Best 60% Mechanical Keyboard for Programming & Typing in 2019

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A 60% mechanical keyboard is a small form factor mechanical keyboard that is even smaller than a Tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. As from the name implies, these keyboards come with 60 keys (some can have a bit more), and they do not come with function keys, number pad keys, navigation cluster, arrows keys, and relies on the secondary or multi key layers to make up for the missing keys. This means you can activate or engage the missing keys using the modifier key or FN key in conjunction with another key. Most of these 60 percent keyboards also come with DIP switches that allows you to change keyboard layout e.g. from QWERTY to DVORAK, COLEMAK or vice versa. Moreover, these DIP switches are also used to customize some particular keys on the keyboard. These 60% mechanical keyboards offer great portability and you carry them easily in your laptop bag during travel. They can also be called as super compact or ultra-compact mechanical keyboards.

60% Mechanical Keyboards are the popular choice for programmers, coders and typists because of their cluster free layout, simplicity, portability and the reliability of mechanical switches. These keyboards are generally not meant for gaming, because of the missing keys (especially arrows keys) that may be needed in games. However, you can game on them as most of them support N-key rollover with anti-ghosting. In general, 60% mechanical keyboards are in the minority group as most of the big brands don’t actually care to make them. However, there are some very good, reliable and feature rich 60 percent mechanical keyboards available, which I am going to list here.

Read also: Best 40% Mechanical Keyboards for Work [Ultra Portable]

Best 60% Mechanical Keyboards for Professionals

Here are the best 60% mechanical keyboards that you can use for programming, coding, typing, gaming and normal day to day work.

Vortexgear POK3R Mechanical Keyboard

[PBT Keycaps, Programmable, Custom Layouts]

Vortexgear POK3R or Vortex Poker 3 is a very popular and one of the best 60% mechanical keyboards for professionals that include programmers, coders and typists. The keyboard has got 61 keys in total and comes with Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red / Clear / Silent Red / Silver switches to choose to from. It has got great build quality and has got aluminum construction. There are four DIP switches located at the bottom that allows you to change layout (DVORAK, COLEMAK or QWERTY), and also allows you to customize some of the main keys e.g. turning your Caps Lock key into an FN key, or repositioning FN and PN keys wherever you want on the board.

Vortexgear-POK3R-60-Mechanical-Keyboard

This 60% mechanical keyboard has got Laster Etched PBT keycaps that are better than ABS keycaps as they are durable and hard, and do not develop shine or smooth out in the long run. Being a programmable keyboard, it has got 3 customizable layers, which you can program according to your requirements and ease. The LED under the space-bar key tells you about the layer you are currently working on. You can enable or record macros up to 32 keystrokes per key, which is remarkable and prove very useful for code snipplet, text navigation & selection etc. All the programming settings of programmable keys is stored on the on-board memory, and no software is needed for customization and changing settings.

The keyboard also has a gaming side too as it supports N-Key Rollover with Anti-Ghosting. So, if you want to enjoy a bit of gaming, when you need a change from the work, then this keyboard is very much capable of gaming too. The only thing that this keyboard lacks is the LED backlighting, which could have made this keyboard almost unbeatable in every aspect. However, most of the users can live without it but it should be there for a keyboard of this quality and caliber. The keyboard is compatible with Windows XP / 7 / Vista / 10, Mac OS, Linux, but the firmware update is carried out on Windows only. So, if you looking for an ultra-compact mechanical keyboard for your programming and typing needs then you won’t find anything better than this. It is also available in white that looks outright classy. Highly Recommended by me.

Vortexgear POK3R Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 60 Percent
Switch Type Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red / Clear / Silent Red / Silver
Backlight NA
Interface USB 2.0
Features Three DIP Switches, PBT Keycaps, 3 Programmable Layers & Macros, Solid CNC Anodized Aluminum Case, Plate Mounted Switches, Customizable Layouts (Qwerty, Dvorak, and Colemak), N-Key Rollover with Anti-Ghosting, Detachable Micro-USB cable, ANSI Layout, Floating Keycap design, Windows XP / 7 / Vista / 10, Mac OS, Linux Compatible

