Popular Mechanical Keyboard Keycap Materials: A Guide To PBT, ABS, & POM

Mechanical keyboards have gained immense popularity among enthusiasts and gamers due to their tactile feel and enhanced durability. However, one often overlooked aspect of mechanical keyboards is the keycap material. The material used for keycaps can significantly impact your typing experience, aesthetics, and longevity of the keyboard. In this guide, we’ll delve into three of the most popular keycap materials: PBT, ABS, and POM.

Introduction to Keycap Materials

Keycap materials play a crucial role in determining the overall feel and aesthetics of your mechanical keyboard. They are available in various materials, each with its unique properties and characteristics. PBT, ABS, and POM are among the most commonly used materials, each offering a distinct typing experience.

Understanding PBT Keycaps

PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) keycaps are known for their durability and resistance to wear. These keycaps have a textured surface that feels more substantial to the touch, providing a satisfying grip for typing. PBT keycaps also have excellent color retention, making them less prone to fading over time.

Exploring ABS Keycaps

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) keycaps are smooth to the touch and often have a glossy finish, giving them a sleek appearance. While ABS keycaps can develop a polished look over time, they are more susceptible to wear and oil absorption. However, they are easier to customize and can feature vibrant colors and intricate designs.

Unveiling POM Keycaps

POM (Polyoxymethylene) keycaps strike a balance between PBT and ABS. They offer a smoother surface compared to PBT and better wear resistance than ABS. POM keycaps are also known for their distinct sound profile, producing a softer and quieter typing sound compared to other materials.

Comparing PBT, ABS, and POM

When comparing these three keycap materials, it’s essential to consider factors like durability, texture, sound, and customization options. PBT excels in durability, ABS offers customization opportunities, and POM provides a unique typing experience. Your choice should align with your preferences and typing style.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Keycap Materials

Choosing the right keycap material involves assessing factors like typing feel, aesthetics, maintenance, and price. PBT suits those who prioritize durability, while ABS appeals to those seeking customization. POM is an excellent choice for those who desire a balance between the two.

Maintenance and Cleaning of Keycaps

Proper maintenance is essential to preserve the look and feel of your keycaps. Regular cleaning with gentle solutions can help prevent the accumulation of dirt and oil, ensuring your keycaps remain in optimal condition.

Customization and Artisan Keycaps

One of the joys of mechanical keyboards is the ability to customize them according to your style. Artisan keycaps, often made from resin, wood, or metal, add a unique touch to your keyboard, allowing you to express your personality.

Enhancing Your Typing Experience

Keycap materials can significantly impact the overall typing experience. PBT’s textured surface provides a grippy feel, ABS offers a smooth glide, and POM’s unique sound profile adds an auditory dimension to typing.

Keycap Material and Sound Profile

Each keycap material produces a distinct sound when pressed. PBT and POM tend to create quieter typing sounds, while ABS keycaps can produce a sharper and louder sound due to their smooth surface.

Personalizing Your Keyboard

Personalization options extend beyond just keycap materials. From custom keycap sets to backlighting and case modifications, there are countless ways to make your mechanical keyboard truly your own.

Durability and Longevity

Durability is a significant consideration, especially for those who use their keyboards extensively. PBT keycaps have a reputation for lasting longer without showing signs of wear, making them an excellent investment for long-term use.

Price and Accessibility

Keycap materials also differ in terms of price and availability. PBT keycaps are often considered a mid-range option, while high-quality ABS and POM keycap sets can be pricier. Availability can vary based on current trends and demand.

Selecting the Right Keycap Material for You

In conclusion, the choice of keycap material ultimately depends on your preferences and priorities. If you value durability and a textured feel, PBT is an excellent choice. Those who prioritize customization and aesthetics might lean towards ABS. For a balanced experience, POM keycaps offer a unique blend of qualities.


In the world of mechanical keyboards, keycap materials are a vital factor that influences not only the way you type but also the overall aesthetics of your setup. Understanding the differences between PBT, ABS, and POM keycaps empowers you to make an informed decision that aligns with your typing style and preferences.


  1. Are PBT keycaps compatible with all mechanical keyboards? PBT keycaps are generally compatible with most mechanical keyboards that have a standard layout.
  2. Can I replace my keyboard’s keycaps with different materials? Yes, many mechanical keyboards allow you to replace keycaps, making it easy to switch to your preferred material.
  3. Do ABS keycaps become shiny over time? Yes, ABS keycaps can develop a polished appearance with extended use, especially on frequently pressed keys.
  4. Are POM keycaps louder than other materials? No, POM keycaps tend to produce quieter typing sounds compared to ABS and other materials.
  5. Where can I find artisan keycaps for customization? Artisan keycaps can be found on various online marketplaces and enthusiast forums dedicated to mechanical keyboards.