Are you thinking of purchasing a small (mini) mechanical gaming keyboard?
I’m one of those gamers who insist that the desk in front of me shouldn’t be overcrowded and that some unnecessary things distract me from the action on the screen. A good keyboard and mouse should be my extended hand into the virtual world so that I don’t feel for a moment that these inputs are holding me back. I don’t even like my keyboard to be bulky and full of unnecessary accessories.
Still, I like a simple minimalist concept that should have everything a serious gamer needs. On the other hand, we have people who have a huge desk and a lot of stuff on it, so there’s barely room for a keyboard. It also suits them that the keyboard is smaller. Still, it must not suffer in terms of quality and more prominent keyboards’ additional functions. If you are in either of these two cases, read on.
Best small (mini) mechanical gaming keyboards
What can we mean by a small gaming keyboard? These are primarily TKL (Tenkeyless) or 60% compact keyboards. We will talk about these mini gaming keyboards because they are the most exciting and popular with most players.
So, what are the best small gaming keyboards you can get?
Ducky One 2 Mini
Razer Huntsman Mini
HyperX Alloy Origins 60
RK ROYAL KLUDGE RK61
Durgod HK Venus RGB
1. Ducky One 2 Mini RGB – Best Overall Small Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Design & Build
The Ducky One 2 Mini RGB is a small gaming mechanical keyboard in a compact 61-key version (60%). I like this black and white panda look. If this is your first time coming into contact with a mechanical keyboard, you will need some time to get used to it.
The mechanical keyboard gives you a better feel when typing. You get less tired and generally raise the user experience to a higher level. The construction is solid plastic made that doesn’t twist and crack. The complete keyboard works solidly and durably with “temperamental” gamers.
You have to keep in mind that most 60% of keyboards don’t have separate function keys, arrow keys, and navigation keys as TKL models. However, you can access these physically missing keys by using the fn key for secondary functions. Still, you quickly get used to this layout.
Keycaps are PBT, guaranteeing durability, and the overall user experience rises to a higher level. Due to the size of the keyboard and the detachable USB-C power cable, it is very convenient to carry.
Ducky One 2 Mini will not let you down, whether you are gaming or serious. Despite the plastic material, the build quality is fantastic.
The Ducky One 2 Mini RGB test version comes with Red Cherry MX switches. Of course, when buying, you can choose a large selection of CheryMX switches.
The switches are of exceptionally high quality, and the manufacturer guarantees a lifetime of an incredible 100 million keystrokes. The switches aren’t noisy, have an excellent response, and are ideal for FPS gaming or fast action on the screen.
The significant advantage of this keyboard is the ability to adjust according to your affinities and taste (macros, lighting profiles, etc.) without any software. Setting everything to your preference may be challenging, but it’s worth the effort. The package also includes instructions that you should consult regarding the settings.
The stabilizers are great; there are no rattling, swaying, and other unpleasant sounds, even when pressing the bigger keys harder.
Equipment & Support
All backlight settings you can control over keyboard keys. Also, there is no special software for RBG lighting.
The equipment includes:
- A button extraction tool.
- A stylized Zodiac space bar.
- A couple of other keycaps in different random colors.
As I mentioned, the power cable is USB-C which is a big plus for the comfortable use and portability of the keyboard. It’s easy to put it in a backpack and carry it to a gaming session with a friend or some LAN tournament.
In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, Ducky has also prepared the appropriate Halloween theme keycaps with which you can make this great keyboard even more attractive. Of course, this is a unique themed set of keys sold separately.
One thing is for sure: you won’t go wrong if you put Ducky One 2 Mini on your desk. You will hardly find any objection to design, build quality, and usability.
The only downside is that there’s no software for more accessible macro and RGB lighting settings, but that’s a small reason to stop you from buying this candy.
2. Razer Huntsman Mini – Runner Up
Design & Build
At the mention of the name Razer, you immediately think of gaming and peripherals that this manufacturer has been successfully placing on the market for years. They carefully follow the gaming niche of the peripherals and listen to the wishes of gamers. Sometimes successful, sometimes not, but they are always there with exciting products.
One of these is their vision of the compact mechanical gaming keyboard embodied in the form of a Razer Hunstman Mini. If you’ve had contact with the Razer Hunstman TE, this is a compact keyboard version.
