Choosing Keycap profiles is the most significant part of a computer keyboard, it may bring an entirely different experience for a user.
How sounds If I say you can customize keycaps on your mechanical keyboard by replacing old keys with a brand new set of keys.
Sounds Awesome, right!
Keycaps are small covering plastic, metal, or other materials that sit and are placed over the key switches of a computer keyboard.
As on the mechanical keyboards article, we have discussed various switches and their working techniques.
Now I came with a complete in-depth guide for different keycap profiles.
First of all, you should know about the keycap profile and why you should customize it?
The keycap profiles refer to the shape of the keycaps which helps to enhance the feelings, aesthetics, and ergonomics of the keyboards.
Customizing your mechanical keyboards depends on the various factors and the user’s preferences such as:
- Keycaps design
- keycaps thickness
- Different Profiles
Different Keycap Profiles
Some keycaps are better for gaming while some are better for typing and other applications, so you have to decide which keycaps are best suited for your requirements and applications.
We will discuss all keycap profiles one by one with complete details but let me answer some important questions before dive-in.
Why should I replace a new keycap set?
Most economical and cheap keyboards come with very basic and low-quality materials in the market that makes the keyboards dickey and resist giving them a premium design.
But what about when I say you’re able to change this shitty keycap with a brand new and premium keycaps profile and give the design of your cheap keyboard to a very premium and nice-looking design with a lovable keypress feel.
Isn’t it sound cool?
Actually, you can do it with some easy steps.
So replacing the new keycap will give your keyboard a stunning look with a different layout as well as they can make a 30$ keyboard to 100$ keyboard at a relatively very low cost.
Here are the following benefits of changing new keycaps sets for your keyboard:
- RGB Lighting
- Colors of Keycaps
- Design of Keycaps
- Provide more durability
Customizing RGB Lighting with the help of changing new keycap profiles is definitely a great aesthetic benefit and allows users accordingly to customize different RGB Lighting on their keyboards.
The new keycaps set mount will provide a more comfortable feel and offer precise accuracy to the users while typing on the keyboard.
There are many different keycap profiles options available on the market but what profile you should choose for your keyboard is a bit confusing.
After many hours of study, I am able to provide you with this guide about keycap profiles with complete research and in-depth study.
if you are in hurry… and don’t have much time to read our complete article.
First, take a brief look at this comparison table with different factors.
Types of Keycap Profiles
Keycap Profile Comparison
Keycap Profile Description
It is very similar to the OEM profile but slightly shorter.
Angled Top, Mass-produced Mechanical Keyboard
Spherical and inclined
Designed by Keyreactive, Smoother version of SA profile.
Flat and Rounded square corners
Lightweight, Low-profiled, and Uniform across the row
Flat and Spherical Top
Constructed from Signature plastic, spherical top, consistent height make it beautiful.
Angled and Spherical from the top
Angled and spherical from the tops provide ease type to the users.
Snow-glob with a rounded top
Equal to SA R1’s profile
This keycap is mainly used in Artisan keycap
Snow-glob with a rounded top
Firstly introduced in the 1980s and re-introduced, Textured feel, optimized for touch typing.
Rounded Edges with Excellent grip
Constructed by Kbdfans, offers excellent grip, Popular NP Keycaps are NP Icecream, NP Panda.
1. Cherry Profile Keycaps
The Cherry Profile Keycaps are the most popular and considered the most standard layout profile in mechanical keyboards.
Cherry keycaps are very similar to the OEM Profiles but a little difference you may see is, it is slightly shorter as well as the first-row key shape is a little bit flatter compared to OEM profiles.
Because of this character, this cherry profile requires very little time to get used to it and it is more comfortable while typing for the users.
Cherry keycaps profile is a sculpted type and a bit expensive compared to other profiles in the market although it is widely being used on mechanical keyboards.
Cherry keycaps generally produce a more bassy sound as it has very little space to bounce inside.
Among all keycap profiles, this profile offers you a great typing experience whether you are a gamer or you do casual typing.
Keycaps for Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Switches 108 Keys + Extra 11 Keys Set
2. OEM Profile Keycaps
OEM Profile is a classic sculpted profile you will commonly see across mass-produced mechanical keyboards.
These OEM Profile Keycaps refer to as one of the most popular and considered standard keycaps sizes.
OEM keycaps are generally found on the prebuilt keyboards among the commonly branded mechanical keyboards in the market such as Logitech, Razer, and Corsair.
