Last Updated on December 5, 2023
When it comes to programming, having the right tools can make all the difference. From having the right software to having the right hardware, every little detail counts. One aspect that is often overlooked but can have a significant impact on your productivity is the keyboard you use. In particular, the question arises are TKL keyboards good for programming.
At the outset, we can confidently say that TKL keyboards are excellent for programming. They are a popular choice among programmers and other professionals who spend a significant amount of time typing. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why TKL keyboards are good for programming and why you should consider getting one.
What is a TKL Keyboard?
A TKL keyboard, also known as a tenkeyless keyboard, is a type of computer keyboard that is similar to a standard full-sized keyboard but lacks the numeric keypad section on the right-hand side.
The name “tenkeyless” comes from the fact that this type of keyboard has ten fewer keys than a full-sized keyboard. While full-sized keyboards typically have 104 keys, TKL keyboards usually have around 87 keys. This reduction in size makes TKL keyboards more compact and portable, which can be useful for gamers, programmers, or other users who need to save desk space or travel frequently.
Despite the absence of the numeric keypad, TKL keyboards retain all the other standard keys, including the function keys, arrow keys, and navigation keys. Some TKL keyboards also have additional programmable keys or multimedia controls, which can be useful for certain tasks.
Overall, TKL keyboards offer a balance between the compact size of a laptop keyboard and the functionality of a full-sized keyboard, making them a popular choice for many users.
Why Are TKL Keyboards Good for Programming?
Here are some reasons why TKL keyboards are good for programming:
- Ergonomic benefits: TKL keyboards have a smaller footprint, allowing users to maintain a more comfortable and natural hand position while typing. They also reduce the distance between the mouse and keyboard, reducing the strain on the shoulder and elbow joints. This ergonomic design can help prevent repetitive strain injuries and improve typing comfort.
- Enhanced productivity: With a TKL keyboard, programmers can type faster and more accurately due to the reduced distance between the hands. The lack of a numeric keypad also reduces hand movement, allowing for faster navigation and editing of code. This can result in increased productivity and reduced typing fatigue.
- Increased desk space: TKL keyboards take up less desk space than full-size keyboards, providing more room for other essential items such as a second monitor or documents. This added space can help improve work efficiency and reduce clutter.
- Portability: TKL keyboards are smaller and lighter than full-size keyboards, making them more portable. This makes them an ideal option for programmers who often work on the go or in various locations.
- Reduced cost: Since TKL keyboards are smaller than full-size keyboards, they typically cost less. This can be an important consideration for programmers who are budget-conscious.
- Programming-specific features: Some TKL keyboards have programming-specific features, such as customizable keys, macros, and dedicated media controls. These features can help programmers streamline their workflow and improve their productivity.
In summary, TKL keyboards are an excellent choice for programmers due to their ergonomic design, enhanced productivity, increased desk space, portability, reduced cost, and programming-specific features.
Are There Any Downsides to Using a TKL Keyboard for Programming?
While TKL keyboards have become increasingly popular among gamers, there are several disadvantages for programmers:
- Reduced Efficiency: Programmers often use the numeric keypad for quick entry of numbers and symbols, such as when entering numerical data, ASCII codes, or other programming-specific characters. Removing the numeric keypad can cause a significant reduction in programming efficiency, as programmers may need to use the top row of numbers instead or press additional keys to access the symbols they need.
- No Numeric Keypad: The most obvious disadvantage of TKL keyboards is that they do not have a numeric keypad. This can be a significant issue for programmers who frequently use numbers in their work, such as data analysts or financial professionals. However, many TKL keyboards offer a separate numeric keypad that can be attached when needed.
- Reduced Functionality: Another potential disadvantage of TKL keyboards is that they may have fewer keys than full-sized keyboards. This can limit their functionality and make certain tasks more difficult. However, most TKL keyboards still offer all the essential keys for programming and general computer use.
- Increased Strain: Typing for extended periods of time can cause strain on the hands and wrists. With a TKL keyboard, the hands are placed closer together, which can result in a more cramped position. This may lead to increased strain and discomfort, especially for those who spend many hours programming each day.
- Limited Customization: Some programmers prefer to customize their keyboard layouts to suit their specific needs. With a TKL keyboard, there are fewer keys available to customize, making it more difficult to create a layout that works best for their workflow.
- Incompatibility: Some programming environments, such as those that require frequent use of the numeric keypad, may not work well with TKL keyboards. In such cases, programmers may need to switch between a TKL keyboard and a full-sized keyboard, which can be inconvenient and disrupt their workflow.
- Reduced Versatility: TKL keyboards are designed primarily for gaming, which means they may lack some of the features that programmers need. For example, some TKL keyboards may not have dedicated media keys or function keys, which can make it more difficult to perform common tasks such as adjusting volume or opening a new tab in a web browser.
Overall, while TKL keyboards can be an attractive option for gamers, they may not be the best choice for programmers who require maximum efficiency and customization.
Programming-specific Features of TKL Keyboards
In terms of programming-specific features, TKL keyboards may offer several advantages for developers. Some of the key features of TKL keyboards that may be particularly useful for programming include:
- Macros and programmable keys: Many TKL keyboards come with dedicated programmable keys and/or the ability to assign macros to specific keys. This allows users to create shortcuts for frequently used commands or to automate certain tasks. The macros can be programmed using software that comes with the keyboard, which often allows for customization of key functions, lighting effects, and other settings.
- Mechanical Switches: TKL keyboards are often designed with mechanical switches, which can provide a more tactile typing experience that some users prefer. Mechanical switches are also typically more durable than traditional rubber dome switches, making them a good choice for heavy typists.
- Cherry MX switches: These are high-quality mechanical switches that offer a tactile feel and a distinct sound. They come in different types (e.g. Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Blue) and each has a unique feel and sound. TKL keyboards with Cherry MX switches allow for a customizable typing experience, as users can choose the switch type that suits their needs.
- Key rollover and anti-ghosting: These features ensure that all key presses are accurately registered, even when multiple keys are pressed simultaneously. Key rollover refers to the number of keys that can be pressed at once without any “ghosting” (i.e. the keyboard registering a key press that wasn’t actually pressed). TKL keyboards often have a key rollover of at least 6 keys, with some models offering up to full N-key rollover (i.e. every key can be pressed simultaneously). Anti-ghosting refers to the keyboard’s ability to accurately register individual key presses even when other keys are pressed at the same time. This is important for gaming or other applications where multiple keys may need to be pressed simultaneously.
- Backlighting: Many TKL keyboards feature customizable backlighting, which can help to reduce eye strain during long coding sessions. Backlighting can also be helpful when working in low-light environments.
- Ergonomic Design: TKL keyboards are often designed with ergonomics in mind, which can help to reduce strain on the hands and wrists. This can be especially important for programmers who spend long hours typing.
- Compact Form Factor: The compact size of TKL keyboards can be an advantage for programmers who need to work in tight spaces or who frequently travel with their equipment. The smaller size can also help to reduce clutter on the desk, leaving more room for other tools and devices.
Overall, TKL keyboards can offer several advantages for programmers, including customizable keys, mechanical switches, backlighting, ergonomic design, and a compact form factor. When choosing a TKL keyboard for programming, it’s important to consider factors such as key feel, customization options, and overall build quality to ensure that the keyboard meets your needs and provides a comfortable typing experience.
Things to Consider When Choosing A Keyboard for Programming
When choosing a keyboard for programming, there are several factors to consider, such as:
- Key switch type: The type of key switch used in a keyboard can significantly affect the typing experience. There are several types of switches, including mechanical, membrane, and scissor switches. Mechanical switches are the most popular among programmers due to their tactile feedback and durability.
- Ergonomics: The keyboard should be comfortable to use for long periods of time to avoid strain on the hands and wrists. Ergonomic keyboards are designed to reduce stress on the hands and wrists by providing a more natural typing position.
- Layout: The layout of the keyboard can also affect the typing experience. Many programmers prefer keyboards with a standard QWERTY layout, but some prefer alternative layouts, such as Dvorak or Colemak.
- Programmable keys: Some keyboards come with programmable keys that can be customized to perform specific functions, which can be useful for programming tasks.
- Connectivity: The type of connectivity is also an important consideration. Wired keyboards offer a more stable connection and faster response time, while wireless keyboards offer more freedom of movement.
- Backlighting: Backlighting can be useful for typing in low-light conditions, and some programmers find it helpful to be able to see the keys more clearly.
- Brand and build quality: The brand and build quality of the keyboard can also affect the typing experience. It’s important to choose a reputable brand and a well-built keyboard that will last for years.
Overall, the key factors to consider when choosing a keyboard for programming are key switch type, ergonomics, layout, programmable keys, connectivity, backlighting, and brand/build quality. By taking these factors into consideration, you can choose a keyboard that will enhance your typing experience and make programming more comfortable and efficient.
