The 9 Best Keycaps for Gaming in 2024: The Ultimate Guide for Gamers
Keyboard modding and accessories are quickly becoming a trend in the world of gaming in 2024. With tons of YouTube videos, subreddits, and even Facebook groups that gather massive communities of keyboard builders and modders regularly, it’s hard to not get involved in it yourself and explore the wonderful world of keyboards and their complexities. That is why in this article, I will be sharing with you what I think are the 9 Best Keycaps for Gaming in 2024 with their accompanying features, pros, cons, and of course, price!
Keycaps for Gaming
Keycaps are generally sought out for their aesthetic modifications on your keyboard, and while they don’t inherently make you a better gamer, they can improve the feel and tactility of your keyboard—although not as much as switches do.
With that being said, custom keycaps can definitely be a nice addition to your current gaming setup and can help you manifest your creativity and taste for aesthetics without shelling out too much cash.
Why you should get a new set of keycaps
While new or custom keycaps won’t give you a win streak in your ranked games, they do have some advantages that can help with your keyboard’s longevity.
First, most keyboards come with relatively inexpensive and mass-produced keycaps that make the keyboard drab and bland, with the exception of very expensive mechanical keyboards. The keycaps are what you’ll be looking at and typing on for the rest of your keyboard’s life, therefore, shouldn’t they have an aesthetic that suits your taste?
There are numerous advantages to replacing keycaps, and they can transform a $50 keyboard into a $150 one for a relatively low cost. The main advantages are, of course, aesthetics, as you may choose the color and design of the keycaps, allowing the RGB lighting to shine through your beautiful keyboard. The legends will not fade away either after a period of heavy use because these custom keycaps are more durable and have paint that can withstand the sweat of your fingers from all the ranked games you’ve been pulling off.
Finally, altering the profile design will provide you with a keycap set that is both pleasant and efficient to type on. They can help achieve the dream of any keyboard enthusiast: a keyboard’s “thocc” or smoothness with every keystroke.
1. Keycap material (ABS and PBT)
ABS and PBT are the two most common materials used in keycaps. You might be wondering what ABS and PBT are. They are, after all, two distinct forms of plastic with distinct properties. Both ABS and PBT have different textures, sounds, and appearances that contribute to the overall feel of your keyboard. But no worries! We’ll go over the differences and which of these two are the superior option.
ABS keycaps are the most affordable and widely used plastic for keycaps. They’re widely distributed and produced due to their ease of injection molding and cheap materials.
PBT plastic on the other hand is less common than ABS, but it is usually of superior quality. PBT keycaps have a more defined texture and are more durable than typical plastic ABS keycaps. One way you can tell if a keyboard has PBT keycaps is if the legends or the keycaps themselves look reflective and glossy. Unfortunately, that is one of the cons of PBT keycaps that many users are considering as deal-breakers.
If you’re still clueless about the differences between these two, just know that PBT is superior in every way over ABS because it is more durable and wears down less over time. However, there are several very excellent ABS keycap sets available, and ultimately, it boils down to personal preference. Some people prefer ABS’s smooth feel, while others prefer PBT’s textured feel.
For people who are just getting into keycaps (who might be one of you), I highly advise getting PBT keycaps for longevity and for that textured feel that you just won’t get with cheap ABS sets.
2. Keycaps Profile 101
The keycap profile you intend to use is an important customization option to consider when shopping for keycaps.
A keycap profile is essentially a description of the form of the keycaps on a specific row of a keyboard. Ergonomics and aesthetics are the driving forces behind “sculpted” keycap sets. The “optimal” keycap profile for you, like all elements of customizing your mechanical keyboard, is subjective and depends on your personal preference.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be able to determine which keycap sets to test. Personally, I find the sculpted keycap sets like Cherry profiles to be better to type on because the heights vary, making it easier to feel where your fingers are on the board. Non-sculpted uniform keycap profiles like Signature Plastics’ DSA, on the other hand, have a really tidy and basic aesthetic that I also appreciate.
The best keycap material and profile for gaming
If you want to optimize your gaming experience, look for a keycap profile that feels the most natural to you so you won’t feel antagonized by the new look of your keyboard.
