Abstract In this paper a variant of the set partitioned embedded block coder (SPECK) image compression called listless SPECK (LSK) is presented. LSK operates without lists and is suitable for a fast, simple hardware implementation. LSK has a fixed predetermined memory requirement about 50% larger than needed for the independent image. Instead of lists, a state table with two bits per coefficient is used to keep track of the block coding and the information that has been encoded. LSK sparsely marks selected block nodes of insignificant blocks in the state table, in such a way that large groups of predictably insignificant pixels are easily identified and skipped during the coding process. The image data is stored as a one-dimensional recursive zigzag array for computational efficiency and algorithmic simplicity. Performance of the proposed algorithm on standard test images is nearly same as SPECK.