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Why Do Gamers Use TKL Keyboards?

Learn why players continue to opt for using TKL keyboards instead of their full-sized cousins.


When it comes to choosing a keyboard, you have tons of different options. At SteelSeries alone, we've got plenty of options. But one of the biggest deciding factors for many users is whether or not the keyboard they're purchasing is a tenkeyless, or TKL, model or not.

A TKL keyboard refers to a keyboard without the numpad, or the number keys typically found to the right of the alphanumeric keys at the center. While many players are used to full-sized keyboards, more and more are shifting their preferences toward TKL keyboards for a number of reasons.

If you're thinking you might also be heading down this path, we've got a few reasons that you should consider about why you might want to use a TKL keyboard instead of a full-sized option. Good news -- if you do decide you want to make the switch, we've got you covered.

TKL keyboards conserve space

The waterproof Apex 3 TKL.

If you don't have a ton of space at your desk or gaming battlestation, shaving off the extra real estate that the keypad takes up can leave with you precious area that you can fill with something else -- like a mousepad or more space for your mouse. A smaller keyboard means less movement during normal typing as well. If your hands are closer together, you also might find this positioning more comfortable.

Some folks don't need to use numpads

The Apex 7 TKL Ghost keyboard in white.

A TKL keyboard has two sets of numbers: the numbers across the top of the keyboard, and the numpad to the right. The numbers on the top of a regular keyboard are more functional for rarer use than what a numpad provides. A numpad is more for someone who needs to do numerical data entry or who uses it for macros for specific games. Some folks just don't need the extraneous keys.

Some users want the minimal look a TKL provides

Apex 3 TKL on a clean desk

A TKL can look very small and compact in comparison to a regular keyboard. Some users love this minimalistic look, and prefer to use it in their setups. The smaller the keyboard for some, the better, as it fits better with their overall vision for where they work, play games, or stream.

You can add a numpad later

A USB numpad you can add on to your setup.

If you decide you want a TKL keyboard, you won't have to sacrifice usage of a numpad. You can always get one that's USB-powered and hook it up to keep it out of sight and out of mind for when you aren't using it. Having a TKL keyboard makes this a possibility, but you don't have to sacrifice anything.

Pick up your own TKL keyboard

The Apex 7 TKL keyboard in glossy black.

Want to pick up your own TKL keyboard? Are you convinced they're absolutely brilliant? We've got you covered. Feel free to browse our selection of TKL keyboards, but also feast your eyes on the newest addition to our brood.

The Apex 3 TKL is an innovative keyboard with whisper-quiet switches that will last you for over 20 million keypresses. It also features customizable 8-zone RGB illumination that reacts to your games as well as Discord, with dedicated multimedia controls. Most importantly, it's the first water resistant TKL keyboard, with IP32 rating for protection against spills. You can pick one up now for just $44,99.


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Want to shout your love for TKL keyboards from the heavens? Join the official SteelSeries Discord to find fellow players.