The past few years have seen a surge in popularity of 60% keyboards, making the process of choosing the best 60% keyboard more challenging than it used to be. They used to be niche products, but now even relatively mainstream companies like Razer have gotten into the 60% keyboard game.
To help you out, we’ve picked six boards in six different categories for you to consider. Whether you’re looking for a great 60% gaming keyboard or high-end typing experience for work, our list has you covered. Let’s get into it.
Our Picks for Best 60% Keyboard
Before we start, we’d like to mention that this list is primarily for those familiar with 60% keyboards or are confident that it’s the form factor they want. If you’re new to the keyboard hobby and aren’t sure about keyboard layouts, check out our guide to mechanical keyboard sizes first.
|Switch Types||• Razer Clicky Optical Switch (Purple)
• Razer Linear Optical Switch (Red)
|Keycap Material||Double-shot PBT|
|Lighting||Per-key RGB (Razer Chroma)|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||11.6 x 4 x 1.3 inches|
If you’re a gamer, you want the quickest response possible from a keyboard. And that’s where the Razer Huntsman Mini shines. The smallest in the company’s Huntsman series of gaming keyboards, the Mini is a 61-key offering that uses Razer’s proprietary optical switches in either clicky or linear form.
Unlike traditional Cherry MX switches, optical switches use light beams rather than physical contact to signal a keypress. Light passing through a key stem is what signifies a keypress to the computer which provides several benefits.
Firstly, optical switches are much more reliable since they use fewer mechanical parts. Razer claims a lifespan of 100 million keypresses, double the 50 million presses that most other switches are rated for.
Secondly, Razer’s optical switches are faster than most other mechanical switches due to shorter actuation distances. For context, the standard Cherry MX Red linear switch has a 2 mm actuation distance. The Razer Linear Optical, on the other hand, has a 1 mm actuation distance. This makes them ideal for gaming, where rapid keypresses are critical.
Beyond the switches, the rest of the Huntsman Mini is relatively standard as far as modern 60% keyboards are concerned. You get long-lasting double-shot PBT keycaps and the “floating keycap” design of Razer’s other boards. You also get a detachable USB-C cable, which is fast becoming the standard connector for mechanical keyboards.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Razer product without RGB lighting. The 16.8 million colors per-key backlighting standard to modern RGB keyboards is present, along with six built-in lighting modes. You also get Razer Chroma integration, as expected.
If you’re after a 60% keyboard with super-responsive keys for gaming, the Razer Huntsman Mini has to be at the top of your list. It’s not the first keyboard we’d recommend for typists, but gamers will love the short actuation and light switches.
|Switch Types||45g Topre (standard or silenced)|
|Keycap Material||Dye-sublimated PBT|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||11.6 x 4.3 x 1.6 inches|
If you’re looking for a high-end 60% keyboard, look no further than the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 (or HHKB, as it’s commonly known). The HHKB uses Topre’s one-of-a-kind electrocapacitive switches for a unique key feel that’s quite unlike anything else available in the 60% form factor.
Topre switches use rubber domes, which might seem like heresy for some of you. But Topre switches aren’t like other rubber domes that feel mushy and imprecise. Topre switches feel crisp and tactile. The combination of Topre switches and high-quality PBT keycaps makes for a great feeling and sounding typing experience.
The HHKB’s 60-key layout is also unique and widely imitated by custom MX keyboards. The HHKB’s keys are arranged like those on old-school Unix workstations. This means that the HHKB has its Control key to the left of A. The Delete (or Backspace) key is placed above Enter, where the backslash (\) key is usually placed.
Escape is to the left of 1, while backslash and tilde (~) are where Backspace usually is on standard keyboards. This unique layout means the HHKB will take some getting used to. If you get used to it, though, it’ll be hard to go back to a standard keyboard afterward.
