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Different Keycap Profiles Explained

 

What better way to spruce up your mechanical keyboard than with some new keycaps. You may exchange your thin and poorly constructed keycaps for newer, more current ones with an excellent distinctive style and color that is sure to stand out.

In this post, we'll look at the many keycap profiles that are available.

When choosing a new keycap set, consider the material, width, profile, and overall look to determine how your setup and applications perform effectively. If your keyboard has RGB lighting, you'll need a double-shot or pudding form of keycap set to let the light show through.

 

We'll go into the specifics of what material, character, and design to search for based on your intended usage of the keyboard. Some keycaps are better suited for gaming, typing, and other tasks. So, let's get started.

 

What's the Point of Getting a New Keycap Set?

 

Most keyboards are made with very inexpensive and mass-produced keycaps, causing the keyboard to be uninteresting. The keycaps are what you'll be looking at and typing on for the duration of your keyboard's life, so shouldn't they be one of the most attractive aspects? There are several advantages to replacing the keys on your keyboard, and for a modest cost, they may make a $50 keyboard seem like a $150 one.

 

The most significant advantages are the aesthetics since you can pick the hue and layout of the keycaps to let the RGB illumination shine. Some Keycaps are also more resistant, which means legends won't fade away with time. Furthermore, by personalizing the profile design, you may create a keycap set that is both pleasant and efficient to type on. There are many distinct keycap sets available, so let's look at some of the numerous alternatives and characteristics.

 

What is the best material for a keycap?

 

ABS and PBT are the materials used to make the keycaps. You may be asking, what is ABS & PBT? These abbreviations are Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT). They're two types of plastic with distinct sets of characteristics. Both sorts of plastic have various textures, sounds, and appearances. We'll look at the distinctions and choose which one is superior.

 

ABS vs. PBT Keycaps

 

ABS is the most inexpensive and widely used material for keycaps. ABS keycaps are mass-produced due to their simplicity of injection molding.

 

Although PBT plastic is less prevalent than ABS, it is typically superior quality. PBT keycaps feel textural and more durable than ABS keycaps, which feel flat and develop a smooth gloss. 

 

PBT keycaps are superior to ABS because they are more durable and don't wear out as quickly. However, several excellent ABS keycap sets are available, and ultimately, it boils down to personal choice. 

 

Some people favor ABS's smooth feel, while others prefer PBT's textured feel.

 

If you want to learn more about the distinctions between ABS and PBT keycaps, keep reading. We illustrate the key differences in the table below based on the primary distinction between the two types of plastic.

 

 

ABS   

Keycaps

 

PBT Keycaps

 

 

Cheap 

Expensive

Shiny 

Matte

Smooth

Textured

Thinner

Thicker

Quieter, less noise when typing

Louder, more noise when typing

Pliable

Brittle

Wears out after some time

Durable

 

 

  

  

Other Materials for Keycaps

 

It's worth mentioning that there are various keycap types available, but they're far less frequent and often more costly. 

 

For example, rubber and brass keycaps styles might be challenging to find and purchase. If you want to buy them, you'll usually have to join group buys.

 

Rubber keycaps are more prevalent, and you can find them for a reasonable price on Amazon. They do not have the same tactile or acoustic properties as plastic.

 

RGB Backlit Keyboard Keycaps

 

If your mechanical keyboard is not backlit, you don't need to worry about buying double-shot pudding keycaps since these keycaps let the illumination shine through. 

 

But if you have RGB, double-shot pudding keycaps are a must. But if you don't, a simple single-shot keycap will be enough if you don't have RGB on your keyboard.

 

If you're a hobbyist who doesn't want RGB illumination on your keyboard, you may pick from some of the finest single-shot keycaps available.

 

Double Shot Keycaps

 

The manufacturing of Double-shot keycaps is a more intricate molding technique that involves mixing two distinct materials to make the keycap.