You can read my more detailed review of the Razer Huntsman Mini. Here I will mention only some basic features. Excellently made and lightweight keyboard convenient for carrying, relatively strong plastic construction with an aluminum sheet on the upper side. Keycaps are PBT, very high quality to the touch and appearance, guaranteeing a long service life.
Razer uses his optical switches. Optical switches have a much faster response time than classic mechanical ones, which is helpful for fast-paced games. By the way, the Huntsman Mini keyboard comes in a choice of switches: Purple (Clicky Optical) or Red (Linear Optical).
I notice that the stabilizers for the larger keys can be very loud for other people in the room. I don’t mind, but it can be a problem for others.
Equipment & Support
Over Razer Synapse, you can control RGB lighting and save macro profiles onto keyboard onboard memory. You are free to delete the software when you program the macros you need, up to 5 profiles. The profiles remain in the keyboard memory. However, Synapse must run in the background if you want custom RGB lighting.
Also, excellent detail is detachable, braided, USB-C power cable.
The stabilizers aren’t great; they’re a little noisier, but you won’t notice that in the heat of the game. So, it’s not a great mechanical keyboard for typing, but for gaming, which we need.
3. HyperX Alloy Origins 60
Design & Build
I have been using HyperX Pulsefire Surge and Alloy Origins 60 for a couple of months, and I am pleased with this gaming combination. Compared to the other 60% small mechanical gaming keyboards, Origins 60 has something to offer. The aluminum design of the case looks very nice aesthetically, but it also contributes to the strength of the keyboard.
The design of the floating keys makes the keyboard look reduced and elegant, but also for keyboard maintenance. The double-shot PBT keycaps have secondary functions printed so that you can easily spot and access them via the fn key, as with the other 60% compact keyboards.
Although the body of the keyboard is aluminum-made, it’s not difficult to transport. A detachable USB-C power cord also enhances mobility so that you won’t be a burden in a bag or backpack.
The version of the keyboard I used had HyperX Red switches. The manufacturer guarantees 80 million keypresses with no loss of quality. It’s hard to verify these claims without prolonged use, but they behave very nicely in the fast-action games I prefer.
HyperX Red is a non-clickable tactile switch, most similar to the Cherry MX Red, but I can freely dare to say maybe a shade better. Great feeling under your fingers, precise and accurate.
Best of all, HyperX Red is an ear balm for players who like a quiet playing environment. Whether you use linear or tactile switches depends on your primary job on your computer. If you need a keyboard for gaming, I would recommend linear switches, and If you type a lot of text, then take tactile.
Would you please read the keyboard selection guide, which I recommend, before choosing a keyboard?
Equipment & Support
HyperX has support in the form of Ngenuity software. The software makes it easy to adjust the lighting to different colors and effects. Some users have had problems with this software because it removed their favorite features without warning when updating, so keep that in mind.
The RGB lighting is excellent. You can adjust the lighting according to your taste and mood to get awe-inspiring results. Origins 60 can store only three preset lighting settings. So you can have several lighting profiles available if you transfer the keyboard to another computer.
A detachable USB-C power cable is a great thing to transport, or use custom USB cables to your liking.
HyperX Alloy Core 60 is a mini mechanical keyboard with quality craft, switches, and RGB lighting. What more could you want from this small gaming keyboard?
The only minor drawback may be the software that does the job, but there is room for improvement. This keyboard will not disappoint you whether you are a gamer, a programmer, or a writer.
4. RK Royal Kludge RK61 RGB
Design & Build
RK61 is one of the cheapest small mechanical gaming keyboards on the list, with as many as three ways to connect to your computer. The price and features on this list are the best in this regard. Pretty quality solid plastic build, and the only thing I don’t like is the ABS keycaps. ABS making of keycaps means that it is a magnet for fingerprints. They wear out quickly and fade over time.
You can check out the K61 Pro, an upgraded version of this keyboard with PBT keycaps, Gateron switches, and an aluminum case, for a bit more money. Regardless of these shortcomings, the RK61 is an excellent budget keyboard. Also, it comes in black or white color.
The secondary functions are well printed on the front of the keycaps so that you won’t have any visibility issues.
The RK61 comes with Ouetmu switches that are not at the level of one Cherry MX but far from wrong. Depending on your typing preference, you can choose Red, Brown, or Blue switches.
The manufacturer guarantees a lifespan of the switch of 50 million keystrokes, which is promising.
I will briefly repeat the fundamental differences between these switches.
- Red Switch is a linear switch, which means that the force at the beginning and end of each clock is almost identical. The result is a feeling that most perceive as smoother and faster, making them especially popular among passionate gamers.
- Blue Switch offers faster and springier responses, a sharp-click sound, and precise tactile feedback.
- Brown Switch is slightly quieter and more straightforward to activate than the Blue switch. It represents the middle between the clicky Blue and the silent Red. The Brown Switch gives you good tactile feedback, but the audio feedback isn’t as noticeable as the Blue Switch.
I welcome the three ways to connect, wired, Bluetooth and WiFi. Still, I must mention that you avoid gaming with a wireless connection due to the input delay.
Equipment & Support
The keyboard has three connection modes that allow excellent mobility and multi-platform compatibility. RK61 RGB is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android systems. If you haven’t used Bluetooth mode for a long time, you must press FN + Space to reset the keyboard to reconnect via Bluetooth.
Also, you can charge the keyboard while using a USB-C cable connection. The RGB lighting is pleasant and not eye-catching. It has 18 RGB predefined light profiles and eight monochrome modes.
You can fine-tune the lighting to your liking through the software. Wired mode opens via the included USB-C detachable power cord. In addition to this cable, you also get a helpful keycap puller, a switch puller, and four additional switches in the package.
RK Royal Kludge RK61 RGB is an excellent small mechanical gaming keyboard, considering the price and connectivity options. Of course, this list offers better options if your budget isn’t slim.
5. Durgod HK Venus
Design & Build
Durgod Venus is a very well-made small mechanical keyboard. The case is aluminum, and there are no twists and cracks like with plastic cases. Everything looks pretty tight, and the special stars are the PBT keycaps. As I already wrote, this is the highest quality material for keycaps, much more durable than ABS.
Venus made PBT keycaps in Cherry’s profile. The Cherry profile is slightly lower and has a more suitable inclination towards the keys than OEM, making working with them much more comfortable for gaming and especially for writing.
It is worth mentioning that the stabilizers are also very quiet, so with Venus, you have the best typing experience of all the listed 60% of the keyboards on the list.
The test version came with Cherry MX Brown switches representing the middle ground between the silent Red and clicky Blue switches. You can still choose between Chery MX Black and Blue switches. Durgod also offers Gateron switches at a lower price, so you have a choice.
As I mentioned, the stabilizers are comfortable for the ear and move smoothly without rattling. They are factory lubricated, which is a plus for Durgod to take care of these little things that mean a lot, especially to those who write a lot.
Equipment & Support
Venus has Hera Engine from the software support: update keyboard firmware on the fly and configure complex macros or reconnect keys as desired. You can save the profiles you create to the keyboard memory and access them directly from the board.
Via Hera Engine, you can also adjust the backlight to your liking. RGB looks nice, especially if you have a white keyboard version.
In addition to the keyboard, you also get :
- 3.3ft USB Type-C to Type-C cable (for notebook),
- 6ft USB Type-C to Type-A cable (for PC),
- a sticker with the Durgod logo and
- key puller.
The slight drawback that may bother you is that there’s no tilt adjustment from the one provided. Also, the case’s design has a small protrusion on the front with three LEDs. Still, in my opinion, this isn’t necessary because it takes up valuable working space.
Durgod Venus is a great mechanical keyboard that I would first recommend to people who write a lot and don’t have a lot of desk space. The main positive features are excellent build quality, silent stabilizers, great keycaps, and Chery profile keys. The objections are the unnecessary frontal protrusion and the lack of tilt adjustment.
The keyboard is closest to the quality of Ducky One 2 Mini but more oriented towards typing than gaming. If you are this target group of users and ignore some minor flaws, you will not go wrong with Durgod Venus.
If you are a serious gamer, you will first choose a mechanical gaming keyboard that will not take up much space on your desk and will not tire you after hours of gaming. The small 60% of keyboards have become extremely popular thanks to the quality build and many options that do not lag behind full-size keyboards.
Personally, the Hyper X Alloy Origins 60, Razer Huntsman Mini, and Ducky One 2 Mini are at the top of my list. I could say that the Ducky One 2 Mini is a complete product for gaming and typing, so I give it a slight advantage.
If you are thin with a budget, choose the Royal Kludge RK61 RGB, a tremendously mini mechanical gaming keyboard with many options with no competition in its price range. Lastly, have Durgod HK Venus on your radar if you are a serious writer.
If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.