As mentioned earlier, Cherry profiles are an excellent keycap style for gaming since it is sculpted to be efficient and comfortable to press. Overall though, keycap profiles and even keycaps in general should have little impact on your gaming experience.
Just remember that whichever keycap profile feels the most familiar and comfortable is the one that is ideal for you while gaming. With that being said, I strongly advise you to try a set of Cherry profiles with PBT keycaps as I find them the most comfortable for gaming. Of course, one of the products that I will be featuring in this list will have these specs, so don’t worry about it.
Common myths and misconceptions about Keycaps
Keycaps are still niche and considered accessories for keyboard enthusiasts nowadays, and because of that, it’s easy to come across some misconceptions that may change your perceptions of these little guys. Let’s try to clear some of them for you so that the next time you shop for keycaps, you know what you’re getting yourself into.
1. Custom Keycaps will change the way I game.
No. Keycaps, for the most part, are accessories for your keyboard that merely enhance the aesthetic and design of your setup. It isn’t supposed to win you more games or give you an edge over your enemy as a gaming mouse or headset would. They will, however, give a different texture and feel every time you touch your keyboard, which for some, can boost their mood and help you get into the “zone” quicker.
However, if you are looking for something that will really affect the way you type and game, keyboard switches are something you should look out for. I won’t be going deep on keyboard switches as they’re entirely different from keycaps, but in essence, keyboard switches change the entire feel and sound of how your keyboard types and performs.
2. Keycaps and keyboard switches are the same thing.
Nope. As discussed earlier, keycaps and keyboard switches are entirely different aspects and parts of a keyboard. They do work in tandem to create a smooth and satisfying typing experience for your keyboard, but they’re different entities that work with one another. To make it easier for you to understand, just think of keycaps for aesthetics and keyboard switches for typing feel.
The 9 Best Keycaps for Gaming in 2024
Ready to shop for keycaps? Let’s dive right into what I think are the 9 Best Keycaps for Gaming in 2024, complete with their prices, a brief description of their feel, and pros and cons.
1. The Best Value for Money Keycaps: YMDK Carbon 108 Cherry Keycaps
For the past several weeks, I’ve been using the YMDK Carbon Cherry Keycaps as my daily driver and my mind was blown by how good they look for their price. First, it’s a Cherry profile set which translates into comfortable typing and gaming.
- Laser-etched PBT
- High-quality legends
- Cherry profile
- Comfortable and tactile
- Can suit any board aesthetic
- Some sets have their legends in front of the keycaps
- Black-colored keycaps have legends that are hard to see
The laser-etched PBT also ensures that the legends have a sharp and high-definition look without the fear of fading after some time of use. With their black, orange, and white colors, the keycaps have a one-of-a-kind “Halloween” feel to them that adds to their uniqueness and character.
One gripe I have with these YMDK Carbon Cherry Keycaps is that some sets have their legends in front of the keycaps instead of on top, meaning that people who aren’t used to touch typing or are just beginners in the realm of gaming and keyboard may find it hard to adjust with not seeing their keys right away. However, it does add to the minimalism of the keycap set and I love how it can literally be installed on any type of board and it would still look good!
With their tactile feel and soothing comfy feel, the YMDK Carbons are definitely a must-pick-up for gamers looking for bang-for-buck keycaps with aesthetics that are minimalist.
Get your YMDK Carbon 108 Cherry Keycaps today.
2. The Best Keycaps for Beginners: HyperX Pudding PBT Doubleshot Keycaps
The HyperX OEM pudding keycaps are a cost-effective way to upgrade your RGB lighting and take your keyboard to the next level. From my time with them, I can confidently say that they’re the best keycap sets for those who are just starting out in the world of keyboard modding.
Because firstly, HyperX is a household name in tech and gaming, and secondly, they’re cheap and easy to pair with any kind of board due to their black and white color variants.
