4 Best Compact Mechanical Keyboards for 2022

Our selection

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Epomaker TH80

The Epomaker TH80 provides the best writing experience and the most extra features – RGB, hot-swap, wireless, knob and programmability – at a surprisingly reasonable price.

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Epomaker TH66

The Epomaker TH66 offers all the quality and functionality of the TH80 in a slightly more compact layout that lacks the top row of function keys.

Dimensions: TH80: 12.79 x 5.31 x 1.18 inches
TH66: 12.72 x 4.45 x 0.98 inches
Connection: removable USB-C, Bluetooth (three devices), USB dongle
Keychain material: PBT Backlight: RGB

The Epomaker TH80 and Epomaker TH66 have all the keys most people use and cut off the ones they don’t – the same size and layout as most laptop keyboards. Our picks feel great to type on thanks to their thick PBT keys, lubricated stabilizers and robust plastic housings. Both models are available with the Gateron G Pro range of switches; We recommend Brown switches if you’re not sure which type you like best. Unlike many mechanical keyboards in this price range, the TH80 and TH66 come with a host of extra features, including RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches, wireless connectivity via Bluetooth or USB dongle, a fun rotary controller, and full programmability via Epomaker software. . Our picks also come with Windows and Mac keys, and switching between OS layouts is easy. But you have to pay extra for a better small keyboard.

runner-up

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Keychron V1

The V1 writes almost as well as the TH80 and has most of the same features. But the V1 lacks wireless and the button costs extra.

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Purchase options

*The price was at the time of publication 84 dollars.

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Keychron V2

The V2 is virtually identical to the V1, but its 65% layout lacks the top row of function keys.

Purchase options

*The price was at the time of publication 84 dollars.

Dimensions: V1: 12.93 x 5.85 x 1.02 inches
Q2: 12.99 x 4.85 x 1.05 inches
Connection: removable USB-C
Keychain material: PBT Backlight: RGB

If our top picks aren’t available, we recommend the 75% Keychron V1 or 65% Keychron V2 instead, as they provide a similarly excellent typing experience and most of the same extra features. Like our top models, the V1 and V2 offer RGB backlighting, hot-swappable switches and Windows and Mac keys, and support VIA software to make programming even easier. However, they’re not as compact as our best, lack wireless connectivity, and you’ll have to pay about $10 more if you want the version with the nifty rotary knob. The V1 and V2 are available with several types of Keychron K Pro switches; we recommend the Brown switches if you’re not sure what you like. Keychron also sells barebone versions of the V1 and V2 if you’d rather bring your own switches and keys.

Upgrade selection

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Keychron Q1 version 2

The Keychron Q1 Version 2 has a durable aluminum case and is great to write on. However, the height cannot be adjusted and there is no wireless connection.

Purchase options

*The price was at the time of publication 170 dollars.

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Keychron Q2

The Q2 is similar to the Q1 version 2, but has a 65% layout that does away with the top row of function keys.

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Purchase options

*The price was at the time of publication 179 dollars.

Dimensions: Q1 version 2: 12.89 x 5.71 x 1.41 inches
Q2: 12.89 x 4.76 x 1.33 inches
Connection: removable USB-C
Keychain material: PBT Backlight: RGB

If you want a keyboard with a higher quality aluminum case and don’t mind paying extra for it, we recommend the 75% Keychron Q1 Version 2 and 65% Keychron Q2. Both models have heavy aluminum cases and provide an excellent typing experience. They have all the features you’d expect from keyboards in this price range, including full programmability via VIA software, customizable RGB backlighting, selectable knob and hot-swappable switches. Like our other tips, they work with Windows and Mac and come with additional keys for both operating systems. But the Q1 Version 2 and Q2 are taller than our best models and have a steeper, non-adjustable slope; they also lack wireless connectivity, and their extra weight makes them less portable than our other picks. The legends on the included keys also have some typographical inconsistencies that are hard to forgive on a $200 keyboard, but Keychron also sells barebones models if you already have the keys and switches or want to buy them separately.

(We do not recommend the first version of the Q1, which has cheap ABS keys. The Q1 version 2 offers better quality PBT keys and further improvements in design and typing feel.)

Choosing a budget

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Keychron K6

At 65%, the Keychron K6 is better to type on than any other budget mechanical keyboard, although its keys and case don’t look or feel as nice as our best ones.

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Dimensions: 12.32 x 4.09 x 1.46 inches Connection: replaceable USB-C, Bluetooth (three devices)
Keychain material: abdominal muscles Backlight: white or RGB

65% Keychron K6 is the best affordable mechanical keyboard. It’s much more comfortable to type on than any other cheap mechanical keyboard we’ve tested, though its ABS keys, thin plastic case, and non-lubricated stabilizers can’t match the typing experience of our best. The K6 comes with Windows and Mac keys, can connect to up to three devices via Bluetooth, and is available with Keychron or Gateron G Pro switches. (We recommend which brown switches are cheaper.) If you can find a hot-swap model for around $65, that’s a good deal, but hot-swap isn’t a must-have feature in a budget board. Our recommended version of the K6 only has a white backlight; the RGB-backlit model usually costs more than $80, and at this point you should get one of our top picks instead. The included cable is too short for some setups (although this can easily be fixed with a $6 extension cable), and the K6 isn’t fully programmable like our other picks. However, the K6 can’t be beat for the price.

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