Out of all of the (many) keyboards that I own, the 65% is probably my favorite size!
I’m literally writing this article on one 🙂
It saves desk space and looks cool–but I do love my dedicated arrow keys.
Here’s more details 👇
How many keys are on a 65% keyboard?
There are usually 67 keys on a 65% keyboard. However, there are a few 65% keyboards that might have 68 keys.
However, many 65% keyboards are labeled as 60% (which usually only have 61 keys)…so this compact size can get confusing at times…
Almost all of the most popular 65% keyboards have 67 keys:
- Epomaker Theory
- Keychron Q2
What keys are missing on a 65% keyboard?
65% keyboards do not include the following sections:
- The 10-key number pad (usually on the right side of the keyboard)
- The top function row
- The COMPLETE set of “home cluster” keys (Home, End, Delete, Insert, PageUp, PageDown, etc)
65% keyboards still include:
- The standard letters and punctuation keys
- The number key row
- Modifier keys (like Alt, Control, Command, Option, and Function)
- SOME of the “home cluster” keys (Home, End, Delete, Insert, PageUp, PageDown, etc)
How do you access those missing keys?
Even though the keyboard doesn’t have the function row, arrow keys, etc, you can still access these keys via keyboard shortcuts!
Usually, compact keyboards include a function key (or sometimes two function keys) that act as a modifier key to access shortcuts.
- Hold Fn and press 1, and you activate F1
- Hold Fn and press the bottom Control key, and you activate the Right Arrow
However, the function shortcuts differ depending on which keyboard you’re using, so you’ll want to refer to the manual that came with the keyboard!
Learning these shortcuts will take some time and practice, but can become 2nd nature.
What are some other keyboard sizes?
First, check out our full guide to keyboard sizes here.
Some of the most popular keyboard sizes include:
- 100% full-sized (has all the keys, function row, arrow keys, numberpad, etc)
- 96% – Has the same keys, but with no “dead space” in between the key clusters
- 80% TKL – Doesn’t have the numberpad
- 75% – Same as 80%, but with no “dead space” in between the key clusters
- 65% – Doesn’t have the numberpad or function row, but usually has arrow keys and a few “home cluster” keys
- 60% compact – Doesn’t have numberpad, function row, arrow keys, or home cluster keys
- 40% compact (doesn’t have a number row)
What’s the BEST keyboard size?
This comes down to personal preference, including what keys you need for work or gaming, as well as the desk space you want your keyboard to take up.
Personally, I find 65% keyboards to be perfect for my work and gaming.
That said, the most popular keyboard sizes are 60%, 65%, 75%, 80% TKL, and 100% full-sized.
These offer enough functionality, with the 75% and 80% TKL keyboards being the best balance of functionality and desk space!
How big/long is a 65% keyboard?
65% keyboards are referred to as “compact” keyboards, as they physically take up less space.
The exact dimensions vary from keyboard to keyboard, but most 65% keyboards are roughly 12.5 inches long (31cm) and 4.5 inches tall (11cm).
How many switches will I need for a 65% keyboard?
More than 68 switches. Since switches often come in packs of 10, I recommend choosing a package of around 70 switches.
It never hurts to have extras if a switch turns into a dud.
Are 65% keyboards hard to type on? (or game on?)
Due to missing keys and the fact that you need to learn shortcuts in order to access those key & commands–65% do require a learning curve.
That said, once you do get the hang of the compact size, you can absolutely type and game on a 65% keyboard! Many people actually prefer it.
(I’m one of them)
However, you might consider that some games will be MUCH more difficult to play (for example, those that usually use the 10-key numberpad), even with the function key shortcuts.
What are some of the best uses for 65% keyboards?
Honestly, you can use a 65% keyboard for just about everything (except work or gaming where you’d NEED the 10-key number pad).
The dedicated arrow keys and home cluster buttons go surprisingly far for work, gaming, and more (I even edit audio and video on my 65% keyboard).
And since you can figure out the function key shortcuts for any keys you’re missing (function row keys, etc), a 65% keyboard is quite versatile.
Are keyboard “sizes” and “layouts” the same thing?
No. Although “size” and “layout” are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to different aspects of keyboards! “Size” generally refers to both the physical size of the keyboard, and how many keys the keyboard has (a 60% keyboard has 61 keys, while an 80% keyboard has 88 keys).
“Layout” usually refers to the arrangement of the keys and shape of some keys, such as ANSI (popular in North America), ISO (popular in Europe), and JIS (Japan).
Additionally, “layout” can also refer to the software arrangement of the typing keys, such as “QWERTY,” Colemak, and Dvorak.
Here are the top 65% keyboards we recommend:
You can see our top recommendations for 60% keyboards here, but here are a few of our favorites:
- 【65% Hotswappable Mechanical Gaming Keyboard】With built-in modularity for everything from connectivity to switches, the TH66 is a keyboard for those who like to change things up. The 65% layout...
- 【Three Modes of Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0&2.4GHz&Type-C Cable】Equipped with a 2200mAh battery, this keyboard supports wireless and wired connections. By the wireless option, either Bluetooth (up...
- 【Modified Gasket-like Structure & Foam Dampeners 】It adopts gaskets on edges of bottom case as main contact point, bring soft tactile feelings and quieter sounds. A few screws are used to secure...
It’s colorful and has a rotary knob! (Which you can use a volume wheel, etc).
Epomaker has great-feeling keyboards as well. A+
You can only find the KBD67 Lite on KBDfans, and it’s also a DIY custom kit (that doesn’t come with switches or keycaps–you’ll need to buy those separately).
It’s more work to assemble it yourself, but I DO have a video on this 😉
- 65% Compact Full Aluminum Frame: The Q2 Knob Version is a fully customizable mechanical keyboard with a 65% compact layout that pushes your typing experience to the next level. With a solid full...
- All-Around Customizable Keyboard: To build a fully customizable keyboard, we designed every component to be able to assemble easily. With full QMK and VIA support, you can program and remap each key...
- Hot-swappable Support: With the Gateron G Pro mechanical tactile brown switch providing unrivaled tactile responsiveness with up to 50 million keystroke lifespan. You can also hot-swap the Q2 with...
I’m a huge fan of Keychron keyboards–they’re insanely versatile! (wireless, works with Mac or PC, etc).
The Q2 is a great 65% size with a rotary knob and premium switch options.
Pretty much the best that Keychron makes!
Happy keyboarding, friends!
Here are our other guides to various keyboard sizes 👇