Buy Vortexgear POK3R Mechanical Keyboard

iKBC New Poker II Mechanical Keyboard

[PBT Keycaps, Programmable, Custom Layouts, USB Type-C]

iKBC is a brand that does not compromise on quality and is pretty well known for making durable, simplistic and high-quality Cherry MX mechanical keyboards. Here we have a super compact mechanical keyboard from it, which is iKBC New Poker II Mechanical Keyboard. This is a true 60% mechanical keyboard that comes with Cherry MX Brown / Red / Blue switches, and Laser Engraved PBT keycaps for durability, longevity and better typing feel. This is a fully programmable keyboard that comes with three programmable layers with macros. The keyboard supports four layouts: Qwerty, Dvorak, Colemak & Workman, and you can switch between them and customize some important keys using the six DIP switches located on the back side of the keyboard.

iKBC-New-Poker-II-Mechanical-Keyboard

This is a well-built minimalist 60 percent mechanical keyboard and feels very solid and sturdy. For gaming, the keyboard also features NKRO and Anti-ghosting. Just like the Vortexgear POK3R, this keyboard also lacks keycap backlighting, which is a bit of setback for some users. In terms of functionality and features, it is a bit ahead of the Vortexgear POK3R. The operating systems supported by this keyboard include Windows and Mac OS. It comes with two detachable braided cables; one is USB Type-C to USB Type-C and other is USB Type-A to USB Type-C for wider range of connectivity. The package also includes two Red Ctrl keycaps, two Blue Alt Keycaps and two Green Shift Keycaps for ease of use. Overall, a great 60% mechanical keyboard that excels in quality, features and functionality, and is a boon to programmers, coders and heavy-duty typists.

iKBC New Poker II Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 60 Percent
Switch Type Cherry MX Brown / Red / Blue
Backlight NA
Interface USB 2.0 (USB Type-C / USB Type-A)
Features 3 Programmable Layers & Macros support, 4 Built in Layouts (Qwerty, Dvorak, Colemak & Workman), Six DIP Switches, Detachable Braided USB Cable (USB Type-C) & 3-Way Routing System, NKRO with Anti-ghosting, Windows and Mac Compatible, ANSI Layout, PBT Keycaps

Buy iKBC New Poker II Mechanical Keyboard

Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2

[TOPRE Capacitive Switches, Sturdy, USB Hub 2 Ports]

HHKB Professional 2 is a very special 60 keys keyboard from PFU Limited, a Japanese manufacturer. The main highlight of this 60% keyboard is its unique switches. It comes with Topre switches, which is a hybrid between a mechanical spring-based switch and rubber dome-based switch with a capacitive sensor. In these Electrostatic Capacitive Switches, the keypresses are registered or sensed electrically rather than physically (by closing a circuit). This is done to eliminate key bounce or key chatter, which is common problem with traditional mechanical switches. The Topre keys require actuation force of 45g (similar to Cherry MX brown switch), and are available in both silent and clicky variants.

Happy-Hacking-Keyboard-Professional-2

Topre switch require only a gentle push to register a keystroke and produces a satisfactory ‘thock’ sound. They are much more expensive than mechanical switches (including Cherry MX), and this increases the price of  these keyboards to a greater extent. These switches are also used in military and commercial applications where there is no room for failure, and higher accuracy is a necessity. It may take some time to getting used to these Topre switches, especially if you are transitioning from a Cherry MX keyboard. However, when you really get a good hold on them, then typing on them is satisfactory and they feel as good as the mechanical switches. Below you can see the key elements and construction of a Topre switch.

topre-capacitive-switch

HHKB Professional 2 Keyboard comes with 60 keys and has contoured frame and design that helps in reduce finger fatigue and stress on your hands. This keyboard is solidly built and comes with PBT keycaps, six DIP switches and three levels of height adjustment. The DIP switches at the front side allows you to switch layouts that include HHKB Mode (UNIX), Lite Ext. Mode (Windows), Mac Mode, and to customize some of the main keys. The keyboard also features a USB 2.0 hub with two USB ports to connect mouse, flash drives, headphones or any other low power USB devices. The keyboard lacks LED backlighting and comes with a detachable USB cable for connectivity. The keyboard is available in both blank keys and printed keys variant, and also in two colors that include charcoal (black) or white. So, if you are programmer, coder, typist or a professional, and are looking for a highly reliable 60% keyboard that offers highest level of accuracy and has great build quality then you should definitely go for it. The main reseller for this keyboard is Fujistu, so it is also known as Fujistsu Happy Hacking Keyboard.

