The Six Best 60% Gaming Keyboards in 2021

Updated January 12, 2021 by
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Whether you’re downsizing to a small form factor gaming PC or want to get rid of the extra clutter on your desk, investing in a compact gaming keyboard is the perfect way to make the most of your usable desk area. We’re here to walk you through the best 60% gaming keyboards that will reclaim your desk space and elevate your office setup.

This article looks at six categories to showcase the best 60% mechanical keyboards to meet your needs. From hot-swappable custom setups to traditional compact Cherry MX switches, we’ve got your perfect compact keyboard recommendation covered. Before we get started, though, let’s cover the basics.

What is a 60% gaming keyboard?

A standard full-size keyboard has 104 keys. These keyboards include the function row, a full-size number pad, and separate space for your arrow and function keys.

Stock Keyboard layout comparison showing Full size, TKL and 60% layouts | Image WASD Keyboards

Ten Key Less (TKL) boards lose the number pad but preserve the remaining keyboard layout and keep the function row. 60% keyboards take it a step further and remove the function and arrow keys, keeping only the number row. In the US, these keyboards have 61 keys or roughly 60% of a stock keyboard. To make sure you don’t lose out on a full-size keyboard’s functionality, though, 60% keyboards provide different functional layers that allow each key to perform multiple actions depending on the fn key selected.

Standard 61 Key Keyboard | Image VP3 Keyboard WASD Keyboards

If you don’t want to lose the arrow keys, a middle ground option exists. Sitting between the TKL and 60% keyboard is a 65% form factor. 65% keyboards save the arrow keys as distinct switches but compress them into the keyboard’s right side to keep the small form factor. Check out our list of the best 65% keyboards if you need arrow keys, but if you’re looking for the absolute smallest footprint, you’re in the right place.

Are 60% keyboards good for gaming?

Reasons why you should consider a 60% keyboard:

  • Lightweight: 60 keyboards are incredibly compact and relatively lightweight without sacrificing build quality due to their small size. Weight is an essential point if you plan on transporting the keyboard frequently between the home or office.
  • Minimal Space: The best thing about 60% keyboards is their tiny footprint. We love minimalist design at Good Gaming Gear and are big fans of the less is more mantra, but going any smaller than 60% is where we draw the line. Mechanical keyboards more compact than 60% exist, but it might cause you more frustration to use than it’s worth.
  • Ergonomic: If you spend a lot of time at your desk or love FPS titles with large mouse movements, picking up a smaller form keyboard can better your posture as you can more naturally align your hands on your keyboard and mouse. A 60 gaming keyboard also allows greater movement area for your mouse if extreme accuracy is vital to you.
  • Customized setup: There’s been a recent explosion in small form factor components, the latest range of keyboards can allow total personalization to perfectly match your style. Switch weight, keycap material, lighting zones, detachable USB C – go for it.

What is a Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard?

We’ve covered the difference between hot-swappable vs. soldered switches previously, but for a quick recap; hot-swappable mechanical keyboards allow you to freely change switches without needing to solder them to the PCB. They’re a great option if you’d like to test the difference between your standard tactile Cherry MX brown or a new linear switch that won’t wake up the neighbors like a silent red.

Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Black, Kailh, or Gateron compatible?

Regardless of the brand, Cherry MX, Kailh, Gateron, or any combination of each, you can easily swap out switches to suit your preference as long as the keyboard adheres to the standard switch profile. Thankfully the Cherry standard has set the benchmark to be followed, and other brands have ensured they’re cross-compatible.

If you’re a DIY enthusiast or extreme gamer, soldered switches will give you the best possible stability. But if you’re chasing the very best, you likely already know the switches, chassis, stabilizers and have read up on per-switch lubrication. Either way, we’ve included a complete round-up of both hot-swappable mechanical keyboards and stock keyboards below.

