ISO vs ANSI Keyboards - Goblintechkeys

ISO vs ANSI Keyboards: Which One to Choose?

Factors like keypads, mechanical switches, and layouts can significantly influence how a keyboard feels and functions during daily use. When looking for keyboards, you must pay special attention to their layouts. Keyboard layout affects typing comfort and efficiency, impacting productivity and user experience. Two popular layout options you may come across are ISO vs ANSI keyboards. 

These keyboard configurations differ in several aspects, and understanding the disparities between ISO and ANSI layouts is crucial for making an informed decision. This article guides you about the differences between ISO vs ANSI keyboards and the best option to choose. Let's dig in!

What is an ISO Keyboard?

ISO is an acronym for International Organization for Standardization. ISO keyboard layout follows the standards set by the International Organization for Standardization. 

It has an additional key on the keyboard, which the ANSI keyboards lack. Secondly, it has the Enter Key in an upside-down shaped L and sits directly under the Delete Key. The ISO keyboard has around 105 keys and is mainly used in European countries. 

What is an ANSI Keyboard?

Next, we have the ANSI keyboards. These keyboards follow the rules set by the American National Standards Institute to describe the position of keyboard keys. The main difference between ISO vs ANSI keyboards is in the position and shape of the Enter Key and Shift Key. These keyboards are for the American audience, but they are also gaining popularity in other countries globally.

ISO vs ANSI Keyboards: Key Differences 

It's time to look at the major differences between ISO vs ANSI keyboards:

Enter Key 

The primary difference between ISO and ANSI keyboards, which you can quickly figure out at first glance, lies in the shape and size of the Enter key. ISO keyboards typically feature a larger Enter key that resembles an inverted "L," occupying less space horizontally and more space vertically. 

Meanwhile, ANSI keyboards have a smaller Enter key that resembles a rectangle. The position of the Enter Key on both keyboards is the same; however, in my opinion, the ANSI keyboard is more accessible and has less impact on your typing habits.

Left Shift Key

In ISO vs ANSI keyboards, another difference is found in the Left Shift Key. ANSI keyboards have both Shift Keys at the same position on either side (left and right), and they even have the same size. 

But that's not the case with ISO keyboards. The ISO keyboards feature a large Shift Key on the right side of the keyboard, while the Left Shift Key is 50% smaller in size. One downside of ISO keyboards is that the Left Shift Key resembles the Ctrl Key placed right below it. 

In a hurry, users may end up clicking on the Ctrl key instead of the Shift Key, which may result in work issues. This can also influence typing speed and comfort, especially for touch typists who rely on muscle memory.

Backlash Key 

The Backslash key is positioned differently on ISO and ANSI keyboards. On ANSI keyboards, the Backslash key is typically beside the Enter key. It's similar in size to the rightly placed Ctrl Key. Conversely, on the ISO keyboard, the Backslash key is placed to the left of the Enter key, sharing a key with the vertical bar ("|"). 

Remember, the position and size of Backlash don't impact your speed or keyboard's ergonomics due to its lesser usage. Yet, it's advisable to thoroughly look at both keyboards and choose the one that best suits your preferences. 

Right Alt Key

In ISO vs ANSI keyboard for gaming, the next difference is in the position of the Right Alt Key. On ANSI keyboards, the Alt keys on both sides (left and right) are identical and of the same size.   

But this isn't the case with ISO keyboards. In ISO keyboards, the right Alt key is replaced with a new key named AltGr Key. This key may seem new to ANSI keyboard users, but it serves unique functions. The AltGr Key is useful to type languages that have characters with diacritics, like accents over letters - French, German, Portuguese, etc. 

If you want enhanced functionality of the AltGr Key, you should choose the ISO keyboard layout. However, if you are well based on your typing habits, going with an ANSI keyboard layout is a wise decision.

Number of Keys 

ISO and ANSI keyboards also differ in terms of the total number of keys. The ANSI keyboards have 104 keys in full-sized form and 87 keys in compact form. In contrast, the full-size ISO keyboard features 105 keys while its compact form has 88 keys, one key extra from the ANSI keyboards.

How to Choose the Best Keyboard in ISO vs ANSI keyboards?

Finding the best keyboard in ISO vs ANSI keyboards involves various things. 

  • Budget: If you are tight on budget, ANSI keyboards are cost-effective, and their pricing starts from as low as $50. ISO keyboards are also widely available, but their pricing isn't as low as ANSI.
  • Customization: Customization should be important when choosing the best keyboard on a budget. ANSI keyboards have a wider selection of keycaps and customization options. But, if you prioritize a standard layout and minimal keycaps, an ISO keyboard might be a more suitable choice.
  • Ergonomics and Comfort: The large and visible Enter Key and Shift Key on ISO keyboards may be advantageous for users who frequently use these, like office workers or typists. Meanwhile, the longer left Shift key on ANSI keyboards can be more comfortable for gamers. 


In ISO vs ANSI keyboards, choosing which is better depends on your usage and other preferences. If you are tight on budget and prioritize customization, ANSI keyboards are the right choice. But if you are looking for a minimal design standard keyboard with enhanced functionality of an Alt Gr Key, go for ISO keyboards.

Wondering where to get favorite to get your favorite keyboards? Get in touch with us at Globlin Techkeys and grab some high-quality keyboards on a budget!

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