5 Best Mechanical Keyboards without a Number Pad


Are you looking for a mechanical keyboard, but don’t want a massive keyboard that takes up all of your desk space? Getting rid of the number pad can you save you inches of precious desk space and won’t have much of an impact on your typing experience. Today we’ll go over our favorite mechanical keyboards without a number pad.

The best mechanical keyboard without a number pad is a tenkeyless(TKL) keyboard. A tenkeyless mechanical keyboard is the exact same as a full-sized, but without a number pad. There are other smaller size keyboards too, such as 75%, 65%, or 60% keyboards. The smaller the size, the less keys there are.

If you’re interested in a full write-up about the different mechanical keyboard sizes, it goes over which keyboard sizes have a number pad and which don’t. Now, let’s dig into our five favorite mechanical keyboards without a number pad.

1. HyperX Alloy Origins Core

The HyperX Alloy Origins Core is one of our absolute favorite mechanical keyboards of all time (talk about starting the list off strong). If you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard and you need to stay under $100, this keyboard is perfect. Pound for pound, the Origins Core has the best build quality and switches you’ll find on the market.

Tenkeyless (TKL) Sized

The HyperX Alloy Origins Core is a nice and compact tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. The keyboard has no number pad but has all of the other keys you would normally find on a keyboard, including the home cluster and function row. The TKL size is super easy and comfortable to type on for anybody who doesn’t need a number pad for lots of data and number entry.

Outstanding Build Quality

The Origin Core is rocking a sturdy aluminum case that feels super durable and flex resistant. On top of that, the keyboard has a detachable USB-C cable, so it’s easy to take on the go and swap out with other keyboards. Plus is the cable ever breaks, instead of throwing out the entire keyboard, you just need to replace the cable. The keyboard also had adjustable feet, so you can try 3 different angles to see which one is the best for you.

Best Red Switch I’ve Ever Used

The keyboard comes with the HyperX Red switch, which is a linear switch. Out of all the Red linear switches I’ve used, the HyperX Red is the most smooth and comfortable. That includes beating switches from Cherry MX, Gateron, and Outemu. If you don’t believe me, you’ll need to try it out for yourself.

The Downsides

The only downsides to this keyboard I can think of is the fact that there are no media keys, macro keys, or USB passthrough. If you’re looking for one of those specific features, this keyboard may not be for you. If you don’t know what those features are, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

Should You Get the HyperX Alloy Origins Core?

If you’re looking for an awesome mechanical keyboard under $100 that doesn’t have a number pad, I can’t think of a better mechanical keyboard for you. You can find the HyperX Alloy Origins Core on Amazon for a super affordable price. We’ll have some other options on the list in different price ranges, sizes, and styles, so keep reading for other recommendations.

2. Drop CTRL/ALT

The Drop CTRL/ALT is another mechanical keyboard without the number pad, except this mechanical keyboard comes in two different sizes. The Drop CTRL (tenkeyless) and the Drop ALT (65%). The smaller keyboard, the 65%, has more compact home cluster and no function row. So, if you don’t use the function row, you can go down to the 65% layout and still feel comfortable typing/gaming.

Amazing Annodized Aluminum

You can’t beat the solid anodized aluminum case with a precisely toleranced and durable assembly. Not to mention, the keyboard is loaded with features such as hot-swappability, detachable USB-C cable, and much more. You will not be disappointed with this keyboard. We have a review on our YouTube channel as well if you want to see and hear what the keyboard sounds like.

Switches Galore and Hotswaps

With the Drop CTRL/ALT, you have the option between several different switch types including the Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Blue, Halo Clear, Halo True, Kailh Box White, and Kailh Speed Silver. All of which are great switch options. Not to mention the keyboard is also hot-swappable, which means you can swap out the switches whenever you want without needing to solder/solder the switches to the PCB.

PBT Keycaps

The Drop ALT/CTRL also come standard with gray and dark-gray colored keycaps made from super durable PBT plastic. Most keycaps you get from a manufacturer and made of cheap ABS plastic that wears down quickly and develops a greasy shine to it when typing.

Should You Get the Drop ALT/CTRL?

