Coming in a super compact layout, 60% keyboards are all the rage nowadays.
When I first purchased one for myself, I didn’t understand why everyone was recommending them. They are tiny, hard to use, and are lacking the much-needed arrow keys.
After using it a while, my opinion has started to change and I could start see the benefits of the compact layout.
The question is, are 60% keyboards actually better for gaming? Here’s the quick answer:
60% keyboards offer several benefits to gamers such as better portability, easier to tilt your keyboard, and much better mouse positioning. The downside is the lack of essential keys such as the arrow keys.
Not completely sold on 60% keyboards? Let’s take a closer look and explain it further.
Are 60% Keyboards Better For Gaming?
I’ll just say it now. 60% keyboards are not always better for gaming.
While there are a few people who would really benefit from the smaller layout, most people should stick with larger sizes.
Easier To Tilt Your Keyboard
The people who benefit the most from 60% keyboards are those who tilt their keyboard when gaming. The smaller size of the 60% layout keeps your keyboard from hanging off of your desk.
Tilting your keyboard is a popular style that many gamers have adopted since the LAN days. The theory is that tilting the keyboard will save on desk space and give you more room to move your mouse.
A combination of a small layout and tilting your keyboard creates enough space for microphone and a nice cup of coffee.
Perfect if you have a tight workspace.
However, if you rely on easy access to the number pad or arrow keys when gaming, a 60% keyboard might not be the right choice for you.
Better Mouse Positioning
Another benefit is that you don’t need to reach quite as far for you mouse when typing. Without the number pad and excess frame, you can position your mouse much closer to your typing position.
This is perfect for those who need to type quick messages and then grab the mouse quickly.
Many streamers enjoy this layout because it gives them back some much needed desk space and make it easier to reply to the chat.
If you’re the type to play on a lower sensitivity and make long strokes with your mouse, the extra space created by a 60% keyboard will be well recieved.
You won’t have to spread your hands apart as far when gaming leading to a more comfortable setup.
One of the most obvious benefits of a 60% mechanical keyboard is the smaller size.
This means your keyboard will be more portable than ever. It’s super easy to unplug your keyboard, throw it in your backpack, and take it with you.
If you enjoy getting some work done in a cafe and hate using your laptop keyboard, a 60% might be a good option.
The smaller size means it takes up less space and will be much lighter than most larger keyboards. In addition, almost all 60% keyboards come with a detachable cable and even come with wireless connectivity.
The portability is extremely attractive when working from home or travelling as you can move from room to room without worrying about a lack of space.
Super convenient, right?
What Exactly Is A 60% Keyboard?
If you’re still confused about what exactly a 60% keyboard is, here is a quick breakdown.
If you took a full-sized keyboard and removed all of the non-essential keys, you would be stuck with a 60% layout.
Imagine getting rid of the function row, number pad, arrow keys, and navigational cluster.
All you’re left with is the alphanumeric keys and a few extras. That’s a 60% keyboard.
A 60% keyboard comes with a grand total of 61 keys which is quite a bit less than the standard 104 keys found on a full-sized keyboard.
Unless you’re an Excel wizard, most people don’t even use the number pad. And bar a few games (such as flying a helicopter in GTA V), most popular games don’t require the number pad.
So why not save on a little bit of space?
But tenkeyless keyboards already solve this problem, the 60% layout just takes it a step further.
You really trim all of the extra fat and are left with a lean setup.
While I’m definitely a fan of downsizing, I personally think 60% keyboards take it too far.
The biggest downside to 60% keyboards, in my experience, is the lack of arrow keys and no delete button. I found that tweaking the layout using QMK was a great way around this issue.
It definitely takes a bit of practice and customization to get the 60% keyboard layout to really work for you, but the extra desk space is really nice to have.
Try A 65% Keyboard Instead
My personal favorite for a compact keyboard is a 65% layout.
How is that any different than a 60% keyboard?
Well, it’s slightly larger, but you have access to dedicated arrow keys and a few of the navigational cluster keys.
This makes it so you can navigate around you page when typing without needing to grab your mouse. Plus you can hit the delete key when typing.
The 65% size is the smallest size I would recommend to most gamers.
Anything smaller than you really start to sacrifice on comfort and it will take a longer time to adjust to.
In my opinion, 65% is the way to go. And don’t worry there are plenty of 65% keyboard options out there.
In many respects, the 60% layout is the solution to a lot of issues that people may run into when gaming.
With a combination of better portability, closer mouse positioning, and making it easier to tilt your keyboard, how could you say no?
The biggest downside is the lack of dedicated arrow keys, and many might find the layout to be too small. In which case, I would recommend choosing from the several options in our keyboard size guide.