While the HHKB isn’t programmable, there are a few tiny DIP switches that let you change some of the keyboard’s behavior. For example, the HHKB has Delete in place of Backspace by default. If that feels a bit awkward to you, you can change the DIP switch to swap the two functions around. Check out this PDF if you’re curious about what else you can change.
You have a decent amount of versions to choose from when buying an HHKB. You have the standard wired version linked above, but silenced (Type-S) and Bluetooth versions are available. All come in either black or white with both printed and unprinted keycap options.
I consider the HHKB Pro 2 one of my favorite keyboards of all time. However, there’s no getting around the price. It’s an incredibly expensive keyboard, and few will be willing (or able) to spend this much on a keyboard.
The Topre switches also limit your keycap options, so you don’t even get the fun of customizing it like with Cherry MX switches. However, if you want one of the best 60 percent keyboards that money can buy, the HHKB is seriously worth a look.
|Switch Types||• MX-style hot-swappable
• Gateron Brown
|Keycap Material||Double-shot ABS|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||11.5 x 4.0 x 1.7 inches|
Hot-swap is undoubtedly one of the best advances in mechanical keyboard technology of the past few years. And Glorious’ GMMK Compact is one of the best hot-swap 60% mechanical keyboards available right now.
The GMMK Compact comes with tactile Gateron Brown switches from the factory. These are a decent middle ground for most users, but you can, of course, swap in any MX-compatible switches you want. The five-pin sockets Glorious use make the GMMK keyboards compatible with almost every switch available right now.
You also get the standard 61-key layout typical of 60% boards with no oddly-sized keys in the bottom row. This makes it easier to find an aftermarket keycap set that fits your style if the stock double-shot ABS keycaps aren’t to your liking.
The GMMK Compact uses a “floating key” design like the Razer Huntsman Mini and most of Corsair’s mechanical keyboards. The switches jut out from the keyboard case itself and aren’t sunk into the case (like the HHKB Pro 2, for example). This doesn’t affect performance or quality and is primarily an aesthetic choice. I’m not necessarily a fan myself, but it’s also not something worth getting too worked up about either.
You can also get the GMMK Compact Barebone Edition that ships without switches or keycaps if you already know what you want. But we’d recommend most first-time buyers to get the prebuilt version.
The prebuilt GMMK Compact is one of the best 60 percent keyboards to get if you’re just starting to seriously get into the hobby. You get a set of switches and keycaps to use and get familiar with while you brush up on your switch knowledge.
Find a new switch you think you’ll like? Swap the old ones out and the new ones in, and you’re ready to click and clack all night. If there was ever a gateway drug keyboard, this might just be it.
4. Anne Pro 2
|Switch Types||• Gateron (Red/Blue/Brown)
• Kailh Box (Red/White/Black/Brown)
• Cherry MX (Red/Blue/Brown/Silver)
|Keycap Material||Double-shot PBT|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||11.2 x 3.8 x 1.6 inches|
One of the most significant benefits of a compact keyboard is its portability. But portability takes a hit if you still have to connect your keyboard using a cable. That’s where wireless 60% keyboards come in, and the Anne Pro 2 is one of the best ones available right now.
The Anne Pro 2 is a 61-key keyboard with mechanical switches from Gateron, Kailh, or Cherry. The switches come in the standard linear (Red and Black), tactile (Brown), and clicky (Blue and White) variants. You won’t get any enthusiast-grade options like Kailh Box Jades, but the Anne Pro 2’s switch choices cover the basics adequately.
The Anne Pro 2 has a standard 60% layout with shine-through double-shot PBT keycaps. Most RGB keyboards used to use less-durable ABS plastic for their keycaps, but we’re glad that even mainstream boards are now coming with PBT keycaps that won’t shine or wear down like ABS keycaps.
The Anne Pro 2 connects wirelessly via Bluetooth LE5.0 and is powered by a rechargeable 1900 mAh lithium-ion battery. Anne Pro claims “up to 8 hours” of wireless usage and has included an on/off switch to save battery life when you’re not using the keyboard.
