How to choose the best keycaps for your mechanical keyboard

Let’s be honest, the keyboards of our PCs are gray and boring and there is nothing worse than having something that we have built to our liking and seeing something generic in the middle. Luckily, for some time now keycaps, covers, caps or key caps of all kinds have appeared. From different colors to based on famous franchises. Well, if you plan to change the aesthetics of your keyboard, we are going to teach you how to choose custom key covers for the same.

One of the advantages of mechanical keyboards is the fact that we can separate the key cover, which is what we press when we type, from what is the switch, which is what sends the signal when it is pressed. Which greatly facilitates being able to clean them, but at the same time gives us the ability to change these caps for others when they wear out over time, for the same ones or for different ones. In the latter case, either for aesthetic reasons, because we are interested in visually differentiating other keys from others.

How to choose custom keycaps for your mechanical keyboard

The first thing you have to take into account when buying new caps for your keyboard is the distribution of the keys on it. Since we remember that there are ANSI and ISO key layouts where the size of the keys are not the same in both cases and neither is the layout. Another problem that you may encounter is the fact that your keyboard has some keys with non-standard dimensions, in which case bad luck and you will have to use 3D printing to replace them.

The second important point is to take into account the type of switch that our mechanical keyboard uses, since the modeling of the hoods will depend on the type of switch that they end up covering. The most typical? The Cherry MX or compatible, whose bare switches have a cross shape as seen in the image below these lines.

Variant Cherry MX Switches

Within those compatible with Cherry MX we can find two sub-variants. The DSAs in case we want lower keys and the SAs in case we need them higher. Although in general what you are going to find the most are custom keys compatible with Cherry MX. By the way, some keyboard brands use proprietary switches and also unique keycaps. So the only way to change them is in many cases by using 3D printing.

What types of custom key covers are there?

The first ones are of the Pudding type, these are the keys of a lifetime and they come in two different plastic materials that are ABS and PBT. The normal thing is that the keys are that this type of keys are sold in the form of complete sets under a specific theme.

  • The ABS type are much cheaper and that is why they are common, they are made of a thinner and more flimsy plastic and have a glossier finish. So its quality and duration is lower, but it is a type of plastic that allows the use of a greater range of colors.
  • On the other hand, those of the PBT type are made of a more durable and stronger plastic, so they have a much longer life. The problem is that they allow much more limited customization.

custom key cover

As for the handcrafted ones, these are usually very expensive individually, due to the fact that they are usually craftsmen’s work made of resin, wood or even a worked 3D impression. You only have to take a look at some of them to see how the finish is impressive and they are not intended to replace an entire keyboard, but only a few of them. In some cases they can reach as much or more than an entire keyboard. They won’t make your keyboard work any better, but if you’re interested in any of these custom keys, keep in mind that you can find entire sets on websites like Etsy, where you can get in touch with the creators and have your own custom keys.

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