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Are Tenkeyless (TKL) Keyboards Good for Gaming?

Are you thinking about buying a new keyboard for your gaming setup? Tenkeyless keyboards, known for skipping the numpad, offer a different experience.

This article will cover their key features, including the extra mouse space they provide and their simplicity for users switching from full-sized keyboards. We’ll also discuss their pricing and the main thing they lack.

Without further ado, let’s dive in and see what these keyboards have to offer!

Key Takeaways:

  1. TKL keyboards enhance the gaming experience by offering extra space for mouse movement, which is beneficial for low DPI settings in FPS games.
  2. Transitioning from full-sized to TKL keyboards is simple, thanks to their similar key layouts, minimizing the learning curve.
  3. TKL keyboards balance compactness with versatility, retaining essential keys for a variety of gaming and computing tasks.
  4. They often present a more affordable option compared to full-sized keyboards, offering cost-effectiveness without sacrificing key features.
  5. The main downside of TKL keyboards is the absence of a numpad, which can affect tasks requiring frequent numerical input.

Advantages of TKL Keyboards

Compact Design

RBG TKL keyboard

The compact design of TenKeyless (TKL) keyboards offers benefits for FPS gamers, primarily in the form of additional desk space.

The removal of the numpad allows for a greater area for mouse use. This expanded space can be particularly beneficial for those who use low DPI settings, which are often associated with improved aiming precision in FPS games.

The increased mouse movement area provided by TKL keyboards enables broader and more precise in-game actions. This feature can be particularly relevant in competitive gaming environments, where accurate aiming and rapid responses are important.

No Learning Curve

Man typing on TKL keyboard

Transitioning from full-sized to Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards is typically straightforward due to their similar layouts.

TKL keyboards maintain all the standard alphanumeric, function, and navigation keys found on full-sized versions, with the primary difference being the absence of the numpad.

This similarity ensures that the core keyboard layout remains unchanged, making the switch easy for those accustomed to full-sized keyboards.

The adjustment mainly involves adapting to the lack of a numpad, a change that is quickly overcome, especially given the benefits of extra desk space and more natural hand placement.


TKL keyboard with RGB

TKL keyboards are also valued for their versatility in gaming and everyday computing. They retain most keys essential for daily tasks, minus the number pad. This makes them suitable for a wide range of activities, including gaming, work-related tasks, and general browsing, without the bulk of a full-size keyboard.

In comparison, 60% keyboards go further in compactness by also eliminating the function row, arrow keys, and navigational keys.

While this extra compactness is favored for its portability and aesthetics, it might limit some gaming and computing activities due to the absence of these keys. The 60% design is especially suitable for games that don’t heavily rely on these omitted keys.

Conversely, TKL keyboards strike a balance, offering more key functions, making them more versatile for varied gaming genres like MMOs that often require more key bindings​


In the context of cost-effectiveness, TKL keyboards often present a more affordable option compared to full-sized keyboards with equivalent features. The price difference is primarily due to the absence of a numpad in TKL designs, which reduces manufacturing costs.

When a TKL keyboard is priced similarly to a full-sized model, it typically indicates that the TKL variant offers enhanced features or higher-quality components to justify its cost.

Therefore, for those seeking a balance between functionality and budget, TKL keyboards can provide a cost-effective solution without compromising on essential features or performance.

Downsides of TKL Keyboards

Absence of Numpad

A keyboard without a numpad

The primary downside of TKL keyboards is the absence of a numpad. This can be a significant drawback for users who frequently engage in tasks that require extensive numerical input, such as data entry, financial modeling, or using certain software with numpad-reliant shortcuts.

The Numpad streamlines number entry, making it faster and more efficient, so its absence can slow down these specific activities.

While some users might never miss the Numpad, for others, particularly those in number-intensive professions or hobbies, this lack could impact their workflow and efficiency.

Comparative Analysis of Keyboard Types: TKL vs. 60% vs. Full-Sized Keyboards

When considering a new keyboard for gaming or general use, it’s essential to understand the differences between the various types available.

Below is a comparison table that outlines the key features of Tenkeyless (TKL), 60% keyboards, and full-sized keyboards, helping you make an informed decision based on your specific needs.

FeatureTKL Keyboard60% KeyboardFull-Sized Keyboard
SizeApproximately 80% of full size60% of full sizeFull size with numpad
Key CountLacks numpad, retains function keysLacks numpad, function keys, and arrow keysIncludes numpad and all other keys
Mouse SpaceMore space for mouse movementMaximum space for mouse movementLess space for the mouse due to Numpad
PortabilityMore portable than full-sizedHighly portable due to compact sizeLeast portable
Game SuitabilitySuitable for most gamesBest for games not requiring many keysIdeal for games with complex binds
Function RowPresentAbsentPresent
Dedicated Arrow KeysPresentUsually absentPresent
Common UsageFPS and general gamingFPS and minimalist setupsData entry, complex gaming binds


We hope this article has provided valuable insights to help you decide which keyboard suits your gaming and computing needs best.

If you’re still weighing your options, consider exploring our detailed comparison of wired versus wireless keyboards for a broader perspective.

Your preferences and experiences are important to us, so feel free to share in the comments which keyboard layout works best for you.

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Hi, I’m Abdelkader, a gamer and the founder of Gamer Around. I’ve been into gaming for the past 20 years and I love to share my passion and experience with you. Throughout these years, I managed to build a decent amount of knowledge and experience in PC hardware, but I’m always learning and improving.

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