You can also download the ObinsLab Starter Companion Software that lets you create up to 16 macros (each capable of “300+ characters”) and customize aspects of the Anne Pro 2. These include per-key RGB lighting and fully programmable keys, which lets you remap any key to your heart’s content.
Want to swap keys around or use a different layout like Colemak? The Anne Pro 2 and other programmable boards will let you do that.
All in all, the Anne Pro 2 is an excellent wireless 60% keyboard. It’s not the flashiest or most extravagant mechanical keyboard out there, but it does its job reliably and affordably. The Anne Pro 2 comes in black and white.
|Switch Types||• MX-style hot-swappable
• Gateron Optical (Black/Blue/Brown/Red/Yellow/Green)
|Keycap Material||Thermal sublimation PBT|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||11.6 x 4.1 x 1.8 inches|
Almost all 60% keyboards sacrifice dedicated arrow keys for the sake of compactness, relegating them to a secondary function layer. While I don’t think it’s hard to get used to this, some users will find the inability to immediately reach for arrow keys to be a huge deal-breaker.
Enter the Epomaker SK64, a hot-swappable 64-key keyboard that adds the four dedicated arrow keys and a Delete key to the standard 60% layout. It’s a decision that solves some of the problems of the 60% layout, albeit with some sacrifices. The right Shift is the size of a standard key now, and the SK64 also lacks the usual right Alt and Control keys.
The slightly different layout poses a couple of challenges. Firstly, it makes finding replacement keycaps somewhat harder, as not all sets will have the correct right Shift and modifier keys for this layout.
The SK64 is at least available in a few different color schemes, which may help reduce the need for replacement keycaps. There’s White (linked above), Black, Grey Black, Grey White, Panda, and Pink White.
Secondly, the layout will take some getting used to, even if you’re already familiar with 60% keyboards. The short right Shift, in particular, can pose some issues early on. Of course, if you’re adamant about arrow keys in a strict 60% layout, these are probably sacrifices you’re willing to make.
If you don’t need the arrow keys, though, you should look at the other boards on our list first. That said, the Epomaker SK64 isn’t a bad keyboard overall. Build quality is solid for the price, and it’s definitely worth investigating if you’re after arrows or just want something a little bit different.
Epomaker also makes a version with Bluetooth connectivity called the Epomaker SK64S, which will set you back an extra $30.
|Switch Types||• MX-style hot-swappable
• Royal Kludge switches (Red/Blue/Brown)
|Keycap Material||Double-shot ABS|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||11.5 x 4 x 1.5 inches|
We already have some affordable keyboards on this list, but what if you want a no-frills 61-key keyboard that won’t set you back much more than $50? Well, then you want the Royal Kludge RK61. Unlike the Epomaker SK64 (the closest price competitor on our list), the RK61 has a standard 60% layout that some of you may prefer.
The RK61 is a hot-swap mechanical keyboard that comes with Royal Kludge’s own switches from the factory. These switches are available in Red, Blue, and Brown variations and follow the standard Cherry MX switches naming convention. So, Blue is the clicky switch, Red is the linear switch, and Brown is the tactile switch. The Red switch, in particular, seems to be well-liked by the mechanical keyboard community.
The RK switches are complemented by double-shot ABS keycaps with shine-through legends for its per-key RGB. It’s worth noting that while both colors of the RK61 use double-shot ABS, the white version has thicker keycaps that will slightly affect the typing feel and sound. The differences aren’t huge, though, so there’s no need to worry if you prefer a black keyboard.
Like the Anne Pro 2, the Royal Kludge RK61 is fully programmable. Every key except the Function key can be remapped on the RK61. Some of the more expensive boards on our list don’t have that functionality, which arguably makes the RK61 an even better value buy.