OEM Keycap’s shape and height usually change depending on the row, you can see in the above picture for instance.
If you look at the top of the keycaps you will notice it is slightly angled to provide a good grip on your hand.
Being sculpted this OEM profile offers you excellent typing comfort, whether you are playing games or typing you will get a satisfying experience with OEM Keycaps Profile.
3. KAT Profile Keycaps
KAT Profile also referred to as Keyreactive All Touch that is the new version of the SA profile and it is designed by keyreactive.
KAT Profile Keycaps are basically shorter, mid-size profile and smoother versions of SA profile keycaps where each keycap is mounted tall, slightly, and curvy.
KAT Keycaps are built with a thick plastic material so when a keypress is registered by the users it produces a chattering sound.
You mostly love to type on the KAT keycaps because of its spherical and inclined design and your fingers smoothly glide on the keycaps thanks to its smooth keypress mechanism.
Have you observed smoothness while typing on KAT Keycaps!!
Because of having an identical and inclined design structure, It allows fast actuation which is ideal for gamers who want to improve their efficiency.
You will get an impressive typing experience as well as precise accuracy with the KAT Profile Keycaps that’s why it is best suited for the people who type a lot.
Kat Milks Keycaps Set Custom Keycaps with Key Fetcher keycaps
4. XDA Profile Keycaps
XDA Keycaps is a short uniform type keycaps profile that is similar to DSA but has a large surface area.
XDA profiles are generally low-profiled, uniform across the row, and equipped with very lightweight that offers you pleasing aesthetics.
The Uniform profile type is ideal for people who quickly move their hands from one key to another on the keyboard because of their uniform structure design.
XDA Keycap profiles are usually constructed with very good quality material ‘PBT’ which definitely quite ahead of ABS and offers you excellent build quality.
Unlike Cherry Profile Keycaps, it might be a challenge for the users to get used to it in the XDA profile due to its uniform shape and size.
XDA keysets are equipped with a special surface having more rounded square corners so you may feel little difference and a flatter surface as soon as you register a key.
XDA keycaps contain the lightness of the cherry keycaps but in the type of uniform, not the sculpted.
5. DSA Profile Keycaps
DSA Profile Keycaps is a slightly low-profile keycaps type having a uniform profile like XDA and it is one of the most popular profiles in the market.
DSA keycaps are usually constructed from original exclusive signature plastic so if you are a fan of signature plastic keyboards then this will gonna your choice for sure.
This keycap comes from the non-sculpted profile type it simply means you will initially find difficulty and need some extra time to get used to it.
I am putting an image below for a better illustration of DSA Profile Keycaps:
DSA keycaps hitting sound is quite similar to cherry keycaps however a keystroke is registered it gives you satisfying feedback to the users.
Having a shorter profile, consistent height with a spherical top make this keyboard an excellent-looking keyboard along with a great typing experience.
Because of the uniform profile type users love to type and glide fingers easily on these types of keyboards.
6. SA Profile Keycaps
SA Profile Keycaps are generally tall height profile, angled from the top as well as the spherical tops that provide ease type to the users.
These SA keycaps are originally exclusive to Signature Plastics and come under the Sculpted profile.
It simply means if you are a user who generally lifts your hands while typing then these SA profile keycaps are best for you.
SA profile allows users to move their hands from one key to another easily, thanks to its robust design and sculpted type profile.
SA profiles usually were found in the old keyboards like IBM Models M as well as some new models in the market as they equipped very similar height profiles.
SA Keycaps are the most iconic profile due to their ideal design, unique sound, and are recognized for producing Thock sound while registering a key.
These SA keycap profiles are not as fast as the others for fast-paced gaming requirements but once you get used to them, typing performance will be improved significantly.
Although having a Spherical and angled top, SA keycaps provide a good user experience.
104 Key SA Profile Double Shot Shine Through PBT Ball Shape Keycaps
7. DOM Profile Keycaps
DOM Profile Keycaps are mainly used in Artisan keycap the see-through keycap in particular, more appealing to the eyes.
(Which are the custom keycaps equipped with a great design).
The keycaps height of DOM is equal to SA R1’s profile that helping the keyboard look as level as possible.
The width of DOM keycaps is also similar to SA’s keycaps.
The height profile and the width structure give this layout like a snow-globe with a rounded top which helps to magnify the inner contents.
DOM keycaps come under the uniform profile shape so it takes much time for the users to get comfortable with it.
