Why you Should Get a Mechanical Keyboard for Your Laptop

separate mechanical keyboard for your laptop and macbook

I really have a hard time typing fast and pain-free on the keyboard of my laptop, and this is where a mechanical keyboard comes to mind. Although it means bringing an extra mechanical keyboard, it’s 100% worth it. I did some research and experimented by bringing a mechanical keyboard to work with me to use to see. Is bringing a separate mechanical keyboard for my laptop worth it? Should you get one?

Bringing a separate mechanical keyboard to use with your laptop is worth it because it will enhance your typing or gaming experience. The keyboard that comes with most laptops do not have extra features such as N-key roller, mechanical switches, and make you type awkwardly because of the positioning.

Mechanical keyboards can be positioned wherever you want, the switches will be personalized for you, and you can decide to add other things such as dedicated media keys, productivity macros, and a dedicated number pad if you do a lot of number entry. A key benefit is being able to position your keyboard and mouse further away from the laptop screen to decrease neck strain and awkward wrist and finger positioning.

We’ll be going more in-depth about what N-key roller over and different positioning tips to improve the ergonomics involved with using a laptop computer. Many people that type a lot or use their laptop for gaming opt to bring a separate compact mechanical keyboard for many reasons.

The Benefits Over a Mechanical Keyboard Over Laptop Keyboards

Imagine this. You are planning on going to the local coffee shop to write a blog post or type up some paperwork for work. You take your laptop out of its sleeve, place it on the table, and you realize that looking at the monitor requires you to crane your neck down.

The next step may be to place your laptop on top of a textbook you have lying in your backpack. That helps a little bit.  But now you must reach your hands up higher to type. It’s a little awkward, but you think, “This isn’t so bad, it’s just for a little bit.” Or you go back to craning your neck, it’s one or the other.

Mechanical Keyboards Improve Your Screen Positioning When Using a Laptop

Having a separate keyboard is going to let you place the laptop further away and on the stack of books so you’re looking straight ahead instead of down.

It also lets you type in an ergonomic position with your elbows at 90 degrees and wrists are not in extension (or tilted up.)

uncomfortable wrist position when using laptop

Mechanical Keyboards Lessen Your Risk of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Many laptops also have short, flat keys that have awkward spacing, so you may have to spread and stretch your fingers out more to type on them. With a mechanical keyboard, the switches are at the same distance and since you happen to use one at home, you’re already used to the layout. Alongside that, you also know exactly the distance you need to press to register each key press.

Usually on a laptop, the switches make you bottom out so that you know the key has registered. Bottoming out keys increase the pressure on your fingers and joints each type you do it. With a mechanical key, especially tactile ones, you know the point to stop pressing and never press the key harder than it needs to be pressed.

Mechanical Keyboards Decrease Your Risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, also called CTS, is when the nerves within your carpal tunnel (the area right below the palm and wrist) get compressed or irritated. There is a nerve that runs inside there called the median nerve. It is responsible for the sensations of your thumb, index and middle finger.

When this nerve is pinched, you may feel tingling or burning in the fingers affected. If the nerve is compressed for too long, the muscles may begin atrophying (or getting smaller), resulting in a weak hand and decreased sensation in the most important fingers.

People who do a lot of work with their wrist extended or on a keyboard that is not positioned properly, the risk of CTS is increased.

Okay okay, my occupational therapist side is coming out. But enough about the science, we know that having a mechanical keyboard can improve your wrist positioning, enabling you to type with a neutral wrist position. Also, it’s possible to get ergonomic keyboards.

We wrote an in-depth guide to ergonomics, desk positioning, and the top ergonomic keyboards in another article if you’re interested in that.

Mechanical Keyboards Improve Your Productivity When Working with a Laptop

Many people who switch to using a mechanical keyboard say, “Once you go mechanical, you won’t go back to your laptop keyboard.” I’ve had enough of using a laptop at work with the short, small keys with a ton of space in between each key. I mean, why?

Due to the key layout, I have to stretch my fingers out and not every key registers when I press it. The backspace is often overused because of the mistakes.

My typing speed on a mechanical keyboard average around 110wpm. However, when typing at work, it goes down to about 80wpm (even if I know what I’m typing about).

The reason here is, with research and self-experimentation:

  • The space between each key is too wide and maybe increase the amount of typing mistakes
  • The keys do not have N-key rollover (This means that you can press more than 1 button at a time, and it will also register) – Sometimes it won’t capitalize when I tell it to
  • The touchpad in front of the keyboard OFTEN interferes with the typing experience and may be touched accidentally, moving my position on the screen somewhere else

Also, if you’re already bringing an external mouse for your laptop, might as well improve the positioning even more and have an external keyboard as well.

Mechanical Keyboards Are Still Super Portable and Convenient

Just because you’re bringing around a separate device doesn’t mean it still isn’t portable. There are so many different mechanical keyboards that you can pick from.

There are different sizes (that we explained in another in-depth article as well) such as 40%, 60%, 65%, TKL, a separate number pad, full-sized, and more). They can go small. You can ditch the number pad, ditch the function row, ditch the arrow keys if you don’t need that.

There are also wireless mechanical keyboards too that connect via Bluetooth or a USB receiver. If you’re interested in some of our recommendations, we wrote a guide to those too.

If you still enjoy the short keypresses, there are mechanical keyboard versions of that called low profile keyboards. We also looked at the best low-profile keyboards if you’re interested in those.  

We have looked at many different 40% keyboards, 60% keyboards, 65% keyboards, and even the best mechanical keyboards for typing.

The options are almost endless, and you can bet you’ll be able to find the perfect mechanical keyboard to pair with your laptop.

using separate keyboard black for black macbook

Increasing Laptop Resale Value

Using a separate keyboard can improve the resale value of the laptop because you’re not messing around with the keys. If, when typing on a laptop, you happen to be eating chips or drinking soda and oops, something bad happened. The laptop is basically done for.

Laptops are difficult to open and the electronics inside it can get damaged easily with water spills. Mechanical keyboards are different.

Mechanical keyboards are much easier to clean. You can choose between different plastics, colors, and designs. It’ll increase the overall hygiene of the user too.

There are also waterproof or water-resistant mechanical keyboards. We also covered this subject in a more in-depth article if you are interested in learning about IP rating and different water-resistant keyboards.

Laptop keys are made of cheap plastic and can accumulate grime and nastiness easily. By choosing not to use the laptop keyboard, you are keeping it more pristine and thus, keeping its resale value higher. No more shiny finger oil stains, no dust, no hair, none of that stuff that could turn away a buyer from a good product.

Summary and More

For some of our most-recommended keyboards that we’ve done thorough reviews on that may be good to pair with your laptop, check out:

If you have any additional questions, please post a comment down below. We love doing research for you guys and providing quality content. If there’s anything we can improve, shoot use an email at theswitchandclick@gmail.com

As always, happy typing!

Mechanical Keyboards Vs. Membrane Keyboards: Making the Switch

Mechanical Vs. Membrane Keyboard article on Switch and Click

Mechanical keyboards cost about five to even twenty times more expensive than a regular membrane keyboard that comes with your computer when you purchase a PC. Yes, mechanical keyboards are very expensive, but when we made the switch to them, we never turned back. Many others feel the same way. So, why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?

Mechanical keyboards are so expensive because they have higher quality parts. The parts involve more work to make, but the labor associated with putting together a mechanical keyboard is also higher than a regular keyboard. Rather than having a single layer of rubber for the switches, mechanical keyboards have individual switches under each key (For some keyboards, this could be up to 104 individual switches) that have a metal spring, high-quality plastic housing, a stem, and sometimes a tactile leaf. The cost is high, but the result is worth it for improved longevity and experience.

There are many more features of mechanical keyboards that can drastically increase the price that we’ll discuss in more detail soon. Some of these include the custom keyboard market, some features you’ve never even heard of, and appearance such as lighting and build quality.

Why are Mechanical Keyboards So Expensive? The Difference Between Mechanical and Membrane

In the table below, we outline the differences between a mechanical keyboard and a membrane keyboard. The left column names the feature that we are looking at.

 Mechanical KeyboardMembrane Keyboard
SwitchesIndividual switches for each keyElectro-mechanical membrane underneath all the keys that is cheap to make
Accuracy of key registrationA keypress triggers a pulse sent to the circuit board which tells the computer which key was pressedA keypress sends an electronic signal to the membrane, which sends the signal to the PC
Key Roll-OverA precise one-to-one output that allows for more than one key to be pressed and registered at the same timeRegisters only one keypress at a time and may or may not ignore other simultaneous keypresses
Switch feelCustomizable switches depending on your preference: linear, tactile, or clickyKeys are typically flat and feels mushy when pressed
Switch forceKey force can be changed to fit your needs by change out the switches or the switch springsKey force is not customizable due to the membrane
Switch noiseNoise level varies between different keyboards from being whisper quiet to loud clicks heard from across the room depending on switch typeRelatively quiet when typing
Case MaterialCould be plastic, aluminum, wood, or acrylic. Case weight will vary depending on materialsPlastic exterior is low-quality but is more portable because it’s lightweight
LifespanUp to 100 million keystrokes, depending on switch brandWears out when it starts to feel mushy and no longer provides feedback of keypress
Ease of CleaningKeycaps are removable using keycap puller, making cleaning the keycaps and underneath easyKeycaps are not, difficulty to access the membrane
Other FeaturesRGB lighting, hot-swappability, different keycap options, high-quality stabilizers, ability to be modded, 100% customizableLow cost, may come in a package with mouse and computer

Looking at mechanical keyboards, we see that there is more customizability and longevity. The lifespan of each mechanical switch is much longer, and the case could be aluminum instead of plastic. Although this might be less portable, it will last you a much longer time.

Keyboard on desktop

What is the Average Price of a Mechanical Keyboard?

The price of a mechanical keyboard can range from $35 to $3500. That is a 100x difference between one and the other. There are so many factors in between that you can consider.

A cheap $35 mechanical keyboard can be found on sale at stores like Best Buy or Microcenter straight on the shelf. On the other hand, a $3500 must be custom-made by someone who has experience with building keyboards, hand wiring the circuit board, lubing each switch individually, modding the stabilizers, custom-finished case, and special switches. There are so many things that can affect the price of a mechanical keyboard, so let’s get into some of these things.

Other Things to Take into Consideration That Can Increase Price

Build Quality

Some keyboards have very cheap plastic cases called ABS plastic. Over time, this plastic can accumulate grime and oils from your fingers. Mechanical keyboard cases can come in different materials. Many are plastic, these are the cheapest ones.

There are more costly ones such as custom-wood, acrylic cases, aluminum cases, and more. If you ever decide to venture into the custom mechanical keyboard enthusiast community, there are many rabbit-holes regarding case materials to fall into. Typically, aluminum cases will be the most expensive.

Aluminum cases last longer, are sturdier, and don’t allow as much sound to echo inside of the case. It offers noise-dampening properties that plastic cases don’t offer. As for wood and acrylic, I’ve only seen people custom-cut or make these themselves. They can be expensive as well, but usually they’re only offered through group buys.  

The same goes for the keycaps. There are higher-quality, more expensive keycaps made of PBT plastic, which are more durable, don’t accumulate as much grime, and don’t have a shine to them.

For more information on cases, we have an in-depth guide to mechanical keyboard cases.

Switches

Switches can range from being 50 cents for each one up to $25 for each switch. Different factors can affect the price, such as supply and demand. Some switches are available everywhere such as Cherry MX switches, which are commonly used on the most popular mechanical keyboard brands such as Corsair.

There are MX-equivalents that are made in China that will cost approximately the same or cheaper. Cherry MX switches are usually $1 each. In a full-sized keyboard, this means $104 for the switches alone.

Then there are switches that are limited edition or rarities that go for much higher prices. Some mechanical keyboard enthusiasts even go as far as combining parts from different switches to get the exact feel that they want.

For more information mechanical keyboard switches, we’ve talked about Cherry MX switches, Razer switches, and have a list of MOST switches available.

RGB Lighting

RGB lighting or lighting in general is important for many people. The LED lights are not too expensive, but the labor involved is. You must make sure that each light is placed within the printed circuit board (PCB) and that each switch housing will let the lights shine through.

Some keyboard switches will have the LED lights on them. Other keyboards use clear housing and have the LEDs on the PCBs.

Usually, RGB lighting will cost $10-$20 more.

Features You Might Not Even Know About

Hot-Swappability

Other features such as hot-swappability increases the price of the mechanical keyboard as well. With these keyboards, you can change out the switches easily using a switch puller instead of having to desolder the switch and solder a new one on. This means that if one switch breaks, you don’t have to trash the whole keyboard. Just replace a singular switch.

We’ve looked at many hot-swappable keyboards if you want to learn more.

Wireless

Another feature is being wireless. Membrane keyboards and mechanical keyboards both can be wireless but adding in a receiver does increase the price.

We’ve also looked at many wireless keyboards if you want to learn more.

Custom Keycaps

Many of you may not be familiar with the enthusiast market, but there are custom keycaps called artisan keycaps available for sale.

They are made by artists and have different themes such as Star Wars, breakfast foods, Pokemon, pretty much anything you can think of.

You can also get expensive keycap sets that go for over $100 for a full set of keycaps. The market is amazing once you look further.

Artisan Keycap on keyboard
Artisan Keycap

Custom USB-C Cables

Along with custom keycaps, we also have custom USB-C cables. These can be bought from custom makers with exact specifications such as what connector, what length, if you want an aviator cable or not, the colors, and more.

For where to get custom cables and how to order, we wrote an in-depth guide for this as well.

Summary

We’ve looked at the many differences between mechanical keyboards and membrane keyboards. We’ve also looked many factors that can make a mechanical keyboard expensive: customizability, hot-swappability, wireless features, switches, cases, materials, and more.

Here are some of the things that you may be interested in checking out if you’re interested in reading more about mechanical keyboards and reviews that we’ve done:

As always, happy typing! We hoped this helped you figure out if you want a mechanical keyboard or not.

We would love some advice on how to improve our writing and content. Please leave a comment down below  if you have additional questions that we can do research on and answer, anything that we can improve, and any comments you have.

How to Remove Mechanical Keyboard Keys

how to remove your keyboard keys on switch and click

Question and Answer

Hey, guys. I wanted to learn how to take off the keys on my mechanical keyboard. It’s been a long time since I first got it, and now it’s probably dirty under there. I wanted to take them off to clean them. Is there an easy way I can do it? Do I need any equipment or tools to remove the keys from my mechanical keyboard?

The easy answer is to use a keycap puller, such as this one. Another option is to make a DIY keycap puller yourself out of household or office supplies such as a paper clip or clothespin. We’ll go over how to make your own keycap puller.

Why Would You Remove Your Mechanical Keyboard Keys?

Your desk probably isn’t dust-proof. Maybe it is. Even on the cleanest of desks and the best of rooms, mechanical keyboards can accumulate dust or hair underneath the keycaps. Removing the keycaps also lets you access your stabilizers and your switches.

If you’re interested in modding your stabilizers to make it more quiet (and other techniques to make your keyboard more quiet).

Make sure you refer to the Top 5 Mistakes When Modding Your Stabilizers if you’re going to be doing that. We made all the mistakes.

You might have spilled soda on your keyboard and now you need to take apart your keycaps to clean your keycaps and your keyboard. Perhaps a specific key isn’t working, and you’re trying to diagnose why. Well, it’s super easy if you have the right tools.

Keycap Pullers: DIY and Store-bought

Store-bought Keycap Pullers

Keycap puller
WASD Keycap Puller

Many mechanical keyboards come with a keycap puller. Some keyboards that come with that is the Anne Pro 2, Keychron K1, Drop CTRL, and more. Almost every mechanical keyboard we have bought have a keycap puller (not Razer though).

There are many options for cheap keycap pullers on Amazon. If you have Prime membership, getting free shipping on these would be a deal.

If you do not have Amazon Prime or access to buying a keycap puller, you can also make it yourself.

With a keycap puller, just put the wire prongs underneath the edges of each key. Pull up on the key until you feel a click when it clicked off. Then take the keycap off the puller and repeat.

With the long wire pullers, you can pull 3-4 keys before having to take them out of the puller.

If you’re looking for more discrete ones, the circle keycap pullers might be a good option.

small circle keycap puller
Small keycap puller

DIY Keycap Pullers

Let’s start with the tools that you can find easily around your home without having to MacGyver anything. Look around your home. Perhaps you have a flathead screwdriver or a butter knife.

With those two tools, start with the edge keys first and slowly make your way in. Be careful and do not cut yourself. Also, keep in mind that these tools were not meant to be used for this, so they may scratch or damage your keycaps or switches if not careful.

Start slow and slowly put pressure in an upwards motion until you hear the click. After that, use your fingers or another thin tool to completely remove the keycap off. Be careful not to use a lot of pressure, or you may lose your keycaps.

Okay, now for the funky stuff. First go find yourself some paperclips. You might need more than one just in case you mess up.

A pair of pliers will also help with the formation of the keycap puller, but I’ve used my fingers before.

Using the pair of pliers, first straight out the paper clip. Now you are ready to form the paperclip to make a triangle shape (the musical instrument, not necessary with sharp corners). You can see a simple example in this YouTube video. For a keycap puller that you can reuse, look at this simple video here.

Another simple model using a paperclip and just your fingers is to open the paperclip so that one side has an L-shape. Simply pop that end into the gaps and pull up slowly until it pops off. The L might become a J in the process, but that’s okay. It’s not perfect and may need to be reformed many times before all your keys are pulled, but it’s super simple.

DIY paperclip keycap puller
L-shape of DIY Keycap puller
Pulling up keycaps using DIY paperclip
Pulling up keycaps using the DIY paperclip

What About Macbook or Laptop Keycaps?

Do this at your own discretion, but you can use a butter knife or flathead screwdriver as well. Other tools are toothpicks or tweezers. Be careful as this might damage the keycaps.

Simply stick your tool underneath and apply a slow upwards pressure. Some keys may have stabilizers to be very gentle. These keys are the larger keys such as Backspace, Enter, Shift, and the Space bar.

If you feel an unusual resistance, almost as if you’re breaking your keys or switches, stop and do some research. The specific laptop may need the keys to be removed in a certain way.

Summary

We looked at why you would want to take off your keycaps, two different options to buying keycap pullers on Amazin, different methods of making your own keycap puller from paper clips and pliers, and laptop keys too.

Hope this article helped you find what you were searching for.

How can we improve our articles moving forward? Let us know, and we’ll try our best to do it for you. As always, happy typing!

Question of the day: Have you made your own keycap pullers before, and were you satisfied with the results?

My answer: I have, and I was very happy because it was the first time, I ever removed my keycaps in a frenzy to clean my keyboard. I lost it fairly quickly and came to realize that official keycap pullers are much easier to use and are important enough for me to keep in a safe place.

Sources

Make a DIY Keycap Puller Out of Two Paper Clips Lifehacker.com

Take Keys off a Keyboard Wikihow.com

What Makes a Waterproof Mechanical Keyboard Waterproof?

Waterproof mechanical keyboards on the switch and click blog

Question and Answer

Hey, you two, I know that mechanical keyboards and water probably don’t mix well together. Most technology involving electronics and water generally do not mix. I spill drinks such as water or souparound my mechanical keyboard all the time. I’m wondering if the keyboards that advertise themselves as being waterproof are viable options to buy. So, what makes a waterproof mechanical keyboard waterproof? Is it actually?

When manufacturers advertise their device as waterproof, spill-resistant, or water-resistant, many of them are doing so without necessary scientific testing. When we want to rate a device on its dust and water-resistance, we must look at the IP (international protection or Ingress protection) rating scale. It has two digits, the first digit is solids-resistance, the second is water-resistance. The higher the number, the more resistant to being infiltrated by the substance. A device with IP68 means that it is dustproof and can withstand water immersion up to a specified pressure. Many mechanical keyboards that are advertising themselves as water-resistant can withstand small water spills, but you must read reviews and see if any tests have been done with that keyboard specifically since many keyboards have an IP rating. We’ll list some options down below.

water

The Basics of Being “Waterproof”

IP Rating

Many of you have heard of the IP rating of electronics such as your cell phone having an IP68 water resistant rating. What do the numbers mean?

IP stands for International Protection Rating or the Ingress Protection Rating. It consists of the letters IP followed by a two-digit number. This rating was created to standardize the information of protection from solids and liquids of an object. It’s better to know something such as IP68 rather than saying it’s “waterproof.”

The first number is protection against solid objects. When it comes to protection against water, the second digit is what you want to look at.

A low number means very minimal protection, but a high number will protect against things such as spills and possibly immersion as well.

First Digit: Protection against Solids

IP LevelProtection against:
0Not protected against any contact
1Solid objects greater than 50mm (hand)
2Solid objects greater than 12.5m (finger)
3Solid objects greater than 2.5mm (screwdriver)
4Solid objects greater than 1.0mm (wire)
5Dust protected; some dust permitted
6Dust tight, zero dust permitted

Second Digit: Protection Against Liquids

IP LevelProtection against:
0Not protected
1Vertically falling drops of water such as light rain
2Vertically falling drops with device tilted at 15 degrees from the vertical
3Water spray less than 60 degrees from the vertical
4Water spray from any direction
5Low pressure water jets from any direction
6High pressure water jets from any direction
7Immersion between 15cm and 1m in depth
8Long term immersion up to specified pressure

So, if your cell phone is rated IP67, this means that it has total protection from dust and can be submerged underwater between 15cm and 1m in depth. An IP68 is the best rating that a device can get, dust-tight and long-term immersion within a certain pressure depth.

dust

“Water-proof”?

When manufacturers or sellers advertise their products as being waterproof, spill-resistant, or water-resistant, spill-proof, these are mere terms that are used to make the keyboard seem sturdier and safer to use.

Some keyboards have a plastic/rubber membrane around the switches or partially around the switches so that liquids don’t touch the device’s primary electronics.

When you are specifically looking for a waterproof keyboard, make sure that the keyboard is rated on the IP scale. If it’s not, then you probably shouldn’t take that feature too seriously.

“Waterproof” Mechanical Keyboards

Corsair K68 Mechanical Keyboard

Yes, we have talked about this keyboard before, and we did not enjoy it. But it is an IP32-rated keyboard. The Corsair K68 offers a rubber membrane that covers approximately 80% of the switches, preventing water from going into the keyboard’s core electronics.

On Amazon, this keyboard is currently $89.99 for Red backlight with Cherry MX Red switches.

An IP32 rating means that this mechanical keyboard is resistant to solid objects greater than 2.5mm (which is the width of a screwdriver) and water-resistant to vertical water drops when the device is tilted at 15 degrees from the vertical.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the keyboard is spill-resistant or water-resistant. But a test video by NCIX, which involved them pouring an entire pitcher of water on top of the keyboard while it’s on and in use, shows that the keyboard can withstand water spills without any problems.

The water brushed right off. They did not open the keyboard to see if any water got into the keyboard switches or PCB. They did not do a submersion test because fully submerging a mechanical keyboard would never happen in a real-life situation.

Corsair K68
Corsair K68

Aukey KM-G3, G6, and G9

There are different options of waterproof keyboards that can be bought on Amazon. We’ll just name a few, but they’re not IP rated. Some of these include the Aukey KM lineup.

The Aukey KM-G9 is a TKL mechanical keyboard with Oetemu Blue switches. It’s advertised as being water resistant, but they do not specify what in their design makes it water resistant. It does have double-shot molded ABS keycaps. This keyboard is currently $29.99 on Amazon.

The Aukey KM-G6 is a full-sized mechanical keyboard with Oetemu Blue switches as well. It has a full metal top panel and RGB lighting. It also features a floating key design.This keyboard is currently $39.99 on Amazon.

The Aukey KM-G3 is also a full-sized mechanical keyboard with Oetemu Blue switches but it has a more compact design. It has full RGB lighting and double-shot molded ABS keycaps. It has a brushed aluminum panel. It currently costs $65 on Amazon.

A complete water spill test was done by UNWRAP on YouTube. The results show that the keyboards were completely functional during and after the water spill for typing and gaming, which is pretty awesome.

Blackwidow Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard

Razer Blackwidow
Razer Blackwidow

The Blackwidow Ultimate is water and dust resistant. It is rated at IP54. This means that it is dust-protected with only a limited number of dust particles entering the keyboard and can sustain water spray from any direction.

Whether you are snacking or drinking water or soda, this keyboard can sustain it all, even Cheetos and Cheetos dust. In terms of dust and water resistance, this keyboard has the highest IP rating.

The new Blackwidow Ultimate Green switches have two side walls around the switch stem, preventing dust and water from entering the switch. The PCB is coated by a water-repellant protective layer, giving the keyboard extra protective if something enters the switches.

Razer themselves tested how their keyboard held up against different real-life situations. When they spilled a cup of water on it, the water escaped through the drainage holes beneath the keyboard and remaining liquid was wiped off.

The side walls protected the switches from dust and crumbs such as Doritos, Cheetos, and salt.

However, make sure to not submerge or splash the USB connector opening with water as that will damage the keyboard. Razer also offers a 2-year warranty on this keyboard.

This keyboard is currently $87.99 on the Razer website, and it was originally $109.99.

Razer Blackwidow Ultimate

Sources

What is IP rating, and why is it important? 2M CCTV

COMPLETELY Spill-proof! Corsair K68 Mechanical Keyboard YouTube.com

This Keyboard SPITS Soda, We Try It In Fortnite and CS:GO YouTube.com

HyperX Alloy Origins Core Review : $200 Build Quality for Less than $100

HyperX Alloy Origins Core Review on the Switch and Click blog

Basic Information About the HyperX Alloy Origins Core

Let’s start with a disclaimer first. I absolutely love HyperX. My brother has owned the original HyperX Cloud headphones, which let me to get the Hyper X Cloud II headphones. And I’ve also convinced my husband to get himself a pair of the HyperX Cloud II headphones as well. They’re super comfy, and I will recommend them to anyone that is gaming or listening to music or podcasts for an extended period.

Okay, first let’s go over some basic information that we need to discuss with this keyboard. The HyperX Alloy Origins Core is a Tenkeyless mechanical keyboard that uses HyperX’s proprietary red switches. These are quiet linear switches, and they’re very similar to Cherry MX Reds.

This keyboard is priced at $89.99 on Amazon, on the HyperX website, and at Best Buy.

HyperX Alloy Origins Core
HyperX Alloy Origins Core

The Looks

The case is made of aircraft-grade aluminum. It is a matte black on the top plate and base. It is sturdy and has a hefty weight to it. Despite this, it’s still extremely portable. Just throw it in your backpack.

If someone is breaking into your home, you can probably grab this keyboard, disconnect it really quick, and slap the criminal with your keyboard base. It will sustain it.

The base has four rubber feet. It offers 3 different angles for personalization of typing/gaming angle. The kickstands have dual-adjusting feet. The three angles are 3 degrees (which is flat), 7 degrees, and 11 degrees.

It has a USB-C connector on the right-hand side of the keyboard. There is no USB-passthrough. The USB-C cable is braided, but it is very rigid and can accumulate kinks easily.

One downside I’ve noticed is that it doesn’t fit all USB-C type cables. I tried using it with the USB-C cable that came with my Drop CTRL keyboard, but it didn’t fit into the hole extending out of the port. Only the HyperX USB-C cable fit through it. So, unfortunately, using a custom-made USB-C cable might be difficult with this one.

The legends are super clean. The space bar has a simple HyperX logo (HX) on it. Despite this, it’s still very nice looking. The keycaps have a matte black finish, although they are ABS plastic with double-shot molding. The legends are laser etched. Feels great on the fingers but can pick up finger oils easily. Same with the matte black aluminum plates.

Front profile of HyperX Alloy Origins Core
Front profile of HyperX Alloy Origins Core

All the legends are capitalized, including modifiers. It doesn’t have dedicated media keys, but the media functions are integrated within the function keys.

It has RGB lighting that is completely customizable using Ngenuity, which is an app on Windows. There are multiple pre-programmed effects that you can customize. Because the switches are red, when you use solid lighting effects, you will notice the red coming through.

It works great with a yellow color, looks like the sun. Also, very delicately, HyperX has their complete logo in a glossy black above the arrow keys.

HyperX Alloy Origins Core red tint under keycaps
The red tint you see despite having yellow lighting

The Functions

This keyboard is made for gaming. It has game mode, which prevents you from hitting the Windows key and exiting out your game accidentally.

It has onboard memory for three profiles, so if you change settings on one computer, you can take your keyboard and bring it to another one without worrying about it resetting on you.

The keys have 100% anti-ghosting and N-key rollover so you can button-mash away without any worries.

The bottom row is completely standardized. Feel free to switch out the keycaps depending on what you want your keycaps to look like.

