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PBT vs ABS Keycaps: What Are The Differences?

There are 2 common materials for manufacturing keycaps: PBT vs ABS keycaps. For those who experienced keycaps made from both materials, they can tell the differences between PBT vs ABS keycaps from their sound, feel and even look. In this article, we will help you to solve the question of what is the difference between ABS vs PBT keycaps. 

ABS is short for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which is a copolymer plastic. This material is used for manufacturing keycaps because it’s cheap and durable. With this plastic, one keycap can withstand millions of shots. However, after heavily using it for a while, the latter will fade away and the keycap will be thinner. One of the most common phenomenon of long-used ABS keycaps is greasing or shining look. This is because after permanent exposure to UV rays, the plastic starts changing color. These effects are inevitable for ABS keycaps; however, if you spend on high-quality ABS keycaps, you can use your keyboard for longer. 

ABS keycaps are mostly made by infecting to a mold of keycaps. Then, the letters are printed in the keycaps by pad printing, marking or engraving, depending on the manufacturers. 

Since ABS plastic is popularly used for keycaps, you can easily find an ABS keyboard with various prices. However, one of the most desirable keycaps with high price comes from GMK brand.

PBT stands for Polybutylene Terephthalate, which is also a material for keycaps production. Due to the expensive source and production for this material, PBT is less common than ABS. However, the advantages of PBT vs ABS keycaps are significant. This kind of plastic is more rigid, so it won’t wear out over time easily. In comparison to ABS keycaps, you can use PBT keycaps for years before the keyboard shows any sign of aging. 

Keycaps made from PBT plastic tend to be matte and thicker than ABS plastic. The more expensive PBT keycaps, the nicer texture can be.

pbt keycaps
What is PBT keycaps?

What are the differences between PBT vs ABS keycaps?


In general, we can see that PBT keycaps are more expensive than ABS. This is because the production process for PBT keycaps is much more difficult. It’s not easy for the material to form a proper keycap with the molds. And, the material is expensive itself. Of course, you can find some pricy ABS keycaps due to their unique designs. 


You can easily notice ABS keycaps because they are smooth and shiny. In contrast, PBT is matte. This difference comes from the material and compounds for manufacturing. You can not only see this difference but also feel it. With ABS keycaps, you might feel smooth and your fingers can glide on the keyboard. And, after using it for a while, the keycaps can become greasy and shiny. However, for PBT keycaps, you will feel a bit sandy. This is also one of the biggest differences that helps customers to choose the favorite keycaps.

ABS and PBT keycaps
There are many differences between ABS and PBT keycaps


You also can see the point from their name. PBT plastic is more durable and brittle than ABS plastic. Therefore, if you choose PBT vs ABS keycaps, you might not need to buy a new keyboard for a while. 


Normally, PBT keycaps are thicker than ABS. However, it’s not always true. You also can get high-end ABS keycaps and they will be thicker than cheap PBT keycaps.


You also tell the difference of the sound from PBT vs ABS keycaps. Since PBT keycaps are thicker than ABS, the sound when typing with PBT keycaps is always louder than ABS keycaps. Moreover, the keycaps don’t vibrate too much when using.

ABS and PBT keycaps
Both have its strong and weak points

Which one is better?

It depends on your preference. Both types of keycap have expensive and cheap versions, so you can easily choose one which is suitable for your budget.

If you like the sandiness feeling, matte color and the dynamic sound, you can choose PBT keycaps. Otherwise, you can get shiny and fine ABS keycaps. If you worry that the keycaps will wear down soon, you should consider high-end keycaps with unique designs. 

In general, PBT vs ABS keycaps have their own advantages and disadvantages. They offer you with various prices and designs from different manufacturers. As a customer, you can choose what is suitable for your needs and your budget. However, you should reach out to a prestigious manufacturer so that you can have the best experience with the price you pay.

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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