Each clack provides excellent tactile feedback, and each key is styled to match your aesthetic, so every stroke of the keys on a well-made keyboard should bring you a unique joy. If you spend most of your day typing, coding, or gaming, a mechanical keyboard can be a comfortable, customizable upgrade over your computer’s external, drab keyboard.
Building a custom mechanical keyboard is rewarding but choosing which one to make can be challenging. We will guide you through all the available options so that you can select the ideal DIY keyboard for you. Check out this article for a comprehensive custom keyboard construction guide.
What Is Custom Mechanical Keyboard?
If you are a tech nerd, PC gamer, or frequent internet surfer, you have undoubtedly heard of custom keyboards. Internet celebrities such as Tfue, Linus Sebastian of Linustechtips, and Dave2D are captivated by the popularity of custom mechanical keyboards. Despite this, most people still lack a clear understanding of what a custom keyboard is.
Custom mechanical keyboards are specialized keyboards that allow you to hand-select the components based on your needs and desired typing experience. These typically have higher-quality components, such as an aluminum chassis and brass weights, and several features uncommon in production keyboards.
Why should you build your keyboard?
A growing number of individuals construct their keyboards. Creating a mechanical keyboard from scratch can be a rewarding experience. Not only can you customize the appearance of your keyboard, but also the feel of the keys. Building your mechanical keyboard allows you to customize the keys in a way that is not always possible with commercial keyboards. Building your own mechanical keyboard from scratch grants you complete control over the device’s appearance, feel, and layout. You can choose from various mechanical switches to find the optimal balance between speed and tactile feedback. And if you want to personalize your experience, you can create your own keycaps.
If you’re looking for a creative outlet or want a unique keyboard, constructing your own mechanical keyboard is an excellent option. With all the available parts and components, it’s easier to get started.
People construct their own mechanical keyboards because they desire a particular key feel. Typically, mechanical keyboard switches differ from those found on standard office keyboards. Mechanical keyboards are distinguished by their tactile switches. Individuals who build their own mechanical keyboards can choose which switches to use based on their desired tactile feedback. This enables them to design a keyboard with the ideal feel for their specific needs.
10 Best Custom Mechanical Keyboards Reviews
Custom mechanical keyboards come in various shapes, but a market segment is devoted to a thriving modding community. Why use the same keyboard as everyone else when you can purchase a starter kit and customize your own? I have compiled a list of the best custom mechanical keyboards.
1. Best Overall: Corsair K100 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Corsair K100 RGB is the most impressive mechanical keyboard we’ve evaluated. However, it is essential to note that this keyboard is primarily intended for gaming as it is loaded with extra features; if you’re looking for a more straightforward keyboard, our mid-range pick is likely a better option. The unit is constructed with PBT keycaps and a column of dedicated macro keys on the left side. Along the top are two programmable wheels and dedicated media buttons, making it easy to navigate playlists and videos.
It has a staggering 44 RGB lighting zones that can be individually customized with the iCUE companion software, making it an excellent choice for RGB enthusiasts. In addition to its incredible hardware features, this keyboard offers a maximum polling rate of 8000Hz for split-millisecond latency, which contributes to its extremely high performance. If you are willing to pay for the best performance from your keyboard, you will not be disappointed with this one.
The Corsair K100 RGB keyboard is an excellent gaming keyboard. Additionally, it comes with a detachable padded wrist rest and is very well-made and comfortable to use. It’s compatible with Corsair’s iCUE software, allowing you to customize the RGB backlighting and assign macros to any key.
It has numerous additional features, including dedicated media keys, a volume control wheel, an iCUE wheel with multiple functions, and six dedicated macro keys. Cherry MX Speed switches are available in the new Corsair OPX linear switches, which may offer a different typing experience than the switches on our unit. It also has a maximum polling rate of 8000Hz, resulting in a responsive gaming experience with low latency.
