The Best Custom Keycaps to Make an Awesome Keyboard
With the rise of gaming, custom keycaps have grown quite popular. Most gamers want a custom keyboard. And those who don’t want to fidget with the keyboard, end up replacing the default keys. Since replacing existing keycaps is quite simple, most people like to DIY.
Custom Keycaps add visual appeal and uniqueness to an otherwise lame and static keyboard design. With a plethora of custom keycaps available online, it’s easy to get bamboozled.
We at WFHAdviser have decided to help narrow down the options. Thus, helping you find the best custom keycaps in no time. Sit back, relax, and check out the 10 of the best options available online.
Our pick for the best custom keycaps is CORN’s 61 Key Layout. This set is suitable for 61 key mechanical keyboards. If you’re looking to customize your keyboard, these sturdy keycaps will get the job done. Besides, a sturdy key puller, you get about 14 different color options. Though the colors are not as shiny as they appear in the image, they still manage to look amazing.
For instance, the red color combination is more towards the pink side as compared to the orange. Furthermore, CORN’s 61 key layout has a unique angled spacebar. Thus, if you’re using it for the first time, you’ll need a couple of days to get used to it. Renewing your keyboard has never been easy especially if you own the GH60, PK61, ALT61, or Anne Pro 2.
You get clarity with a cool texture. Unlike other cheap keycaps, with this set, you get a nice fit that gives you that clicky feel.
If budget is not a constraint, we’ll advise you to go for Drop + Redsuns GMK Red Samurai Keycap. Not only does this set have a unique color combination, but also an edgy design. Get into the samurai mode, unsheath your katana, and type like a warrior. The color combination inspired by a warrior’s armor gives it a distinct appeal.
These keycaps designed in Germany feature custom cherry tooling. They offer strength and longevity thanks to the 1.5mm thick double-shot ABS. Since the keycaps feature cherry profile, they’re mostly compatible with Cherry MX switches. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot use them with Halo, Gateron, or Kaihua.
As for the keyboard compatibility, this kit is designed for CTRL, ALT (65%), SHIFT (Full 1800), and Planck (Ortho) keyboards. Thus, they are compatible with keyboards that have a similar layout. Overall, these custom keycaps possess fierce design and excellent maneuverability.
If you’re short on budget, NPKC’s Top Printer Customized Keycaps are the best option. This keycap is made of 90% PBT. Besides a 1.5mm thickness, it comes with a laser-etched print. Furthermore, this set is OEM profile and is higher than Cherry profile. Not only do they look cool, but they feel and sound great as well.
Since they are priced competitively, they don’t have the best print. For instance, after intensely typing for a month, you’ll see that the label starts wearing off slightly. Having said that, it’s still amazing, how the manufacturers can provide such an excellent product at an affordable price.
As for compatibility, this set works well with most standard ANSI MX keyboards whose modifier key is 1×6.25u, 7×1.25u, and overall space is around 11.7cm. On the contrary, it’s not compatible with the Corsair Razer keyboard. Overall, NKPC’s keycaps are excellent if you’re customizing your keyboard for the first time.
Kaleno’s Heat Sublimation PBT Custom Keycaps offer excellent visual appeal. So much that their original ocean concept has been replicated by quite a few sellers online. With high-quality PBT keycaps and anti-grease coating, you get sturdy 108-key keycaps that offer tremendous durability.
This set consists of 108 keycaps with additional stabilizers. These work well with most mechanical and optical keyboards. Owing to the cross-shaped axis, these fit perfectly, and thus if you like DIYing, you should go for it. Furthermore, these custom keycaps are not only backlight-compatible but fade-resistant as well.
These keycaps feature extra-thick walls, making them perfect for gaming. Due to solid keystrokes, you get the oomph when pressing the buttons. As for compatibility, these keycaps work well with most 87/104/108 Cherry MX Switches along with Gateron, Outemu, Kalih, and other standard ANSI keyboards.
Lastly, the sizing of the keycaps are as follows: Ctrl: 1.25u, Win: 1.25u, Alt: 1.25u, Menu: 1.25u, and Space Bar: 6.25u.
YMDK’s Double Shot Keycaps come in 6 color variants – Sunset Gradient, Rainbow, Pink White, Blue White, Pink, and Blue. The pricing of the product varies based on the color combination. However, there’s not a huge difference. This keycap features 90% PBT with a thickness of around 1.2mm.
As for compatibility, these keycaps work well with most standard ANSI MX switches. However, the bottom modifier key should be around 1.6×6.25u, 7×1.25u. And the spacebar key should be 6.25u. If it’s 6u, 6.5u, or 7u, it won’t be compatible. By simply pulling the keycap off the board, you can find the cross pattern, and if you see it, you’re good to go.
Similar to the general 104 double-shot keycaps, the YMDK keycap is not compatible with the Corsair Razer Keyboard of any size.
As for product dimensions, the YMDK Double Shot is 8.27 x 3.94 x 2.36 inches. We find it perfect for gateron switches. By simply pulling the keycap off the board, you can find the cross pattern, and if you see it, you’re good to go.
VULTURE truly offers a unique proposition with its keycap. Instead of PBT and ABS, the manufacturers have utilized rubber material. This set not only looks unique but feels excellent. If you’re into gaming or want to optimize your gaming keyboard, this one’s an excellent option.
Customizing your mechanical keyboard is super easy. Simply pull out the old caps and, using the key puller pop the new ones in. With VULTURE’s Rubber Keycaps you get excellent RGB brightness. Furthermore, the rubberized non-slip diamond texture gives you a great idea of your finger position without switching glances.
This is ideal for people who don’t want to look down on their keyboard. Especially during online gaming, when time is of the essence.
This set works great with mechanical keyboards with 104 keys or even 60% keyboards. Remember, the durability of the keycaps rely on the surrounding. The environment that you live in will impact the durability of the product.
SENREAL’s Double shot PBT Keycaps feature a two-layer design. This unique key set comes with a top black and a bottom milky white layer. If you want to enhance your keyboard’s lighting, this keycap set with a dual-layer will help you do so. Owing to the translucent design, the RGB backlight shines through.
As for material and construction, the SENREAL Double-shot features PBT material. Thus, it offers excellent abrasion resistance. With a grainy texture, it can be hard to imagine if you’d get the shine but this keycap set manages to crack the code. The precise fit pudding keycaps allow you to pull out and replace it seamlessly.
SENREAL’s PBT Keycaps offer excellent compatibility. Since they are set in ANSI/ISO layout, they work well with 60%, 87 TKL, 104, and 108 MX switches mechanical keyboards. And similar to the other ANSI keycaps we saw above, they aren’t compatible with Corsair keyboards due to the bottom modifiers.
NPKC’s second product that makes it to our list is the Mixed Dolch for MAC. This black and grey keycap set looks classy. Using the puller, you can easily replace the existing keys on your keyboard. With a 90% PBT material and 1.5mm thickness, this laser-etched keycap works well with most ANSI MX switches.
As compared to the other custom keycaps, this one comes with different key variants. You can choose between a 61, 87, and 104 key custom keycap. On the contrary, there’s not much difference in terms of compatibility. For these keycaps to work efficiently, your bottom modifier key needs to be 1.6×6.25u, 7×1.25u.
Overall, NPKC’s Mixed Dolch Thick Custom Keycaps are great for MAC. However, it can be used with traditional ANSI keyboards thanks to the flexibility. Last but not the least, these custom keycaps are not ideal for any Corsair keyboard.
NPKC is back with a third product. This time, it’s with side-printed keycaps i.e. dual color combination. A single color layout bordered in grey. There are about nine different color variations – Pink, Black, Light Blue, Green, Red, White, Dark Blue, Dark Grey, and Light Grey. You can choose any but we recommend the green one due to its pastel vibe.
