If you are thinking about purchasing a new mechanical keyboard or looking to build your own. Getting started in the world of mechanical keyboards can be confusing. From the wide variety of switches to the sizing of the keyboard. There are tons of options available to you.
So for your first introduction to mechanical keyboards, we will be taking a look at the different sizing options available to you. Remember for any build or purchase. You will need to figure out the sizing the will best suit your needs. From being more business orientated with having a number pad to saving space on your desk. There will be different options available to you.
Common Keyboard Sizes
The keyboard sizes listed below will be the most common sizes on the market. 100% or TKL being the most popular as the offer the most functionality. But there has been a rise in 60% or 75% keyboards for those who are into customer building there own.
100% or Full-Size Keyboard
Let’s start with one of the most common keyboards the 100% full-sized. This will be the typical keyboard that you will see on an office desk. It includes a Numpad, function keys, navigation keys, and the F row (function keys.) This keyboard size will offer the Numpad which suits the more business-orientated customer. If you have a use for a Numpad then get it if you don’t you can move onto our next size.
80% or Tenkeyless (TKL) Keyboard
The 80% or Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard is the second most popular keyboard size. Giving you the Navigation keys, Function and F Row. The only thing separating you from a 100% keyboard is the Numpad. Giving you a more compact form without losing on functionality. As i mentioned before if you have no need for a Numpad then this is probably going to be the best option for you.
TKL boards generally offer media keys and extras that you may expect to see on a 100% keyboard. So you won’t be losing out on anything.
The 75% percent keyboard starts to change things up a little. While the TKL offers everything a 100% keyboards does just without the Numpad. The 75% will compact everything on a TKL board to give it a smaller form. the Navigation row and Navigation cluster are positioned closer together changing the typical layout you will see on a TKL or 100% keyboard. Without losing any of the functionality.
While this board style is rare it is starting to gain popularity as several different brands are starting to offer this size. By offering a little bit more keys from 60%. The 65% gets rid of the functions row and part of the navigation cluster. The arrow keys will remain on the keyboard with limited keys for the “Home”, ” Page up”, and ” Page Down”.
60% is the smallest of the common form factors. Bring in less functionality with a minimal footprint. The 60% loses the Numpad, navigation keys, and F row. Leaving you with just the Qwerty and top numbers. The navigation keys are accessible with a combination of buttons. but they are removed from the keyboard. This size is common among custome mechanical keyboard enthusiasts who like to create a custome board particularly typist. Gamers will generally be using the F keys and won’t have the time in the game to use a combination to access them.
The 1800 Layout is similar to the 100% keyboard in terms of functionality but the main change is that it includes the navigation cluster above the Numpad. This results in a slightly more compact design. The 1800 layout is seen more on older keyboards that it is seen today.
Unconventional Keyboard Sizes
Now that we went through the most common keyboards there is a list of unconventional keyboards that you will find. These keyboards are not commonly used but are worth the mention if they suit your needs.
A split keyboard is exactly what it says in the title. The keyboard is split into two. Sometimes you will have literally two separated pieces or just the button configuration is split. This will be used more like a typist keyboard.
A Macro pad is generally an accessory that can attach to your keyboard. This can be simply a calculator used instead of a Numpad or as a board for macros.
An ortho keyboard uses ortholinear grid layouts which doesnt stagger the keys as you would see on a standard keyboard. This leaves everything vertically aligned.