Best one-handed gaming keyboard

Gaming & Accessories

A one-handed gaming keyboard can speed up your gaming reflexes and even improve your workflow while using photo, video or audio editing software.

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Which one-handed gaming keyboard is best?

One-handed gaming keyboards are growing in popularity in the PC community. These compact keyboards provide gamers with access to all of the keys necessary for play but take up very little desk space and are often more ergonomic than traditional keyboards.

The Razer Tartarus Pro Gaming Keypad is the best one-handed gaming keyboard for most users. It includes a wealth of additional input controls, LED lighting, a comfortable design and a padded wrist rest. Razer is a respected manufacturer of PC accessories, known for building reliable devices.

What to know before you buy a one-handed gaming keyboard

Why use a one-handed gaming keyboard?

One-handed gaming keyboards are specifically designed to enhance your speed while playing games that require the use of a keyboard and mouse control scheme. Their small design allows you to rest your hand in one position and still access all required buttons without moving your arm or having to look down at the keys for accuracy. These compact devices are also great for those who game on laptop PCs, as they are more comfortable than the small, cramped keyboards often built into these computers.

Desk space

Typical use of your PC will still require a full-size keyboard, so don’t expect your one-handed gaming model to completely replace it. While one-handed gaming keyboards are compact and take up little space, you will still need enough room on your desk to comfortably use one. If your main keyboard is wired, you may have to consider placement options that will allow proper room to use your gaming device.

Your preferred games

One-handed gaming keyboards are not appropriate for all games or game genres. While they excel at games that require quick resources and use only a few keys to perform actions, games that require typing or make full use of a traditional keyboard cannot be played enjoyably with the limited keys available on a one-handed model.

Photo and video editing

If you edit audio, video or photos professionally, a one-handed gaming keyboard can speed up your workflow in the same way it can enhance someone’s speed while gaming. If you are looking to maximize your efficiency while working, consider trying a one-handed gaming keyboard.

What to look for in a quality one-handed gaming keyboard

Comfort

Your comfort is key when it comes to using a one-handed gaming keyboard. Many models are ergonomically designed for your wrist to rest on a pad while allowing your fingers to reach the keys. The small size of a one-handed gaming keyboard also allows for greater flexibility when it comes to placing the device on your desk or table, as it is less cumbersome than a traditional model.

Aesthetics

Many one-handed gaming keyboards include RGB LED backlighting and other effects. Some feature programmable lighting schemes while others remain static. From edgy designs meant to attract gamers to more understated appearances that work better in a professional setting, these keyboards come in many styles. Select a one-handed gaming keyboard that appeals to your taste.

Key layout

Some one-handed keyboards are basically just a traditional keyboard cut in half. They provide you with keys that retain the familiar letters and layout found on full-size models, making it easy to transition from one device to another. Different models provide keys that are either numbered or custom labeled. These can be challenging to use, but are often preferred once the learning curve is mastered.

Additional controls

Some one-handed gaming keyboards include joysticks, trackballs and other additional input controls. Depending on the kind of gaming or work you do, these extras may prove to be either indispensable or not worth the additional expense. Consider your intended use carefully before investing in a keyboard with too many unneeded extra features.

Switch style

Mechanical keyboards are in high demand among gamers and coders because their keys provide a snappy, satisfying response. Membrane keyboards have a softer, rubbery feel to them but are usually less expensive. If you’re looking for the best gaming experience, most users recommend a one-handed keyboard with mechanical switches.

Keyboard switch types explained

You may be surprised to learn that some users are very passionate about the feel and even the sound of their keyboard switches. There are two common switch types available for most keyboards:

  • Mechanical switches are preferred by gamers and professionals alike. Mechanical keyboards are more expensive, but they provide more customization options and tactile feedback for those who prefer a more responsive device. They can also be quite loud to use, which some users actually prefer.
  • Membrane switches are more common. They provide a softer, quieter typing experience and are cheaper to produce. They are more familiar to most users but provide less accuracy than mechanical options. Unless specifically labeled otherwise, assume that almost any keyboard you pick up will include membrane switches.

How much you can expect to spend on a one-handed gaming keyboard

A one-handed gaming keyboard will cost $20-$150 depending on features, build quality and included accessories.

One-handed gaming keyboard FAQ

Can you type with a one-handed gaming keyboard?

A. No. These keyboard models are not made for typing, and even those that retain keybed lettering only contain half of a traditional keyboard, at most.

Can you use a one-handed gaming keyboard on your video game console?

A. In some cases, yes. Some game consoles allow you to plug in USB accessories easily, while others require adapters and clever key assignments to be used. Check with the manufacturer of your console for compatibility.

Is it hard to set up a one-handed gaming keyboard?

A. It depends on the model you select. If you choose a keyboard that requires you to determine which keys perform what function, setup can take some time. Models that retain traditional keyboard letters are simpler to set up for most users.

What’s the best one-handed gaming keyboard to buy?

Top one-handed gaming keyboard

Razer Tartarus Pro Gaming Keypad

Razer Tartarus Pro Gaming Keypad

What you need to know: This one-handed gaming keyboard features additional controls and a fully customizable keybed.

What you’ll love: Razer is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of PC gaming accessories, with a reputation for quality. This keyboard includes a padded, adjustable wrist rest, a scroll wheel, a D-pad and analog keys.

What you should consider: This keyboard is a bit on the large side and may not be comfortable for those with smaller hands. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dell

Top one-handed gaming keyboard for the money

One-Handed RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

One-Handed RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

What you need to know: This budget-friendly model is a great entry point for gamers and professionals who would like to try out a one-handed keyboard.

What you’ll love: This gaming keyboard retains traditional lettering for easy transition from a traditional device. Its backlit keys are soft, quiet and easy to see in the dark. 

What you should consider: Users report the letters on the keys can rub off after minimal use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Cooler Master ControlPad

Cooler Master ControlPad

What you need to know: With its simple, understated design, this model appeals to professional users and gamers alike. 

What you’ll love: This model includes a removable wrist pad and adjustable analog keys that allow you to make subtle movements while playing. High-quality, tactile switches make this keyboard fun and satisfying to use. 

What you should consider: Users report that while they are pleased with this keyboard’s hardware, the included software can be frustrating and confusing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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