While the RK61’s build quality is generally impressive for the price, you will have issues with rattling stabilizers and a slightly hollow sound. The RK61 is by no means the only affordable keyboard with these issues, so we can’t criticize it too much here. It makes the RK61 a great place to start with keyboard modding, though.
The Royal Kludge RK61 is a solid option if you’re a first-time buyer or just need a second (or third) board. It’s not the most glamorous or premium mechanical keyboard ever, but give it a go, and you’ll probably be surprised at what $50 can get you these days.
Before You Buy
Despite sharing the same 60% form factor, you’ll undoubtedly have noticed some variation in layouts between all six keyboards on our list. Even when the keyboards have the same 61 keys, they still differ in how function layers are set up for things like the arrow keys, Delete, and Print Screen (amongst others).
Let’s take the HHKB Pro 2 as an example. Here’s a representation of the HHKB’s layout, with the arrow keys and Function key highlighted in red. So, to scroll up and down with the arrow keys, you’ll be pressing the Fn key and then one of the four directional keys.
Here’s how the Anne Pro 2 has its arrow keys and function layer set up:
So, even though both the HHKB Pro 2 and Anne Pro 2 are 60% keyboards, the way you access extra keys is quite different. This is something you’ll have to research when shopping for a 60% board, especially if you’re getting one with a fixed, non-programmable layout.
Most mechanical keyboards used to not be programmable, meaning you were stuck with the layout it came with from the factory. While that’s still the case for many boards, the past few years have seen a gradual increase in the number of fully programmable keyboards in the mainstream segment.
The Anne Pro 2, for example, comes with software that lets users remap the keys to do whatever they please. So if you’re not happy with where the arrow keys are, for example, you can change it in only a few minutes. Here’s what the programming interface for the Anne Pro 2 looks like courtesy of u/kieranyo on Reddit:
Note how they mapped the arrow keys to the lower right cluster of keys for convenient access, as you can see in the “Top” layout. They lose out on the right Control and Menu keys, but that’s obviously a sacrifice they were willing to make for easy access to the four directional keys.
Not everyone will need a programmable keyboard, especially if they can find a 60% layout that works right out of the box. But it’s arguably essential if you have particular needs or just can’t find a default mapping that works for you. You will have to live with keycaps that don’t match their functions, but that’s a small price to pay for getting things set up just right.
Layout topics aside, another factor to consider when shopping around for a keyboard is the keycap material. The 60% keyboards we’ve chosen here come with either PBT or ABS keycaps, the two most common keycap materials.
Both have pros and cons, but the general consensus is that PBT is preferable due to its better durability. ABS keycaps will wear down and develop a “shine” over time. The cheaper the keycap, the quicker this “shine” tends to happen. My GMK Dolch set from 2014 shows some shine, but it’s relatively minor by ABS standards.
Beyond the shine issue (which isn’t an issue for me, personally), choosing between PBT and ABS keycaps is mostly a matter of preference and aesthetics. ABS’s main advantage is that it’s ideal for the double-shot process, allowing keycaps to have light-colored legends on darker keycaps.
PBT keycaps are generally dye-sublimated, where the legends are printed on with dye. This means that PBT keysets typically only have legends that are darker than the base keycap material.
Double-shot PBT keycaps like those used on the Razer Huntsman Mini have started appearing on the market recently. However, these only come from a couple of manufacturers and are still relatively limited compared to doubleshot ABS. The situation may change in the future, but for now, you’ll have to live with ABS shine if you want the widest variety of keycap color schemes.
Choosing the best 60% keyboard for you is a matter of striking the right balance between switch choice, features, layout, and maybe even keycap material (depending on your priorities). And even then, what’s best for one person may not be the same for another. I think the HHKB Pro 2 is easily the best mechanical keyboard here, but it likely won’t make sense for most people.
There’s really no rigid right or wrong here; after all, you’re already making the right decision by getting a mechanical keyboard over a membrane one. Whichever 60% keyboard you get, make sure it fits your needs with a layout that works for you. Happy hunting!