FAQs

Mechanical Keyboard FAQs

What keyboard do I buy?


See the buyer's guide

ABS? PBT? POM? What are these?


  • These are different types of plastics that are used to make the keyboard cases and key caps
  • ABS is the cheapest of the 3 and will lead to key cap shine after a few months of use, has a smooth texture
  • PBT is arguably the best material for key caps since they will resist shine and have a fine grain texture
  • POM is typically only used to special cases such as higher quality key caps with transparent legends for back lights

Where do I buy mechanical keyboards?


See the sellers list.

What is the difference between keycap brands?


GMK

  • Highly regarded among keyboard hobbyists
  • High quality thick ABS
  • Large range of keycap molds
  • Cherry profile
  • $80 - $120 Price range on average

BSP

  • High quality thick PBT
  • Limited keycap molds
  • Cherry profile
  • $90 - $120 Price range on average

Gateron

  • Relatively new company
  • High quality thick PBT (about 0.5 mm thinner than BSP)
  • Large range of keycap molds
  • Cherry profile
  • $50 - $80 Price range on average

Vortex

  • One of the only companies to offer double-shot PBT
  • Average quality with keycaps ranging from thin to thick PBT depending on the series
  • Average range of keycap molds
  • OEM and Cherry profiles
  • $30 - $70 Price range on average

Signature Plastics

  • Average quality medium thickness PBT and ABS
  • Large range of keycap molds
  • DSA, DCS, SA, LP, KT profiles
  • $70 - $120 Price range on average

Tai-Hao

  • Low quality thin PBT and ABS
  • Limited range of keycap molds
  • OEM profile
  • $20 - $50 Price range on average

Cherry vs Kailh vs Gateron vs etc? Does it really matter?


Cherry

  • Cherry MX switches are the most widely available mechanical keyboard switch
  • The original mechanical switches with this design
  • They are reliable and have withstood the test of time

Clones

  • Kailh switches are based on Cherry's design and are cheaper in cost
  • In a blind test, most people would not be able to tell the difference between Cherry and Kailh switches
  • Cherry switches use a higher quality plastic for the stems, this means that they're less prone to snapping
  • Cherry MX key caps DO fit on Kailh switches
  • Gateron switches are considered the best clones available due to their smooth linear switches
  • Many people consider Gateron's linear switches to be better than Cherry's offerings

I bought this key cap set and it is shaped differently than my original set!


  • Key caps come in variety of different profiles, most stock keyboards come with OEM profile keycaps
  • Other profiles are: Cherry, DSA, SA, SS, DSS, LP, KT
  • Make sure you know what profile you are buying if you plan on mixing and matching sets

Why does it seem like /g/ hates Razer and Corsair mechanical keyboards?


  • Razer has changed from Cherry switches to Kailh switches without reducing the price of their products
    • While using Kailh switches isn't inherently terrible, Razer have switched purely to increase their profits
  • Corsair mechanical keyboards have a certain aesthetic to them which attracts a specific demographic
  • Corsair boards use a non-standard layout for the 5th row. This makes buying after market keycap sets difficult
    • There have been reports of quickly dying LEDs on certain Corsair models
    • RGB versions of this keyboard have had numerous issues with drivers and flickering

What are the differences between all the types of switches?


You can find a detailed description of the most common switches here

Want even more information?


You can find it here