Top 40%, 60%, TKL & Full-Sized Portable Mechanical Keyboard

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Best portable mechanical keyboard
Best portable mechanical keyboard

Mechanical keyboards are known for their exceptionally tactile and satisfying feel that is suitable for gaming or office use. However, they are often bulky and hefty, making them less than ideal for people who are always on the move. 

Fortunately, there are a few compact mechanical keyboards that were specifically designed with travelers in mind. They offer the same excellent typing experience but address critical issues that affect their portability by applying simple methods like removing non-essential keys, using lightweight materials, and integrating low-profile mechanical key switches. 

Below, we have rounded up ten of the best portable mechanical keyboards to help you find the perfect work companion for your future trips.

Best 40% Portable Mechanical Keyboards

Qisan Magicforce 49 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Best Lightweight 40% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Qisan Magicforce 49

Key Features

  • GATERON Blue mechanical key switches
  • ABS keycaps with adjustable ice-blue backlighting
  • Brushed metal plate and plastic base
  • Weighs 390 grams
  • Detachable Mini USB cable
Pros
  • Extremely portable
  • Durable frame

Cons
  • Outdated Mini USB interface
  • Less durable ABS keycaps

The Qisan Magicforce 49 is one of the smallest and lightest portable mechanical keyboards you can get. Weighing a measly 390 grams, you will barely feel the load of this keyboard when you carry it around in your backpack. 

The Magicforce 49 features GATERON Blue mechanical key switches that provide adequate travel along with a clicky noise for a pleasing typing experience. The ABS keycaps and plastic base of this keyboard contribute to its lightweight frame, while the brushed aluminum plate gives it a premium look and feel. 

If you like working in the dark, the Magicforce 49 has adjustable ice-blue backlighting that illuminates the keys without being a distraction. Since this keyboard has such a compact frame, using it can be a bit jarring at first, but once you get used to the layout, typing should be a piece of cake.

Vortexgear Core 40% Mechanical Keyboard

Best Premium 40% Portable Mechanical Keyboard

Vortexgear Core 40%

Key Features

  • Cherry MX Brown mechanical key switches
  • PBT DSA keycaps
  • Full CNC aluminum casing
  • Programmable keys with four-layer customization
  • Weighs 405 grams
  • Detachable Micro USB cable
Pros
  • Extremely portable
  • Durable PBT keycaps
  • Solid aluminum frame
  • Programmable
Cons
  • Outdated Micro USB interface

The Vortexgear Core is a high-end 40% mechanical keyboard made of premium materials like Cherry MX Brown key switches, PBT DSA keycaps, and a full CNC aluminum casing for maximum durability. It features onboard four-layer key reprogramming to deliver seamless configuration across your devices. This level of customization allows you to enter special characters through the function button.

One of the most significant advantages of using a 40% keyboard is the space it frees up for your mouse. When gaming, you can use the added real estate for wrist movement to give you a competitive advantage. The only problem you might run into is missing the number row, which is a mainstay in first-person shooters. 

Overall, the Core is an excellent option if you’re looking for a compact mechanical keyboard that will last for a long time.

Best 60% Portable Mechanical Keyboards

Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2

Best Portable Mechanical Keyboard for Gaming

Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2

Key Features

  • Topre capacitive switches.
  • Top grade PBT keys.
  • Dip switches.
  • Topre “thock” sound.
  • Intelligent layout.
  • Ergonomic design.

Pros
  • Dip switches allow you to assign functions to keys.
  • Ergonomic design.
  • Topre “thock” auditory tics can sound satisfying to users.
Cons
  • RGB Backlight not available.
  • Monotonous color makes it difficult to distinguish keys.
  • Pricey.

The Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 is made of topre capacitive switches eliminating key bounce. This is a good thing for competitive gamers who believe that a single wrong stroke would be disastrous to their gaming experience.

As advertised, this keyboard is “made by programmers for programmers.” Still, it makes an excellent accessory for those in the enjoyable world of computer gaming. But, if you’re always on the go, this is more of a “need” than an accessory.

You can also use key combinations for faster typing. Plus, the contoured frame and key design allows for dynamic movement across the entire length of the keyboard. It was formulated to be ergonomic, leading to reduced hand and finger fatigue.