Note: Bluetooth variant of Happy Hacking Keyboard is also available. The Type-S model or variant of the keyboard has Topre Silent Switches. You can check out all the models and variants from the links given below.

Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 Specifications
Form Factor 60 Percent
Switch Type Topre Capacitive Switch
Backlight NA
Interface USB 2.0
Features PBT Keycaps, 3 adjustable height settings, Six DIP switches, PC, Linux, Unix and Mac compatible, USB Hub, Contoured frame, 3 Modes (Linux, Windows, Mac), USB 2.0 Hub (2 ports)

Buy Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2

Buy Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Type-S

Buy Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional [Bluetooth+USB]

Cooler Master SK621 Mechanical Keyboard

[Low Profile Switches, Slim Design, RGB Lighting, Bluetooth+USB]

Cooler Master SK621 is a 60% low profile mechanical keyboard with fancy RGB backlighting. It comes with Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Switches that has less key travel distance and lower actuation point. The keyboard has got flat contoured keycaps that resembles chiclet keys, which you normally see on modern-day laptops and notebooks. It has floating keys design that makes it easier to clean. Because of the low-profile keycaps and mechanical switches, this keyboard is slimmer than all the 60% mechanical keyboards and is ultra-compact and portable in size. You really have no trouble at all carrying this keyboard in your laptop bag, even if the bag is a bit smaller.

Cooler-Master-SK621-Mechanical-Keyboard

The keyboard comes with hybrid connectivity option, which means it supports both wired and wireless mode of operation. For wired mode, is uses a braided and detachable USB cable that has USB Type-C connector at one end and USB Type-A at other. The keyboard supports Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity and you can connect it to any supported Bluetooth enabled device that includes your smartphone, tablet, laptop etc. It has got a rechargeable internal battery that can provide up to 4 -5 months of backup with lighting Off, and up to 15 hours with RGB lighting On. Using the special function key (FN) with other keys, you can engage the missing keys and also activate the various media shortcuts. This FN key is also used to adjust per-key backlighting, switch lighting modes or effects, and even record macros on-the-fly without the need of any software. The RGB lighting is bright, looks great and there is actually nothing to complain about them. The build quality of this minimalist keyboard is pretty good and it has got brushed aluminum top that give the keyboard extra rigidity.

It may take some time to getting used these low-profile switches and keycaps on this keyboard, especially if you haven’t had any experience with low profile keyboards previously, and also do not use laptop keyboard at all. It can also be used for gaming because it supports N-key rollover with Anti-ghosting and RGB backlighting. This may be not be the preferred compact keyboard for programmers and coders who do a lot of typing and want greater programming features, but is a great alternative for regular users and some gamers, who want to save a considerable amount of space on their desk. It is also a great compact keyboard for someone who want a slim portable mechanical keyboard that is easy to carry in their laptop bag.

Must Read: Best RGB Mechanical Keyboards for Gaming

Cooler Master SK621 Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 60 Percent
Switch Type Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Switch
Backlight RGB LED
Interface USB 2.0 / Bluetooth 4.0
Features FN Multimedia Keys, Removable Braided USB cable, 32-bit ARM Cortex processor, Macro Recording and Lighting Control, N-key rollover with Anti-ghosting, Slim design, Chiclet styled keys, Internal rechargeable battery

Buy Cooler Master SK621 Mechanical Keyboard

Vortexgear Cypher Mechanical Keyboard

[Dedicated Arrow Keys, PBT Keycaps, Programmable]

Vortexgear Cypher is a 65% mechanical keyboard that comes with 68 keys. The keyboard includes dedicated arrows keys that you won’t find in the Vortexgear POK3R model. Despite of more keys, the keyboard is still super compact and portable. The keyboard comes with Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red / Silver switches with Laser etched PBT keycaps, but lacks LED backlighting. It is a fully programmable keyboard that has got three programmable layers, and supports built-in layouts that include Qwerty, Dvorak, and Colemak. You can change the layouts and customize some functions of main keys using the DIP switches located on the back of keyboard. The keyboard allows you to program up to 100 characters per key and all this is done on-the-fly using the physical switches, and no software is needed for it.

