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The 8 Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards In 2021 Review

As the name suggests, a tenkeyless keyboard is a compact version of a full-sized keyboard without a numeric pad. Think of a keyboard you would find on most laptops. A tenkeyless keyboard will feel familiar to that when it comes to the size.

The biggest difference between these keyboards and most laptop keyboards is the mechanical switches. As a result, not only will they last much longer than their membrane counterparts, they also offer a more responsive experience.

So, we’ve put together this in-depth review of the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards currently on the market to make your job of choosing one a bit easier.

Let’s get started with the…

The 8 Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards In 2021 Review

Top 8 Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards Reviews

  1. HyperX HX-KB4RD1 – Best Backlit Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard
  2. Drop CTRL – Best Premium Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard
  3. Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition – Best Esports Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard
  4. Razer BlackWidow TE – Best Value for the Money Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard
  5. Logitech G915 – Best Wireless Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard
  6. HUO JI E-Yooso – Best Multicolor Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard
  7. 1STPlayer DK5.0 Lite – Most Versatile Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard
  8. Glorious GMMK-TKL-BRN – Best Hot Swappable Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

1 HyperX HX-KB4RD1 – Best Backlit Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

HyperX is still relatively new to the computer accessories game. We can see a bright future ahead for them with products like this. HyperX calls this keyboard the Alloy FPS Pro, and it manages to cut down the size without cutting too much functionality.

By concentrating on the areas that count, HyperX has produced a super-competitive product at an affordable price. There is a range of different switches to choose from, and the keyboard is simple to set up and use.

Keeping things simple…

This keyboard looks very plain with its black finish and white printed legend on each of the keys. Once it’s plugged in with the micro-USB cord, the red LED backlighting will break up the understated design.

There are two choices when it comes to switches. HyperX features industry-leading Cherry MXs. If you prefer hearing the clickity-clack when making inputs, go for the tactile Blue. For a more silent tactile switch, you’ll want the Red.

Ready when you are…

Because there are no drivers or software to download, this is one of the best plug-and-play tenkeyless keyboards on the market. Simply connect to an available USB port on your PC, and you can start typing almost instantly.

There are some cool features like the media controls accessed by using the function key. Game mode disables the Windows key to save unnecessary trips to the desktop. Some cool effects with the backlighting can also be toggled through like static, breathing, or wave.


HyperX HX-KB4RD1

Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • A choice between Cherry MX Blue or Red switches.
  • Detachable braided Micro USB cable.
  • Plug and Play simplicity with no drivers required.

Cons

  • The design could be considered a bit plain.
  • Limited customization options.

2 Drop CTRL – Best Premium Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

The team at Drop knows how to make an impressive keyboard. The CTRL is a well-constructed, versatile keyboard with a huge range of customizable options. Complete with hot-swappable switches, you can make it suit your exact needs.

As great in the office as it will be in front of your gaming rig at home. Its compact and portable size makes that entirely possible. However, with such high quality and so many options comes a premium price. While it is one of the Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards, is it all worth it?

No corners cut…

To begin with, the frame is constructed from a single piece of solid anodized aluminum. Furthermore, you can purchase what’s called the barebones version. Meaning that you can add a combination of your own switches and keycaps.

For those less adventurous, your choices certainly aren’t limited. Switch choices include Cherry MX Brown or Blue. If you prefer Halo switches, then pick either Clear or True. Want Kaihua switches? Then you have the option of Box White or Speed Silver. Regardless of your choice, this is one of the best Cherry MX keyboards around.

Packed with features…

The quality continues with premium PBT plastic keycaps that feel fantastic. RGB lighting illuminates each key, including a range of effects and brightness levels. The keyboard frame even has a choice of gray or black colors.

Downloading the QMK firmware makes it possible to assign macros or custom keybinds to every key. Need to connect your smartphone or tablet? No problem with the dual USB-C connectors on each side.


Drop CTRL

Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Solid anodized aluminum frame.
  • Huge range of switch choices.
  • Endless customizable features.

Cons

  • Not as affordable as other products.
  • Firmware isn’t easy to navigate.

3 Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition – Best Esports Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

One of the most subdued keyboards in the Razer lineup is this tenkeyless Huntsman model. The Tournament Edition sits right in the middle between the full-sized Elite and the even more compact Mini.

Although the styling is pretty tame by Razer’s standards, the keyboard is still packed with features. Built on a plain black plastic chassis with plain black keycaps with a white legend, the RGB is what brings things to life.

Optical switches…

Unlike most of the other keyboards here, you don’t have a choice in switches. That’s okay, though, because Razer has gone with their own Red Linear Optical switches. And they really are something else, sending signals at an unfathomable rate. As a result, this is one of the best gaming tenkeyless keyboards.