The space bar has a bit of rattle, but it is still relatively quiet. The right shift key probably has the most rattle and noise. I might be bias because I mostly use my Right Shift key. The other keys that require stabilizers feel good. They are Cherry-style stabilizers, which means just easily pop out your keycaps without messing with those wired stabilizers.

Hyper X Red Mechanical Switches

HyperX Red switch with Cherry-style stabilizers
HyperX Red switch with Cherry-style stabilizers

These are linear switches designed by HyperX themselves. They do not tell us which switch designs they based off their builds from.

The total travel distance is 3.8mm, and the actuation distance is at 1.8mm. The actuation force is 45g, and they boast a lifespan of 80 million keystrokes.

HyperX has a great information page with plenty of charts and information regarding these switches.

First Impressions

I’m starting to grow fond of linear switches. Compared to the Corsair K68 that had Cherry MX switches, this keyboard feels much sturdier and much more fun to type out. The better build quality means that the sounds that comes out of the switches and the case sounds dampened. It doesn’t echo off the plastic case because it’s not a plastic case.

The RGB lighting is very bright, and the red tint to every color doesn’t turn me off in any way. The legends are clean. It is a bit strange that the numbers and symbols are next to each other on the number row instead of stacked on top of each other. It does help the lighting show through all the legends.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t just connect this keyboard to the USB-C cable that I already had connected to my computer. I had to disconnect that cord and plug in the braided USB-C cord that came with the keyboard.

This is personal, but I did not like that the USB-C port was only on the right side of the keyboard only. My keyboard sits on the right side of my desk relative to my PC, so that was inconvenient having to route it behind my monitor and then to my PC.

Side profile of HyperX Alloy Origins Core keyboard
Side profile of HyperX Alloy Origins Core keyboard

For the price, honestly, this felt like a $150 keyboard at least. The build quality is amazing. I love the aluminum top plate and case. The black matte is nice compared to the silver of my CTRL.

The firmware that is used to customize the lighting and keys is very easy to use. It’s called HyperX Ngenuity. I installed it easily, but it did require me to have a Microsoft account because it was a Windows app.

My husband customized the colors on his PC, and then I transferred it to my PC. No problems since the colors were stored within onboard profiles.

I didn’t need the rubber feet since I prefer to type on a flat keyboard. The feet are a plus though, because I love options.

I’m used to using a TKL mechanical keyboard, so no complaints about the lack of dedicated media keys. I don’t mind using the FN key with some function keys. You can also change the onboard color profiles via the FN key with F1, F2, or F3. You can change the brightness settings to 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, and 0% via the FN key and the arrow keys.

Compared to Cherry MX Red switches, I prefer these a lot more. The total distance and actuation distance are less than the Cherry MX Reds. These are fantastic switches. They’re light and fast.

Design

As I’ve said before, this keyboard looks like a $200 keyboard. The only thing that would make it better is to have more open access to the USB-C port.

The keyboard has a floating keycap style design, which I absolutely love. Some people may not prefer this, but I think it’s cool to be able to see your switches and RGB lights. It really lights up on your desk. Also, it makes it easy to pull off the keycaps (which might be a bad thing if you’re traveling with your keyboard often) without using a keycap puller.

One problem with the design is that the keycaps are ABS plastic that’s just sprayed matte. It looks cool and feels good and grippy, but I don’t like the idea that my finger oils are slowly accumulating on this keyboard as I’m typing right now.

The keycaps can be easily replaced though, since it does have a standard layout. HyperX also offers their own lineup of PBT double-shot keycaps in white or black. How nice of them. They’re also affordable as well and makes the RGB lighting stand out even more. Currently, they are $21.25 for a set of 104 keycaps. This TKL keyboard only has 87 keys, so you got some extras.

In the associated YouTube video, we will go over the design, RGB lighting pre-programmed effects, and more.

Typing

Despite being linear switches that I don’t prefer to type with, I haven’t had that many typos with this keyboard.

While typing, even quickly or harshly, there is no pinging or tinging sounds. They feel great, I am not as fast on these as on tactile switches.

That’s it, really. They feel awesome. No noises, no shaking keyboards, just great performance in general.

typing test of 15wpm
Very few mistakes, which is good for typing on linear switches.

Complaints

I only have two complaints. One is that the USB-C port is on the right side and that you MUST use the HyperX USB-C cable, which is stiff and can get kinks easily. The second is that the keycaps are sprayed a matte black and made of cheap ABS plastic which accumulates some nasty nasty over time.

These both could be personal preferences, since the keys do feel great to type on. Not slippery at all. They sure don’t feel like the shiny plastic of other keycaps.

Summary

For a keyboard of this high of a build quality to be under $100 is amazing. This keyboard is only about $90. The HyperX red switches are great, they’re like Cherry MX reds but shorter and faster. They boast a long lifespan of 80 million keystrokes, not as good as the 100 million of Cherry switches, but you’ll never get there anyways.

The keycaps feel good but may be the downfall of this keyboard. Good thing the easy solution is just to get a new set of PBT double shot keycaps and put them on since it has a standard layout.

My primary love for this keyboard is in the aircraft-grade aluminum frame. It has rounded edges; it looks like a black stealth jet. Flying in the night sky. All in all, HyperX is absolutely winning! They’re killing the gaming headset game and now they’re branching into the mechanical gaming keyboards arena as well, and with a winning chance at that.

Sources

HyperX Alloy Origins Review – Are These NEW Switches Worth It? YouTube.com

HyperX Alloy Origins Core Mechanical Gaming Keyboard HyperXGaming.com

What lube to use for mechanical keyboard switches?

what lube to use for keyboard switches at the switch and click blog

Why do we lube switches?

Lubricating surfaces that touch and move along each other can reduce friction and make the switches glide smoother. This can be a good thing or a not as good thing. Of course, linear switches will work even better with lubricants since there is no point where there is a click or tactile bump.

Clicky and tactile switches can be lubed as well, which can improve feel and sound, but be cautious to where and how much lubricant you are applying since this can affect the tactile bumps that you all and myself love so dearly.

Lubing switches can decrease sounds from the switch housing, stem, and spring if you choose to lube your springs too.

For some awesome guides on how to actually lube your switches, check out Top Clack’s article, TaeHa Types’ video, and cijanzen’s video. In addition, here is a great picture guide on exactly where to lube on the housing, stem, and spring. And another great picture guide on how to lube switches.

Lubricants

First, let’s talk lubricants. Which one to use? Which one to avoid?

When we look at lubricants, we think of them as two categories, oil or grease. Some greases are silicone or dielectric grease. The primary difference between the two comes from the application of them. Grease can only be brushed on each individual part: housing, stem, and spring.

With oils, you have the option of mass-lubing springs all in a bag while brushing the housing and stem. So, it saves you a little bit of time. It’s already a time-consuming process, but we want to do what we can to make it quicker.

What is viscosity, since we hear it so much?

Higher viscosity means the more dense and thicker it will be. Honey has a higher viscosity than juice.

Lower viscosity lubricants are better for tactile and clicky switches. Higher viscosity lubricants are better for linear switches.

Cijanzen, from KeebTalk, explains that lubing switches is like finishing wood, “The best analogy I can think of is comparing finishing wood with an oil coat or painting over it. The oil finish will fill minor imperfections in the wood and perhaps give it a glossy or matte finish but in general it’s about highlighting the underlying qualities of the wood. This is opposite to paint whose purpose is to entirely cover the imperfections in the wood, masking its original qualities but perhaps making the wood useable whereas perhaps it was not before.”

For tactile and clicky switches, good viscosities are at 3203 or 203. For linear switches, a 205 of 206 may be better. Based on cijanzen’s opinion, the 3204, 204, and 104 can be used for either linear or tactile switches.

Tip: When first starting out, use less. It’s easier to add more lube if needed than to take off lube that’s already been applied.

Stabilizer Lubricants

Stabilizers and switches work different, and therefore, they need different lubes. As we’ve seen before, stabilizers need a thick and viscous grease, not a thin one.

Examples of thick lubricants include dielectric grease, silicone grease, lithium grease, and extreme fluoro by Finish Line.

Most of these are cheap and widely available in stores such as Home Depot or Lowes. They’re safe for use on plastic, and they are nonconductive. As a stabilizer lube, these are thick and great. For switches, these are not good due to their thickness.

When you’re lubing stabilizers, make sure to use a small amount, equivalent to the size of a grain of rice for each point of contact you are lubing.

So now we know what to use for stabilizers and what NOT to use for switches. Let’s move on.

Switch Lubricants

Switches require a thinner lube such as oil or a light spray, now that doesn’t mean getting your can of canola oil spray from the kitchen.

There are so many keyboard lubes to look at. We’ll first look at some general lubricants that can be bought on Amazon or at local shops.

CAIG Laboratories DeoxIT

First, let’s look at CAIG Labs DeoxIT lubricant, priced at around $17 on Amazon. The application of this is a spray-on. It can be a little messy, so make sure you have a workstation that is ready to get sprayed.

It is completely safe to use on ABS and PBT plastics, however, like other lubes, there is a downside. That downside is that there can be an increase in dirt and dust buildup. As a lubricant, this works fine. However, to be more precise in lubing the parts that actually need to be lubed, using a oil lube with a paintbrush may be a better option.

This is much faster and convenient than individually taking each switch apart, painting the contact points and springs, and then putting it back together.

If you do find other lubricating sprays that you would like to use, check on a small piece of plastic that you won’t value to do a trial on to be sure it won’t ruin your keycaps.

CAIG DeoxIT FaderLube

Another one of CAIG Laboratories formulas, the Faderlube which comes in a liquid form with a need dropper, lets you lube at a higher precision. It is formerly known as CaiLube MCL. It is a bit more expensive at $24.95 currently on Amazon.

From an online forum, they tested that this lubricant was safe for plastic. HOWEVER, they lost the click of their Cherry MX Blue switches when they applied this lubricant to it since it is a thicker oil (like machine oil rather than olive oil).

It tested fine for Cherry MX Red switches since there is no click or tactile point on those switches.

Super Lube

A member within the mechanical keyboard community, /u/uln, wanted to test and provide answers for a cheaper option than expensive Krytox Lubricants.

The conclusion was that Krytox GPL-105 could be substituted by Super Lube Oil with Syncolon and that GPL-205 (a common one) could be substituted by Super Lube Multi-Purpose Grease. They are both plastic safe and contain the same ingredients as the Krytox lubes.

He emailed Super Lube, and they emailed him back, saying that you can combine both the Oil and the Multi-Purpose Grease to get the desired viscosity that you want, although it does warrant some experimentation.

If you’re going this route, make sure to do some trial mixes and test it on a non-valuable switch before applying it to all the switches of your keyboard.

Krytox Lubricants

Krytox is regularly used in the automotive industry. You can get this lube from many different places, such as AutoZone or auto dealers and, of course, Amazon.

Many people within the community use Krytox lubricants. One thing to note that the oils and the PTFE solids within the lubricant separates after a few days. Krytox is meant to be used within a closed system such as within cars with extreme temperatures. Switches are open systems that are open to the air, dust, and temperature.

Krytox lubricants have different viscosity ratings based on the numbers after them. For example, 205g0. The lower the number, the less viscous. Lower is better for switches.

They have two different ranges: the 10x and the 20x. The 10x range are oils, and the 20x are greases. So, 205 is a grease.

They also have different grades. Grade 0 is the smoothest consistency. The higher the grade, the denser it gets. Basically, the thicker it gets. Grade 0 is what you’ll be wanting if you’re going to be lubing your switches.

As a recap, a 205g0 would be a grease that is the smoothest consistency with grade 0. This one is seen frequently because many in the mechanical keyboard community like to use this lubricant for both stabilizers and switches.

small clear vial
Many lubricants come in small vials such as this and can be stored on the shelf indefinitely.

Tribosys Lubricants

Tribosys lubricants are produced by Miller-Stephenson.  They’re intended for general purpose and low thickness switch lubricants. They’re popular lube mixes and have an indefinite shelf life when stored within the container.

Tribosys 3204 is great for tactile and linear switches. Be careful when using this because a spill cannot be cleaned with soap or water or many common solvents.

GH V4 Lubricants

These lubricants are a custom mixture of different Krytox lubricants.

A GH V4 thick lube is a mixture of thick Krytox oil and a grade 3 Krytox grease. It is great for linear switches, tactile switches, springs, and stabilizers. Make sure to do a test run (I seem to be saying this a lot).

A GH V4 thin lube is a mixture of thin Krytox oil and Krytox grease. It has the consistency of oil but contains PTFE particles as well.

Note: Do NOT use WD-40 on your switches. It is NOT a lubricant. Its purpose is to be a solvent or rust dissolver. WD stands for water displacing.

Where can I buy them?

As keyboard enthusiasts, we don’t need that much lube. Many companies sell lubricants in small amounts just for the keyboard community.

Novel Keys

Novelkeys.xyz sells Krytox lubricants for $12 for approximately 5ml. They also sell Christo-Lube MCG for $8 for a 5ml container. A big benefit is that they come in beautiful glass containers that could sit next to the facial moisturizer in the bathroom if you wanted it to.

They sell Krytox 203, 204, 205, and 206 all with grade 00 and Christo-Lube MCG 111, 112, and 129 with grade 2.

Christo-Lube MCG 129g2 is very similar to Krytox 205g0. It is much thicker but consistent when applying. Remember to use less when starting out, not more. You probably can’t go wrong with any of these lubricant choices. Overall time, with experience, you’ll start to develop your own preferences for lube viscosities and brands.  

1Up Keyboards

1Up Keyboards also sells a variety of switch lubes. Prices range from $8.00 to $9.25.

They sell the following switch lubes:

  • Tribosys 3203, which is like Krytox 203g0. This is recommended for tactile switches.
  • Tribosys 3204, which is thicker than 3203 and recommended for linear switches.
  • Krytox GPL 205g0, which is thicker than both above and recommended for linear switches only, NOT tactile switches
  • Krytox GPL 206g0, which is thicker than 205g0 and recommended for linear switches and stabilizers, NOT tactile switches.
  • Krytox GPL 107 Oil, which is a very thick oil and is recommended to switch springs and linear switches.

They all come in 2ml small vials, which approximately lubes 120-200 switches, but results may vary. Currently they have a deal where you get 15% off with a purchase of 2 or more lubricant vials. For more information, check out their switch lubricant product page.  

Keys.my

Keys.my sells a variety of lubricants. They measure quantity as a gram measurement. If you buy 1 unit, you get 2 grams of lubricant. Depending on the lubricant itself, the actual amount of lubricant may vary due to density differences.

They have bulk sales and discounts for every lube type, ranging from 5% off if you buy 3-4 units to 35% off if you buy 100 or more units.

In addition, they have in-depth descriptions of each lubricant they sell, operating temperature, color, appearance, viscosity, density, and shelf life.

Here is a list of some of what they offer:

  • Dupont GHV4
  • Dupont Krytox GPL 103, 104, 105, 106, 107
  • Dupont Krytox GPL 203, 204, 205, and 206 in different grades: 0, 00, 1, 2
  • Permatex Dielectric Grease
  • Superlube Multi-purpose synthetic grease

Switch Top

Switch Top has a variety of lubricant options as well.

The Geekhackers Krytox Switch Lube is a proprietary blend of Krytox lubricants, which is custom mixed by mkawa @ Geekhackers. Each vial is $15, is 2ml of lube, which is enough for lubing over 100 switches.

It is recommended for linear switches. Other than that, they do not product a lot of information.

The Super Lube is a 1cc packet of multi-purpose lubricant with Syncolon (PTFE). This product is recommended for lubricating stabilizers ONLY. It costs $2.25 for each packet.

They also sell Tribosys 3203 and 3204 switch lubricants that range from $5.00 to $6.25. This is a collaboration between Hungerwork Studio and Miller Stephenson. They are both grade 0 greases, for all switch types.

3202 is a medium thin mix, and 3204 is a medium thick mix. Both come in 2ml vials.

Apex Keyboards

Apexkeyboards.ca offers 3 different lubricating products specifically for mechanical keyboards. One of which is the Tribosys 3204 switch lube at $8.00 CAD. This is a semi-fluid grease used for switch lubrication. It can be used for linear and tactile switches. You will get 2ml which is enough for over 100 switches.

Apex also sells Krytox 205g0 Switch Lube in 3ml vials for $10.29 CAD. This lubricant is a thick lubricant that has the consistency of peanut butter. It’s good linear switches, however, it is not recommended for switch springs.

Compared to Tribosys 3204, Krytox 205g0 is much thicker. Krytox 205g0 can work well in tactile switches as well, but make sure to do a trial run on a non-vital switch just so you know what feel you’ll be getting afterwards just in case you don’t like it.

While those other lubricants shouldn’t be used for switches, Apex also sells Switch Spring Oil for $2.00 CAD for 2ml specifically for your switch springs. You can use it to brush the springs or to bag lube them.

In addition, they offer a lubricant bundle of all three products for $19.29 CAD right now.

Zeal PC

Zeal PC sells keyboard lube as well. They have different products and ship for free for orders over $150USD within North America.

They offer Tribosys 3204 and 3203 (5ml for $35), Krytox GPL 205g0 (5g for $25, approximately 300 switches), GH V4 thick or thin lube (2ml for $15).

Summary

Lubing switches is a preference that many people within the mechanical keyboard community prefer due to the improved feel and dampened sounds that lubing produces.

There are many different types of lubricants to use. We’ve compiled a long list of different ones that may be more easily accessible at local stores or online only such as Tribosys lubricants.

A consensus of the mechanical keyboard community is to use thinner lube for switches. Make sure that you do not overlube and test beforehand on a non-vital switch to make sure you like the way it feels before doing it to your entire keyboard.

Many have used the Krytox and Tribosys lubes and recommend them to others to use to lube their switches. Make sure that you read about whether the lube is appropriate for linear or tactile switches before you ruin a nice clicky keyboard.

It does dial down to preference and experimentation. We’ve covered a lot of information in this article and hope that you found it helpful.

I sure did. Now I know what kind of lube I’ll be purchasing in the future to lube my tactile switches.

Leave a comment down below of any questions, suggestions on what we should do research on next, comments, or whatever you want.

And a question for you: What lubricants have you used to lube your switches? What switches were they? What effect did they have on your switches? Did you like it or not?

Happy typing!

Sources

All About Keyboard Lubes Reddit.com

Which Lube for Switch Lube: An updated guide on the what, how, and where of switch lubricants Keebtalk.com

NovelKeys Lube Choices Reddit.com

The Best Five Mechanical Keyboards for Typing

5 best mechanical keyboards for typing at the switch and click blog

Introduction

Typing, something we all do every single day. Whether we’re gaming, in the office, working from home, or even instant messaging some old friends on Facebook or other social media websites. Typing is an important everyday task. Mechanical keyboards, however, have always been linked to gaming. But that’s not the only thing they’re good at. Mechanical keyboards can also improve your typing experience and possibly even make you type faster.

Many of today’s mechanical keyboards are made with gaming in mind. In this article, we’ll look at the top keyboards that were designed specifically for typing or programming. When you’re typing, you’ll use more than just the WASD keys, spacebar, and maybe sometimes Q and E, possibly even the number keys for macros and skills.

