If you’re in search of an aluminum mechanical keyboard then you’ve come to the right place.
Unlike keyboards with plastic cases, aluminum keyboards tend to be sturdier and heavier due to the obvious material differences.
This makes them favorable to those seeking a more rigid board with unshakeable premium weight.
In this post, we will cover the best aluminum keyboards with either semi or full CNC housing.
What is the best aluminum keyboard?
10. Cooler Master CK530 V2
The Cooler Master CK530 V2 is a budget, no-nonsense keyboard that gets the job done. It has a standard TKL layout with 87 keys and a standard bottom row. Intended for gamers, the switches are quick, the backlighting is bold, and the software enables basic customization.
Built with a brushed aluminum top plate that curves over to form the sides, the design is strikingly minimalistic. As there is no top piece, the frame reveals the switches as well as floating key-caps. Unfortunately, the switches are not hot-swappable, like you might expect with this kind of design.
Attached to the top plate is a plastic bottom shell. This has two rubber feet that provide one level of adjustment. Although the case is not completely aluminum, the build quality is still high with excellent rigidity. Due to weighing 1.6lbs, it has a decent amount of weight, as well.
For switches, the board comes with a reliable set of Gateron Reds. These are linear mechanical switches that require a 45+15 actuation force for a very short 0.6mm pre-travel. When typing, the short pre-travel guarantees rapid keystrokes to suit a variety of different scenarios.
Lastly, you’ll appreciate the bright, per-key RGB backlighting that has multiple modes and effects. Customizing the color configuration can be done on the fly or via the MasterPlus software. MasterPlus also allows you to record macros, set profiles, and change the keyboard layout.
All in all, it’s a great bit of kit for the price.
9. Mistel SLEEKER MD870
The MD870 Sleeker is solid and functional, aluminum mechanical keyboard. It has a standard TKL layout with 87 keys and just the right amount of spacing on the board. Despite having no software, it supports secondary FN functions and is compatible with both Windows and Mac layouts.
As far as the build quality goes, it’s hard to imagine anything better than this. CNC machined out of a two thick aluminum blocks, the case offers real strength, rigidity, and plenty of weight. In between is a reflective steel plate that helps to illuminate the bright LED backlighting.
For switches, the board comes equipped with Cherry MXs. This particular model features linear Reds; however, there are six other colors to choose from. Considered by many to be the best switches on the market today, they are responsive, receptive, and smooth under your fingertips.
Unfortunately, we noticed that the plate mount stabs on larger keys do rattle quite a bit, which is one area on this board you would want to sort out. On the plus side, the PBT key-caps are excellent. These are Cherry low-profile keycaps that have contrasting dye-sublimated legends.
Although the backlighting is only white, it’s a welcome addition that adds to that premium look. Increasing or decreasing the brightness is performed by holding the FN key plus F5 or F6 respectively. Moreover, further along are the media keys (F7 to F12) with secondary FN functions.
Anybody searching for a no frills, TKL mechanical keyboard with a full CNC aluminum case will fancy the MD870 Sleeker.
8. Keychron K1 (V4)
The Keychron K1 is an ultra-slim, tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. About half the height of a regular board, it features low-profile switches and shorter low-profile keycaps. Besides this, it offers cross-platform compatibility as well as both wired/ wireless modes.
Constructed from a two-part aluminum enclosure, the build quality is sturdy and robust. Although the body only measures 0.7 inches in height, it weighs 1.43 lbs and has quite a bit of heft. Stuck to the bottom are four rubber feet that help to raise the board just above the ground.
On the back of the case are two notch switches: one for the keyboard layout and one for the wireless. Toggling the first switches changes the layout from Windows to Mac, while the second switch activates Bluetooth and allows you to pair up to three devices simultaneously.
To help keep the board as thin as possible, the K1 goes for low-profile Gateron mechanical switches. These are 48% slimmer than conventional switches and come in three different colors: Red, Blues, and Browns. As a result, you can choose between a clicky, tactile feel or a quieter linear response.
