ABS vs PBT Keycaps: Which to Choose for Your Keyboard?

Choosing the right keycaps for your keyboard, ABS or PBT, matters more than you might think. Here’s an easy-to-understand breakdown:

What are Keycaps?

Keycaps sit on the mechanical switches of your mechanical keyboard. They can affect how typing feels, how durable your keyboard is, and even how it looks.

Types of Keycaps: ABS vs PBT

ABS Keycaps:

  • Affordable and Common: ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) keycaps are popular because they're cheaper and you can find them easily.
  • Feel and Durability: They're lightweight and initially very smooth to the touch, but can get shiny and slippery with use due to wear from oils and light exposure.
  • Look: ABS is great if you want bright and vibrant colors or if you have a backlit (RGB) keyboard.

PBT Keycaps:

  • Tough and Long-lasting: Made from Polybutylene Terephthalate, these keycaps are stronger and can handle more heat and friction than ABS.
  • Feel and Appearance: They have a matte finish and are more textured, which means they don't get slippery like ABS caps, offering consistent performance and feel.
  • Color Options: Typically, PBT keycaps have more muted colors, and they aren't as shiny, which might be less appealing if you want vivid keyboard aesthetics.

Why It Matters:

  • Durability: If you type a lot or game hard, PBT keycaps will last longer and feel consistent over time. ABS keycaps tend to wear down and get glossy, which might affect your typing precision.
  • Customization: ABS keycaps win here with more options for custom designs and colors. If you love a personalized or thematic setup (like matching your gaming rig), ABS could be more up your alley.
  • Cost: ABS keycaps generally cost less, making them a good budget pick. PBT keycaps are pricier due to their superior material quality and the more intensive manufacturing process, which makes them a better long-term investment.


Your choice between ABS and PBT keycaps depends on what's more important to you—customization and cost (go ABS) or durability and a consistent, high-quality feel (go PBT). Consider how much and how hard you'll use your keyboard before making a decision!