Best 65% Mechanical Gaming Keyboards (2023 Review)
Before buying a keyboard, most gamers think about how easy it is to carry and how comfortable it is to use. With that said, one of the most sought-after keyboards has to be 65% mechanical. This is because it offers the compactness of a 60% keyboard and the functionality of a tenkeyless.
Considering there are a variety of keyboard options, it might be hard to know which products deliver the performance you want. Therefore, this article contains a comprehensive buying guide and other important information.
What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
A mechanical keyboard means that every key on the keyboard is fitted with a spring and a mechanical switch. So, when you press down on the key cap, it presses onto the spring underneath, which then sends a signal to the key switches. People love it because of its tactile feedback and clicking noise.
When typewriters hit the scene, many were obsessed with the clicking sound they made whenever they were in use. However, when technology advanced and computers replaced typewriters, product designers started making quieter keyboards as they were more convenient.
However, some people still like the fairly loud clicking sound. Therefore, they opt to look for good mechanical gaming keyboards as they are the only ones that still produce a loud clicking noise yet are fitted with features of alternative modern keyboards.
Good 65% Mechanical Gaming Keyboards In The Market
To come up with the list below, we have considered several features such as pricing, functionality, customization options, quality of the build, and so forth.
Note: This list below is in no particular order.
1. Ducky 1 2SF
Ducky 1 2SF
If you are in the market for a budget gaming keyboard that doesn’t compromise quality, then the Ducky 1 2SF is a good option. To save costs, it comes with a plastic casing. However, the build is still sturdy, and you won’t see any signs of chipping for a few years.
The package comes with a keycap remover, meaning you can easily remove the keyboard RBT keycaps and replace them with the extra WASD keycaps that are included in the package. However, one major downside of this keyboard is that it isn’t backed up by any proprietary software.
For that reason, you cannot switch up the RGB light or rearrange the keyboard functions. Therefore, there are better choices than this if you want to be in professional gaming competitions.
2. Magicforce 68
The Magicforce 68 is one of the most budget-friendly yet functional keyboards. The only features that aren’t top-notch about this product are that the key switches don’t offer the best tactile feedback and the exterior could have been better.
On the other hand, you have the option to choose one of the following key switches; Gateron, Cherry, and Outuemu, which also comes with the option of any of these three colors; blue, brown, or red.
Though the exterior doesn’t come with the typical metal plate on top of it, it still appears well put together. Thankfully, the keycaps are easy to replace, and you even get a few extra keycaps for free in the packaging.
Although the key layout is pretty impressive, this keyboard is extremely loud and wobbles if pressed too roughly. Therefore, only purchase if you are ok with the aforementioned.
3. Drop ALT
The manufacturers of Drop keyboards have recently released a 65% mechanical graming keyboard packed with impressive features. Right from the box, you will notice how each key is designed compactly to utilize the small keyboard surface. Thanks to the design, you can press each key comfortably without overlapping each other.
Depending on your actuation preferences, you can choose one of three available key switch options. It is imperative to note that most gamers prefer the Cherry MX as they are quick to give tactile feedback.
Also, you can easily change the key switches and keycaps, depending on the game you are playing. On that note, the key caps are dust and waterproof to some level. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about spills.
Thanks to its magnetic metal legs, this keyboard is not wobbly, so it’s as comfortable as possible. Ultimately, if you are big on aesthetics, you will appreciate the fact that you get to choose the backlight and RGB light options from the hundreds of options.
Aside from all the above, this keyboard is supported by QMK firmware. Therefore, you can set up macro keys and change the key mapping to suit your playing style.
4. Keychron K6
The keychron k6 is among the best sellers because it comes with almost all the features an avid gamer would appreciate from his keyboard.
First off, it’s wireless and compact, meaning it’s a good choice if you have a small desk space or don’t like worrying about cable clutter. Also, it’s one of the few keyboards that work well with both Windows and Mac displays.
The best feature of this keyboard is that the switches are hot-swappable. Typically, you can only find the aforementioned feature on expensive keyboards. Also, you get to choose one of the following case options; an Aluminum case with RGB lights, a Plastic case with RGB lights, or Plastic with backlights. Naturally, the option you choose will alter the price, so choose accordingly.
