The Top 65% Mechanical Keyboards of 2023 for Improved productivity
Mechanical keyboards with a 65% layout are becoming increasingly popular for those looking to maximize productivity without compromising too much on functionality. This compact layout trims off the numpad while retaining essential keys like the arrow keys, making these keyboards ideal for office use or gaming where desk space is limited.
In this comprehensive guide, we cover the top-rated 65% mechanical keyboards across various budget ranges to suit different needs and preferences.
Why Choose a 65% Mechanical Keyboard?
Compared to full-size keyboards, 65% mechanical keyboards provide a more ergonomic and space-saving experience without losing out on essential functionality. Some key benefits include:
- More mouse room: By eliminating the numpad, you get more room to maneuver your mouse which is important for gaming or tasks like video/photo editing.
- Better ergonomics: Your hands are closer together in a natural position without excessive reaching. This prevents strain over long work hours.
- Portability: The small, lightweight design makes 65% keyboards easy to transport. Perfect for using with laptops or taking to the office.
- Minimalist aesthetics: Without the extra keys, these keyboards look cleaner and more modern on any desk setup.
- ARROW keys retained: Despite the compact size, dedicated arrow keys are retained for convenient navigation.
Best 65% Mechanical Keyboards under $100
For those on a budget, you can still find excellent performing 65% mechanical keyboards without breaking the bank. Here are some of our top recommendations under $100:
Royal Kludge RK68
Priced at around $60, the RK68 offers tremendous value with its feature set. It connects via Bluetooth 5.1 and can pair with up to 5 devices conveniently. The RGB lighting is vibrant and configurable through multiple effects.
The RK68 uses brand name TTC switches which provide a smooth, tactile typing experience. For a budget board, build quality is impressive with lubricated stabilizers minimizing rattle. An excellent entry-level pick.
At around $70, the GMK67 is one of the most affordable 65% options without compromising on quality. It share a similar compact form factor as the RK68 but uses Gateron optical switches known for their responsiveness and durability.
5-pin RGB per key backlighting allows for striking illumination effects. For the price, the GMK67 punches well above its weight.
If RGB effects are important, the acrylic-bodied Walmier K66 shines thanks to its innovative use of underglow and side glow LEDs. The illuminated chassis combined with RGB backlighting make this $70 keyboard a centerpiece on any desktop.
Choose between optical or mechanical switch options, both delivering solid performance for typing and gaming. The Walmier K66 is perfect for lighting up your setup on a budget.
Keychron are renowned for high-quality keyboards that don't break the bank. The K6 continues this trend with its premium aluminum frame and extensive feature set costing between $70-$100 depending on configuration.
Choose between Gateron or optical switches, including hot-swappable options to customize feel. Dual compatibility with Mac and Windows is seamless with dedicated function keys. With robust build quality that belies its price, the Keychron K6 is a steal.
For those seeking a no-frills high quality typing experience, the pre-built Akko 3068 shines with its combination of Cherry MX switches, dye-sublimated PBT keycaps and expertly tuned stabilizers.
Priced under $100, it's ergonomic form factor and minimalist aesthetics make for an excellent work keyboard focusing on feel and response rather than RGB extras.
At around $80, the GK68XS differentiates itself with hot-swappable sockets to freely swap switches and its included split spacebar module. The vibrant RGB lighting is configurable without software for added convenience.
PBT dye-sublimated keycaps retain their durability and clarity while giving the keyboard a professional, understated look. For those wanting customization and features on a budget, the GK68XS delivers.
Best 65% Mechanical Keyboards over $100
Performance and build quality step up noticeably once you go above the $100 price point. From premium materials to advanced customization, these keyboards represent the top of the line:
Ducky x Varmilo Miya Pro
Arguably the best manufactured 65% keyboard, the Miya Pro justifies its roughly $120 price tag with an impeccable typing experience. The heft of the keyboard along with expert Varmilo craftsmanship makes this a pleasure to use for extended periods.
Combine this with high quality Cherry MX switches, dye-sub PBT keycaps and flawlessly tuned stabilizers and you have a keyboard that sets the bar for pre-built excellence.
Known for their no-nonsense approach, Leopold builds keyboards that last. And the FC660M is no exception with its internal sound dampening material and renowned doubleshot PBT keycaps that never lose their precision.
Costing around $120, Leopold's attention to detail provides an incredibly refined typing experience right out of the box. Minimalist styling hides the FC660M's engineering brilliance.
Ducky One 2 SF
For RGB lovers, Ducky's One 2 SF offers extensive customization and effects unmatched in its price range of approximately $140. Doubleshot PBT shine-through keycaps amplify the dazzling light shows.
Robust build quality along with signature Ducky refinement like dual layer PCB and removable braided cable make the One 2 SF a smart long term investment for your setup.
Drop's full aluminum ALT oozes premium appeal and justifies its $180 price tag with a sturdy, modular build. Swap switches and keycaps anytime thanks to hot-swap PCB mount design.
Fully programmable RGB lighting controlled via QMK firmware unlocks extensive customization options for both aesthetics and functionality. A barebones version without switches and keycaps helps keep costs down.
Custom 65% Keyboards
Seeking the ultimate bespoke experience? Custom mechanical keyboards allow choosing separate components like cases, PCBs, plates, switches and keycaps for your perfect board. Goblintechkeys offers incredible value starting at $95.
The premium KBD67 Lite DIY kit provides everything you need to build an entry-level custom keyboard for $140. For more extravagant builds, the sky's the limit.
65% mechanical keyboards strike the ideal balance between functionality and footprint. With arrow keys retained in a compact format, they boost productivity for work, gaming or anywhere you need efficient typing.
Choose between entry-level budget picks like the GMK67 or Keychron K6 up to premium options like the Leopold FC660M and Drop ALT depending on performance needs and budget. The models covered in this guide represent the top choices to give your workflow a boost.