When you’re typing, switch type matters. Which switch type would be the best for typing? That’s up to you. There are three types of switches: linear, tactile, and clicky. Many of you are probably familiar with the Cherry MX switches, primarily the reds, browns, and blues.

Out of those three, many prefer using the tactile brown switches due to their tactile feedback as you’re typing, telling you exactly when the keypress registered. Some others prefer the linear reds, however many prefer linear switches for gaming. It is a preference. It’s up to you to decide which switches are best for you.

My husband and I prefer the tactile brown switches to type in because we do like the tactile feel. Too often, when we’re typing on linear switches, we happen to skip a letter and must go back to add it in.

Let’s move on to the keyboards themselves.

Five of the Best Mechanical Keyboards for Typing

Okay, now that you’ve figured out your preferred style of switches, let’s move on to looking at the keyboards themselves. We’ve done thorough research and ended up compiling a list of five of the best mechanical keyboards for typing. Each one will have their own strengths and weaknesses. In the end, we’ll round up our first choice, a runner-up, and some honorable mentions.

Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboards

Before jumping into a list of keyboards, I would like to emphasize the importance of ergonomics while typing. While the following keyboards are super cool looking and awesome, I’d like to mention that ergonomic keyboards are always an option to consider because you are doing primarily typing. Make sure you find a keyboard that is comfortable for you to type in the long-term. We’ve compiled a list of ergonomic mechanical keyboards with special features that make them better than regular mechanical keyboards and did the research on that already.

Daskeyboard Model S Professional

Daskeyboard is a maker that specializes in professional keyboards for working professionals to improve typing efficiency.

The Daskeyboard Model S Professional comes with Cherry MX Brown or Cherry MX Blue (both switches with tactile switches, but blue is clicky and loud), and it comes at $119.99. It is a full-sized keyboard with 104 keys. Currently on Amazon, it has a 4-star rating with over 1500 reviews.

Some of the features of this keyboard is that the Model S Professional can be bought for either Mac or Windows. The only major difference between the two keyboards is they have the operating system-specific keycaps.

The keycaps have laser-etched legends to prevent fading over time. As mechanical switches are meant to last over 100 million keypresses, the other parts of the keyboard are expected to last that long as well. Printed legends on keycaps will fade over time, but not these ones.

It has media controls, for convenient play/pause and volume controls for music and videos. It has full NKRO (N-key rollover), so you can type as fast as you want to with each keypress registering accurately every time.

It requires 2 USB ports or 1 USB port and 1 PS/2 port. The keyboard also has a USB port at the top of the keyboard for convenient connections with USB drives, headsets, or mice.

Compared to other Daskeyboards, this one does not have a volume knob. Their other keyboard, the Daskeyboard 4 Professional and Ultimate both have a volume knob on the top right.

One downside to using this keyboard is that without proper lighting, it will be difficult to see the legends as they do not have any backlight of their own. The board has 4 rubber feet at the bottom. They have two kickstand feet with one option to increase the typing angle.

Another downside is that if you would like to take the board apart, the screws are below the rubber feet. Once you take the rubber feet off, you might be not able to put it back.

There are other downsides such as ABS plastic keycaps and plastic case compared to PBT plastic.

Das Keyboards also makes other models such as the Das Keyboards 4 Professional and Ultimate (which has blank keycaps).  

Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate
Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate

Happy Hacking Keyboard (HHKB)

HHKB makes several different keyboards, all of which are relatively similar. The Happy Hacking keyboard’s design first emerged in 1992 by Professor Eiiti Wada. The HHKB is light and compact with a 60% layout with 60 keys. It easily fits in your bag for easy transportation and saves space on your desk.

Unlike the switches that we’ve been looking at, the HHKB uses special switches that use electrostatic capacitive keys called Topre switches. These switches are extremely smooth to press with no chattering. They also offer a quiet sound. It offers a different feel than MX-style switches.

Topre is a Japanese manufacturer of keyboard mechanical switches. These electrostatic capacitive switches in the way that they are non-contact type switches. They have an average of 45g actuation force and can last over 50 million clicks.

It uses rubber domes or cups, which it is not like a regular membrane keyboard. This is what happens when you press a key. The plunger will move down when you press it, causing the rubber dome to collapse, which has a spring inside. The spring interacts with a capacitive sensor on the PCB which creates the actuation. The tactile bump isn’t distinct or clicky like it is on Cherry MX switches. The force can range instead of being exact.

Happy Hacking Professional 2
Happy Hacking Professional 2

Each rubber dome and conical spring is easily replaceable if one happens to break as they are all their separate parts.

The HHKB is primarily all plastic. It is a light and compact 60% keyboard. It has two open spaces on the bottom left and bottom right spaces with the brand being on the bottom right side. It has a clean design in stealth black or grey.

The bottom of the keyboard has two rubber feet and 2 flip-out feet with 2 different angles. The back of the keyboard offers 2 low-powered USB drives, which you can connect mice or USB ports. However, being low-powered, it won’t be able to power headsets.

There are six DIP switches on the back as well. The bottom of the keyboard explains exactly what each DIP switch does.

The layout of this keyboard is non-standard with the FN key being on the same row as the Shift key. It may be difficult to get used to this layout. The backspace is also lower than it normally is by one row, so it sits right above the Enter key.

A downside is that there are empty spaces on the bottom of the keyboard that are unused. Why not add 2 keys there instead of empty space? The CapsLock is also not a dedicated key. Instead, it exists on another layer. Where the CapsLock currently is, there is a Control button instead.

Overall, it takes time to get used to this layout. However, once people have gotten used to this keyboard, others were not able to switch back to the regular layout without feeling disadvantaged.

The Pro Hybrid Type-S model and the Pro Hybrid can connect to PCs wirelessly via Bluetooth or via a USB-C cable. The Pro Classic is only able to connect via USB-C.

The Pro Hybrid Type-S and the Pro Hybrid both are fully programmable. You can make your own custom keymaps using their keymapping software. The curvature and layout of the keyboards reduce hand and finger fatigue because you leave the home row keys much less often due to the closer Backspace.

The keycaps are PBT plastic with dye-sublimated key legends that never fade. You can also choose to have blank keycaps rather than printed.

Now for the price: The HHKB ranges from $190 to $280, depending on which model you pick.

WASD V3 87-key Mechanical Keyboard: First-Place Winner, Customizable with a lot of options

WASD Keyboards is almost a decade old and have been specializing in custom mechanical keyboards for quite some time now. They focus on exceptional customer service and finding new ways to improve the users’ keyboarding experiences. They are a small team of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.

WASD Keyboards was founded in 2011 by people within the mechanical keyboard enthusiast community. They have many different keyboard layouts such as the WASD V3 104-key, 105-key, 87-key, 88-key, VP3 61-key and 62-key layouts. Each of these models can be customized to however you like. However, they also have pre-picked keyboards such as a CODE V3 87-key Cherry MX Browns Mechanical Keyboard.

We’ll be focusing on the TKL 87-key custom mechanical keyboard. I would really like to point out that they are all customizable to your own preferences and designs. However, the pre-made ones are awesome too. They even have special keycaps such as the GMK Tokyo Nights or the GMK Skidolcha, and much more. I invite you to check out their selection.

The prices range from $100 for a barebones 61-key keyboard (without keycaps, but does come with case, PCB, stabilizers, and switches) to $290 for a full-sized, 104-key keyboard with GMK keycaps and switches.

WASD TKL Code
WASD TKL Code

Let’s look at the switch options: Cherry MX browns, blues, reds, black, clear, green, silent red, silver, and Zealio 67g. We list the actuation force and distances of these switches within our comprehensive guide to every mechanical keyboard switch.

If we build a custom one, it lets us change the colors of the keycaps of the alphanumeric keycaps separately than the modifiers to a variety of different colors.

We can also change the Legends to whatever we choose: US International, Mac Dvorak, Mac Colemak, Mac, Colemak, Workman, Turkish, Russian, Modern, Lowercase, Large Font, Korean, Hebrew, Programmers Dvorak, Dvorak, Classic, Centered, Arabic, and other Photoshop specific ones. I choose the Vintage Cherry legends.

Also, you can add O-rings for $25 more.

I love the customizability from this company. They care about your typing experience. They also offer a ton more switch options, and we all know how important switches are to our typing experiences.

Matias Quiet Pro Mechanical Keyboard: For Those That Prefer Quiet

This is advertised as the world’s quietest mechanical keyboard. The Matias Quiet Pro comes out at $149.95 USD and it uses Quiet Click mechanical switches. They give you a tactile feedback without the unnecessary noise.

We’ve talked about all the different ways you can make your mechanical keyboard more quiet, but this keyboard already comes pretty quiet straight out of the box.

The website does a good job at showing you the differences between Cherry MX switches vs. Matias Quiet Pro switches. The Quiet Pro switches are a modified Alps switch, a very popular switch within the mechanical keyboard enthusiast community.

At the back of the keyboard are 3 extra USB 2.0 ports to plug in anything from card readers, charging phones or headphones, mice, USB drives, or headsets.

The keycaps are ABS plastic with laser-etched legends that will never fade off. They keycaps are also sculpted so that your fingers fit on them nicely. You’ll be able to feel each key instead of them being flat.

Matias Quiet Pro

Other features that show you that these people care about productivity is dedicated volume controls. When you’re at the office typing away, listening to your jams, when suddenly someone comes up to your desk. You can easily press mute or volume down, have a conversation, and then go straight back to work without having to switch screens.

It also has a dedicated tab button on the number pad for those who do a lot of work within spreadsheets. It also has full NKRO.

It has two legs underneath it to provide a slightly scooped silhouette when typing. It also has a 6-ft long USB cable. Unfortunately, this keyboard has no wireless capabilities.

Filco Majestouch-2 TKL Mechanical Keyboard

Last is the Filco Majestouch-2. This is a tenkeyless keyboard, which means that there is no number pad. If you do a lot of number entry, they also sell a full-sized version.

The TKL version currently costs $139.54 on Amazon. It currently has a 4.5 star reviewing with 241 ratings.

It has NKRO just like the other keyboards. This is a common feature on almost all mechanical keyboards.

This keyboard comes in all black with keycaps that have legends on the front rather than on top. There are different switch options: Cherry MX Brown, Blue, Black, or Red.

It connects via a USB port, but it also can connect to PS/2 with an adapter. The keycaps are all black as well.

Filco Majestouch Ninja 2
Filco Majestouch Ninja 2

On a desk, this can look like any typical keyboard. However, on a closer look, they are beautiful. It’s super slim and sleek.

This keyboard is not as special as the other keyboards on this list, despite its high price point. A long time ago, this may have been a good keyboard.

There are 4 rubber feet at the bottom and then 2 kickstands that have rubber pads on them as well for maintained stability with the feet up.

An advantage of this keyboard is that you never have to worry about the legends fading. Your fingers probably will never lay a hand on the legends because they are on the front. The keyboard is solid and sturdy.

Summary

We’ve covered 5 different keyboards that are meant for typing rather than gaming. With that being said, if you like to use gaming keyboards to type, more power to you.

I am not a believer that keyboards are made for specific things. However, one thing that I think these “typing” keyboards are good for is looking good in the office without standing out too much. None of your coworkers will come up to you when you bring your keyboard to the office saying, “Oh not another mechanical keyboard with the loud clicks. I hate those.”

No, you’ll take out a simple, yet sleek keyboard with mechanical switches that will be relatively quiet.

We’ve looked at the Das Keyboard Model S Professional Mechanical Keyboard, WASD 87-key custom mechanical keyboard, the Filco Majestouch, Matias Quiet Pro, and the Happy Hacking Keyboard. All of which are very good keyboards with ranging price tags.

Now, typists, get out there and find your keeb.

If you have any questions that you would like us to answer, leave us a comment down below. Or questions or concerns. Or anything, really.

Before you go, I’d like to ask you what are you using for your daily driver at the office or at home? I’d love to know!

Happy typing!

Sources

Das Keyboard Model S Review (Cherry MX Blue) YouTube.com

What is Topre Switch Hobgear.com

Mechanical Keyboard Guide WASDKeyboards.com

Filco Majestouch Ninja Tenkeyless Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard Unboxing Linus Tech Tips YouTube.com

Best wireless mechanical keyboards of 2020

Best wireless mechanical keyboards of 2020
Photo by u/goldfish_memories

So, it’s 2020 and you’re having some trouble picking out a wireless mechanical keyboard. We understand the struggle, there are so many wireless keyboards out there, how on earth do you choose just one?

Well, today we are going to take our best shot at picking out a short, exclusive list of the best mechanical keyboards available. We will also go over some of the pros and cons of each keyboard to help you pick out the right keyboard for you.

Before we jump into the keyboard list, we feel it’s important to go over the most important factor we use to rank the keyboards. With a wireless keyboard you’re looking for several things when it comes to reliability and quality of the product, but there is one thing that will really determine the long-term quality of the product.

Reliable software

When searching for a wireless mechanical keyboard there are several important qualities to consider. The main thing to look at is reliability, especially when it comes to the keyboard software. The physical components of mechanical keyboards are often rated to 50+ million keystrokes and it’s not uncommon for a mechanical keyboard to withstand a decade or more of use.

The keyboard software does not have these same standards, there are in fact, no industry standards or any sort of regulation when it comes to the keyboard software.

In order to connect and send the keystrokes to your PC, wireless mechanical keyboards rely on software to send the data with a very fast response time and zero lag. Which is something wired keyboards don’t need to worry about.

 So, you’ll need a keyboard with really solid Bluetooth or quick connect functionality that will last just as long as the switches on the keyboard itself.

Based on research, looking at dozens of wireless keyboards and hundreds of reviews, it looks like the software tends to stop working properly after about a year of usage, which conveniently happens to be right as the warranty runs out.

Planned obsolescence much?

Reliable software is the single greatest factor when it comes to the keyboard ranking, as it is often what kills a wireless keyboard faster than anything else.

With that out of the way, let’s jump into our favorite keyboards of 2020!

Our top favorite

Anne Pro 2

Anne Pro 2
Photo by u/MegaZucc

By sheer popularity amongst mechanical keyboard enthusiasts, how could this keyboard not make the list? The Anne Pro 2 is a 60% keyboard with both wired & wireless connection with a rechargeable battery that can last up to eight hours. Coming in white or black with RGB backlighting, the Anne Pro 2 has a nice overall, compact look to it. This would be a great option if you need to take your keyboard on the go as the 60% size is portable, light, and smaller-sized.

PBT keycaps is also a nice plus, they have a better texture than standard keycaps and tend to look less greasy.

If you’re really picky about switches, you’ll be happy to see that the amount of switch options on this keyboard is quite impressive. You can choose between a variety of Cherry Mx, Gateron, and Kailh switches to get the exact keystroke feel you’re looking for.

The only downside to this keyboard is the relatively short battery life. The battery is a 1900mAh which will only last for eight hours. Considering how this is a smaller sized keyboard, it does make sense that they would not want to install a larger battery to avoid weighing the keyboard down. But eight hours is a little on the short side.

You can get it on Amazon for $89.

Specifications:

  • $89
  • 60% keyboard
  • 1900mAh battery (8hrs)
  • Wireless or wired
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Switches: Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Silver, Gateron Blue, Gateron Brown, Gateron Red, Kailh Box Brown Kailh Box Red, Kailh Box White
  • RGB backlight
  • Programmable keys

Second favorite

Keychron K2

Keychron k2
Photo by u/WitoldLutoslawski

Our second favorite keyboard is the Keychron K2. A 75% keyboard that is slightly larger than the Anne Pro 2 but would still be a good keyboard to take on the go. It has both wired and wireless options and an amazing battery life of 72 hours. If you are a busy person and have difficulty finding time to charge your keyboard, it will be difficult to find another mechanical keyboard with a battery that will last as long.

The Bluetooth functionality on this keyboard is ahead of its time, it can connect to three separate devices and switch between them with ease. This feature makes it easy to switch between connecting to your laptop, home computer, and work station without having to fiddle with the settings.

The only downside to this keyboard is it’s only available with Gateron switches. Gaterons are essentially Cherry MX clones that are produced in China to save on cost, so sometimes the quality isn’t always the best.

The Keychron K2 is an excellent choice for someone looking for a reliable, relatively cheap, wireless mechanical keyboard. This keyboard is loaded with features that make it exciting and interesting to use.

Specifications

  • $74
  • 75% keyboard
  • 4000mAh battery (72 hrs)
  • Wireless or wired
  • White backlight with option to upgrade to RGB
  • Bluetooth to up to 3 devices
  • Switches: Gateron Blue, Gateron Brown, Gateron Red

Honorable mention

Logitech G613

Logitech G613
Photo by u/XaVierDK

Although it did not make our favorite list, the Logitech G613 is still a decent full-sized keyboard with some interesting features. Equipped with Logitech’s Lightspeed technology (basically faster Bluetooth), this keyboard will give you slightly better response time when gaming. Making it one of the better wireless keyboards if you plan on playing competitive video games or can’t stand the feel of any input lag.

The keyboard comes with six programmable keys and switches that are rated up to 70M keystrokes.

The main downside to this keyboard are the lack of rechargeable batteries, this keyboard is powered by AA batteries. In addition, there is no wired option so if the batteries die, you’re out of luck. If you run out of batteries, you either need to run to the store and buy some more or steal them from the TV remote.

Although I’ve never personally used the Romer G switch, I do not like that the keyboard only comes with one switch option. I think Logitech could benefit from accommodating different switch preferences. However, if you are a fan of silent and tactile switches, the Romer G’s might work for you.

Specifications

  • $70
  • Full-size keyboard
  • Switches: Romer G
  • Wrist pad
  • AA batteries
  • Lightspeed wireless connection
  • Six programmable keys

Conclusion

That does it for the reviews! I scoured the internet to find the absolute best wireless keyboards on the market that did not have the software problems that tend to plague wireless keyboards. Please let us know if you don’t agree and leave your thoughts about wireless mechanical keyboards in general. Today we looked at the Anne Pro 2, Keychron K2, and Logitech G613. Which one is your favorite?

In case you were wondering…

Can I convert my mechanical keyboard to wireless?

Converting your keyboard to wireless can be a time-heavy investment and should be reserved for those who are more DIY inclined. In order to do the wired-to-wireless conversion, you will need to be equipped with some basic soldering skills and a few extra components and tools.

After your soldering kit is ready, you will need to install a rechargeable battery and bluetooth to usb converter. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here.

Don’t feel like reading? Check out the video below.

Why Mechanical Keyboards are here to stay

Why mechanical keyboards are here to stay
Keyboard from /u/crzone

As of 2020, mechanical keyboards are widely used by a variety of gamers, typists, programmers, and enthusiasts. And although mechanical keyboards have been adopted by these groups of people, unfortunately, we have not seen mechanical keyboards make their way into the main stream yet. Most people still use a standard membrane keyboard or scissor-switch keyboard.

If you were to walk into a standard American office there would be very few, if any, mechanical keyboards. Most people don’t own them and if you were to ask the average person what a mechanical keyboard is, they would have no idea.

