Whenever you look for a mechanical keyboard, you probably check out whether the keyboard supports hot-swappable features or not.
The significant advantage to have a mechanical keyboard on our desk is that it can be completely customized according to your needs and requirements.
And Hot-swappable functionality is one of them, but do you know what is a Hot-Swappable keyboard, its importance, and how this feature works in a mechanical keyboard.
You know many people don’t want to indulge in a task where they have to solder and desolder a switch into their keyboard.
Hot-swappable features really make this process feasible for the user.
So a question is raised, should you buy a hot-swappable keyboard for paying some extra bucks or a keyboard that doesn’t support a hot-swappable feature.
In this article, I will try to explain everything from what is a Hot-Swappable Keyboard to its practical utility in a keyboard?
To get the conclusion, read this article till the end.
Let’s get dive into the details!
Table of Contents
What is a Hot-Swappable Keyboard?
Hot-Swappable is a very significant feature of a mechanical keyboard that allows users to replace mechanical switches without having to solder and desolder them from the PCB (Printed Circuit Board).
It simply means you will be able to change and customize your mechanical switches to upgrade with a set of new switches very easily in the future.
With the help of a switch puller, you can replace your existing switches with a new ones. It is as simple as pull-and-plug.
what you just need to do is just pull out a switch and plug in a new one.
You are not restricted to using only a single switch until the keyboard malfunctions or is torn down as hot-swappable features allow a user to change switches whenever they want.
Whether you become bored using them or want a fresh experience, you don’t need to change your entire mechanical keyboard.
Hot-swappable keyboards are mostly preferred by gaming enthusiasts, keyboard professionals, or a person like me who love to do experiments with the keyboard to make it more beautiful, elegant, and super fast as well.
Here is the following specification of a hot-swappable keyboard:
- It gives you an edge to easily upgrade and Customize your keyboard.
- Offers easily plug-in and plug-out functionality for a mechanical switch.
Hot sockets touch the PCB, activate switches, and are ready to transfer the current supply to generate outputs.
I hope you understood now What is a Hot-swappable keyboard in the mechanical keyboard industry, still, if you have any queries about what is a hot-swappable keyboard and its functionalities then watch this video:
Advantages of Hot-Swappable Keyboard
- Easily Customizable.
- It gives an option to change switches rather than an entire keyboard.
- Work on Pull and Plug mechanism.
- Easy maintenance and repair.
- A good option for Hardcore gamers.
- Time-efficient as well.
Disadvantages of Hot-Swappable Keyboard
- Lack of availability.
- Fixed Layout.
Now take a look at the two variants of How-swappable switches that usually comes with the keyboard:
Hot-Swappable Switches – 3 Pin vs 5 Pin Switches
You have certainly read throughout reading keyboard blogs that are these switches are 3 pin support or 5 pin support.
Actually, this 3 pin or 5 pin is the variation of a switch based on a pin count. In simple words, A 3 pin switch consists of 3 pins for mount on PCB whereas a 5 pin switch consists of 5 pins.
the 5 pins have 2 extra plastic legs compared to 3 pins that provide more stability and a sturdy build to the keyboard during typing on the switches.
While 3 pins switches are more likely to come out when aggressively using it, well it doesn’t happen in most cases so you don’t need to worry about 3 pins switches.
Let me clear you, these both pins don’t impact the current and electrical-based connector.
The hot-swappable keyboard that supports 5 pins will automatically support 3 pin switches keyboards.
The 5 pins definitely have some edges over 3 pins.
SHOULD YOU GET A HOT-SWAPPABLE KEYBOARD?
MK68 Mechanical Hot-Swappable Keyboard
Definitely yes, you should give priority to a hot-swappable keyboard over the conventional regular keyboard and key switches.
Because there are many advantages to considering a hot-swappable keyboard as your next keyboard.
The first and most significant factor is that you can easily customize your mechanical keyboard which supports hot-swappable functionality because soldering and desoldering of a switch are not going to be fun and easy, although it is time-consuming too.
The second vital advantage associated with a hot-swappable keyboard is that you are allowed to change key switches anytime when you feel bored using them or if you encounter some mechanical issues.
For instance, if your keyboard comes with Cherry MX Blue switches but you are used to other switch profiles then you can customize accordingly.
The hot-swappable feature of a mechanical keyboard allows an easy repair mechanism if you find any kind of errors and mail functionality.
Lubing switches are also very user and time-friendly with the switch that supports hot-swappable features.
One another positive edge with this kind of keyboard is the cleaning feasibility if some keys like the arrow keys stopped working you can try any working method easily with the hot-swappable keyboard.
After looking at all the advantages, you should definitely get a hot-swappable keyboard at your working desk.
Are All Mechanical Keyboards Hot-Swappable?
As we have come to know what is a hot-swappable keyboard and how this feature is worthy in a keyboard.
But unfortunately, many popular companies construct a keyboard that doesn’t support hot-swappable feature and work only with soldered only PCB.
This market strategy is adaptable by most keyboard companies due to several reasons like they don’t want to give options to their consumer to replace their switches with some other key switch. They want their user to stick with them.
So it completely depends on the individual users as they can read the description of the keyboard whether it supports a hot-swappable feature or not and purchase based on their choice and requirements.
Apart from hot-swappable functionality, you should also look for other essential specifications before purchasing a mechanical keyboard.
Don’t worry I have reduced your efforts by making the best hot-swappable keyboard list for you, you can check it out later in this article.
Are All Hot-Swappable Keyboards Compatible With All Switches?
All keyboards that support hot-swappable features don’t mean that they will be fully compatible with all mechanical keyboards.
