If you want a mechanical keyboard that has the flexibility to change your switches without soldering then you must have a Hot Swappable Mechanical Keyboard. Because this type of keyboard has a PCB that does not require soldering for switch installation.
In this article, we want to explain a bit about Hot-Swappable mechanical keyboards and why you should consider having a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard. Let’s unpack why you should have hot swappable!
What does hot swappable keyboard mean?
Hot-swappable switch is a continuation of the existing swappable switch technology. With this feature, can easily replace every switch on their mechanical gaming keyboard.
Previously this was difficult because the connector between the switch and the keyboard circuit board was usually secured with a soldering system. So if you want to replace the existing switch, they have to disassemble their keyboard with a fairly complicated step.
With this hot-swappable switch feature, all you have to do is remove the existing switch and replace it with the desired switch. There are various types of switches from various brands with their respective characteristics.
Some of the popular types of switches are Blue, Red, and Brown, while the brands that are often found are Cherry MX, Kaihl, and Gateron.
One of the perceived advantages of this feature is the lower maintenance costs. The reason is if one switch is damaged, there is no need to replace it by buying a new keyboard. It is enough to replace the broken switch with a new one and the keyboard will return to normal functioning.
The existence of this feature also makes it easier for those who like keyboard modifications. As is known, keyboard modifications are currently mushrooming and growing quite rapidly. Some people even modify their keyboard to an extreme level. These modifications were made to find comfort in using the keyboard.
Because many modifiers feel that the factory mechanical gaming keyboard is less comfortable to use in their hands.
Why Should You Have a Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard?
Hot swappable mechanical keyboard is a type of mechanical keyboard whose PCB does not require soldering for switch installation. You just need to use the switch puller to pull the switch, without having to unsoldering it (because it’s not needed).
Switch on PCB Hot swappable mechanical keyboard has holes for pinning the pins on the switch and locks firmly on the PCB. So to remove and install the switch, you only need a switch puller.
The advantage of Hot Swappable is, you can replace the switch at any time without having to solder it like on a standard mechanical keyboard PCB.
Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards You Should Consider
Here is a list of the Top 11 Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards You Should Consider:
|Drop CTRL TKL||Wired||Programmable Macros|
Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
Detachable USB Type C
Cherry MX Switch
RGB LED Backlighting
|Keychron K6 65%||Wireless/Bluetooth||Aluminum Frame|
Detachable USB Type C
Gateron Brown Switch
|Glorious GMMK TKL||Wired||Gateron Brown|
Detachable USB Type C
|Keychron K8||Wireless/Bluetooth||Gateron Brown Switch|
Detachable USB Type C
|Keychron K2||Wireless/Bluetooth||Gateron Brown Switch|
Detachable USB Type C
|EPOMAKER GK68XS||Wireless/Bluetooth||Gateron Blue Switch|
Dye-subbed PBT GSA Keycaps
Detachable USB Type C
|EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64||Wired||64 Keys|
Gateron Optical Black or Grey Black
Dedicated Arrow Keys
Detachable USB Type C
|Redragon K530 Draconic||Wireless/Bluetooth||61 Keys|
MX Switch Support
Dedicated Arrow Keys
Detachable USB Type C
|EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK61||Wired||Gateron Optical Switch|
Detachable USB Type C
|GMMK Full Size||Wired||Support Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh Switch|
RGB LED Backlit
|GMMK 60% Compact||Wired||Support Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh Switch |
Detachable USB Type C
1. Drop CTRL TKL
Drop CTRL is a TKL (Tenkeyless) sized hot swappable keyboard that doesn’t have a numpad. This keyboard has a unique design with outstanding build quality.
Drop CTRL has a body made entirely of aluminum frame which makes it feel very sturdy and solid. Drop CTRL is available in several sizes, namely TKL Version and 65% Layout Size Version.
Drop CTRL is equipped with double shot keycaps made of high quality, thick, and solid PBT. This is the type of keycaps that has the best durability. The keycaps on this keyboard feel comfortable to type, not slippery and solid.
For switch options on Drop CTRL, you can choose from several available switch options, including Halo Clear and Halo True, Cherry MX Blue and Brown, Kaihua Box White and Speed Silver. All of these options can be adjusted to the taste of the switch that you like.
For connectivity, Drop CTRL is supported by a removable USB Type C, so Drop CTRL becomes more flexible. For firmware support Drop CTRL supports QMK which can be useful for reprogramming buttons, RGB and more.
