As a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, you know that building a keyboard from scratch can be amazing and fun.
But, when you’re selecting different components like switches, keycaps, stabilizers, and chassis, it’s easy to forget about the keyboard mounting style.
The truth is, that the mounting style can have a big impact on the feel and sound of your mechanical keyboard.
So, in this post, we’ll explore the different keyboard mounting styles and help you choose the best one for your needs.
In this post, I would cover in depth about this all the different types of Keyboard mounting styles.
Let’s get started!
What is a Keyboard Mounting Style?
Keyboard Mounting style is the way of placing the PCB inside the mechanical keyboard’s housing enclosure.
Generally, we place the PCB inside the housing/chassis of your mechanical keyboard without noticing whether it can impact the keyboard typing experience.
However, there are several ways how you can mount the Mechanical keyboard’s PCB(Printed Circuit Board) and it can improve your typing feel also.
What are the types of Keyboard Mounting Styles?
There are a few different ways that keyboards can be mounted, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
The most common types of keyboard mounts are tray mounts, gasket mounts, top mounts, bottom mounts, sandwich mounts, and integrated plates.
1. Tray Mount
Tray Mounting is the way when the PCB is attached to the bottom of your Mechanical keyboard housing base.
The screw is used to fix the PCB to the bottom of the keyboard housing.
Here, the tray means the mechanical keyboard base inside the housing.
The tray mount is good and remains stable once you tighten the screw to fix the PCB. They offer a good balance of stability and adjustability.
Tray-mounted keyboards feel rigid because the keys are squeezed closer to the mounting posts, leading to a clashing sound and feel when typed on.
Pros of Tray Mount
- The Tray Mount is a standard type of mounting and is applicable for most keyboard plates.
- It comes at a cheap cost considering it does not need any special design.
Cons of Tray Mount
- Disassembling is comparatively difficult as you need to remove the keycaps to get the screw to open the keyboard.
2. Integrated Plate Mount
When compared to other keyboard mounting methods, the Integrated Plate’s method stands out since it involves creating the top frame and the plate as one piece that connects the two in a way that there are no extra fasteners required.
Pros of Integrated Plate Mount
- Unlike other keyboard mounting systems, the Integrated Plate substantially eliminates inconsistency issues.
Cons of Integrated Plate Mount
- The keyboard’s upper frame and plate can produce a loud sound and a generally stiff sensation
3. Plateless Mount/PCB Mount
In contrast to other mounting types, the switches on a keyboard with a Plateless (PCB) layout are attached directly to the circuit board (PCB) rather than to a separate plate.
The Printed Circuit Board(PCB) can be mounted to either the top or bottom of the keyboard’s chassis.
Plateless keyboards are soft and easily broken because of their design and mounting mechanism. Circuit boards (PCBs) are comprised of flexible materials, making them susceptible to breaking.
Due to the nature of the keyboard mount, plateless mounts can be made at little cost and with no effort.
Pros of Plateless Mount
- It is a more affordable option as we get rid of the plate cost.
Cons of Plateless Mount
- Here attachment depends on the PCB plate which is not much rigid. So, in terms of rigidity can’t be compared to any other mounting type where a plate is used in addition to PCB.
4. Sandwich Mount
In the case of Sandwich mount keyboards, the plate is present in between the upper and the bottom keyboard case.
So, here the Plate remains sandwiched between the layers of the keyboard case.
Due to its reliability and durability, the sandwich Mount is preferred. It’s worth noting that the sandwich mounting approach adds some stiffness to the structure.
Pros of Sandwich Mount
- The Sandwich Mount Plate keyboard feels rigid as the plate is tightly attached between the top and the bottom case.
Cons of Sandwich Mount
Not much cons
5. Bottom Mount
Bottom-mounted keyboards have the top frame and keyboard plate attached to the bottom frame of the keyboard.
The bottom-mounted keyboard is a bit more complex than other mounting styles, similar to the top keyboard-mounted style.
Bottom mounts are great when it comes to providing consistency and the absence of stiffness.
Pros of Bottom Mount
- The design is rigid as the Plate is firmly attached to the bottom of the keyboard base.
Cons of Bottom Mount
- To have Bottom Mount, you would need a custom-designed plate. Otherwise, there won’t be provided to fix the Plate to the bottom of the keyboard base.
- Cost increases as we require a custom-designed Keyboard base to support Bottom Mounting.
6. Gasket Mount
In the case of a Gasket Mount keyboard, rubbery elastic type material(gasket) is placed in between the keyboard case and the plate). The PCB is placed below the plate.
Pros of Gasket Mount
- The keyboard will feel stable and smooth
- Gasket Mount would make the keyboard much more silent
Cons of Gasket Mount
- Not good for clicky switch keyboard
- Keyboard gets expensive with Gasket Mounting
7. Burger Mount/O-Rings Mount
Burger mount is the name given for the type of mounting that has O-Rings in it.
In this type of keyboard mounting, the O-rings act as a good dampener to cut out any noise from your keyboard.
They will make clicks sound less noisy than before.
Generally, O-rings are popular to be used below the keycaps to make them quieter. However, here we use them in keyboard mounting.
Pros of Burger Mount
- Burger Mount Keyboards sound much silent
- Removes any key rattling noise
Cons of Burger Mount
- Might take away the clicky/tactile feel of your keyboard.
Keyboard Mounting Styles FAQs
Q. Are Top Mount keyboards stiff?
Q. Is Gasket Mount overrated?
Q. Is Sandwich mount good?
Conclusion: What is the Best Mounting Style for a Keyboard?
Let’s conclude the post on Keyboard Mounting Styles!
So, As we looked at several mounting styles in this post, you must be now geared up to get ready to have your custom mechanical keyboard with any of these mounting styles.
If you want a dampened sounded mechanical keyboard, then go with the Gasket Mounted Keyboard.
Otherwise, you can go with the most common tray mount which would be much cheaper and easily available.
I don’t like the plateless/PCB mount as this type of mounting directly attaches to the PCB which is not good.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post.
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I’m Anirban Saha, Founder & Editor of TechBullish. With a B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering, and 5+ years of experience as a software developer, I have expertise in electronics, software development, gadgets, and computer peripherals. I love sharing my knowledge through informational articles, how-to guides, and troubleshooting tips for Peripherals, Smart TVs, Streaming Solutions, and more here. Check Anirban’s Crunchbase Profile here.