The Best Custom Keycaps | Buyers Guide

Best Custom Keycaps

It doesn't matter if your an avid gamer, a typist or just a plain keyboard enthusiast with eight Ducky boards, 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 hope 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?

The Best Custom Keycaps

Product Details
YMDK Shine Through Keycaps

YMDK Shine Through Keycaps

  • material: Dyed PBT
  • method: Double shot
  • switch compatibility: Cherry MX
  • pieces: 104
  • colour: Sunset gradient
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HyperX Black & White Pudding Keycaps

HyperX Black & White Pudding Keycaps

  • material: PBT
  • method: Double shot
  • switch compatibility: Cherry MX
  • pieces: 104
  • colour: Black & white
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HyperX White Pudding Keycaps

HyperX White Pudding Keycaps

  • material: PBT
  • method: Double shot
  • switch compatibility: Cherry MX
  • pieces: 104
  • colour: White
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YMDK Carbon Keycaps

YMDK Carbon Keycaps

  • material: PBT
  • method: Print
  • switch compatibility: Cherry MX
  • pieces: 104
  • colour: Beige, Grey and Orange
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Corsair Gaming Keycaps

Corsair Gaming Keycaps

  • material: PBT
  • method: Double shot
  • switch compatibility: Cherry MX
  • pieces: 104
  • colour: White
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Things To Consider Before Buying Custom Keycaps

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 double shot, 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 – 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 Breakdown

#1

YMDK Shine Through Keycaps

The YMDK shine through keycaps offers a more unconventional approach to the colour of keycaps with this entry. This set is available in seven different colour options and three different sizes (amount of pieces). The design is "shine through" so the legend will appear to have bright light emitting from it yet the rest of the cap remains dark. This effect is highly favored as its quite subtle lighting and finishes off a nice keyboard well.

This particular YMDK pack of keycaps comes as a 104 piece set, but no key puller is to be found. These keycaps are also available as an 87 or 61 piece set too. They are constructed using the double shot method and will be perfect for Cherry MX switches (or any with the "X"). The design is an attractive sunset gradient and they are made from dyed PBT.

#2

HyperX Black & White Pudding Keycaps

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.

#3

HyperX White Pudding Keycaps

The second set to feature on this list from HyperX are pudding caps again but this time in a bright white. The only difference between the two is the top half of these are coloured white. Now, this set may not offer a good contrast like the black ones but they certainly brighten the board and desk. Just like the other set, these allow RGB lighting to shine through the lower half.

This white set also comes as a 104 piece set and features the same key puller. These pudding caps are manufactured using the double shot method and are made from PBT, so feel thick and durable.

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

#4

YMDK Carbon Keycaps

The YMDK Carbon keycaps add a bit of flair into the list. The interesting and rather retro colour scheme looks fantastic (especially on a TKL keyboard). Unlike the "shine Through" set of keycaps, this pack doesnt offer a variety of colours but it does offer the option to have blank keycaps. Blank keycaps are exactly as they sound so make sure you are an expert typist if you get those! The font on this keycap set is oversized and looks brilliant. To go along with the interesting font and colour scheme we also see a unique looking enter key, which essentially just features a pattern instead of the text.

The YMDK Carbon keycaps come in a variety of size options but the ones featured here are the 104 piece set. Like most custom keycaps these are available in the 87 and 61 sizes too.

As these are designed for keyboards that don't have any fancy lighting, the legend has been printed on. The issue with printing the legend on the keycap is that it brings about durability concerns when compared to double shot. These are PBT keycaps so even if the legend wears down you can be sure the keycap won't.

#5

Corsair Gaming Keycaps

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.

Cherry MX Swicthes

All the custom keycaps in this list are labeled as being "Cherry MX" compatible. Cherry MX is the most popular switch manufacturer in mechanical keyboards. Other companies have tried and failed to go one better even after cloning the technology. There are many switch types out there but for compatibility look for Cherry MX or cloned versions with the convented "x" stem.

Final Thoughts

IMG 6389

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.

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