About this item
- The Corsair K100 RGB is the pinnacle of Corsair keyboards, offering the cutting-edge performance, style, durability, and customization that gamers need to stand above the rest
- The centerpiece of your gaming setup, the Corsair K100 RGB boasts a refined design bolstered by a durable aluminum frame, dynamic per-key RGB backlighting, and a 44-zone three-sided LightEdge
- Powered by Corsair AXON Hyper-Processing Technology, enabling Corsair’s most advanced gaming keyboard experience by delivering up to 4x faster throughput with native 4,000Hz hyper-polling and 4,000Hz key scanning, while simultaneously driving up to 20-layer lighting effects
- A programmable iCUE control wheel gives you command over backlighting, media jogging, and more through Corsair iCUE software, customizable to perform actions in games and applications
- Customizable RGB backlighting.
- Dedicated macro keys.
- Good ergonomic features.
- Extremely low latency.
- Switches provide no tactile feedback
2. Best Upper Mid-Range Keyboard: SteelSeries Apex Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is an innovative device primarily intended for gaming. The adjustable pre-travel feature, however, makes it a versatile option for general use or work. It employs proprietary OmniPoint switches, which differ from standard mechanical switches because they use magnets rather than metal contact points to register inputs. It indicates that the key presses are incredibly silky and light.
Adjustable pre-travel distance is a prominent feature of this keyboard. You can adjust the sensitivity of your keyboard using the software. You can set a short pre-travel distance for your WASD keys, making them extremely sensitive and making your in-game movements feel much more responsive.
Or, if conversing on Discord while playing, you can increase the pre-travel distance on your other keys to prevent typos. Nevertheless, this customization feature is just one of the many additional features packed into this keyboard. In addition, there is a programmable OLED display, a USB passthrough, and a wrist rest for your comfort while playing.
The SteelSeries Apex Pro is an exceptional gaming keyboard that is also quite versatile. It has a setting that allows you to alter the pre-travel distance required to input a keystroke, thereby increasing or decreasing its actuation force. You can decrease it for a more responsive gaming experience or expand it to reduce typos and accidental key presses when typing text. This keyboard is well-constructed, has media-specific keys, and includes a magnetic wrist rest.
About this item
- OmniPoint adjustable switches allow for customization of actuation distance from 0.4 millimeter to 3.6 millimeter
- OLED smart display: An integrated command center for adjusting settings and tracking on the fly info straight from your game, Spotify, Discord, and more
- Aircraft grade aluminum alloy built for a lifetime of durability and stability
- RGB Illumination unmatched customization with 16.8 million colors per key
- Premium magnetic wrist rest: Provides full palm support and comfortable, ergonomic feel
- Adjustable pre-travel distance.
- Very well-built design.
- Great typing quality.
- Full RGB backlighting.
- Wrist rest is a dust magnet.
- No dedicated macro keys.
3. Best Mid-Range Mechanical Keyboard: Razer Pro Type Ultra Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
The Razer Pro Type Ultra is an excellent mechanical keyboard option. Although Razer is best known for its gaming peripherals, this keyboard is designed for office use, so comfort and functionality take precedence. Nonetheless, it retains gaming performance in split-millisecond latency, comparable to Razer’s dedicated gaming options, such as the Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro.
It features a detachable wrist rest and keycaps with a soft-touch coating for improved grip. It is also compatible with Razer’s Productivity Dongle, which pairs with specific Razer productivity mice. The manufacturer advertises a battery life of over 200 hours with the backlighting turned off, so you won’t have to worry about your keyboard dying during the work week unless you frequently use the backlighting at maximum brightness.
Unlike many other mechanical keyboards, this one only has a switch option available during checkout: linear Razer Yellow. These switches are very light of depressing, so you won’t get tired from typing all day, but they lack tactile feedback to indicate when a key has been depressed sufficiently. While the smoothness of the keypress feels great during gaming, you may prefer the resistance of a tactile switch. If so, check out the Razer Pro Type, the previous version of this keyboard that features tactile Razer Orange switches.
