How Many Switches Do You Need for a 65% Keyboard?

By Rob Orr / Last updated: Nov 30, 2023


Have a 65 hot-swappable mechanical keyboard and looking to upgrade your switches but not sure how many you need?

A 65 keyboard will use anywhere between 67 and 70 switches depending on the configuration and layout of your keyboard.

But what about keycaps and stabilizers?

Below I’ve covered everything you need to know to upgrade your switches on your 65 keyboard.

Just a quick head’s up: if you want to get more great ideas for your home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Battle Station Setup here.

How Many Switches Do You Need for a 65% Keyboard?

Typically, a 65 percent keyboard uses anywhere from 67 to 70 switches depending on layout and configuration.

The reason that it may be up to 70 switches is because on some 65 keyboards you can split the spacebar which means you can use up to a total of 70 switches.

If your keyboard includes a split spacebar key you will need at least 2 additional switches to provision the split feature.

Even if you don’t need to split your spacebar, it’s never hurts to have backups and replacement switches available.

Better to do the job just once!

So when you’re shopping for your new switches plan on picking up 70 switches for your 65% keyboard.

How Many Keys Are on a 65% Keyboard?

In most instances 65% keyboard contains 67-68 keys.

65 is NOT the number of keys, but the size in comparison to a full-sized keyboard.

This number can vary a little depending on the configuration specs from the keyboard’s manufacturer.

As mentioned before, some 65 keyboards have the ability to split your spacebar, so that could affect the number of keys, but nothing substantially.

It can also be affected by the size of the keys the manufacturer uses.

Some manufacturers will use smaller 1.5u keys between the left arrow and the spacebar while others opt for a sequence of 3 1u keys.

As an example, the Durgod Hades uses 3 sequential 1u keys in that position:

Durgod Hades 68 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard | 65% Layout | USB C Wired | Doubleshot PBT Keycaps | Cherry Profile | NKRO Rollover | Windows & Mac | Aluminium Chassis| Gateron Silent Brown, White

  • RGB BACKLIT – 16.8 million Color combinations, adjustable brightness levels and multiple different lighting effects. Plug & Play, no drivers needed. Set up macros or rebind keys in the Durgod Zeus Engine Software.
  • GATERON SILENT BROWN – Tactile Switches have a small bump on each keystroke with a moderate noise level. The Silent Brown Switches have 4mm of total travel, an actuation force of 55g and are extra quiet. The sound level and feeling make these an ideal switch in the office.

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The Drop ALT pictured below opts for the 1.5u keys in that position:

Dual Monitor Stand – Vertical Stack Screen Free-Standing Monitor Riser Fits Two 13 to 34 Inch Screen with Swivel, Tilt, Height Adjustable, Holds One (1) Screen up to 44Lbs HT05B-002

  • COMPATIBILITY – Vertical dual monitor mount holds two screens 13” to 34” in size and 44 lbs in weight (each) with 50x50mm,75x75mm or 100x100mm backside mounting holes. Integrated cable management is included to keep cords clean and organized.
  • SWIVEL AND HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE FUNCCTION – Adjustable brackets offer +50° to -50° Swivel, +10° to -15° tilt, , and 12 level height adjustment along the center pole.

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If the sizing terms sound odd, it’s actually pretty simple. 1u means 1 unit. This is the standard, square-ish shape that’s used for your alphanumeric keys (A-Z, and 0-9). 1.5u means 1.5 units, 2u means 2 units, and so on. All the key sizes are based on the 1u size and go from there.

How Many Stabilizers Does a 65% Keyboard Use?

Generally speaking, a 65% keyboard will 4 to 5 stabilizers for the buttons.

The great thing about a super compact keyboard like a 65 is that the pack a lot of punch in such a small frame.

But sometimes because the space is optimized so tightly some manufacturers use a right shift key that’s bigger than 1.75u (the standard shift key size for most keyboards). It gives you a nice, full, complete look, but it also means that you will need to pick up an additional stabilizer for that key to avoid performance issues.

Stabilizers on most standard 65 keyboard layouts are only on the the spacebar, the enter key, the left shift key, along with the backspace key.

There are a variety of 3rd party aftermarket stabilizer kits you can get to improve the performance of your keyboard. Keep in mind, stabilizers aren’t universal – some are plate-mount, and some are PCB mount, so make sure you’re getting the right set for your keyboard.

Next Steps

The next step for you is to connect with other people who are creating the most amazing home offices and gaming rooms. So what are you waiting for – do you want to get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office the best it can be?

Join my brand new free private Facebook group, Battle Station Setup to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best!

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Rob Orr

Rob is a graduate of Florida State University and the founder and Senior Editor of HomeOfficeHacks.com, a website dedicated to helping people navigate the unique challenges of working from home. As a remote working veteran with over 10 years of experience, Rob has developed a deep understanding of the strategies and solutions that can help people thrive in this environment. He is a respected expert in the field, renowned for his clear, engaging, and informative content. An award-winning web designer, developer, and digital marketer, Rob is also the owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties. His dedication, resourcefulness, and creativity have earned him a reputation as a respected leader in the remote work and digital media communities, inspiring others through his work and passion for lifelong learning.

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