Lastly, the Keychron K1 is lit up by a charming RGB backlight. Unfortunately, there is no current software to control this, however, eighteen plus color effects and adjustable levels are controllable onboard. Providing the power is a 2000 mAh battery that can last up to 15 hours of charge.
To sum up, if a low-profile keyboard is more your thing, you’ll struggle to beat the Keychron K1.
7. Royal Kludge RK61 Pro
The RK61 Pro is the upgraded version of the legendary RK61. Improved and refined, it comes equipped with a sleek new CNC aluminum case, PBT key-caps, and a slightly larger battery. Impressively, it still retains old features such as hot-swap usability and dual-mode connectivity.
Thanks to the aluminum casing, the build is nice and solid and it has quite a bit of heft for the size. Under the case are four rubber feet that balance the board at an 8° angle. Centered between the top two feet is a wireless on/ off switch. Moreover, on the back left of the case is a USB Type-C port.
Similar to the RK61, the RK61 Pros hot-swappable PCB supports both three and five-pin mechanical switches. For switches, you can choose from three Gateron colors, including: Blues, Browns, and Reds. Due to using Kailh sockets, Cherry MX style switches or clones are also compatible.
Dual-mode connectivity (Bluetooth 5.0 and wired) is another big plus of the G61 Pro. We found that it functions just as it should, with good range, no pairing issues, and a strong wireless connection. Powering this is a decent 1850mAh battery that can last approximately 1 week on a full charge.
Lastly, you’ll appreciate the beautiful RGB backlight. The backlight offers 18 RGB modes, eight monochrome modes, plus one full color mode. Controlling the RGB settings can be done onboard or with the software. Unfortunately, the software is a bit confusing, however, QMK is an alternative.
In short, the RK61 Pro is one of the most feature-rich, 60% aluminum keyboards in its class.
6. Durgod Hades 68 RGB
The Durgod Hades is a well-built 65% mechanical keyboard with a sturdy aluminum case. It has a compact 68 key layout that includes a full set of arrows plus three navigation keys. Moreover, on the right of the case are three LED indicators for your: caps lock, num lock, and scroll lock.
When compared to other similar form-factors, the aluminum chassis is one of the standout features of the Hades 68. This feels premium, cold to the touch, and gives it the kind of heft you would expect from a custom board. It’s so nice in fact that you may even want to try to get your hands on another!
For the switches, the Hades 68 is available in several popular Gateron and Cherry MX colors. These include Silent Browns, Speed Silvers, and Yellows, etc. Besides having a wide range of switch options, you’ll also appreciate the excellent factory-lubed stabilizers that are both smooth and quiet.
The shine-through ABS keycaps are quite thin but they do help to make the backlighting pop. In terms of backlighting, the board enables up to 16.8m colors and has several RGB modes. Personally, we think the RGB looks really clean and has some awesome visualization options.
All RGB modes are configurable through the Durgod Heras software. The software is lightweight yet powerful and provides all the customization you need. Besides customizing the backlighting, it also allows you to rebind the keys, set up macros, and save four profiles to the onboard memory.
Anybody that liked the look of the RK61 Pro but would prefer a 65% form factor instead; should turn their attention to the Durgod Hades 68.
5. Epomaker AK84S – Aluminum
The Epomaker AK84S is a feature-rich, 75% mechanical keyboard with a compact 84-key layout. Optimized for ultimate functionality, it features Windows and Mac compatibility, dual-connectivity, and is fully hot-swappable with either optical or mechanical switches.
In terms of the build, the AK84S is available in two different aluminum case designs. These include full aluminum (CNC’d from a single block) or an aluminum frame with an ABS bottom. A benefit to the plastic bottom is that it has two flip-up feet while the full aluminum only uses rubber bumpons.
Both versions have plenty of weight and are strikingly high quality. The stock stabilizers are surprisingly decent too, sounding quiet out of the box. On top is a set of GK1 profile PBT key-caps. Unfortunately, although these are double-shot, they don’t allow much backlighting to shine through.
Besides Gaterons, the AK84S is also available in Epomakers own Chocolate switch. Chocolates come in similar colors as traditional switch types, including: Blues, Browns, and Silvers. In contrast to Gaterons, they have a slightly reduced operating force (45+5gf) for a smoother typing experience.
Dual connectivity is another big plus of the AK84S. That gives you two distinct modes: wired and wireless. Supported by a Bluetooth 5.1 chipset, the wireless is steady, reliable and can connect to up to three devices at once. As a result, you can build an intuitive, multitasking workflow.
Powering the device is a large 4000 mAh battery. This can last up to 50 hours with the RGB lights on and takes approximately 8-10 hours to charge. In terms of RGB, the board carries nine default lighting effects; however, it’s also possible to download and create more using the native software.
4. Glorious GMMK TKL
The GMMK TKL is the tenkeyless version of the popular full-size Glorious GMMK. This board stands out for its minimalistic, raised key-cap design with almost no visible branding. It also happens to be one of the best hot-swappable mechanical keyboards that money can buy.
Similar to the Cooler Master CK530, the GMMK TKLs construction is in two parts: a gorgeous, sandblasted aluminum frame and a plastic bottom shell. The frame acts as the top plate and covers the sides, while the bottom plastic shell has four rubber feet and a pair of height-adjustable feet.
The large, flat, frame provides a superb modding platform. All 87 sockets are fully modular, which makes it easy to install a selection of 3-pin switches into the PCB. For stock switches, it comes with Gaterons; however, you can also use Kailh’s, Cherry MX’s, and clones.
While the board is nice and solid, you might want to perform a few mods out of the box. For starters, the stabilizers are quite rattly, so you’ll probably want to replace them with a quality set of GMK plates or Cherry stabs. Furthermore, the stock keycaps only use thin ABS plastic.
With a high polling rate, anti-ghosting, and a 16.8 million-color RGB backlight, the GMMK features all the extras you would expect with a premium product. Customizing the RGB backlight is possible onboard or via the software. The software is super basic but still good enough to get the job done.
Overall, the GMMK TKL is versatile and satisfying aluminum keyboard.
3. iKBC MF108 v3 RGB
The MF108 v3 RGB is the third version of the full-size, metal-frame IKBC keyboard. As you can tell from the name, it has 108 keys, which include three volume keys and a calculator key above the Numpad. RGB backlighting is another integrated feature with up to 16.8 million colors.
Constructed entirely from metal, the MF108 v3 is built like a tank. The enclosure consists of two thick aluminum blocks that screw together with a steel plate in the middle for the switches. The result is over 5 pounds of solid weight that’s not going to budge or bend under any circumstances.
On the bottom of the board are four rubber feet that help to raise the case above the ground. Towards the middle-back of the underside, you will see a recessed dome-shaped housing for the USB cable. Unlike the previous versions, the PCB now uses a USB Type-C connection.
For switches, the MF108 v3 comes equipped with Cherry MX’s in a selection of Blues, Browns, and Reds. Rated for 50 million key-presses, they provide the reliability and accuracy you need. When combined with the OEM profile PBT key-caps, we found the typing experience to be spectacular.
Due to being double-shot, the key-cap legends allow the RGB to shine through nicely. Although the LEDs aren’t insanely bright, they’re still bright enough to do the job. We particularly like that you can set the backlighting to static white and that all effects are easily programmable on-board.
Overall, the MF108 is a real desk killer that makes an even stronger impression in reality.
2. ABKONCORE AR87
The ABKONCORE AR87 is a premium mechanical keyboard with a full CNC aluminum body. It has a standard TKL layout with 87 keys, Cherry MX switches, and PBT keycaps. Running along each side of the case is a rainbow LED strip that provides subtle RGB accent lighting.
Weighing 6.8 lbs, the AR87 is one of the heaviest keyboards on the market. Unlike many other inferior boards that use a combination of materials, the AR87 is 100% aluminum. As a result, you can expect a ridiculous build quality with absolutely no flex whatsoever.
The case itself is comprised of two aluminum slabs. Together, they secure a bottom-mount plate for stability and consistency when typing. To help filter any unnecessary noise, sound dampening foam lines the PCB. This makes it easier to hear the raw and satisfying sounds of the switches.
