Keyboards have undergone rapid changes over the years, with this giving a rise to low-profile keyboards. The main difference between a low-profile mechanical keyboard and a normal one is the height. With modification to various parts, the keyboard is able to significantly reduce its height which gives it a lower profile making it ergonomically friendly.
Low profile mechanical keyboards have a lot more benefits to offer than the standard ones. Firstly, due to their shorter heights, they are more ergonomic, allowing one to use them without suffering from fatigue on the wrist and arms. Due to their compact nature of shorter switches and slimmer keycaps, these keyboards are more portable and easier to carry around. Furthermore, the shorter switches reduce reaction time significantly when gaming, making the game more responsive.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks for the best low-profile keyboards in 2021!
What is a low-profile mechanical keyboard?
A low-profile mechanical keyboard is a keyboard with a shorter body and shorter switches than a regular keyboard. The keyboard derives its name from these features and resembles keyboards on most laptops like Chromebooks and Macbooks. Its short height makes it more ergonomic and more portable making it easier to use and move around with.
Reviewing the best low profile mechanical keyboards:
1. CORSAIR K70 RGB MK.2 RAPIDFIRE – Best Overall
This keyboard has an all-new slim-line design that effortlessly fits into a modern desktop setup. It weighs 2.75 pounds, comes with a durable aircraft-grade anodized aluminum chassis and a radiant per-key RGB lighting that offers this keyboard an extended gaming lifetime. There’s a detachable rubberized wrist and a set of gray textured keycaps for MOBA or FPS players, which makes this keyboard the best for League of Legends.
Right above the numerical keypad are elevated control keys that make it easier to reach with your right hand. The X-shaped channel runs under the keyboard’s body allowing routing of cables under, giving your desk a clean look. The layout features the standard 104-key design with raised keys, leaving some space between the frame and keycap. This allows a more prominent display of RGB lighting and easy removal of debris that might settle underneath the keycaps. To adjust backlight brightness or switch profiles, this keyboard has physical buttons on the upper left. Using a long braided cable that terminates 2 USB-A inputs, the frame is tied to the desktop.
The intuitive & powerful CORSAIR iCUE software enables dynamic RGB lighting control, full-system lighting synchronization, and sophisticated macro programming, making it compatible with other CORSAIR components. All this makes the keyboard the most ideal keyboard for low-profile mechanical gaming.
2. Cooler Master SK621 Mechanical Keyboard – Best Premium Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboard Pick
Cooler Master SK621 mechanical keyboard is an envy of many with its elegant, sleek, and slim design that makes it ultra-portable. The keyboard is wireless and 60% of a full-sized keyboard. Its brushed aluminum design makes the top plate slim, which gives it a minimalistic design for better functionality when combined with the tenkeyless design. You can choose between the two keycap sets – the flat & slightly contoured and the traditional profile.
The traditional profile keycap gives you a familiar look and feel. The Cherry MX Low Profile switches offer an actuation point and reduced travel distance with the same durability and precision. With its flat contoured and slim keycaps and the new Cherry MX Low Profile switches, this low-profile keyboard is able to deliver on performance without compromising on the appearance. The LEDs keep the light show going using the surrounding light bars and per-key backlighting with limitless customization.
The controls allow you to make real-time adjustments to the lighting and macros without the need for software. The software maps over 26 million colors to any key, enabling you to customize lighting modes and fine-tune the macros. The Bluetooth 4.0 technology supports up to 3 devices which you can also use over removable Type-C USB and simultaneously charge the battery. With these features in place, you will be rocking both when working and when gaming.
3. HAVIT HV-KB390L Mechanical Keyboard – Best Budget Low-Profile Keyboard Pick
This mechanical keyboard by HAVIT is extra thin, lightweight, and uses the latest Kailh low profile blue switches making it an ideal keyboard for gaming. The keyboard has a compact design, and at just 530 grams, it’s lighter and thinner than traditional mechanical keyboards. The latest Kailh blue switch is 11.5mm in height and features a 6mm ultra-thin suspended keycap. Furthermore, the 3mm key travel gives it a unique mechanical fee.
