a travel bag, and user documentation. 

The keyboard’s PCB is hot-swappable, so you can change the stock switches without soldering. In our testing, we noticed the dampening keeps typing noise pleasantly low, and the stabilizers are impressive with zero rattling. Wireless latency is comparable to wired, averaging 1.6ms and 1.2ms, respectively.

Battery life held up for about 90 hours while playing Call of Duty with full RGB and max OLED brightness. However, the keyboard is a bit hefty, so not the easiest to carry around. Dedicated media keys are also missing. But you can record macros directly on it or through the software.

ASUS ROG Azoth 75% Wireless DIY Custom Gaming Keyboard
  • ROG SpeedNova Wireless Technology -- ROG SpeedNova wireless technology offers up to 2,000+ hours of stable, uninterrupted near-zero-latency gameplay in 2.4 GHz RF mode (RGB and OLED off).
  • OLED Smart Display Screen -- 2-inch OLED panel can show the settings menu, media visualizations and system monitoring. Three-way control knob for adjusting RGB, Media or Music settings for a fantastic game experience.
  • Unique Gasket Mount Design -- Silicone gasket mount with three layers of dampening foam combined provides a silent keyboard and unrivaled typing experience for gaming players.
  • Hot-swappable ROG NX Mechanical Switches -- Pre-lubed switches for smoother clicks and eliminates bouncing noises respectively; fast actuation and ROG-tuned force curves provide great keystroke feel and consistency.
  • EDIY Switch Lube Kit -- The ROG Azoth includes a complete set of tools for DIY switch lubing. The kit includes a switch opener, keycap puller, switch puller, lube station, brush, and a bottle of Krytox GPL-205-GD0 lubricant, allowing players can customize the keyboard on their preference.

4) Kinesis TKO – Best Ergonomic Compact Keyboard for Gaming

If you’re all about marathon gaming sessions and need ergonomic support, check out the Kinesis TKO. It’s a 60% customizable mini gaming keyboard with an aluminum casing and doubleshot PBT keycaps. 

The keyboard offers lubed stabilizers and three styles of Kailh Box switches rated for 80 million keystrokes. It’s low-profile, wrist-friendly, and you can angle it up or down. Plus, there’s left-right tilting. This lets you lift your thumb side while gaming for more endurance. 

The TKO offers 12 RGB modes for each key and edge lighting with underglow. There’s a handy no-install SmartSet App for programming and special modes such as NKRO, MACRO, Game, and Tourney. With the app, you can also customize each key look, including colors, speed, and patterns. Not as impressive as the Razer Huntsman Mini, though.

A unique HyperSpace split space bar lets you assign actions to your thumbs. What’s more, the TKO features nine onboard profiles and convenient key remapping. Media controls are accessible via the FN layer, and you can set macros, delays, mouse clicks, etc.

The TKO boasts wired support, a 1000Hz polling rate, and an N-key rollover with anti-ghosting. You get USB-C cables, eight Kailh switches, a full-size spacebar, and a stabilizer inside the box. The package also includes a keycap & switch removal tool, two HyperSpace switch covers, and a quick start guide.

The keyboard has a hot-swappable PCB, so you can choose from a variety of MX-style switches for additional customization. In testing, the Kinesis TKO felt solid, with no wobbly keys. The recorded latency was also quite low at 1.4ms. However, it has no dedicated macros, and the SmartApp comes without drivers, making the configuration trickier.

We didn’t feel tired at all while playing the games. We also liked that the keyboard works with Mac and Windows systems, unlike many other small mechanical keyboards. 

KINESIS Gaming TKO Mechanical Keyboard
  • PROGRAMMABLE 60% LAYOUT: Ultra-compact aluminum keyboard with standard 60% layout and modular triple-space bar. Maximum portability and closer mouse placement.
  • HOTSWAP MECHANICAL SWITCHES: Premium Kailh Brown mechanical switches with tactile feedback and low-force. Switches are plug-and-play so you can customize the feel of WASD or swap out the whole board.
  • DUAL-ZONE RGB LIGHTING: Customize the per-key RGB lighting with 12 customizable modes and edge lighting with underglow.
  • UNMATCHED ERGONOMICS: Zero-degree slope with pop-up feet for front and back tilting. Optional Left and Right tenting for high-performance gaming. Customize triple-space bar 2 extra thumb activation actions for gaming, typing or coding.
  • PREMIUM MATERIALS: Double-shot PBT Keycaps, Aluminum Plate, Hard-shell Travel Case.

