Are you someone who has a computer setup, but just can’t find the right keyboard? There are tons of options on the market. Some are huge, heavy, and full of crazy features. Some are tiny, missing a lot of the keys that you need for your day-to-day use. But, some are built just for the specific needs of you and your setup. That’s what low-profile keyboards are ideal for.
Why use a low-profile keyboard?
Size: Low-profile keyboards are typically smaller by design. They’re not as thick, tall, or bulky as other options on the market. They also have shorter keycaps to make typing even easier.
Purpose: The use case of these keyboards is mixed. The majority of the time they’re used for workstations since they’re great for typing and have a lot of the keys you need for productivity. That said, there are options out there (and on this list) that have gamers in mind.
Minimalist Look: Their smaller size usually comes along with a minimalist look. They aren’t super flashy and focus on function before looks. They typically have a sleek, simple design to help them fit into your setup no matter the look you’re going for.
Compatibility: Since they’re built for productivity, they have many options for connectivity. Options like USB-C and Bluetooth are common, with Bluetooth allowing a wireless connection to desktop PCs, tablets, mobile devices, and laptops.
Best Overall: nuphy Air75 Mechanical Keyboard
- USB-C, Bluetooth, and 2.4G connectivity
- Aluminum frame with a plastic bottom case
- 12.4 x 5.2 x 0.63 inches
- 1.15 pounds
- 84 keys
The nuphy Air75 is a unique-looking low-profile keyboard. It’s made out of both aluminum and plastic. The frame is aluminum, while the bottom case and keycaps are plastic. Internally it has a 2500 mAh battery that can power it for up to 48 hours of use. Turning off the backlighting ensures you maximize battery life.
Aesthetically, it looks really interesting. The body is grey, with the bottom case being a semi-transparent gray. It also has four blue rubber feet. The various switches and ports on the edges are the same blue color. The switches are a variety of colors, including white, grey, orange, yellow, and blue. While this sounds like a lot going on, it comes together tastefully. In addition, it has RGB backlighting and side lighting.
The Air75 is a 75% build, featuring 84 keys. It’s only .63 inches tall, 12.4 inches long, and 5.2 inches wide. It claims to be the thinnest mechanical keyboard on the market. Combined with a weight of only 1.15 pounds it’s a travel-friendly option. The key layout is ANSI 75%, giving you arrow keys but no number pad.
The keycaps are designed with typing in mind and are made out of ultra-thin PBT material. It’s a mechanical keyboard, with three default options for low-profile switches. They are:
- Gateron Brown
- Gateron Blue
- Gateron Red
In addition, this is a hot-swappable board.
As for connectivity, it can be used with USB-C, Bluetooth, and 2.4G. Similar to the K1, the nuphy Air75 can connect to Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. It has been designed to easily switch between various types of devices. It also can connect to 4 devices at the same time.
- The thinnest mechanical keyboard on the market
- Unique looks
- Three options for connectivity
- Keycaps don’t allow lighting to shine through
Best Alternative: Keychron K1 Ultra-Slim Keyboard
- Connectivity: USB-C and Bluetooth 5.1 connection
- Material: Aluminum body
- Size: 16.85 x 5.94 x 1.42 inches
- Weight: 2.23 pounds
- Number of keys: 87
The Keychron K1 is a great minimalist option that doesn’t leave out important features. It’s made out of premium materials, using aircraft-grade aluminum to construct the body. Aluminum helps to improve durability while not drastically increasing weight. It also features a 2000 mAh battery that can power it for up to 110 hours (with lighting turned off). As for looks, it has a black body and light grey, dark grey, and orange keycaps. It also includes white LED backlighting.
It has a tenkeyless layout, offering 87 total keys. While it doesn’t include a number pad, it does have arrow keys and a dedicated function key. Its body is only .7 inches thick, and 1.42 inches thick overall including keycaps. With 16.85 inches of total length, this won’t take up too much space. This size paired with its weight of 2.23 pounds makes it possible to travel when needed but may be bulkier than other options on the list.
The K1 comes with ultra-slim keycaps. They’re made out of plastic and are designed for typing. The letters and symbols are printed on them, so they could potentially fade over time. As for keys, it has five options to choose from:
They’re Keychron brand optical switches designed with a low profile. The K1 is hot-swappable, but only compatible with Keychron optical switches.
The Keychron K1 is compatible with computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices using Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android operating systems. Using Bluetooth, it can connect to up to 3 of these devices at the same time, with a simple switch to change between them. Depending on the mode you set it to, it has a layout designed to be used with a Windows layout and a Mac layout. Extra keycaps are included to use depending on the device.
- Compatible with Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices
- Aluminum body
- Can only use Keychron optical switches
Best for Gaming: Logitech G915 TKL Low Profile Keyboard
- Connectivity: Micro USB, Bluetooth, and Lightspeed wireless
- Material: Aircraft-grade aluminum alloy body
- Size: 15.2 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
- Weight: 1.79 pounds
- Number of keys: 90
The Logitech G915 TKL is another high-end low-profile option for gaming. It’s built from impossibly thin aircraft-grade aluminum alloy to give it durability and low weight. Internally it has a rechargeable battery. This battery can power it for up to 40 hours of use. It’s also able to fully recharge in under 4 hours. It can still be used while charging via Micro USB. Aesthetically, it’s a mix of minimalist and gamer. It has fully customizable RGB that can produce 16.8 million colors. Each key has individual lighting capabilities.
The G915 is a compact board that doesn’t sacrifice functionality. It maintains its low profile and weight while still being able to have 90 keys. It’s a tenkeyless design, but it does spread out the arrow buttons more than other options on this list. It also features additional media buttons that aren’t included in other options. They allow you to control the volume, and skip songs. Additionally, it has onboard memory to store three macro profiles and two lighting profiles.
Similar to other options on this list like the Streak65, it has plastic low-profile keycaps. They’re designed to let RGB shine through them while withstanding heavy use from gamers. It’s a mechanical keyboard and comes in three variations. They include:
- GL Clicky
- GL Tactile
- GL Linear
The various switches give different types of user experience, ranging from clicky, to tactile, to smooth.
The most impressive added feature to the G915 is the lightspeed wireless. This connection technology enables it to have a super-fast response time of 1 ms. This eliminates any concern of input lag when connected in any way other than direct wired. It allows you to have it easily positioned anywhere on your desk without the risk of being in the way.
- Three options for mechanical switches
- Ultra-thin aluminum body
- Dedicated media buttons
- Premium price tag
Best Gaming Alternative: Fnatic STREAK65 LP (Low Profile)
- Connectivity: USB-C
- Material: Aluminum body
- Size: 12.5 x 4.27 x 0.87 inches
- Weight: .925 pounds
- Number of keys: 68 keys
The Fnatic Streak65 is a low-profile board built with tournament gamers in mind. It’s made out of durable aluminum to make sure it won’t break when traveling. It has no internal battery which further reduces the overall weight. It also features the classic RGB look that gamers know and love. The backlighting shines through the keycaps. It can produce 16.8 million colors and is completely customizable using software and onboard storage.
It’s designed to be portable. Coming in at only 12.5 x 4.27 x .87 inches and less than one pound (.925) you won’t struggle to bring this to your next tournament. It’s a 65% board with the US ANSI layout. Similar to the K1 and Air75 it has arrow keys but no number pad. It also has a function key to increase key actions.
The Streak65 uses PBT doubleshot keycaps. These keycaps are designed to allow light to shine through and around the sides while maintaining a low profile. They’re also ultra-durable, with up to 1.5mm thickness on each side wall. Featuring a textured finish, you won’t slip off the keys while gaming. It comes with one switch type by default, the Fnatic low-profile switches.
While the Fnatic Streak65 doesn’t come with wireless connectivity, it does have a premium and unique coiled USB-C cable included in the box. It also features sound-dampening foam within the body. This foam improves the overall acoustics created while gaming or typing.
- Included coiled USB-C cable
- Built with gaming in mind
- Textured PBT keycaps
- No wireless connectivity
Best for Work Use: Logitech MX Keys Minimalist Wireless Keyboard
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Metal body with recycled plastic components
- 5.19 x 11.65 x 0.83 inches
- 1.5 pounds
- 79 keys
The Logitech MX Keys Minimalist is designed with sustainability in mind. It features a metal body and plastic components. The plastic used includes recycled variations. Internally it has a lithium polymer battery. This battery can power it for up to 10 days on a full charge using lighting, and up to 5 months with lighting off.
When it comes to looks, as the name implies, it’s very minimalist. The MX Keys is offered in grey with black keycaps, white with white keycaps, and pink with pink keycaps. Each option has smart white backlighting. This backlighting adjusts to the lighting in the room and your individual keystrokes. It saves power by doing so.
It’s a slightly larger option than other boards on this list. It’s 5.19 x 11.65 x .83 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds. While it can be portable, it’s better suited to stay at your workstation. It has a US ANSI layout, including 79 total keys.
This is a membrane keyboard. The keycaps are made out of recycled plastic and are very slim. They’re designed primarily for typing and workstation use being fluid, efficient, and responsive. The board itself is designed to have a very comfortable typing experience. It’s not a hot-swappable board, as the keys are membrane. It will not have the clicky, textured typing experience that you would get with a mechanical board.
The Logitech MX Keys Minimalist is designed with sustainability and the climate in mind. It’s a certified carbon-neutral product, using recycled plastic in its construction. It also is packaged in responsible packaging and has many power consumption features to make it more efficient. If you’re looking for a climate-friendly workstation keyboard, this is a great option for you.
- Created with recycled plastic, certified carbon neutral
- 79 keys
- Wide variety of color options
- Up to 5 months of battery life
- No mechanical option
Best Budget: Amazon Basics Low-Profile Wired USB Keyboard
- Connectivity: USB-A
- Material: Matte black plastic
- Size: 17.39 x 5.01 x 1.06 inches
- Weight: .98 pounds
- Number of keys: 105 keys
The Amazon Basics Low Profile is the most basic on this list. It’s made from a matte black plastic that will hold up for daily use. It doesn’t have any backlighting behind the keys. The only lighting it offers is in the top right to indicate caps lock and number lock. It saves on weight by being a wired-only option. However, the cord is not removable like all the other options available on the list. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t stand out, this is a great choice.
This is the longest option on the list, coming in at 17.39 inches. It weighs less than one pound (.98) and has the most keys on the list at 105. It’s the only option listed with an included number pad. This makes it one of the better choices for office use to increase productivity. It uses the standard US Layout in QWERTY. It also has dedicated function keys and media controls.
The switches are made out of the same matte black plastic as the body. They have letters and symbols that are printed. This may cause them to fade over time. The keys used are low-profile and are quiet while in use.
The Amazon Basics Low Profile is true to its name – it’s basic. If you’re looking for a budget keyboard that can be used in everyday work and productivity without all the extra bells and whistles, this is a great choice for you. It’s only built to be compatible with Windows, so Mac users will want to find a different option. In our opinion, it really could have used Bluetooth to make it a better choice for work use. However, at less than $12, you can’t complain about what you get.
- By far the cheapest option
- Included number pad
- Most keys on the list
- Lacks any added frills other options have