The Best TKL Keyboards for Programming: Our Top Picks
|Keyboard Model||Switches||Lighting||Connectivity||Frame Material||Extra Features|
|Das Keyboard 4 Professional TKL||Cherry MX||No||Wired||High-quality materials||USB hub, media controls, volume knob|
|CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL||Cherry MX||RGB||Wired||Aluminum||Macro keys, media controls, volume knob|
|Logitech G915 TKL||Low-profile mechanical||RGB||Wireless||Aircraft-grade aluminum||Programmable macro keys|
|Ducky One 3 TKL||Cherry MX||RGB||Wired||Sturdy plastic||DIP switches for customization|
|SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL||OmniPoint||RGB||Wired||Aircraft-grade aluminum||Adjustable actuation, programmable macro keys|
|Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL||Optical||RGB||Wired||Aluminum||Programmable macro keys|
|Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL||Razer mechanical||RGB||Wired||Aluminum||USB passthrough, programmable macro keys|
|Filco Majestouch-2 TKL||Cherry MX||No||Wired||Aluminum||No extra features|
|Varmilo VA87M||Cherry MX||No||Wired||Aluminum||Customizable keycaps, DIP switches for customization|
|Ducky One 2 TKL||Cherry MX||RGB||Wired||Sturdy plastic||DIP switches for customization|
|Leopold FC750R PD||Cherry MX||No||Wired||Sturdy plastic||No extra features|
When it comes to programming, having a reliable and comfortable keyboard is essential. A Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard, which is a keyboard without a numeric keypad, can be a great option for programmers as it provides more space for your mouse and allows for a more ergonomic typing position. Here are our top picks for the best TKL keyboards for programming:
- Das Keyboard 4 Professional TKL – This keyboard has a minimalist design and is made with high-quality materials. It features Cherry MX switches, which are highly responsive and durable, and has a built-in USB hub for connecting your peripherals. The Das Keyboard 4 also has dedicated media controls and a volume knob, making it a versatile option for both work and play.
- CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL – This keyboard features Cherry MX switches and customizable RGB lighting. It also has a durable aluminum frame and a detachable USB cable for easy transportation. The CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL has dedicated media controls and a volume knob, as well as six programmable macro keys, making it a great option for programming and gaming.
- Logitech G915 TKL – This keyboard is wireless and features low-profile mechanical switches that provide a quiet and comfortable typing experience. It also has customizable RGB lighting and programmable macro keys. The Logitech G915 TKL is made with aircraft-grade aluminum, which makes it durable and lightweight.
- Ducky One 3 TKL – This keyboard features Cherry MX switches and customizable RGB lighting. It also has DIP switches that allow you to customize the keyboard layout and functions. The Ducky One 3 TKL is made with a sturdy plastic frame and has a detachable USB cable for easy transportation.
- SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL – This keyboard features OmniPoint mechanical switches that allow for adjustable actuation and a customizable typing experience. It also has customizable RGB lighting and programmable macro keys. The SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL is made with aircraft-grade aluminum and has a magnetic wrist rest for added comfort.
- Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL – This keyboard features optical switches that provide a fast and responsive typing experience. It also has customizable RGB lighting and programmable macro keys. The Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL is made with a durable aluminum frame and has a detachable USB-C cable for easy transportation.
- Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL – This keyboard features Razer mechanical switches and customizable RGB lighting. It also has a durable aluminum frame and a detachable USB cable for easy transportation. The Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL has programmable macro keys and a built-in USB passthrough for connecting your peripherals.
- Filco Majestouch-2 TKL – The Filco Majestouch-2 is a highly regarded keyboard among enthusiasts for its build quality and typing experience. It features Cherry MX switches, a sturdy aluminum frame, and a detachable USB cable. The lack of extra features may be a downside for some, but the Filco Majestouch-2 is a reliable and durable option for programming.
- Varmilo VA87M – The Varmilo VA87M has a sleek design and customizable keycaps, making it a great option for those who want to add a personal touch to their keyboard. It features Cherry MX switches, a sturdy aluminum frame, and a detachable USB cable. The Varmilo VA87M also has DIP switches that allow you to customize the keyboard layout and functions.
- Ducky One 2 TKL – The Ducky One 2 TKL is a popular choice among gamers and programmers alike. It features Cherry MX switches, a sturdy plastic frame, and customizable RGB lighting. The Ducky One 2 TKL also has DIP switches that allow you to customize the keyboard layout and functions.
- Leopold FC750R PD – The Leopold FC750R PD is a high-quality keyboard that is known for its durability and typing experience. It features Cherry MX switches, a sturdy plastic frame, and a detachable USB cable. The lack of extra features may be a downside for some, but the Leopold FC750R PD is a reliable and comfortable option for programming.
The Best Tactile Switches for Programming
Because programming requires fast and responsive switches to increase accuracy when typing code, we recommend several tacticle switches that you can use on your mechanical keyboard for programming needs. Here’s a list of the best tactical switches for programming:
- Boba U4 Tactile Switches.
- Boba U4T Switch.
- Hello Clear Switches.
- Cherry MX Brown Switch.
- Cherry MX Clear Switch.
- Kailh Speed Copper Switch.
- Topre Tactile Switch.
- Outemu Brown Switches.
