The 75% keyboard layout is one of our favorites here at Voltcave. It retains the most important keys of the TKL layout while being only slightly larger than a 60% keyboard. If you’ve been itching to get your hands on this compact keyboard layout but haven’t been able to figure out the best 75% keyboard to buy, this list is for you.
There are a lot of 75% mechanical keyboards out there, and it feels like new ones come out almost every few months. If that sounds like a recipe for confusion, well, it is. So let us help you cut through the noise and find the right 75 percent keyboard. Let’s get going.
Our Picks for Best 75% Keyboard
|Switch Type(s)||Hot-swappable Gateron Optical Black/Blue/Brown/Red/Yellow|
|Keycap Material||Dye-sublimated PBT|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, USB Type-C|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||11.61 x 4.13 x 1.77 inches|
The Vortex Race 3 is an understated yet powerful 75% mechanical keyboard. Its color scheme harkens back to 90s office peripherals, yet underneath its unassuming exterior is a wealth of switch options and layout options to fit nearly any user’s needs.
Whether you’re writing, coding, or gaming, you’ll probably be able to find the right switch for you with the Race 3. You can choose from a surprisingly large variety of Cherry MX switches, from the standard Red, Blue, and Brown options to some slightly less common options.
The Race 3 also comes with Cherry MX Silent Red, Clear, and Silver switches. With its light actuation force and short 1.2 mm (0.047 inches) pre-travel, the latter will be of particular interest to gamers. Silent Red switches are also worth checking out, especially if keyboard noise is a concern for you.
The Vortex Race 3 has three user-definable layers plus a fixed default layer. You can program the three extra layers however you like using the keyboard itself, without needing any software. It’s slightly trickier than using a software GUI, but it means you get full programmability no matter what computer you’re connected to. The same applies to recording macros and the two custom RGB modes.
One nice touch we like is that the Race 3 comes pre-programmed with Dvorak and Colemak layouts, both of which you access with a quick two-key combination. There’s also a Mac-specific layout, plus the option to swap Caps Lock and left Control. While these are all arguably niche options, it’s great to see a keyboard cater to many preferences by default.
Overall, the Vortex Race 3 is a solid 75% keyboard covering all important bases. The versatile programming combined with a sturdy aluminum frame and high-quality PBT keycaps makes this the pre-assembled 75% keyboard to beat.
More of a wireless fan? The Vortex Tab 75 is essentially the same keyboard, just with a plastic frame and Bluetooth support. Check it out if you’re after a great wireless 75% keyboard.
|Switch Type(s)||Hot-swappable Gateron Black/Brown/Yellow/Blue/Red|
|Keycap Material||Dye-sublimated PBT|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||12.6 x 5.2 x 1.5 inches|
The Epomaker EP84’s main selling point is its combination of great price and solid switch and keycap options. If you’re shopping at the sub-$100 end of the market and are tired of boring ABS keycaps and sub-par Cherry MX clones, the Epomaker EP84 might be right up your alley.
Epomaker sells the EP84 with five of the six main Gateron switch types, with only Gateron Clears absent. The options run the gamut from traditional clicky switches (Gateron Blue) to light linear switches (Gateron Yellow), with tactile and heavier linear options also available. They’re hot-swappable too, so you don’t have to worry about getting your choice wrong the first time around.
The EP84 is available with four different color schemes. These schemes combine differently colored cases with different keycap colorways. You get three relatively traditional options in Grey Black, Grey White, and Vintage White, all of which use OEM profile keycaps. There’s also a Geometry Grey colorway with XDA profile caps, which we think looks particularly spiffy.
The options don’t end there, either. Out of the box, the EP84 comes with a few pre-programmed hotkeys for media playback and opening up some commonly-used essential apps. You also get 12 RGB lighting modes, including roll, pulse, and ripples. That’s already pretty good for a relatively affordable board.
If that’s not enough, you can go a step further with Epomaker’s proprietary software. The programming utility lets you further customize the RGB lighting, remap keys, and set macro commands. Great options to have at this price point.
Overall, the Epomaker EP84 offers an outstanding balance between cost and keyboard features. You get hot-swap, multiple switch options, a few nice keycap colorways, and programmability for less than $100. Start here if you’re looking for a decent 75% board that won’t set you back too much.
3. Drevo Gramr
|Switch Type(s)||Full RGB:
• Gateron Black/Blue/Brown/Red
• Outemu Black/Blue/Brown/Red
|Keycap Material||Double-shot ABS|
|Lighting||RGB / White|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||12.6 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches|
The Drevo Gramr is a budget 75% board that punches above its class, offering a solid build and attractive RGB backlighting that differentiates it from most of the similarly-priced competition. It’s a testament to how much you can get on a budget these days.
The Gramr comes in two main varieties: “full RGB” (pictured above) and a more basic white backlight version. The single-color backlight version comes in black or white, and swaps the RGB version’s Gateron switches for cheaper Outemu equivalents.. Note that availability isn’t consistent, and the version that seems to have the most switch options available is the full RGB version linked above.
You don’t get hot-swap sockets on the Gramr, so you’ll have to choose wisely (or be willing to pick up a soldering iron). It’s somewhat understandable given the affordable price. However, we would have loved some hot-swap sockets to really make the Drevo Gramr a perfect “first 75% keyboard” option.
The Gramr is surprisingly solid despite its price. At close to two pounds, it matches the weight of more premium boards like the Vortex Race 3. The metal backplate undoubtedly helps add some heft while reducing the flex and flimsy typing feel cheap keyboards tend to have. It also helps the Gramr sound surprisingly good out of the box, which is always welcome.