The RGB backlight on this keyboard is pretty good, because it uses thick PBT keycaps, a lot of RGB lights come out through between the switches and keycaps, which is really amazing to look at. For the price, this keyboard is priced at $240, if you want to buy this keyboard you can use our special link.
2. Keychron K6
Keychron K6 is a hot swappable mechanical keyboard with a layout size of 65%. This keyboard has a very unique design, the gray color and the red button on the ESC are one of the characteristics of the Keychron K6.
The Keychron K6 has a body made of very good aluminum so the keyboard feels very sturdy and a bit heavy.
Keychron K6 is equipped with ABS keycaps which of course you can replace with PBT keycaps when you have a budget later. Switch on this keyboard consists of several options, namely Gateron Blue, Red, Brown, and Optical Blue, Red, Brown. This is quite a choice and you can customize the switch you want.
Keychron K6 has excellent connectivity options, you can connect to 3 devices simultaneously at the same time with Bluetooth wireless connectivity and of course use USB Type C for the cable connection.
For compatibility, Keychron K6 runs well on windows operating systems, while on MacOS and Linux, there are some keys that don’t work normally. Because Keychron K6 supports bluetooth connection, this keyboard can connect with your android and iOS/iPad devices.
For features, Keychron K6 has a fairly complete feature, very good RGB Backlight, a switch to select the OS mode when you use this keyboard on devices with different operating systems.
For software, there is no supporting software to reprogram or adjust RGB. You can do all the customization via the function keys on the Keychron K6. Thursday highly recommends this keyboard, the Keychron K6 has everything a mechanical keyboard needs, and the Keychron K6 is a hot swappable keyboard. You can buy this keyboard through our link at an affordable price.
3. Glorious GMMK TKL
Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard (GMMK) is a hot swappable mechanical keyboard that we highly recommend because it is very affordable. GMMK is available in two layout sizes, namely 60%, Tenkeyless and Full Size.
This keyboard has a very nice design with the signature black color of Glorious. The build quality of GMMK is also very good, the frame on this keyboard body is made of aluminum and the whole body is covered by quality plastic material so that the keyboard body feels very solid.
GMMK is equipped with 87 keys using double shot ABS keycaps which are very good for typing. This keyboard is equipped with a Gateron Brown Switch which is very similar to the Cherry MX Brown. The Switch Gateron Brown character has a quiet voice when used to type.
For connectivity, this keyboard only supports connection via a USB Type C cable to connect to your computer, and is fully compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Linux operating systems.
For the GMMK feature, it provides RGB features that have many change modes and anti-ghosting features to improve typing accuracy. If you want the most affordable hot swappable mechanical keyboard, then GMMK is one of the best options out there. You can buy it through our special link at a friendly price.
4. Keychron K8
The next hot swappable keyboard recommendation is the Keychron K8. In general, for design, all Keychron products are almost all similar, only differing in high and low profiles. And Keychron K8 is a keyboard with a rather high profile like other normal mechanical keyboards.
Keychron K8 is a keyboard with a TKL (Tenkeyless) layout that does not have a numpad. But in my opinion this is a very ideal keyboard size. Very fitting for most people’s desktop PCs.
The Keychron K8 has a very solid build quality because the keyboard body is made of a fairly thick aluminum frame, so you don’t have to be surprised if the Keychron K8 is a bit heavy.
Keychron K8 has 2 connectivity options, namely via bluetooth so that this keyboard can be used for your mobile device and is compatible with Android, iOS/iPad operating systems. Keychron K8 is also fully compatible with Windows via detachable USB Type C Cable, on MacOS and Linux, some keys don’t work properly.
The Keychron K8 is a TKL-sized hot swappable mechanical keyboard equipped with 87 keycaps. These keycaps are ABS keycaps, but PBT keycaps are available which you can purchase through the official Keychron website. Keychron K8 uses the Switch Gateron Red Switch, which of course you can replace with your favorite switch anytime you want.
For features, this keyboard has a very good RGB backlight, there is a switch feature to turn Bluetooth on and off, then there is a feature to select the keyboard mode to MacOS or Windows. This feature can be useful when you are using a device with a different operating system.
This keyboard is one of the TKL keyboards that is very comfortable to use for playing games or typing. The keychron k8 has a 4000mah battery capacity which can last up to 72 hours . You can buy it at a very affordable price on Amazon.