This DOM Profile keycap has a rounded top layout which is loved by the users and I loved this layout too.
If you wanna do something unique and creative with the keyboard that completely changes its layout, you should check its Dome keycap profiles.
8. DSS Profile Keycaps
DSS Keycap Profile was first originally constructed in the 1980s and a newer profile was re-introduced just some years ago.
DSS Profile is also being revived by Signature Plastics.
This DSS keycap is a Sculpted profile type and delivers an excellent typing experience that is completely optimized for touch typing as well.
The DSS Profile keycaps are slightly shorter compared to the SA profile but it is quite closer to the Cherry/OEM profile in terms of height.
Usually, this keycap profiles comes with a sleek and premium design layout which is mostly loved by the users.
This keycap carried over one of the significant features of DSA keycaps which is the textured feel of the keycaps.
You will surely fall in love with this textured feel of DSS profile keycaps.
9. NP Profile Keycaps
NP Profile Keycaps are designed and constructed by the Kbdfans that are slightly medium in height profile.
NP Keycaps is the uniform profile type and has rounded edges that give an excellent grip on the keyboard so you will be able to type frequently.
This NP keycap is equipped with a flat design due to its uniform profile type.
The XDA and NP keycap profiles are quite similar in terms of design and structure.
There is some popular NP profile keycaps on the market are NP Icecream, NP PBT Crayon, NP Panda, NP lollipop, etc.
NP Profile is the best choice for the user who usually does casual typing as well as moves their hand frequently from one to another key during typing, thanks to its uniform profile type keycaps.
140 Keycap PBT Sublimation Milk Cover Keycap
Are Custom Keycaps Worth It?
When choosing keycaps for a mechanical keyboard, apart from premade designs you would probably hear the name of Custom keycaps.
Well, Custom Keycaps are widely popular among keyboard lovers who prefer the completely custom, unique, and idiosyncratic design to make their keyboard more attractive and appealing.
For Custom Keycaps utility, I would say It completely depends on the individuals whether they need to buy these keycaps or not because Custom Keycaps are generally more expensive than regular keycaps.
You can pick out your favorite keycap design on the computer and order those keycaps on a reliable platform, within a couple of weeks you will get your selected Custom keycaps on your doorsteps.
For an in-depth guide on Custom Keycaps, follow this article.
Choosing Right Keycap Material
Choosing the right Keycap material for new keycaps is the most important thing as the best keycap material can enhance your typing experience and make it smoother and more durable too.
There are two most popular Keycap materials available in the mechanical keyboards industry, they are ABS and PBT.
ABS vs PBT Keycaps
You must be curious to know What ABS and PBT are, well ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) both are the common plastic material from which keycaps are made.
ABS keycaps are affordable and designed to offer softer typing and smoother finger movement but they may develop a shinier texture over time.
Whereas PBT keycaps are constructed with hard thermoplastic polymer material which is highly durable and hard in nature. The keycaps made with PBT are superior and best on the market but keep in mind that PBTs are expensive too.
To know ABS vs PBT Keycaps in more depth, please follow this article on ABS vs PBT.
What to Check before Getting New Keycap Set?
When buying a new keycap set is the best thing for a keyboard lover but you need to make sure some certain properties in Keycap so it can work seamlessly with your keyboard.
Here is the following checklist to avoid compatibility issues:
1. Compatibility: First of all you should check the keycap compatibility, for instance, If you have a full-sized keyboard then you need to purchase a keycap set for a full-sized keyboard so every key will be mounted perfectly.
A 60% keyboard required a 60% keycap set which comes without a number pad.
2. ANSI vs ISO Layout: ANSI and ISO are the most popular keyboard layout that determines the international standards for keyboard as well as describes the size and keys position on a keyboard.
You must also verify whether your keyboard is based on ANSI or ISO layout because both layouts have some differences like their Enter key, and Shift key positions placed in different positions.
To avoid any contradictions, you must check your keyboard’s layout before making a decision.
If you still have any concerns, Follow this In-depth guide on ANSI vs ISO layout.
Sculpted vs Uniform Profile Keycaps
Firstly when you look for keycap profiles the first question arrives in your mind should I opt for Sculpted Profile over Uniform profile?
Or Uniform is better?
Let me clear all your confusion by illustrating both profiles below:
Sculpted Profile Keycaps: Sculpted Profile Keycaps are the most standard and iconic profiles that are mostly preferred by people as it allows frequent typing with feeling more comfortable.
