The Best 1800 Compact Mechanical Keyboards of 2023

October 24, 2023

Mechanical keyboards have become the preferred computer peripherals for users looking for a superior typing experience and enhanced productivity.  The 1800 compact mechanical keyboard is fast becoming a popular option, offering a near-full-sized layout with an integrated numeric keypad but in a compact, space-saving package.

This article explores and showcases the top 1800 compact mechanical keyboards in the market. We will explore the features, technical specifications, and user experiences that make these keyboards stand out.

Ready to level up your typing or gaming experience? Let's dive in!

Best 1800 Compact Mechanical Keyboards for 2023

You're about to dive into the top 10 best 1800 compact mechanical keyboards of 2023, handpicked for their exceptional features and performance. Each piece of tech boosts your productivity while saving valuable desk space. Innovation, meet keyboard.

Leopold FC980M

The Leopold FC980M is known for its compact and efficient layout, combining a 1800 compact design with a range of high-quality Cherry MX mechanical switches. Its build quality, typing experience, and minimalist aesthetics make it a well-loved keyboard.

  • Key Features and Technical Specifications
    • Layout: 1800 compact
    • Key Switches: Uses Cherry MX mechanical switches, available in various options (e.g., Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue).
    • Keycaps: High-quality double-shot PBT keycaps for durability.
    • Backlighting: Available with or without backlighting, depending on the specific model.
    • Connectivity: Wired USB connection.
    • Construction: Sturdy and well-built keyboard with a focus on reliability and minimalistic design.
  • Pros
    • High-quality Cherry MX switches for a premium typing experience.
    • Excellent build quality and durability.
    • Minimalist and elegant design.
  • Cons
    • Limited customizability compared to some other options.
    • Availability may vary by region, making it challenging to find in some areas

Varmilo VA108M

Varmilo is known for producing high-quality and visually appealing keyboards. The Varmilo VA108M is one such product that features a compact 1800 layout, a range of switch options, and customizable keycap designs. 

  • Key Features and Technical Specifications
    • Layout: 1800 compact layout
    • Key Switches: Offers various switch options, including Cherry MX and Varmilo's own EC switches.
    • Keycaps: Customizable keycap designs and high-quality double-shot PBT keycaps.
    • Backlighting: Variants with white or RGB backlighting are available.
    • Connectivity: Wired USB connection.
    • Construction: Solid build quality with a focus on aesthetics and customizable keycap designs.
  • Pros
    • Aesthetic customization with various keycap designs.
    • Choice of Cherry MX or Varmilo EC switches to suit personal preferences.
    • High-quality keycaps for durability.
  • Cons
    • Availability of certain switch options and designs may vary.
    • Can be relatively more expensive than some other mechanical keyboards with similar features.

Cherry G80-1800

The Cherry G80-1800 is a classic 1800 compact keyboard from Cherry, a well-known keyboard manufacturer. It features a traditional 1800 compact layout, durable construction, and the reliability associated with Cherry products.

  • Key Features and Technical Specifications
    • Layout: Traditional 1800 compact layout with a numeric keypad.
    • Key Switches: Typically equipped with Cherry MX mechanical switches (e.g., Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue).
    • Keycaps: Standard keycaps for general use.
    • Backlighting: Most models do not feature backlighting.
    • Connectivity: Wired connection (USB or PS/2 options).
    • Construction: Sturdy and reliable construction known for longevity.
  • Pros
    • Traditional 1800 compact layout with a numeric keypad.
    • Reliability and durability associated with Cherry products.
    • Available in a variety of switch options.
  • Cons
    • Lack of customizable features, such as RGB lighting and keycap designs.
    • May not have some of the modern features found in newer mechanical keyboards.

Royal Kludge RK100

The Royal Kludge RK100 provides a full-sized keyboard experience with wireless capabilities at a budget-friendly price, making it an attractive option for users looking for a balance between size and functionality.

  • Key Features and Technical Specifications
    • Layout: Compact 100% layout with a numeric keypad.
    • Key Switches: Offers various switch options, including Royal Kludge's own switches.
    • Keycaps: Typically comes with ABS keycaps.
    • Backlighting: Some models feature customizable RGB backlighting.
    • Connectivity: Wireless Bluetooth and wired USB options.
    • Construction: A balance between compact design and full-sized functionality.
  • Pros
    • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity for flexibility.
    • A full-sized keyboard experience with a numeric keypad.
    • Budget-friendly pricing in some models.
  • Cons
    • Some models may lack customizable backlighting.
    • Build quality may not be as high-end as more premium keyboard options.

Keychron K8

The Keychron K8 is a wireless Bluetooth mechanical keyboard with a compact layout. Its wireless connectivity, a wide range of switch options, and customizable RGB backlighting are widely praised.

  • Key Features and Technical Specifications
    • Layout: Compact 96% layout with a numeric keypad.
    • Key Switches: Offers various switch options, including Gateron and Keychron's own switches.
    • Keycaps: ABS or PBT keycaps, depending on the version.
    • Backlighting: Customizable RGB backlighting with multiple lighting effects.
    • Connectivity: Wireless Bluetooth 5.1 and wired USB-C options.
    • Construction: Compact and portable design with a focus on wireless functionality.
  • Pros
    • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity for versatility.
    • A balance between compactness and functionality with a numeric keypad.
    • Customizable RGB lighting and switch options.
  • Cons
    • Wireless functionality may have occasional latency or compatibility issues.
    • Limited keycap customization compared to some other keyboards.

What is a 1800 Compact Mechanical Keyboard?

A 1800 compact keyboard is a type of mechanical keyboard known for its compact layout while still retaining a near-full-size keyset and often providing a numeric keypad. It gets its name from the approximately 1800 keys it contains, which is close to the number of keys found on a standard full-sized keyboard. This layout is designed to offer a compromise between the compactness of a tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard and the functionality of a full-sized keyboard.

Difference between 1800 Compact Layout and 96% Mechanical Keyboards

The terms "1800 Compact Layout" and "96% Mechanical Keyboards" are often used interchangeably. However, there can be subtle differences, depending on the manufacturer or specific keyboard design. In general, both layouts aim to provide a more compact keyboard while retaining essential functionality. However, there are some distinctions:

  1. Numeric keypad placement: The primary difference typically revolves around the placement of the numeric keypad. In an 1800 Compact Layout, the numeric keypad is integrated into the main keyboard area without creating a significant separation, resulting in a layout that resembles a traditional full-sized keyboard.

    A 96% Mechanical Keyboard often has a more distinct separation between the main keys and the numeric keypad, making it look more like a tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard with a separate numeric keypad.
  2. Key count: The "96%" designation refers to how many keys the keyboard retains; it generally indicates that the keyboard retains 96% of the keys on a standard full-sized keyboard. A 96% keyboard may not have some of the additional keys found in full-sized keyboards such as the function row or other less commonly used keys. 

    An 1800 Compact Layout has nearly all the keys found on a standard keyboard, often including the function row.
  3. Design variations: The specific layout and design of both 1800 Compact and 96% keyboards can vary between manufacturers. Some may choose to prioritize certain keys or features over others, resulting in slight variations in the arrangement of keys and additional features.
  4. User preference: The choice between an 1800 Compact Layout and a 96% Mechanical Keyboard is often a matter of personal preference. Some users prefer the seamless integration of the numeric keypad in an 1800 Compact Layout, while others may prefer the more distinct separation in a 96% keyboard for easier visual and tactile differentiation.

Benefits of Using an 1800 Compact Keyboard

An 1800 compact keyboard can dramatically improve your typing experience, offering numerous benefits that cater to your specific needs. It's a game-changer for productivity and ergonomics.

  1. Space efficiency: 1800 layout keyboards are designed to be space-efficient, providing a near-full-sized layout while minimizing the desk space required. 
  2. Numeric keypad: Unlike smaller compact keyboards (such as 60% or 75% layouts), 1800 compact keyboards retain a numeric keypad. This is highly beneficial for professionals who frequently perform data entry, accounting, or calculations.
  3. Versatility: The 1800 compact layout caters to a wide range of users. Gamers can benefit from the compact design while retaining a numeric keypad for in-game commands. Professionals can use the numeric keypad for productivity tasks. This versatility makes it a suitable choice for various applications.
  4. Familiar layout: The 1800 compact keyboard maintains a layout that is very similar to a standard full-size keyboard layout, ensuring that users don't need to relearn key positions. 
  5. Customization options: Many 1800 compact keyboards offer customization options such as various mechanical switch types, keycap materials, and RGB lighting. This allows users to tailor the keyboard to their specific preferences.
  6. Durability: Mechanical keyboards, which many 1800 compact keyboards use, are known for their durability and longevity. The robust construction and high-quality key switches can withstand heavy use over time.
  7. Comfort: The layout of the 1800 compact keyboard can be more comfortable for users who frequently use the numeric keypad, as it eliminates the need to reach across the keyboard to access these keys, reducing strain and fatigue.
  8. Productivity: For users who rely on shortcuts, hotkeys, or macros, the 1800 compact keyboard layout often includes function keys (F1-F12) and other essential keys. This can boost productivity, particularly in tasks that require quick access to specific functions.
  9. Aesthetics: Many 1800 compact keyboards come with stylish designs and customizable RGB backlighting options, allowing users to add a touch of personalization and aesthetics to their workspace.
  10. Community and support: Due to their popularity, 1800 compact keyboards have a strong community of users and support resources, making it easier to find advice, reviews, and custom keycap sets.

Drawbacks of Using an 1800 Compact Keyboard

While 1800 compact keyboards are incredibly efficient and convenient, it's important to be aware that they're not without their drawbacks.

