If you’re a computer enthusiast or a gamer, you know that choosing the right keyboard can make a big difference in your overall experience. But have you ever thought about the keycaps themselves? The material, shape, and texture of keycaps can greatly impact your typing or gaming comfort.
In this article, we’ll be looking at two of the most popular keycap materials: ABS and PBT, and help you decide which one is the best fit for you. When it comes to keycaps, there are a lot of options out there. But ABS and PBT are two of the most common materials you’ll encounter. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to understand what sets them apart before making a decision.
Whether you’re looking for durability, comfort, or just aesthetics, we’ll break down the differences between ABS and PBT to help you make an informed choice. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of keycaps!
What are ABS and PBT keycaps?
If you’re in the market for new keycaps, you might be wondering what the difference is between ABS and PBT materials.
ABS stands for acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, which is a type of thermoplastic that’s commonly used in consumer products.
On the other hand, PBT stands for polybutylene terephthalate, which is a type of engineering plastic that’s known for its durability and resistance.
When it comes to keycaps, ABS is the most popular material due to its affordability and versatility. These keycaps are lightweight and have a smooth surface, which makes them easy to type on.
However, they’re also prone to wear and tear over time, which means they may need to be replaced more frequently than PBT keycaps.
PBT keycaps, on the other hand, are more durable and resistant to wear and tear. They’re known for their matte texture and are less likely to develop a shine or become greasy over time.
Additionally, PBT keycaps are less likely to attract dirt and debris, which can help keep your keyboard looking clean and new.
However, they’re also more expensive than ABS keycaps and may not be as widely available.
Differences in Material
As you make your decision on keycap material, consider the varying durability and texture of the options. ABS keycaps are made from a thermoplastic material that is lightweight and easy to produce. However, this material is prone to wear and tear over time, and can become shiny and smooth with prolonged use. This can lead to a decrease in grip, making it more difficult to type accurately.
On the other hand, PBT keycaps are made from a more durable plastic that is resistant to wear and tear. This material has a slightly rougher texture, which provides better grip and prevents the keycaps from becoming shiny over time. PBT keycaps are also less likely to become discolored or warped from exposure to heat or sunlight, ensuring a longer lifespan for your keyboard.
To help you compare the differences between ABS and PBT keycaps, take a look at the table below:
|ABS Keycaps||PBT Keycaps|
|Durability||Less durable, prone to wear and tear||More durable, resistant to wear and tear|
|Texture||Smooth and shiny with prolonged use||Slightly rougher texture for better grip|
|Discoloration||Can become discolored over time||Resistant to discoloration from heat or sunlight|
Overall, the choice between ABS and PBT keycaps comes down to personal preference. If you prioritize durability and grip, PBT keycaps may be the better option for you. However, if you prefer a smooth and lightweight feel, ABS keycaps may be a better fit. Consider your typing habits and preferences when making your decision, and choose the material that best meets your needs.
Pros and Cons of ABS Keycaps
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of using ABS keycaps for your keyboard.
ABS keycaps are known for their affordability, making them a popular choice among keyboard enthusiasts. They’re made from a thermoplastic material that’s lightweight and easy to mold, which means manufacturers can produce them in large quantities at a lower cost. This makes them a budget-friendly option for those who are looking to upgrade their keyboard without breaking the bank.
However, one of the biggest drawbacks of ABS keycaps is that they’re prone to wear and tear over time. The material isn’t as durable as other options like PBT, which means they can develop shine and become slick to the touch after prolonged use. Additionally, ABS keycaps are susceptible to fading and yellowing, especially when exposed to UV light. This can be a concern for those who want their keyboard to look pristine over the long term.
Despite their drawbacks, ABS keycaps do have their advantages. They’re known for their vibrant colors and are available in a wide range of styles and designs. Additionally, ABS keycaps offer a smooth and slightly textured feel that some users find comfortable to type on.
Ultimately, whether or not ABS keycaps are the right choice for you depends on your personal preferences and priorities. If you prioritize affordability and a wide range of options, ABS keycaps might be the way to go. However, if you value durability and a long-lasting appearance, you might want to consider investing in PBT keycaps instead.
Pros and Cons of PBT Keycaps
You’ll be impressed with the durability and resistance to wear and tear that PBT keycaps offer for your keyboard. PBT keycaps are made with a denser plastic material than ABS keycaps, making them more durable and resistant to shine and fading over time. They also have a more textured feel to them, which some users prefer over the smoother feel of ABS keycaps.
Another advantage of PBT keycaps is their ability to resist oil and grease buildup from your fingers. This means they will stay cleaner for longer and require less maintenance compared to ABS keycaps. Additionally, PBT keycaps are less likely to develop a shiny or slippery surface over time, which can affect their overall appearance and usability.
However, there are some downsides to PBT keycaps. They tend to be more expensive than ABS keycaps, and they are also less common, which can make finding replacement keycaps more difficult. Additionally, PBT keycaps are often less customizable than ABS keycaps, as they are typically only available in a limited range of colors and designs.
Ultimately, the decision between PBT and ABS keycaps comes down to personal preference and budget, but if you value durability and resistance to wear and tear, PBT keycaps may be the way to go.
Which One to Choose?
When deciding on the type of material for your keyboard keycaps, it’s important to consider factors such as durability, texture, and resistance to wear and tear. Both ABS and PBT keycaps have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference and intended use.
If you prioritize durability and resistance to wear and tear, PBT keycaps are the way to go. They are made of a denser and more durable plastic that can withstand more use and abuse than ABS keycaps. PBT keycaps also tend to have a more textured surface that provides a better grip and prevents finger slipping.
On the other hand, if you prefer a smoother and more polished look and feel, ABS keycaps may be more suitable for you. They have a smoother surface that can give your keyboard a sleek and shiny appearance. ABS keycaps are also more affordable than PBT keycaps, making them a more accessible option for those on a budget.
Ultimately, the choice between ABS and PBT keycaps is a matter of personal preference. If you prioritize durability and texture, go for PBT keycaps. If you prefer a smoother and more polished look, ABS keycaps may be a better fit for you.
Regardless of your choice, both types of keycaps can enhance your typing experience and make your keyboard look and feel more customized.
Maintaining and Cleaning Keycaps
Keeping your keyboard clean is essential to maintaining the longevity and aesthetic of your keycaps. Dirty keycaps can affect the overall look of your keyboard and can even lead to decreased performance.
To clean your keycaps, start by removing them from your keyboard. You can do this by gently prying them off with a keycap puller.
Once you have removed your keycaps, you can clean them using a mild soap and warm water. Scrub the keycaps gently with a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or debris. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly with water and allow them to dry completely before reattaching them to your keyboard.
For tougher stains or grime buildup, you can also try using a specialized keycap cleaning solution. These solutions are designed to remove stubborn stains without damaging the keycaps. Simply apply the solution to a soft cloth and gently scrub the affected areas.
Remember to rinse thoroughly and allow your keycaps to dry completely before reattaching them to your keyboard.
So, which keycaps should you choose for your mechanical keyboard? Ultimately, it depends on your personal preferences and usage habits. ABS keycaps are less expensive and have a smoother texture, making them ideal for gamers who need quick and smooth movements. However, they may wear out faster and become shiny over time.
On the other hand, PBT keycaps are more durable and have a more textured feel, making them great for typing and everyday use. They also resist wear and tear, making them a better long-term investment. However, they are more expensive than ABS keycaps.
No matter which keycaps you choose, it’s important to maintain and clean them regularly to keep them in good condition. By considering the pros and cons of both ABS and PBT keycaps, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences.