ABS Keycaps VS PBT Keycaps: Which one is better and How to Choose?

Understanding mechanical keyboard keycaps, choosing the right material is more important!  Don’t miss these key factors when choosing keycaps. Come and see their characteristics and pro and cons, then choose the keycap that suits you best.

What materials mechanical keyboard keycaps are made of ? How to choose ?  We will introduce in detail the two most commonly used keycap materials, ABS and PBT, so that you can easily choose the right ones.

ABS keycaps

The material of this type of keycap is acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, which has high strength and toughness, is not only durable, but also relatively low in cost.

 When used, it feels smooth and makes it easy for fingers to move flexibly on the keyboard.

 However, ABS keycaps will start to wear, fade, and even become shiny after long-term use, which affects their appearance.

PBT keycaps

The material of this type of keycap is polybutylene terephthalate, which has a higher hardness and brittleness than ABS, so the processing and production difficulty is also higher, and the price is also higher.

However, it wears less and has a longer lifespan when used. PBT keycaps have texture, matte finish, and are thicker, making them comfortable to touch.

The Main Differences Between ABS and PBT Keycaps


Generally, PBT keycaps are more expensive than ABS because injection molding PBT is more difficult. However, some ABS keycaps are more expensive than PBT ones, usually due to their thickness or fancy designs.


ABS keycaps are typically smooth and glossy, while PBT ones are more textured and matte due to the different plastic materials and compounds used. However, some high-quality ABS keycaps can also be matte, so it’s best to try them out before choosing.

Thickness PBT keycaps are usually thicker than ABS ones.

Choose According to Your Preference

While PBT keycaps are generally considered better than ABS, some people may not like the sandy texture of PBT or prefer the glossy appearance of ABS. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

Dual-Color Keycaps

Dual-color keycaps are made by injecting two different materials, and they allow keyboard backlighting to shine through. They can be made from both PBT and ABS materials, and they’re a good choice if you want a keycap with a cool design and backlighting.

Pudding Keycaps

Pudding keycaps are also dual-color keycaps, but they have a more striking lighting effect. The backlighting can illuminate not only the top but also the sides of the keycaps, and some brands like HyperX offer excellent pudding keycaps.

Keycap Styles

Keycap styles are also essential, including their overall shape and height. There are dozens of keycap styles available, such as artisan keycaps, resin keycaps, anime keycaps, 3d keycaps, etc, so you can choose the ones that best suit your preferences.


In general, PBT keycaps are better, more textured, and more durable than ABS, and they won’t become shiny over time. However, ABS keycaps are usually cheaper, but higher-quality ones like GMK can still be quite expensive. When choosing keycaps, you should consider your needs and budget, after all, keycaps are also an important keyboard accessory.

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