Mechanical keyboards from Drop are hard to beat, they make a great end-game mechanical keyboards. The only downside is they are on the pricier side, so if you’re trying to stay under a certain budget, these keyboards might test your wallet. You can check the price of the Drop ALT (65%) on Amazon through this link for a competitive price. The Drop CTRL (tenkeyless) can also be found through this link on Amazon as well.

3. WASD CODE V3 87-Key

Photo by u/RedDeadOnline

The WASD Code V3 is a super sleek, professional mechanical keyboard. The simple and solid colors of the Code V3 make the keyboard perfect for an office environment or any place where you don’t need bright RGB lighting and a gamer aesthetic. A perfect keyboard for engineers and software developers or anyone who wants to bring the comfort of a mechanical keyboard to work with them.

Ultimate Customizability

The Code V3 has loads of different ways to make the keyboard feel personalized and unique to you. When purchasing a Code V3, you get to choose between a different materials and colors for the case including black plastic, white plastic, anodized black, anodized gray, or anodized silver. You can also get sound dampeners to limit the decibel output of the keyboard to make it more suitable for working around others. On top of that, you also can choose what color keycaps and design you would like. The sky is the limit when it comes to customization.

Cherry MX Switches

The WASD Code 3 allows you pick from the entire Cherry MX lineup, so you can get a switch with the perfect actuation for you, without worrying about the quality of the switch. Cherry MX switches are guaranteed up to 100 million keystrokes so they’ll outlive all of us.

Perfect Features

The WASD Code 3 has all of the best features you would expect from a mechanical keyboard in this price range. This includes a detachable USB-C cable, clean white RGB, and no loud or super visible branding. On top of that, the keyboard has macros, is fully programmable, and different adjustment settings depending on which angle you would like to type at.

Should You Get the WASD CODE V3?

As mentioned before, the CODE V3 is perfect for someone looking for a mechanical keyboard they can use in a professional setting without having to worry about super loud switches, bright RGB lighting, or distracting “gamer” colors. The tenkeyless layout is also great if you don’t want a numberpad, so you can save on precious desk space. The detachable USB-C cable also make the keyboard super portable. You can find the WASD Code V3 through this link on Amazon for a competitive price, or through this link to the WASD website.

4. Ducky MIYA Pro

Photo by u/Lewfire

If you’re looking for a super stylish, more compact mechanical keyboard with some interesting designs, we highly recommend the Ducky MIYA Pro. This keyboard has been a favorite of ours for some time, it comes outfitted in a tight 65% layout with several different themes so you can pick the one that fits you the best.

Super Compact 65% Layout

The Ducky MIYA Pro has a smaller keyboard layout that the traditional full-size or tenkeyless board. The keyboard does not have a function row or some parts of the home cluster, but who really needs those keys anyways? The 65% layout is the smallest size that still has arrow keys, the next one down is 60%. If the size seems too small for your comfort, we recommend going with a tenkeyless size instead.

Awesome Designs

Our favorite features of the Ducky MIYA Pro are how awesomely unique the design and layout of the keyboard is. We linked a few different designs so you could check them out for yourself (on mechanicalkeyboards.com). They have different themes, such as Panda, Sea, Forest, and they are all unique and aesthetic.

Ton of Different Switch Options

If you’re particular about your switch, don’t worry, there are several different options to choose from. You have the pick of the litter from the entire Cherry MX switch line-up (including the Silent Red) so you can decide between clicky, linear, or tactile switches and which spring heaviness works best for you.

Should You Get the Ducky MIYA Pro?

The Ducky MIYA Pro is what I would consider a mid-range mechanical keyboard, so for the price, the amount of customization you get is an absolute steal. If you don’t like the bold designs and are looking for something a bit more inconspicuous, I would recommend the Code V3 or Drop ALT/CTRL instead. The 65% layout might also be a hang-up for some, as the smaller size may be difficult to adjust to.

We linked all of the different models below so you can check out all of the super cool designs. This keyboard is actually ranked #1 on our favorite 65% mechanical keyboards.

5. Durgod Taurus K320

If you’re looking for a simple no-frills mechanical keyboard that has an amazing typing experience, the Durgod K320 Taurus fits the bill. The keyboard has a tight tenkeyless layout and is incredibly fun to type on and is in the mid-range for price. The case material is made from plastic with a metal plate, which does not flex at all and feels very sturdy. The back of the keyboard has a center-mounted USB-C port with routing assistants to direct the cable left or right.

