Table of Contents
- What Is a Hot Swappable Keyboard?
- Why Use a Hot Swappable Keyboard?
- Advantages of Hot Swappable Keyboard
- The Picks: 10 Best Hot Swappable Keyboard
- Drop ALT Mechanical Keyboard
- Drop CTRL Mechanical keyboard
- Glorious Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- Keychron K6 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
- Dierya DK61 Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- GIM KB-64 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- Drop Carina Mechanical Keyboard
- Drop ALT High-Profile Mechanical Keyboard
- Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- Kemove 61 Snowfox Keyboard
- What To Look for When Choosing a Hot Swappable Keyboard
- Final Words
Hot-swappable keyboards are gaining importance very rapidly. The quality and highly customizable features, along with the solid framework of hot-swappable keyboards, have made them more unique as compared to traditional keyboards. Therefore, if you seek help to buy a hot-swappable keyboard, this article will help you select the best one.
Latest update on 2022-01-20 | Images | Affiliate links from Amazon Product Advertising API
The main benefit of a hot-swappable keyboard is that you can easily replace or repair and customize a button that will not disturb others. All you need to do is to just pop up the switches into a circuit board and put in keycaps. And here you can go ahead. Mostly, keyboards manufacturers prefer the Gateron Brown, Cherry MX, and other high-quality switches. There are some switches that support highly customized silent switches. As most of them are compact, they provide great space and are also cost-friendly. Moreover, you can have an option to choose between a wireless and a wired keyboard as well.
What Is a Hot Swappable Keyboard?
Hot-swappable keyboards are those that require no soldering while changing the switches. Hot-swap is a distinguishing feature that some companies adopted early on. It defines keyboards that let you change switches easily with no soldering. A switch manufacturer in China, Kaihua (Kailh), created a popular hot-swap socket design.
Hot-swap keyboards do not always have hot-swap switches. Rather, switches manufactured by Cherry MX-style hot-swap keyboards can be used in those having the same socket pinout or same plate design of hot-swapping. You can solder these types of switches into an ordinary keyboard.
There are some reasons why hot-swap keyboards aren’t available on a large scale. The first reason is hot-swapping sockets cost a bit more per keyboard. Most of the keyboards present in the market today are cheap to manufacture and are produced in batches of thousand. Hence, companies don’t want to minimize their profit.
Moreover, they make the repairing section easy when the switches wear out. Secondly, these types of sockets also need some engineering skills to implement. They take up additional room on the PCB, so component placement and routing information must be brief.
Why Use a Hot Swappable Keyboard?
Hot-swappable keyboards often utilize Kailh hot-swap sockets, compatible with every type of MX style switches. Others may not come with hot-swap sockets, but even then are compatible with Holtite, Mill-Max, or sometimes both. That’s why you need to use them.
However, if you know the soldering techniques, hot-swappable keyboards might not be that essential for you.
Hot swappable keyboards are becoming a trend recently and we may expect to have increased demand on mechanical keyboards with hot-swap switches in the market in the upcoming years.
Advantages of Hot Swappable Keyboard
These types of keyboards are best suited for typists and quality acquainted manufacturers. They aid in repairing switch easily that results in a keyboard’s long life and allows for personalization. These are just the primary benefits.
The modification options become limited when a keyboard does not consist of hot-swap sockets. In regular keyboards, you must solder or expand it to Holtite sockets to shift switches. Holtite is not as durable and can just handle a few changing switches. Those problems are better rectified by a hot-swap socket design like Kaihua’s.
The Picks: 10 Best Hot Swappable Keyboard
Drop has manufactured this gaming keyboard with a high level of reliability and ease of use. It comes with USB and USB type-C connections that make it perfectly fit for gamers to use. Also, it consists of 67 keyboard keys that enable a great gaming experience. It has a perfect build with customizable RGB backlighting.
This keyboard is quickly similar to the CTRL, except for having 67 keys instead of 87. Moreover, one can easily adjust the color to either the rainbow or a single color. The help of shine enhances the backlighting through double-shot keycaps. Its special aluminum material ensures that the keys don’t fade easily. Moreover, the keycaps consist of PBT material.
You can adjust the keyboard stand to an ergonomic angle lay it flatly. It has removable magnetic feet as well. The hot-swap switches are perfectly made, requiring no soldering. This 65 percent keyboard has customizable LED lights with a built-in diffuser. This helps in spreading the light equally.