The Razer Pro Type Ultra is an office-oriented, wireless, straight keyboard. Razer’s second productivity keyboard resembles the Razer Pro Type, except for a wrist rest and different switches. It can be paired with up to three Bluetooth devices or a single USB device. It uses a Razer Productivity Dongle, so you can use the same receiver to connect other devices, such as the Razer Pro Click Mini, that use the same receiver. It employs linear Razer Yellow switches, which feel very light and are relatively quiet compared to other mechanical controls. However, there is no tactile feedback, which may bother some users.
About this item
- Maximum Productivity. Minimum Sound: The silent mechanical switches and sound dampening foam on this keyboard offer a quiet, distraction-free experience when at the office or WFH, while its super durable design lasts for up to 80 million clicks
- Comfort with Every Keystroke: This ergonomically designed keyboard is high on comfort and features keycaps lined with a fingerprint-resistant, soft-touch coating—for a luxurious, cushioned feel that makes typing a joy
- Superior Ergonomic Support: The soft, cushioned wrist support perfectly aligns to the keyboard to relieve wrist pressure, providing superior comfort and less strain over long periods of typing
- Multi-Task with a Single Click: Connect and control up to 4 devices (desktop, laptop, Android tablet and TV screen) while conveniently switching between them without the constant need to pair and unpair
- Efficiency at Your Fingertips: Customize the keyboard to to best suit your style – remap keys, record macros, and create personal shortcuts for creative tools or office programs to maximize workflow
- Unparalleled Wireless Freedom: Powered by Razer HyperSpeed technology, keep any workspace looking clean and clutter-free by connecting this keyboard and compatible mice to the same Razer Productivity Dongle
- Unifying USB receiver.
- Has two incline settings and a wrist rest.
- Supports multi-device pairing.
- Available with linear switches only.
4. Best Budget Mechanical Keyboard: Keychron K10 Full Size
The Keychron K10 is the most affordable full-size mechanical keyboard available. It achieves a balance between quality and performance that few other keyboards can match unless they are also part of the Keychron K-series. As a wireless keyboard, it can pair up to three devices simultaneously via Bluetooth, making it an excellent option for multi-device setups. As a mechanical keyboard, it provides a typing experience that is both satisfying and pleasant out of the box.
Like other Keychron keyboards, this one has an operating system switch on the top to ensure full compatibility with Windows or macOS if the switch is correctly set. Also included are two sets of keycaps for the modifier keys, one for Windows and one for macOS. Although its latency is not as low as that of the Razer Pro Type Ultra, it is still soft enough to make casual games like The Sims feel responsive.
The Keychron K10 is a Bluetooth-enabled, full-size mechanical keyboard. Unlike most mechanical keyboards, this one prioritizes productivity over gaming. It can pair with up to three devices simultaneously, allowing you to easily connect it to your computer, tablet, and phone. It includes a macOS and Windows compatibility switch, so all keys function on both operating systems when in the appropriate mode. It even includes additional keycaps for each OS. It is offered with clicky, linear, and tactile Gateron switches and a hot-swappable model. It has full RGB backlighting, but since it lacks dedicated first-party software, you cannot customize the RGB backlighting or reprogram any of the keys. Keychron recommends using third-party software instead.
About this item
- Full size layout wireless mechanical keyboard
- Wireless & Wired
- For Mac & Windows
- Connects up to 3 devices
- Bluetooth 5.1
- 15+ types of RGB Backlight
- Up to 240 hrs of typing (backlight off)
- Multi-device pairing with up to three devices.
- Switch for Windows and macOS compatibility.
- Great typing quality.
- Wrist rest not included.
5. Best Cheap: RK ROYAL KLUDGE RK61 Mechanical Keyboard
The ROYAL KLUDGE RK61 is your best bet for a dependable and inexpensive option. As a compact board with a plastic frame, it is relatively lightweight and easy to carry in a backpack. Since it is well-constructed and reasonably sturdy, you need not worry about damaging it. It is also wireless and supports multi-device pairing with up to three Bluetooth devices, but you can also use wired with the rubber cable.
This inexpensive unit has a hot-swappable printed circuit board, which allows you to replace the stock switches with any switch you desire to control the feel and sound of your keyboard during use. Additionally, with a hot-swappable PCB, you can replace any faulty or broken switches without having to solder anything. This keyboard is available in several different wireless connectivity and backlighting color configurations, so you can save a bit of money if you don’t care about RGB lighting or a USB receiver for wireless use.