5) Corsair K65 RGB Mini – Fastest Mini Gaming Keyboard

Picky about keyboard speeds? Look no further than the Corsair K65 RGB Mini. It’s a 60 percent keyboard for gaming with a plastic case, white metal base, doubleshot PBT keycaps, and an extremely high polling rate.

The K65 Mini has linear Cherry MX Speed switches that are super light and responsive with a 100+ million keystroke rating. The incline settings and wrist rest are missing in K65, but the rubber pads at the bottom prevent slippage. 

There’s full RGB lighting with each key individually lit, and you can use Corsair’s iCUE software to customize the lighting effects. The keyboard features media hotkeys with macros programmability. 

The K65 boasts wired connectivity, a whopping 8000 Hz polling rate for a lightning-fast reaction time, and an N-key rollover with anti-ghosting. You also get 30+ preset secondary controls and two function layers using the dedicated Fn key and Fn2 hotkey.

The keyboard comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable, keycap puller, user manual, and an extra set of swappable radiant spacebar alphanumeric keys. The keyboard PCB is standard-type, but you can swap the spacebar and alphanumeric keys. 

In testing, we found the Corsair K65 RGB Mini to have a non-flexible feel. The switches offered quick response due to short pre-travel and light actuation force, and the keys were stable. The keyboard is grippy and doesn’t slip. However, the extra keys inside the packaging are disappointingly made of ABS (instead of PBT). 

The keyboard also lacks adjustable incline settings and wrist rest, leading to fatigue after extended gaming sessions. On the plus side, its 0.2ms latency and Mac compatibility more than compensate for its drawbacks. 

Corsair K65 RGB MINI 60% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  • Small Size, Big Features: The K65 RGB MINI delivers big features compressed into a 60% form-factor to easily fit into even the tightest spaces for comfortable gaming
  • Powered by CORSAIR AXON Hyper-Processing Technology: Transmits your inputs to your PC up to 8x faster than conventional gaming keyboards with 8,000Hz hyper-polling
  • 100% CHERRY MX SPEED RGB Silver Mechanical Keyswitches: Lightning-fast response times with a 1.2mm actuation distance, registering up to 4x faster than standard mechanical keyboards with CORSAIR AXON
  • Personalize Your Play: Show off your style with dynamic per-key RGB backlighting as well as an optional included radiant spacebar and CORSAIR logo key, along with a standard bottom row layout
  • PBT Double-Shot Keycaps: A precision-molded keycap set that resists wear, fading, and shine, with 1.5mm thickness for rigid stability

6) SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini – Best Small Gaming Keyboard With Adjustable Pre-Travel

SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini is a 60% small mechanical keyboard with a plastic build, aluminum top, and double-shot PBT keycaps. 

What’s unique is the use of linear SteelSeries OmniPoint 2.0 mechanical switches with a 100 million keystroke rating. The switches employ magnetic Hall Effect sensors to detect keypresses. You can also fine-tune key sensitivity by adjusting the pre-travel distance from 0.2mm to 3.8mm. 

Interestingly, you can even set up double inputs on one key, like a light and deep press, for specific actions such as walking or running in gaming. The ergonomics on the keyboard are quite decent—straight board, high profile, and two incline options. 

The keyboard’s adjustability properties extend to RGB backlighting. You can also remap or macro-program each key using the keyboard or SteelSeries GG software. The Apex Pro Mini offers wired connectivity, a 1000Hz polling rate, media controls, and N-key rollover functionality with anti-ghosting. 

You get the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini keyboard, a USB-A to USB-C cable, a keycap puller, and user documentation inside the box. The PCB is standard type. In our test, the keyboard displayed an average 1.8ms latency which is impressive for a wired device, and the OmniPoint 2.0 switches offered a smooth linear feel and a noise-free operation. 

Apex Pro Mini also has a compartment at the bottom for storing the keycap puller, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, the hotkey labels are a bit harder to read since they’re on the front. There are no dedicated macro keys either. 

Looking for a compact gaming keyboard with a number pad? We’ve got you covered!

SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini HyperMagnetic Gaming Keyboard
  • FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE & STUPIDLY FAST with OmniPoint 2.0 Adjustable HyperMagnetic switches
  • WORLD’S FASTEST KEYBOARD — 20x faster actuation, 11x faster response than traditional mechanical keyboards
  • RAPID TRIGGER — Eradicate latency arising from the physical movement of the switch through dynamic activation and deactivation of keys based on travel distance rather than a fixed point in the key travel.
  • ULTIMATE CONTROL — 40 levels of per-key actuation (0.1 – 4.0mm) – set WASD for light, ultra-fast movements and set ability keys to deep presses to avoid accidentally triggering specials
  • 2-IN-1 ACTION KEYS — Program two different actions to the same key, such as walking with a light touch or sprinting with a deep press
  • 60% form factor. Full-size functionality. Premium aluminum top plate. Detachable USB-C.
  • Compatibility — OS: Windows, Xbox, PlayStation, and Mac OS X. USB port required (*not all software features supported on Mac OS). Software - SteelSeries Engine for Windows (8.1 or newer) and Mac OSX (10.13 or newer)

7) Keychron 4 V2 – Best Compact Gaming Keyboard with Number Pad

Keychron 4 V2 is a 96%-compact keyboard that comes with a Numpad. What are 96% compact mechanical keyboards? These keyboards have the same number of keys as full-size keyboards but are laid out in a condensed form with the home keys squished together.

The Keychron 4 features an aluminum construction, ABS keycaps, and Gateron G Pro mechanical switches in red, brown, and blue variants, rated for 50 million keystrokes. While lacking a wrist rest, it offers a bottom tilt for comfortable typing. 

You can choose from white and RGB backlighting models. The latter comes with 15+ RGB backlight types, switchable via the onboard light bulb key. It also includes 12 multimedia keys, dedicated caps lock indicator, and a relocated Del key. The wireless Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity is rated at a 90 Hz polling rate and runs up to 72 hours with RGB lighting and 240 hours without it. 

The box comes with a USB-A to USB Type-C cable, a keycap puller, and a user manual. We opted for the RGB version with a hot-swappable PCB for testing. The keyboard demonstrated 10.8 ms latency and grippy, sturdy incline feet. 

Unfortunately, the ABS keycaps felt somewhat slippery, and prolonged gaming lacked comfort without the wrist rest. The lack of customization software meant no custom effects either. Furthermore, the absence of programmable keys could have been dealt with better.

Still, Keychron V2 is a winner for gamers seeking a compact full-size keyboard with wireless support, a Numpad, and Windows and Mac compatibility.

Keychron K4 Wireless Bluetooth/USB Wired Gaming Mechanical Keyboard
  • A 96% layout (100-key) wireless mechanical keyboard with a number pad in a compact design that’s built for peak productivity and a great tactile typing experience.
  • Connect the K4 with up to 3 devices via Bluetooth or to a single device with the USB Type-C wired option. Pair it up with your smartphone, laptop and iPad, and switch amongst the devices swiftly. It offers a highly reliable and broad compatibility Broadcom Bluetooth chipset that is best for home, office and light gaming uses.
  • With a unique Mac layout, the K4 has all the necessary Mac function keys while still being compatible with Windows. Extra keycaps for both Windows and Mac operating systems are included.
  • The K4 can last up to 72 hours typing, or up to 7 days of normal use (8 hrs/day) with a 4000 mAh big battery; one of the most powerful among mechanical keyboards. N-key rollover (NKRO) on wired mode or 6KRO on wireless mode.
  • The keyboard has enchanting RGB backlight with modern keycap legends to help you type in dim environments; available in 15+ types of flashing light mode. Durable Gateron mechanical switch with a 50 million keystroke lifespan to provide an unrivaled tactile responsiveness on the tactile Brown switch.

8) Ducky One 2 Mini RGB – Streamers’ Favorite Compact Keyboard 

The Ducky One 2 Mini RGB compact keyboard is a hot favorite among streamers like Ninja. It comes in a 60% layout with 61 keys, a plastic body, and doubleshot PBT keycaps. You can customize it with various styles of Cherry MX switches. We ordered the red ones, rated at 100 million keystrokes. 

On the ergonomics front, the Ducky One 2 Mini RGB keyboard features a 3-angle adjustable kickstand. Unfortunately, it does not offer wrist rest. You get vibrant RGB lighting with nine default patterns that you can personalize along with the macros. You can even simulate mouse clicks with key combinations. 

The One 2 is a mini wired gaming keyboard with a 1000 Hz polling rate and four DIP switches at the back. One DIP switch is for the Windows key, another for N-key rollover mode, one for Vendor ID, and the last for cycling RGB lighting. 

You get a USB-C cable and an instruction manual with the box. It also includes extra keycaps like enter, backspace, logos, arrow keys, and a Zodiac year spacebar. The keyboard’s PCB isn’t hot-swappable, though. 

During testing, the Ducky One 2 Mini impressed us with its solid build despite its plastic frame and customization features. The keycaps are thicker than usual, and the rubber feet don’t slip during intense gaming. The latency was recorded at 13ms, with the keyboard slightly lagging as the gaming sessions increased in length. However, changing the switches with Cherry MX Speed Silver helped improve the performance.   

Ducky One 2 Mini RGB Keyboard (Cherry MX Black)
  • High Compatibility: The Ducky One 2 Mini RGB Keyboard is highly compatible with gaming consoles and different types of computers, making it ideal for various gaming or professional needs.
  • Gaming Oriented: It has Cherry MX Black switches, known for their speed and precision - vital features for gamers. The RGB backlighting enhances the gaming atmosphere while the number of keys and keyboard style meets modern gaming demands.
  • Compact and Space Saving: Its 60% compact design helps free up more room on your desk, providing more space for the movement of your mouse or other accessories.
  • Customizable & High Functionality: The Ducky One 2 Mini keyboard can be customized to your preference. It features individual backlighting color support and enables macros, LED profiles, and setting the color of individual keys.

Comparing Top Small Mechanical Gaming Keyboards 2023

KeyboardLayoutKeystroke RatingPolling RatePCB
Razer Huntsman Mini60%100 million1000 HzStandard
G.Skill KM250 RGB65%50 million1000 HzHot Swappable
ASUS ROG Azoth75%70 million1000 HzHot Swappable
Kinesis TKO60%80 million1000 HzHot Swappable
Corsair K65 RGB Mini60%100+ million8000 HzStandard
SteelSeries Apex Pro Mini60%100 million1000 HzStandard
Keychron 4 V296%50 million90 HzHot Swappable
Ducky One 2 Mini RGB65%100 million1000 HzHot Swappable

Compact Gaming Keyboards vs. Regular-Sized Keyboards – Which Are Better for Gamers?

Compact gaming keyboards are superior to regular-sized keyboards in terms of ergonomics and portability. They are most suitable for gamers who like to play games at low-sensitivity mouse settings and may have limited desk space.

Compact keyboards are all about comfort, especially for gamers during long sessions. Unlike full-size keyboards, they don’t make you stretch your arm to reach the mouse, saving your wrists, elbows, and shoulders from strain. 

These smaller keyboards let you keep the mouse closer, which enhances comfort, precision, and dexterity. Some compact models are also flatter, so you don’t have to lift your hands while typing. This keeps your wrists in a natural position and reduces strain.

Compact mini keyboards are also inherently more portable due to their smaller size. If you like to travel or attend LAN parties, tournaments, or even casual gaming sessions at friends’ places, lugging around a full-size keyboard can be cumbersome. In contrast, compact keyboards fit easily into backpacks and carry cases, making traveling easier.

How Much Does a Compact Mini Gaming Keyboard Cost? 

On average, a good compact mini gaming keyboard for gaming can cost anywhere between $60 and $150. Of course, budget options always exist. Likewise, some premium models are priced upwards of $300. Overall, the cost of a compact gaming keyboard depends on the brand, build quality, features, switch type, macro programmability, and connectivity.

Many popular gaming streamers like Ninja, Tfue, Shroud, DrDisrespect, Symfuhny, and DrLupo use compact keyboards. 

Gaming StreamerCompact Keyboard
NinjaDucky One 2 Mini
Tfue (retired)Taeha Types Keycult No. 1/60
Shroud & DrLupoLogitech G Pro X
SymfuhnySky Blue 65% Matrix Keyboard
DrDisrespectRoccat Vulcan TKL RGB

How to Choose a Compact Gaming Keyboard

There are several important considerations when choosing a compact gaming keyboard, including layout size, build materials, and switch and PCB type. You should also look for additional features like RGB backlighting (it looks cool), macro programmability, customization, connectivity, and ergonomics. Here’s what to mull over in detail:

Keyboard Layout

There are various compact keyboard styles available: TKL, 75%, 65%, and 60% keyboards. A TKL layout includes essential arrow keys, function keys, and a home cluster minus the Numpad. Meanwhile, the 75% layout is a more compact version of TKL, with the essential keys and home cluster aligned in a particular way to save space. 