Vortexgear-Cypher-Mechanical-Keyboard

The inclusion of arrow keys makes this keyboard very much suitable for gaming too, and it also supports N-Key Rollover with Anti-Ghosting. The construction quality of the keyboard is good and it comes with a Detachable USB Type-C Gold Plated Cable. The keyboard is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux but the firmware update can only be done using Windows OS. So, if you are looking for a portable keyboard for professional and gaming needs with dedicated arrow keys included, then you won’t find anything better than this.

Note: A split spacebar variant of this keyboard is also available with total of 69 keys, while all other features, design and specifications remain the same. You can check out this version too from the link given below.

Vortexgear Cypher Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 65 Percent
Switch Type Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red / Silver
Backlight NA
Interface USB 2.0
Features PBT Keycaps, 3 Programmable Layer, Custom Layouts (Qwerty, Dvorak, and Colemak), DIP switches, Split or Standard Spacebar variant available, Dual layer PCB, Program up to one hundred characters per key, Detachable USB Type-C Gold Plated Cable, N-Key Rollover with Anti-Ghosting, supports Windows / Mac / Linux,

Buy Vortexgear Cypher Mechanical Keyboard

Ducky One 2 Mini 60% RGB Keyboard

[RGB Backlighting, PBT Doubleshot Keycaps, Lightweight]

Ducky is a pretty well-known brand that has got very good reputation for its high-quality Cherry MX mechanical keyboards. Here we have Ducky One 2 Mini 60% RGB Mechanical Keyboard that comes with Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red switches. The keyboard uses double shot injection PBT keycaps, where the legends on the top uses double shot printing, while the side legends are laser engraved. The RGB lighting on the keyboard looks amazing and you can customize the RGB lighting modes using the special function (FN) key, which is also used to invoke media shortcuts, missing keys and macro recording. The DIP switches present on the back side of the keyboard can be used to customize some keys and settings.

Ducky-One-2-Mini-60-RGB-Keyboard

The keyboard is well built, and has black top and white bottom that gives it a very stylish look. It has three level feet adjustment, and comes with a detachable USB Type-C cable with USB Type-A connector at one end. The keyboard is on the lighter side compared to other 60% keyboards in the segment. It can be used as gaming too and it supports NKRO with Anti-ghosting. A set of ten colorful PBT keycaps also comes included with the package. The keyboard works with Windows and Mac OS. Overall, a great 60% mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting and genuine Cherry MX switches. This is an all-rounder compact keyboard, and you can use this keyboard for typing, gaming and for programming purpose too. Highly Recommended by me.

Note: You may see Akko written before the name of this keyboard, which is nothing but the name of the reseller or supplier of this keyboard located in China, and there is no difference in quality and specifications between Akko X Ducky One 2 and Ducky One 2 keyboard (non-Akko).

Ducky One 2 Mini 60% RGB Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 60 Percent
Switch Type Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red
Backlight RGB LED
Interface USB 2.0
Features PBT Doubleshot keycaps, 3 level feet adjustment, N-Key Rollover and Anti-ghosting, Detachable USB Type-C Cable, FN key shortcuts, DIP switches, Macro support (Ducky Macro 2.0), Dual layer PCB, 10 additional PBT double-shot colorful keycaps included,

Buy Ducky One 2 Mini 60% RGB Keyboard

Anne Pro 2 RGB Mechanical Keyboard

[RGB, Software support, PBT Double Shot keycaps, Bluetooth+USB, Tap Key]

Here we have Anne Pro 2 RGB 60% mechanical keyboard from a Chinese brand Obnis. The keyboard comes with Gateron switches (Blue / Brown / Red) that are Cherry MX clones, but feels pretty nice. Just like Cherry MX switches, here also blue ones are tactile and clicky, browns are tactile and reds are linear switches for gaming. However, the feel of these switches is a bit different from the original Cherry MX switches. The keyboard has got PBT Double Shot keycaps and comes with double function keys (FN1/FN2) and a Magic FN key. The double function keys are used for programming in setting up layers, while the Magic FN key is shared with the Caps Lock key and it retains the original functionality of the Caps lock key. The Magic FN key can copy the FN key function (FN1 or FN2) that gives you a quick access to your media player, custom function etc. This means Magic FN can act as the FN key and you can set the function layers for FN1/FN2, customize any keys or even create a macro for keystroke combination through the Obinslab Starter, and the Magic FN key can mirror this FN behavior.