Furthermore, the programming feature is also enhanced; it provides easy altering of the keymapping and creating macros. The keyboard has various types of switches such as heavy, light, tactile, and much more. The heavy metal aluminum frame ensures no easy fading and increases this keyboard’s shelf life, no matter how hard you use this 65% keyboard.
- Manufactured with a solid aluminum frame
- Consists of customizable RGB backlighting and under-lighting
- Double-shot keycaps made of PBT material
- Removable magnetic feet
- Customizable LED lights
- Built-in diffuser for spreading light across the keyboard
- Programmed with the QMK Fireware that has an online configurator
- Two USB Type-C connections
- Optimized per-key lighting with various colors
- LEDs function at 100 Hz
The Drop ALT mechanical keyboard has exceptional features that add to your experience with a high comfort level. There are few negative features present in this keyboard. It has perfect PBT keycaps with a range of color variations. Moreover, pre-programmed RGB lighting is highly customizable.
The CTRL mechanical keyboard has all the features that you are looking forward to. It consists of a solid aluminum frame having a built-in switch plate. The exclusively present hot-swap switches make it a unique product. You can easily change the switches without soldering. Also, it has developed programmability via QMK. It means that you can assign macros or custom key-binds to each key.
The CTRL has excellent connectivity, including dual USB-C connectors. This keyboard is highly impressive. The RGB backlighting enhances your experience and facilitates you while using it. There is an option of setting a single color or more as you wish. The PBT keycaps are shine-through and add up to your performance. It has a full package of switches, including heavy and tactile or linear and lightweight.
It also has millions of pre-lighting color keys. The programmable layout is fully featured and is manufactured for improvement. The QMK firmware provides you the full control over keys. The configurator permits you to program macros and customized keymapping to switch for work, play, or gaming. It also has two USB Type-C connectors, helping you transfer data and charge appliances.
The hot-swappable switches are tough, and anodized aluminum plays a starring role in framing the keyboard. The CTRL provides certain switch recommendations. It has 87 keys with Cherry MX, Halo switches, or Kaihua.
- 87 keys
- Machined and anodized aluminum frame
- Custom PCB compatible with plate-mounted switches
- QMK firmware for programmability
- Floating key designs
- Cherry-style plate-mounted stabilizers
- Halo or Kaihua or Cherry MX switches
- Dual USB Type-C connectors
- Parcel includes a keycap puller, 56-inch USB cable, and switch puller
It’s never a wrong choice to buy a Drop CTRL mechanical keyboard when purchasing keyboards. It is best suitable for gamers and typists. It has perfectly built-in Cherry-style plate-mounted switches and gives you a wide range of options.
The Glorious PC Gaming Race with 104 buttons provide the exclusive product in the market. It is specially built for the gaming experience. This specially designed keyboard consists of hot-swappable switches mechanical switch that is pre-installed.
The other exceptional feature that makes this keyboard unique is having a 104-key standard QWERTY layout or ANSI setup. The 100 percent anti-ghosting technique with N-key rollover is NKRO/6KRO. Moreover, the polling rate of this hot-swap keyboard is 1000Hz.
One of the unique features that you usually find in keyboards nowadays is RGB backlighting, which adds to your performance, making you feel better while gaming or even typing through it. It has 16.8 million colors RGB LEDs.
- Gateron Brown mechanical switches
- Standard QWERTY layout
- 100% anti-ghosting with N-key rollover
- Hot-swap switches of Gateron, Kailh, and Cherry brands
- Double-shot ABS injection keycaps
- RGB backlighting with 16.8m colors
- Fully modular well-designed mechanical keys
- Aluminum framing
The Glorious Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard from the renowned brand has great value as it is budget-friendly with having more or less all desired features. A great deal!
Keychron brings to us the versatile keyboard that is suitable for office, light gaming, and also for home use. The 68 buttons provided on this keyboard have USB and Bluetooth connectivity. The compact wireless keyboard is hot-swappable, meaning that the K6 provides the freedom to customize while you are typing, and there is no need for soldering.
Also, there is a pre-installed Gateron Brown switch that adds to the functionality of this keyboard. It has a pleasant tactile feeling and lasts 50 million keypresses. Moreover, the K6’s hot-swap socket is agreeable with almost all the MX style 3-pin and 5-pin switches in the market comprising of Gateron, Cherry, Kailh, and more. Similarly, SMD-LED compatible switches are decent for exhibiting the backlights.
This keyboard’s exclusive feature is RGB LED backlighting and influencing white lighting with a neat look that enhances your mood. There is also the option of choosing the static color modes. The linear switch is responsive because of the incredible 50 million stroke lifespan. It should not be recommended that the inexperienced person frequently change the switches.