5. Keychron K2
Keychron K2 is a hot swappable mechanical keyboard with a size of 75%. This keyboard has a fairly good build quality with a body made of thick ABS plastic. This keyboard overall feels very solid, although there are a few parts that are a bit flexible when pressed a little hard.
Keychron K2 is equipped with 84 keys, with Double Shot ABS keycaps that feel quite comfortable when used for typing. ABS keycaps feel solid and don’t shake when pressed, meaning this keyboard has a pretty good stabilizer. Keychron K2 is equipped with a clicky Gateron Red Switch with a fairly loud sound.
Keychron K2 has connectivity options with Bluetooth and USB Type C. So this keyboard can also be connected to your Android and iOS/iPad devices. For Windows and MacOS Keychron K2 works well on both operating systems.
For features such as keyboards from other keychrons, RGB and Switch for keyboard mode are also available on Keychron K2. The keychron k2 has a 4000mah battery capacity which can last up to 72 hours. You can buy this keyboard at a very affordable price on Amazon.
6. EPOMAKER GK68XS
The Epomaker GK68XS is one of several Epomeker product variants that make swappable hoy mechanical keyboards. The Epomaker GK68XS is a very compact 65% layout keyboard. This keyboard has a body made of aluminum so this keyboard feels very sturdy.
The Epomaker GK68XS has a total of 68 keys covered by high quality PBT keycaps. This keyboard has very nice and thick keycaps. This is one of the advantages of the Epomaker GK68XS. The switch on this keyboard uses the Gateron Blue Switch which you can also easily replace with your favorite switch. Typing with this keyboard provides a really great experience.
For connectivity, this keyboard supports Bluetooth 5.1 and USB Type C. This keyboard is compatible with Windows and MacOs, with Android and iOS devices as well as this keyboard can work well.
Features on this keyboard such as RGB, Bluethoth 5.1 are quite complete. You can maximize all these features with software from Epomeker which is available for Windows and MacOS. This keyboard is also equipped with a 1900mah battery that can last up to 38 hours in a RGB state. You can buy this keyboard at an affordable price on Amazon.
If you’d like to purchase the Epomaker Hot Swappable keyboard variant, here’s a list of what’s available on Amazon:
- GK68X Mechanical Keyboard
- GK68XS Mechanical Keyboard
- GK61X Mechanical Keyboard
- GK61XS Mechanical Keyboard
- GK73X Mechanical Keyboard
- GK73XS Mechanical Keyboard
7. EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64
If you’re looking for the best 60% Hot Swappable mechanical keyboard for under $100, then the EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64 is the one for you.
This is one of the 60% keyboard with very good build quality. This keyboard body is made of a mixture of ABS and PBT which produces a keyboard body that feels very solid.
The EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64 has 64 keys with high quality PBT keycaps. There are several Switch options for this keyboard Gateron Optical Switch (Blue / Brown / Red / Black Switch) you can choose according to your wishes.
EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64 only supports connectivity via USB Type C to your computer, and this keyboard is fully compatible with Windows and MacOS.
For features, this keyboard has good supporting software, everything can be done to maximize the functions of this keyboard, such as customizing RGB through software, and reprogramming the keys. These are the best 60% swappable host keyboards that you should consider. The EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64 is available at a very affordable price on Amazon.
8. Redragon K530 Draconic
The Redragon K530 Draconic is a hot swappable mechanical keyboard with 60% layout size. This is one of the hot swappable mechanical keyboards that is very affordable, it only costs $60 which is a very affordable price for a hot swappable mechanical keyboard.
The Redragon K530 Draconic has a pretty good build quality with a body made of ABS plastic. It’s quite feasible to use.
This keyboard has 61 keys with ABS keycaps which are quite good and comfortable to use for typing. Only Brown Switch is available for this keyboard which has a fairly quiet character, this keyboard is very comfortable to use for typing, even though its ABS keycap feels a bit slippery.
What’s interesting about the Redragon K530 Draconic is complete software support for setting programmable buttons and adjusting RGB. In addition to software this keyboard is also compatible with Windows and MACOS via Bluetooth connection and USB Type C. The Redragon K530 Draconic is available for $6 on Amazon.
9. EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK61
The Epomaker SK6 has a 60% layout which is the hot swappable mechanical keyboard we recommend. This keyboard has a body made of ABS plastic which is quite strong, this keyboard also feels solid and quite heavy.
The Epomaker SK6 has 61 keys with PBT keycaps which are pretty good and thick.
The switch on this keyboard uses Gateron Optical Brown or Gray, you can choose according to your taste, and can change it whenever you want without soldering the switch.
