A mechanical keyboard with a custom set of pastel-coloured keycaps featuring zodiac symbols and other unique icons

How to Customise a Mechanical Keyboard for Your Needs

Turn your keyboard into the ultimate typing machine with our easy customisation tips.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
Home Office Ideas

Customising a mechanical keyboard can significantly enhance your typing experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you tailor your keyboard to your preferences.

Haven’t found your ideal model yet? Don’t miss our tips on picking the perfect mechanical keyboard.

Switch types: finding your perfect fit

Mechanical switches come in three main types: linear, tactile, and clicky.

Linear switches

Linear switches provide smooth keystrokes with no tactile bump or audible click. Ideal for gamers who prefer quick, uninterrupted keystrokes.

Popular examples: Cherry MX Red, Gateron Red.

Tactile switches

Tactile switches offer a noticeable bump halfway through the keystroke, providing feedback that the key has been actuated. Great for typing and reducing typing errors.

Popular examples: Cherry MX Brown, Gateron Brown.

Clicky switches

Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches but with an audible click sound. Suitable for those who enjoy auditory feedback.

Popular examples: Cherry MX Blue, Gateron Blue.

Understanding the sound and feel

Plate materials

  • FR4/polycarbonate: Creates a deeper, softer typing sound with more flex.
  • Aluminium/steel: Provides a higher-pitched, more rigid typing feel.

Mounting methods

  • Gasket mounting: Uses foam gaskets to isolate the plate from the case, resulting in a softer, quieter typing experience.
  • Top mounting: Attaches the plate to the top of the case, offering a more rigid feel.
  • Tray mounting: Screws the PCB directly to the case, common in budget keyboards but can be less consistent.
  • O-ring mounting: Uses an O-ring to suspend the plate and PCB, offering a bouncier feel.
A custom Akko ACR64 keyboard with transparent keycaps and Gateron Milky Yellow switches, accompanied by a Logitech Pebble M350 mouse on an illustrated desk mat featuring a Japanese street scene
“My favourite item on my desk is this custom keyboard that my mom bought for me. This is a custom Akko ACR64 with transparent keycaps and Gateron Milky Yellow switches that I hand-lubed one by one,” says Enzo Salvador, an art student and freelance designer from the Philippines. “I love this keyboard because it’s my daily driver for everything from writing to editing, and it's custom-made by me to fit my liking.” Full desk tour

Lubing switches

Applying lubricant to switches can make them smoother and quieter. This involves opening the switches and applying lube to the moving parts.

Switch films

Adding films between the top and bottom switch housings reduces wobble and improves sound. This small modification can make a noticeable difference in stability.

Spring swaps

Changing the springs in your switches can adjust the force needed to press a key. Lighter or heavier springs can customise the feel to your preference.

Foam mods

Adding foam between the PCB and case or under the keycaps can dampen sound and create a more satisfying typing experience.

Essential tools and tips for beginners

  • Keycap Puller: Essential for removing keycaps without damaging the switches.
  • Switch Puller: Useful for hot-swappable keyboards to easily replace switches.
  • Lubing Station: If you plan to lube your switches, a lubing station can make the process more efficient.
  • Switch Opener: Helps in opening switches safely and quickly for lubing or modding.

Keycap profiles: choosing the right one

Keycap profiles affect how the keyboard feels and looks:

  • Flat profiles: Consistent height across all keys.
  • Sculptured profiles: Varying heights, creating a curved surface for more comfortable typing.

Experiment with different profiles to find what feels best for you.

A top-down view of a desk setup featuring two mechanical keyboards, two Logitech mice on a grey felt desk mat, with a cup of coffee, smartphone, and green notebook arranged neatly on a wooden desk
"The keys are so smooth that they make a satisfying ‘thock’ sound when pressed. I also love the design I created using Apollo keycaps,” says Nicolas R. Dumas, a tech enthusiast from France, about his custom mechanical keyboards. Full desk tour

Compatibility and customisation software

Mac vs. Windows

Ensure your keyboard’s firmware supports the operating system you use. Some keyboards offer easy switching between Mac and Windows layouts.

Customisation software

Use software like QMK or VIA to remap keys and create custom macros. This can enhance productivity and personalise your keyboard to fit your workflow.

Warranty considerations

Always check the warranty terms, especially if you plan on modding your keyboard. Some warranties are voided by opening the case or making modifications.

Additional tips for customising your keyboard

  1. Wrist rest: This can prevent wrist strain and make typing more comfortable.
  2. Programmable keys: Use software to customise key functions for increased productivity.
  3. Cable management: Keep your desk tidy with cable organisers or a wireless setup.
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Top 11 mechanical keyboards for customisation

1. GMMK Pro. This keyboard is highly regarded for its modular design, hot-swappable switches, and high-quality build. It offers a premium typing experience with extensive customisation options, including RGB lighting and programmable keys via QMK/VIA software.

Glorious Gaming GMMK PRO 75% Barebones (Frame Only)

Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, TKL Size (75%), 1.5kg Frame, RGB, Customisable, 5-Pin Switch Support, American/ANSI Layout - Black Slate

Check price on Amazon

2. Keychron Q1. Known for its affordability and customisation potential, the Keychron Q1 features a hot-swappable PCB, allowing users to easily switch switches. It also comes with QMK/VIA support for key remapping and macro programming.

USA Keychron Q1

QMK RGB Tactile Aluminium Mac/PC Carbon Black Custom Mechanical Keyboard

Check price on Amazon

3. Drop ALT. This one offers hot-swappable switch sockets, solid build quality, and a compact form factor. It supports QMK firmware, making it highly programmable and customisable to fit various user preferences.

DROP ALT Mechanical Keyboard

65% (67 Key) Gaming Keyboard, Hot-Swap Switches, Programmable Macros, RGB LED Backlighting, USB-C, Doubleshot PBT, Aluminum Frame (Cherry MX Brown RGB, Gray)

Check price on Amazon

4. Ducky One 2 Mini. While not hot-swappable, the Ducky One 2 Mini is popular for its high-quality keycaps, customizable RGB lighting, and solid construction. It's favored by enthusiasts for its reliability and vibrant aesthetic options.

Ducky One 2 Mini RGB

USB Mechanical Keyboard, Allemand Noir

Check price on Amazon

5. NovelKeys NK65. This keyboard is known for its hot-swappable PCB and excellent build quality. It provides a great platform for customisation with a variety of switch and keycap options available.


A standard 65% layout keyboard with a hotswap PCB. The PCB is VIA compatible with per switch RGB lighting

Check price on novelkeys.com

7. Rama Works M65-B. Known for its premium build and unique design, the M65-B offers a luxurious typing experience. It supports hot-swappable switches and customisable layouts, making it a top choice for enthusiasts who value aesthetics and performance.

Rama Works M65-B

Beyond the new engineering redesign, the M65-B boasts per-switch RGB LEDs and USB-C

Learn more on rama.works

6. KBDFans Tofu. The Tofu series is praised for its customizable cases and high-quality aluminum build. It offers hot-swappable options and is compatible with various PCBs, making it a favorite among custom keyboard builders.


Aluminum (anodized and electrostatically coated process). Plate: PC/ Aluminum/ FR4/ Carbon fiber plate. PCB: 1.2 mm Flex cut Hot-swap PCB/1.2 mm Non-Flex cut Solder PCB, QMK firmware, VIA support, without per-key RGB, USB-C port, with daughterboard+JST cable. Typing angle: 7°

Check price on kbdfans.com

8. Akko 3068B Plus. The Akko 3068B Plus features hot-swappable sockets, high-quality keycaps, and a robust build. It's known for its vibrant designs and extensive switch compatibility, making it a favorite for customisation enthusiasts.

Akko 3068B Plus

RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Multi Modes (BT5.0/2.4Ghz/Type C) Compact Keyboard with 5 Pin Hot Swappable, PBT Double Shot Cherry Keycaps, ISO Layout Programmable Macros (Jelly Pink)

Check price on Amazon

9. Leopold FC660M. Renowned for its build quality and typing experience, the Leopold FC660M is not hot-swappable but offers a solid foundation for customisation. Enthusiasts often choose it for switch modifications and custom keycap sets.

Leopold FC660M

USB Mechanical Keyboard (Black) with Cherry MX Blue Switches

Check price on Amazon

10. EPOMAKER SK61. It’s a 60% keyboard with hot-swappable switches and customizable RGB lighting. It supports a wide range of switches and is compatible with various keycap sets, making it ideal for customisation.


Hot Swappable 60% Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlit, ABS Keycaps for Win/Mac/Gamers (White, Gateron Optical Brown)

Check price on Amazon

11. Anne Pro 2. The Anne Pro 2 is popular for its compact size, Bluetooth connectivity, and RGB lighting. It supports software customisation for key remapping and macros, making it a versatile choice for those looking to personalise their keyboard experience.

Anne Pro 2

Wired/Wireless Mechanical Keyboard (Gateron Brown Switch/Black Case) - Full Keys Programmable - True RGB Backlit - Tap Arrow Keys - Double Shot PBT Keycaps - NKRO - 1900mAh Battery

Check price on Amazon

Customising your mechanical keyboard can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Start with understanding the basics of switches, layouts, and keycaps. And once you’re comfortable, dive into mods to make your typing experience even better.

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