- Hot-swappable compact 65% layout
- Customized pre-key indexing experience
- Three devices connectivity via the durable Broadcom Bluetooth 5.1 chipset and switch
- USB Type-C connectivity
- Brown switch with 50 million keystrokes lifespan
- Can last up to 200 hours with a 4000 mAh big battery
- N-key rollover on wired mode or 6KRO on wireless mode
- Extra keycaps for both Mac and Windows operating systems
- Inclined bottom frame
If you are looking forward to a hot-swappable compact keyboard, the Keychron K6 is a great choice. The customize pre-key typing with RGB backlighting and pre-installed Gateron switches provide a quick response.
This mechanical keyboard with Bluetooth 5.1 has 61 keyboard keys. The Dierya DK61 provides us wireless or wired, both options having great suitability for gaming. It is a super tactile keyboard, having 60% size functionality. The compact design with essential keys and many other combination keys add up to its functionality.
The ergonomic design with dual connectivity can easily pair up with three devices at the same time. This is perfectly designed to fit any desk and occupy less space. Also, the hot-swappable switches add up to its uniqueness.
- 61 keys
- Bluetooth or Type-C port connectivity
- 1ms response time
- 1900 mAh built-in lithium battery
- Can pair up to 3 devices at the same time
- PBT double-shot keycaps
- Hot-swappable switches with certified waterproof keyboard
If you search for a good gaming experience, the Dierya DK61 Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard will be a good choice to opt for this keyboard with full programmability and other features.
GIM provides a mechanical keyboard that particularly describes the true definition of gaming. USB and USB Type-C connectivity are some of its special features. The material used in the manufacturing is PBT and ABS, while the keyboard has 64 keys. Moreover, the response time is 0.1 m/s. Also, the key life is greater than 50 million times.
The ultra-compact setup makes for a neat desktop with minimal space required. Hence, there is more space left for mouse motions. Gamers prefer a keyboard without a Numpad. To achieve absolute experience, K64 acquires prominent Gateron optical switches, which are hot-swappable, making this a keyboard with superb performance.
The blue switch provides a clearer click sound compared to other ordinary keys. Additionally, 19 backlit effects add up to your gaming and typing experience by giving you a wide range of colors. It is best suitable for Windows 10, 7, 8, Vista, and macOSX.
- 69 percent Compact layout with minimal space required
- Gateron hot-swappable switches
- Classical blue switch availability
- RGB backlight and macro recording
- Full anti-ghosting mode
GIM gives us an excellent product with some exclusive features, as illustrated above. The KB-64 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard will enhance your typing or gaming experience.
The connections provided by Drop for this keyboard are USB Type-C with 61 keyboard keys. Drop provides another addition to their products. This ergonomically designed keyboard is ideal for gaming. The durability factor is because of the frosted acrylic CNC case having customized 60 percent PCBA supporting 3pin or 5pin switches.
The hot-swappable switch sockets are provided without the switches that are bought separately. Moreover, the QMK firmware and Cherry-Style plate mounted stabilizer are present. The dual connectivity with USB Type-C connectors adds up to its functionality. Also, the compatible hardware platforms are laptops, PCs, and Linux.
- It consists of 61 keys
- Aluminum, copper, or brass switch plate
- Customizable 60% PCBA
- Dual USB Type-C connectors
- Consists of a frosted acrylic CNC case
- QMK firmware with exclusive LED lighting
Drop Carina keyboard provides you the accessibility of opting for a spectrum or a single color with maximum durability. Those who want to buy this keyboard have to purchase the switches separately.
Drop has manufactured another version of their mechanical keyboards, giving us this exceptional product with outstanding features. The connection provided by the manufacturer is USB Type-C with 67 keys in it. The thick and heavy framing provides a quality surface finish. Additionally, the keyboard is perfectly fit for gaming purposes. The built-in switch plate adds up to the functionality of this keyboard.
Also, with the hot-swappable switch PCB, the keyboard provides you the freedom to shift out your switches as you like. The best part is no requirement for soldering. The 6° case angle gives you the adjustability. Moreover, there is a keyboard configurator alongside QMK firmware, giving you high programmability. It has plate-mounted stabilizers of Cherry-Style.