The ROYAL KLUDGE RK61 is a 60% mechanical keyboard that is compact. It is a wireless model that can simultaneously pair up to three Bluetooth devices. It is compatible with all desktop and mobile operating systems, but not all hotkeys function on all devices. Since it’s a compact keyboard with only the essential alphanumeric keys, it’s easy to transport, but some individuals may dislike the absence of dedicated arrow keys. It is hot-swappable, allowing you to use any three- or five-pin switch with three or five pins. There is specialized software for it, but it did not work for us, so we were unable to reprogram keys or set macros.
About this item
- First Generation of Triple Mode Keyboards – Wireless mode with stable bluetooth 5.0 chipset, hassle-free 2.4Ghz dongle plus USB-C wired mode set no limits about your keyboard connection. The RK61 is best to fit smartphone, laptop and tablet.
- 60% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard: The Compact mechanical keyboard with 61 Keys brings you a neat desktop. Tips you might want to know is that 60% bluetooth gaming keyboard without numpad is most FPS gamers’ choice, more spaces left for mouse movements.
- Hot-swappable: Hot-swap PCB allows you to replace 3 pins/5 pins switches freely without soldering issue. Enjoy the fun of making your own unique keyboard.
- High-capacity Battery: RK61 60 Percent mechanical keyboard Allows you to use continuously about 13 hours with lightest backlit, up to 360 hours standby time.
- Compact design.
- Bluetooth support with up to three devices at once.
- Solid plastic frame.
- No wrist rest; typing may feel tiring.
6. Best Modular Mechanical Keyboard: Glorious Gaming Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Due to its high level of customization, the GLORIOUS GMMK PRO has been a favorite among keyboard modification enthusiasts since its introduction. It is “barebones” by default, meaning no keycaps or switches are included. Although you must purchase these components separately, which can be expensive, you have the freedom to design and build the keyboard of your dreams. You also get to assemble it, which resembles playing with LEGOs.
However, it is essential to note that customization extends beyond the switches and keycaps. This keyboard is designed to be taken apart, tweaked, and modified on any level. If you desire a specific sound profile, you can easily replace the sound-dampening foam inside the case with a different type of foam. Similarly, you can purchase various top plates, rotary knobs, and cables from GLORIOUS to complete your customized look. You can configure and buy your ideal keyboard directly through the GLORIOUS website.
The GLORIOUS GMMK PRO is a skeletal keyboard that lacks keycaps and switches. You can change the cable, get a different-colored rotary knob, and even replace the included aluminum PCB switch plate with one made of brass or polycarbonate. While we have GLORIOUS Panda switches and GLORIOUS PBT keycaps, you are free to purchase and install any switches and keycaps you desire.
It is a 75% compact board with dedicated navigation keys, including arrow keys, that are spaced apart. It has RGB backlighting with individually lit keys, and the Glorious Core software allows you to customize the lighting and assign macros to any key. While it has a relatively high profile, it does not include a wrist rest, so you may need to purchase one separately. The board can only be reserved and purchased on the GLORIOUS website.
About this item
- Premium Design: Gasket-mounted, 75% percent fully modular, tkl hot swappable keyboard, built for everyone. Compatible with QMK & VIA opensource firmware. Also compatible with Glorious Core software.
- Gasket Mounted Plate Design: Naturally dampens keystrokes for a unique haptic and acoustic typing experience. Pre-lubed screw in GOAT stabilizers.
- CNC Aluminum Case: Individually Machined and Engraved – Aesthetic High-Profile Frame – High-Quality Aluminum. Create a custom mechanical keyboard 75% design
- Custom Lighting: Signature Side Lighting Panel – Fully programmable 16.8 million color RGB – Custom Per-Key RGB
- 6 Pin Modular South Facing PCB: Supports 3 pin and 5 pin tkl hot swap mechanical switches – Fully programmable Rotary Encoder – Removable braided 6ft. USB C keyboard cable is included.