In conclusion, TKL keyboards can be a great choice for programmers who value functionality and efficiency. The compact design and lack of a numpad allow for better ergonomics, more desk space, and faster typing speed. Additionally, many TKL keyboards are built with high-quality switches that provide a comfortable and responsive typing experience, which is essential for long coding sessions.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that keyboard preference is a highly personal choice, and what works well for one programmer may not work well for another. It’s also worth considering whether the lack of a numpad will impact your workflow or if you’ll miss having those extra keys. Ultimately, the decision to use a TKL keyboard for programming depends on your individual needs and preferences.
Regardless of whether you choose a TKL or full-size keyboard, the most important thing is to find a keyboard that feels comfortable and allows you to work efficiently. After all, as a programmer, your keyboard is one of the most important tools in your arsenal, and investing in a high-quality keyboard can make a big difference in your productivity and overall satisfaction with your work.
What are the best TKL keyboards for programming?
Some of the best TKL keyboards for programming include the Das Keyboard 4 Professional TKL, CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL, Logitech G915 TKL, Ducky One 3 TKL, SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL, Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL, Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL, Filco Majestouch-2 TKL, Varmilo VA87M, Ducky One 2 TKL, and Leopold FC750R PD.
What type of switches do the keyboards use?
Most of the keyboards mentioned feature Cherry MX switches, but the Logitech G915 TKL features low-profile mechanical switches and the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL features optical switches. The SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL uses OmniPoint mechanical switches.
Do these keyboards have customizable lighting?
Yes, most of these keyboards have customizable RGB lighting, including the CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL, Logitech G915 TKL, Ducky One 3 TKL, SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL, Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL, Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL, and Varmilo VA87M.
Do these keyboards have macro keys?
Yes, many of these keyboards have programmable macro keys, including the CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL, Logitech G915 TKL, Ducky One 3 TKL, SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL, Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL, and Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL.
Are these keyboards durable?
Yes, many of these keyboards are made with high-quality materials such as aluminum frames and are known for their durability. The Leopold FC750R PD, for example, is known for its durability and typing experience.
Do these keyboards have a detachable USB cable?
Yes, many of these keyboards have a detachable USB cable, including the CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL, Logitech G915 TKL, Ducky One 3 TKL, Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition TKL, Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL, and Leopold FC750R PD.
Are there any downsides to these keyboards?
The lack of extra features on some of these keyboards, such as the Filco Majestouch-2 TKL, may be a downside for some users who prefer more customizable options. Additionally, some users may prefer different types of switches or a different typing experience, so it’s important to research and find the best keyboard for your preferences.
What does TKL stand for in keyboards?
TKL stands for “Tenkeyless”, which means a keyboard without a numeric keypad on the right side.
What are the advantages of using a TKL keyboard for programming?
The main advantage of using a TKL keyboard for programming is that it reduces the distance between the keyboard and mouse, making it more ergonomic for long periods of use. It also saves desk space and can be more portable.
Are mechanical switches better for programming than other types of switches?
Mechanical switches are generally preferred by programmers because they provide tactile feedback, which can help with typing accuracy and speed. However, this ultimately comes down to personal preference.
What type of switches are recommended for programming?
Some recommended switch types for programming include Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Blue, and Cherry MX Clear switches. Again, this comes down to personal preference and typing style.
Can TKL keyboards be customized with different keycaps?
Yes, many TKL keyboards can be customized with different keycaps. This can allow for a more personalized look and feel.
Are TKL keyboards suitable for gaming as well?
Yes, TKL keyboards can be suitable for gaming as well. However, gamers may prefer keyboards with a numeric keypad for certain games.
Can TKL keyboards be used with laptops?
Yes, TKL keyboards can be used with laptops as long as they have a USB or Bluetooth connection. This can be useful for people who prefer a separate keyboard for their laptop.
Do all TKL keyboards have backlit keys?
No, not all TKL keyboards have backlit keys. Some models may have backlighting as an option or not at all. It is important to check the product specifications before purchasing.
Are TKL keyboards generally more affordable than full-sized keyboards?
Yes, TKL keyboards are generally more affordable than full-sized keyboards. This is because they have fewer keys and are therefore less complex to manufacture. However, there are some high-end TKL keyboards that can be more expensive than full-sized keyboards.
TKL keyboard or full size good for programming?
It ultimately depends on personal preference, but many programmers prefer TKL (Tenkeyless) keyboards as they provide more desk space and a more ergonomic typing position.
Why is a TKL keyboard good for programming?
A TKL keyboard eliminates the numpad, allowing for a more compact and ergonomic typing position. This can help reduce strain on the shoulders and wrists and provide more desk space for other tools, such as a mouse or tablet. Additionally, TKL keyboards are often easier to travel with, making them a great option for programmers who work remotely or frequently travel for work.
Kizaru is a fan, collector, and has a huge addiction to mechanical keyboards. Kizaru has a collection of dozens of mechanical keyboards that come in different sizes and use different switches. He also frequently contributes to various forums that discuss keyboards such as Reddit and GeekHack.