HAVIT Mechanical keyboard is wired and features a detachable USB for attaching to a micro cable and plug & playing. Its unique LED backlight comes with multiple backlight modes, functional keys for customizing, presetting modes, and saving settings. The keyboard has 87 N-key rollover keys to ensure that you have a great gaming experience. To customize the keys, all you need is a Windows system and a driver that you can download from the official HAVIT website. The mechanical keyboard is compatible with Windows Vista, 7, 8, & 10 systems, IBM, Mac, and Linux PCs.
For maintaining a low profile, this Cooler Master mechanical keyboard gets you going. It is slim and features all the signature features of Cooler Master, including RGB lighting and on-the-fly controls. For enhancement, the keyboard adds Cherry MX low profile switches in a tenkeyless format clutter-free. The Cherry MX low profile switches reduce travel and actuation distance with the extra-flat keycaps giving you precision and durability with the slim and elegant look of a minimalist chiclet keyboard.
This unit offers two sets of keycaps, including a slightly contoured & flat set and a traditional keycap profile for familiarity. Its brushed aluminum design made up of a thin top plate, floating keycaps, and a minimalistic tenkeyless design shows you that this keyboard was built with functionality in mind. The LED lights offer per-key backlighting and endless customization on the surrounding light bars. With the on-the-fly controls, you can make real-time adjustments and customizations via software.
5. Keychron K6 68-Key Mechanical Keyboard – Best Minimalistic Design Low-Profile Keyboard Pick
An innovative keyboard, at 65%, the Keychron K6 mechanical keyboard is compact and very portable. It comes with an aluminum frame and 68 keys. For connections, this device comes with Bluetooth, which can connect up to 3 devices and easily switch among them. The keyboard can be used for light gaming or fit in the office/home due to compatibility with Broadcom Bluetooth chipset that allows you to connect to a smartphone, iPad, or PC. Besides, the keyboard has a USB Type-C wired mode connection.
Using a combination of key presses, the Keychron K6 gives you convenient access to all the important multimedia and function keys. Its 4000mAh battery has a battery life of up to 72 hours with RGB lighting and up to 9 days when in normal use of 8 hours per day. When in a dim environment, uses the RGB backlight with elegant keycap legends that you can customize. With a keystroke lifespan of up to 50 million, Gateron mechanical switch is durable and provides unrivaled tactile responsiveness on a linear switch.
The full N-key rollover allows a smoother and faster typing experience as each keypress is individually detected, ensuring all the keys are registered. Its inclined bottom frame makes the unit more ergonomic to even type without a palm rest. The keyboard is compatible with all devices ranging from Macs and Windows. No drivers are required, and extra keycaps are included for both Mac and Windows OS.
The Logitech G815 RGB Mechanical Keyboard is almost identical to the G915 lightspeed but with a wired design. It comes with tactile, clicky, or linear switches giving you the versatility to choose. Using the software, its fully RGB lighting offers a lot of customization options. Even without a wrist rest, you can comfortably type on. The dedicated column of macro keys makes it great for programmers and MMO players. To charge devices like smartphones or connect to other peripherals, there’s a USB that passes through.
Due to the low-profile keys, this keyboard is compact and very portable. Its aluminum case gives the device an authentic feel of a modern gaming peripheral giving this peripheral a premium look. The latency is low and requires less force to actuate, with the keys having a short pre-travel distance. When gaming in the dark or dimly-lit environment, the full RGB lighting looks great.
There are five dedicated G-keys that can be programmed using commands per game, custom macros, or an app profile and only require a Logitech G hub to set up and manage the profiles and commands. Logitech G hub software provides easy control to access advanced features and customize them. You can customize it by game and connect to third-party apps such as Discord.
7. Logitech G915 Mechanical Keyboard – Best Wireless Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboard Pick
Logitech’s G915 keyboard is one of the best gaming peripherals among low-profile mechanical keyboards, making it one of the most expensive. It is one of the most miniature and lightweight gaming keyboards on the market, and like all tenkeyless keyboards, it comes without the numeric keypad. The Enter, Delete, and Backspace keys are full-sized with the media controls are dedicated and offer precision, convenience, and easy controls. You can easily play, skip, pause, and mute media. Its tenkeyless design gives more room for mouse movement.