- Feels incredibly well-built.
- All keys are macro-programmable.
- Programmable rotary knob.
- Extremely customizable.
- No wrist rest or incline settings.
7. Best Mechanical Keyboard For Mac: Keychron K3 Ultra-Slim
You may have grown tired of your Apple Magic Keyboard and wish to switch to a mechanical alternative. Therefore, we suggest the Keychron K3 (Version 2). This unit’s switches and keycaps are more ergonomic, so you won’t have to tilt your wrists excessively to reach the keys. Additionally, since the low profile is comparable to the low profile of the Magic Keyboard, it will not take too long to adjust to and become accustomed to the mechanical keyboard.
As this is a wireless keyboard, it can be paired with your Mac device via Bluetooth, and it supports multi-device pairing with up to three devices, making it an excellent option if you’re also using a tablet. Due to its small size, it is very portable and takes up very little space, making it an ideal option for those who work in cafes or smaller spaces. If you want to protect your keyboard while transporting it, you can purchase a travel pouch from the Keychron website.
The Keychron K3 (Version 2) is a 75% wireless, portable keyboard that is light enough to use on the go. It is the improved version of the Keychron K3, with incline settings for enhanced ergonomics and a reinforced chassis to reduce flex. It is a thin, low-profile board with two incline settings that is comfortable to use.
The keycaps are made of Doubleshot ABS plastic, which has a soft feel but is susceptible to oil spots over time. It is available with either Gateron Low Profile mechanical switches or Keychron Low Profile Optical switches; the latter option is hot-swappable, allowing the switches to be changed without soldering.
The stock switches provide a satisfying typing experience, but their short pre-travel distance makes them very sensitive, and their de-press feel is dull. Keychron recommends using third-party software to remap buttons, as there is no available companion software additionally, although its acceptable latency is still too high for competitive or rapid-fire gaming.
About this item
- 75% layout ultra-slim wireless mechanical keyboard
- Bluetooth 5.1 and wired
- Reinforced aluminum body with plastic bottom frame
- Connects up to 3 devices
- For Mac & Windows
- Low-profile Keychron Optical brown switches preinstalled
- 18 Types of RGB backlight
- Low profile is comfortable to use for long periods.
- Connects wirelessly with up to three devices over Bluetooth.
- Feels very well-built.
- No companion software to program macros to keys.
- Keys feel cramped and sensitive.
8. Corsair K65 RGB MINI 60% Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The Corsair K65 RGB MINI is an exceptional gaming keyboard that feels exceptionally well-constructed and has remarkably low latency. It is one of the first keyboards from Corsair to be advertised as having a polling rate of 8000Hz, and we tested it at its maximum polling rate according to our methodology. However, we do not specifically try polling rates.
The tested unit’s Cherry MX Speed switches have a very short pre-travel and require very little force to activate, resulting in a very responsive feel. It also features full RGB lighting and macro-programmable keys. However, the ergonomics are subpar, as there is neither a wrist rest nor any adjustable incline settings.
The Corsair K65 RGB MINI is a 60% keyboard that does not require much desk space. Check out the HyperX Alloy Origins 65 if you’re looking for a compact keyboard with dedicated arrow keys.
The plastic case and white metal base plate of the Corsair K65 RGB MINI feel sturdy and do not bend. The keycaps are made of double-shot PBT and feature a texture that provides some grip. There is an additional spacebar with no RGB passthrough and another alphanumeric key with a Corsair logo, but both are ABS plastic. Four rubber pads on the bottom of the board feel grippy and prevent the keyboard from slipping when it is nudged. The keys are highly stable, and even the larger function keys have a minimal wobble.
The ergonomics of the Corsair K65 RGB MINI are mediocre. There are no adjustable angle settings, and no wrist rest included.
The Corsair K65 RGB MINI has exceptional RGB backlighting with individually illuminated keys, but the white backlighting has noticeable blue tones.
This keyboard’s USB-C to USB-A cable is braided. The Corsair K65 RGB MINI cannot be used wirelessly and is wired-only. Check out the ASUS ROG Falchion if you want a wireless compact motherboard.