Many popular mechanical switches such as Holy Panda, Cherry, Gateron, and Banana Split switches are not compatible with all kinds of mechanical keyboards.
Some keyboards support 3 pins supports while some keyboard supports 5 pin supports switches.
So it’s your responsibility to check the switches’ compatibility with your existing keyboard before buying switches as well as check the keyboard and what kind of hot-swappable switches it will support.
If you want to check your existing keyboard’s compatibility whether it supports the hot-swappable feature or not.
I would highly recommend checking on the keyboard’s manufacturer’s website or online platform. Don’t try to remove key switches with the key puller because you may come up with the PCB socket breakage.
Now I can be assured that you have acquired sufficient information about the hot-swappable mechanism and What is a Hot-swappable keyboard.
What Are The Most Popular Hot-Swappable Keyboards?
After understanding what is a hot-swappable keyboard now it’s time to jump on the best hot-swappable keyboards.
As you know there are many hot-swappable keyboards available on the market and choosing one is really challenging especially when you are a fresher and never used a mechanical keyboard.
But you don’t need to worry I have drilled down and made a list of the best hot-swappable keyboard which you can buy from them.
All keyboards are top-notch and perform excellently on every technical benchmark in real life
Here is the list of the best hot-swappable keyboards.
1. Drop CTRL: Best Tenkeyless Hot-Swappable Keyboard
If you like a tenkeyless keyboard layout, this hot-swappable mechanical keyboard from DROP grabbed the 1st position on our best list.
The tenkeyless layout means this Drop CTRL keyboard comes without a number pad which occupied less space and provides you better key control over the keyboard.
It has an aluminum frame which makes it sturdy and well stable.
The keycaps are made of PBT plastic materials providing keycaps good durability along with better grip.
Take a look at the highlighting features of the DROP CTRL hot-swappable keyboard:
- Tenkeyless Hot-swappable mechanical keyboard.
- Comes with a Keycap Puller.
- PBT Keycaps (Don’t develop shiny and greasy texture )
- fully programmable with QMK.
2. Tecware Phantom: Best Economical Hot-Swappable Keyboard
Powering with immense features and functionalities, Tecware Phantom hot-swappable keyboard is the best budget keyboard on our list.
It can perform any heavy task that an expensive hot-swappable keyboard can do. Having a sturdy build along with an elegant design beatified this keyboard.
It is made of plastic material and has an aluminum backplate which strengthens it.
Tecware Phantom keyboard comes at a reasonable price with a very impressive stabilizer, although it produces a slight rattling sound it is adjustable when compared with other same segment ho-swappable keyboards.
Overall this product is a very good buy under an economical budget.
Take a look at the highlighting features of the Tecware Phantom hot-swappable keyboard:
- Economical Hot-swappable keyboard.
- Impressive stabilizer.
- Elegant design and layout.
- Study Build Quality
- Performs excellently on all benchmarks.
3. Glorious GMMK Modular Hot-Swappable Keyboard
Having a Tenkeyless design layout with a removable braided USB cable, the Glorious GMMK Modular hot-swappable keyboard is certainly one of the best hot-swappable keyboard out there on the market.
There are many advanced features and specifications in this keyboard like 100% Anti-Ghosting, N-Key Rollover: NKRO/6KRO, Polling Rate: 1000 Hz.
Apart from that, it comes with brown switches that provide a combination of a balanced sound profile and satisfied tactility during typing on them.
Glorious GMMK keyboard made with ABS double shot keycaps that give the tremendous appearance of RGB light and great durability as well.
Overall Glorious GMMK keyboard is an excellent hot-swappable keyboard with impressive functionalities.
Here are the highlighting features of the Glorious GMMK Modular hot-swappable keyboard:
- Tenkeyless design with Removable Braided USB Cable.
- ABS Double Shot Keycaps.
- A full-Sized version is also available.
- Study Build Quality
- Excellent Performance with Brown Switches.
I hope, now it is pretty clear about everything from what is a hot-swappable keyboard to its compatibility, and working mechanism.
No one wants to solder and desolder their mechanical switches as it is not everyone’s cup of tea.
The hot-swappable feature certainly provides a broad edge to a mechanical keyboard as far as full customizability is concerned.
Apart from customization functionality, it also offers lots of real and practical utility in a keyboard which makes it stand out from the crowd.
But it is also true that many keyboard manufacturer doesn’t provide this feature in most keyboard due to their marketing strategy but as of now, many companies are adopting hot-swappable feature because of its high demand among keyboard enthusiasts.
A hot-swappable keyboard may be slightly more expensive than a non-hot-swappable keyboard but I would say it is totally worth going with.
So next time when you are going to buy a mechanical keyboard, don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide about mechanical switches types.
I hope this post was helpful to you.
Thanks for reading.
FAQs On What is a Hot-Swappable Keyboard?
Can You Convert Solder Only Keyboards to Hot-Swappable Keyboards?
Practically it is not possible but you can convert solder-only keyboards to hot-swappable keyboards with the Mill-Max sockets. Mill-Max sockets need to be directly soldered into the PCB, as this process is so difficult that's why it can be done by professionals only.
How do you know if your keyboard hot-swappable?
We advise you to check whether a keyboard is hot-swappable or not by researching and finding out the information's about that particular keyboard on the manufacturer's official website as well as reading the description there.
Are most keyboards hot-swappable?
Most keyboard manufacturing companies do not offer a hot-swappable feature in their keyboard because they want their users to stick with the mechanical switches but due to high demands now keyboard companies are starting to provide the hot-swappable feature in a mechanical keyboard.