CategoryKeyboardPrice (USD)CaseKey CapsHot Swap?USB-Style
Best Hot-Swappable 60%GMMK 60%$AluminumABSYesUSB-C
Best mini Gaming KeyboardRazer Huntsman Mini$$AluminumABS or PBT upgradeNoUSB-C
Best Wireless 60 mechanicalAnne Pro 2$$PolycarbonatePBTNoUSB-C & Wireless
Ultra Premium SFF keyboardKeycult No. 1/60$$$$AluminumExtraNoUSB-C
Best Budget 60 keyboardDucky One 2 Mini$PolycarbonatePBTNoUSB-C
Custom best 60% keyboardTOFU$$Aluminum or PolycarbonateYour choiceVersion availableUSB-C

GMMK Compact – The best 60% gaming keyboard with HotSwappable switches

Pros

  • Front-facing secondary legends
  • It comes with a keycap puller.
  • Easy to swap switches – Compatible with all types of switches
  • Colorful RGB effects
  • Keycaps have side printed legends.

Cons

  • ABS Keycaps
  • Limited gaming features
  • Complaints of cable quality
  • Inconsistent key stabilizers out of the box
  • No switch options on shipping

Overview

If you’re looking for the smallest mainstream mechanical gaming keyboard that can easily swap out switches, the Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard (GMMK) is the one to beat. With its hot-swappable compatibility, changing your switches only requires a couple of seconds to pop out the default Gateron Browns and insert your personal preference. They’ve even included a switch pulling tool – so rest easy knowing you’re not going to break the board during mods accidentally.

Design

The GMMK was designed with a sleek minimal style that eschews the obnoxious gamer branding for understated black styling. A high point for the keyboard is the sandblasted aluminum plate that adds to the keyboard’s rigidity and elevates the build quality.

Keycaps

Although the included ABS double-shot injection keycaps make great use of side printed legends, we’d have loved to see PBT Keycaps included in the box. Thankfully the standard cherry style keycap design opens the door to customize your keycaps to your heart’s content.

Add this together with customizable dynamic RGB effects, and you’ve got one of the best 60 keyboards on the market.


Razer Huntsman Mini – The Best 60% Gaming Keyboard

Pros

  • Optical Switches for actuation at the speed of light
  • Double-shot PBT Gaming Keys
  • Side-printed secondary functions
  • Impressive build quality
  • Onboard memory and lighting presets
  • Durable aluminum base
  • Available with either clicky or linear switches

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive
  • Requires Razer software for full customization options

Overview

If you’re invested in Razer’s ecosystem, you’ll be glad to see they’re meeting the market demand for small form factor keyboards with the Huntsman Mini release. The Huntsman mini is Razer’s take on the 60% form factor keyboard and builds on an impressive feature set made over the years in their larger products.

“The Huntsman Mini packs the latest and greatest in keyboard technology in an ultra-compact 60% form factor.”

Senior VP of Razer’s Gaming Peripherals- Alvin Cheung

The headline feature of this keyboard is Razer’s cutting-edge “optomechanical switches.” These optical switches boast of unrivaled durability and better stability as they’ve been specifically designed without the typical mechanical switch constraints. Despite the board not providing a hot-swappable option, two versions of the Razer Huntsman Mini are available for purchase. One with clicky tactile optical switches and another with silent linear optical switches for a smooth actuation mimicking Cherry MX Reds.

Design

Designed to enhance your gaming experience and your desk space, Razer has stuck with a traditional layout available in both a black and white variant, which is fantastic for those chasing a minimalist build. Impressively, the board includes PBT Keycaps, which wear better over time and provide a more satisfying typing experience out of the box. Our one complaint would be the front-facing legends don’t have pass-through lighting, though you’ll be able to swap these out for any standard keycaps as they’ve followed the classic Cherry MX profile, which is an impressive touch to detail.

As far as keyboard smarts go, the huntsman mini allows you to create up to five onboard profiles to manage shortcuts, macros, and the 168 million colors RGB backlight with your preferred settings – perfect for a keyboard that’s intended to travel with you on the move.