The Corsair K65 RGB MINI is an exceptional compact 60% gaming keyboard with exceptionally low latency and a sturdy feel. It is also one of the first Corsair keyboards to advertise a polling rate of 8000Hz; this is not something we test specifically. Although it lacks many additional features, its controls are highly customizable.
All keys can be assigned macros, and other adjustments can be made directly on the keyboard or through the iCUE companion software. It also features full RGB lighting with individually lit keys and linear MX Cherry Speed switches, which provide a very light and responsive typing experience on the unit we tested. Unfortunately, neither the wrist rest nor the incline settings are adjustable.
About this item
- Small Size, Big Features: The K65 RGB MINI delivers big features compressed into a 60% form-factor to easily fit into even the tightest spaces for comfortable gaming
- Powered by CORSAIR AXON Hyper-Processing Technology: Transmits your inputs to your PC up to 8x faster than conventional gaming keyboards with 8,000Hz hyper-polling
- 100% CHERRY MX SPEED RGB Silver Mechanical Keyswitches: Lightning-fast response times with a 1.2mm actuation distance, registering up to 4x faster than standard mechanical keyboards with CORSAIR AXON
- Personalize Your Play: Show off your style with dynamic per-key RGB backlighting as well as an optional included radiant spacebar and CORSAIR logo key, along with a standard bottom row layout
- PBT Double-Shot Keycaps: A precision-molded keycap set that resists wear, fading, and shine, with 1.5mm thickness for rigid stability
- Exceptionally low latency.
- Outstanding build quality.
- Full RGB backlighting with individually lit keys.
- All keys are macro-programmable.
- Doesn't have a wrist rest or multiple incline settings.
9. HK GAMING GK61 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
The GK61 from Hong Kong Keyboards is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a standard-sized 60% mechanical gaming keyboard.
As with many other optical keyboards on the market, the GK61 has unique features and capabilities that set it apart from competing models. We will examine these features separately and highlight how they work to provide an excellent typing and gaming experience.
The GK61’s attractive appearance and design are entirely different from what we’re used to seeing in 60% of keyboards. It has a standard ANSI layout, making it very simple to replace broken or defective keycaps.
Although the fonts here closely resemble those on cheaper models, the GK61’s keycaps have different legends for the layers to compensate for the cheap appearance.
The keyboard weighs 546 grams, so you should be able to take it with you and play games while on the go without any difficulty; in addition to minimizing flexing and facilitating portability, its sturdy metal plate and plastic housing help to reduce bending.
The thin bezel emphasizes the small form factor typical of most 60% keyboards.
It has an intriguing glossy finish, which is visible when the keyboard is turned on its side. Notably, the GK61 keyboard’s OEM profile is standard. However, the glossy finish of the keycaps complements the overall design to give the board a distinctive appearance.
In addition, the keyboard’s base features four rubber feet to ensure stability on any surface. Overall, you will appreciate the GK61’s visual vibe and aesthetics if it is cleaned and maintained correctly.
In conclusion, the GK61 is our most cost-effective hot-swappable keyboard. It is helpful for most typing and gaming tasks, from the build quality to the glossy design and compact layout.
The software allows you to personalize your gaming experience by adjusting the lighting modes and adding your own macro settings.
The optical switch on the keyboard expedites response times whenever a command is initiated. This suggests that the GK61 provides faster response times for a more fluid gaming experience.
The software is a bit cumbersome, but if you don’t mind, the GK61 will provide you with an excellent gaming experience.
About this item
- Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 60 Percent
- 61 RGB Rainbow LED Backlit Programmable Keys
- Full Rgb Backlit Gaming Keyboard
- Gateron Optical Switches
- Fully Programmable
- Compatability With Mac & Windows
- Great design and build quality
- Built-in microphone feature
- Customizable RGB LED backlight
- Keycaps wobble at times
- Software is a bit complicated
10. Drop ALT Mechanical Keyboard
Drop ALT is a great gaming keyboard. It has various switches, allowing you to choose the ones you prefer. Each key is macro-programmable and features full RGB backlighting and individually lit keys. Although it has low latency, some gamers may prefer a lower latency. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated software, so it is more challenging to customize the board.
