There are actually a TON of different sizes of mechanical (and membrane) keyboards, and the 60% compact size is one of the most popular!
It’s small but functional, and surprisingly easy to travel with.
Here are more details 👇
How many keys are on a 60% keyboard?
There are usually 61 keys on a 60% keyboard. However, there are a few 60% keyboards that might have 62 keys.
Additionally, many 65% keyboards (which have 67 or 68 keys) are inappropriately labeled as 60% keyboards, so it can be confusing!
Almost all of the most popular 60% keyboards have 61 keys:
- Anne Pro 2
- Keychron K12
- Ducky One 3
What keys are missing on a 60% keyboard?
60% keyboards do not include the following sections:
- The 10-key number pad (usually on the right side of the keyboard)
- The top function row
- Dedicated arrow keys
- The “home cluster” keys (Home, End, Delete, Insert, PageUp, PageDown, etc)
60% keyboards still include:
- The standard letters and punctuation keys
- The number key row
- Modifier keys (like Alt, Control, Command, Option, and Function)
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, 60% 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 60% 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.
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 the best balance of functionality and desk space!
How big/long is a 60% keyboard?
60% keyboards are referred to as “compact” keyboards, as they physically take up less space.
The exact dimensions vary from keyboard to keyboard, but most 60% keyboards are roughly 12 inches long (30cm) and 4.5 inches tall (11cm).
How many switches will I need for a 60% keyboard?
More than 62 switches. Since switches often come in packs of 10, I recommend choosing a package of around 70 switches.
It never hurts to have extras in case a switch turns into a dud.
Are 60% 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–60% 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 60% keyboard! Many people actually prefer it.
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 60% keyboards?
Once you learn the function shortcuts so you can access your keys–you can use a 60% keyboard for just about anything!
In fact, they make excellent travel keyboards to take to work, to the coffee shop, or on airplanes (though you might choose a wireless 60% keyboard that you don’t have to connect via a USB cable).
However, if you do work that requires a lot of data entry (specifically number-based work like accounting & finance), you might miss the 10-key numberpad
I don’t think 60% keyboards are best for work, unless you mostly type (text, prose, etc).
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 60% keyboards we recommend:
You can see our top recommendations for 60% keyboards here, but here are a few of our favorites:
Ducky One 3
- Featuring Ducky's all new QUACK Mechanics design philosophy
- Dual layer Hot-swap PCB w/ exclusive Kailh yellow hotswap sockets
- Low profile One 3 case design in a wide array of exclusive color options
Although it’s not wireless, the Ducky One 3 is a “premium feel” keyboard full of features. It includes a nice corded cable, Cherry MX switch options, and a hot-swappable PCB.
Anne Pro 2
- Gateron Blue Switches
- Bluetooth system requirement: Bluetooth LE5.0 receiver/Linux,Windows8/10,Android 4.4 and above / IOS 7.0 and above / Mac OS 10.10 and above. (Check the compatibility before purchasing)
- Prolonged Wireless usage. Anne pro 2 utilizes 1900mah battery which is up to for 8 hours wireless usage under regular circumstance, which means a few days life cycle on a single charge. There is also...
The Anne Pro 2 is a REALLY popular 60% keyboard in the mecahncial keyboard community! It’s budget-friendly and wireless, and also offers some solid switch options (Gateron and Kailh options).
- Keychron K12 is a compact 60% layout hot-swappable bluetooth wireless mechanical keyboard aluminum frame non-backlight version (Exclusive color Keycaps) made for Mac and Windows. It customize typing...
- With a unique Mac layout and Windows compatibility, the K12 is offering convenient accessibility to all the essential multimedia and function keys through the combination of key presses, yet compact...
- Connects with up to 3 devices via the reliable Broadcom Bluetooth 5.1 chipset and switch among them easily for multitasking needs. The K12 is best to fit home, office and light gaming use while...
Keychron keyboards can do it all. They’re hot-swappable and wireless, and work REALLY well for both Mac and Windows computers. While the K12 is a compact 60% size, Keychron makes several other sizes as well!
- A MECH KEYS FAVORITE, NOW IN HIGH PROFILE: The Drop ALT High-Profile is just like the original ALT, but now it comes with a tall CNC-aluminum case that covers the switches.
- THICKER, HEAVIER FRAME: The ALT High-Profile is constructed from a large block of anodized aluminum, nearly twice as heavy as the original ALT. The keyboard is heavy enough to stay put when you're...
- KAIHUA SPEED SILVER SWITCHES: Utilizing the popular Cherry MX form, these speedy linear switches are made with 3. 5 millimeters of total travel with 1. 1–1. 4 millimeters of pre-travel. They’re...
The Drop Alt is a more expensive, “premium” option that comes available with fancier materials (including sound dampening, better stabilizers, etc), as well as some Drop switch options (like the Halos, etc).
If you want to learn more about different sizes, check out these posts: