What Does "Cherry MX Compatible" Mean When Buying Keycaps?

A useful guide to buying keycaps for your mechanical keyboard. Ensure your new set is compatible with your switches.

Guides & Resources

Jun 21 2021

When on the hunt for new keycaps, you may see the phrase "MX Style Stem Compatible" in the set's description. To best explain this, take a look at images showing the bottom of a keycap. Then, look at the top of a Cherry MX mechanical keyboard switch. You will notice a "+" shaped slot on the keycap and a matching stem shape on the switch. This signature shape is an MX-style stem.

Most mechanical keyboard switches, including our Glorious Panda tactile switches, have this stem shape for maximum compatibility with standard keycap sets. For example, both our GPBT and Aura keycap lines have MX-style stem compatibility.

MX Style Compatible Stems

You would be hard-pressed to find modern switches and keycaps that don't follow this shape. However, the most famous would be Topre switches. Unlike traditional Cherry MX style switches, you need to buy specific keycaps for Topre boards or use a conversion kit. Additionally, vintage keyboards may not use this universal stem standard.

Finally, keycap profiles do not affect stem compatibility — SA, Cherry, DSA, etc., typically all use MX-style stems to attach to your keyboard's switches.