Whether you need a number pad for some intense data entry or maybe you want to up your gaming set-up, a numpad can help make using a keyboard a more enjoyable and efficient experience. Before we jump into our review, let’s lay the groundwork and talk about what exactly a numpad is and how it is commonly used.
What is a numpad?
A numpad is a completely separate piece of equipment that you would use next to your keyboard, or independently, as a way to enter data into your computer more efficiently. Typically numpads have 22-keys that have some programmable features. The most popular uses for a numpad are:
If you have a tenkeyless or smaller keyboard, that means you don’t have a number pad. By buying a separate number pad, that gives you the freedom to use it however, and wherever you want. While traditionally the number pad has been on the right side of the keyboard, people have begun to realize that using a number on the left side of their keyboard is more efficient.
Unfortunately, only a small number of keyboards even offer the number pad on the left side and they are quite uncommon to find.
Why put the number pad on the left side of keyboard?
Well for the purposes of data entry in Excel, for example, by locating the numpad on the left side of the keyboard, the typist can enter numbers easily with their left hand, while moving efficiently around the cells with the arrow cluster. By entering data this way, the typist will very rarely need to lift their hands off the keyboard.
Instead of having a large keyboard in front of you while playing PC games, it’s possible to only use a number pad. You can use the numpad arrow keys and remap the rest of the keys to an efficient layout so you can dominate the competition. By using a number pad, you’re eliminating all the distracting extra keys so you can focus on the only controls that matter to win.
If you’re an efficiency-master and you’re tired of performing repetitive tasks over and over again, it’s possible to write macros for your computer to run and then map those to keys on your numpad. The numpad basically gives you 10+ extra keys to play with so you can come up with several useful shortcuts to improve your efficiency and cut out non value added activities.
Now that we’ve explored all of the different ways a numpad can be used, let’s jump into our list of the best number pads of 2020.
- Programmable 21-key layout
- Cherry ML switches (similar to Cherry MX Browns)
- 4 additional programmable keys
The Cherry G84-4700 numpad is an upper-end numpad that has several useful features including a programmable 21-key layout, with 4 additional programmable keys that you can detail yourself. Although this num pad is a bit on the pricey side, the quality won’t disappoint.
An interesting note about this num pad, it has the lesser-know Cherry ML switches, which are similar to Cherry MX Brown switches, but with a shallower actuation point. They have a tactile and quiet actuation similar to the Brown’s as well.
- Outemu Blues
- Blue LED backlight
- Rollover issues
- No programmability
The Jelly Comb number pad is quite unique because for a mechanical number pad, it has a very low price of $16. There is not a cheaper numpad available and based on the reviews I have read, the overall quality of the numpad is quite good. It has a very solid feel to it and satisfying switches, the Outemu Blue’s. These switches are loud and tactile, similar to Cherry MX Blue switches.
The reason for the cheap cost is the lack of programmable keys and some small rollover issues, where if you try to press more than 4 keys at once they won’t register. If neither of those issues are a problem for you, I would highly recommend this numpad as it’s hard to beat the price.
- Cherry MX Brown, blue, red, silver
- Built in calculator
- Battery/not wireless
- 22 programmable keys
Unlike all other numpads on this list, the Ducky Pocket numpad also doubles as a calculator! How strange is that. While you can use it in the traditional way as a numpad, it’s also possible to disconnect and use it driven off batteries. It’s the only numpad that you can take on the go and use as a calculator.
Coming with your choice of Cherry MX switches and super customizable RGB backlight, it’s hard to beat the Ducky Pocket. In addition, there are up to 22 programmable keys that are customizable by the user as well.
- Cherry switches: Black, Brown, blue, red, silent red
- PBT keycaps
The Leopold 210TP is more of a mid-range numpad that has some nice features such as PBT keycaps and Cherry MX switches. Unfortunately, I could not find any information about whether this numpad has programmable keys, so I am going to assume it does not. Functionality wise, it’s similar to the Jelly Comb keypad with slightly better build quality, but at 4x the cost.
That’s it for our favorite mechanical numpads of 2020. We went over our top four including the Cherry G84-4700, Jelly Comb, Ducky Pocket, and Leopold 210P. Numpads are an exciting part to include in your PC setup, and can really improve your skills at gaming or help increase your efficiency on a PC.
Let us know if you have any questions or have any information you would like to add to the list.
And as always, happy typing!