Due to how expensive the production and assembly process of mechanical keyboards is, it’s hard to imagine the majority of the population using them. Fortunately, we have been seeing a lot of companies make great strides at reducing the cost of mechanical keyboards.

Mechanical Keyboards are getting cheaper

I’m sure there are many people out there who have looked at buying a mechanical keyboard at some point in their life but couldn’t justify the $100 price tag for a keyboard that basically did the same thing as a $30 one. Without looking too closely at the differences, they would never know how much better a mechanical keyboard is.

Well, now there are more companies producing mechanical keyboards than ever before. Companies such as HyperX have only recently started building their own keyboard product lines. And as the keyboard market gets more saturated and competitive, the prices of the product will start to go down making the market more accessible to people who aren’t willing to splurge on their keyboard.

Cherry Viola switch
Cherry Viola switch

There has also been a push by many companies to make more inexpensive switches. Cherry recently released a new switch, the Cherry Viola, to try and compete with rubber dome and hybrid style keyboards. By making them hot-swappable and solder-free, it will make them easier to remove and use by people who may not have the necessary soldering skills otherwise.

Over time I think we’ll see more aggressive moves by several mechanical keyboard manufacturers to attempt to claim a larger percentage of the general keyboard market share.

The Rise of Esports and Twitch

The world is at a pretty exciting time where Esports is growing at such a rapid rate, it’s on track to eventually surpass traditional professional sports such as baseball and hockey. And in some Asian counties such as South Korea and China, Esports is an even bigger deal. With no end to it’s growth in sight, we’re going to continually see the number of gamers increase.

Esports

The gaming industry is the absolutely the biggest market and drives the sales of the majority of mechanical keyboards. By improving reliability and performance, mechanical keyboards give competitive gamers the edge they might need to be a millisecond faster than their opponent. If you look at any shopping site, you can tell by the dark keyboards offset by bright RGB backlighting that they are attempting to attract the gaming demographic.

Plus who doesn’t want to own the same keyboard as their favorite streamer or professional player?

More people work at desks

There are several benefits to typing on mechanical keyboard such as improved tactile feedback, less chance of rollover, and a much longer lifespan than other keyboard types. With more people working at desks than ever before and the increase in people working at software developer jobs, were going to see an increase in the number of people who care about the quality of their keyboard and typing experience.

Many software engineers prefer mechanical keyboards since they feel better and because mechanical keyboards offer more customization regarding to programmable keys, ergonomics, and switch types. Over all, these can improve efficiency and make for a enjoyable time at work.

Projected growth

Rocket ship represents market growth of mechanical keyboards

A study recently publish by Market Research Future predicts a growth in the total market share of mechanical keyboards from $705 million in 2017 to $1.36 billion by 2023. That’s a projected growth of almost double over the span of six years. Now try to imagine the growth by 2030 and beyond. It is hard to see a future where mechanical keyboards won’t still be around and if I had to guess, they will be much more mainstream and commonplace.

Conclusion

Although there is a lack of knowledge among the populace about the world of mechanical keyboards, there is something inherently satisfying about sitting down and pressing a button that makes a clicking sound.

Perhaps it’s the monkey instant-gratification system hardwired into our brains that makes it so enjoyable. I would make the wager that anyone would enjoy a mechanical keyboard over the keyboards currently mass-produced at scale.

The quality and user experience speak for itself and I believe that’s a big reason the keyboards are already so commonly used. With cheaper prices, the red-hot gaming industry, and increasingly sedentary workforce, the usage of mechanical keyboards will be increasing at a rapid pace over the next decade. And I can say one thing for certain, they won’t be going anywhere.

Silent Anne Pro 2
Anne Pro 2 from /u/Shanghai_Shark

Top 5 mistakes when building a custom keyboard

Top 5 mistakes when building a mechanical keyboard

So you’ve decided to build a custom mechanical keyboard? First of all, hats off to you for going down this exciting and rewarding journey. You decided to jump right in and do some research about what your going to need and happened to stumble upon this post. 

You want to build your custom keyboard in the most enjoyable and non-frustrating way possible and are worried you might make a mistake. Don’t worry, this is a common feeling because there is just so much to learn. 

Do not fear! Avoid these five mistakes and you will be well on your way to building a flawless keyboard that you’ll want to show it off to the entire internet (we recommend /r/mechanicalkeyboards).

We’ve compiled a list of problems that most people encounter when building their first keyboard and ways to help you avoid making mistakes.

[GB] GMK Copper - Group Buy Live on all vendors
CMK Copper from u/Fatboycarney

1. Ordering parts that don’t fit

Ok, so you’ve ordered all of your parts and you’ve been waiting anxiously days for them to show up in the mail so you can assemble them. Once the parts finally arrive you tear open the boxes and start assembling, that’s when you realize you’ve made a grave mistake. 

One of the parts doesn’t fit. You’re mind is in a swirl of frustration and bewilderment as you try to calculate the point in time at which you screwed up to get to this point in your life. Now you need to repack the part, drive back to UPS, ship it off, order new parts, and wait another 2-3 days for the correct part to arrive. 

All the while your unfinished keyboard sits in the corner of your room staring at you menacingly and reminding you of the failure that you are.

Well, all of this can be avoided!

Before ordering your parts we recommend that you double and triple check to make sure the components are compatible. Research each of the parts and check the info from the manufacturer to guarantee that everything fits.

Let’s talk about the big trouble-making parts that tend to be ordered incorrectly.

PCB:

A PCB that doesn’t fit inside the case can be one of the more annoying problems to encounter. It’s incredibly frustrating to be stuck sanding down your plastic case trying to force a PCB to fit inside just because the PCB is just barely too large for the case. 

To avoid this, we would recommend looking at the different keyboard kits online. They usually include the case, PCB, and metal plate. These parts are guaranteed to fit together and can make ordering and building a custom PC a breeze.

Keycaps:

One of the benefits of a custom PC is the diverse amount of keyboard layouts available, you literally have hundreds of options. When assembling your own keyboard, make sure you are ordering the correct keycaps, especially the spacebar, shift, and enter keys. These are typically different sizes and will require a wider key.

Stabilizers:

Similar to the keycaps, the stabilizer sizes vary based on the keyboard layout and PCB mounting holes. We caution you when ordering these parts to 1) make sure they are compatible with your PCB and 2) they are the correct size. 

There are several types of stabilizers including snap/stab in, screw in, plate-mounted, and hook in. In addition, the stabilizers come in different sizes as well so verify before you order.

Power Cable:

Trust us, you don’t want to hook up your new keyboard that you spent hours slaving away on, to realize the dang thing won’t start because you don’t have enough power. You realize your power cable only has enough voltage for a cell phone, not a keyboard.

Verify your power cable has enough voltage before purchasing.

2. Not having the necessary equipment

Attempting to build a keyboard without the proper tools is a quick way to make you wonder why even wanted to build a custom keyboard in the first place. Keep in mind, most keyboard assembly requires at least some soldering. 

Additional tools are also recommended such as a keycap and switch puller. They will make your life a whole lot easier when attempting to swap out keycaps and switches.

Image result for soldering

Here is a short list of recommended equipment:

  • Soldering station
  • Solder wire
  • Solder sucker
  • Cutter/snippers
  • Keycap puller
  • Switch puller

3. Not properly installing switches

Let’s say spent an hour carefully soldering the switches to your PCB. You only have a few switches left and then you realize, the layout is wrong. Either you did not properly lay out the pattern you wanted correctly or you don’t have enough room for your remaining switches. Now you need to spend the next hour desoldering and removing switches to reorient them correctly.

This tends to happen when working on unique key layouts, especially in the space bar area where the pattern is slightly different. Before soldering spend some extra time to plan the key layout in more detail. You know the old saying “measure twice, cut once”.

4. Not budgeting enough for switches, keycaps, and stabilizers

Let’s face it. Building your own keyboard is not cheap. Unless you are some sort of keyboard guru and build most the parts yourself, building a custom keyboard is going to cost a bit more than ordering a pre-built one from the factory.

A big mistakes new keyboard enthusiasts make is ordering a keyboard switch, but not factoring the cost of the switches, keycaps, and stabilizers. Most kits will only include the PCB, case, and metal plate. Everything else will be need to be ordered separately.

The price of switches can get quite expensive being any from $0.50-1.00 ea. With a full keyboard you’re looking at $50 at least for the switches alone. If you’re trying to stay under budget we would recommend cheaper MX knockoff switches such as Gaterons.

Post image
Smoky Zealios V2. From u/EgorSemeniak

The keycaps on your customized board tend to be what you and everyone else will look at the most once your build is complete. You don’t want to build your entire keyboard up and realize you have no budget left for the keycaps, and are stuck ordering blank keycaps made of cheap ABS plastic. Figure out the price for your desired keycaps ahead of time, they will usually before expensive than you think. Especially if customized.

5. Not testing switches before buying

So you read online about a new switch that everybody is raving about, so you quickly order them up for the custom keyboard you’re working on. Once they arrive you install them and test them out… only to be extremely disappointed by the way they feel. Now you’re stuck with a brand new expensive keyboard and you don’t even want to type on it.

Next time, before buying switches test them out. This is something we cannot stress enough. There are hundreds and hundreds of switches <> available online, take the time to test a few out and see how they feel. There are switch sample kits that let you test out 10 different switches at once for a few bucks, this is a great way to pick out the best switch for you.

The switches are something you’ll be interacting with on a daily basis so you need to make sure they do not fatigue your fingers or just feel bad to press.

Post image
Photo from u/Camdenvh

Conclusion

We talked about some of the biggest mistakes you can make when assembling a custom keyboard. Hopefully this list saves you some time with your next keyboard build. If there is anything we left off the list, please let us know and we’ll update.

If you don’t feel like reading, check out the video below.

Happy Typing!