- There are 67 key buttons
- The frame case consists of anodized aluminum
- PCB consistent with the plate-mount switches
- Dual USB Type C connectivity
- QMK Firmware and configurator of keyboard
- Kaihua switches
If you are looking forward to a masterpiece, Drop has brought us another version of their previous product with the ALT High-Profile Mechanical Keyboard that requires no soldering and is easy to handle.
Logitech gives a great deal with micro-USB detachable connectivity and this 87-key keyboard. This is specially designed for gaming purposes. It is suitable for gamers, even those playing professionally all over the world. There are 87 anti-ghosting keys with 26 buttons of rollover.
The switches are Romer G that is an ultra-portable tenkeyless designed keyboard. Also, it has Logitech customizable RGB color backlighting with unique patterns. Moreover, this has a three-step angle adjustment facility.
- Portable tenkeyless design
- 87 keys anti-ghosting and 26-key rollover for control
- Customized RGB color lighting with distinctive patterns
- 70 million key presses with a compact design
- Three-step angle adjustment facility
Logitech provides the best product in the market with micro-USB detachable connectivity and features many other unique characteristics. You should go for the Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.
Kemove is a new brand that has gained tremendous fame within a short time. The hot-swappable DIY keyboard has perfect switches that have a high profile. These switches are replaceable with no soldering needed. The brands are Cherry MX, Kaihua, and Gateron to TTC, even some other brands too.
Moreover, this brand has provided some distinctive colors with multi-device connectivity. The wireless or wired can be functional in both cases, and it has Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity. Also, PBT double-shot keycaps are an excellent feature with 4-layer software and also the availability of 16 million colors. The keycaps are engraved for a richer experience of gaming.
- 61 keys layout
- Multi-device wireless connectivity with Bluetooth 5.1
- Compatible operating systems include Windows, macOS, iOS, etc.
- PBT double-shot curved keycaps with ABS
- 16 million colors for stunning lighting effects
Although this is a new brand, the features that Kemove 61 Snowfox Keyboard provides are up to the mark. Multi-device wireless connectivity with Bluetooth 5.1 and PBT double-shot are the unique features that make it a terrific choice.
What To Look for When Choosing a Hot Swappable Keyboard
When it comes to finding a perfect hot-swappable keyboard, you will encounter many layouts more or less similar to each other in the market. You may be choosing between the complete ones, a tenkeyless (TKL) 60% or 75% layouts. The most budget-friendly option is the ultra-compact 60% that will minimize space. Pick the keyboard that best fulfills your requirements.
Build and Framing
Mechanical keyboards are somewhat expensive. Therefore, you need to be very careful. Your primary focus should be considering what is around the PCB (circuit board) and keycaps. For example, you should consider the longevity in the keycaps by selecting the double-shot ones.
LED and RGB Backlighting
This feature is the basic key component of any hot-swappable keyboard. LED and RGB backlighting enhance your gaming and typing experience and provide you the opportunity to access the great functionality of the keyboard.
RGB lighting, macros, or only customizable kickstands makes a huge difference when it comes to performance and appearance. Most of them come with adjustable RGB backlighting, which you can easily control and have colorful light patterns. You always have the option of a wired and a wireless keyboard.
So, while opting for a hot-swappable keyboard, keep all these factors in mind. Suppose you want to have a complete PC setup with an incredible 4K monitor. In that case, it’s vital to have a strong CPU and comfortable monitor stand. Spending that additional bit extra on the perfect keyboard should give it a great mix.
The best overall product on the list is the Drop CTRL Mechanical keyboard. Drop never compromises its quality, and it provides you some unique features in a complete parcel. Moreover, this versatile hot-swappable keyboard is equally suitable for both typing and gaming purposes. The minimum space makes it a unique one with an adjustable incline angle.
Drop ALT 65% Mechanical Keyboard more or less facilitates all of its users. It consists of 67 keys, whereas Drop CTRL has 87 keys, making a difference in terms of size. Moreover, the programmability is more or less the same between these two hot-swappable keyboards. However, the Drop CTRL keyboard has more features than the runner-up.
Best Value for Money
Not everyone can afford expensive keyboards. And yes, they also need to continue their work! So, not to worry, as the Glorious Modular Gaming keyboard is budget-friendly and has all the fundamental features that you are looking for. You can find some cheaper options as well, but this one offers excellent value for money in addition to its low price.
When it comes to purchasing a keyboard with all the listed features you desire, it is not easy to find the ideal product. The information we have provided above will help you solve this issue and find the most suitable product that will perfectly match your requirement. Moreover, it will highlight more or less specific and exclusive features that you should consider while choosing a hot-swappable keyboard.