Tenkeyless is a keyboard with a minimum number of keys, usually made to reduce the cost of manufacture. Tenkeyless keyboards typically have 12 keys, compared to standard layouts with ten or, more commonly today, 18 keys.

The reduction in key numbers is often achieved by sacrificing the four arrow buttons in favor of an additional function or modifying one. The most common modification is minimizing the size and/or eliminating splitting the left and right shift keys into separate arrows on some models. Other designs remove all function and arrow buttons except for the space bar and use a combination of keycaps for other purposes such as backspace and enter. Some keyboards omit the control key completely, removing all user-interface features.

It is possible to make a tenkeyless keyboard that has all the functionality of a full-sized keyboard. However, it is more common to use the same number of keys as a full-sized board but place additional functions on those keys. The most common example of this is the use of function keys in place of macro keys for controlling computer programs.

The term tenkeyless derives from ten key input devices, referring to large CRT typewriters with ten function buttons and no number pad. Tenkeyless keyboards became very popular with gaming and professional applications during the late 1980s and early 1990s, notably due to the popularity of Microsoft Windows 3.1.

The term tenkeyless keyboard is most often associated with models that have received an “international” designation from the manufacturer.

Why Are They Good to Use?

First of all, they are cheaper than full-sized keyboards. The price difference between them is about $20 to $50, that’s why it is one of the first choices for those who want to buy a mechanical keyboard and can’t afford a high-end one.

Secondly, they are small and portable, which makes them suitable for home use. And if you want to take your keyboard somewhere, tenkeyless ones will be easier to move around.

Lastly, many of them are equipped with additional features that full-sized ones don’t have. Common features are USB hubs, multimedia keys, macro recording/enabling keys, and removable cables.

What Are Their Disadvantages?

First of all, they are not widely used among professional players because they have fewer keys than full-sized keyboards. Many of them prefer full-sized keyboards because they believe tenkeyless ones can’t give them the same feeling when playing games.

Secondly, they are not easy to maintain. Unlike full-sized ones, tenkeyless keyboards don’t have as many spare parts as you can easily buy from some online store. So if your key is broken or if you damage them, you may find it hard to find a replacement on the Internet.

Thirdly, they require better skills for typists. Because of their lack of spacebar and arrow keys, you need more typing effort than the full-sized ones.

Is Tenkeyless better for gaming?

No, it isn’t. It may be better for some people who need small keyboards and don’t want to carry around a bulkier number pad at the same time. But for those who like their controllers and macros, you can’t use them on a tenkeyless keyboard.

So, Why Do We Make Them?

They are very popular among people who don’t find full-sized keyboards suitable for their interests. They are also often used in the office, where they become convenient to create shortcuts or organize shortcuts easily. And if space is limited in your office, you can choose tenkeyless ones instead of ergonomic ones.

Another popular usage of tenkeyless keyboards is personal use. They are usually sold at a lower price than full-sized ones, which is more comfortable for people who don’t like to spend money on expensive mechanical keyboards. Many of them bring extra features without additional cost; many companies sell the tenkeyless ones with some extra features for some bucks or euros.

Why Is It Called Tkl?

The term tenkeyless comes from ten key input device, which was a feature of typewriters. On the mechanical keyboards, the function buttons can be used to perform a variety of tasks, making them a kind of replacement for the function keys in the old machines. Tenkeyless keyboards use this feature very well.

How Can I Find One?

If you want to buy a mechanical keyboard with few buttons and features, you should think about this issue too when you choose what kind of one to buy. Many companies produce them so you can compare their models easily and check which one suits your needs best. Here we give you some useful information about the companies and their products.


E-Blue has been a manufacturer of mechanical keyboards for over ten years. The tenkeyless one is one of the main models they produce. It sports 12 full-size keys, six function keys, one key to enable/disable macros, one key to enable/disable lights, one key to enable/disable N-Key Rollover (NKRO). It has five media keys plus Windows Key Lock right above the spacebar. The additional features are NKRO and USB 2.0 Hub with four ports at the backside. All these features are very important for gamers, who need them to play games without interruption.

If you want to get a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard from a company with a long history, E-Blue should be your first choice. It’s about the quality of the products and the service and customer support they provide. They always listen to their customers and take their feedback seriously. Every product they produce can always meet your expectations.


Noppoo is another well-known brand in this industry that produces many products such as mechanical keyboards, mice, and headsets. They focus on tech and concentrate on design and performance, which makes them stand out among other suppliers. Like E-Blue, they produce some interesting tenkeyless keyboards. If you are looking for some features that will help you get the most out of your keyboard, Noppoo is the right choice for you.

Their tenkeyless keyboards can be used to play games correctly and correctly with multiple gaming profiles. Their main color is black, though they also offer brown and orange variants; all of them are made in China. The keycaps aren’t removable, but there are no issues with this.

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Tenkeyless mechanical keyboards are ideal for those who don’t want to carry around a big number pad. However, if you are looking for the best quality keys, you should go with full-sized keyboards. Aside from their characteristics, tenkeyless keyboards also come with various options that better suit your needs than full-sized ones. No matter which kind of keyboard you choose, it will be more than enough for standard home use because of its compact size.