What are WKL Keyboards? A Detailed Look

Lindsay Hayes

WKL keyboards are essentially regular keyboards but without the Windows and Application keys.

Many users go for them as they have a more symmetrical design due to the more bottom room. Plus, they can be better for gaming, as you don't have to worry about accidentally opening the start menu.

I was thinking of buying a new mechanical keyboard for my gaming setup recently and was considering WKL options. However, I ended up not going this route.

I did learn a lot about them in the process and have explained it below:


What is a WKL Keyboard?

As mentioned, a WKL keyboard is basically a regular keyboard that has omitted the Windows key, as well as the Application/ Menu buttons

Many users think they are aesthetically pleasing, and I would have to agree.

I almost got one because of this, but I went with a TKL keyboard (tenkeyless) in the end because I was working with not much desk space.

Woman Typing on a Keyboard

Why Do People Get WKL Keyboards?

Apart from looking good, there are several reasons why keyboard enthusiasts go with WKL mechanical keyboards.

Let's take a look at them.

1. Better for Non-Windows Operating System

The Windows key is not very useful for people who own Macs and other operating systems. So a keyboard without a Windows key makes sense for them.

2. Better for Non Windows Gaming Services

Many users say that WKL keyboards are great for gaming, and I would have to agree.

If you're a competitive gamer, you might know how annoying it is to accidentally press the Windows key during a match.

This is especially the case for users on other operating systems as they wouldn't even need the key for windows functionality in the first place.

You don't have to worry about this if you go with the WKL keyboard layout.

3. A Simple Layout (Immersive Space)

WKL keyboards tend to be easier to use as the lack of keys means that there are fewer keys to memorize. The keys on the WKL layout also are more precise, due to the omission.

Some users say this helps with muscle memory and helps them type faster.

4. No Cluttered Design

As mentioned, the keyboard layout is aesthetically pleasing. The removal of the lower row windows key and menu key makes them look cleaner. They have a nice symmetrical look.

5. They are Programmable

Programmable keyboards let you assign custom key actions and macros. Depending on the one you get, you can also rearrange keys on them sometimes. You might like that the WK layout is programmable.

What are the Drawbacks of Winkeyless Mechanical Keyboards?

Just like there are many benefits of going with a WKL keyboard layout, there are also a couple of drawbacks.

Let's talk about them.

1. Harder for Windows Users

If you're a Windows user, you probably won't find the missing Windows or application key that fun. You will have to manually click on the Windows button on the taskbar to open it now.

2. Non-Compact Keyboard Layout

Although WKL keyboards have a clean layout and come with less keys, you won't really be saving space. Winkeyless keyboards are pretty much the same size as their regular counterparts.

You can go for a tenkeyless keyboard, or a 60 wkl keyboard (without function keys and number row) if space is something you're worried about. I've taken a look at these two later on in my article if you're interested.

Backlit Gaming Keyboard

What is a Tenkeyless (TKL) Keyboard?

If you want to save space, I recommend that you go for TKL keyboards. They are keyboards that only come with around 70 percent of the keys that regular keyboards have.

In total, you will find 17 keys omitted from the TKL layout. This usually means that the numeric pad is gone.

This makes the centered keys on the mechanical keyboards more precise which can help with typing.

You might have heard of a WKL TKL keyboard before. A winkeyless tenkeyless keyboard is basically a TKL keyboard that happens to not have the Windows button.

What is a 60 Percent Keyboard Layout?

60 percent keyboards are what you should go for if you're really low on space. They only come with 60 percent of the keys that regular keyboard layouts come with. This means you won't be getting a numerical pad, the navigation keys, ctrl keys, and much of the keys in the bottom row.

So it's a the perfect choice if you're a keyboard enthusiast looking for a less cluttered design.

65 percent keyboards are similar but they are a bit bigger. As you might have guessed, they come with 65 percent of the keys that regular options have.

I've compared the two in a separate article which you can check out if you're interested.

What is the Best WKL Keyboard?

If you're looking for a good Winkeyless keyboard, I've got you covered.

Let's talk about two of my favorites.

1. Keychron K8

The Keychron K8 is a WKL TKL keyboard that only comes with 87 keys, which excludes the Windows key. The small size means that you get easy access to the main pad.

It comes with high-quality Gateron keys, so typing feels smooth. They will last you around 50 million keystrokes.

Any gamer would appreciate the Keychron K8, as it comes with a cool white backlight. It also has an elegant grey build.

This mechanical keyboard lets you connect up to 3 different Bluetooth devices for conventional functions.

You can use it either wired or wireless. If you go the wireless route, you will have to rely on its 4000 mAh battery. It will be able to last around 240 hours with the backlight disabled.

The WKL TKL keyboard dimensions are 13.9 in x 4.84 inch. So it is small and light enough to carry in your backpack, at 1.6 lb.

2. Keychron Q7

The Keychron Q7 is another good WKL keyboard. It happens to also be a tenkeyless keyboard, so it's a great option if you don't have much desk space. It comes with 87 keys.

I'm a big fan of the Q7 as it rocks a bright blue build - you'll be able to spot it from across the room. There is a RBG backlight that helps with this as well.

Its dimensions are 13 in x 4 in x 1 inches, so you can easily carry it around with you.

The backlight shines from the south direction, which makes it a good choice for typists as it's not too bright.

Its keys are programmable. Plus, they are Gateron browns; keystrokes feel super smooth. You can expect them to last around 50 million keystrokes.

Its keys come with a double gasket design to make keystrokes quick. There are also silicone pads underneath them which means that they're quiet.

How Much Does a WKL Keyboard Cost?

The answer to this depends on the model in question. You can generally buy WKL keyboards for around max $400 dollars. You can find some DIY kits, though, for like 200 max too.

Anything in the mechanical keyboard enthusiast space can get expensive quickly.

Also keep in mind that none of these prices include switches or keycaps.


Answered below are some popular questions.

What Does WK and WKL Mean?

As discussed, WK keyboards, or winkeyless keyboards are like normal keyboards except that they don't come with the left alt or right alt buttons, as well as the Windows key in the bottom row. A WKL and WK keyboard are the same thing at the end of the day.

Read more resources

Final Thoughts

WKL keyboards are a good choice if you're someone who wants a sleeker-looking mechanical keyboard. It doesn't have two unnecessary keys, which you would appreciate.

They make a good choice for users who don't own Windows computers, as they don't have windows features to need the Windows key.

I also looked at some additional information. For instance, TKL keyboards, and even reviewed some WKL keyboards for you.

Hopefully you found all the points discussed useful.

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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