Are you bored with the mechanical keyboard keycaps profile you are currently using? Or your keycaps are damaged because they are old enough? You may need to read this article to the end for instructions on finding the most suitable keycaps for your mechanical keyboard.
There are several important aspects that you should pay attention to when buying new keycaps. In addition to the unique design, you have to pay attention to the thickness, the type of profile, the quality of the materials used, and the price of the keycaps themselves.
If you have a keyboard that has an RGB backlight, make sure you don’t buy the wrong keycaps, so that your RGB backlight mechanical keyboard can’t show off. Of the various types of keycaps, I am always optimistic to have Double Shot Keycaps because they have a better durability than other keycaps. But if you want an aesthetic aspect to your keycaps, we recommend Pudding Keycaps for you.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the various keycaps profiles on the market today. Hopefully this article can guide you in finding the best keycaps for your favorite mechanical keyboard.
What is the Best Keycaps Material?
For keycaps, there are two types of material variants, namely ABS and PBT. These two types of keycaps are basically plastic materials that have some differences, here are the differences between ABS and PBT:
Difference Between ABS Keycaps vs PBT Keycaps Material
ABS keycaps are made by injection method, while PBT keycaps are made by Double Shoting method. PBT keycaps actually consist of 2 layers of keycaps that are put together so that PBT keycaps feel more solid and sturdy compared to ABS keycaps which are rather smooth and thin. In the market you will definitely find PBT (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) keycaps which are more expensive than ABS (Polybutylene Terephthalate) keycaps.
Keycaps are the components of the keyboard that your fingers come into contact with the most. Material (PBT, ABS) keycaps will feel different in your fingers. Unless you’re in Group Buy for exclusive or limited edition keycaps, my advice, look for PBT keycaps. In addition to feeling more solid when pressed, the finishing used in PBT keycaps is also usually more comfortable for your fingers.
Besides being more comfortable on your fingers, the PBT material will also provide a thicker sound when you are bottoming out. Remember, the thinner the walls of the sound cavity, the louder the sound will be. Therefore, ABS keycaps will usually provide a more hollow sound (hollow). You can also experiment with rubber or metal keycaps but, for me, PBT keycaps are the most ideal in terms of price, access, and convenience of use.
One of the very rare keycaps is rubber keycaps. Rubber keycaps may be difficult to obtain, unless you order them specifically from certain manufacturers. The video below is a video about keycaps made of materials other than ABS and PBT plastic.
Generally Double Shot Keycaps are made with PBT material, but now you can find keycaps made by Double Shot method made of ABS material. As I have explained, the process of making double shot keycaps is to combine 2 lauer plastic keycaps into one keycap, so as to produce strong keycaps.
Pudding Keycaps generally have a thinner texture than PBT keycaps. What we often find on the market are Pudding Keycaps made of ABS plastic. Pudding keycaps are made a bit thin not without reason. Pudding keycaps are made rather thin with the aim that they can spread light well when paired with your RGB mechanical keyboard.
But there are also pudding keycaps made with thick PBT plastic, although thick PBT pudding keycaps can emit RGB light from your keyboard through the gaps between the keycaps. One of the most popular pudding keycaps is HyperX Pudding Keycaps and Glorious Aura Pudding Keycaps. If you prioritize aesthetics, then Pudding keycaps is the best option for you.
Kinds of Keycaps Profile
Did you know that keycaps actually come in different heights and shapes. The shape and height of the keycaps usually uses the term ‘profile’. The OEM profile is the most frequently used in all mass-produced keyboards. There is also a Cherry profile which is shorter but still angled/sculpted. If you are looking for a higher than OEM profile and still angled, the SA profile could be your choice. Lastly, there is the XDA profile which is shorter and flatter.
In addition to the 4 profiles above, there are actually other variants (such as DSA, DCS, or others) however; from my experience washing my eyes in local online marketplaces, the 4 profiles I mentioned first are the easiest to find (even though the SA profile is not as easy as the other 3 profiles and the OEM profile is the easiest and cheapest).
Keycaps profile is also important to note because it will provide comfort and a different sound. For the convenience of use, the height of the keycaps will greatly affect the orientation of the keys (assuming you don’t see the keyboard anymore when you use them) and how much power is needed for bottoming out. As for the sound, the higher the sound cavity, the louder the sound produced by the keycaps when bottoming out.
My advice, the cherry profile is the ideal one to look for — if you want to switch from OEM and before trying other profiles. The cherry profile is easier to use than OEM because it’s shorter so you’re less likely to bottom out as well — unless you’re too brutal with the keyboard. Due to its shorter length, the cherry profile’s sound cavity is narrower which will make your keyboard sound denser as well.
Unfortunately, there are some major drawbacks to the cherry profile over OEMs. First, these keycaps are usually priced at a higher price. Second, the keycaps variant is also much more limited. You’ll have a much harder time finding cherry profile keycaps with backlight translucent letters than OEM profiles. As far as I know, there are no pudding keycaps that use the cherry profile.
However, these two shortcomings are not a problem considering the comfort and the sound produced is much more important to me.
Oh yes, before changing the keycaps, it is also important to pay attention to the size and stem keycaps of the keyboard you are currently using. Not a few gaming keyboards that do not have a standard bottom row. Most Corsair keyboards, for example, don’t have a standard bottom row (except the K100). The Logitech G Pro also doesn’t have a bottom row standard. The default bottom row size is 6.25u for the spacebar and 1.25u for the rest of the keys (CTRL, Win key, ALT, et al.). For more details, you can see in the image below.
It’s also important to note the stem used because you can’t pair the keycaps if the mounts are different. Currently, there are 2 switches that I remember not being compatible with the Cherry MX stem, namely the Logitech Romer-G and the ASUS ROG RX switch.
Keycaps profile comparison table
|Keycap Profile||Description||Where to Buy|
|OEM||This type of keycaps profile is very widely used on keyboards. It’s even considered the standard.||Amazon|
|Cherry||Shorter than OEM||Amazon|
|DSA||Spherical on top.||Amazon|
|XDA||The height is in the middle position||Amazon|
|SA||Tall height profile and angled top.||Amazon|
5 Most Popular Keycaps Profile
1. GMK keycaps
GMK keycaps are one of the best quality double shot ABS keycaps products. GMK keycaps are manufactured directly from Germany and marketed worldwide. The price of GMK keycaps is quite expensive, but the price is indeed in accordance with the quality of the keycaps you get. If you want to buy keycaps made by GMK, you can use this special link to see a list of GMK keycaps on Amazon.
2. KAT keycap profile
KAT Keycaps are one type of keycaps that are known to be very subtle. These keycaps are made with PBT plastic so as to produce solid and sturdy keycaps. KAT keycaps are specially developed to get great sounding clicks.
3. DSA Profile Keycaps
This keycap profile is at medium height with a slightly sphercial top. The standard material used in this type of keycaps is PBT plastic with a double shot manufacturing method so that it has a sturdy quality with good durability. This keycap is usually used on Cherry MX switches. YMDK DSA Profile 9009 is one example of its product.
4. NP profile keycaps
NP keycap is a low profile keycap. This keycap is usually paired with Cherry MX switches. These NP type keycaps are perfect for muffled sound on Cherry MX switches.
5. XDA keycaps
XDA Keycap memiliki profil yang rendah, keycap ini biasanya terbuat dari plastik PBT yang solid. Keycap ini tidak cocok digunakan pada keyboard mekanik RGB. Keycaps ini bisa digunakan pada Cherry MX, Gateron, dan juga Kailh switch. Salah satu keycaps XDA profile yang paling populer adalah Keycaps 108 PBT Heat Sublimation XDA Profile Japanese Ukiyo-e Coral Sea Keycap
Best Custom Keycaps profile for gaming and typing
1. Drop Massdrop x MiTo SA Pulse TKL Keycap
If you want a really great set of keycaps for typing and gaming, this keycap made by DROP is one of the best choices. This keycap has 90 keys in the purchase package. This is a double shot keycap made with ABS plastic. If you are interested, you can order it through our special link.
2. Drop + Redsuns GMK Red Samurai Keycap Set for Ortho Keyboards
It’s also one of DROP’s custom Keycaps that fits a Cherry MX switch. In the purchase package, you get 113 buttons. This keycap is suitable for 1800-compact keyboards and sizes below such as TKL or 75%.
3. XDA 87 ANSI Gray Orange Mixed Keyset Dye-sub Dye Sublimation Keycaps for MX Mechanical Keyboard TKL 61
This keycap set is a PBT keycap with an XDA profile suitable for keyboards with Cherry MX Switch, Gateron, Kailh and other Cherry MX cloned switches. In the purchase package, you get a total of 87 PBT buttons. Very suitable for your keyboard who wants to look retro. You can get this keycap set on Amazon at a fairly affordable price.
4. Corsair Gaming Pbt Double-Shot Keycaps Full 104/105-Keyset
For $85, you can get 105 quality PBT plastic buttons from the Corsair brand. This keycap set fits almost any keyboard that has a Cherry MX Switch.
5. HyperX Double Shot PBT Keycaps, 104 Mechanical Keycap Set
If you think this keycap set is ABS keycap, you are wrong. This is a double shot keycap set which is made of PBT plastic material and includes a very popular keycap set. Good quality and build quality and suitable for those of you who have a Cherry MX Switch. In the purchase package, you get 104 buttons. You can buy this keycap set through our special link.
What is the best keycaps profile?
No one can be sure which keycap profile is the best, because it all comes back to the user’s preference. But if we talk about the most popular and most used keycaps by people are Cherry Profile and OEM profile. These two types of profile keycaps are the most frequently used.
OEM profile keycaps are easier to obtain and sell at a more affordable price. While the Cherry Profile keycap is sold at a price that is quite expensive and it is quite rare to find it.
What is the best keycaps profile for typing?
