Gaming keycaps are an essential part of any gaming setup, providing gamers with the necessary tactile feedback and comfort needed to game their best. Whether you’re a professional esports player or just starting out with gaming, having the right keycap set can make a big difference in how enjoyable your gaming experience is. With so many different keycaps on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are best for you. That’s why we’ve put together this guide – to help you find the perfect gaming keycaps for your gaming level, budget, and style. We’ll go over the materials, shapes, and keycap profiles that are best suited for different types of gamers, so you can make an informed decision that will give you the most comfortable and satisfying gaming experience.
Overview of Different Types of Gaming Keycaps
Based on the materials used to manufacture them, keycaps can be split into three main categories: ABS, PBT, and POM. Each of these materials has its own characteristics that make it more suitable for certain types of gamers. In this list we’re going to cover the specifics of keycaps themselves. But, if you want to know more about keycap brands there’s plenty of reviews on the internet.
ABS keycaps – ABS is a cheap and widely available synthetic plastic that is used in a lot of everyday products, such as car parts and outdoor furniture. It’s a soft, flexible plastic that can be moulded into a wide variety of shapes, making it an ideal material for low-end keycaps.
PBT keycaps – PBT is a high-quality synthetic fabric made of cellulose fibers. It’s extremely durable and highly resistant to oil, chemicals, and UV light, making it the best long-term investment. PBT keycaps tend to be more expensive than ABS keycaps, but they’re definitely worth the money.
POM keycaps – POM is a hard synthetic material that is often used for making high-end keycaps. Much like PBT it’s durable and highly resistant to oil, chemicals, and UV light, but it’s more expensive than both ABS and PBT.
The shape of a gaming keycap determines the level of tactile feedback and noise the key will make when pressed. The most common keycap shapes are the spherical, cylindrical, and sculpted keycaps.
Spherical keycaps – Spherical keycaps are the most common type of keycaps due to their versatility. They’re great for both gaming and typing as they provide a good level of feedback without being too loud. They’re perfect for starting out with gaming keycaps.
Cylindrical keycaps – Cylindrical keycaps are mostly used in gaming keyboards due to their high-tactile feedback. They’re great for the person who likes to feel a very noticeable bump when pressing a key, but they aren’t very good for typing due to their loud noise level.
Sculpted keycaps – Sculpted keycaps are somewhere in between spherical and cylindrical keycaps. They provide a medium amount of tactile feedback and are fairly quiet, making them a good choice for a wide range of gamers.
The profile of a keycap refers to its thickness, height and general shape. Keycaps come in two different profiles: low and high. Lower profile keycaps are thinner, and higher profile keycaps are thicker.
There is a long list of keycap heights starting at the smallest Apple Magic Keyboards at 2.3mm and finishing at SA with a whopping 16.5mm. The most common keycaps used in gaming tend to be Cherry which is 9.4mm in height and OEM slightly taller at 11.9mm. OEM tends to be considered the standard as they are the most mass produced. However, gamers in recent years have started to become more drawn to Cherry due to its shorter profile and feel.
Low profile keycaps – Low profile keycaps are significantly thinner than high profile keycaps, making them quieter and more comfortable to use. These are the best option for gamers who want to keep the noise level as low as possible. They’re also the best choice for people who are new to gaming as they’re much easier to break in than high profile keycaps.
High profile keycaps – High profile keycaps are thicker than low profile keycaps, making them slightly noisier but also more durable. They’re the best choice for serious gamers who have been gaming for a while, as they’re able to withstand more abuse than low profile keycaps.
Not all keycaps are super functional and made to boost your performance in game. Streamers, gamers and computer users alike have been decorating their keyboards with resin molded custom keycaps. You can get just about anything you can think of! Pop culture inspired keycaps from video games, movies, television shows and memes. Many anime lovers have anime keycaps sprouting their favorite characters mounted on top of a mechanical keycap.
Now granted, these won’t help you on the battlefield but they will definitely make your setup look cool. On the flipside, some custom keycaps have specific designs printed onto important key-bindings in order to help prevent mis-inputs. Things such as Valorant keycaps have particular keys like the QEC and X buttons, with the artwork for their abilities mapped onto them. So there’s no way you’ll forget now.
Choosing the right type of keycap can make a big difference in your gaming experience. The material used to make the keycap, the shape of the keycap, and the keycap profile can all affect the feel and sound of a keypress. That is why it’s important to find the right keycap type for your gaming style. The best thing to do is to test out as many different types of keycaps as you can to determine which ones feel best to you.