- High-quality PBT
- Perfect for beginners
- Easy to read legends
- Easy to pair with any board
- Long-lasting durability
- See-through material
- Low cost
- Only comes in black or white
- Can feel plastic at times
Their feel and touch aren’t the best. I noticed that they feel too plastic at times due to their OEM profile, but it’s still an upgrade from my keyboard’s stock keycaps.
These HyperX Pudding PBT Doubleshot Keycaps enable light to shine through the sides, allowing you to show off your lighting effects to their full potential. In addition to the pudding design, these keycaps are made of PBT, which means they’ll last longer than the ABS keycaps that come with your average keyboard.
Although I’m not much of an RGB lover myself, I do appreciate that light is able to shine through the sides and can really show off my taste in design and aesthetics. If there’s anything I would love to see in the next versions or future releases of HyperX, it would be a more diverse choice in color selection.
Don’t get me wrong, their black and white color variants are top-notch, but they’re a little stale for 2024 where colorful keyboards and keycaps are the hottest craze.
Get your HyperX Pudding PBT Doubleshot Keycaps today.
3. The Most Colorful Keycaps: HK Gaming Dye Sublimation Keycaps
HK Gaming Dye Sublimation Keycaps
The Most Colorful Keycaps
- Really colorful set of keycaps
- Reasonably priced
- PBT and Cherry profile
The HK Gaming Dye Sublimation Keycaps are one of my personal favorites for how colorful its keys are. They’re just so fun to look at with colors that pop and add so much character to a board. On top of that, its asking price is reasonable and relatively cheap.
- Really colorful set of keycaps
- Reasonably priced
- Cherry profile
- Can change the sound of typing depending on board
- PBT is plastic material
- Has a bit of rattle
The amount of value you get from this low-cost kit is astounding, especially considering that it’s already PBT and Cherry, making it a solid pick for gamers who want comfort and that tactile feel. Speaking of comfort, my gaming sessions with these HK Gaming Dye Sublimation Keycaps were nothing short of enjoyable.
Because they are PBT and Cherry, these keycaps are comfortable to type on and have this specific, satisfying feel that you won’t find with other keycaps. I didn’t feel any discomfort, pain, or awkwardness while typing either which is good news for gamers who also do work and write papers on their PCs.
The main con of this HK Gaming Dye Sublimation Keycap set is its PBT plastic material which can be a turn-off to some gamers. Although this didn’t sway me away from the HK Gaming brand, I did notice some rattle with the keycaps that could affect some boards’ typing sound and performance.
In my case though, it didn’t affect the sound too much and I was even pleased with how my switches’ acoustics felt after installing this keycap set.
Get your HK Gaming Dye Sublimation Keycaps today.
4. The Best Minimalist Keycaps: YMDK White Gray Black Keycaps
The YMDK White Gray Black Keycaps are what I think are the best minimalistic keycaps that you can buy without breaking the bank. I was surprised with how affordable these are given that its legends are laser-etched PBT. Its OEM profile makes it easy to install and recommend to any type of build too.
- Minimalist aesthetic
- Durable PBT legends
- OEM profile for easy pairing with any board
- Colors can be mixed with other keycap sets
- Hard to read legends
- Doesn’t come in 100+ set
During my time of use with these YMDK Keycaps, I played games like VALORANT and Call of Duty: Vanguard, that required high APM. To my enjoyment, I didn’t notice any rattle and plastic feel with these keycaps and on top of that, they also felt great for typing whenever I didn’t feel like opening my mic to communicate with my teammates.
Of course, I can’t skip its aesthetics. Although this kind of minimalist approach isn’t going to suit everyone, I personally think that it looks sick with how all the colors compliment each other. Although White, Gray, and Black aren’t the flashiest colors, they just all mix well and they seamlessly camouflage into the background no matter what your board’s build and color are.
If there’s anything I would be forced to nitpick this YMDK Keycap set, it would be that the legends are in front of the keycaps themselves instead of on top. While most gamers should be used to touch typing by now, there are some who are still just getting into the PC gaming realm and are just beginning to learn the basics of typing.
Because of this, the YMDK White Gray Black Keycaps are not something I would recommend for beginners in typing and PC gaming in general.
Get your YMDK White Gray Black Keycaps today.
