Cherry vs OEM Keycaps [Best Comparison]

In the world of mechanical keyboards, selecting the perfect keycap set is vital to achieving the desired typing experience. With numerous options available, Cherry and OEM keycaps emerge as popular contenders. This article will explore both keycap profiles, delving into their characteristics, advantages, and ideal use cases to help you make an informed decision for your keyboard. We will also discuss factors such as materials, sound, and comfort to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what each keycap type has to offer. For further guidance, you can also read our article on how to choose keycaps.

Overview of Cherry Profile Keycaps

Cherry profile keycaps boast a sculpted design, providing each row with a distinctive shape that caters to the fingers’ natural curvature. These keycaps are slightly shorter in height compared to their OEM counterparts. Cherry keycaps are highly praised for their comfort, versatility, and durability, making them an excellent choice for typing and programming. However, their limited availability and higher price point may deter some users from opting for these premium keycaps.

Cherry Keycaps and Materials

Both Cherry and OEM keycaps can be found in ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) materials. While ABS keycaps tend to have a smooth and shiny surface, they can wear out faster and develop a greasy feel over time. PBT keycaps, on the other hand, offer a rougher texture and greater durability, making them less prone to wear and shine. Cherry keycaps in PBT material are particularly sought-after due to their excellent feel and durability. For more information about keycap materials, check out our keycap materials article.

Overview of OEM Profile Keycaps

OEM profile keycaps are the standard choice for most mechanical keyboards. With a slightly taller height profile, they are readily available in various colors and designs, making customization a breeze. These keycaps are also more affordable, catering to a wider audience. OEM keycaps are suitable for gaming and general use, offering a reliable and familiar typing experience.

OEM Keycaps and Customization

One of the major advantages of OEM keycaps is their availability in a wide array of colors, materials, and designs. Users can easily find keycaps that match their keyboard’s theme or their personal aesthetic preferences. Some popular customization options include backlit keycaps, artisan keycaps, and keycaps featuring various legends and symbols.

Section 3: Comparison Table:

AspectCherry ProfileOEM Profile

Availability & Price Point Comparison

OEM keycaps are widely available in the market, with prices ranging from $20 to $50. This accessibility and affordability make them an attractive option for most users. On the other hand, Cherry keycaps are harder to find and typically more expensive, with prices ranging from $80 to $120.

Feel, Sound, and Comfort

The feel, sound, and comfort of keycaps are largely subjective, influenced by personal preferences. Cherry keycaps generally produce a bassier sound due to their lower height, while OEM keycaps have a more echo-y sound. Comfort and feel vary between users, with some preferring the crisp sensation of Cherry keycaps and others opting for the muted feel of OEM keycaps.

The Importance of Switches

It’s important to note that the typing experience is not solely determined by

the keycaps but also by the switches underneath them. Mechanical switches come in various types, such as linear, tactile, and clicky, each providing a different feel and sound. When considering Cherry and OEM keycaps, it’s crucial to take into account the type of switch you’re using, as this can significantly impact your overall typing experience.

Durability and Maintenance

Both Cherry and OEM keycaps can be made from ABS or PBT materials, which affect their durability and maintenance requirements. PBT keycaps are more resistant to wear and shine, requiring less maintenance compared to ABS keycaps. Regardless of the keycap profile, it’s essential to clean your keycaps regularly to maintain their appearance and performance. Proper maintenance includes removing keycaps for thorough cleaning and using a keycap puller to avoid damaging the keycaps or switches.

Which is Better?

In conclusion, Cherry keycaps excel in typing and programming, while OEM keycaps cater to gaming and general use. Each keycap profile has its unique advantages, making it difficult to declare an outright winner. The ideal choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. To help you compare different keycap profiles, you can refer to our keycaps profile comparison article.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between Cherry and OEM keycaps, consider the following factors:

  1. Typing Experience: If you prioritize comfort and a crisp typing feel, Cherry keycaps might be more suitable.
  2. Availability: If you’re looking for an easily accessible and affordable option, OEM keycaps could be a better choice.
  3. Customization: If you value personalization and a wide range of design options, OEM keycaps offer more versatility.
  4. Material Preferences: Determine whether ABS or PBT material suits your needs and preferences.
  5. Switch Compatibility: Ensure that your chosen keycaps are compatible with the switches on your mechanical keyboard.

Popular Keycap Manufacturers and Their Offerings

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When choosing between Cherry and OEM profile keycaps, it’s also essential to consider the keycap manufacturers, as they can impact the overall quality and design options. Here are some popular keycap manufacturers and their offerings for both Cherry and OEM profile keycaps:

  1. GMK: Known for producing high-quality Cherry profile keycaps, GMK offers a wide variety of colors and designs in ABS material. Their sets are highly sought after, but they can be quite expensive.
  2. Signature Plastics: This manufacturer produces keycaps in both Cherry and OEM profiles, with a focus on PBT material. They are known for their unique designs and customization options, catering to various preferences and styles.
  3. Tai-Hao: Tai-Hao is a popular choice for affordable OEM profile keycaps. They provide a wide range of colors, designs, and materials, including both ABS and PBT options.
  4. Varmilo: Varmilo produces high-quality PBT keycaps in both Cherry and OEM profiles. They offer a variety of designs and customization options, making them a popular choice among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.
  5. JTK: JTK is another manufacturer that focuses on Cherry profile keycaps, offering unique designs and colorways in ABS material. Their keycaps are well-regarded for their quality and affordability compared to other Cherry profile options.

When selecting keycaps, it’s essential to consider the manufacturer’s reputation, design options, and price ranges for both Cherry and OEM keycaps. By doing so, you can ensure that you choose keycaps that meet your needs and preferences while providing a satisfying typing experience.


This article has delved into the key differences between Cherry and OEM keycaps, exploring their characteristics, advantages, and use cases. We’ve also discussed factors such as materials, sound, and comfort to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what each keycap type has to offer. We encourage you to consider your personal preferences and requirements when choosing between these two popular keycap profiles, allowing you to craft a truly personalized typing experience. Remember, your ideal keycaps will be the ones that best meet your unique needs, preferences, and style.