How To Choose And Install Keycaps For Your Mechanical Keyboard?

Are you looking to upgrade your mechanical keyboard with a new set of keycaps? Keycaps come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Depending on the style of your keyboard, you’ll need to select the right stem type for your keycaps.

In this article, we’ll help you through the process of choosing and installing keycaps for your mechanical keyboard. We’ll cover what types of materials are available, things to consider when selecting a design, tools and materials needed for installation, how to remove existing keycaps, troubleshooting tips and where to buy them.

Key Takeaways

  • Keycaps come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, and choosing the right set depends on personal preference and typing experience.
  • Customizing keycaps can personalize and improve typing experience, but care must be taken during installation to avoid damage.
  • Keycap profile, backlighting compatibility, and stem type are crucial factors to consider when selecting keycaps.
  • Regular maintenance, including cleaning and durability testing, is necessary for optimal performance and longevity.

Overview of Keycap Materials

You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to keycap materials. From thick and durable plastic to lightweight aluminum, you can choose the look and feel that fits your style best.

Keycap materials are typically made of ABS plastic or PBT plastic, with some keyboards featuring metal alloy caps. ABS plastic is shinier, cheaper, and more prone to wear than PBT. So, if you want something long-lasting, go for PBT. However, ABS has a wider range of colors available. So, if you’re looking for something more vibrant, it may be worth considering.

Rubberized keycaps offer a softer touch but tend to attract dust and dirt more easily. Additionally, there are various keycap shapes available such as OEM profile (standard), Cherry profile (sculpted), DSA (uniformly shaped), or SA (spherical). Each offers a different feel while typing.

The right material selection will depend on personal preference. Thicker caps with higher profiles generally provide better feedback while typing, even though they can be tougher on fingers over time due to their height. Conversely, thinner keys with lower profiles allow for quicker movements but don’t always provide the same tactile feedback as higher profile ones do. In addition, backlighting works best with thin and opaque keycaps. So, it might be worth considering if lighting effects play an important part in your setup.

No matter what type of keyboard you own or what kind of layout you prefer, there’s no wrong choice when choosing a set of keycaps. Just make sure that whichever option you go for meets your needs in terms of looks and performance!

Considerations for Keycap Design

When it comes to selecting the right keycap design for your mechanical keyboard, you must consider the profile, keycap sets, and color.

The profile of a keycap is the height and shape of the keys on your keyboard. Keycap sets refer to the number of keys included in one purchase. Lastly, you’ll need to decide what color would best suit your desired aesthetic.

All three topics are important when choosing a keycap set that works best for you.

Keycaps Profile

Choosing the right keycap profile is essential for your typing experience – it’s where comfort meets style.

There are several popular keycap profiles, all with different shapes and aesthetics. The most common profiles found on mechanical keyboards today are:

  • Cherry Keycaps Profile: These keycaps have a curved top which allows for easier access to commonly used keys like WASD or arrow keys. It has a slightly lower height than other profiles and a concave surface that fits ergonomically within the user’s fingers.
  • OEM Profile: This is the standard profile for most manufacturers and has been around since 1984. OEM profile keycaps have a cylindrical shape that sits higher than Cherry profile caps, giving it a unique look compared to the others.
  • SA Profile: SA stands for ‘spherical-alloy’ and this type of keycap has an angular shape with sharper edges compared to other profiles, making them more durable against wear and tear. They also have a taller height than Cherry or OEM profile caps, allowing you to really show off your custom designs underneath them!
  • DSA Profile: DSA stands for ‘dye-sublimated’ which means that the legend (text) of each individual character will not fade over time due to its permanent printing process onto the plastic. This type of profile creates an overall flat surface when installed as they are all 1 uniform size without any curvature along their edges – perfect if you prefer minimalistic designs!

No matter what your preference may be in terms of aesthetic design or comfortability when typing, there’s sure to be one that suits you best out of these 4 popular profiles.

Keycap sets

Adding the perfect keycap set to your mechanical keyboard completes the look and feel of your setup, giving you a unique typing experience.

There are numerous customization options available to you when it comes to choosing the right keycap set for your needs. Depending on the switch type, size and shape of your keyboard, you’ll have different choices to fit whatever design you’re looking for.

Additionally, some keycaps are designed with backlighting compatibility in mind, ensuring that any lighting effects will be visible through the keyset while still providing comfortable typing. Some also come with extra keys, such as custom gaming keys or other textured keys, that can provide an even more tailored experience.

Ultimately, finding the right keycap set is all about experimenting and seeing what works best for your personal style and comfort level.


With color being such an important factor in personalizing your typing experience, you can find a keycap set to match any look you’re going for.

There are several ways to customize the colors of your keycaps, including UV printing, dye sublimation, and double-shot injection molding.

UV printing is ideal for customizing a single key or creating unique designs on multiple keys. Dye sublimation is used when you want to use vibrant colors across all keys with no fading or chipping over time. Double-shot injection molding involves injecting two different materials into one mold to create two separate layers that won’t wear off over time, making it perfect for LED backlighting.

Overall, there are a variety of options available when customizing colors for your mechanical keyboard’s keycaps depending on the desired effect and level of durability needed. Whether you’re looking for something subtle and classic or bright and bold, you can find the perfect combination by considering these three methods of customization: UV printing, dye sublimation, and double-shot injection molding.

Determining the Stem Type of Your Keyboard

When it comes to choosing the right keycap for your mechanical keyboard, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is the stem type. There are three main types: MX, Alps, and Topre.

MX stems are found on most typical mechanical keyboards and provide a good balance between tactile feedback and actuation force.

Alps stems offer more tactile feedback than MX, but they require a slightly higher actuation force.

Finally, Topre switches provide an incredibly smooth typing experience, but they can be harder to find keycaps for due to their rare design.


Choosing MX-style keycaps for your mechanical keyboard is an important decision. They provide the tactile feedback and audible click for which these keyboards are known. MX-style keycaps come in many sizes and stem types. It’s essential to identify the type of switch used in your keyboard before selecting a set. To determine this, you must first understand the two main categories of switches: linear and tactile.

Linear switches move smoothly along their entire travel with no noticeable bump or actuation point. Tactile switches have a distinct actuation point where the switch begins to press down more firmly. The most common type of stem found on MX-style keycaps is the Cherry MX stem. This stem is available in several different colors that signify their force level, ranging from light (red) to heavy (brown). Additionally, there are also nonstandard stems such as Alps or Topre that can be found on certain keyboards.

Knowing what kind of stem you need makes it easier to find compatible keycap sets. It also ensures you’ll get the typing experience you want out of your mechanical keyboard.


If you’re looking for a unique typing experience, consider opting for keycaps with Alps stems – they offer a distinct tactile feel that’s sure to please.

Originally developed in the early 1980s, Alps switches have been around for decades and are still widely used today. They feature a stem-mounted switch design and are known for their quiet operation and long lifespan.

The main advantages of using Alps switches include their precise actuation point, improved durability, and secure fit within the keyboard due to their larger size. Additionally, because of the unique stem design these keycaps provide more stability than other types of switches while typing.


Experience a unique typing sensation with Topre keycaps – they offer an unmistakable tactile feel that’s sure to satisfy.

Unlike Alps keycaps, which are primarily made from plastic materials, Topre keycaps are constructed using rubber-like material and metal springs underneath each cap. This construction gives the user a much greater level of tactile feedback than other types of keycaps, making it easy to identify the actuation point for each switch without straining your fingers.

Additionally, this type of construction means that you can get Topre keycaps in multiple sizes so you can find the right fit for your mechanical keyboard. With their superior tactile feedback and range of sizes available, Topre keycaps are an excellent choice for those looking for maximum comfort and control when typing on their mechanical keyboards.

Tools and Materials Needed

You’ll need the right tools and materials to install keycaps on your mechanical keyboard, so let’s get started! It’s important to use quality materials that’ll ensure a successful installation with long-term durability. Depending on your particular setup and the style of keycaps you’re using, you may need some additional items such as tweezers or plastic opening tools.

You should also consider doing durability testing before completing the installation process. This testing can help identify any potential issues, ensuring a smooth transition from old to new keycaps.

When it comes to installing your new keycaps, there are several methods you can try depending on the type of mechanical keyboard you have. The most common method is removing each individual cap by hand or with tweezers and then carefully replacing each one with a new one. Alternatively, if your board has stabilizers that hold down multiple keys at once, you can remove those all together and replace them in one go for faster results.

Make sure to take care when removing keys because they can be fragile and easily damaged if not handled properly during removal or installation processes. No matter which method you choose for installation, it’s important to use caution and take your time when replacing keycaps. Also, make sure that the size of the replacement caps matches up with their original counterparts so they fit snugly into place when installed correctly – this will ensure maximum performance from your upgraded keyboard!

Removing Existing Keycaps

Carefully prying each keycap off with tweezers, you can feel the satisfying click as they come loose. The keycaps of a mechanical keyboard are usually held in place by friction, but if the caps have been on for a while, some may be more difficult to remove due to sticky keys.

To ensure that all of your existing keycaps come off without damaging them or the keyboard itself, it’s important to use proper technique and tools. Start by using your fingers or an edge such as a butter knife to gently wiggle each cap free from its housing before attempting removal with tweezers. Once you have loosened the keys and removed them from their housings, use two hands to pull up and away from the switch stem that holds them in place.

If there is any resistance that cannot be overcome with gentle pressure from both hands, it could indicate that the caps are stuck and need further assistance for removal. In this case, use a small amount of lubricant applied directly onto the switch stem where it meets the underside of each keycap’s base to help reduce friction and make removing them easier. Alternatively, some people prefer to use an air compressor as this will often dislodge any sticky keys quickly and easily.

Installing New Keycaps

Treat yourself to the satisfaction of installing new keycaps on your mechanical keyboard! Selecting the right keycaps for your keyboard is essential since they come in different sizes and shapes. Make sure you select ones that fit well with your board and provide a comfortable typing experience.

Customizing your keycaps can also be an exciting way to personalize your setup. Choose from a range of materials, colors, and designs to make it truly yours. When you’ve made your selection, it’s time to install them onto the board.

Mechanical keyboards generally use Cherry MX switches, so make sure the keycaps you purchase are compatible with this type of switch. Use a wire puller tool or tweezers to carefully remove existing keycaps without damaging any parts of the board underneath.

Insert each new keycap slowly into its designated spot by aligning it with its stem at the bottom before pushing down firmly. Check each one is securely in place before moving on to the next one. Enjoy customizing your own unique mechanical keyboard!

Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re having trouble with your mechanical keyboard, don’t worry! Here are some troubleshooting tips to help get it back up and running:

  1. When attempting to install new keycaps, make sure that you’re using a plastic puller tool to avoid any damage to the switches or keycaps. Also, be mindful of any sharp edges on the keycaps that may cause scratches or other damage during installation.
  2. Be careful when removing old keycaps. They can become brittle over time, so take extra precaution to prevent breakage. It’s also important to clean off the surface of the switch before installing new caps, as dust and dirt particles can interfere with their performance.
  3. If possible, use a lint-free cloth when cleaning off the surface. And always remember to be gentle throughout the process. Being too rough can cause unnecessary wear on your keyboard components.

These helpful tips should help prevent any further damage and keep your mechanical keyboard running smoothly for years to come!

Cleaning and Maintenance

You should be regularly cleaning, washing and maintaining your keyboard to keep it in top shape. Start with the basics such as blowing off dust or wiping down the keycaps with a soft cloth. For more intense cleanings, use cleaning solutions specifically designed for keyboards; avoid harsh chemicals, as they can damage your keycap longevity.

When using cleaning solutions, you want to ensure that you don’t get any liquid into the switches or circuitry of your keyboard. To do this, flip the keyboard upside down and spray one light mist over each side at a time from at least a foot away.

Once completed, allow ample drying time before replacing any keycaps or reassembling the keyboard components. If needed for tougher build-up or stains on your keys, use an old toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently scrub away debris without damaging surfaces. This will help keep your keys looking fresh and prolong their life span while improving overall performance of your mechanical board.

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping up with how well your board performs and responds over time. Properly caring for your keycaps will also help reduce wear-and-tear buildup due to continuous contact when typing for long periods of time. Investing in quality cleaning supplies is worth it if you want to make sure you’re giving your keyboard its best chance at lasting through years of gaming or writing sessions!

Where to Buy Keycaps

Now that your keyboard’s clean and maintained, it’s time to switch to new keycaps. Shopping for keycaps can be tricky, so here are some tips on where to buy them and what to look for.

When looking for keycaps, the most important factor is finding the right shape and size that’ll fit your specific keyboard. There are many stores and websites offering buying guides and price comparisons to help you find the best deal possible. Some popular online retailers are Mechanical Keyboards, WASD Keyboards, EliteKeyboards, and

When shopping online, it’s crucial to consider both style and quality. Make sure the keycaps are compatible with your keyboard type (Cherry MX switches) or layout (ANSI/ISO). You should also check reviews before making a purchase to get an idea of their durability. A good rule of thumb is that if they look too good or too cheap, they probably aren’t worth it! Here’s a list of things to consider when purchasing:

  • Compatibility: Ensure they match your keyboard type and layout
  • Quality: Check out reviews and ratings before buying
  • Price: Look around different stores and compare prices
  • Style: Go with something you like!

Your new set of keys will make typing more enjoyable than ever before, plus they’ll give your setup an awesome aesthetic boost! With these tips in mind, you can easily pick out the perfect set of keycaps for your mechanical keyboard without breaking the bank.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully chosen and installed keycaps for your mechanical keyboard. With the right tools, it’s a simple process that can give your keyboard an entirely new look.

Now that you know how to choose and install keycaps, you can get creative with different designs and colors to make your keyboard unique. Keep in mind that regular cleaning and maintenance will help keep your keycaps looking fresh.

With the knowledge you have now, you’re ready to take on any other upgrades or modifications you may want to do with your mechanical keyboard.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do keycaps typically cost?

Keycaps can vary in price depending on style and color selection. Mixing styles and choosing multiple colors will generally cost more than a single set of keycaps. Generally, you can expect to spend around $25 – $100 for a good quality set of keycaps.

Are keycaps compatible with all mechanical keyboards?

No, keycaps are not compatible with all mechanical keyboards as they come in different shapes and sizes. Some feature ergonomic designs and wear resistant materials that may be incompatible with some models. Therefore, it is important to ensure the compatibility of the keycap before purchasing.

Are keycaps difficult to install?

Choosing and installing keycaps isn’t difficult. Removing existing keycaps is the first step. Then, select new keycaps that are compatible with your mechanical keyboard. Finally, attach them to the board for a perfect fit.

Do keycaps affect the performance of the keyboard?

Yes, keycaps can affect the performance of a keyboard. Keycap durability and ergonomic design are important factors in determining how well a keyboard responds to inputs. Quality keycaps will last longer and provide more comfortable typing experiences. Poorly designed or low-quality keycaps may cause your keyboard to malfunction or be uncomfortable to use.

How long do keycaps typically last?

Generally, keycaps can last for the duration of a keyboard’s career. Proper cleaning techniques and avoiding rough handling will extend their longevity. However, wear and tear due to frequent use may require periodic replacement.

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