The Drop ALT mechanical keyboard is a 65% model with dedicated arrow keys. It occupies little desk space and is roughly the same size as the Ducky One 2 SF. If you prefer a larger keyboard with a numeric keypad, consider the Drop SHIFT. The board is also available in a TenKeyLess variant, the Drop CTRL.
The Drop ALT has exceptional construction quality. It has an aluminum frame that does not flex in any way. The double-shot PBT keycaps are comfortable, but the keys are slightly unstable. The inclined feet are magnetically attached to the board. Rubber is placed beneath the feet, which, combined with the aluminum frame’s weight, prevents it from sliding around easily.
This keyboard’s ergonomics are adequate. It has incline feet attach magnetically, making them easy to remove and keep in place while in use. You can also invert them to create a negative incline. Sadly, it does not include a wrist rest, which is somewhat disappointing given the keys’ high profile.
The Drop ALT keyboard features exceptional backlighting. It is incredibly bright and looks fabulous even in well-lit environments. A nice touch is an RGB strip that wraps around the frame. You can directly control the brightness and effects with hotkeys, but you must consult the user manual for the complete list. You can also configure the RGB lighting via Drop’s website interface and flash the settings on your keyboard. However, the software is not user-friendly and is not considered dedicated.
The Drop ALT is a mechanical keyboard that is highly customizable. It is available with various mechanical switches and is hot-swappable so that the switches can be changed without soldering. Drop also sells different keycap sets to give them a distinct appearance.
The aluminum frame is sturdy, and the RGB lighting is bright and attractive. Its latency is excellent, but it may not be low enough for some gamers. Every key is macro-programmable, but there is no dedicated software and configuring macros through the QMK software on the website is cumbersome. It has acceptable ergonomics, but it lacks a wrist rest so some users may experience fatigue after prolonged use.
About this item
- A COMPACT LAYOUT: The ALT mechanical keyboard is a smaller take on Drop’s CTRL model. It features 67 keys instead of 87. Absent of function keys, it wastes no space—but it still has a full set of arrows and numerals.
- A SOLID BUILD: Constructed with a solid aluminum frame with a built-in switch plate and magnetic legs, the ALT is rock-solid and ready for any setup.
- KAIHUA SPEED SILVER SWITCHES: Utilizing the popular Cherry MX form, these speedy linear switches are made with 3.5 millimeters of total travel with 1.1–1.4 millimeters of pre-travel. They’re easy to press and boast a 70-million lifetime click rating.
- HOT-SWAPPABLE SWITCH FUNCTIONALITY: Want to switch your switches? Customize the ALT with ease thanks to hot-swappable switch sockets, which allow you to swap switches in seconds—no soldering required.
- OPTIMIZED PER-KEY LIGHTING WITH MILLIONS OF COLORS: The ALT is illuminated with fully customizable RGB backlighting and under-lighting. Set your millions of LEDs to a single color or light them up with custom rainbow wave patterns.
- Outstanding RGB lighting.
- Macro-programmable keys.
- Available in a variety of switches.
- No dedicated software.
Which custom mechanical keyboard is the best?
The ability to customize it to your liking is the primary distinction between the average best gaming keyboard and the best custom mechanical keyboard. This may involve hot-swapping switches or adding additional dampening and other components within the keyboard.
If you’ve seen keyboards with custom keycaps and other embellishments, the owner likely used a kit like the ones recommended in this collection. If you’re new to modding and looking for a good value starter kit, the Keychron Q3 is an excellent option, especially if you purchase it preassembled.
However, this is not the only great custom mechanical keyboard available; our other recommendations are also worthy of consideration. The Drop CTRL is an excellent keyboard that is now a little dated, but it remains an incredible foundation. Transparent and equipped with wireless capabilities, the MelGeek Mojo68 is also an intriguing product. There are so many options available!