Connected with a durable and removable USB-C cable, Razer has implemented an additional cable latch to ensure you stay locked in during gameplay. Rest assured, you can still swap this out for the many custom USB-C options out there if you’d like to personalize the style altogether.

Last but not least, the build quality brings this keyboard to the top of the pack. Built with a sturdy aluminum frame that’ll take whatever you throw at it, the metal construction makes the Razer Hunstman mini a solid gaming investment. And if anything does go wrong, you’ve got Razer’s two-year warranty to back you up.

Of the best 60 keyboards on the market, the Razer Hunstman mini is our go-to for gamers.


Anne Pro 2 – The Best Wireless 60% Keyboard

Pros

  • Works as both wired and wireless
  • Bluetooth 4.0 / Bluetooth 5.0 on CORN series
  • It comes with 16 macro keys.
  • RGB lighting effects and backlight
  • Windows/iOS/Android Cross-platform support
  • PBT Keycaps included
  • Gateron and Kaihl switches available

Cons

  • Limited battery life with RGB effects enabled
  • Polycarbonate body
  • No additional gaming keycaps included

Overview

The Anne Pro 2 is a fantastic small gaming keyboard that works via both the included USB-C cable or wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0. We love the idea of eliminating cords from our desk and have previously recommended the white Anne Pro 2 for those looking for the sleekest desktop setup. With a selection of switch types to choose from and included PBT keycaps, you can’t go wrong here.

The added benefit of a Bluetooth connection is you can use this keyboard to link up with your smartphone or iPad for a premium typing experience across your devices.

Keycaps

Along with the standard keycaps, Anne Pro 2 also comes with some colorful keycaps to customize the keyboard to meet your style. A keypad puller that can be used for pulling off the keycap quickly is also included in the package. Though the switches are permanent in this package, the choice of Gateron and Kailh Box RGB switches should cater to all but the most discerning users.

Software

The Anne Pro 2 mechanical keyboard allows you to customize the backlighting in various custom or pre-defined ways. The keyboard features up to 16 offline macro keys for advanced users to enhance their gaming or productivity experience. There’s additional software available that allows you to change settings at a granular level, though it’s a bit of shame; this isn’t included in the onboard functionality.

It’s slim and compact design backed by the excellent build quality and wireless compatibility form an incredible package overall. If it weren’t’ for the polycarbonate base, it’d be challenging for any other 60% keyboard to match up to the value on offer here.

Editors Note: The Anne Pro 2 just beat out the Amazon gaming favorite, the Royal Kludge RK61, on our list of the best 60 keyboards due to the RK61’s lack of PBT keycaps and single color backlighting. A PBT Royal Kludge RK61 version is available; however, it’s out of stock as of publishing. We’ll update this article when stock returns at reliable levels. If you’re looking for a step-up in technology and want to make the jump to Topre switches, check out the happy hacking keyboard professional 2 (HHKB2) – an authentic pro product.


KeyCult No. 1/60 Rev.1 – The ultra-premium 60% mechanical keyboard

Pros

  • Impeccable build quality
  • Gasket mounting system
  • Noiseless typing experience
  • Highly customizable

Cons

  • Need to sell a kidney to afford one
  • Minimal stock
  • Requires separate purchase of switches and keycaps

Overview

If you are looking for a premium 60% keyboard for gaming, nothing gets better than KeyCult. They’re of the brands notorious for ultra-premium and ultra-limited boards that have gained (unsurprisingly) a cult following. The mechanical keyboard 60% No.1/60 released in 2019 combines everything you could ask for in a small form factor keyboard – at a price.

Design

The No.1 Rev.1 is their premium keyboard with an 8-degree typing angle in a flawlessly anodized aluminum chassis with a gasket mounting system widely regarded as the optimal switch plate mounting method. Gasket keyboards are designed to minimize noise and present the best possible typing experience in 3D machined CNC quality. It’s an impressive build that’s not trying to mimic typical gaming trends.