PBT keys are top-grade and ensure that the legends won’t fade even during long periods of use. Dip switches are available to assign functions to its keys. This allows for faster movement around the keyboard which is good for competitive gaming.

Cooler Master SK621 Low-Profile 60% Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Best Portable Mechanical 60% Keyboard

Cooler Master Sk621

Key Features

  • Cherry MX Low-Profile Red mechanical key switches
  • ABS keycaps with RGB LED backlighting
  • Brushed aluminum housing and plastic base
  • Weighs 425 grams
  • Hybrid wired and wireless connectivity
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 4000 mAh battery
  • Detachable USB Type-C cable
Pros
  • Cherry MX Low-Profile switches
  • Lightweight
  • Hybrid wired and wireless connectivity
  • Durable frame
  • USB Type-C interface
  • Bluetooth 4.0
Cons
  • No height adjustment
  • Awkward keycaps

The Cooler Master SK621 is one of the lightest and most portable 60% mechanical keyboards on the market thanks to its low-profile Cherry MX switches. At only 425 grams, its weight is comparable to the 40% keyboards on this list but provides considerably more keys. Moreover, it supports hybrid wired and wireless connectivity through a detachable USB Type-C cable and Bluetooth 4.0 for unparalleled versatility.

Based on its weight, you may think that the SK621 is made of light materials, but that isn’t the case at all. It has a brushed aluminum housing and a plastic base that gives it a bit of heft without compromising portability. More impressively, it packs a 4000 mAh battery to keep it powered in wireless mode. The keycaps also feature RGB LED backlighting, allowing you to use the device in poorly lit conditions.

Obinslab Anne Pro 2 60% Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Best Wireless Portable Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Obinslab Anne Pro 2

Key Features

  • GATERON Blue mechanical key switches
  • PBT keycaps with addressable RGB LED backlighting
  • Fully programmable keys with 16 macros
  • Hybrid wired and wireless connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 1900 mAh battery
  • Weighs 635 grams
  • Detachable USB Type-C cable
Pros
  • Durable PBT keycaps
  • Fully programmable keys
  • Hybrid wired and wireless connectivity
  • USB Type-C interface
  • Bluetooth 5.0
Cons
  • Requires constant firmware update

The Obinslab Anne Pro 2 is a fully-programmable wireless mechanical keyboard that is made of ultra-durable material. While its housing is all-plastic, it is integrated with a metal plate to give the device more weight for stability. It also features PBT keycaps, which are significantly more lasting than its ABS counterparts. 

What makes the Anne Pro 2 stand out among the strong contenders on this list is its remarkable connectivity. In addition to having wired support for USB Type-C, it also features cutting-edge Bluetooth 5.0 for low-latency wireless connectivity across any of your compatible devices. However, its battery has only 1900 mAh of juice, making it trail behind some of the other portable wireless mechanical keyboards on this list.

The Anne Pro 2 can be customized using a companion software called ObinsLab Starter, which allows you to program the keyboard layout, function and macro keys, lighting effects, as well as monitor battery life and update the firmware. 

Drop ALT 65% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Best Programmable Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Drop Alt

Key Features

  • Cherry MX Blue mechanical key switches
  • PBT double-shot keycaps with customizable RGB LED backlighting
  • CNC aluminum frame with built-in switch plate and magnetic legs
  • Fully programmable keys via QMK
  • Hot-swappable switch functionality
  • Weighs 695 grams
  • Detachable USB Type-C cable
Pros
  • Cherry MX mechanical switches
  • Durable PBT keycaps
  • Fully programmable keys
  • Solid aluminum frame
  • Ergonomic design
  • Dual USB Type-C interface

Cons
  • RGB lighting can be too aggressive

The Drop ALT features a hot-swappable switch functionality that is primarily aimed at beginner mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. It has a modular switch design that allows you to load it up with whatever switch you prefer at any time. This feature is especially useful if you’re new to mechanical keyboards and want to explore the wide variety of key switches available on the market.

The ALT is also abundant with lighting, making it ideal for users who like to work in the dark. Aside from the lighting on the keycaps, it has an LED strip that runs across the edge to provide ambient lighting in dark environments. 

The ALT sports an all-aluminum frame that comes with unique switch plates to allow for various ergonomic options. If you place the rubber feet at a forward angle, the keyboard tilts roughly five degrees to allow for a more comfortable typing position.