How to Choose A Custom Mechanical Keyboard
Customizable mechanical keyboards are a current market trend in the mechanical keyboard industry. Customizable mechanical keyboards enable users to personalize the typing feel, remap the keys, and set key combinations, among other customization options.
Before deciding on a build, you must first consider the essential features you want on your keyboard, as some parts are frequently included on stock keyboards. In other words, it isn’t easy to modify the keyboard’s construction, so choose carefully at this stage.
There are numerous keyboard sizes available, including full size, 96%, tenkeyless (80%), 75%, 70%, 65%, 60%, etc. Each size has a distinct layout design that sets it apart from the rest. When a keyboard is reduced in size, the number pad, editing keys, function row, and numbers are frequently eliminated.
Cases for keyboards can be made from various materials, including aluminum and plastic. In addition, case materials undergo different manufacturing processes, affecting their final quality, typing feel, and price tags. However, metal keyboard cases are typically more durable and stable, whereas plastic cases are lighter and less expensive.
Multiple keyboards include driver/software support programming capabilities, such as remapping the keys, adjusting RGB lighting, and creating macros that trigger various inputs with a single keypress so that the key feature can be freely programmed. Let’s compare some of the most prevalent drivers and software on the market.
The polling rate is the frequency with which devices report to connected computers. It employs the Hertz (Hz) unit of measurement. The greater the value, the quicker the keyboard responds.
A mechanical keyboard with a polling rate between 125 Hz and 250 Hz is adequate for daily office use. For less input latency and a better gaming experience, however, competitive gamers are strongly advised to have a polling rate of 1000 Hz or higher.
Mechanical switches are one of the most important factors determining a keyboard’s typing experience. The smoothness, depth, resistance, and noise levels of switches can vary. However, they are divided into three primary categories: linear, click, and tactile.
The plate serves to secure the switches in place. Common materials include aluminum, brass, steel, FR4, and polycarbonate. The rigidity of plates made from different materials can vary. The optimal plate material for your build depends heavily on your preference and other factors, such as case material. In addition to adding rigidity and stability to your switches, they can alter the typing experience of your keyboard.
Stabilizers (also known as ‘stabs’) are essential keyboard components that prevent larger keys, such as the space bar, from shaking, rattling, or tilting when pressed and help affix keycaps to switches. There are three types of commonly encountered stabs PCB screw-in, plate-mounted, and clip-in.
Numerous high-end custom keyboards feature a detachable cable, or you can customize it yourself. There are multiple cable types on the market, including some extremely attractive coiled cables. You can find an abundance of custom mechanical keyboard cables with vibrant hues, straight or coiled lines, and USB connectors to add even more versatility and style to your setup.
A custom keyboard replaces the system keyboard for users who desire unique text input methods or the ability to enter text in a language not supported by default.
Building or purchasing a custom mechanical keyboard allows you to specify your desires and needs for the typing experience and then achieve those goals by modifying every component.
However, the average cost per board is between $200 and $600. However, if this price scares you, it is possible to build a mechanical keyboard for a bit less money, though you will have to shop around and look for deals.
Due to the low demand for these keyboards, manufacturers have not established large-scale production units, which raises the overall cost of production. Manufacturers add these costs to the selling price of custom mechanical keyboards, making them costly.
However, the latency of custom keyboards may be a deterrent for avid gamers. Many PCBs (circuit boards) in custom keyboards from brands such as Corsair and Razer are optimized for gaming, in contrast to the PCBs in keyboards from other manufacturers.
What are the advantages of mechanical keyboards? Mechanical Keyboards provide excellent tactile feedback, where you can tell if a key has been registered or not due to the clicky sound and feel midway through the travel. This results in a precise and comfortable typing experience.
Numerous options are available when searching for a custom mechanical keyboard, making the process difficult.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with a solid foundation from which you can determine which board best suits your preferences.
The sky is the limit when constructing a one-of-a-kind custom keyboard, what with group buys, in-stock items, and all the imaginable customizable features.
As you’re bound to make a few mistakes on your first build, we recommend choosing something relatively simple (such as hot-swappable) as a starting point.