The Best Custom Keycaps in 2020 & 2021 | Buyers Guide

PBT? Pudding? We take a look at all things keycap.

Best CUstom Keycaps

It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid gamer, a typist, or just a keyboard enthusiast, finding the best custom keycaps can be tricky. With a vast number of manufacturers, materials, and designs to choose from, it can be hard to pick the best keycaps for your new mechanical keyboard.

Custom keycaps can completely change the way your mechanical keyboard looks and feels. The most common switch type is Cherry MX, with many other companies simply producing clones of these switches. This is good news for the average reader as it will be easier to find a compatible set of keycaps for your keyboard.

In this article, we aim to help you make the right decision as you enter the realm of the keyboard enthusiast. The keycaps we have reviewed have all been purchased and used extensively to try and find out what the subtle differences may be.

While you may have one of the best keyboards on the market, it can’t hurt to spruce up the design a little can it?

Our Top Picks

Editor's Pick

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The Best Custom Keycaps

Aesthetic Pick

The Next Best Custom Keycaps

Best Custom Keycaps: First Look

Editor's Pick

The Best Custom Keycaps
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Editor's Rating
4.6/5

This ABS double-shot keycap set is one of the best when it comes to design. This set is SA profile and comes in an exquisite turquoise and black color scheme.

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This set is the perfect way to make your TKL keyboard stand out. The font is one of the best on our list, with over-sized easy to read letters. Aside from the superb black and turquoise color scheme, the function buttons sport a bold capitalized font, which can really make your board pop.

Aesthetic Pick

The Next Best Custom Keycaps
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Editor's Rating
4.6/5

This ABS double-shot keycap set features an incredibly unique design. The red, black, and gold color scheme looks fantastic when installed and the dual-language caps make this stand out from the rest.

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Aesthetically, there are few that can compete with the look of the Redsuns GMK Samurai keycap set. The black, gold and red color scheme is designed to resemble a samurai warrior’s armor, and the caps also share space for English and Japanese letters.

Retro Pick

The Best Retro Custom Keycaps
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Editor's Rating
4.5/5

This PBT dye-sublimated keycap set is very durable and looks the part too. This ANSI profile set has a superb color scheme and resembles old-school-looking mechanical boards from the past.

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This keycap set from YMDK looks like it has come straight out of the 1990s, with a twist of brightness. These are PBT dye-sublimated keycaps, meaning they are going to be extra durable and perfect for typists and gamers alike.

Gaming Pick

The Best Gaming Custom Keycaps
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Editor's Rating
4.4/5

This PBT keycap set is designed to replace your current Corsair keyboard keys for a set that will stand the test of time. These are completely white and let that RGB shine through on your gaming keyboard.

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The Corsair Gaming Keycap set features a full 105 pieces. This set is perfect for gamers with Corsair keyboards, looking to upgrade or replace their current set. These are all white, with the Corsair font and the dense shine resistant material should stand the test of time.

Budget Pick

The Best Pudding Custom Keycaps
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Editor's Rating
4.4/5

These black and white pudding keycaps from HyperX not only offer incredible value but also make an RGB keyboard standout. The opaque white edges give your board an incredible look and all for a low price.

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Pudding keycaps make any RGB keyboard simply look amazing. This set from HyperX is the most affordable on the list and features OEM profile caps with translucent edges to help your board shine through.

How We Choose

Regardless of the product, choosing the right piece of kit can be a painstakingly slow process.

We have selected each of these custom keycap sets for a reason, every selection offers top tier design and quality for the price. Choosing can be tricky so we scoured the web to ensure only the best custom keycap sets make our selection process.

Once we have made our selections we narrow our lists down and get hands-on with the products we recommend.

How We Test

Testing the products is a huge part of the overall process in our best of guides. Testing ensures we can conclude that our recommendations are the best out there for the job.

So how do we test custom keycaps? Well to ensure a product is the best and displays better qualities than the competition we simply start installing these on the vast amounts of keyboards we have here at the office!