One of the most impressive features of the ALT is the support for two USB Type-C ports placed on either side of the board front. This design allows you to use the side that favors your setup and utilize the secondary port as a pass-through for data transfer or charging. 

If you want to use a combination of mechanical switches to build a keyboard you’re most comfortable with; you can use the provided grabber tool to remove keycaps and replace them with your preferred switches. With this level of customizability, you can put together a board that is most suitable for your needs, be it for gaming or typing. 

Best TKL Portable Mechanical Keyboards

Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Best TKL Portable Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Logitech G Pro

Key Features

  • Romer-G mechanical key switches
  • ABS keycaps with customizable RGB LED backlighting
  • Plastic frame and steel-reinforced backplate with three-step angle adjustment and rubber feet
  • 12 programmable keys
  • Weighs 980 grams
  • Detachable Micro USB cable
Pros
  • Durable frame
  • Ergonomic design
  • Programmable

Cons
  • Less durable ABS keycaps
  • Outdated Micro USB interface
  • Slightly heavy

The Logitech G Pro may be significantly heavier than some of the other options on this list, but it is designed to meet world-class gaming standards. It features proprietary mechanical key switches that have springs inside, dual contacts, and a landing pad that softens the bottoming out of a press. 

The sheer weight of the G Pro can be attributed to its extra ergonomic features designed to give gamers a competitive advantage. These include fully-programmable keys, three-step angle adjustment, and rubber feet for stability. However, it comes with a plastic frame, unlike many of its counterparts that features all-aluminum casings. It does have a steel-reinforced backplate that keeps it stable during your intense gaming marathons. 

Another knock on the G Pro is its outdated Micro USB interface instead of the faster and more convenient USB Type-C. Its keycaps are also made of ABS instead of much more durable PBT. Nevertheless, it maintains some important portability features like a detachable cable as well as a compact tenkeyless design. If you work or play games in a dark room, you’re also going to appreciate the RGB LED backlighting illuminating this keyboard. 

Razer Blackwidow Lite Mechanical Keyboard

Best Silent Portable Mechanical Keyboard

Razer Blackwidow Lite

Key Features

  • Razer Orange mechanical key switches
  • ABS keycaps with white individual LED backlighting
  • Metal plate and plastic frame
  • Fully programmable macro support
  • O-ring sound dampeners
  • Weighs 660 grams
  • Detachable Micro USB cable
Pros
  • Silent Razer Orange mechanical key switches
  • Durable frame
  • Programmable

Cons
  • Less durable ABS keycaps
  • Outdated Micro USB interface

The Razer Blackwidow Lite features discreet and quiet keys over the clicky ones. It features sound dampeners that dampen the sound of each keystroke and effectively reduce the switch travel distance. Moreover, features fully programmable macro support to give you maximum customizability.

Unlike many of the gaming-oriented mechanical keyboards on this list, the Blackwidow Lite has a formal design that is more suited for offices and libraries. It comes with Razer Orange key switches that offer tactile feel while staying relatively quiet. 

If you work from home and prefer having the lights out in your home office, you will undoubtedly appreciate the Blackwidow Lite’s white individual backlighting. It is also perfect if you prefer simplistic single-color lighting over flashy RGB.

The Blackwidow Elite has a metal plate where the keys rest on, while its main chassis is made of durable plastic. While it doesn’t come with some of the bells and whistles found in gaming keyboards, it offers an excellent typing experience and a lightweight and portable form factor that is ideal for frequent travelers. At first glance, anyone could never tell a gaming company manufactured it.

If you like to work in environments where you don’t want to disturb the people around you, this keyboard is a wise investment. 

Qisan Magicforce 68 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Best Portable Non-Backlit Mechanical Keyboard

Qisan Magicforce 68

Key Features

  • OUTEMU Brown mechanical key switches
  • ABS non-backlit keycaps
  • Reflective silver brushed metal plate with one step angle adjustable plastic base and rubber pads
  • Weighs 540 grams
  • Detachable Mini USB cable
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Durable frame
  • Ergonomic design

Cons
  • Less durable ABS keycaps
  • Outdated Mini USB interface
  • No backlighting

The Qisan Magicforce 68 is a lightweight mechanical keyboard that offers exceptional value. Among all the TKL keyboards on this list, it features the most portable weight along with a compact design that is very appealing to writers or gamers who are always on the move. It keeps all the essential keys of a TKL keyboard while having the form factor of a 60% keyboard.

