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pbt keycap set

20 Best PBT Keycap Sets [Dec 2021]

When it comes to customizing a mechanical keyboard, a new set of PBT keycaps is often the first mod on the list to give a board its unique flair.

Fortunately, aftermarket sets have only got better with an increasing number of stylish designs available each year.

In this post, we will look at some of the best PBT keysets on the market right now.

Besides aesthetics, all of the kits on this list offer far superior quality than your standard, shine-prone ABS cap.

Contents:

15 best PBT Keycap Sets
5 best ABS Keycap Sets


What is the best PBT Keycap Set?

15. CHARAN PBT Keycaps

Keys: 104
Profile: OEM
Material: PBT
Legends: Dye
Shine-through: X

These budget keycap sets by Charan have some interesting graphic designs. The cosmic and anime selection includes Elk, Knight, Sakura, and Starry Sky. Each combine a delightful blend of tri-tone colors in a way that is sure to attract newbies building their first keyboard.

Although the plastic is PBT, the quality is somewhat on the lower end of the scale. In particular, the keycaps are quite thin and transparent. As a result, LED backlighting does shine through the surface of the caps (not the legends). This results in an unusual look that you may or not like.

Nevertheless, the Charan keycaps offer wide compatibility. They will fit Cherry MX style switches or any other mechanical switches that have “+” mounting points under the keycaps. Thanks to the included key pulling accessory, installation is a breeze.


14. Olivia ONECAP Keycap Set

Keys: 160
Profile: Cherry
Material: PBT
Legends: DS
Shine-through: X

This PBT keycap set by OneCap includes 160 individual keycaps. Out of those, the kit contains 104 standard ANSI keys and 56 extra customizable keys. That means you can either roll with a traditional QWERTY layout or create your own by putting on the extra modifier caps.

Made from 1.5mm PBT, all the caps are extra thick and have fantastic strength and durability. Besides strength, the texturing is just right, and the unique colorways are gorgeous. Moreover, the double shot process ensures the legends won’t fade or disappear down the line.

Unfortunately, while the actual material of the keycaps is good, they are let down by their quality. For starters, we did find some leftover pieces of plastic on the edges. However, the biggest deal-breaker is that the legend font sizes seem to differ based on the keycap sizes.


13. Lesix Blossom Japanese Keycap Set

Keys: 110
Profile: Cherry
Material: PBT
Legends: Dye
Shine-though: X

This Japanese PBT keycap set by Lesix has a bit of a color explosion. Printed by a thermal sublimation process, the artistic blossom design and legends embed right into the caps themselves. This provides plenty of resilience and longevity for a guaranteed service life of ten years.

As for the texture, these 1.3mm keycaps have a bit of a grainy feel. The almost pebbled matt surface prevents any buildup of oils and fingerprinting problems disappear, too. During typing, your fingers won’t fall off the keycaps the way they would have on smoother options.


12. RadRab Anime PBT Keycap Set

Keys: 131
Profile: OEM
Material: PBT
Legends: Dye
Shine-through: X

There are 131 keys in this anime keycap set, which is more than enough to cover full-size keyboards with no trouble at all. One thing to note is that the majority of the legends use classical Chinese style typography. Due to this, the English sub-legends are a bit smaller and harder to read.

The wonderful watercolor graphics is another cool touch. This is printed using a dye-sub process and then finished with a clear coat. The clear coat not only provides extra protection for the characters and designs but also adds a little bit of a tactile texture to the keycaps themselves.


11. Epomaker Silicone GK2 Keycap Set

Keys: 140
Profile: GK2
Material: Silicone
Legends: DS
Shine-through: X

The double shot molding on these Epomaker keycaps isn’t unique, but the use of medical-grade silicone instead of ABS or PBT plastic certainly is. This results in a keycap that feels softer without sacrificing durability. It helps eliminates fatigue during long keyboard sessions, too.

Besides the use of an innovative material, Epomaker has come up with a unique GK2 profile to help you feel the difference immediately. GK2 has a similar spherical profile to KAT but with a slightly taller height. As a result, your fingers will dance across the surface with even greater accuracy.

Epomaker silicone keycaps
(Image credit: Epomaker)

10. Gliging GMK Clones

Keys: 140
Profile: Cherry
Material: PBT
Legends: DS
Shine-through: X

Anybody who can’t afford the real deal will appreciate these GMK clones from Gliging. Made from 1.5 mm thick PBT, the quality is thick and consistent throughout the set. Moreover, the double shot process does a great job of taking care of the legends, which are nice and crisp to look at.

With 140 individual keycaps, (108 standard keys and 32 modifiers), you’ll be able to modify and customize your keyboard layout exactly how you want. Whether this is by sticking with a standard QWERTY layout or going for something a bit more unconventional.


9. Blue Hat XDAS keycaps

Keys: 108 
Profile: XDA
Material: PBT
Legends: Dye
Shine-though: x

This 108 key, Blue Hat set comes in two cute colors, perfect for those who want to add some style to their keyboard. They have a short XDA uniform profile and work with Cherry MX style switches and clones. As a result, compatibility issues won’t be a problem here.

Made out of 1.5mm PBT, each keycap is nice and thick. The design and spacing on the keys are perfect too, nothing is off-centered and the dye-sublimated legends look clean. Unfortunately, due to being dye-sub, they do hinder any LED illumination from underneath the caps.

On the plus side, the rougher surface texture is great for speed and accuracy. The feel and responsiveness of these keycaps is also fantastic. With these caps on your board, you’ll be skipping around from key to key while flaunting a custom look in no time.


8. HyperX Pudding Keycaps

Keys: 104
Profile: OEM
Material: PBT
Legends: DS
Shine-through: ✓

These Pudding PBT Keycaps by HyperX are a cheap and effective way to enhance any RGB keyboard. Developed specifically for use with backlit mechanical keyboards, they have a translucent, dual-layer design. This results in more light being let through to complement the whole keyboard aesthetic.

Distinctly, these keycaps illuminate at the base of the cap and allow LED light to shine through the individual legends. Due to the opaque bottoms, It’s worth noting that the base of the caps do not isolate color themselves. Therefore, they will start to bleed if you try to mix backlight colors.

Compatible with almost all mechanical keyboards, these HyperX caps have a standard ANSI layout. The profile is a taller version of OEM, which means they shouldn’t take much getting used to. Unfortunately, the surface texture is quite fine so they are prone to picking up grease.


7. Razer Doubleshot PBT Keycap

Keys: 104
Profile: OEM
Material: PBT
Legends: DS
Shine-through: ✓

Those after a superior PBT keycap set on a budget can’t go wrong with this bestselling pack from Razer. Not only are they double shot to endure the most intense gaming sessions but they also feature translucent legends that make them backlight compatible.

Made of high-grade PBT with extra-thick walls, the build quality of these keycaps is impressive. In particular, they have a nice grainy texture and a sharp, non-gamer font. Unfortunately, the font sharpness does mute the LED brightness somewhat but at least they won’t fade or show oils.

Thanks to the cross-shaped axis mounting point, these keycaps aren’t just compatible with all Razer gaming keyboards and switches, but most other mechanical and optical switches from other brands as well. Finally, each set has 120 keycaps, which is more than enough for all keyboard sizes.


6. Akko World Tour Tokyo R2

Keys: 162
Profile: OEM
Material: PBT
Legends: Dye
Shine-through: X

The Akko World Tour Tokyo is an instantly recognizable pink and white PBT keycap set. Designed to render Japanese views of life, popular culture, and natural landscapes, it provides an evocative image of living in Tokyo while enhancing the tactility of your keyboard in the process.

Produced out of 1.4mm PBT, these caps have additional weight and durability. Furthermore, due to the dye-sub infusion process, you’ll experience a lot less wear and tear. We particularly like that the legends have both English and Japanese root characters for an even cooler flourish.

You’ll find 162 keycaps included in this PBT keycap set. That’s more than enough keys for keyboards of all sizes. If you’re wondering why there are so many keycaps in one set, this is because the pack includes a lot of extra novelty keycaps (free of traditional legends).


5. Tai-Hao Sunshine PBT Keycap Set

Keys: 104
Profile: OEM
Material: PBT
Legends: DS
Shine-through: ✓

Transforming your mechanical keyboard into a beautiful sunset takes just seconds with these PBT keycaps. Utilizing an OEM profile, they are comfortable to type on and great for accuracy and speed. The pack also includes three extra caps that each have their own branding on.

At 1.5 mm, these keycaps are a little on the chunky side but we’re definitely not complaining. The extra thickness adds to durability, as well as the sound of the thocc. Moreover, with a slightly rough surface texture, the keycaps are grippy and pleasant to touch.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out the font on the legends that is large and highly legible. Thanks to the double-shot process, the characters are consistent and high-quality across each key. The result is a major mechanical keyboard upgrade that enhances aesthetics and productivity.


4. Botanical Keycaps PBT

Keys: 141
Profile: Cherry
Material: PBT
Legends: Dye
Shine-through: X

Nature lovers are going to adore this botanical kit from Sumgsn. Comprised of three earthy colors; light green, dark green, and pure white, the color scheme is sure to draw your attention. We can say the same about the printed modifier keys that feature unique plant designs.

While these keys are indeed replicas, they almost match the quality of the original GMK set. Made from 1.5mm PBT with an anti-grease coating, they offer first-class durability. Furthermore, the matte texture guarantees a no-slip surface to improve accuracy and typing speed across the board.

In terms of compatibility, these replacements not only work with Cherry-style switches on mechanical keyboards but most other mechanical switches as well. You’ll get plenty of keycaps in this PBT set for a 60% keyboard all the way up to a full-size layout.


3. Drop Skylight Series Keycap Set

Keys: 108
Profile: OEM
Material: PBT
Legends: DS
Shine-though: ✓

These PBT keycaps by Drop are available in five attractive color schemes. That guarantees they will look fantastic on any keyboard set up, whatever the color of your case may be. Depending on the set you choose, travel time, responsiveness, and feedback stays the same across the board.

There are 108 keycaps in each of these kits. That’s more than enough to cover full-size keyboards, 96% boards, and TKL layouts. All of the necessary keys are included, too. Therefore, you can expect an easy 1:1 replacement with your current keycap set, as swapping them over is effortless.

Made from PBT double-shot plastic, these keycaps are 100% fade-resistant, strong, and durable. Although they are not overly grippy, the texture is nice and they don’t feel too rough. Another big plus is that they are shine-though, however, ours did have some minor backlight bleed.


2. Ducky Joker Keycaps

Keys: 108
Profile: OEM
Material: PBT
Legends: DS
Shine-though: X

This 108 key, Joker set by Ducky works with keyboards of all sizes. Designed with three vibrant and playful tones, they’re sure to brighten up any board. The contrasting legends look precise and clear as well, however, it’s worth noting that they are non-shine-through. 

Made from durable PBT, the texture of the keycaps is slightly rough to provide a good grip while typing. The keycap responsiveness is impressive as well, without a lot of wiggle that you might find on other keycaps. Gamers and high-speed typists are going to love the way these keycaps feel.

You’ll be glad to know that they are compatible with all MX-style mechanical keyboards switches, too. After removing the originals, they simply snap right into place. So… why does your keyboard need to be so serious? Time to add a spot of color with these gorgeous Ducky caps!

Ducky PBT keycap set
(Image credit: Ducky)

1. EPOMAKER AKKO Matcha 158 Keys

Keys: 158
Profile: ASA
Material: PBT
Legends: DS
Shine-though: X

Enthusiasts seeking PBT keycaps at a decent price-point will love these premium sets by AKKO. Straight away you will be impressed with the quality, along with the fantastic plastic box packaging. All sets feature tri-tone colorways and come in a large variety of color schemes.

Unlike many other OEM keycaps on this list, the Matcha caps have an ASA profile. Sculpted and contoured with a high profile, they cradle your fingertips ergonomically and feel velvety to touch. For this reason, you can expect a comfortable typing experience with less fatigue after hours of use.

In terms of quality, these keycaps are sure to surpass your expectations. The edges are straight, there are no signs of warping, and the lettering is super clean/ defined. Moreover, the grainy texture is also soft yet grippy, which is just about perfect in every regard.  


What is the best ABS Keycap Set

5. Ducky Cotton Candy SA Keycaps

Keys: 108
Profile: SA
Material: ABS
Legends: DS
Shine-through: X

This Cotton Candy keycap set from Ducky has a unique and playful colorway that is almost good enough to eat. Multi-color pastels delineate different “sections”, making it easy to customize the look and feel. A QWERTY layout comes standard in the pack but that can be tinkered with, too.