For a tough and textured finish, Doubleshot PBT Keycaps adorn the top of Razer’s incredible switches. These are some of the most premium-feeling and high-quality keycaps that are currently available.

Make it work for you…

Running on the Razer Synapse software, users can completely customize their keyboard. You can adjust the RGB lighting to several presets or even create your own with different effects and levels of brightness.

Every key on the Huntsman TE can also be reprogrammed to perform alternate commands. This includes setting macros, which is made simple using the easy-to-navigate software. Once your preferences are in, detach the USB-C cable and bring your keyboard anywhere.


Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition

Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Optical switches are fast and responsive.
  • Doubleshot PBT keycaps give a premium feel.
  • Customizable through Razer Synapse software.

Cons

  • Some may not like the size.
  • Lacks the usual Razer style.

4 Razer BlackWidow TE – Best Value for the Money Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

Next up, we have another keyboard from Razer. If you liked the previous product, but want something a little more affordable with a choice of switches, then the BlackWidow Tournament Edition might be for you.

Sticking with the nearly all-black design, the BlackWidow also relies on the use of RGB lighting for a boost of character. Comfort is a priority; as you’ll notice at the bottom, there is an ergonomic magnetic detachable wrist rest attached to the sloping ergonomic frame. Therefore, this is one of the most comfortable tenkeyless mechanical keyboards available.

Choice of switches…

Once again, Razer has gone with their switches, based on the Cherry MX range. For tactile and clicky choose the Green, tactile and silent performance requires Orange, and for linear silence, go for the Yellow.

Connect the keyboard to your PC using the detachable braided micro-USB cable. Once plugged in, placing your fingers upon the keycaps, you’ll feel a slight concave to help them nestle in. It’s a shame the legend is printed instead of etched, though.

Customize it your way…

Thanks to the Chroma App, this keyboard has some of the most customizable RGB light settings possible. Not only is each key individually lit, beyond the presets, but there are also game-specific settings from the developers themselves.

In addition to the fancy lighting settings, Razer Hypershift offers fully programmable macro support. It is possible to save your profiles and have them automatically launch with certain programs using a .exe file.


Razer BlackWidow TE

Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • Choice of mechanical switches.
  • Comfortable ergonomic design features.
  • Incredible RGB lighting effects.

Cons

  • All the switches are a bit loud.
  • Printed legend instead of etched.

5 Logitech G915 – Best Wireless Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

Next in our Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards reviews, when it comes to the best computer peripherals, it is impossible not to include at least one product from Logitech. Their balance of quality and affordability is unmatched, along with their experience in producing great products.

Our only wireless keyboard here, the G915 tenkeyless, offers three different connection options. Wirelessly connect using either Bluetooth or the 2.4 GHz USB dongle. You can also make a wired connection, if you prefer, using the micro-USB cable. Therefore, if you want one of the best Bluetooth tenkeyless keyboards, give this one a closer look.

Strength and convenience…

A brushed aluminum alloy top plate sits on top of a steel-reinforced plastic base giving a strong and sturdy foundation. Despite being a compact keyboard, Logitech added a row of dedicated shortcut and media control buttons along with a roller across the top row.

There are three choices of low profile GL mechanical switches, with the tactile offering either a black or white keyboard color choice. For the linear or clicky switches, the keyboard is only available in black.

G-Sync customization…

It is almost a requirement now for a gaming keyboard to have RGB lighting, and Logitech meets that requirement. By installing the G-Sync software, you can take complete control over the various lighting effects through the LightSync menu.

Over in the Assignments menu, this is where you can remap all of the FN keys along the top row. This includes setting complex macros that might be required to give you a gaming edge. It’s a shame, not all the keys are programmable, and this is a definite missed opportunity.


Logitech G915

Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Brushed aluminum top plate.
  • Dedicated shortcut and media keys.
  • Choice of mechanical switches.

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other products.
  • Only FN keys are reprogrammable.

6 HUO JI E-Yooso – Best Multicolor Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

Here is a Chinese brand from HUO JI called the E-Yooso. It comes in a huge range of different color and switch varieties, and has a surprising amount of features for its incredibly low cost. If you need one of the best budget tenkeyless mechanical keyboards, this could be the one for you.

For the Black quiet linear switches, the keyboard is only available in white color. The remaining switches have three different keyboard colors, including white, black, or pink. Switch options are Blue tactile clicky, Brown tactile quiet, and Red linear with a light clickiness.

Premium construction materials…

At this price point, you wouldn’t expect materials such as the aluminum alloy top plate and premium ABS plastic base. You certainly wouldn’t expect Doubleshot PBT keycaps either. But, well, here we are.

While most of the other products have superior RGB, the E-Yooso still manages to provide an impressive multicolored light show. Choose from nine different presets and cycle through the different lighting modes.

