Custom Keyboards: The Best Way to Express Yourself


Updated: 06/11/2023

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A close-up of a custom keyboard with red and black keycaps.

Have you ever felt like your keyboard was holding you back? 

It wasn’t quite suitable for your typing style or your needs. If so, you’re not alone. Many people find that mass-produced keyboards need to meet their expectations.

That’s where custom keyboards come in. Custom keyboards have been assembled or modified to meet the specific needs and preferences of the user. This can involve choosing the proper layout and form factor to select components such as keycaps, switches, and plates. Custom keyboards can be as straightforward or as complex as the user desires, and they offer a level of personalization and customization that cannot be found with mass-produced keyboards.

In this article, we will explore the world of custom keyboards. We’ll discuss what they are, why they’re so popular, and how to build your custom keyboard. We’ll also provide some tips on how to customize your keyboard to get the most out of it.

Image of a Black Custom Keyboard with White Background

There are many reasons why custom keyboards are becoming more popular. One reason is that they offer personalization and customization that cannot be found with mass-produced keyboards. Custom keyboard enthusiasts enjoy being able to create a keyboard that is perfectly tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

Another reason for the popularity of custom keyboards is that they offer several benefits over mass-produced keyboards. Custom keyboards can be built to be more durable, ergonomic, and responsive than mass-produced keyboards. They can also be customized to provide a more satisfying typing experience.

Benefits of Custom Keyboards

Image of a computer custom keyboard on a blue background.

Custom keyboards offer several benefits over mass-produced keyboards, including:

  • Unleashing Creativity Through Design and Layout:

Custom keyboards allow you to choose the components you want, giving you complete control over your keyboard’s look, feel, and sound.

For example, you can choose a case made of a unique material, such as wood or metal. You can also select keycaps that are different colors or that have different designs. And you can choose switches that have various actuation forces and travel distances.

  • Enhanced typing experience and ergonomic options: 

Custom keyboards can be customized to provide the perfect typing experience for your needs and preferences. Many custom keyboards also offer ergonomic features to help reduce fatigue and discomfort.

For example, you can choose lighter or heavier switches, depending on your preference. You can also select switches that have different travel distances. This lets you find the perfect buttons for your typing style and preferences.

  • Quality and durability considerations:

Custom keyboards are often made with high-quality materials and construction, making them more durable than mass-produced keyboards.

For example, many custom keyboards use CNC-machined aluminum cases. This makes the keyboards solid and sturdy. Additionally, many custom keyboards use high-quality keycaps and switches. This makes the keyboards more durable and less likely to break.

How to Build a Custom Keyboard

Image of a keyboard with a blue and white key on a colorful background.

Building a custom keyboard is a great way to create a perfectly tailored keyboard to your needs and preferences. It can also be a fun and rewarding experience.

Here is a brief overview of how to build a custom keyboard:

  1. Choose a layout and form factor. The layout is the arrangement of the keys on the keyboard, and the form factor is the size and shape of the keyboard. There are many layouts and form factors, so selecting one right for you is essential.
  2. Select components. The main components of a custom keyboard are the case, plate, switches, keycaps, and stabilizers. It is essential to choose compatible features that meet your needs and preferences.
  3. Assemble your keyboard. This requires some basic soldering skills, but pre-soldered PCBs are available. To assemble your keyboard, solder the switches to the PCB, install the plate and stabilizers, and then install the keycaps.

Once you have assembled your custom keyboard, you can connect it to your computer and use it!

How to Customize Your Keyboard

Customizing your keyboard is a great way to make it unique and personal. There are many different ways to customize your keyboard, including:

  • Keycap customization: 
A keyboard with a white and green color scheme, featuring a prominent green key.

Keycaps are the covers for the switches on your keyboard. They come in a variety of colors, materials, and designs. You can change your keycaps to match your style or improve your typing experience. For example, you can choose keycaps with a different profile, such as sculpted or DSA. You can also select keycaps with different textures, such as PBT or ABS.

  •  Switch customization: 
Three green switches on a white background.

Switches are the individual keys on your keyboard. Many switches are available, each with a unique feel and sound. You can change your switches to improve the typing experience or the sound of your keyboard. For example, you can choose switches with different actuation forces, such as linear or tactile ones. You can also select switches with an extra travel distance, such as short-travel or long-travel switches.

  •  Other customizaLighting: 
Image of a Black Keyboard case

Many keyboards have RGB lighting that can be customized. You can change the lighting’s color, brightness, and pattern to match your style.

