Upgrade your typing experience with cool keycaps that make a big impression
Perhaps you’re the kind of mechanical keyboard enthusiast who has already kitted out multiple custom boards and is looking for something truly out there to distinguish your next build. Or maybe you’re all-new to the mechanical keyboard hobby and you want to start off strong, ideally with a keyboard that will make everyone stop and say, “What the heck is that and where can I get one?”
Whoever you are, this guide will introduce you to some of the wildest and coolest styles you can use for your next custom build, from pastel keycaps to aluminum keycaps and beyond. But before we get to the stars of the show, let’s make sure you’re picking up the right set for your board.
Find the perfect keycaps for every board in your collection with our Essential Guide to Keycaps.
Jump to a section:
- How to make sure keycaps are compatible with your board
- 7 of the wildest keycap styles to set your keyboard apart
- Try a different class of mechanical keyboard
The booming popularity of mechanical keyboards over the last decade means more options for keycaps are available now than ever before, and we’re about to explore the outer limits of modern keycap offerings (admittedly while staying in the realm of the at least somewhat practical for daily use). One core feature that has contributed to the proliferation of customization options for mechanical keyboards is the cross-shaped key switch stem popularized by the Cherry corporation and adopted (and sometimes enhanced) by competitors such as Kailh and Gateron.
Anyone who has spent time customizing PCs or PC accessories knows compatibility is always a pressing concern. You can rest easy knowing that each of the keycaps on this list — no matter how funky they may be on top — is compatible with that most common type of switch.
Did You Know?:Sometimes the best inspiration for fresh new looks is lurking in the past. Check out our guide to retro and vintage keyboards to get started.
Whether you just want to try out some new keycap color options, experiment with unique lighting arrangements, or simply enjoy the feel of unusual materials, we have you covered. Let’s get started.
The gorgeous range of marine colors on display in the PBTfans Basin keycap set — from the aqua accent keys, to the bright surface blues, to the navy blue keycaps in the middle, to the black abyssal depths — make it an instant eye catcher. The aqua blue legends are easy to read and are made with double-shot PBT plastic to ensure they stay just as easy to read even after years of use. Their common Cherry profile means your fingers should have no trouble getting used to the Basin keycaps even as they remain captivating to the eye.
Want your keyboard to look like a springtime delight? Behold this POM Jelly Keycaps Rainbow kit. On top of coming in a delightful selection of pastel pinks, blues, greens, and yellows, these OEM profile caps are also a great way to get to know the unique properties of POM keycaps. This type of plastic has a silky feel, and its denser composition creates a more weighty keypress sound. You can choose between the fully blank keycaps for a minimalist look, or pay a little extra for legends etched on the sides of the alphanumeric keys.
The color scheme of these white keycaps keeps them simple, while the OSA Simple White PBT keycaps set’s unusual profile makes them a delight for both the eyes and the fingers. OSA keycaps are medium height with semi-spherical tops, lending them an idiosyncratic character that doesn’t sacrifice usability. The gentle curves and all-white bases suggest an alternate universe where Apple never adopted “Chiclet”-style keys and went hard on mechanical keyboards instead (and that sounds like a pretty appealing alternate universe to us).
Did You Know?:Our guide to the best mechanical keyboard forums and other communities will show you more ways to find stylish new keycap sets.
Pudding keycaps are such a look that we had to go with a twofer, both in OEM profile, for this entry. First up are the Miami Vice Teal Pudding Backlit Keycaps, which will glam up your desktop setup with instant ‘80s flare. Note that only the tops of these caps are adorned with those vibrant colors — the sides are left translucent to glow with your RGB lighting of choice. Then we have an inverted pudding setup in the Artifact Bloom Glow keycap set; these boast translucent tops to shine through your lighting, and solid sides that block light with the exception of shine-through legends. All the RGB possibilities make either of these sets a great choice if you’re on the hunt for gaming keycaps.
If you aren’t sold on the pudding look but you are excited for all those RGB possibilities, you’re in luck. The Drop Keysterine Keycap sets are made with transparent ABS plastic, letting you outfit your keyboard with an aesthetic inspired by the see-through electronics trend of the ‘90s and early ‘00s, all in the easy-to-use Cherry profile. You can opt for the fully transparent Arctic set to keep your lighting effects at center stage or pick from four other colorful variants to establish a signature look.
Whoever said your keycaps had to be made out of plastic, or any material invented within the last thousand years for that matter? Cerakey is all about ceramic keycaps. Making your keycaps out of the same material as an expensive vase may sound off-putting at first, but Cerakey does make a compelling argument: They say the caps are durable and lightweight, with good resistance to wear over time, and they look and sound like nothing else. Whether you opt for a solid colorway or prefer the imperfect allure of the “crazed” finish, they all come in the classic Cherry profile.
We couldn’t think of a better way to cap off this list of wild keycap styles than with aluminum keycaps set. These Gateron Full Aluminum CNC & Anodized Keycaps are like nothing else on the market with a price to match. The full set of keys weighs nearly a pound by itself, and they have a unique profile inspired by the Cherry profile “with additional adjustments for a rounder look and feel.” It may take a while to get used to the metal feeling as you type, but you can rest assured knowing that these keycaps are almost guaranteed to outlast anything you pair them with.
If you want to broaden your mechanical keyboard horizons, don’t stop at cool new kinds of keycaps. The high-end range of keyboards from HHKB was built from the ground up to foster an improved typing experience; the best-in-class electrostatic Topre key switches capture each key press with satisfying precision, and the revised layout repositions essential keys for improved ergonomics. The HHKB Professional HYBRID Type-S is ready to be your new daily driver.