5. The Best Keycaps for RGB Lovers: YMDK Doubleshot Rainbow Keycaps
For gamers who want a keyboard that is full of colors, then look no further than the YMDK Doubleshot Rainbow Keycaps. Although I’ve already made my pick for the most colorful keycaps set, this one is different because it follows the ROYGBIV rainbow color format that pairs so well with RGB keyboards. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a huge fan of RGB, but seeing this keycap in action on one of my RGB-equipped keyboards left me satisfied and in awe.
- Colorful set that adds character to your board
- Doubleshot PBT legends
- Can be mixed and matched with other keycap sets
- Goes well with RGB keyboards
- Underwhelming without RGB
- Hard to pair with boards with dark aesthetic
For its feel and tactility, it didn’t really stand out from the rest. It felt mediocre, to say the least, but at least there’s assurance that the legends won’t fade away thanks to the doubleshot PBT material. Its OEM profile also makes it compatible with almost every type of gamer and typist.
My main gripe with these YMDK Doubleshot Rainbow Keycaps is that they’re rather underwhelming when paired with a keyboard that has no RGB. Sure, the rainbow aesthetic adds character, but what really makes it shine is when the RGB pierces through the legends and keycaps themselves.
Nevertheless, I still think that this set is worth picking up especially for its price if you want something that’s a little more fun to look at than white, black, and gray.
Get your YMDK Doubleshot Rainbow Keycaps today.
6. The Best Keycaps for Office Executives: YMDK Gray Beige YMD96 Keycaps
Bringing your own keyboard to work isn’t anything new. Well, as long as you have switches that won’t annoy your coworkers. So, for gamers who want something that’s lowkey and won’t get you in trouble for having a keyboard that’s too “flashy” for work, these YMDK Gray Beige YMD96 Keycaps will sit right perfect into your wants.
- Perfect for gamers who bring their keyboard to work
- High-quality feel
- Provides satisfying acoustics
- Lowkey aesthetics
- Legends are easy to read
- Does not work well with RGB
As someone who brings their keyboard to work regularly, it was a relief to see that there were keycaps like these that blend well with an office’s overall environment. Outside of working though, these YMDK Gray Beige YMD96 Keycaps are also great for gaming.
I played about 4 hours of League of Legends with these and I couldn’t help but notice how they changed the sound of my switches into something smoother. Not to mention its feel that is premium and high quality too thanks to its Dye-Sublimation PBT material.
One major con with this keycap set is that there is virtually no way for light to pass through it, so for gamers who love their RGB, you’ll be disappointed to see that it can’t really make your keyboard stand out with RGB due to these keycaps’ build.
Overall though, the YMDK Gray Beige YMD96 Keycaps are perhaps the best keycaps a gamer can buy who works during the day and games during the night.
Get your YMDK Gray Beige YMD96 Keycaps today.
7. The Best Keycaps for Retro Feels: YMDK DSA Retro Keycaps
I’ll admit: I’m a sucker for anything retro and classic, so the moment that I saw that these keycaps were for sale on Amazon, I did not hesitate to click add to cart and purchase right away. And guess what: I was not disappointed with my purchase at all! The YMDK DSA Retro Keycaps are the best keycaps for gamers who want something more simple, traditional, and retro.
- Minimalist color profile
- Classic, retro look
- DSA profile for angled keycaps
- Readable legends
- Quite costly
- Inconsistencies in build
It sports the same color profile and setup as the YMDK Gray Beige YMD96 Keycaps that I previously discussed, meaning you can technically bring this to work too without diverting too much attention to your keyboard.
For its material, these YMDK DSA Retro Keycaps sport a Dye-Sublimated PBT built with a DSA profile that keeps the keycaps angled, making it suitable for typists. My gaming experience with these were enjoyable too! They didn’t feel cheap and the angled keycaps didn’t make me uncomfortable.
One thing that I noticed with this set though is that the height of some keycaps were not uniform. Some were a tad bit taller than others and vice versa. While this isn’t a deal-breaker, it is hard to unsee it once you spot the inconsistencies with its build.