Great Sound and Typing

We ordered our Taurus K320 with Cherry MX Brown switches which are tactile with a slight bump. The K320 was an absolute pleasure to type with and we found it to be a great keyboard overall. The keyboard came with PBT keycaps in a black and grey color design that looks simple and clean. The stabilizers made a nice *thunk* sound when typing. It’s really hard to beat the typing experience of this keyboard. The back of the keyboard has a few power cable routing aids and kickstands that offer two different additional height settings.

Small Downside

One of our only complaints was the power cable design. The USB-C power cable plugs into the middle of the backside of the keyboard, and the head of the power cable is designed with some small notches so it can slide into the port and be held in place. This design seemed unnecessary and sort of clunky, the cable routing aids on the back were also difficult to use. If Durgod just went with the standard port on the left side of the keyboard it would have been much simpler and better in my opinion. But it is sort of a nitpick and won’t bother most people.

Should You Get the Durgod Taurus K320?

The Taurus K320 is an excellent keyboard that has a clean design, feels very sturdy, and is very enjoyable to type on. We would definitely recommend you check this keyboard out, you can find the product listing on through this link on Amazon. The keyboard is another great option that would work well in an office environment and comes with several different silent Cherry MX switch types to help you from irritating those around you with those juicy mechanical keyboard sounds.

Wrapping Up the List

Well, that about does it for our 5 favorite mechanical keyboards without a number pad. Another name for this list could also be “favorite mechanical keyboards”, because our favorite picks usually aren’t the full-size layout.

We’ve tested tons of different keyboards and these were our favorites, the fact that there is no number pad on these specific boards is really just the cherry on top. Definitely take the time to check these out because they are the cream of the crop. We’ll go into why a number pad isn’t so great and go over some info about mechanical keyboards and switches.

Why Get A Keyboard without the Number Pad?

I’m sure there is a lot of people who can’t imagine using a mechanical keyboard without a number pad, they use them on a daily basis at work or use them for gaming. The fact is, number pads are sort of an outdated concept. Most jobs that require heavy number entry are automated nowadays, that means there isn’t much of a reason for most people to even need a number pad. We’ll go over some reasons why a little-used number pad is hurting your typing experience.

You Need to Reach Further for the Mouse

The standard location for the number pad is on the right side of the keyboard and the majority of the people on the planet are right-handed. That means to reach for the mouse between typing, you have reach extra far to move the mouse. This wasted time may not seem like much, but over the course of using your keyboard for years that time really adds up. Going to a more compact layout can really increase your efficiency over the long term, not to mention is feels a lot better too not having to reach as far.

More Desk Space

With more people than ever working from home trying to make a small workspace work, you know how little your space is limited. While a number pad only takes up an extra 3-4” of desk space, that would be plenty of room for something much more useful, such as a notepad or a hot coffee. Whatever space you can save on, will give you that extra bit of breathing room to feel more comfortable and settled.

Extra Portable

If you’re like me, you like to move around the house to break up the workday. Sitting in one spot all day can make the day really drag on. By taking your work with you to the couch or even a coffee shop, you can make your day fly by in a state of flow. But who wants to type on a super uncomfortable laptop keyboard? Getting a smaller compact keyboard without a number pad will make a moving workstation easier and more comfortable than ever.

You can Use a Detachable Number Pad

I’ll let you all in on a little secret, having the number pad on the right side of the keyboard is one of the most inefficient and clunky ways to use a number pad. The best spot for a number pad is actually on the left side of the keyboard, that way you can use your left hand to enter numbers and your right hand on the arrow keys to navigate around the page. With this technique, you rarely need to lift your hands which makes number entry faster than ever. Getting a keyboard without a number pad lets you buy a separate number pad to use on the left side of keyboard to improve your data entry speed and efficiency. Get rid of your number pad and use a detached one instead! You can check out our favorite number pads through this link.

What are the Keyboard Sizes without a Number Pad?

65% vs 75% vs 1800-Compact (avoid)

The keyboard sizes without a number pad include: tenkeyless, 75%, 65%, 60%, and 40%. If you get a keyboard in any of these sizes, you’ll be free of that pesky number pad. The smaller the layout you get, the less keys there will be on the keyboard and the smaller and more compact it will feel. The smallest I generally recommend you go is 65%, if you really like a compact keyboard you can experiment with 60/40% boards. You should avoid full-sized or 1800-compact keyboards as those come standard with a number pad on the right-hand side.

