When you’re building your first keyboard or looking to upgrade your existing keyboard, you might find yourself a bit confused when shopping for keycaps. There are so many colors and profiles of keycaps, it can be overwhelming. With so many options, you might find yourself wondering, do all keycaps fit all switches?
No, all keycaps do not fit on all switches. You need to get keycaps compatible with your switches. Thankfully, most nice sets of keycaps are compatible with switches with Cherry MX style stems. However, if you’re looking to outfit a board that has other types of switches with keycaps, you might be hard-pressed to find keycaps that will fit your switches and look the way you wanted them to.
Why Don’t All Keycaps Fit All Switches?
All keycaps do not fit all switches because different types of switches have different stems. While Cherry MX style switches are the most common in the mechanical keyboard world, there are also switches like Topre or low profile Choc switches that require different types of switches. It’s practically impossible to get a regular-sized set of keycaps to fit on low-profile switches as well because of the stabilizer placement.
Many gaming keyboard brands also have their own custom switch stems that are only compatible with their keycaps, making customizing your keyboard difficult. You might also find that the set of keycaps you want to get doesn’t offer the key sizes you need to fit your layout. This is particularly common with compact or unique keyboard layouts, such as ones with split spacebar or split backspace.
How to Tell What Kind of Keycaps You Need
If you take a look at your switches, you’ll see the stem, which is where the keycap fits onto. If it looks like a plus sign ( + ) you have Cherry MX style stems and will need MX compatible keycaps. The good news is, that’s the most common type of keycap on the market, so you’ll have a great selection available.
If your switches have a round stem, you likely have Topre switches. It’s somewhat more difficult to find Topre keycaps. While there are some available, there is another option if your heart is set on a set of MX keycaps…
Get Cherry MX Stem Replacements for Your Topre Switches
If you really like the look of a set of Cherry MX keycaps, but love the feel of a Topre keyboard, never fear! You can replace the stems in your Topre keyboard with a set of Cherry MX Topre Replacement stems like these.
With stem replacements, you’ll be able to use any Cherry MX compatible keycaps that fit your layout. They’re available from Amazon and from mechanicalkeyboards.com.
How to Get Keycaps that Fit a Low-Profile Mechanical Keyboard
If you have a low-profile mechanical keyboard and want to replace your keycaps, you’re best off seeing if the company that manufactured your keyboard has sets of keycaps available. Because of the sometimes odd key sizing and varying stabilizer placement, it’s practically impossible to find a set of keycaps that will fit a low-profile mechanical keyboard that isn’t made by the manufacturer of that keyboard.
It’s important to remember that all keycaps may not fit on all keyboards or switch types. If you’re looking for a set of keycaps compatible with your specific keyboard and switch type, be sure to do your research before making a purchase decision.