Guide to Selecting Keycaps

Guide to Selecting Keycaps

Written By: Boardsource

Category: articles - easy

Tags: keycaps, learning

An overview Guide to Selecting Keycaps for Your Mechanical Keyboard


Keycaps play a crucial role in the overall look, feel, and functionality of your mechanical keyboard. They not only provide tactile feedback but also contribute to the aesthetics of your setup. However, with the vast array of keycap options available in the market, selecting the right set can be a daunting task. In this article, we will provide you with an overview guide to help you navigate the world of keycaps and make an informed decision.

  1. Material: Keycaps are commonly made from different materials such as ABS, PBT, or even premium materials like double-shot PBT. ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) keycaps offer a smooth and glossy finish, while PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) keycaps have a textured and more durable surface. Consider your personal preferences for texture, durability, and appearance when choosing the material.

  2. Profile: Keycap profiles determine the shape and height of the keys. Common profiles include OEM, Cherry, XDA, and SA. OEM is the standard profile found on most keyboards, while Cherry profile offers a slight curve for a more ergonomic feel. XDA provides a uniform flat profile, while SA has a sculpted high profile for a retro look. Experiment with different profiles to find the one that suits your typing style and aesthetics.

  3. Legends: Legends refer to the characters or symbols printed on the keycaps. They can be laser-etched, pad-printed, or double-shot. Laser-etched legends have a subtle appearance but can wear off over time. Pad-printed legends are more affordable but prone to fading. Double-shot legends, where a separate plastic mold is used for the legend, offer the best durability and longevity. Consider legibility, longevity, and aesthetic appeal when choosing the type of legends.

  4. Compatibility: Ensure that the keycap set you choose is compatible with your keyboard's switch type and layout. Most keycap sets are designed for Cherry MX-style switches, but there are also options available for other switch types like Topre, Alps or Choc. Additionally, consider the layout of your keyboard (e.g., ANSI, ISO, ergo or ortho) and the presence of additional keys like function keys or media controls. Look for keycap sets that include all the necessary keycaps for your specific layout and customization needs.

  5. Aesthetics: Keycaps offer an excellent opportunity to personalize your keyboard. Consider factors like color, design, and overall aesthetic appeal. Whether you prefer a minimalist, vibrant, or retro look, choose keycaps that complement your style and create a visually pleasing keyboard setup.

  6. Customizability: Some keycap sets offer additional customization options, such as artisan keycaps or novelty keycaps. Artisan keycaps are usually handcrafted and add a unique touch to your keyboard. Novelty keycaps feature fun and quirky designs. Explore these options to add a personal touch and make your keyboard truly unique.


Keycaps are an essential part of a mechanical keyboard setup. They provide tactile feedback and aesthetic appeal to your keyboard, and they can be customized to your liking. Selecting the perfect keycaps for your mechanical keyboard is a matter of personal preference, functionality, and style. Consider the material, profile, legends, compatibility, aesthetics, and customizability options when making your decision. Remember that keycaps not only enhance your typing experience but also allow you to express your personality and creativity. With the right keycaps, you can transform your keyboard into a personalized work of art that brings joy and satisfaction to every keystroke.