Are you on the hunt for some new keycaps to give your keyboard an upgrade? If so, it’s important to know that not all keycaps are created equal – while some may be designed to fit multiple types of keyboards, the shape of the stem (or ‘post’) on each keycap must still match up with the corresponding switch in order for it to fit properly. To ensure you get compatible keycaps, make sure you first identify which type of switch your keyboard uses before making any purchases. In this article, we’ll delve into whether or not keycaps can truly be considered universal and how to find ones that will work with your specific keyboard.
What Are Keycaps?
Keycaps are small plastic covers that fit over the tops of individual keys on a keyboard. They serve two main purposes: to protect the underlying keys from wear and tear, and to customize your keyboard’s look and feel. With different keycap designs, you can add color or texture to a keyboard, making it unique compared to other keyboards. Premium keycaps are durable, and can help extend the life of your keyboard by protecting its keys from damage. Read more about keycaps here.
How Do Keycaps Work?
Keycaps are designed to securely fit onto individual keys without the need for any additional hardware. Simply press down on the keycap with your finger or thumb, and it will click into place on top of the switch below it – no screws or other components required! When you push down on the keycap, this actuates the switch underneath and allows you to type or game as normal.
Are Keycaps Universal?
Unfortunately, not all keycaps are universal – meaning they won’t fit on every single keyboard out there. The shape of the stem (or ‘post’) on each keycap needs to match up with the shape of its corresponding switch in order for it to fit properly. So before buying any new keycaps for your keyboard, it’s important that you check which type of switch it uses so you can make sure that you buy compatible keycaps.
Types Of Switches And Compatible Keycap Shapes:
- Cherry MX switches: Cherry MX switches are one of the most popular types of switches used in modern keyboards, largely because they have such a long history (they were first introduced in 1983). Cherry MX switches come in different colors that indicate their actuation force (the amount of pressure required for them to register an input). The most common types used today include Cherry MX Red (linear), Cherry MX Blue (clicky) and Cherry MX Brown (tactile). All Cherry MX switches use an ‘MX’ stem shape that is compatible with standard ‘MX’ cap sets.
- Kailh switches: Kailh switches were developed as an alternative to Cherry MX switches by Kaihua Electronics Co., Ltd., one of China’s leading manufacturers of electronic components. Like Cherry MX switches they come in different colors indicating their actuation force; however they use a different stem shape which is compatible with hot-swappable PCBs.
- Razer Switches: Razer is another leading manufacturer of keyboards and peripherals. Their own line of mechanical switches – known as Razer Switches – features various colors indicating their actuation force (for example Yellow for low actuation force or Orange for medium actuation force). These switches have cross stems that support most keycaps.
- Logitech GX Blue Switches: Logitech recently began manufacturing its own line of mechanical switches known as GX Blue Switches; these feature medium actuation force with tactile feedback when pressed down upon successfully registering an input. These switches are only compatible with Logitech-branded cap sets designed specifically for their GX Blue Switch keyboards; while some third party manufacturers may produce generic cap sets that will fit these stems, Logitech does not officially endorse them due to potential compatibility issues arising from mismatched tolerances between switch stems and capsets made by different manufacturers.
- Topre Switches: Typing on Topre switches is an experience like no other – its unique electrostatic capacitive technology provides a softer feel than regular Cherry MX switches, with a delightful tactile bump and sound that many users love. It’s almost like typing on a hybrid of mechanical and membrane keyboards, but in the best way possible. If you’re looking for something different to try out, these switches are definitely worth a look!
Tips For Choosing The Right Keycap Set For Your Keyboard
Identify Your Keyboard Model & Switch Type
Before purchasing any new keycap set make sure you identify exactly what kind/model/version/series etc…of keyboard you own as this will determine what type/shape/style etc…of keycap set you need .You should also note if your keyboard uses any special features such as illuminated keys etc…as this could affect what kind/type/shape/style etc…of keycap set will be suitable .Once you have identified both your keyboard model & its associated switch type then refer back up above & make sure any prospective new set is compatible .
Choose A Material That Suits Your Needs
Different materials offer different feels & levels off performance depending on application ;for example PBT is generally more durable than ABS. It is more heat and chemical resistant, as well as being more resistant to wear than ABS. You can find some of the best PBT keycaps here. However ABS plastic offers more vibrant colors & designs than PBT plastic. Other materials such as rubber & aluminum offer unique looks & feels respectively but tend towards higher prices than other plastics ,so consider carefully what material best suits both your budget & needs before finalizing any decision .
Read Reviews To Make Sure You Get Quality Parts
As mentioned previously certain types off cheaper generic knock off parts exist ,so always read reviews carefully before committing too any purchase ;this includes checking out product photos if possible too get an idea off overall quality ,durability as well as getting feedback off existing customers who already purchased said item ,so always take time too read reviews carefully before making any commitment too ensure quality parts at best price possible.