Through this article, hopefully you will find a cool keycap set for yourself. Once talking about the mechanical keyboard keycaps we immediately think of the variety and complexity of each item in it. Choosing a keycap is a rather complicated matter. There are many different keyboard keycaps sizes, layouts, keycap profiles on the market and within the same category there are countless different variations. Sometimes the modifier keys are smaller than usual, the left shift key is special, the space bar is too big, the enter key has a strange shape, so playing standard keycaps is actually very difficult, not to mention the customizable keycaps. It is important that you first understand and find the right keycap set for your keyboard keycaps. In addition, you need to check detailed parameters, such as:
- Keyboard size and number of keys detailed on it
- Determine the keycap profile in use
- And understand the principle of choosing the best keycap for a mechanical keyboard
And some additional information is also needed below:
The unit for measuring the size of the keyboard (u)
First, we must know how to measure our keyboard size. In Mozano's previous post about the size and number of keys on a standard full size mechanical keyboard layout, although there is a very detailed list of keys and accompanying parameters, measuring by yourself is still a better way because there are many keyboards that do not follow the general standard.
The size of the keycaps or customizable keycaps is measured in units (abbreviated as 'u'). A normal standard alpha key is 1u in size. A keycap of size 2u will be twice as long as a 1u key. But if it were that simple, we wouldn't have a headache. There's a whole bunch of oddly sized keyboard keycaps out there, like 6.25u (?!?), these are actually keys that are 6 times the length of the standard 1u key size and add another 1/4 of the length of 1u. So choosing the right keycap is very complicated and needs to be carefully researched.
What layout is your keyboard using?
Full layout including arrangement type + size. For example: ISOfullsize104 key. That means the keyboard you are using is a full-size ISO character layout with 104 keys.
- Briefly about the character layout, ISO/ANSI and JIS are the most popular
- As for the size, it is very diverse, any size is available, especially with custom keyboards. But the most popular are Full Size/75%/65% and 60% and 40% (super mini).
Checking the layout of the keyboard again will help you identify and check the size of the keys on it. The best basis is to look at the key sizes of the last row. For standard layouts, the keys on the bottom row are usually 1.25u and the space key is usually 6.25u.
And of course there are always exceptions. Even some keyboard models of major brands such as Razer, Corsair, Logitech all have a 'non-standard' bottom row style, which is not the same as the sizes listed above. So when you want to change a cool keycap, you will need to carefully measure and find the right keycap of the same size, same profile.
Standard layout and key sizes
Right Shift: 2.75u
Number Pad (zero, plus, enter): 2u
About keyboard keycaps with non-standard layout
Everything goes beyond our imagination when one day you try to read the product description and realize on the market now there are many keyboard models with sizes and layouts that do not meet the standards mentioned above. The difficulty starts here. We will go through some fairly popular non-standard keyboard models, and we will talk about the customizable keycaps line in the following articles, because custom keyboards are more diverse and variable hundreds of times.
Some people when playing mechanical keycaps just want to change the character keys and number keys, keeping the modifiers keys intact. The reason is because the non-standard part is usually located in this key assembly. For instance, with the Razer mechanical keyboard (not the Huntsman) there are modifiers of 1.5u or 1u and a 6u long spacebar. Corsair and Logitech also have similar models but the space key is a bit longer at 6.5u.
So when buying a mechanical keyboard, if you decide to play gaming keycaps in the future, you should choose keyboards with a standard layout, which will be better for replacement. If you want to be more unique, more challenging, choose non-standard keyboards.
About special sized mechanical keyboard keycaps: 65%, 75%, and 96%
Odd-sized 65%, 75%, and 96% mechanical keyboards often have a smaller right shift key to make space for the arrow cluster. These layouts are unique and require the keycaps to be of a different size than the standard one. In addition, some keys will have their row positions changed compared to the standard version, so their height may be slightly different.
In many cases, the shift key should be 1.75u instead of the usual 2.75u. Typical keyboards: Keychron K2, K4, K6; Drop ALT, Akko 3068, Magicforce 82, Vortexgear Race 3, Drevo Excalibur, iQuinix F96, Leopold FC660M, Leopold FC980M…
And it can also be different as in the case of Ducky One 2 SF and Womier K66 mechanical keyboard keycaps with 2u right shift key.
Is the keyboard you're using unusually ergonomic?
Ergonomic keyboards (membrane keys or mechanical keys) are both great options for those who want to prevent wrist fatigue and RSI syndrome, but the problem is that they are often difficult to change keycaps.
Ergonomic mechanical keyboards usually have a split spacebar module design and can accommodate different sets of functions (space, shift, fn, etc). This means that if you want to change the keycap, you have to order each keycap individually with each of these special sizes. For example, an ergonomic mechanical keyboard will need 5 small stabilizers and the accompanying keycaps need to be of different construction and size. In general, the selection of keycaps for this keyboard line is very confusing and difficult. The more unique and specialized the keyboard you use, the more difficult it is to find an ideal keycap set, this is the common suffering of people addicted to playing customizable keycaps.
Hopefully this article will bring some useful information for keycap enthusiasts.