Why Get a Mechanical Keyboard?

We already talked about why you should get a keyboard without a number pad, buy why get a mechanical keyboard at all? There are several benefits and we’ll go over them to help push you to take the leap towards a mechanical keyboard. Many people out there still use the standard chiclet or membrane style keyboard, but as mechanical keyboards get more popular, you are seeing a ton of people transition to mechanical. Seeing as how they’re quite a bit more expensive, why are they worth it?

Better Build Quality

Each key on a mechanical keyboard contains a switch underneath. The switch is composed of spring inside of a housing. Upon pressing a key, the user receives some resistance from the spring and once the key is fully pressed, the keyboard will make a clicking sound! It sounds simple, but this design provides the ultimate tactile feedback for the user. It is incredibly satisfying to sit down and click away, for every click is a letter typed.

Switch Customization

You can customize the clicking sound and spring resistance through a variety of different switch types, some louder than others. If you want everyone in the office to hear how hard you’re working at your keyboard, there’s switch for that. If you want to be stealthily typing away in the corner of coffee shop, there’s a switch for you too.

N-Key Rollover

Mechanical keyboards also fix the issue of rollover, one of the common problems of a traditional keyboard. Rollover is the issue of keystrokes not registering when multiple keys are pressed at once. You can look up the specs for each keyboard specifically by looking at the n-rollover, where n is the number of keys that can get pressed simultaneously.

Durability

On top of the benefits of tactile feedback, mechanical keyboards are also highly durable. The switches have a much higher lifespan than a membrane keyboard. The switches are usually rated for over 50 million keystrokes (sometimes up to 100 million), while a membrane keyboard is only rated for 10 million. Whether you’re a gamer, blogger, programmer, or just a someone looking for an upgrade, you cannot go wrong with a mechanical keyboard.

Finding the Right Switch

The most beautiful part about mechanical keyboards is the different switches available. There are generally three main types: clicky, tactile, and linear.

Linear switches are a type of switch that focus on producing a smooth, consistent actuation without any tactile feedback. Linear switches are great for people who don’t like the small bump experienced from tactile switches or the loud noises from clicky switches.

Tactile switches are a type of switch that focus on producing a tactile bump and a relatively quiet audible click with each keystroke. Tactile switches offer great feedback when typing, so you know by the sound and feel everything is working properly and all of your keystrokes are getting logged. Not to mention they are satisfying and fun to use.

Clicky switches are a type of switch that focus on producing a tactile bump and loud audible click with each keystroke. Loud and clicky switches offer great feedback when typing, so you know by the sound everything is working properly. Not to mention the sound is awesome.

What do all of the Switch Colors Mean?

When checking out different keyboards, you often hear different colors being thrown around when referencing the switch (red, blue, brown, black, etc). What does all of that mean? Let’s talk about each color and what that usually means for that switch.

Switch ColorDescription
RedLinear switch with light resistance.
YellowLinear switch with medium resistance.
BlackLinear switch with heavy resistance.
BrownTactile switch with medium resistance.
ClearTactile switch with heavy resistance.
BlueClicky switch with medium resistance.
GreenClicky switch with heavy resistance.

Conclusion

I didn’t realize until starting this post that I had so many opinions about number pads, I probably sound like a crazy person or something. Anyways, we went over our 5 favorite mechanical keyboards without a number pad including the HyperX Alloy Origins Core, Drop CTRL/ALT, WASD Code V3, Ducky MIYA Pro, and the Durgod Taurus K320.

Picking a keyboard all comes down to what you’re looking for including price, design, aesthetics, etc. We also talked about some of the benefits of getting rid of that bulky number pad and migrating to a more compact layout such as tenkeyless or 65%.

We talked about the different switch types and reasons why mechanical keyboards are so awesome. We’ve tested dozens of keyboards and these are by far our favorites, we don’t think you would be disappointed with any of the keyboards on the list. We hope you take the leap and try out one of these awesome keebs for yourself so you eventually sound like a raving lunatic who won’t stop talking about keyboards and number pads, only kidding… sort of.

Happy Typing!

Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards work and show the world all of the cool aspects of the mechanical keyboard hobby.

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