A notable downside of this keyboard is that it is expensive yet fitted with cheap ABS keycaps. First off, the keycaps are slippery, and they look cheap. Also, the keyboard is thick and doesn’t have a place to rest your wrist. Therefore, you will become uncomfortable after just a short period of gaming.
5. Ducky Mia Pro
Ducky Mia Pro
Two renowned gaming paraphernalia manufacturers recently collaborated on a 65% mechanical keyboard, and it’s nothing less than what you would expect. The two companies in question are Varmilo and Ducky, and the keyboard they released is called Ducky Mia pro.
It has a sturdy plastic case that is not prone to wear and tear. The best part is you can choose one design from various options. Some of the pieces you are allowed to customize during purchase include Keycaps, key switches, and the color of the plastic exterior.
Although you get a few programming options thanks to its inbuilt firmware, you will not have access to the customization features that are possible when a software program supports your keyboard. For example, one of the aforementioned features includes RGB lighting, changing the key mapping, etc.
Compared to some of the other keyboards in this list, the Ducky Mia Pro is one of the best and cheapest options, but it doesn’t offer some of the needed features, which makes it inconvenient.
6. Hyperx Alloy Origins
Hyperx Alloy Origins
HyperX has continually released several gaming equipment, each better than the last. Their latest release, the mechanical keyboard, is one of the best in the market. Though pricey, it is packed with several features a gamer would appreciate.
It comes with PBT keycaps with a subtle grainy texture, enhancing the tactile feedback. Also, you can easily swap out the keycaps or even the key switches if you need different actuation.
The exterior was designed with portability in mind hence why it is pretty slim and compact without infringing on the number of features. Thanks to how great the keys are arranged and spaced, you can easily reach every key while gaming.
7. Womier 65
The main marketing point of this keyboard is that it offers several features that aren’t available in other mainstream 65% keyboards. First off, it’s perfect for people who care about aesthetics, as you can customize almost every part of the keyboard, from the switches to the Keycaps and even the casing colors.
Its PBT keycaps are smudge-proof, meaning they won’t start having fingerprint stains after a few months. Also, you can easily use the keyboard for typing and gaming, making it a great purchase if your set-up doubles as a study area.
Other notable features include the fact that it has a relatively quick polling rate. Therefore, you can use it for professional gaming tournaments without fear of your performance being compromised.
8. Leopold FC660M
Just like all Leopold gaming keyboards, this one feels expensive, looks sturdy, and has quality features to match. Considering its low price, it’s not a shock that this keyboard doesn’t offer customization options. For that reason, it locks every professional gamer who likes to program their keys and people who prefer a certain aesthetic out of their target demographic.
When making a purchase, you can choose one Cherry option: Black, Brown, Red, and silent reds. So, if you are on a budget, you don’t mind the absence of RGB lighting and no remapping.
9. Durgod Hades 68
Durgod Hades 68
Unlike most keyboards on this list, the Durgod Hades 68 hardly has a flaw, its features, build, and customization options offer everything a gamer would want. First off, you can choose one of the following switches when making the purchase, Cherry, Gateron, or Kailh. Please note that once you choose one type of switch, you won’t be able to change it in the future.
Arguably, this keyboard’s best feature has to be that it’s supported with software that allows you to switch up the key arrangements and create macros for up to 4 layers. Also, you can choose any light color from the 68 different light modes available.
The exterior is quite catchy, and since it is highly customizable, you can easily tweak it to fit your preferred aesthetic. Lastly, it comes with PBT keys which are well-sculpted to improve tactile feedback.
10. RK Royal Kludge
RK Royal Kludge
The Royal Kludge is a compact keyboard that comes with a well-thought-out key layout. The problem is, you won’t be able to remap the keys as per your gaming style. At first glance, you will notice that the case is quite sturdy, considering it’s made of aluminum which has a reputation for lasting for prolonged periods.
This keyboard has a backlight RGB light that offers you a few lighting options. However, be careful with the amping up the RGB brightness as it drains the keyboard battery quickly.
