While constructing the first ever mechanical keyboard or upgrading the existing one, finding the right keycaps possibly be the most confusing thing you can ever encounter. With so much variety of sizes, profiles, and colors of keycaps you will be overwhelmed by so much of options you may be wondering do all keycaps fit all keyboards?
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Do all Keycaps Fit all Switches?
All keycaps are not compatible with all switches similarly not all types of keycaps would fit on your keyboard. Although it’s a daunting task you have to find the keycaps suits perfectly your keyboard’s switches. Fortunately, most good sets of keycaps fit mechanical switches, which have MX-style stems.
Talk about the major concern in this regard is how to know if keycaps will fit? You need to figure out the keyboard’s layout & size of special keys like shift, spacebar, enter, and backspace as well as the keys in the bottom row to check whether the keycap set is compatible with your keyboard or not.
Different sizes of mechanical keyboards have significance that can change the dynamics as a few keyboards require smaller keys or some additional keys in comparison to the standard layout.
What are the causes of keycaps incompatibility with switches?
As mentioned earlier, all keycaps are not in sync with all switches, mainly because of different stems used in various types of switches. Nowadays, Cherry MX switch stems are most commonly used for the majority of modern keycap sets, it is set as the industry standard and used by lots of brands/companies e.g., Gateron & Kailh. However, Kailh Choc, low profile, or Topre switches have not admitted industry-standard of M-style stem keycaps. It is impossible to get a standard-profile keycap set to use on low-profile switches due to stabilizer placement.
In addition, some gaming keyboard manufacturers use their private custom key switch stems, which only fit with company-made keycaps, however, makes overall keyboard personalization problematic. Similarly, the common problem with a unique keyboard layout or compact keyboard is that searching for compatible keycap sizes is sure hectic as most keycap sets do not offer key sizes that fit the uncommon layout.
How to find what type of keycaps you need?
- Stems are the major part on which switches fit, plastic or metal-based stems are supposed to attach or lock the keycaps to the mechanism of the keyboard. These metal shafts extend from the base of keycaps.
- You should take into account the size and shape of the stem to decide the keycap type you need.
- Cherry MX stems symbolized + sign and the MX keycaps are the perfect fit, due to the most popular kind of keycaps, these are available in the wide collection.
- Switches with round stems are known as Topre switches, Topre keycaps are most difficult to find as there are very few options available. You can also replace Topre switches with MX-style stems by using Cherry MX Topre stems (Replacement).
- The keycap profile is another essential factor for settling the keycap compatibility. With various key profiles such as DSA, OEM, DSS, DOM, KAT, Cherry, and many others you can opt for the one that fit your keyboard (switches) well.
- Keycap dimension, thickness, and spacing are also vital to know before deciding to buy any keycap set.
What kind of keycaps can fit in low-profile keyboards?
To replace keycaps on your low-profile keyboards it is best to get the set of keycaps produced by the same company as your keyboard. The strange keycap sizing and different stabilizer placement make finding a compatible keycap set for low profile gaming mechanical keyboard almost impossible.
Before getting down to the level of decision make sure you do proper research for the set of keycaps that fit on the specified keyboard layout and switch type.