Do you want a 10-key number pad on your keyboard, but would also like to save a few inches of desk space?
A 96% keyboard is a great balance between max functionality and a more compact design.
Here are more details 👇
How many keys are on a 96% keyboard?
There are usually 100 keys on a 96% keyboard. However, there are a few 96% keyboards that might have 96-104 keys.
However, 96% keyboards are also referred to as “1800 keyboards” by different companies (and within the community), and it can get confusing as to which is which.
There isn’t a clear difference, but 1800 keyboards usually have a slightly different layout, including a different-sized right shift key (and sometimes a tiny bit of dead space between the key clusters).
Almost all of the most popular 96% keyboards have 100 keys:
- Keychron K4
- Epomaker TH96
What keys are missing on a 96% keyboard?
96% keyboards do not include all of the “home cluster” keys (Home, End, Delete, Insert, PageUp, PageDown, etc)
A 100% keyboard might include all six of those, but 96% keyboards have between 2-4 (depending on the keyboard).
96% keyboards still include:
- The standard letters and punctuation keys
- The number key row
- The function button row
- The 10-key number pad
- Modifier keys (like Alt, Control, Command, Option, and Function)
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.
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 96% keyboard?
96% keyboards are definitely NOT compact keyboards. They take up a good bit of desk space!
The exact dimensions vary from keyboard to keyboard, but most 96% keyboards are roughly 15 inches long (37cm) and 5 inches tall (12cm).
How many switches will I need for a 96% keyboard?
More than 96-104 switches. Since switches often come in packs of 10, I recommend choosing a package of around 110 switches.
It never hurts to have extras in case a switch turns into a dud.
What are some of the best uses for 96% keyboards?
96% keyboards are extremely versatile and can be used for pretty much anything.
You really only lose a few keys (some of the “home cluster” keys like Home, End, PageUp, PageDown, etc–and this varies from keyboard to keyboard), and many people rarely touch those keys anyways.
And the extra 1-2 inches of saved desk space can come in handy!
Are keyboard “sizes” and “layouts” the same thing?
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 96% keyboards we recommend:
You can see our top recommendations for full-size keyboards here, but here are a few of our favorites:
- A 96% layout (100-key) white LED backlight wireless mechanical keyboard with a number pad in a compact design that’s built for productivity and a tactile typing experience.
- Connects with up to 3 devices via Bluetooth and switch among them easily. With high reliable and broad compatibility Broadcom Bluetooth 5.1 chipset, the K4 version 2 is best to fit home, office and...
- 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 Keychron K4 is easy to find, sounds and feels great, and has all the great Keychron features from their lineup.
It’s wireless, with hot-swappable versions available, and offers great Gateron G Pro switch options.
It has 100 keys, omitting just a few of the “home cluster” keys at the top off the keyboard. The 10-key number is still there, and it’s a full inch or two shorter than most 100% full-sized keyboards!
- 【96% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard】Epomaker TH96 is a powerful keyboard packed with functionality in a premium design. Thanks to the special structural design, the TH96 feels completely solid due to...
- 【Hotswappable Epomaker Custom Switches】When it comes to the feeling and performance of your switches, every detail counts. We are proud to present our latest innovations, the Epomaker Customized...
- 【Wired with QMK/VIA or Triple-mode with Bluetooth & 2.4Ghz】The wireless version, on the other hand, can be connected by either Bluetooth (up to 5.0) or 2.4GHz. TH96 can connect up to 3 devices...
This is a premium 96% layout with only 95 keys, but with the addition of a huge rotary knob! (for volume control–but it’s also programmable via QMK/Via in the wired version).
The TH96 comes in several different versions, most of which are around $150, but rest assured, this is a premium-sounding (and feeling) keyboard!
It’s gasket-mounted with great switch options as well.
If you want to learn more about different sizes, check out these posts: