Small vs Big Keyboards: Mechanical Keyboard Sizes Guide 2024

By: Editorial Team

A keyboard is a peripheral with a myriad of uses. In the absence of a mouse, shortcut keys can help navigate through the OS.

Over the years, there have been many layouts and keyboard designs. The most common keyboard sizes are the TKL (tenkeyless), full-size, and 60% keyboards.

Is it better to have a bigger or smaller keyboard? Here’s what you need to know.

Pros And Cons Of A Small Keyboard


  • Portable
  • Shorter key-press, allows for rapid typing.
  • Allows for a clean look on your desk.
  • Ergonomic


  • People with large hands might take longer to adjust.
  • Does not have the numeric keypad.

Pros And Cons Of A Big Keyboard


  • Larger keyboards are more durable.
  • Cleaning big keyboards is much easier.
  • Suitable for people with large hands.


  • Takes a lot of desk space
  • Some big keyboards are expensive

What Keyboard Size Is Best?

A keyboard is a peripheral that should fit your needs and use. If you get a keyboard that’s too large or too small, you would not feel comfortable when typing.

How To Choose The Right Keyboard Size

The following are a number of keyboards that are going to be defined in detail.

Full-Sized Keyboard

Coming in at 104 available buttons, this keyboard is bulky, it’s functional but easy to use. The number pad helps to crunch numbers and enter numerical data.

full size keyboard
Full-Size Keyboard

A full-sized keyboard is for that person, who uses the numerical keypad a lot like accountants, etc.

Tenkeyless Keyboard

Tenkeyless boards have 87 keys, and although they do not have a number pad, they are more compact than full-sized keyboards.

tkl keyboard
TKL Keyboard

This keyboard is for individuals who do not use the number pad often. But still want most features of the standard keyboard.

Tenkeyless boards are mostly used by gamers.

75% Keyboard

This keyboard is fitted with 84 keys and it is 75% of the full-size keyboard. This keyboard does away with the gaps between the arrow keys and the navigation buttons.

75% Keyboard

This layout is uncommon, and it may take time to adjust to the button placements.

65% Keyboard

There are 2 layouts currently available for the 65% keyboard.

The first has all the keys together. The second has reasonable spacing between the arrow keys, and navigation buttons.

The 65% keyboard lack a number pad. You would not realise this if you do not use the ten key number pad much often.

65 keyboard
65% Keyboard

A 65% offers a much more functional set-up, without the bulkiness of the full-sized, and they come with 68 keys.

Its purpose is for gaming, coding, and anything in-between.

60% Keyboard

This kind of layout is one of the most popular keyboards available in the market. As the name says, it consists of 60% of the full-size layout, and it has 62 keys.

60 keyboard
60% Keyboard

This layout is missing the Function row, arrow keys and navigation buttons. Because of its sleek symmetrical design, this is primarily used for gaming, coding and typing.

40% Keyboard

This is one of the smallest keyboards available, and they’re called 40% for a reason; they consist of only 50 of the keys found on a full size keyboard.

These keyboards are missing the number pad, top row keys and furthermore lack the non-letter keys.

This layout is unique and not easy to acquire. And as a result, this layout is meant for productivity such as Coding, Secretarial and Data entry jobs.

40 keyboard
40% Keyboard

Are Smaller Or Bigger Keyboards Better?

This is relative. Because not all of us are the same, and each and every one of us sometimes has specific features not available to the next person.

Here are the criteria we use to determine which keyboards are better and to help you find the one for you.

Hand size

The size of one’s palm would determine the kind of keyboard they need to use. If your hand measures 9.5 inches -11 inches, then they are large.

It would be advisable to use a 70% keyboard or bigger, as smaller keyboards would irritate you.

Hand sizes 9 inches and below are medium/small. If you are within this range, smaller keyboards will be better for you, since you would move less to reach buttons.

Vision loss

Some select individuals with extreme myopia would need a keyboard with larger writings, and full-size keyboards have that.

When using a smaller keyboard, contrasting colours should be used for the buttons and letterings, to make them easily identifiable.


If you are on the go with the keyboard, you should definitely get a small keyboard. They’re lightweight and easy to pack in a bag.

But if the keyboard is going to be part of a desk set-up,  a standard-sized keyboard would do just fine.

Is A Full Size Keyboard Worth It?

Yes. This is the most functional keyboard there is. There are lots of features that a full-size keyboard has, that the smaller sized keyboards could not offer.

If you are looking for a full-size keyboard without the bulkiness, you should be considering the 1800 compact, or the tenkeyless.

These models have all the features, without some of the defects of keyboards half its size.

Is A Smaller Keyboard Better For Ergonomics?

There are no significant benefits, in terms of ergonomics. But we can say that as a result of size, smaller keyboards are symmetrical.

Meaning there are no offsets such as the numpad, arrow or navigation keys. This would reduce overextension when using the mouse and keyboard.

Do Smaller Keyboards Help You Type Faster?

No, they have no effect on the rate of speed at which a person types. A small keyboard reduces inconveniences and reduces the negative effects on the wrists, hands and shoulders.

Final Thoughts

In the end, you learn that bigger keyboards have as many benefits as a compact keyboard, and minor ergonomics are not enough to justify switching keyboards.

Use-case scenario is a much more rounded way to determine the benefits of each design over the other. We hope your queries were answered.