This custom keycap set features 90% PBT material. Thus, it shows great resistance to wear and tear. Owing to its 1.5mm thickness, you get thick keys that feel good upon pressing. This custom keycap set is compatible with a majority of the standard 61 ANSI and MX switches. Thus, if the bottom modifier is 1.6×6.25u, 7×1.25u and space is around 11.7cm, your keyboard might be compatible.
Lastly, these 61-key NPKC custom keycaps aren’t compatible with Corsair Razer Keyboard. Be it 64, 68, 75, 84, or 96 keys. Since the bottom modifier boasts a different design, it’s no use getting these caps for your Corsair Razer Keyboard.
GTSP’s 61 Keycaps for Cherry MX Switches is the last product to feature on our list. Similar to most custom keycaps, this one’s made from PBT as well. It offers excellent touch and feels sturdy over a long period. WIth 1.5mm thickness, you can use this keycap set with most 61 key 60% mechanical keyboards.
This one is compatible with a wide range of keyboards such as GH60, PK61, ALT61, Ducky One 2 mini, Anne Pro 2, and other Cherry MX switches keyboards. These see-through gaming keycaps showcase excellent RGB light. Thus, if you want to enhance your gaming experience by complementing the existing light setup, the GTSP’s Cherry MX Switches will help you do so.
Using the puller that comes with the package, you can easily replace the existing keys with custom keycaps. If you face any issues with installation, you can simply drop a text to the manufacturers and they’ll assist you.
Buyer’s Guide to Custom Keycaps
Choosing custom keycaps is not an easy task. Given that there are a sheer number of variations in regards to factors and layouts, picking the right one might seem perplexing. In custom mechanical keyboards, keycaps are sold as sets.
Custom keycaps dominate the aesthetic appeal of any keyboard. They single-handedly affect the price of any keyboard. Having said that, they are the major difference makers as they determine typing feel, sound, and ergonomics. Let us check out the basics in our bid to understand custom keycaps.
There are various clusters of keys such as function row, nav cluster, alphanumerics, and Numpad. Thus, the form varies based on the styling which is relative to the percentage used. For instance, the form factor percentage can range anywhere between 40 to 100 percent.
Let’s understand that with the help of an example. If you remove the Numpad from a traditional full-sized keyboard, you’ll get the 80% form factor. Go ahead and remove the function or navigation cluster and you have a 60% form factor. Similarly, in terms of 40%, the number row is taken off too.
Generally, manufacturers use either ABS or PBT to create keycaps. However, in some cases, people opt for rare and uncommon materials such as POM, aluminum, and rubber. Of these materials, ABS is more prevalent as it’s cheaper compared to PBT. On the contrary, PBT is difficult to manufacture and offers better quality. Thus, you’d have to choose between cost and quality along with the ergonomics.
Most keycaps come in varied sizes for different layouts. However, the purpose of these keycaps is to offer optimization by focusing on ergonomics. When adapting a certain form factor, you choose a certain style that’ll help your workflow. If you’re a writer, you could do away with a 40 or 60% keyboard. However, if you’re a gamer, you might want the Numpad or navigation cluster. Thus, you need to evaluate everything.
Surface & Accuracy
The surface of a keycap determines the smoothness when typing. Different key profiles impact the keycap design. For instance, the keys on your laptop are flat as compared to your keyboard to prevent thickness. However, it’s proven that the flat surface hurts your typing speed.
Understanding Keycap sizing is not that difficult. Herein, the alphanumeric keys are used as a relative scale. Why? Because these are the smallest keys on the keyboard. Thus each alphanumeric key acts as an individual unit or 1u. Based on this, you can measure other keys on your keyboard.
For instance, a backspace is twice the size of an alphanumeric key (1u). Thus, it’s a 2u keycap. Similarly, a spacebar is generally 6 times the size of an alphanumeric key, so it’s between 6 to 6.75u depending upon the design.
When choosing custom keycaps, you want to make sure that the keyboard and keycap dimensions are similar.
Fred splits his corporate time between the office and his WFH office. He believes that a few days of working remotely is a great way to boost productivity and employee happiness. Fred started WFH Adviser in order to share insights and products with people who are beginning their WFH journey.