This keyboard is compatible with Windows and MacOs operating systems using a USB Type C connection. This keyboard also gets software to reprogram keys and RGB.
There are other interesting features like Water Resistant so this is a pretty good keyboard for you to consider. The Epomaker SK61 is available at a fairly affordable price on Amazon.
10. GMMK Full Size
GMMK Full Size is a hot swappable mechanical keyboard that has a complete number of 104 keys. This keyboard is the best hot swappable keyboard for $100 that you can get today.
This keyboard has a body made of a combination of aluminum and plastic which is quite good, but not as good as the TKL version which is made of full aluminum.
The keycaps on this keyboard use very good Double Shot ABS keycaps, the keycaps are not too thin and slippery, very comfortable to use for typing. This keyboard is pinned with Gateron Brown Siwtch which you can replace if you don’t want to use Gateron Brown which has a silent character.
The RGB features on this keyboard and the use of a removable USB Type C are good things. There is no supporting software for this keyboard. You can buy this keyboard for a pretty reasonable price on Amazon
11. GMMK 60% Compact
GMMK 60% has a body made of aluminum which makes this keyboard feel very solid and sturdy. GMMK 60% is one of our recommendations if you want a 60% hot swappable mechanical keyboard.
The keycaps on this keyboard are ABS keycaps with 61 keys. The switch on this keyboard uses a Gateron Brown Switch.
RGB and USB Type C are built-in features, this keyboard is compatible with Windows and MacOS. There is no software support for this keyboard. You can buy this keyboard via our special link.
Things You Should Pay Attention to If You Have a Hot Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
- A mechanical keyboard with a hot-swappable switch system allows users to use a switch that is different from the type of the keyboard’s built-in switches. So, for example, a user buys a mechanical keyboard with the initial Outemu branded switches, he can replace some switches or even all switches using other similar brands, such as Cherry MX, Kaihl, or Gateron.
- With this hot-swappable system, users can replace switches themselves in a very easy way, by simply removing the switch using a switch puller and installing a new switch of a different brand correctly.
- The PCB design that is compatible with several types of switches from various brands allows the switches to be compatible or matched in size, pin position, level dimensions, and stem height so that they can be used immediately.
Before Replace Your Switches
Replacing the mechanical keyboard switch is easy. You just pull out the old switch with a switch puller and replace it with a new type of switch.
The difficult thing is how to choose a suitable switch to be attached to our keyboard. The reason is, there are a variety of mechanical keyboard switches that are sold separately on the market. You just type the name of the switch in the search field of a marketplace, a variety of switch options will appear. In order not to choose the wrong switch, there are several things that must be considered:
1. Keyboard type
Make sure your keyboard type is a mechanical keyboard with hot-swappable features. This keyboard has a PCB or circuit board that can accommodate almost all switch brands, from Cherry, Gateron, Kaihl, and Outemu. This keyboard PCB also supports dismounting switches without the soldering process.
2. Switch holder shape
In a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard, there is a PCB or circuit board with a switch holder for each switch. This mount is also known as f mounting plate. Before replacing the switch, first pay attention to the point or pin hole in the holder. Usually, today’s mechanical keyboard mounting plates have 3 or 5 holes. The hole will later serve as a place for the switch pin plugs.
There are several opinions regarding the pins on keyboard switches. Some argue that the pins are all protrusions under the surface of the switch, but others argue that the pins are just conductor metal plugs. To make it easier, we just divide the pin into several parts:
- Metal plug. This conductor leg is made of metal that goes as a component leg into the PCB hole. The number of pins of this conductor in most switches is two.
- The protrusion in the middle which is the part of the trigger or stem that will go up and down when the switch is pressed.
- Hook protrusion. These bumps are on some switches. Its function is so that the switch is not easily shaken. There are two in number and are on the left and right of the stem button.
4. Switch profile
Also pay attention to the switch profile. This can usually be seen from the cross section of the switch. There are low profile and high switches. Adjust the switch profile of the button you want to replace. Make sure you don’t use a low profile for the standard keyboard.
5. Size of the frame box or frame
Each switch on the keyboard has a housing or small square frame box. Adjust the size of the frame box to the size of the switch.
Some of these things you should consider before buying a replacement switch. For the choice of switches, each user has their own taste, according to the characteristics of each switch based on its color.
Benefits of Changing Keyboard Switch
Replacing or combining switches is a special pleasure for keyboard users. At least, a mechanical keyboard with a hot swappable switch system has several benefits, including:
- Mechanical keyboard users are free to determine the characteristics of the switch according to its function. If you use the keyboard a lot for typing work in the office, the keyboard can be replaced using a red switch which is linear and not noisy. But, when you want to play games, you just have to replace it with a tactile and clicky blue switch.
- Can modify the type of switch in one keyboard. Users can replace some of the buttons that are often used to play games with certain switches. For example, you can replace just the WASD switch with a blue switch on a mechanical keyboard with a brown switch default.
- More efficient. Users do not need to buy a new mechanical keyboard if they want to feel the sensation of using other types of switches.
With these various benefits, you can start switching to a keyboard with a hot-swappable switch syste. This hot-swappable technology will give you a richer experience using various types of keyboard switches. What is clear, your game will be more comfortable.
Which is the best hot swappable keyboard?
For the best hot swappable keyboard we really like Drop CTRL TKL because it has a very great build quality with aluminum material. In addition, the components used are quality components.
Drop CTRL TKL uses a very high quality Double Shot PBT Keycap and has excellent durability. Then, this keyboard comes with Cherry MX Switch which is very well known for its excellent quality. For the best hot swappable keyboard, we chose Drop CTRL TKL.
Which Best Cheap hot swappable keyboard?
For the hot swappable keyboard at the lowest price, we chose the EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK61 which supports hot swappable with a very reliable Gateron Optical Switch for gaming and is sold at a price of $51.00. Then the Redragon K530 Draconic is the cheapest hot swappable keyboard that supports MX Switch such as Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh which only sells for $56.99.
Best full size hot swappable keyboard?
Finding a full size keyboard that has hot swappable features is quite difficult, there are only a few hot swappable keyboards with full size layouts. In this list GMMK Full Size is the best Hot Swappable full size keyboard in our opinion. For other options, we have also reviewed the hot swappable full size keyboard, namely Hexgears Impulse – The Hot Swappable Full Size Mechanical Keyboard.
Best TKL hot swappable keyboard?
For the best TKL-sized hot swappable mechanical keyboard, you can see it in the table below:
|Drop CTRL TKL||Best TKL Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|Glorious GMMK TKL||Best TKL Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|Keychron K8||Best TKL Hot Swappable Keyboard|
Best 75% hot swappable keyboard?
For a 75% mechanical keyboard with hot swappable features, the best is Keychron K2 (hot swappable). This keyboard is one of my favorite hot swappable keyboards which is great for customization. In addition to having a full build quality and features, this keyboard also supports switches from Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh, or other custom mechanical switches.
Best 65% hot swappable keyboard?
For the best hot swappable keyboard at 65% we really like the Keychron K6 65% and the EPOMAKER GK68XS. Both of these keyboards support mechanical switches such as Cherry MX, Gateron, kailh and other mechanical switches.
Best 60% hot swappable keyboard?
For the best hot swappable mechanical keyboard with a size of 60% we chose 3 mechanical keyboards. You can see the list below:
|GMMK 60% Compact||Best 60% Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64||Best 60% Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK61||Best 60% Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|Redragon K530 Draconic||Best 60% Hot Swappable Keyboard|
Which is the Best Wireless hot swap keyboard?
For the best hot swappable mechanical keyboard with wireless connectivity features, you can see it in the table below:
|Keychron K6 65%||Best Wireless Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|Keychron K8||Best Wireless Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|EPOMAKER GK68XS||Best Wireless Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|Keychron K2||Best Wireless Hot Swappable Keyboard|
|Redragon K530 Draconic||Best Wireless Hot Swappable Keyboard|
Are hot swappable keyboards for gaming?
The hot swappable mechanical keyboard can be used to play games like any other mechanical keyboard. What makes hot swappable keyboards better than standard PCB keyboards is that you can change switches without having to solder them to the PCB. So when you want to replace your keyboard switch with a switch that is better for playing games, you just need to remove and install your new switch without having to solder it.
Having a hot swappable mechanical keyboard is so much fun, you can change the switch any time you want. The benefit is, when your switch breaks down you can pull it out and replace it with a new one without soldering the switch on the PCB.
With so many hot swappable mechanical keyboard options that we recommend, it seems like you are confused about which keyboard is best for you.
If you want the most affordable hot swappable mechanical keyboard, then the Redragon K530 and Tecwar are the most affordable at under $60. If you have a budget under $80 we highly recommend you choose the EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64.
It all depends on the budget you have, our recommendations have various prices that you can adjust to your budget.