  1. Size and portability: Despite being more compact than full-sized keyboards, 1800 compact keyboards are still bulkier and less portable than smaller layouts like 60% or 75% keyboards. If portability is a primary concern, you might find these keyboards too large.
  2. Typing experience: Some users may prefer the larger separation between the main keys and the numeric keypad that a standard full-sized keyboard provides. This separation can make typing more comfortable for some people.
  3. Customization limitations: While 1800 compact keyboards offer some customization options, they may not be as customizable as smaller layouts. Some users who enjoy customizing every aspect of their keyboard might find this limiting.
  4. Limited key switch options: Depending on the specific model, 1800 compact keyboards may offer fewer key switch options compared to more popular layouts. This can be a drawback for users who have specific switch preferences.
  5. Price: 1800 compact keyboards can be relatively more expensive than basic, full-sized membrane keyboards. Mechanical versions, in particular, tend to have higher price points due to their premium build and switches.
  6. Compatibility: Some software or applications may not fully support the 1800 compact layout, especially if they assume a standard full-sized keyboard layout. This could result in non-standard key mapping or compatibility issues.
  7. Availability: Depending on your location and preference, finding a specific 1800 compact keyboard model may be challenging compared to more standard layouts, as they are not as widely produced.
  8. Noise: Mechanical 1800 compact keyboards can be noisier than their membrane counterparts, which may be disruptive in shared workspaces or quiet environments.

What to Look for When Buying an 1800 Compact Keyboard

When choosing an 1800 compact keyboard, consider key factors like layout, keycap material, switch type, and connectivity options.

  1. Layout and Size
    Ensure the keyboard follows the 1800 compact layout, which includes a numeric keypad integrated into the main keyboard. Verify that the layout aligns with your expectations and requirements.
  2. Switch Type
    Decide on the type of key switches you prefer, as it greatly influences your typing experience. Common options include Cherry MX, Gateron, and proprietary switches. Try to find a keyboard that offers your preferred switch type.
  3. Build Quality
    Pay attention to the keyboard's build quality. Look for keyboards made from durable materials like aluminum or high-quality plastic. A well-constructed keyboard will last longer and provide a more stable typing experience.
  4. Keycaps
    Check the type of keycaps used. Double-shot PBT keycaps are highly durable and resistant to wear, while ABS keycaps may be less durable but can still be of good quality.
  5. Customization
    Determine if the keyboard allows for customization. This may include keycap compatibility, switch swapping, and customizable RGB backlighting. Customization options can enhance your overall experience.
  6. Backlighting
    If you prefer keyboards with backlighting, ensure the keyboard offers customizable RGB lighting. This allows you to personalize the keyboard's appearance and create the ambiance you want.
  7. Connectivity
    Consider the connectivity options. Most modern keyboards use USB connections, but some may offer wireless Bluetooth connectivity, which can be beneficial for flexibility.
  8. Compatibility
    Make sure the keyboard is compatible with your operating system (Windows, macOS, or Linux) to avoid any compatibility issues.
  9. Brand Reputation
    Consider the reputation of the keyboard manufacturer. Brands known for producing high-quality mechanical keyboards include Ducky, Leopold, Keychron, and Varmilo, among others.
  1. Reviews and User Feedback
    Read product reviews and user feedback on e-commerce websites and technology forums. Real-world experiences can provide valuable insights into a keyboard's performance and durability.
  2. Warranty
    Check if the keyboard comes with a warranty. A warranty can provide peace of mind in case of any defects or issues with the keyboard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of using a 1800 compact mechanical keyboard over a standard full-sized keyboard?

You'll love the 1800 compact mechanical keyboard's space-saving design. It packs all essential keys into a smaller area, making it portable yet efficient. Plus, its closer number pad reduces mouse reaching, enhancing your workflow.

Are 1800 compact mechanical keyboards suitable for gaming and professional use?

1800 compact mechanical keyboards are ideal for both gaming and professional use. They're space-saving, efficient, and provide a full keyset for all your tasks. It's a game-changer for your desk setup.

How easy is it to customize a 1800 compact keyboard, particularly in terms of switches and keycaps?

Because 1800 keyboards share the same customizability as any mechanical keyboard, tailoring a 1800 compact keyboard is easy. You can easily swap out switches and keycaps, offering a unique typing experience tailored to your preferences. 

What is the average lifespan of a 1800 compact mechanical keyboard?"

On average, your 1800 compact mechanical keyboard can last for over 15 years. That's with daily use! The longevity's largely due to the durable mechanical switches that can withstand millions of keystrokes.

Are 1800 compact mechanical keyboards compatible with standard operating systems?

Most 1800 compact mechanical keyboards are compatible with all operating systems currently in use. But make sure to check the product's specifications before purchasing to ensure itworks with your specific system.


Whether you're after a prebuilt 1800 compact mechanical keyboard or fancy building your own, there's something for everyone in 2023. From the sleek Cherry G80-1800 to the wireless Keychron K4, you're spoilt for choice.

You get the best of both worlds: a full-size traditional keyboard that can be used in a compact space. It doesn't get any better than that!

Chris Greiner, a Mechanical Keyboard specialist, boasts a solid educational background with dual bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Business Management from Lewis University. His additional certification in Mechanical Keyboard Design showcases his dedication to staying on the forefront of keyboard technology. Chris primarily writes for keyboard enthusiasts and has been featured on platforms like Jestik, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the mechanical keyboard community.
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