All in all, the Drevo Gramr is a surprisingly good budget 75% keyboard that should satisfy many of you. You miss out on higher-end features like PBT keycaps and programmability, but the Gramr gets enough right that the budget-conscious among you probably won’t care too much. And it looks great, too!
|Switch Type(s)||• Low Profile Keychron Optical Red/Blue/Brown (hot-swappable)
• Gateron Low Profile Red/Blue/Brown
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, USB Type-C|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||12 x 4.6 x 0.9 inches|
The 75 percent keyboard layout is already compact as it is, but the Keychron K3 takes it a step further with its low-profile switches. Add a thin-but-solid aluminum construction and dual-mode connectivity, and you get a 75% keyboard perfect for the road warriors out there.
The Keychron K3 comes with your choice of either low-profile Keychron or Gateron switches. Keychron’s switches are optical, while Gateron’s offerings are more traditional mechanical switches. Keychron boasts a “70 million” actuation lifespan for its optical switches and a gamer-friendly “0.2 ms” latency.
The version with the Keychron optical switches is hot-swappable, while the Gateron version uses traditional soldered switches.
One of the downsides of the K3’s portability-focused design is its reduced battery capacity. The K3 packs a comparatively small 1550 mAh battery. That might not be a huge problem, though: Keychron claims 30 hours of runtime with RGB and 99 hours with no lighting. Enough to get you through even the most hectic workday, we reckon.
Overall, the Keychron K3’s switch options, Bluetooth connectivity, and respectable battery life make it one of the best portable-first 75% boards available.
|Switch Type(s)||Cherry MX Black/Brown/Blue/Red/Silent Red|
|Keycap Material||Double-Shot PBT|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||13.2 x 5.5 x 1.4 inches|
The Mistel Barocco MD770 is a split ergonomic keyboard that aims for mainstream appeal with its conventional 75% layout. With its good build, macro capabilities, and relatively affordable price, it might just be the perfect starter ergonomic board for the curious.
Unlike enthusiast split keyboards such as the Ergodox the MD770’s layout is relatively easy to get used to. This lowers the barrier to entry, making it a safer buy for those seeking an ergonomic option to help with shoulder or forearm strain from typing.
The split layout also has an unintentional positive side effect for gamers. Since you can use each side independently, you can use either half as a gaming keypad without dealing with unorthodox thumb clusters (see the Ergodox), ortholinear keys, or other stumbling blocks of the sort.
The MD770 has four onboard macro layers. There’s a fixed default layer dedicated to media player functions and RGB switching, alongside three fully-customizable layers. The macro-obsessed among you will be pleased to know that you can program separate macros to each Spacebar.
Build quality is what you’d expect at this price point. The MD770 uses original Cherry MX switches in a metal switch plate for a solid typing experience, topped off with nice-looking double-shot PBT keycaps. We particularly like the wired version’s orange on black keycaps, which remind us of the classic GMK Charred Orange set.
Overall, the Mistel Barocco MD770 RGB is an excellent choice whether you’re committed to the ergonomic keyboard life or are just exploring the market. It’s not a cheap mechanical keyboard, but we think the price is reasonable for what you get. It’s the sort of keyboard that you can commit to for the long term, and that’s something worth appreciating.
The Mistel Barocco MD770 RGB is also available in a Bluetooth version for a small premium.
|Switch Type(s)||MX-style hot-swap (3- and 5-pin)|
If none of the pre-built options do it for you, then it’s time to go down the DIY route. And there are few better places to start for a readily available DIY kit than the KBDfans KBD75. Its relatively affordable price (for custom mechanical keyboards) and great stock typing experience make it a viable option even if you’re new to DIY keyboards.
The KBD75 is in its third iteration, which brings a few improvements over previous models. For one, the KBD75 V3 now uses a top-mount design instead of the older versions’ tray mount. On paper, this gives the KBD75 V3 a crisp yet slightly forgiving typing experience. Of course, much of this depends on your switch choice, but the top mount construction gives you a good baseline.
As with most good-quality DIY keyboards, the KBD75 V3 is fully programmable using open-source software. The KBD75v3 uses VIA, based on the industry-standard QMK firmware. Using VIA’s intuitive offline program, you can remap keys, change RGB lighting, and set up macros.
Unlike many RGB-equipped boards, the KBD75 V3 doesn’t have the typical per-key RGB backlighting. Instead, KBDfans opted for underglow RGBs that shine through an acrylic diffuser. It gives the keyboard a classier look than most 75% mechanical keyboards, and we like it a lot.
Overall, the KBD75 V3 is an excellent DIY 75% keyboard option if you don’t want to wait for a group buy. Its condensed layout is a bit old-fashioned in a world with “exploded 75%” designs like the GMMK Pro, but its combo of price and performance put it above the Pro in our eyes.
The 75% layout is almost a case of having your cake and eating it; its combination of a function row and dedicated arrow keys in a compact design gives you the best of TKL and 60% keyboards. Sure, it takes a bit of getting used to, but using one of the best 75% mechanical keyboards should make the process a breeze.
If you’re willing to spend around $150 or so, there’s no better place to start than the Vortex Race 3 RGB. It’s a solid board that nails almost everything perfectly with few compromises. But if you’re more of a budget hobbyist, the Drevo Gramr will do a great job for less than half the Vortex’s price. Quite a bargain, if you ask us.