Anne-Pro-2-RGB-Mechanical-Keyboard

There is also a very unique feature on this keyboard, which is Tap key, where the Shift, FN1, FN2 and Ctrl keys can act as arrows keys when just tapped. This comes in really handy as you don’t have to press two keys for engaging arrow key. The keyboard supports Obinslab Starter software that can be used to customize RGB lighting, setting up Macros and also for firmware upgrade. The keyboard supports dual mode connectivity as it can be used in USB wired mode and in wireless Bluetooth mode (Bluetooth 4.0). The Bluetooth can be turned On and Off based on your requirements, using a switch located at the bottom of the keyboard. It comes with a USB Type-C detachable cable that also serves as a charging cable for the 1900mAh built-in battery. In Bluetooth mode, you can pair and connect up to four devices (Android, Windows, Mac OS, IOS). The battery backup time in Bluetooth mode is around 8 hours, which in my opinion is on the lower side. It can serve as your gaming keyboard too as it supports NKRO and Anti-ghosting. Overall, a great 60% mechanical keyboard that comes with ton of features and has RGB lighting too. Also, it is very competitively priced and is quite affordable. It is available in two colors: black or white. Recommended by me.

Note: The keyboard is also available with Kailh Box Brown and Kailh Box White mechanical switches.

Anne Pro 2 RGB Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 60 Percent
Switch Type Gateron Blue / Brown / Red
Backlight RGB LED
Interface USB 2.0 / Bluetooth 4.0
Features Magic FN key, Dual FN keys (FN1/FN2), USB Type-C Detachable cable, PBT Keycaps, Obinslab Starter Software support, 1900mAh built-in battery, NKRO with Anti-ghosting (wired mode only), Macro support, supports Windows / Mac OS / iOS / Android

Buy Anne Pro 2 RGB Mechanical Keyboard

Qisan Magicforce Mini Mechanical Keyboard

[Cheap 60% Mechanical Keyboard, Basic Functionality]

If you are looking for a basic and cheap 60% mechanical keyboard then Qisan Magicforce Mini will do the job for your perfectly. Technically, it is a 65% keyboard as it comes with 68 keys and dedicated arrow keys. However, it is still pretty compact and smaller than TKL keyboards, and you can carry it easily in your laptop bag. The keyboard comes with Outemu brown switches that are Cherry MX Brown clones, but they feel different. However, you do get the satisfactory mechanical feel from them and they serve the purpose pretty well. The keyboard has ABS keycaps with floating key design. It does not come with backlighting, but it does come with a FN key that can be used to invoke the missing keys and media shortcuts.

Qisan-Magicforce-Mini-Mechanical-Keyboard-White

The keyboard has decent build quality and has got foldable feet for height adjustment. It is also pretty lightweight and weighs under 600gm. This is not a keyboard for coders and programmers, as it does not come with programmable layers and macro functionality. It is more of space saving portable keyboard for travelers and casual users. For connectivity, it comes with a detachable USB cable. It works with both Windows and Mac OS. So, if you are looking for a cheap and basic 60% mechanical keyboard then this is your best bet.

Note: A slightly better version of this keyboard is available with Gateron Brown switches, White LED backlighting, and with N-key rollover & Anti-ghosting capability. It is available in both black and white color. You can check out this variant too from the links given below.

Qisan Magicforce Mini Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 65 Percent
Switch Type Outemu Brown
Backlight NA
Interface USB 2.0
Features Dedicated arrow keys, FN Media Shortcuts

Buy Qisan Magicforce Mini Mechanical Keyboard

Buy Qisan Magicforce Mechanical Keyboard [LED Backlit]

See also:

Final Words

60% mechanical keyboards might not be the mainstream norm, but they are popular in a particular segment that includes programmers, coders, typists and professionals. These compact keyboards are ultra portable because of their smaller size and provides you a cluster free and clean layout that is the main requirement of most of the professionals. Most of them are fully programmable having multiple layers for different layouts or profiles. Some of the 60% mechanical keyboards do come with RGB lighting too, and can be used by gamers who want to save some space on their deck. Also, most the 60% mechanical keyboards support NKRO and Anti-ghosting which is a very important requirement for gaming. If you have any doubts regarding which keyboard to choose from, then you can ask me queries in the comment section below.

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