Useful features…

When using a keyboard for gaming, every input is important. Thanks to the anti-ghosting NKRO feature, every keypress is registered. The responsiveness of each input is impressive, with no noticeable lag.

By using the function key at the bottom of the keyboard, HUO JI can offer shortcuts such as calculator, email, and web browser. This also makes media control easier with functions like play/pause, skip, and volume control.


HUO JI E-Yooso

Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • An affordable option with quality materials.
  • Range of color and switch options.
  • Shortcuts and media controls.

Cons

  • Very limited customization options.
  • Font used for the legend might not be for everyone.

7 1STPlayer DK5.0 Lite – Most Versatile Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

There appears to be a trend with these tenkeyless mechanical gaming keyboards, and 1STPlayer is following along too. That is presenting a reasonably plain-looking keyboard in all black, then using RGBs to add some flare.

We rather like this trend, as it makes the keyboard more versatile and able to fit in almost anywhere. Bring it to the office, then take it home for a marathon gaming session. With an affordable price tag, let’s see if 1STPlayer can keep up with the competition.

Switch it up…

The mechanical switches used in the DK5.0 Lite are Cherry MX replicas. For a tactile clicky switch, choose the OUTEMU Blue. If you prefer a linear switch with almost no sound, then go for the OUTEMU Red instead.

Placed on top of the switches are double-shot injection molded ABS plastic keycaps for added strength and durability. Connecting the keyboard to your PC is done using a detachable USB cable with gold-plated connectors.

Software control…

You can customize functions using the software package. This allows you to create custom profiles. Change the RGB lighting colors, effects, and brightness. You can also create custom macro settings for your favorite gaming titles.

With the use of the function key, 1STPlayer has included some handy shortcuts, along with some media controls. Each of the inputs will be transmitted correctly from the keyboard to the PC with NKRO anti-ghosting.


1STPlayer DK5.0 Lite

Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Great value option with useful features.
  • Customizable features through software.
  • NKRO anti-ghosting for accurate inputs.

Cons

  • Full plastic construction with no aluminum.
  • The software needs some improvement.

8 Glorious GMMK-TKL-BRN – Best Hot Swappable Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard

This is only our second hot-swappable keyboard. Not only can you swap the keycaps, but also the switches very easily. This allows for complete customization of your keyboard, something that’s very important to many gamers.

Glorious has run with the customization with their GMMK keyboard. As a result, it offers more features than most in this aspect. Add to this the use of premium build materials and solid performance, and this product becomes very appealing.

Feeling of luxury…

Across the top is a lovely piece of brushed aluminum with raised keycaps covering Gateron Brown mechanical switches. Removing dust and crumbs is easy, helping to maintain that feeling of luxury.

Of course, there is customizable RGB lighting. Each of the keys, apart from the red ascend key that replaces the escape key, come shining through. The lighting isn’t as bright as the others, but still offers a huge range of effects.

Daily abuse recommended…

Where this product stands out is the build quality. There are no signs of flexing in any area of the keyboard, with no audible creaks or squeaks. Even the USB cable is braided, and of high quality, it would have been nice if it was detachable. That said, this is one of the most durable tenkeyless mechanical keyboards on the market.

There is a range of shortcut and media controls available when held down in combination with the function key. Skip tracks, play/pause media, launch emails or web browsers, and even choose different RGB effects.


Glorious GMMK-TKL-BRN

Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • The hot-swappable keyboard allows for ultimate customization.
  • Superior build quality and premium materials used.
  • Good range of shortcuts and media controls.

Cons

  • The RGB lighting isn’t as bright as other products.
  • No programmable macro feature.

Looking for Something Else?

Then find the computer keyboard you need to succeed by checking out our in-depth Best 40% Keyboards Reviews, our Best 60% Mechanical Keyboards Reviews, our Best Ergonomic Keyboards Reviews, our Best Membrane Keyboards Review, and our Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards Review for superb keyboards you can buy in 2021.

You may also like our comprehensive Das Keyboard 4 Professional Review, our Corsair K63 Wireless Review, and our Das Keyboard Model S Review for more items currently available. And don’t forget to look at our Best Gaming Desks Review and our Best CPU For Gaming Reviews for more awesome products on the market right now.

What are the Best Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboards?

As you can see, there is a great range of products available. However, for us to choose the best, the keyboard must perform well in the following areas. It must be well constructed, offer useful features, and be of great value.

Therefore, from our list of the best mechanical tenkeyless keyboards, we would choose is the…

Razer BlackWidow TE

It is easily the most comfortable keyboard here and is still solidly constructed. The easy-to-use software makes the multiple customization options simple. The price is easily justified when you combine all of these features.

So, until next time, game on.

About Paul S. Brunet

Known as the "Tech Lover", Paul is an expert of current and trending technology. Here at TinyGrab, he makes "tech" easy to understand for the average person.

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