In terms of materials, the ABS is strong, durable, and provides plenty of tactile feedback. Despite being ABS, the legends are non-shine-though, which would have gone a long way in enhancing these caps. Instead, all the keys have a bold black font that contrast well with the different key colors. 

You may also like that these keycaps have an SA profile. That sets a perfect fit for folks looking to type faster as well as reduce fatigue while gaming. SA caps are substantially taller than other sets we’ve used; however, they have a very comfortable angle and profile shape.


4. YBEST ABS Keycaps – SA Profile

Keys: 149
Profile: SA
Material: ABS
Legends: Dye
Shine-though: X

The retro aesthetic of these YBEST keycaps is quite unique, giving mechanical keyboards a totally new look. They have an SA height profile that guarantees improved responsiveness and a better keystroke feeling, too. The end result is an overhauled board that performs just as well as it looks.

The longevity of these ABS keycaps will never be a problem. They have a slight pebble texture, use materials that will not wear or oxidize over time, and aren’t finished in oil either. The quality is certainly on par with other PBT sets and this is reflected in the price.  


3. Drop MT3 Black-on-White Keycap Set

Keys: 161
Profile: SA
Material: ABS
Legends: DS
Shine-though: X

There’s a lot to like about these hi-profile ABS keycaps. Inspired by iconic IBM boards from the 1970s, these white and black keycaps are a perfect blend of traditional and modern styles. The high-quality ABS materials improve the build quality and durability of these keycaps, too.

The double shot legends in this set are molded permanently into the structure. This improves the legibility, the continuity throughout the set, and even helps improve quick typing recognition. Moreover, the feel of these keys closely matches gaming keyboards, with just enough texture to land each keystroke accurately on the fly.


2. Drop + MiTo GMK Laser

Keys: 129
Profile: Cherry
Material: ABS
Legends: DS
Shine-though: ✓

Those looking to jack up their keyboard with a set that’s a little more futuristic will love this Cyber-deck kit from Drop. The main color scheme consists of violet and blue with pink modifiers, while the shine-through legends are turquoise and pink for a really neat glow.

Crafted out of high-quality ABS, the feel of these double shot keycaps is something special. At 1.5mm thick, they are a little “chunkier” than other options for sure. That boosts the longevity and durability of these keycaps in a big way so they can stay on your keyboard for longer. 


1. Drop GMK Redsuns Blue Samurai

Keys: 55
Profile: Cherry
Material: ABS
Legends: DS
Shine-though: X

GMK Redsuns Blue Samurai are one of the finest “designer” keycap sets on the market right now. While the originals are dyed in red, this new color set has a deep blue look with golden legends that add a welcome contrast. Supporting the base keys are dark gray and golden modifiers.

Although the construction is only ABS plastic, these keys are tough, real tough. Thickness measures 1.5 mm, which is a little bit chunkier than most other caps on this list. As a result, they have decent weight to provide a premium typing experience with plenty of thocc.

Manufactured primarily as an aftermarket set for the Drop ALT, CTRL, and SHIFT, the set comes kitted out with all the keycaps necessary for these boards. Containing 55-keys inside (Including extra novelty keys), it’s also compatible with most 60% keyboard layouts.

Click here for GMK Redsuns!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is PBT Keycap set?

PBT keycaps are an aftermarket set made from polybutylene terephthalate. PBT offers superior quality to other inferior plastics such as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). Generally, PBT caps are thicker, denser, and have a more textured feeling that is less likely to shine over time.

How thick are double shot PBT keycaps?

Most double-shot PBT keycap sets are anywhere between 1.2mm to 1.55mm thick. On the whole, thicker keycap sets are seen as more desirable by the keyboard community. This is because the cap can absorb more sound when bottoming out, resulting in an even deeper “thocc”.

Can I replace ABS with PBT?

Yes, depending on your switches. If you have Cherry MX switches and clones, (including but not limited to Kaihua, Halo, and Gateron) most PBT keycaps are compatible.



We hope you found a PBT keycap set on this list.

Click here for the 15 best Japanese (Hiragana) Keycaps!

Click here for the 23 best Hot-Swappable Keyboards!








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