We are looking for stunning design, beautiful color contrasts, and fonts, to ultimately find the best custom keycap sets on the market.

Things To Consider Before Buying Custom Keycaps

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Before buying your next keycap set, there are going to be a few things to consider, like all products really. Finding the best custom keycap set can actually be pretty tough, they are sold all over and have different attributes that may or may not benefit your needs.

Compatibility

The majority of custom keycaps appear to be compatible with Cherry MX switches, and this is down to the brand’s dominance. Luckily a lot of switch manufacturers share the same “X” fitting as they are clones of Cherry MX, meaning there is some cross-compatibility. That being said, there are other switch types with keycaps to fit, so always check your switches and new keycaps are compatible!

Keycap Material

The majority of keycaps produced these days are released with ABS keycaps as standard. Some premium keyboards may feature PBT, but what does it all mean?

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is generally a material considered to be of less quality. As mentioned above, these are widely mass-produced, leading to thinner, lower quality caps than your standard PBT. While this is a general opinion on ABS keycaps that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good quality options. Some ABS keycaps are double shot or some times triple shot injected and can be much thicker than some PBT caps.

PBT (Polybutylene terephthalate) caps are generally thicker and more durable. Of course, there is no rule to say which type of keycap you go for; it is just down to preference. PBT keycaps vary in much the same way ABS keycaps vary, only with subtle lifespan differences.

Translucent

Not all custom keycaps will allow for RGB to shine through and if this is the desired effect of yours be sure to check what you are buying! The legends can be printed, etched, or double-shot injected.

Key Puller

A key puller is a handy tool a lot of premium mechanical keyboards or keycap sets will come with. Try and pick a set that includes one of these as it will make your life a lot easier.

Font

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You should be aware that different manufacturers may not adhere to the normal keyboard font you are used to. Custom keycaps may come in different colors, sizes, and sometimes images can replace your function buttons!

The Best Custom Keycaps

Editor's Pick

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Aesthetic Pick

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Retro Pick

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YMDK New Arrial XDA 87 ANSI Gray Orange Mixed Keycap Set

Material

PBT

Method

Dye-subbed

Profile

ANSI

Colour

Dark Grey, Light Grey, Orange

Switch compatibility

Cherry MX, Kailh, and Gateron

Pieces

87

Gaming Pick

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Budget Pick

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Editor's Pick

The Best Custom Keycaps
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Tech Specs

Material

ABS

Method

Double shot

Profile

SA

Colour

Turquoise and black

Switch compatibility

Cherry MX, Kaihua, Halo, and Gateron

Pieces

91

Pros

Community favorite for TKL boards

Super oversize font

Great color contrast

Bolded function keys

Cons

ABS not PBT

Not for RGB boards

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The Pulse TKL keycap set features some of the cleanest design and color contrast on this list. These look fantastic and this 91 piece set is going to make your boring mechanical keyboard explode with style. The set comes available in two colors, the turquoise and black you see here or the straight-up plain black with the same turquoise font.

Aside from the superb color contrast, the font is sublime. The oversized clean “SA-tooling” font of the letters is one of my favorites. Furthermore, the function keys font has been capitalized and bolded to really stand out. Thes are double-shot ABS plastic, so not as durable as PBT but they are a high-quality set and should last a good amount of time.

These are compatible with Cherry MX or any other switches that share the same X style stem, like Gateron, Halo, or Kaihua. The set is, of course, for TKL boards but can obviously be used elsewhere if you fancied.

An attractive keycap set that will only enhance your keyboard.

Aesthetic Pick

The Next Best Custom Keycaps
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Tech Specs

Material

ABS

Method

Double shot

Profile

Cherry

Colour

Black, Red, Gold

Switch compatibility

Cherry MX, Kaihua, Halo, and Gateron

Pieces

82

Pros

Incredible keycap design

Can make your own configuration

Great color contrast

Cons

ABS not PBT

This keyboard kit is specifically designed for their CTRL (TKL), ALT (65%), SHIFT (Full 1800), Preonic and Planck (Ortho) keyboards

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This stunning keycap set from Redsuns GMK is supposed to represent a Japanese warrior’s armor, hence the name Red Samurai. This 82 piece Ortholiner kit is going to give your board a very unique look, with a few alternative options in the box. The set is available for up to full-sized boards too and sports this wonderful black, red, and gold color scheme that just looks fantastic.

The main feature is the dual font on each keycap, English, and Japanese. This dual-language font is mostly only on the letters and numbers with the odd exception. The only downside is that these are ABS plastic but they have been double shot and do come with a decent amount of durability.

These are compatible with Cherry MX or any other switches that share the same X style stem, like Gateron, Halo, or Kaihua.

This is a great keycap set, it kind of reminds me of the year of the pig keyboard from Ducky, only with more detail and a nicer color scheme.

Retro Pick

The Best Retro Custom Keycaps
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Pros

Attractive retro design and color scheme

PBT Dye-sublimated keycaps are very durable

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For those out there that are stick to death with gamer fonts and flashing lights, look no further than this retro keycap set from YMDK. These are dye sublimated PBT, for extra durability without splashing any extra cash. The grey and orange color scheme is a beauty too, with the contrast really making your board pop. This 87 piece kit is for your TKL board, with ANSI XDA keycaps.

The font is a plain classical style, making your keyboard look very clean and understated. The included W, A, S, D, ESC, and arrow keys are orange, and accent the dark and light gray of the others well. The PBT keycaps are XDA which is a little higher than DSA and a little lower than SA profile caps.

Thes are compatible with Cherry MX or any other switches that share the same X style stem, like Gateron or Kailh.

The understated retro design can look so good on a number of different keyboard options and this keycap set is perfect for those that are sick of the gamer style fonts we see everywhere.

Gaming Pick

The Best Gaming Custom Keycaps
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Tech Specs

Material

PBT

Method

Double shot

Profile

OEM

Colour

White

Switch compatibility

Cherry MX

Pieces

104

Pros

Attractive Corsair font

Ultra-durable

Comes with extra keycap alternatives

Legend allows for vibrant shine through

Cons

Only compatible with Corsair keyboards

Will get dirty very easily

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The Corsair gaming keycap set is an all-white package and is a product sold by Corsair to replace the ABS keycaps we see on all of their keyboards. These custom keycaps are all white with a clear legend for a fully vibrant RGB shine through. These do come as a 104 set or a miniature 10 keycap set to cover the main FPS buttons.

These from Corsair feature a contoured design giving you a little bit of extra fingertip grip, not that anyone has been complaining of a slippery keyboard.  The clear legends make for some vibrant lighting to shine through thanks to the double shot method being used. These are of course made from PBT and offer a much more durable keycap than the ones that came with your Corsair keyboard.

Budget Pick

The Best Pudding Custom Keycaps
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Pros

Pudding design

Very durable

Good value

Cons

The “pudding” element could do with being a bit more opaque

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HyperX made this list twice with their simple yet snazzy Pudding keycaps. This set features the black top and an opaque white trim on the lower half. The design allows for RGB to not only shine through the legend but also through the bottom half of the keycap, bringing an enhanced keyboard design for next to no effort.

This set of custom keycaps comes as a 104 piece set and comes with a key puller too. These keycaps are produced using the double shot method and are made from PBT, so you know they are durable!

The keycaps are designed for Cherry MX switches but they will work with the likes of Kahil, Gateron, and Outemu.

Final Word

The allure of custom keycaps is strange; they don’t add anything other than aesthetics, so why bother? Well, the answer is, why not? They look fantastic and really finish off a mechanical keyboard in superb fashion.

If you are looking for a competitive edge over your rivals, then you may be in the wrong place, but if any gamers, typists, or genuine keyboard enthusiasts want to add some flair to their board, look no further. What keycap set did you go for? Is there a custom keycap you think should be on this list? Head over to the WePC Community and share!