The keycaps are PBT and therefore last a relatively long time without becoming shiny at the top. One outstanding feature of this keyboard is that you can use it regardless of whether it’s wired or wireless. This is because it can connect to your display using Bluetooth, 2.4Ghz dongle or an USB type C cable.
- Comes with high quality and sturdy aluminum case
- Its keycaps are easy to replace
- Stabilizers are lubed during manufacturing to save you the trouble
- It is expensive, yet it’s missing a fundamental feature
- Doesn’t allow you to remap the keys because its not supported by any software
11. Razer BlackWidow V3
Razer BlackWidow V3
This Razer mechanical keyboard is quite pricey but contains several useful features. It’s a perfect addition for anyone who games professionally because it’s equipped with features such as a high polling rate and high latency, which, if used well, will ensure you are at your best performance.
The exterior design is well thought out, so the buttons hang low. This way, your fingers won’t get tired after a long gaming session. Also, the sleek design allows you to attach a wrist rest easily. Unlike most mechanical keyboards, this one doesn’t require you to use a lot of force to press down the buttons.
Also, considering this keyboard is backed by Razer’s proprietary software, you can easily customize the RGB lighting as you have hundreds of color options. On that note, you can also remap all the keys, create macros, etc, through the software.
The best part about Razer keyboards is that they offer their consumers 24-7 customer support. You can even contact them to find out how to set up different custom features.
Features to consider when buying a 65% mechanical keyboard
Considering most people prefer quieter keyboards, there are limited options for 65% of gaming keyboards. For that reason, you should know every feature to expect in a good keyboard so you can pick out the ones that suit your needs and which features you can do without.
Below are a few features you should look at:
The Key Layout
Considering you will only have 65% of the total number of keys, it is evident that you will need to sacrifice some keys. For example, there are keyboards without the function row, which is then programmed and put on a layer under a different group of keys. Please note that if you are a beginner and your play style isn’t aligned with the key mapping, you won’t be at your peak performance.
Some mechanical keyboards are backed up with software that allows you to customize features such as key mapping, creating macros, RGB lighting, etc. Alternatively, some only have programmable firmware, allowing you to make custom changes here and there.
However, a few Keyboards don’t offer any custom features. That said, ensure that you get a keyboard that allows for the customization level you need.
Type of Key Switches
The key switch determines how much you will need to press the button to get a reaction, how loud the sound of pressing the key cap will be, and finally, the tactile feedback you will receive. Therefore, figure out how loud/quiet you want your keyboard to be and the tactile feedback you would like before buying a mechanical keyboard.
Also, confirm whether the type of key switch you are looking at is long-lasting. For example, some companies use cheap springs, which stop working well after a while.
Considering you already don’t have a lot of keys on your keyboard, look out for keyboards that have multimedia control buttons. Some of the common ones include; a volume button, dedicated macro buttons, and so forth.
Thue Multimedia buttons will make your user experience way more pleasant.
Considering there are a limited number of 65% keyboards in the market, most of them are created with a specific target market in mind. However, for context, almost a quarter of the keyboards mentioned in this article are incompatible with macOS displays. Therefore, ensure that your keyboard is compatible with all your displays to avoid inconveniences.
Type of Connection
You can either choose the mechanical keyboards that connect to your display via a USB cable or those that connect wirelessly (Bluetooth). For perspective, gamers prefer wired connections as they offer a slightly faster reaction rate. On the other hand, wireless connections eliminate the cable clutter and can connect to more displays simultaneously.
Keep in mind that an average player won’t notice the difference between reaction speeds of the wired and wireless keyboards.
65% mechanical gaming keyboards are perfect for people willing to sacrifice some keys without missing a lot of functionality. Considering most people have different preferences and tastes, this article has options for everyone regardless of budget or non-negotiable features.
How many keys does a 65% mechanical keyboard have?
It depends on the brand. However, the number of keys will fall in the 66-68 range.
What is the best key switch for mechanical keyboards?
There are plenty of underrated ones, though Cherry MX and Razer key switches are the most popular ones.
Can I use a 65% keyboard for typing and programming?
Yes, you can. Even though 65% keyboards were created for gaming, they also work perfectly for other programming and other similar tasks. However, you need to remember that you won’t have any control or function keys.