Keycaps 101: Understanding the Differences Between ABS and PBT Materials

Keycaps 101: Understanding the Differences Between ABS and PBT Materials

When it comes to mechanical keyboards, keycaps play an important role in the typing experience. Keycaps can come in different materials, but two of the most popular materials are ABS and PBT. In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between ABS and PBT keycaps and how to choose which type to use.

What are ABS Keycaps?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) keycaps are made from a thermoplastic material that is known for its durability, affordability, and flexibility. ABS keycaps are lightweight and have a smooth surface, which makes them easy to type on. They are also easy to produce, which makes them cheaper compared to other materials.

However, ABS keycaps have some downsides. They tend to get shiny and wear out faster over time, especially with constant use. This is due to the oils and sweat from the fingers that can erode the plastic. ABS keycaps are also more prone to discoloration and yellowing, especially when exposed to sunlight and heat.

What are PBT Keycaps?

PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) keycaps are made from a denser plastic material that is known for its durability and resistance to wear and tear. PBT keycaps have a textured surface that provides a better grip and a matte finish that resists shine and fading. They are also more resistant to chemicals and UV light, making them less likely to discolor or yellow over time.

PBT keycaps are typically more expensive than ABS keycaps due to their denser material and the manufacturing process required to produce them. However, they offer better durability and longevity, making them a popular choice for serious keyboard enthusiasts.

How to Choose Which Keycaps to Use?

When choosing between ABS and PBT keycaps, it all comes down to personal preference and budget. If you are on a tight budget and want to try out different keycap sets, ABS keycaps may be the way to go. They are affordable, easy to produce, and offer a smooth typing experience.

However, if you want keycaps that will last longer and resist wear and tear, PBT keycaps are the better option. They may cost more upfront, but they will provide a better typing experience in the long run. PBT keycaps also come in different textures and colors, making it easier to find a set that suits your personal taste.

In conclusion, ABS and PBT keycaps have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget. If you are a serious keyboard enthusiast, investing in PBT keycaps may be worth it in the long run, but if you are just starting out or on a tight budget, ABS keycaps are a good option to consider.