Using a hot-swappable keyboard cherry-pilled me into a custom keyboard obsession


A decade ago PC gamers started ditching their mushy, cheapo rubber dome keyboards en masse for punchy mechanical boards with Cherry Brown or Black or Red switches. That shift led to dozens and then hundreds of competing switch types, each with their own distinct feel. Buying any old mechanical keyboard was now the starting gun rather than the finish line for this corner of our hobby: to really get into it, you could pick custom keycaps, mod your keyboard to change its sound profile, or even alienate your friends and family by lubing your switches to change how they feel.

To me the most exciting thing about this blossoming subculture is the arrival of hot-swappable keyboards: you can now change out every switch in your keyboard with no soldering. They make customizing your keyboard much more approachable. But at the same time, there are an intimidating number of options out there, and I learned a whole lot by mixing and matching switches and keycaps that I wish I’d known up front.

Know the difference between 5-pin keyboards and 3-pin keyboards

(Image credit: Future)

Here are two different mechanical key switches. Notice the difference?