Cost

There are certainly some downsides though, for a $500 A-stock starting price tag, you get the case PCB, vibration-dampening gaskets, feet, case screws, and a hex driver. That means you’ll need a separate purchase of your Cherry MX switches (or your personal favorites) and PBT Keycaps before you can type on this beauty. If you’re feeling particularly flush, you can add brass plates instead of the stock aluminum for an extra $85. It’s not exactly a bargain, but you get what you pay for in quality here.

With that, you’re guaranteed an ultra-premium 60 keyboard backed by some of the best quality control in the market. The customization options are excellent, the finish is faultless, and the customer service is rated with the best in the industry. If you can get past the price point, there’s no denying that this is one of the most premium 60 keyboards you can buy.


Ducky One 2 Mini – The Best Budget 60% mechanical keyboard

Pros

  • High-quality keyboard
  • Controllable RGB lights
  • Comes with additional colored keycaps
  • Red or Silver Cherry MX Switches
  • Customization options on-board

Cons

  • Polycarbonate base
  • Reports of double-pressing keys
  • Custom shortcuts

Overview

Moving from the most expensive to the best value – our list of the best 60 keyboards wouldn’t be complete without including the Ducky One 2 Mini – a 60% keyboard that brings many features to the table with a great price tag.

Design

The first thing you notice when you take the keyboard out of the box is its excellent finish and clean design. The Ducky One 2 mini has surprising heft to it, but it gets the basics right. As a bonus, the keyboard comes with various colored keycaps so you can customize your setup straight away without needing to purchase anything additional. The extra custom keycaps are a thoughtful addition, especially in such a budget product. There’s also the choice between a black or white base and black or white keycaps that make the keyboard stand out.

Features

At the bottom of the Ducky keyboard, you get two small feet that allow you to place the keyboard in two different positions to suit your ideal typing angle. The Ducky One 2 Mini SF also enables you to control the various functions and RGB lighting all on-board – you don’t need any software to change or customize the settings. And the keyboard comes with some impressive RGB lighting effects thanks to the RGB Cherry MX switches.

With a removable USB-C cord as well, there’s no beating the Ducky One 2 Mini if you’re looking for the best 60 keyboard gaming on a budget.

Editors Note: The Akko X Ducky is a hugely popular version of the Ducky One mini but is consistently out of stock, so we can’t recommend it over the One 2 Mini.


TOFU by KBDFans – The Best 60 Percent Gaming Keyboard Overall

Pros

  • Fully customized
  • Kit with choice of switches
  • High-quality aluminum base
  • Huge variety of color choices
  • Premium-Quality

Cons

  • Keycaps purchased separately
  • Some assembly required
  • Moderate price

Overview

The best 60% keyboard for gaming is only available for those who aren’t afraid to build. If you’re a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, you’ll already know KBDFans is one of the best places to start your custom keyboard journey. Their DIY kit for a 60% gaming keyboard is the perfect middle ground for to dip your toe into the custom gaming keyboard market without needing a personal loan to fund it.

Design

The TOFU keyboard kit comes with everything you need except the keycaps. That includes a choice of standard or hot-swappable PCB, keycap puller, cherry stabilizer, and a detachable USB-C cable made in-house by KBD-Fans. But if you wanted to customize this setup, we recommend finding a premium cable to complete the look. You also get to can choose from a staggering variety of color options, including: chocolate, grey, silver, purple, burgundy, black, cyan, E-White, Dark Cyan, Dark Green, Acrylic, Dark-Purple, Air Force Blue, and Dark Grey, to name a few.

The upper case and base are made of 3D CNC aluminum, and the color selection is anodized after production with great quality control.

We love the quality and price point KBDFans provide with this setup and can’t recommend it enough. It might seem like a luxury purchase, but think about the amount of time you spend at your computer – you’ll be glad you pulled the trigger.

That’s all from us, what have we missed? Let us know in the comments below.