 

Double-shot keycaps are created in this manner so that lights can penetrate through the legends. This keycap design is utilized on mechanical keyboards to illuminate the markings better and make them more legible.

 

PBT and ABS are both available in double-shot molding. These keycaps come in various hues, including the Pink Razer double-shot PBT keycaps.

 

Pudding Keycaps

 

Pudding keycaps are a fantastic way to show off the lights on your keyboard. This Keycap design is also double-shot, with highlighted legends and light able to shine through the keycaps' edges. As a result, you may create some unique keyboard setups. The Pudding keycaps produced by HyperX are among the highest quality available, and they're a fantastic addition to any mechanical keyboard. 

 

 If you're searching for a mechanical keyboard with Pudding Keycaps, visit this page.

 

There are a variety of other pudding keycaps that come in multiple colors and brands, so you may choose the one you like.

 

Which keycap Profile Should You Choose?

 

The keycap profile is where many individuals become perplexed. The keycap profile refers to the complete form of the keycaps, which range from flat to rounded but include many forms. The shape of each row of keys is different in certain types, allowing them to form a concave or sloping design over the complete keycap set. You're able to bring your keyboard's whole feel and style to a new level by changing the shape of your keycaps.

 

The graphic above shows many different keycap profiles and forms that are available. And there are further variants beyond these, but they're more challenging to find. There's not a big difference in shapes; out of the numerous versions accessible, you'll notice that most have a similar form.

 

Keycap Profile

Details

Where to purchase

OEM

On most keyboards, this is the keycap profile. It's mass-produced and accepted as standard. The top is angled.

YMDK OEM PBT keycaps

Cherry

The profile is quite close to the OEM profile, except it is shorter. Common keycap design.

Qisan Cherry PBT keycaps

DSA

This keycap profile Has a spherical top and a slightly shorter profile.

YDMK DSA PBT keycaps

XDA

Spherical top and a medium height profile

Drop XDS keycaps

SA

With a somewhat round and angled top, this profile has a tall height.

Doom hammer SA PBT keycaps

 

  

 

Uniform or Sculpted Keycap Profile?

 

The most significant distinction between keycap profiles is whether the keycaps are sculpted or flat. A uniform keycap has a flat surface and no slope. On the other hand, keycaps with a slight slope are sculpted and curve slightly at an angle for easier typing; putting your fingers in a more natural position reduces strain.

 

Almost all individuals prefer Sculpted, which makes typing more fluent, but others may choose the uniform profile. Enthusiasts keycap sets with distinct patterns come manufactured with a uniform profile.

 

Which keycap profile is best for gaming?

 

If you're searching for a keycap set to enhance your gaming experience, pay attention to the profile that feels most natural to you, so you don't have to waste precious time searching for the following key during in-game. The OEM and Cherry profiles are generally regarded as the most acceptable option for gaming because they provide a carved design that is both efficient and pleasant to press.

 

The keycap profile has little or no impact on the gaming experience. If you want to improve your competitive advantage, we recommend looking into a different switch. The travel distance and reaction time reduce when pressing a low-profile or optical switch key. A shorter pre-travel length is usually preferable for gaming since it allows faster actuation. We think these switch types might be worth checking out, but keep in mind that they may be challenging to use for some people.

 

The keycap profile that feels most natural and comfortable to you is the one to use. OEM and Cherry profile PBT keycaps are excellent, as we discovered they felt the best for gaming.

 

If you're looking for a superior mechanical gaming keyboard, click here.

 

What is the best keycap profile for typing?

 

Finding the ideal keyboard profile for typing typically entails obtaining a set that is simple to use and shortens the distance between your fingers. Because of this, the OEM and Cherry profile is highly suggested for use while typing. It would also be beneficial to evaluate how pleasant the keycap set is. If you're unfamiliar with a flat or uniform profile, it may be strange and negatively impact your typing speed. Use what's comfortable and familiar to you.

 

If you want to enhance your typing speed, consider experimenting with different typing approaches or taking frequent speed tests. Despite the keycap profile, there are many different techniques to improve your typing skills. Other keyboard mappings, such as COLEMAK or DVORAK, are another possibility.

 

You can't go wrong with either the Cherry keycap profile or the OEM profile for typing. They're contoured, functional, and enjoyable to type on.

 

Is Investing in Custom Keycaps Worthy?

 

It's also feasible to discover personalized or even handcrafted keycaps for your keyboard if you weren't already aware of them. The simplest method to acquire a custom keycap is to have it produced on a keycap, which you can usually discover online. The process is straightforward; you upload an image and wait a few weeks for the completed product to arrive by mail.

 

If you could spend a little more for some custom keycaps, artisan keycaps are available in a group buy or manufactured only for your keyboard. Artisan keycaps are the most expensive option, but they allow complete customization. There are a lot of exciting and one-of-a-kind keycap designs available. Most people will select an extreme custom keycap for their escape key and utilize the remainder of their keys from a pre-made keycap set. This method allows you to avoid spending a lot of money on individualizing the entire collection. Remember that these bespoke keys are not cheap, so be prepared to spend some cash.

 

Which Keycap Sets are the Best?

 

The most exemplary keycap set is subjective, as it depends on what you're searching for in a keyboard. The GMK Red Samurai keycap set is a fantastic higher-end option. If you want less expensive, the Razer PBT keyboard keys are excellent. 

 

When it comes to keycap sets, there are a lot of factors to consider. The material, thickness, profile, color, and other features all contribute to the overall value of a keycap set. You'll eventually want to acquire more than one set if you're anything like me because of how fun it is to switch them out or combine the various sets.

 

Is it possible to use new keycaps with your keyboard?

 

Consider the following factors to ensure that your new keycap set will fit correctly on your keyboard.

 

Check the Size of your Keyboard

 

It's critical to double-check that your keycap set is compatible with the layout and style of your keyboard before purchasing it.

 

If you have a full-sized keyboard, get a keycap set with enough keys to cover the whole layout, including the number pad. Keycap sets are typically only available for 65% or tenkeyless designs, but you'll need more keys if you have a more extensive layout, such as a full-size keyboard. Keep in mind that having more keys implies they're more expensive.

 

Suppose you're unsure about the various keyboard sizes, head over to our article for assistance. Make sure your keycaps are suitable for your keyboard size.

 

ANSI vs. ISO Layouts

 

Another thing to keep in mind is whether your keycap set works with ANSI and ISO layouts. The main difference between the two is the size and form of the enter key. Most keycap sets will have appropriate keycap sizes for ANSI and ISO layouts but stay on the safe side by double-checking before buying. It might be inconvenient to order a keycap set and have the right-hand enter key fit the keys incorrectly.

 

Is your Keyboard a Standard or non-standard Layout?

60-keyboard-ansi-layout-hot-swappable-keyboard-with-anti-ghosting-nkro-n-key-roll-over-mechanical-keyboards

Older keyboards, especially ones from Razer and Corsair, may have non-standard layouts, so the keycap sizes will differ from a new keycap set unless it's made specifically for that model. Double-check that your keyboard has a standard design to ensure that your keyboard's keycaps are fully compatible.

 

Another thing to think about is basic common sense, but make sure the new keycaps you're buying are appropriate for your language and country layout. Many nations speak different languages; therefore, the symbols must be correct. Each keycap set offers other languages on each cap, making it easier to translate.

 

Conclusion

 

Getting a new keycap set for your keyboard is a significant first step for many people, and it's the push they need to dive headfirst into the mechanical keyboard hobby. Before you know it, you'll have a box of keycaps stashed away for whenever it rains. We hope we were able to assist you in determining the distinctions between different keycap types and selecting your initial keycap set.

 

If you would like more information on mechanical keyboards, look at the rest of our blog and our fantastic mechanical keyboard selection.

 

Thank you for reading the entire post. Have a fantastic day and see you soon.

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