I have changed keycaps several times for my mechanical keyboard. I have already done this research before while choosing that, so I would be better able to tell you from my experience.
So, why are keycaps so Expensive? Keycaps can be expensive due to the material used, such as PBT or ABS plastic, and the manufacturing process, such as double-shot molding or laser etching. High-quality keycaps are also made with more intricate designs, which can increase their cost. Some keycaps are also limited edition, which can drive up their price due to rarity. Additionally, the demand for custom keycaps can also contribute to their cost.
In this article, I will discuss the different factors that affect the cost of keycaps and why they might be more expensive than you’d expect.
As a long-time user of several mechanical keyboards, I want to help you make an informed decision when choosing keycaps for your keyboard.
Let’s get started!
Contents of The Article
Why are keycaps so Expensive?
As someone with a lot of experience and expertise in this field, I can tell you that the cost of keycaps goes far beyond the raw materials they’re made from.
For starters, it’s important to understand what keycaps are and how they’re made. Keycaps are the plastic covers that are placed on the switches of a mechanical keyboard.
These keycaps can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and the manufacturing process is complex. So complex, in fact, that the cost of producing them is often prohibitively expensive.
It’s important to note that the cost of keycaps isn’t simply the cost of the plastic they’re made from. Rather, it’s the cost of the entire manufacturing process, from the raw materials to the labor, that drives up the price.
The truth is, there is a lot that goes into designing, manufacturing, and selling these keycaps. It’s not as simple as just buying a generic set of plastic keys and plugging them into your keyboard; there’s a science and art to getting the perfect keycap that fits your needs.
As such, they’re held to a higher standard and come at a premium price.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect a keycap’s price tag:
Materials of the Keycaps
The material of the keycap is the first major factor in how expensive it is. Most keycaps are made from a combination of ABS and PBT plastic, with some premium sets using exotic materials like wood, metal, or resin. (Read more about the difference between ABS and PBT keycaps here.)
ABS is the most common material and is relatively inexpensive. It’s also the softest and easiest to produce. PBT is more expensive but is more durable and can better handle wear and tear. It’s also more difficult to produce, which drives the price up even further.
Other materials like metal, wood, and resin are even more expensive but can give your keyboard a unique look and feel.
Another factor that affects the price is the production process. Keycaps are produced in a variety of ways, from injection molding to 3D printing.
Injection molding is the most common and cost-effective method, but it’s still relatively expensive. 3D printing is even more expensive as it requires a specialized machine and filament, but can produce intricate designs that are not possible with injection molding.
These 3d Printed custom designed keycaps available in the market look much premium and feel too.
There are more processes that are Double Sub and Dye Sublimation also used in creating the keycaps which also need to take into consideration. To know more about the comparison of the Dye Sub vs Double-Shot keycap manufacturing process, you can check this post.
Design of the Keycaps
The design of the keycaps is also important. Keycaps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are simple and straightforward, while others are more complex and intricate. The more complex the design, the more expensive the keycaps are likely to be.
For example, custom keycaps with unique shapes and colors may cost more than a basic set.
Finally, branding can also affect the price. Some keycap sets are produced by well-known brands and carry a premium price tag. These keycaps often feature high-quality materials and production processes and are typically more expensive than off-brand sets.
Q: What are keycaps?
A: Keycaps are the removable plastic covers that rest on the individual keys of a mechanical keyboard.
Q: What materials are keycaps made from?
A: Keycaps can be made out of PBT plastic, ABS plastic, POM plastic, or metal.
Here I conclude the post on why are Keycaps so expensive!
- No matter what keycap set you to choose, make sure it’s compatible with your keyboard. Many keycap sets are designed for specific mechanical keyboards, so double-check before purchasing. You can also read this article on whether are keycaps universal in more detail.
- Not all keycaps are costly, there are cheaper keycaps available too in the market. If you want a budget option go for keycaps made of ABS plastic instead of PBT ones.
I hope you enjoyed reading the post and found it useful.