At its current price point, I expected something more uniform and premium. Besides all these minor floaws, I still think that the YMDK DSA Retro Keycaps are a great pickup for gamers who want to sport the 90s to early 2000s look for their keyboard.
Get your YMDK DSA Retro Keycaps today.
8. The Best Keycaps for Blank Looks: Blank White Thick PBT Keycaps
The Blank White Thick PBT Keycaps are a rather unique set of keycaps because of two things – first, they don’t have any legends on them. Nothing in front and nothing on its top – which can be a problem for those just starting out in the realm of PC gaming and typing.
Second, all sets and variants have the same uniform color. This means that all you get is a keycap with blank legends and a solid color.
- Comes in a variety of color sets
- Does not cost a lot of money
- Premium feel and weight
- Easy to fit in any keyboard build and aesthetic
- Thick PBT material for added weight
- No legends for letter identification
- Not recommended for PC beginners
So why did I include this keycap? Because they’re perfect for gamers who are building towards a setup that follows a specific theme! I, for one, am following a pure white-themed setup, so it was a no-brainer to pick this Blank White Thick PBT Keycap set up and install them on my keyboard right away.
No worries though, they don’t only come in white. This PBT keycap set has a variety of color options, starting from black, red, and even a mix of pink and white. There’s definitely a little something for everyone.
Now to discuss their feel, they are fun for gaming and typing on. I tested these while playing Elden Ring on my PC and I definitely felt the thick PBT material coming in really handy as it gave the keycaps a premium feel that I only felt from selecting other keycaps on this list.
Its OEM profile also makes it an easy recommendation for any type and build of keyboard. At its current price point, these Blank White Thick PBT Keycaps are a solid pick-up for gamers and keyboard enthusiasts who religiously follow a color theme for their setup.
Get your Blank White Thick PBT Keycaps today.
9. The Best Premium Keycaps: Drop + Matt30/DEV/TTY MT3 Keycaps
Going last on this list is perhaps the most premium keycaps I have tested these past weeks, the Drop + Matt30/DEV/TTY MT3 Keycaps. These keycaps are nothing short of amazing and breathtaking, and they should be because of their rather expensive asking price of $90. For that money though, I got a keycap set that is high quality, colorful, and is full of character and uniqueness.
- Premium feel and build
- Colorful set of keys
- MT3 profile for angled F keys and bottom row
- Dye-Sublimated PBT for see-through and never-fading legends
- Can be paired with almost any board setup
Let’s start with the legends. The legends are easy to read and have a distinct feel to them that makes each key easy to distinguish from one another. This is thanks to this set’s Dye-Sublimated PBT material which provides it with a matte-ish feel and texture.
Next, its MT3 profile also makes it stand out from all other keycaps we have discussed. This keycap profile gives it an arc-like angle, meaning the F keys are angled and so are the space bar, CTRL, ALT, and function keys but the letter rows themselves stay the same. It’s a unique approach to keycap profile and ergonomics-wise, it also makes sense since it makes the F keys and the bottom row of the keyboard easier to press and access.
My only problem with these keycaps is that they’re too expensive, especially considering that there are literal keyboards that are cheaper than its current price point. However, you do get an extremely premium keycap set that will make even your friends fall in love with your keyboard.
Get your Drop + Matt30/DEV/TTY MT3 Keycaps today.
My Top Gaming Keycap Picks for Gamers
This wraps up my 9 Best Keycaps for Gaming in 2024 list! Let’s do a quick rundown of the keycaps we featured, along with what I think you should get for the best value for your money.
Of course, the best keycaps for the price are the YMDK Carbon 108 Cherry Keycaps. At a low price point, you get a complete set of keycaps that have readable legends, a minimalistic aesthetic, laser-etched PBT material, and Cherry profile that is perfect for gaming and typing.
For those who are aiming for a more fun and colorful setup, the HK Gaming Dye Sublimation Keycaps are easy to recommend because of their price and PBT material. These keycaps will definitely turn some heads around when you invite your friends over.
Which keycap are you going for? Are you team OEM or team Cherry? Let me know in the comments below!