Although the Magicforce 68 has a variety of switch options, we picked the OUTEMU Brown option because of its outstanding performance and affordable price tag. Performance-wise, this key switch is like a poor man’s Cherry MX Brown, offering a tactile and satisfying typing experience.

Expectedly, Qisan had to cut some corners to maintain the affordable price of the Magicforce 68. Most noticeably, its keycaps are made of ABS instead of durable PBT, and it doesn’t feature backlighting. Additionally, its detachable cable utilizes an outdated Mini USB interface, meaning you can’t use the USB Type-C cable from your smartphone or other devices in case you run into some problems with the detachable cable.

All things considered, the Magicforce 68 is still the top contender if you’re on a tight budget and want a portable TKL mechanical keyboard.

Best Full-Sized Portable Mechanical Keyboards

Keychron K1 Low-Profile Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Best Portable Full-Sized Mechanical Keyboard

Keychron K1

Key Features

  • GATERON Low-Profile Red key switches
  • ABS keycaps with customizable RGB LED backlighting
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum frame
  • Full-size layout with numeric pad
  • Hybrid wired and wireless connectivity
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • 2000 mAh battery
  • One key Siri activation support
  • Weighs 650 grams
  • Detachable USB Type-C cable
Pros
  • Full-sized keyboard layout
  • Hybrid wired and wireless connectivity
  • Lightweight
  • Durable aluminum frame
  • USB Type-C interface

Cons
  • Awkward keycaps

The Keychron K1 is a full-sized wireless mechanical keyboard that features unrivaled portability. It comes in an aircraft-grade aluminum frame and a USB Type-C interface to make it incredibly appealing for portable keyboard enthusiasts.  

Undoubtedly the most notable aspect of the K1 is the inclusion of a numeric pad, making it most suitable for people who need to crunch in the numbers while moving constantly. Even more impressive is its hybrid wired and wireless capabilities. This feature makes it possible to pull the device out of your backpack while on a plane and start typing immediately without having to deal with cables. 

It is worth mentioning that the mechanical key switches on the K1 are low-profile variants and are quite different from standard mechanical switches. They are optimized for compact keyboard frames, thus resulting in much shorter travel for more efficient typing. However, the keycaps are rather flat, without beveling, and feel nothing similar to the regular ones, so it may take some time to get accustomed to this keyboard.

Other than the mechanical key switches and keycaps, there isn’t much of a difference between low-profile and regular mechanical keyboards. You will find the same staple features on the K1, including customizable RGB LED backlighting. 

Ultimate Portability: 60% vs. 40% Mechanical Keyboards

Full-sized and TKL mechanical keyboards are hugely popular, but if you want ultimate portability, 60% and 40% keyboards are unmatched in this regard. Their slender form factor and durable design enable them to fit inside your backpacks without getting damaged during the daily commute. However, these tiny keyboards lack some of the features found in full-sized variants that you might need for your respective workloads. 

For instance, most 60% and 40% keyboards don’t come with numeric pads and arrow keys. If your job requires you to crunch in numbers, getting these types of keyboards may not be the greatest idea. Some of these keyboards allow you to program specific keys so you can use them as numeric pads or arrow keys, but it has a steep learning curve and can get rather tiring. 

If you’re a writer, using a 60% or 40% keyboard is an excellent experience as soon as you get used to their respective formats. Typing an apostrophe, exclamation, ampersand, or parentheses can be confusing at first since they often require the use of either layers or key combinations. But as soon as you get the hang of things and get into a rhythm, typing will be a breeze.  

If you’re a gamer who’s contemplating a portable mechanical gaming keyboard, the 60% variant is undoubtedly the better option. The most popular first-person shooters like CS: GO, and Apex Legends don’t require the use of macro keys, plus using a small keyboard gives you more room to operate your mouse. If you play MOBA games like DOTA 2 or League of Legends, you should be fine with a 60% keyboard since you can perform hotkeys or keyboard shortcuts with the existing keys. It largely depends on what game genres you play; if a 40% keyboard doesn’t have all the keys you need for your games, you’re better off with a 60% or TKL board. 

Mechanical Key Switches

Every single key of a mechanical keyboard has a mechanism underneath called a switch. There is a wide variety of switches that offer a distinct response, noise, and travel time, giving gamers and writers an extensive selection.

When you press a key on a mechanical keyboard, you get instant tactile feedback to make typing easier on your fingers. Some key switches also produce a unique and satisfying clicky sound that emulates a traditional keyboard. The input and sound give you a better sense of recognition when a key is pressed and ultimately boosts your productivity.

The vast majority of mechanical keyboards, including those on this list, use Cherry or Cherry clone switches. Mechanical switches are named after colors to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of response, noise, and travel times. 

The table below details the elements you should consider when choosing a key switch to help you determine which mechanical key switch fits your typing demands. 

Name
Type
Actuation
Travel Distance
Cherry MX Blue  Clicky 50g 4.0mm
Cherry MX Brown  Tactile 45g 4.0mm
Razer Orange  Tactile 45g 4.0mm
Logitech Romer-G Tactile 45g 3.2mm
Cherry MX Low-Profile Red Linear 45g 3.2mm

Ergonomics

The reason you’re getting a mechanical keyboard is to ramp up comfort and responsiveness when you’re typing. That is why you must also consider ergonomics in addition to portability. You want the keys to be well-spaced, easy to reach, and satisfying to press. 

With 60% and 40% mechanical keyboards, in particular, several non-essential keys that you may be used to having are disposed of, so you must make sure you’re comfortable tackling a completely new format. Some portable keyboards also feature adjustable feet with various angles to give you a more comfortable typing experience. 

Backlighting

Backlighting adds a bit of finesse to a mechanical keyboard and enables you to use it in dark environments. While it may not be important if you’re going to use the keyboard in an office space, many gamers prefer to have RGB LED illuminated keys to provide ambient room lighting and enhance their gaming experience. Some mechanical keyboards even offer the ability to customize backlighting for added versatility.

Programmability

Programmability is especially important when it comes to 40% mechanical keyboards, considering they have a minimal number of keys. Programmable keyboards allow you to change any key or function layer action. They allow you to access arrow keys, symbols,  and numbers by holding down the function button. 

Despite having much fewer keys, 40% keyboards greatly reduce hand movement to become more efficient once you get familiar with the layout and function layers. 

Build Quality

A mechanical keyboard that you’re going to throw in your backpack for work trips must be compact yet robust enough to endure rough terrains without damaging its components. Look for a keyboard that is made of solid materials like brushed aluminum to ensure that it will last you a long while. 

Weight

Since you’re going to carry the weight of the mechanical keyboard when you’re traveling, it should be lightweight. Ideally, you want the keyboard to weigh below 900 grams. Anything above this limit can be too cumbersome for traveling, especially if you’re bringing along other stuff in your backpack.

Quick Recap: Top 10 Portable Mechanical Keyboards

Best 40% Portable Mechanical Gaming Keyboards

  1. Qisan Magicforce 49 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Best Lightweight 40% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  2. Vortexgear Core 40% Mechanical Keyboard – Best Premium 40% Portable Mechanical Keyboard

Best 60% Portable Mechanical Keyboards

  1. Ducky One 2 Mini Mecha 60% Keyboard – Best Portable Mechanical Keyboard for Gaming
  2. Cooler Master SK621 Low-Profile 60% Wireless Mechanical Keyboard – Best 60% Low-Profile Portable Mechanical Keyboard
  3. Obinslab Anne Pro 2 60% Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Best Wireless Portable Gaming Mechanical Keyboard
  4. Drop ALT 65% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Best Programmable Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Best TKL Portable Mechanical Keyboards

  1. Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Best TKL Portable Gaming Mechanical Keyboard
  2. Razer Blackwidow Lite Mechanical Keyboard – Best Silent Portable Mechanical Keyboard
  3. Qisan Magicforce 68 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Best Non-Backlit Portable Mechanical Keyboard

Best Full-Sized Portable Low Profile Mechanical Keyboard

Final Words

That wraps up our comprehensive guide on the best portable mechanical keyboards in the market today. We hope our tips will help you make an informed decision when purchasing a compact keyboard. While the keyboards are listed in a specific order, none stands out better than the other. It all boils down to your needs and personal preferences.

I am a gaming enthusiast with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge in the world of technology. In addition to being a resident contributor to this website, I am currently pursuing a degree in political science while flipping gaming systems on the side.

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