The 65% keyboard layout includes the arrow keys but may ditch the function keys and home cluster or smush them all together. It doesn’t feature a Numpad. A 60% keyboard drops all arrow keys and Numpad and replaces some essential function keys with an Fn layer. It is super compact, space-saving, and the most popular type among gamers.

Remember to pick a keyboard layout that fits your setup. Just see how much desk space you’ve available for the keyboard and choose accordingly.

Build Materials

The quality of the compact keyboard’s build matters for how long it’ll last and how it feels. Look for keyboards made from solid materials like aluminum. Screw-in stabilizers are recommended over clip-in or plate-mounted types. Make sure high-quality switches are used. PBT keycaps resist wear and tear better than ABS keycaps.

Switch Type

Three main types of keyboard switches exist: clicky, linear, and tactile. Each type offers a different feel. For example, clicky switches give a noticeable tactical bump when pressed. However, they are quite noisy. In contrast, linear switches are more silent but lack the tactical feedback of clicky switches. Tactile switches sit between the two.

PCB Type

Just like switches, PCBs also come in a range of different configurations. You have standard and through-hole PCBs that require components to be soldered. Hot-swappable PCBs, on the other hand, don’t require the use of a soldering iron, making component swapping easier. 

RGB Backlighting

Many compact gaming keyboards offer RGB backlighting with per-key lighting. If aesthetics and personalization are important to you, look for a small gaming keyboard with backlight that you can customize to match your gaming setup.


Check for a mini keyboard that offers programmable keys or macros, allowing you to customize key functions and assign complex actions to a single key press. This can be particularly useful for in-game shortcuts or combo moves.

Additional Customization Features

Consider extra customization features such as profile management, function layer deployment, customizable media keys, adjustable pre-travel range, keycap swapping, and more.These can enhance your overall gaming and typing experience.


Choose between wired and wireless connectivity options based on your preference. Wired keyboards generally offer lower input lag, while wireless keyboards provide greater mobility. Make sure the wireless option has minimal latency to avoid any delay during gameplay.


Finally, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the keyboard ergonomics. Gaming sessions can stretch for hours, and discomfort can quickly become a distraction. The arrangement and spacing of keys matter. Many compact gaming keyboards offer detachable wrist rests or integrated wrist support. This feature can alleviate strain on your wrists and promote a more relaxed hand position, reducing the risk of discomfort or repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). 

The ability to adjust the keyboard’s tilt and angle is also something worth considering. Look for a keyboard with multiple height settings to find the best angle for your wrists and hands.

Small Stature, Big Game: The Final Words on Compact Gaming Keyboards

Compact gaming keyboards rise to the challenge quite well in a world where precision, speed, and comfort can make all the difference. Whether you’re a competitive esports enthusiast or a casual gamer, the selection we’ve curated in this blog caters to various preferences and budgets.

Razer Huntsman Mini ranks at the top for its small form factor, affordability, reasonable response time, decent ergonomics, high customizability, impressive durability, and overall performance. If you’re looking for something more specific, like a cheaper price tag, advanced ergonomics, or the fastest response time, we’ve covered that too.

Razer Huntsman Mini 60% Gaming Keyboard
  • Faster Than Legacy Mechanical Switches: Razer Optical switches use light-based actuation, registering key presses at the speed of light (30% shorter actuation distance than other clicky switches at 1.5 millimeter) with satisfying, clicky feedback
  • Ultimate Personalization and Gaming Immersion with Razer Chroma: Fully syncs with popular games, Razer hardware, Philips Hue, and gear from 30 partners; supports 16.8 million colors on individually backlit keys
  • Quality, Aluminum Construction: Covered with a matte, aluminum top frame for increased structural integrity
  • Oil-Resistant Doubleshot PBT Keycaps: Made of textured, high-grade PBT for a more durable and textured finish less prone to long-term grime buildup
  • Fully Programmable Macros: Razer Hypershift allows for all keys and keypress combinations to be remapped to execute complex commands

Happy shopping, and let’s meet on the battlefield with your compact gaming keyboard soon!

Ed has fond memories of the times when he played games on an 8-bit console. If you want to make him talk for hours on end, just ask him about Valla from Heroes of the Storm. Eddie despises hackers and gamers who do not take the game seriously. He sees RealGear as a place where he has the freedom to express his viewpoint regarding PC and console games and put his journalism skills into practice.

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