For switches, the AR87 is available in five popular colors including Blacks, Silent Reds, and Browns. On top are a set of 1.4mm Cherry profile keycaps. These are true white in color and look clean with the black dye lettering. Additionally, Cherry plate-mount stabilizers support the larger caps.
Although the stabs do come pre-lubed, admittedly they have some rattle so you may have to reduce this yourself. Furthermore, no software is available for the board. Instead, all secondary functions and side accent lighting customization is achieved by pressing FN function key combinations.
Overall, the AR87 is a gorgeous keyboard that gives you a lot of product for the money.
1. Drop Shift Mechanical Keyboard
The Drop Shift is a modern and inventive, full-featured mechanical keyboard. Significantly shorter than a traditional full-size board, it goes for a space-efficient 1800 layout with 99 keys. This results in the home-key cluster moving above the Numpad for a similar form factor to that of a TKL.
Constructed with a CNC anodized aluminum frame, the build quality is solid and there isn’t any flex. Besides providing plenty of strength, the frame also acts as a built-in switch plate for the PCB. The PCB itself is entirely hot-swappable and can house a selection of 3-pin mechanical switches.
For switches, the Shift is available in Cherry MXs, Kaihuas, or Halos. On top are a contrasting set of double shot PBT keycaps. These have a nice textured feel with attractive, shine-through legends. Supporting the caps are a set of Cherry style plate-mounted stabs.
RGB backlighting is another prominent feature of the Drop Shift. A diffused light bar wraps around the entire case and LEDs are soldered into the PCB. Together, they produce a beautiful light box effect that shines evenly in and around the case and throughout the floating keycaps.
Using the QMK firmware, all of the backlighting and keys are fully programmable. The configurator allows you to program macros, customize key re-mappings, and set the RGB lighting just as you like. Although we found the software to be a little primitive, it does perform enough functions.
Overall, the Shift is an real niche aluminum keyboard for anyone looking to add a little flair to their desktop.
Is an Aluminum Case Good for a Keyboard?
An aluminum case is a good choice for a keyboard for many reasons, all of which affect the durability, appearance, sound, and workability of the keyboard.
Aluminum is a common metal used in electronics because it’s readily available, lightweight, and easy to work with. Any durability you sacrifice when choosing an aluminum alloy over steel is slight, and it’s worth the increased workability.
Aluminum cases hold up against time and use, and they naturally react with air to create an anti-rust layer. The metal works well to dissipate heat faster than other metals, protecting internal components from heat damage.
Aluminum offers excellent scratch resistance. You can achieve different colors through anodization, an electrochemical process that creates the durable, corrosion-resistance finish. This finish is also oil resistant, so you won’t experience the same shine issues you get with plastic cases.
Aluminum cases allow for better sound reverberation, and they easily enhance the clicking sound many seek from a mechanical keyboard.
Despite being a metal, aluminum is also easy to work with. It’s about 3 times lighter than steel and lighter than most other metals. The malleability of aluminum makes it easier to accommodate different case sizes and designs, and you can create a high-quality case with minimal effort.
Due to being durable, malleable, and relatively inexpensive, aluminum is a fantastic material for a keyboard. Unlike plastic, it’s also easier to recycle, which is considerably better for the environment. On the whole, keyboards tend to have a more premium feel if they are made from aluminum.
What Aluminum is Used for Keyboards?
The most common types of aluminum used for keyboards are 6061, 6063, and 5052. Less common types you may still see include 5053, 7075, and 6053.
Aluminum 6061 is the most common and arguably best aluminum type for keyboards. This precipitation-hardened alloy contains magnesium and silicon, and it features strength and corrosion resistance. Aluminum 6061 is also easy to weld and work in a machine, so you won’t get as frustrated as with other types.
Aluminum 6063 shares features with 6061, and it also uses magnesium and silicon as alloying elements. It’s not as popular because its higher melting temperature makes it slightly more difficult to work with.
You also see aluminum 5052 used for keyboards. Alloying elements like magnesium and chromium give it a better finishing and corrosion resistance. However, 5052 is much harder to machine and it often isn’t worth the extra effort.
We hope you found an aluminum mechanical keyboard on this list.