Keycap Profiles and Materials Explained: All You Need To Know
May 09, 2023
Mechanical keyboards have become increasingly popular in recent years, with enthusiasts looking to customize every aspect of their keyboard. One area that has received a lot of attention is keycaps. Keycap profiles refer to the shape of the keycaps, and there are a wide variety available. In this blog post, we will explore the different keycap profiles, their benefits, and which ones are best for different uses.
Keycap Profiles Explained
There are a vast number of keycap profiles to choose from. However, in this post, we are going to compare the four main keycap profiles: SA, DSA, OEM, and cherry. Each profile has a different shape, height, and angle.
SA: These are tall, with a spherical shape. They have a high profile and a sculpted shape that is similar to old typewriters. They also produce a thocky sound.
DSA: These are flat and uniform, with a very low profile. They are popular among some gamers because they provide a consistent feel across all keys.
OEM: These have a similar shape to cherry keycaps, but are slightly taller. They are commonly found on pre-built mechanical keyboards and have a comfortable profile for typing.
Cherry: These are the most popular keycaps. They have a sculpted shape that is comfortable for typing and gaming.
It’s important to note that when picking keycaps, you should avoid high-profile keycaps if you have a high-profile board. This combination requires you to angle your wrists higher, which could end up causing harm.
Uniform vs. Sculpted Keycaps
As shown in the image above, uniform keycaps have the same shape and height across all keys. Sculpted keycaps have different shapes and heights for different rows. The idea behind sculpted keycaps is to provide a more comfortable and ergonomic typing experience. However, some people prefer uniform keycaps because they provide a consistent feel across all keys, which can be beneficial for gaming.
What Are the Best Keycaps for Gaming and Typing?
Like with most things in the mechanical keyboard hobby, the best keycap profile for gaming comes down to preference. However, there are certain characteristics of each keycap type that favors faster typing or its overall ergonomics.
When it comes to gaming, cherry profile is a solid choice. When it’s a matter of milliseconds in fast-paced games, you don’t want to waste any precious time searching for a key. Since cherry profile keycaps are sculpted and have a lower height, it makes it easier to type faster as your fingers need to stretch less. If speed is not a top priority, OEM is an excellent choice for keyboard enthusiasts in search of ergonomic keycaps, as they provide a comfortable typing experience.
What Material is Better, ABS or PBT?
Keycaps can be made from a variety of materials, but the two most common materials are ABS and PBT. ABS keycaps are more common and less expensive than PBT keycaps. However, PBT keycaps are much more durable and resistant to wear and tear than ABS keycaps. PBT keycaps also have a matte appearance, which is less likely to develop a shiny or greasy look over time. Because PBT keycaps are made with thicker walls, they produce a richer typing sound. We would recommend PBT keycaps over ABS, but depending on your budget, ABS can also be a good option.
Check out our GPBT Gradient Collection and the Celestial Series if you’re looking for a striking new set of keycaps.
If you’re more interested in ABS Doubleshot Keycaps, ours are currently on sale at a discount.
I Want Lots of RGB Goodness. What Keycaps Are Best?
Translucent keycaps are at the top of the list when it comes to RGB. They allow the most light to shine through, given that their walls are almost clear.
Pudding-style keycaps are next on the list. They have a translucent bottom layer that allows the RGB lighting to shine through with greater brilliance, creating a unique and vibrant look. The Aura pudding-style keycaps feature a top layer in either black, white, or pink, so you can enjoy striking illumination, without having to have an entirely translucent keycap set. They are the perfect in-between.
Doubleshot keycaps are another good choice if you want RGB illumination, but on a more tone-down level.
Keycap profiles are an important aspect of mechanical keyboards and can have a significant impact on your typing and gaming experience. Whether you prefer a high-profile sculpted shape or a low-profile uniform shape, there is a keycap profile out there for you. When choosing keycaps, it is also important to consider the material and whether you want RGB lighting. With so many options available, the possibilities for customization are endless.
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