  •  Case: The case is the housing for the keyboard. You can change the case to improve the durability or appearance of your keyboard. For example, you can choose a case made of a different material, such as aluminum or plastic.
  •  Plate: The plate is the metal sheet to which the switches are mounted. You can change the plate to improve the sound or feel of your keyboard. For example, you can choose a plate made of a different material, such as aluminum or brass.

How to Choose the Correct Customizations

When choosing customizations for your keyboard, it is essential to consider your needs and preferences. What do you value most in a keyboard? Do you want a keyboard that is comfortable to type on? Do you want a durable keyboard? Do you want an aesthetically pleasing keyboard?

Once you have considered your needs and preferences, you can start to choose customizations. Suppose you need help figuring out where to start. In that case, many resources are available online and in the custom keyboard community to help you.

Tips for Customizing Your Keyboard

Image of a Blue-lit keyboard for easy typing in low light.

Here are a few tips for customizing your keyboard:

  • Do your research. Many different customization options are available, so it is essential to do your research before making any decisions.
  • Start with minor changes. It is better to start with small changes and see how you like them before making any significant changes.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. There are no rules when it comes to customizing your keyboard. Experiment with different customizations until you find a setup that you love.

Customizing your keyboard can be a fun and rewarding experience. With a bit of planning and effort, you can create a keyboard that is truly unique to you.

Where to Buy Custom Keyboards?

There are several places where you can buy custom keyboards. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Online retailers: Several online retailers, such as NovelKeys and Kono. Store, and CannonKeys. These retailers offer custom keyboards and components such as keycaps, switches, and cases.
  • Custom keyboard makers: Several custom keyboard makers sell their keyboards directly to consumers. Some famous custom keyboard makers include Keebio, Prevail Key Co., and NullKeys. These makers typically offer a more limited selection of keyboards. Still, their keyboards are often of higher quality and more unique.
  • Mechanical keyboard communities: There are several online communities for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. Some communities, such as r/MechanicalKeyboards on Reddit, have marketplaces where members can sell and buy custom keyboards. These marketplaces can be a great place to find unique and affordable custom keyboards.

Conclusion:

Custom keyboards are a great way to express yourself and create a keyboard that is truly unique to you. With many different customization options, you can create a keyboard that perfectly matches your style, typing needs, and budget.

Whether you are a casual typist, a gamer, or a programmer, there is a custom keyboard out there that is perfect for you. So, if you are looking for a functional and stylish keyboard, you should consider building your custom keyboard.

How can I create my own keyboard?

There are a few ways to create your custom keyboard. One option is to purchase a keyboard kit, including all necessary components, such as the case, plate, switches, and keycaps. You can then assemble the keyboard yourself. Another option is to have a custom keyboard built by a professional.

What is a custom keyboard?

A custom keyboard is a keyboard that has been modified or built to the user’s specifications. This can include changing the switches, keycaps, case, or other components. Custom keyboards are often popular with gamers, programmers, and typists who want to create a keyboard that is perfectly suited to their needs.

Are custom keyboards expensive?

Custom keyboards can range in price from affordable to very expensive. The price of a custom keyboard will depend on the components used and the level of customization. For example, a keyboard kit with essential components may cost around $100, while a custom keyboard built by a professional with high-end components may cost over $500.

Why do people buy custom keyboard?

People buy custom keyboards for a variety of reasons. Some people want to create a keyboard ideally suited to their needs, with suitable switches, keycaps, and layouts for their typing style or gaming habits. Others want to create a unique keyboard that reflects their style. Still others enjoy the process of building and customizing their keyboards.

How long should a custom keyboard last?

A custom keyboard should last many years, depending on the components’ quality and how well the keyboard is maintained. For example, high-quality mechanical switches can last for millions of keystrokes. However, cleaning your keyboard regularly and avoiding spilling liquids is essential.

How do I set custom keyboard keys?

There are a few ways to set custom keyboard keys. One option is to use the keyboard’s built-in software. Most modern keyboards have software to remap keys and create macros. Another option is to use a third-party keyboard remapper program. There are several free and paid keyboard remapper programs available online.


Shifa Tariq

Shifa Tariq

Hi, I'm Shifa, the CEO and Co-founder of Best Keyboard Tester, the go-to website for comprehensive keyboard guides, in-depth reviews, and top recommendations. As a huge keyboard enthusiast and tech lover, I created this website to help everyone find the perfect keyboard, whether you're a casual typist or a hardcore gamer. Our unique online keyboard tester tool lets you virtually try different switches and layouts before buying. I'm passionate about helping people discover the joy of an excellent keyboard and always looking for ways to improve our website.

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