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PBT Keycaps: What are the biggest weaknesses of this material?

PBT keycaps are a popular choice for those that need keyboard with tactile feedback. These are the same plastic, clear plastic key caps that we have come to love from the computer world. In fact, there are a lot of advantages associated with these types of caps. They provide a tactile feel and sound, which are not found with most of the other types of keypads on the market. There are some disadvantages to these plastic key caps, however. If you take the time to look at them closely, you will see that there are some disadvantages exist.

Perhaps one of the main disadvantages to PBT keycaps is their plastic construction. Plastic, as we all know, is not very durable and the extreme temperature ranges they can endure (high heat, high humidity, etc) can be extremely problematic. Because of this, manufacturers often times use low cost silicone in their plastic key caps. Silicone can indeed be extremely durable, but it cannot withstand extreme temperatures. Especially, those which are found with computers, microwave ovens, as well as other high-heat-emitting devices.

pbt keycaps
Beautiful PBT keycaps

Another common disadvantage to PBT keycaps is their plastic molding process. Because these plastic key caps are molded in a somewhat different process than traditional key caps, they must have a much higher manufacturing cost. Because they have to create a higher molds to produce each keycap, the cost increases exponentially. As a result, these keycaps often come at a very high price point. Those who find a use for these types of caps often find them to be a temporary fix for their pressing needs.

One of the biggest disadvantages of PBT keycaps is that they often do not have a matte finish. These keycaps often require a bit of an application process to get them to look completely nice and ready for use, which makes them undesirable for many. While the cheap plastic keys do receive some dirty looks from other users when pressed, the high shine of PBT makes them an attractive alternative for many typing fans. It is for this reason that PBT keycaps are often preferred over other popular key caps such as mechanical and ABS.

One advantage to PBT keycaps that many like is their durability. Many users enjoy typing on these keys because they feel as if they are more durable than their standard alternatives. They also offer a greater amount of resistance to wear and tear because they are textured. The textured surface also ensures that the keypad does not have the tendency to slip or move around while typing. That trouble can often lead to missed keypresses or even keystrokes becoming misaligned.

As you can see, there are many main differences between these two popular plastic key caps. The most noticeable difference is in price. PBT textured caps cost much less than ABS key caps, making them an excellent value. PBT keycaps also offer the durability of a premium solid key cap. In addition, they are much easier to install and remove than other caps.

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