The sculpted keycap has slightly angled with little tilted to help users to achieve fast typing with an excellent hold.
Cherry and OEM Keycaps are the best examples of Sculpted profile keycaps.
Uniform Profile Keycaps: Uniform Profile Keycaps come with flat surfaces and are not angled at all in terms of design.
Uniform keycaps are best suited for people who do not lift and quickly move their fingers across the keyboard during typing.
This uniform profile is the most preferred by the people who are willing to do creativity and innovation with their keyboards.
DSA and XDA Keycaps are the best examples of Uniform profile keycaps.
Does each Keycap profile sound different?
Yes, every keycap has its unique sound profile as cherry MX has a more bassy sound due to its compressed space inside it.
To understand more in the details and want to get the real feel of it, I’m embedding a video about keycaps sound profile you should watch to get a precise answer.
Source: Squashy Boy
Best Keycap Profile for Typing
I can say now you have pretty much clear vision about keycaps after reading this article but if you’re still little struggling to opt best for excellent typing.
The perfect typing experience depends on some important factors such as a keycap should be equipped with ergonomics structure to provide strong grip over keys.
It should also allow fast fingers movement over it as well as offers efficient typing.
Cherry Profile keycaps consist all the properties and have an edge over other keysets, because of this my best recommendation for frequent typing is Cherry Profile Keycaps.
Always try to opt for a sculpted profile as it takes less time to get used to it whereas initially uniform profile going to very strange if you never used it before.
Best Keycap Profile for Gaming
Are you a game enthusiast person who plays and enjoys games perpetually with your loved ones and want to improve your gameplay with the help of gaming keysets?
Probably you are here on this article and seeking the answer for ‘Best keycap profile for gaming’?
After a lot of research I come to know for gaming there are certain specific requirements that should be met while choosing a keyset:
- Keycap that offers Fast Fingers Movement
- keycap profile that feels the most comfortable for you
- You don’t need to wait a millisecond as soon as you registered a key.
If you have read our complete article attentively, you would get a clear presumption which keycap gonna provide all above the functionality and specification.
I recommend you to the best keycaps for gaming is Cherry Profile Keycaps as they are sculpted profile types and the most ideal layout widely used in mechanical keyboards.
Cherry Keycaps are the more comfortable as well as provide an excellent typing experience with ultra-fast fingers movement due to its unique design and structure.
Optical switches significantly enhance response time when you register a keystroke however you need very little time to get used to it too.
That’s amazing, right!!
To Conclude this article, we have discussed almost all keycap profiles from sculpted type to uniform type available for the mechanical keyboard in the market.
Changing a new keycap set for our keyboard is always exciting as well as challenging too but if you have proper knowledge it becomes easy to do that.
Being a Tech-Enthusiast, I did my best to put all solutions about keycaps in one frame for you.
I hope I was able to help you to figure out what keycap profiles are best suited for your requirements and what you should pick out among them.
Whether it is for playing games or typing.
Comments below which keycaps you are going to change for your keyboard.
What keycap profile is best?
The best keycap profile selection generally comes down to a user-specific preference, but for the purpose of typing and gaming, Cherry Keycap Profile is considered to be best as it offers fast fingers movement with efficient typing due to its design, structure, and being a sculpted profile.
What are the different keycap profiles?
Here are the following different keycap profiles: 1. Cherry- Sculpted profile with Angled Shape. 2. OEM- Sculpted profile with Angled. 3. KAT- Uniform profile with Spherical and inclined. 4. XDA- Uniform profile with Flat and Rounded Square corner. 5. DSA- Uniform profile with Flat and Spherical Top. 6. SA- Uniform profile with Angled from the Top. 7. DOM- Uniform profile with Snow-glob with Rounded Top. 8. DSS- Sculpted profile with Snow-glob. 9. NP- Uniform profile with Rounded edges.
What are the most popular keycap profiles?
DSA and cherry are the two best keycap profiles which are quite popular and most preferred for mechanical keyboards among the users.
Do keycap profiles matter?
Yes, if you want to optimize and enhance the performance of your mechanical keyboards like fast and error-free typing, unique and satisfying sound, and excellent feedback after keystrokes so you have to customize its keycap profile and should be used the best profile for your keyboard.
Is PBT better than ABS?
PBT stands for Polybutylene Terephthalate that is the most durable, little expensive, and hard thermoplastic polymer material mainly used to produce high-quality keycaps which are better than ABS in terms of durability, griping, melting point, sound profile.