Best Keycaps: Top Picks for Enhanced Typing and Gaming Experience

Finding the perfect keycaps for your mechanical keyboard can seem like a daunting task, especially with so many options available in the market. However, by understanding your personal preferences and paying attention to key factors such as material, design, and durability, you can elevate your typing experience to the next level. This article will provide you with valuable insights and guide you through some of the best keycaps available today.

Keycaps come in a variety of materials, the most common being ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate). ABS keycaps are affordable and relatively quiet, while PBT keycaps are more durable and often preferred due to their texture and resistance to wear. But it doesn’t stop there, as keycaps also come in a wide range of custom designs and colors, allowing you to add a personal touch to your mechanical keyboard.

To help you make a decision, this article will discuss a diverse lineup of keycap sets, highlighting their unique features and characteristics. From affordable options to high-quality premium sets, you’ll get a comprehensive view of the keycap landscape, enabling you to find the perfect match for your typing needs and aesthetics.

Understanding Keycaps

Materials: ABS vs PBT

When choosing keycaps for your mechanical keyboard, the materials used are an essential factor to consider. The two most common materials are ABS and PBT.

  • ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): ABS keycaps are generally more affordable and have a smooth surface. However, they tend to develop a shiny appearance over time due to wear and may fade with prolonged use.
  • PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate): PBT keycaps are more durable and have a textured surface which prevents shine. Additionally, they are resistant to fading. While PBT keycaps may have a higher price tag, they tend to last longer.

RGB Lighting and Backlighting

Your preference for keyboard aesthetics can also play a role in selecting keycaps. If you have a preference for RGB lighting, consider the following options:

  • Backlit Keycaps: These keycaps allow light from your mechanical keyboard’s LEDs to pass through the legends (letters, numbers, etc.). They are typically made from transparent plastic or have a translucent design to enable the light to shine through.
  • Pudding Keycaps: Pudding keycaps feature a dual-layer design, with a translucent bottom layer and a solid color top layer. This design allows the RGB lighting to shine around the edges of the keycap, creating a unique and visually appealing effect.

Keycap Profiles and Shapes

The profile and shape of the keycaps can greatly impact your typing experience. Familiarize yourself with some popular keycap profiles:

  • Cherry Profile: This is a popular low-profile option that is commonly used on Cherry MX switches. The keycaps are sculpted with a slight curve and are designed for an efficient typing experience.
  • DSA Profile: DSA profile keycaps have a uniform, spherical shape. They are often preferred for their minimalistic design and ease of use, especially when switching between multiple keyboard layouts like ANSI and ISO.
  • OEM Profile: OEM profile keycaps are similar to Cherry profile keycaps but have a slightly higher height. They are the standard keycaps that come with most mechanical keyboards and provide a comfortable typing experience.

In conclusion, understanding the materials, lighting options, and keycap profiles can help you find the perfect keycaps for your mechanical keyboard. By weighing the benefits of ABS and PBT, considering RGB preferences, and exploring different keycap profiles, you can ensure an optimal typing experience that suits your needs.

Top Keycaps on the Market

Best Overall

For an overall outstanding keycap set, consider the HK Gaming Dye Sublimation Keycaps.

These keycaps are made from high-quality PBT, ensuring durability and reliability. The dye-sublimation process creates long-lasting legends that will not wear off easily. You can find this keycap set on Amazon at an affordable price, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and enthusiasts of mechanical keyboards.

Best Budget

If you’re looking for an affordable yet reliable keycap option, YMDK Double-Shot PBT Keycaps should be on your radar.

These keycaps are crafted with the double-shot process, which ensures the legends don’t fade even with regular use. Available on Amazon, YMDK keycaps offer a cost-effective way to upgrade your mechanical keyboard without compromising on quality.

Best for Customization

When it comes to finding keycaps that allow for extensive customization, custom keycap sets are your best bet. These sets come in various colors, shapes, and materials, offering limitless options for personalizing your mechanical keyboard. A popular choice among custom keycap sets is the Laser-Etched Alphas Keycaps, which are available in numerous colorways, allowing you to create a truly unique keyboard setup.

