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GMK vs PBT Keycaps: The Ultimate Comparison

When it comes to keycaps, having a keycap of good quality material can influence the typing feel, sound, and overall durability of your mechanical keyboard

Two popular keycap materials on the market are GMK and PBT, and in this post, we’ll dive into the differences between the two so you can choose which one suits you best.


Let’s get started!

GMK vs PBT Keycaps

MaterialABS(Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plasticPolybutylene Terephthalate plastic
ColorMore vibrant and diverseMore subdued and limited
FeelSofter and smootherHarder and textured
DurabilityProne to shine over timeResistant to shine over time
PriceMore expensive ($100-$300)Cheaper ($20-$80)

What are GMK Keycaps?

GMK keycaps are made from a type of ABS plastic that gives them a smooth and shiny surface. They’re highly sought-after by keyboard enthusiasts for their rich color options and the fact that they’re Doubleshot, meaning their legends (the text printed on each key) are molded into the keycap, making them long-lasting.

Advantages of GMK Keycaps

  • Rich color options, including rare and limited editions
  • Doubleshot legends ensure long-lasting design
  • Consistency in size and shape for a clean aesthetic

Disadvantages of GMK Keycaps

  • The surface is prone to oils and fingerprints
  • ABS plastic can yellow over time

What are PBT Keycaps?

PBT keycaps, on the other hand, are made from a different type of plastic, known as polybutylene terephthalate. They have a rougher, more textured surface that makes them popular among typists who prefer a tactile and grippy feel.

Advantages of PBT Keycaps

  • Stronger and more durable than ABS plastic
  • Textured surface provides a tactile feel that many typists prefer
  • Resistant to oil and fingerprints, meaning they stay cleaner for longer

Disadvantages of PBT Keycaps

  • Limited color options
  • Legends are often printed rather than Doubleshot, making them less long-lasting

GMK and PBT Keycaps Differences


The biggest difference between GMK and PBT keycaps is the material they’re made of. GMK keycaps are made from ABS plastic, while PBT keycaps are made from PBT plastic.

PBT plastic is known for being tougher and more durable than ABS plastic, which means that PBT keycaps are less likely to show signs of wear and last longer.


The surface textures of GMK and PBT keycaps are also quite different. GMK keycaps have a smooth, shiny surface, while PBT keycaps are rougher and more textured. The textured surface of PBT keycaps provides a tactile feel that many typists prefer, while the smooth surface of GMK keycaps can be more slippery.


The sound of typing on GMK and PBT keycaps can also differ. GMK keycaps tend to produce a softer sound, while PBT keycaps yield a deeper and more satisfying sound.


As mentioned, PBT keycaps are known for being more durable than GMK keycaps. GMK keycaps are prone to yellowing over time, which can be unsightly. PBT keycaps, meanwhile, retain their color and texture much longer.


For those who love customization options, GMK keycaps may offer a better variety of colors and designs. However, PBT keycaps can also be customized to a degree as they can be dyed to create unique colors and patterns.


In general, PBT keycaps tend to be more affordable than GMK keycaps, but the price difference can depend on the specific design and manufacturer.

But, you may already have heard about that PBT keycaps are premium ones, but I mentioned here PBT keycaps are cheaper than GMK keycaps. But, why are GMK keycaps so expensive? Interestingly, though GMK is ABS based, it uses very high-end manufacturing, has a premium finish, and is exclusively made. People wait for a long to buy them though they are available at a higher price point.

Similar to the GMK, there are ABS Keycaps but they are much cheaper. You may check the comparison of ABS vs PBT keycaps to get a complete idea about them.


Let’s conclude the post!

In summary, both GMK and PBT keycaps have their pros and cons when it comes to choosing the right keycap material for your keyboard. If you value durability and a tactile feel, PBT keycaps may be your best bet. 

However, if you prioritize color variety and consistency, GMK keycaps may be the way to go. Ultimately, it’s up to personal preference, so try out both types and see which material suits your typing style and aesthetic preferences best.

I hope you liked reading the post and found it useful. Find out more amazing Keycap posts in our dedicated Category.