One-handed gaming keyboards are a bit of a strange category. At first glance, it can be hard to determine exactly why they’re necessary when you likely have a keyboard attached to your computer. Things become a bit clearer when you consider that a lot of people prefer different keyswitch types for typing and for gaming. Red keyswitches are generally preferred for gaming due to their faster actuation while blue keyswitches offer a superior typing feel, so having a secondary keypad for gaming means you don’t have to sacrifice anything on your main productivity keyboard. One-handed keyboards are also useful for especially cramped setups wherein a full-sized gaming keyboard simply isn’t an option, so you can continue using your low-profile wireless keyboard for basic tasks and break out the one-handed keyboard as needed.
RedThunder One Handed Gaming Keyboard
RedThunder, the purveyor of RGB-backlit gaming keyboards and mice, offers one of the more affordable one-handed gaming keyboards available on the market today. It’s a pretty no-frills affair (especially in the relatively extraneous world of one-handed gaming keyboards), but it still has most of the basic features you would expect to find, such as the ability to record macros, RGB lighting, USB Type-C connectivity, and anti-ghosting. It’s the only membrane keyboard featured here, but for less than $20 it’s a solid budget option to get some gaming in.
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Redragon K585 DITI
Redragon has been making waves in the mechanical keyboard world for a while now with their very affordable keyboards—featuring various types of Cherry MX clone keyswitches. The K585 carries on that tradition, offering blue, brown, and red clone-style keyswitches, so regardless of your preferred switch style you’ll be able to pick the one that best fits your gaming setup. Possibly most important for this accessory: it connects via 2.4Ghz wireless so you can easily move it out of the way for when you need to use a full-sized keyboard to get some work done. No need for disposable batteries either, it has a built-in 3000 mAH battery that charges via USB-C. It also includes programmable macro keys along the edges, dedicated profile buttons, and a magnetic wrist rest.
HUO JI K-700
This one-handed keyboard from HUO JI is another solid offering with multiple switch types, RGB lighting, macro keys, and a detachable wrist rest. What sets it apart is the ability to swap the keyswitches. This means that you can swap in a different type of keyswitch entirely without having to de-solder and solder new connectors, assuming the switch you’re attempting to swap in uses the older Outemu connector type featured here. It might sound pretty extraneous to some, but for purely gaming-dedicated keyboards many prefer to use different switch types per-key to really tune in the exact gaming experience they’re after.
Razer Tartarus Pro
Razer has been laser-focused on the PC gaming market for as long as it has existed. The Tartarus Pro seeks to up the ante in the one-handed gaming keyboard market with a heap of interesting features. For starters, their mechanical optical switches are pressure-sensitive, which adds an entirely new input layer to interact with. This means that each key can be programmed to perform differently based on how hard you’re pressing it.
In another break from more traditional one-handed gaming keyboards, the Tartarus is completely programmable, and is labeled using a numerical legend instead of just adopting the left half of a regular keyboard legend. On the thumb-side is a directional thumb-pad for movement or custom assignments, and all keys are fully backlit and compatible with Razer Synapse software.
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Koolertron One Handed Keyboard
This offering from Koolertron is almost the polar opposite of the Razer Tartarus. It doesn’t offer much outside of a very compact left-side keyboard. But if all you’re after is a solid mechanical keyboard to the side of your traditional keyboard used for regular tasks, then it’s going to be much easier to integrate into your desk layout.
It’s functional, compact, easy-to-use, and comes with a detachable USB cable for quickly stowing it when work calls. For macro fans, it does offer quite a bit of functionality. All keys can be re-programmed, and it offers both advanced and quick macro functions. It also comes in a variety of colors, switch types, and backlight types.
Azeron Classic Gaming Keypad
Finally we have something truly unique. The Azeron Classic Gaming Keypad is a completely new take on the gaming keypad with 26 fully programmable micro-switch buttons. The design is situated along and near your fingertips with a thumb joystick for movement functions, and a five-way directional switch reachable from the thumb area.
The upside to the Azeron is that the fully adjustable finger segments mean that you can, for example, mount this to a chair arm for true ergonomic gaming functionality. It’s quite a bit different from a traditional keyboard, both in design and keyswitch functionality (micro-switches feel quite a bit different from standard keyboard keys), but if you’re willing to put in the time to learn and properly map games it can offer an entirely new way to enjoy games on your PC.
If you spend any amount of time at the computer then you’ll know how important having the right kind of keyboard for the right task can be. And sometimes it’s just not practical or preferred to switch to a full-sized, full-featured gaming keyboard just to enhance the few hours a week you spend playing computer games. One-handed keyboards can split the difference and offer you gaming features on-demand.
For more hardware information check out Best Gaming Monitors for Xbox Series X/S and Xbox Series X/S shortage may last to 2022 according to Phil Spencer on Pro Game Guides.