When it comes to choosing keycaps for your mechanical keyboard, you’ve likely come across the terms “dye-sub” and “double-shot”.
But what exactly is the difference between these two types of keycaps?
In this post, I would discuss in detail about the comparison of Dye-Sub vs Double-Shot Keycaps with all factors to finally find out which is better.
In short, dye-sub keycaps are made by injecting dye into the keycap’s legends (the markings on the keys), while double-shot keycaps are made by molding two pieces of plastic together, with the legends being molded into one of the pieces.
Let’s get started!
Dye-Sub Vs Double-Shot Keycaps
|Dye-Sublimation Keycaps||Double-Shot Keycaps|
|Legend Printing Process||Uses a Laser and dye to print the legends||Legends injected between two layers of plastic|
|Longevity of Legends||Legends may fade with time on exposure to Ultraviolet light||Legends would never fade away as they are injected into a separate layer|
|Color options||Fewer Color Options||More Color Options|
|Suitable For RGB Keyboard||No. They are used in Non-Backlit Keyboard it does not have a transparent legend to shine RGB light||Yes. It can have a transparent legend to shine through RGB light.|
|Available with Keycap Material||Only PBT (Due to very high temperature during printing)||ABS, PBT, or POM material keycaps|
|Cost||Cheaper option||Expensive Option|
What are Dye-Sub Keycaps?
Dye-Sublimation(a.k.a Dye-Sub) keycaps are made by printing the legend using ink on a keycap at a very high temperature. Due to the higher temperature, these are limited to PBT material keycaps only.
They are available at a cheap price which makes this type of legend printing far more affordable than a Double-Shot one.
Dye-Sub legend keycaps may fade with time on exposure to UV light as it may cause the legends to bleach and appear to be faded. But this won’t happen in a short amount of time.
Pros of Dye Sublimation Keycaps
- Dye-sub keycaps have long-lasting durability and do not fade over time
- The printing process used for dye-sub keycaps results in a more refined and detailed design
- Dye-sub keycaps are available in a wide range of colors and designs
Cons of Dye Sublimation Keycaps
- Keycap legends may fade over time but generally, they last long.
- Exposure to UV light can bleach the Dye Sub keycap ink and hence may start to look faded.
What are Double-Shot Keycaps?
Double-shot keycaps are made by injection molding two different colors of plastic together.
This method is more expensive and time-consuming, but it results in a keycap that is more durable and has a higher-quality appearance.
Pros of Double-Shot Keycaps
- Double-shot keycaps are more durable and have long-lasting legends that don’t fade away.
- The keycaps have a comfortable, contoured design that feels great to use.
Cons of Double-Shot Keycaps
- Double-shot keycaps are more expensive than other types of keycaps
The molding process is different between these two types of keycaps.
Dye-sub keycaps are made by infusing dye into the keycap surface, while double-shot keycaps are made by injection molding two pieces of plastic together.
Double-shot keycaps provide a better tactile feel since they are made from a single piece of plastic. This gives them a smoother, more uniform surface that is more pleasant to the touch.
If you look for different colored options you would find the most option with the Double Shot keycaps.
This is because, as the legends are injected in a separate layer, you can have any kind of color combination.
However, in the case of Dye Sub keycaps, we see fewer options and the keycaps need to be darker than the keycap color.
For one, double-shot keycaps are more durable since the legends are actually molded into the keycaps, rather than being printed on them. This means that the legends will never fade or wear off with extended use.
Double-shot keycaps offer a greater range of customization options since they can be made in nearly any color or combination of colors.
Dye-sub keycaps, on the other hand, are limited to the colors that can be injected into the keycap’s legends.
If we compare the price point between the two, there is a significant difference. The Dye-Sub keycaps are cheaper than the Double-Shot keycaps.
Which is Better Between Dye-Sub and Double-Shot Keycaps?
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. If you want keycaps that are more durable and offer a better tactile feel, then double-shot keycaps are the way to go.
However, if you’re looking for keycaps that are more affordable and offer more customization options, then dye-sub keycaps may be the better choice.
Dye-Sub vs Double-Shot Keycaps FAQs
Q. What does Double-shot mean in double-shot keycaps?
Double-shot refers to the process by which keycaps are manufactured from two pieces of plastic injection molded together.
Q. Can PBT Keycaps be Double-shot?
Yes, PBT keycaps can have their legends printed with Double-Shot Printing technology.
Q. Does dye-sub Keycaps fade?
Dye-Sub Keycaps do fade over time with regular use and exposure to Ultraviolet light.
Q. Are PBT double-shot keycaps good?
PBT double-shot keycaps are very good. PBT itself is a very durable material for keycaps and on top of it being Double Shot makes it legends not to fade away and last long.
Let’s conclude the post on Dye-Sub vs Double-Shot Keycaps!
I hope you enjoyed reading this comparison and found this helpful.
Anirban Saha is an Engineer with a specialization in Electronics and Communication. He is the Founder and Editor of techbullish.com. He has expertise in electronics, software development, gadgets, and computer peripherals. Anirban loves to share his knowledge to help people to help choose the right gadgets, troubleshoot gadgets, and more. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines.