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Can I Mix & Match Different Keycap Set?

Can I Mix & Match Different Keycap Set?

Can I Mix & Match Different Keycap Set?

Wanting to try something new for your keyboard? Today we will be exploring the possibility of mixing keycap sets and personalize your keyboard.

Uniform vs sculpted

Sculpted & uniform profiles

The type of your keycap profile should be taken into consideration. There are two types of keycap profiles - uniform and sculpted. Uniform profile keycaps like XDA have the same height, shape and angle. Sculpted profile keycaps like Cherry and ASA have different height, shape and angle for each row of keys. Why does this matter? This is because you need to make sure each row of keys have the same height, shape and angle so that your keyboard will not look or feel weird when typing. The top row of your keyboard is called R4 and the bottom row is R1. A full sized keyboard has 6 rows, so from top to bottom it goes R4-R4-R3-R2-R1-R1. So this means that mixing keycaps of the same uniform profile is fine. However, mixing keycaps of the same sculpted profile can be tricky. You cannot put these keycaps on the rows that they are not designed for or else it would feel awkward and uncomfortable when typing. For example, R4 sculpted keycaps cannot go on R1 as the height, shape and angle is different.

Keycap profiles

MOA & XDA profiles

Another aspect to look out for is the keycap profiles of your keycap sets. Different keycap profiles have different heights, shapes and angles. For instance, Cherry profile's height is 9.4mm whereas OEM profile's height is 11.9mm. So you cannot mix keycaps of different profiles even if they are the same type, in this case, sculpted. However, if you insist on mixing two or multiple keycap sets of different keycap profiles, then the least you can do is make sure they are the same type, either sculpted or uniform. On top of that, try to pick keycaps that are similar in height, shape and angle so that your keyboard does not appear weird visually.

Switches and keycaps compatibility

Low & normal profiles

Next, you need to make sure that the switches on your keyboard are compatible with your keycap sets. First, you need to identify the type of your switches. Carefully observe the stem of your switches. If the stem is a cross-stem and looks like a "+", then you have Cherry MX/ MX style switches. If that is not what you see, then you may have exclusive switches. Nowadays, most keycap sets are produced to be MX compatible, so if you own Cherry MX/ MX style switches, then your keycaps will most likely be compatible. An exception is low profile switches. If your switches are really short, then they are not compatible with regular keycaps. What you need to do is get low profile keycaps for your low profile switches. As for exclusive switches like the Logitech Romer-G and Razer optical switches, your keycaps will not fit on them unless you get them from vendors that specifically state that the keycaps will be compatible with your exclusive switches. 

Keyboard layout

Standard layout key sizes

Source: maxkeyboard

Check your keyboard layout. Key sizes of a standard layout keyboard are displayed above. If your keyboard has standard layout, then your keycap sets will fit with no issues. However, things get slightly complicated if you own a non-standard layout keyboard. Non-standard layouts have different key sizes which affect the compatibility of your keycaps. Smaller keyboard layouts like the 60% tend to have non-standard layout because of smaller key sizes to reduce keyboard size. That is not always the case though, as keyboards like the Anne Pro 2 remain to be standard layout. So it is advised to always check your keyboard layout for confirmation. A common misconception is that TKL and 100% keyboards always have standard layout. That is simply wrong because keyboards like the NK87 Entry Edition exist . 

40% keyboard

Now you might be asking why does my keyboard layout matter? This is because non-standard layout keyboards have different key sizes which your keycap sets might not include. Keycaps are measured in the unit of "u". A standard alphanumeric keycap like "W" is 1u, whereas a 2u keycap is twice in size, so on and so forth. Additionally, you will need to purchase the extension kit of your keycap sets to cover less common layouts like the 40%. Another thing to look out for is make sure your keycap sets include enough keys for your keyboard if you own a full sized keyboard. This is because some keycap sets are only for smaller keyboard layouts like the TKL and 65%. In this case, you would need to pay more for more keycaps to accommodate your keyboard.

All in all, make sure your keycap sets include the right amount and sizes of keycaps for your keyboard.

Demonstration Of Mix & Match Keycap Profile

Next up, we will be showing some combinations of keycap sets with different keycap profiles so that you do not have to try them yourself.

Cherry Profile + XDA Profile

Cherry + XDA profile keycaps - top view

Pink Keycaps are Cherry profile, Purple Keycaps are XDA profile

Cherry + XDA profile keycaps - side view

XDA Profile + ASA Profile

XDA + ASA profile keycaps - top view
Purple Keycaps are ASA profile, Pink Keycaps are XDA profile
XDA + ASA profile keycaps - side view

Cherry Profile (PBT) + OEM Profile (ABS)

Cherry + OEM profile keycaps - top view
Purple Keycaps are OEM profile, Pink Keycaps are Cherry profile
Cherry + OEM profile keycaps - side view

Where to get foolproof keycap sets that are designed to be mixed and matched?

The KapCo is proud to inform you that the KapCo Colorway collection is produced for this purpose! The KapCo has launched this collection in two profiles - Cherry and XDA. Keycap sets in this collection are dye-sublimation printed PBT keycaps. So these keycaps are highly durable and resistant to wear, discoloration & shine. On top of that, the legends on these keycaps are longer-lasting thanks to the dye-sub printing method so they will last you many long typing sessions. 

Kaffir Lime Cherry profile keycaps

As for compatibility, The KapCo provides wide keycap compatibility to make sure the keycaps go on everyone's keyboards. The Cherry and XDA profile keycap sets contain 126 and 120 keys respectively. These sets include additional keys that have different keycap sizes for different keyboard layouts. So this means that the keycaps are compatible with all sizes of standard ANSI layout mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX/ MX style switches. DM @thekapco if you require more assistance on compatibility. 

Whale XDA profile keycaps

The KapCo is also having a $10 discount on all the keycap sets in the XDA profile lineup. So bring your keyboard back to life now by mixing and matching the keycap sets that you like! 

Key-takeaway:

  • Mix and match keycap sets of the same profile and make sure they go on their designated rows if sculpted.
  • Cherry MX/ MX style switches will most likely be compatible with your keycap sets. 
  • Low profile switches require low profile keycaps. 
  • Some exclusive switches will be compatible with regular keycap sets but some will not. 
  • Non-standard keyboard layouts will have a harder time finding keycap sets that are compatible compared to standard layout.
  • DM @thekapco if you have any inquiries.

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