For typing most people want a keycap with a low profile so they prefer to buy a keycap set with a Cherry keycap profile because it has a fairly short profile and is very comfortable to use for typing.
Besides that, keycaps with OEM profiles are also very widely used in built-in keyboards that are already on the market, but the typing experience is much better on Cherry Profle.
What is the best keycaps profile for gaming?
For playing games of course the keycap with OEM profile is the most popular. This is because manufacturers have made keycap OEM profiles the standard for use in their mechanical keyboards.
If you look at some mechanical gaming keyboard brands such as Razer, Hyperx, Logitech, SteelSeries, and Corsair they use OEM keycap profiles on their keyboard products compared to using other keycap profiles. So for gaming OEM Profile is the best choice.
What are low-profile keycaps?
Low Profile keycaps are usually used on mechanical keyboards that have a low design or commonly referred to as low profile keyboards. Not only the keyboard design has a low design, but the low profile keyboard also uses low profile switches which are shorter than standard switches.
Standard switches have a height of about 17.9 mm while low profile switches have a height of 10.7mm to 11.7mm so you have to use a low profile keycap. You can find a low profile keycap on the Keychron K3 mechanical keyboard.
What profile keycaps are on the Ducky One 2 Mini?
Ducky One 2 Mini uses OEM profile keycaps and uses a double shot keycap set made of high quality and durable PBT plastic, as I said, almost all mechanical keyboard productions use OEM Profile keycaps on their mechanical keyboard products.
What Are Artisan keycaps?
Artisan keycaps are specially designed keycaps with attractive motifs using a variety of materials, some using plastic, acrylic, or transparent plastic.
This is where the opportunity comes to be artistic by producing artisan keycaps. Characteristics, the shape of the artisan keycap is eccentric, produced individually, and made of various basic materials.
Artisan keycaps are usually produced by manufacturers or individuals. But with one common thread: exclusive designs. The theme depends on the artist, for example fidget spinner, movie characters, animals, nature, etc.
The basic materials that can be used for artisan keycaps are ABS plastic, PBT plastic or resin. But it’s not an art if the basic ingredients are also limited. Artisan keycap producers often use unusual materials for a keycap such as wood, rubber, copper, iron, etc.
Creativity is what makes the price of artisan keycaps very expensive. The record for the most expensive artisan keycap is currently held by Clack Factory with its keycap called The Spumoni. The current unit price is predicted to reach $750!
What Are Keycaps custom?
Cutom keycap is a keycap set product that is sold separately with the keyboard. Custom keycaps are made so that you can replace your mechanical keyboard’s default keycap. Custom keycaps are available in various variants and models for all sizes of mechanical keyboards, ranging from keycap sets with a total of 61 keys, 68, 87, to 104 keys.
Custom keycaps are also manufactured with ABS or PBT plastic. You can also find various types of keycap profiles on custom keycap sets ranging from OEM, Cherry, XDA, DSA, SA Profiles and many more. The most expensive ones are usually custom Keycaps with Cherry Karean profiles, which are quite rare and are only sold by a few vendors, such as GMK and ePBT.
Things To Consider Before Buying Custom Keycaps Set
Before you buy a keycaps set there are a few things you should pay attention to. Don’t make the mistake of buying keycaps that, for example, are not compatible with the switches on your keyboard:
- Check the Keyboard Size: Before you decide to buy a keycap set, make sure you know the number of keys, the type of switch, and the size of the keyboard you have so you don’t buy the wrong keycap set:
- ANSI vs ISO Layout: Know in advance the type of your keyboard layout, whether your keyboard has an ANSI or ISO layout. The main difference in this layout is the size of the button and the shape of the “ENTER” button.
- Compatibility: The majority of custom keycaps seems to be compatible with MX cherries, and this goes down to brand domination. Fortunately, many switch manufacturers share “X” the same because they are Cheri MX clones, which means there are some cross compatibility. That is saying, there are other types of switches with Keycaps to fit, so always check your switch and a compatible new key key!
- Keycap Material: Get to know the keycap material as I discussed earlier at the beginning of the article. Most quality and solid keycap sets are made of PBT plastic. Usually PBT keycaps are more expensive than ABS.
- Translucent: The PBT double shot keycap set will not be able to emit RGB as well as the ABS keycap set. If you want to have a maximum RGB display, we recommend that you buy a keycap made of ABS.
- Keycap Puller : If you buy a keycap set and get a free keycap puller, it’s a joy in itself.
- Font: Don’t get the wrong keycaps set font. This is very important, for example you are someone who is used to using the standard English keycap. Don’t make the mistake of buying a keycap that you don’t understand.
Replacing your old keycap set with a new custom keycap set is fun. It can also eliminate your long-standing boredom using only one type of keycaps set on your mechanical keyboard. Now you can understand the various important aspects needed before changing your keycaps.
From the size of the keyboard, the type of layout, the material of a good keycap set, and you should also understand PBT and ABS keycaps. We recommend that you use the Cherry MX Switch, because this switch has a lot of custom keycaps on the market.