Using Bluetooth or LIGHTSPEED, the keyboard allows you to connect it to multiple devices and toggle between. LIGHTSPEED wireless delivers high-quality performance and eliminates the need for cords, giving you a clean aesthetic. The keyboard takes 3 hours to recharge and gives you up to 40 hours of usage. The unit alerts you via LED and pop-up notification in the Logitech G HUB software when at 15% for low-battery warning. The LIGHTSYNC tech offers RGB lighting to synchronize lighting and allows you to personalize each key or from about 16. 8M colors create custom animations with software.
How to choose the best low profile mechanical keyboard?
Shopping for a low-profile mechanical keyboard and choosing one can be a little overwhelming. This is true especially for someone that isn’t familiar with mechanical keyboards. In this article, we take you through a guide to show you what best to look for in the keyboard and ease your decision-making process.
Size and Layout
The first and most important factor to consider when shopping for a low-profile mechanical keyboard is the size of the keyboard and its layout. The options come in 4 – full-size, compact, tenkeyless, and ergonomic. Full-size keyboards contain all the keys that a regular keyboard has, including the number pad. This pad is helpful for someone that uses numbers often. However, due to their wide width, these keyboards force one to place the mouse farther away, causing a strain to the shoulders, back, and neck.
Compact keyboards come in various sizes and layouts, including 75%, 68%, and 65%. For most, the 65% keyboards are ideal because they come with the most frequently used keys, and they’re mushed together, leaving no space for empty spaces. For someone going for a 60% keyboard, it’s essential to know that you will be forced to retrain yourself on combinations when in need of function or arrow keys. They come with the essential block of letters, numbers, and modifiers while eliminating function keys, navigation keys, and the number pad.
Tenkeyless keyboards (TKL) lack a number pad but come with all the other keys. This is the ideal keyboard for most people since it is more compact than full-sized keyboards and contains the most commonly used keys. As for an ergonomic keyboard, it can come in any size but split down in the middle either partially or entirely, giving you the flexibility to hold your hands, arms, wrists, and shoulders at a more natural angle compared to the traditional flat keyboards. The partial ones are connected at the bottom with a small gap down the middle, while the fully split ones are most flexible and adjustable.
The next thing to settle on is the switches that you want to type on. Beneath each key, a mechanical keyboard has individual switches that make the keyboard durable, more customizable, and easy to repair. Mechanical switches come in 3 main types – linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches, when pressed down, feel smooth from top to bottom. Tactile ones have a noticeable bump through the keypress, letting you know that the key has been activated.
As for clicky switches, they feel the same as tactile switches but feature a click sound to match the tactile bump. Despite most companies making mechanical switches, the most popular switches are the Cherry MX switches. For gaming, the Cherry MX is our recommendation because it’s easier and faster to activate due to the relatively light actuation force and continuous travel.
Keyboards are made from different materials, with cheaper ones made of plastic cases and backplates. This makes them feel and sound hollow when one types, and when pressed too hard, they can flex. Stronger keyboards made of metal or higher-quality materials are sturdier. As for the frame, there are two types – low and high profile. A low-profile frame has the switches sitting on top of the case, while the other has the set of keys within a plastic case.
Most keyboards feature ABS keycaps which are lightweight and prone to wear by becoming smooth and shiny with heavier and continuous use. PBT keycaps, though less common, are more durable and offer a better texture.
This is a nice and convenient addition for someone using their PC in darkness. Though not a requirement for coding or typing, a better backlighting is a trustful white or programmable.
The noise level of a keyboard is determined by several factors such as the case material and design, the type of switch, room acoustics & noise levels, keycap material & shape, and how heavily one types.
Keyboards have undergone massive developments, giving customers the best quality of service. With a low-profile mechanical keyboard, you can play video games, code, or type easily and quickly without fatigue. These are the best low-profile mechanical keyboards on the market in 2021. Now that you know what are the best low-profile keyboards on the market, you should really consider getting yourself a silent PC case!