ABS vs PBT Keycaps: Which one is better?

The two most popular plastics utilized in the production of keycaps are ABS and PBT. The feel, sound, and appearance of one form of plastic differs from the other. We’ll go over the distinctions and discuss which is preferable. So, Which is better between ABS vs PBT Keycaps?

The least expensive and most often used plastic for keycaps is ABS. PBT plastic is less prevalent than ABS, but it is often of superior quality. PBT keycaps feel textured and are more robust than ABS keycaps, which feel smooth and eventually develop a greasy gloss.

As you can see, PBT keycaps are typically superior, but ABS keycaps can be better in certain circumstances. We’ll go into more depth about the primary distinctions between the two as well as a few additional intriguing keycap options. Check out this article for suggestions for best keycaps.

ABS vs PBT
ABS vs PBT Keycaps:

What are ABS Keycaps?

Keycaps for keyboards are frequently made from the copolymer material Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). Because it is affordable to make while being strong and resilient, ABS plastic is widely used.

It can sustain millions of keystrokes because it is impact resistant before cracking or breaking. The fact that ABS degrades over time is one of its drawbacks. An ABS keycap’s writing frequently begins to fade after prolonged use, and the keycap itself may begin to thin.

Keycaps made of ABS have a smooth surface. Your fingertips may like sliding across the keyboard’s texture. This comes at a price, though, since cheap and poorly made ABS keycaps will eventually take on a shiny/greasy appearance from use.

What are ABS Keycaps?
What are ABS Keycaps?

This is due to the plastic’s progressive color change brought on by UV exposure. ABS keycaps typically have a slimmer profile, although for a modest premium, it is possible to purchase thick, high-quality ABS keycaps.

Injection molding is used to create the shape of the majority of ABS keycaps. The legends are then printed on the keycaps using a variety of techniques, depending on the manufacturer. The most popular methods include engraving, laser marking, and pad printing.

ABS keycaps are often put on mechanical keyboards, but attractive and pricey sets are also available online. Some of the most expensive sets include high-end sets like GMK Keycaps. These pricey keycap sets typically feature sturdier plastic and have personalized designs.

What are PBT Keycaps?

What are PBT Keycaps?
What are PBT Keycaps?

Keycaps made of Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) are less frequently used. You’ll typically have to buy PBT separately or pay a markup for many keyboards because it costs more to develop and source PBT. PBT is significantly harder to work with and produce because it is more rigid and brittle than ABS, which results in less wear and tear over time. PBT keycaps can be used continuously for a very long time before they start to degrade.

PBT keycaps are distinguished by their rough, occasionally sandy, feel. PBT keycaps that cost more typically have finer textures than those that cost less. PBT keycaps lack a lot of shine and are matte. They also frequently

ABS vs PBT Keycaps Comparison

ABS KeycapsPBT Keycaps
Usually CheaperMore Expensive
Shiny/GreasyMatte
SmoothTextured
Thinner (Not always)Thicker
Quieter when typingLouder when typing
FlexibleBrittle
Wears Over TimeMore Durable
ABS vs PBT Keycaps Comparison

Let’s discuss the main distinctions between ABS and PBT after going over each of the other plastic varieties.

Cost

PBT keycaps are typically more expensive than ABS keycaps. This is because PBT keycaps are more challenging to manufacture because the material is more difficult to shape into the correct keycap shape during the injection molding process. Some ABS keycaps can be more expensive than PBT, although this is usually because ABS keycaps are thicker and have more elaborate designs on the legends.

Texture

PBT keycaps are textured and matte, while ABS keycaps are smooth and shiny. This is because each type of plastic uses a different plastic and plastic compound. Just be cautious to test them out first before purchasing since some ABS keycaps don’t have the shiny appearance to them if they are higher quality.

Thickness

ABS vs PBT Thickness
PBT left | ABS Right

Typically, PBT keycaps are thicker than ABS ones. Which keycap set you purchase will determine this. In some circumstances, you can purchase a set of thick ABS keycaps.

Material

PBT keycaps are composed of a different kind of plastic than ABS that is harder, more robust, and textured.

Sound

I’ve discovered by using PBT keycaps that they have a distinctive sound when typing. The sound is crisper and cleaner, although they are typically a little louder than ABS keycaps. The keycaps themselves don’t vibrate as much because the material is more stiff and thick, which results in the more crisp sound.

ABS or PBT: Which is better?

ABS or PBT: Which is better?
ABS or PBT: Which is better?

PBT keycaps are generally seen to be superior to ABS keycaps, however you can choose the one you like most. Some individuals dislike the matte hue of PBT keycaps or the sandy texture that gives them that feeling. It’s very reasonable to choose the shiny, slick ABS material.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal opinion and whatever you believe to be more aesthetically pleasing and more comfortable. You can acquire beautiful keycaps regardless of the plastic type because there are many higher end keycaps available for both kinds.

What are Doubleshot Keycaps?

What are Doubleshot Keycaps?
What are Doubleshot Keycaps?

Double shot keycaps are created using an intricate manufacturing process that involves the injection molding of two different polymers to create the keycap. This method of making doubleshot keycaps allows light to pass through the legends.

These types of keycaps are typically used on keyboards with individual key illumination so that the backlighting may illuminate the legends and make them easier to read. Both PBT and ABS polymers are available for double shot keycaps.

What are Pudding Keycaps?

What are Pudding Keycaps?
What are Pudding Keycaps?

Pudding keycaps are a great way to truly highlight the lighting on your keyboard. These are also doubleshot, however the light can also pass through the sides of the keycaps in addition to the legends. This results in some amazing-looking keyboard configurations.

Profiles for keycaps

Another crucial feature of keycaps to comprehend is keycap profiles. The keycap’s overall size and form are referred to as its profile. There are numerous various profiles, so you can experiment with them to see which one feels the most comfortable. Here is a comprehensive overview of keycap profiles.

Should you Get the ABS Keycaps?

ABS produces a gentler, softer sound and is a softer plastic. PBT has a more haptic sound and is harder. Both are equally good; it all depends on personal preference. However, many people enjoy the sound that a high-end ABS keycap like GMK provides.

Should you Get the PBT Keycaps?

PBT is regarded as being superior because it is more robust and doesn’t over time take on a shiny appearance. Having said that, there are some pretty lovely sets of ABS keycaps available, and ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

For more detailed information, watch the video below about the comparison of ABS vs PBT Keycaps

video comparison of ABS vs PBT Keycaps

ABS vs PBT Keycaps: Which should you get?

PBT and ABS keycaps differ greatly from one another overall. PBT is regarded as being superior because it is more robust and doesn’t over time take on a shiny appearance. Having said that, there are some pretty lovely sets of ABS keycaps available, and ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

You should choose which type you believe to be superior, however in my opinion, PBT is superior in every manner.

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    Hi! I’m Kizaru. I grew up addicted to different Gadget & Computer Accessories. I began working as an IT Support Supervisor in Hospitality company years ago and realized my passion for Computer & Gadget Accessories. Digiva.net is a place for me to share my different findings and experiences about Computer & Gadget Accessories. For more information, Check Out My About Me Page!