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PBT Keycaps: Pros And Cons

What Are PBT Keycaps?

PBT (short for polybutylene terephthalate) keycaps are a type of keycap used on mechanical keyboards. They are made of a type of plastic that is known for its durability, resistance to wear, and a matte finish that resists fingerprints and smudging.

PBT keycaps are popular among keyboard enthusiasts because they are considered to be higher quality than other types of keycaps, such as ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). PBT keycaps are often thicker than ABS keycaps, which can give them a more satisfying feel when typing.

PBT keycaps also come in a variety of colors and designs, which allows keyboard enthusiasts to customize the look of their keyboards. Some PBT keycaps are even made with dye-sublimation or laser-etching techniques to add designs or legends (letters, numbers, or symbols) to the keycaps.

PBT keycaps are sometimes also referred to as “double-shot” keycaps, which means that two different layers of plastic are used to create the legend on the keycap. This process creates a more durable and long-lasting design on the keycap compared to other printing methods.

PBT keycaps pros and cons
What Are PBT Keycaps?

PBT Keycaps: Pros And Cons

So what are PBT keycaps pros and cons?

PBT Keycaps Pros:

  1. Durability: PBT keycaps are more durable than ABS keycaps and are less prone to wear and tear. They are less likely to shine or develop hairline cracks over time, which can lead to a longer lifespan.
  2. Texture: PBT keycaps have a rough, textured surface that provides a better grip and a more satisfying feel when typing. This texture can also reduce the likelihood of slippage and improve accuracy.
  3. Resistance to wear: PBT keycaps are more resistant to fading and discoloration over time. They are also more resistant to UV light, which can cause yellowing or discoloration of ABS keycaps.
  4. Sound: PBT keycaps produce a lower-pitched, more muted sound compared to ABS keycaps, which can be preferred by some users.
  5. Customization: PBT keycaps can be customized through dyeing or laser engraving, which allows for greater customization and personalization options.

PBT Keycaps Cons:

  1. Availability: PBT keycaps are less widely available compared to ABS keycaps, which can make it more difficult to find a specific color or design.
  2. Price: PBT keycaps are often more expensive compared to ABS keycaps due to the higher cost of materials and manufacturing processes.
  3. Customization: While PBT keycaps can be customized, the process can be more challenging due to the rough texture of the material. Dyeing or engraving may not produce consistent results, and custom keycap sets can be expensive.
  4. Compatibility: PBT keycaps may not be compatible with all mechanical keyboards or switch types. It’s important to check compatibility before purchasing PBT keycaps.

Overall, PBT keycaps offer several benefits over ABS keycaps, including durability, texture, and resistance to wear. However, they may not be the best choice for every user, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase decision.

How Long Do PBT Keycaps Last?

PBT keycaps are known for their durability and resistance to wear, which means that they can last for a very long time with proper care. Generally, PBT keycaps can last for several years, and some enthusiasts have reported using them for up to a decade or more without any signs of wear or fading.

However, the lifespan of PBT keycaps can depend on a few factors, such as how frequently the keyboard is used, the type of switches used, and the quality of the PBT material used for the keycaps. Keycaps that are used more frequently may wear out faster, especially if they are used for gaming or typing for long hours every day.

Additionally, some PBT keycaps may be more prone to fading or discoloration over time, especially if they are exposed to direct sunlight or other environmental factors. However, high-quality PBT keycaps that are made with high-quality materials and manufacturing processes are less likely to fade or wear out quickly.

Overall, PBT keycaps can be a great investment for keyboard enthusiasts who are looking for durable, high-quality keycaps that will last for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, PBT keycaps can offer a long-lasting and satisfying typing experience.

How To Clean Keycaps PBT?

Cleaning PBT keycaps is a straightforward process and can help to maintain the appearance and longevity of your keycaps. Here are some steps to follow to clean your PBT keycaps:

  1. Remove the keycaps from your keyboard: Use a keycap puller to gently remove each keycap from your keyboard. Be sure to pull straight up to avoid damaging the switches or the keycaps.
  2. Fill a bowl with warm water and dish soap: Add a few drops of dish soap to a bowl of warm water. Swirl the water to create suds.
  3. Soak the keycaps: Place the keycaps in the bowl of soapy water and let them soak for about 10-15 minutes. This will help to loosen any dirt or grime on the keycaps.
  4. Scrub the keycaps: After the keycaps have soaked, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently scrub each keycap, paying attention to any areas with stubborn dirt or grime. Be careful not to scrub too hard or you may damage the keycaps.
  5. Rinse and dry the keycaps: Rinse the keycaps under running water to remove any soap residue. Lay the keycaps on a clean towel to air dry. Avoid using a hairdryer or other heat source to dry the keycaps, as this can cause warping or damage.
  6. Reattach the keycaps: Once the keycaps are dry, use your keycap puller to reattach them to your keyboard.

By following these steps, you can keep your PBT keycaps looking and feeling their best. Depending on how often you use your keyboard, you may want to clean your keycaps every few months or as needed.

What Is The Difference Between ABS and PBT Keycaps?

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) are two common types of plastic used to make keycaps for mechanical keyboards. The main differences between ABS and PBT keycaps are their durability, texture, and resistance to wear.

ABS KeycapsPBT Keycaps
DurabilityABS keycaps can develop a shiny, slick surface with frequent use, which can impact their durability.PBT keycaps are generally considered more durable than ABS keycaps. PBT is a harder and more rigid material, which makes it less prone to wear and tear over time
TextureABS keycaps have a smooth texture that many people find comfortable to type on.PBT keycaps, on the other hand, have a slightly rougher texture that some users find more satisfying to use.
ShineOver time, ABS keycaps can develop a shiny, oily appearance due to oils from the fingers and exposure to UV lightPBT keycaps do not exhibit this issue as much, and they tend to maintain their original appearance for longer.
CostABS keycaps are generally less expensive to produce than PBT keycaps, which can make them a more budget-friendly option for consumers.PBT keycaps are generally more expensive to produce than ABS keycaps.
In compare: ABS keycaps and PBT keycaps

Overall, while both ABS and PBT keycaps have their pros and cons, PBT keycaps are generally considered to be higher quality and more durable than ABS keycaps. They are a popular choice among keyboard enthusiasts who prioritize longevity and a satisfying typing experience.

Where To Buy PBT Keycaps?

There are several online retailers where you can buy PBT keycaps for your mechanical keyboard. Here are a few options:

  1. Amazon – Amazon has a wide selection of PBT keycaps from various brands, including popular options like YMDK, Tai-Hao, and Ducky.
  2. – is a popular retailer that specializes in mechanical keyboards and accessories. They offer a variety of PBT keycaps in different colors and profiles.
  3. Drop – Drop (formerly Massdrop) is a community-driven retailer that offers a variety of mechanical keyboard products, including PBT keycaps. They often have limited-time drops for custom keycap sets.
  4. AliExpress – AliExpress is a global online marketplace that offers a wide selection of PBT keycaps at competitive prices. However, be sure to research the seller and read reviews before making a purchase to ensure a positive buying experience.

When purchasing PBT keycaps, be sure to check the compatibility with your keyboard and switch type, as some keycaps may not fit certain keyboards or switches. Additionally, pay attention to the profile and size of the keycaps to ensure that they fit your typing preferences and keyboard layout.

Visit our website to looking for the type of keycaps that fits your keyboard. Here you can also find out our newest collection of keycaps such as Artisan keycaps, Anime keycaps, Pokemon keycaps, Backlit keycaps, etc.

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