Keycap Manufacturer Review
It's been more than 2 years since I got into the mechanical keyboard hobby. Not surprisingly I've used keycap sets from different manufacturers. Here's a brief, non-comprehensive review.
GMK manufactures ABS double-shot keycap sets in Cherry profile.
- Quality is top-notch, e.g. the best selection of accurate colors.
- Double-shot means legends will never fade.
- It often tend to be pricier than other options.
- For group buys, turnaround time is very long (often more than 6 months).
- ABS plastic will shine over the time (from my experience the shine can be noticeable with weeks of use).
- GMK key trays always suck and become even worse with their recent switch to paper trays.
Verdict: GMK simply means the best quality and you cannot go wrong with it. However the ABS shine, the higher pricing and longer turnaround time have slowly turned me into a GMK set collector instead of user.
EnjoyPBT manufactures PBT dye-sub keycap sets in Cherry profile.
- PBT plastic doesn't shine (at least far better than ABS).
- Dye-sub will never fade too and offers better flexibility with legend design.
- Cheaper than GMK sets.
- PBT plastic is harder to work with and space bar warp is a common problem.
- Dye-sub legends are not as crisp as double-shot ones.
- Quality control is subpar:
- Example 1: in one set some caps produce high-pitched noise if fully inserted.
- Example 2: in another set the cross sections of 2.25U and 2.75U space bars are too wide to fit Durock stabilier (not an issue with other options).
Verdit: I have bought 2 ePBT sets so far. I had issues with both of them. Although it's cheaprer I would definitely avoid this manufacturer in the future.
KeyCreative manufactures ABS keycaps too but they are most famous for their own KAT/KAM profiles in dye-sub PBT. Here we focus on KAT.
- In terms of height, KAT is the middle ground between Cherry and SA which offers great balance.
- Cheaper than GMK per key.
- KAT is extra thick which offers arguably better acoustics.
- Superb flexibility in terms of kit options since MOQ is based on number of keys instead of number of kits.
- For example, KAT Explosion offers 22 kits (in comparison, a typical GMK set offers 2-5 kits).
- Dye-sub doesn't fade.
- KAT is relatively new so there's still quality concern (e.g. no reverse dyb-sub sets have been verified by buyers). This is especially true after they decided to switch to double-shot PBT without informing vendors first.
- Most custom cases are designed with Cherry profile in mind so there can be compatibility issues since KAT is thick.
- Example: When I paired KAT Milkshake with Tofu 60 case, the keys in 4 corners scratch the case and sometimes get stuck and don't bounce back.
- The turnaround time is abysmal: I have multiple sets still in manufacturing phase after >1 year of wait.
Verdict: I only have 1 KAT set so far. After trying it for some time I don't think I like this profile. Considering the super long GB timeline I will avoid KAT sets in the future.
Infinikey manufactures PBT dye-sub keycap sets in Cherry profile. Among with NicePBT, it's also a cheaper option compared to GMK. So far this manu seems to have exclusively deal with TheKeyCompany.
- Quality is decent considering the lower pricing.
- Track record of (comparatively) faster delivery.
- Often comes in one unified set so no need to think about which kits to buy.
- The Infinikey key tray may be the best at the moment and far superior to GMK paper trays.
- The simplified kitting also means some non-standard layouts are not supported.
- There is known issue with color matching.
Verdict: Despite the minor issues I think Infinikey sets are great for the price.