Best for RGB

For those who enjoy the added flair of RGB backlighting, selecting keycaps that complement this feature is essential. Razer offers a range of RGB compatible keycaps designed to enhance the visual effects of your mechanical keyboard. These keycaps are crafted from durable materials such as double-shot PBT or dye-sublimated PBT, ensuring both long-lasting performance and visual appeal. With Razer’s variety of RGB keycaps, you can elevate your keyboard’s aesthetics while enjoying the reliability of high-quality materials.

Guide to Upgrading Keycaps

Compatibility with Mechanical Keyboards

Before you start upgrading your keycaps, ensure they are compatible with your mechanical keyboard. Keycaps are usually made from different materials, such as ABS or PBT plastic. PBT plastic is more sturdy and durable in comparison to ABS plastic. Pudding keycaps, a popular choice, have a dual-layer design that allows the backlight to shine through, enhancing the keyboard’s aesthetics.

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Gather necessary tools: You will need a keycap puller handy for this process.
  2. Power off your keyboard: Before removing any keycaps, ensure your keyboard is powered off, disconnected, and placed on a flat surface.
  3. Remove old keycaps: Using the keycap puller, gently remove each keycap from the mechanical switches, taking care not to damage the switches or stems.
  4. Clean the keyboard: After removing all the keycaps, this is an excellent opportunity to clean your keyboard by removing dust, debris, and any grime lodged under the keys.
  5. Place new keycaps: Align the new keycaps with the corresponding switches, and gently press them until they firmly attach.

Improving Aesthetics and Functionality

Upgrading your keycaps can significantly improve the aesthetics and functionality of your mechanical keyboard. Here are a few benefits:

  • Durability: Upgrading to PBT plastic keycaps increases resistance to wear, shine, and oil over time, ensuring your keyboard maintains a new appearance for longer.
  • Design: New keycaps come in various colors, patterns, and themes, enabling you to customize your keyboard to reflect your personality or match your setup.
  • Comfort: Different keycap profiles, such as Cherry or OEM profiles, provide varying levels of typing comfort and ergonomic support, allowing you to choose the ideal keycap shape for your typing preferences.

Remember to keep your old keycaps in a secure location, as they can serve as backup or replacements if needed. Enjoy the process and the improved functionality of your upgraded mechanical keyboard.

DSA Astrolokeys Keycaps

The DSA Astrolokeys Keycaps are a popular choice among the mechanical keyboard community.

The keycaps have a uniform profile and a unique astrological theme that adds a touch of personality to your keyboard. They are made from high-quality PBT plastic, ensuring durability and long-lasting use. The keycaps feature dye-sublimated printing, which provides clear and vibrant legends that do not easily wear off.

Drop + Mito XDA Canvas Keycaps

A collaboration between Drop and community designer MiTo, the XDA Canvas Keycaps are known for their clean and minimalistic design.

These keycaps are made from PBT, offering a durable and premium feel to your typing experience. With XDA being a uniform profile, it’s easy to switch between rows and key sizes without any adjustment. The keycaps showcase a modern-retro aesthetic with its grayscale color palette and custom legend design. Additionally, the set includes compatibility for various keyboard layouts, making it a versatile choice.

HyperX Pudding Keycaps

HyperX Pudding Keycaps are a popular choice for those who want to add some flair to their mechanical keyboard.

These keycaps are made from high-quality double-shot PBT, ensuring durability and shine resistance. The standout feature of these keycaps is their translucent design, which allows the LED backlighting of your keyboard to shine through. This creates a distinct “pudding” effect that enhances the overall appearance of your keyboard. The keycaps come in black or white color options and are compatible with most mechanical keyboards using a Cherry MX-style switch.

About the Author

Dan was initially only focused around gaming reviews and other content back in 2019ish on this platform. Since then he has decided to focus on the hardware and software side of things instead of just the games themselves. He has been focused on PC gaming and wants to give back to his community as much as possible.