ABS vs PBT Keycaps explained.
The purpose of this article is to explain the differences, pros and cons, between using ABS or PBT keycaps, so you can make an informed decision for your new Wooting.
Keycaps are an essential component of mechanical keyboards that not only determine the overall aesthetics but also influence the typing experience. Two commonly used keycap materials are ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate). Each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, catering to different preferences of keyboard enthusiasts.
- Smooth Texture: ABS keycaps often have a smoother and glossier surface, giving them a sleek appearance that some users prefer.
- Customization: The smooth surface of ABS keycaps makes them ideal for custom keycap designs and intricate legends that can be more detailed and vibrant.
- Sound: Some users appreciate the unique "thock" sound produced by ABS keycaps, which can be more resonant and satisfying to some ears.
- Affordability: ABS keycaps are generally more affordable to produce, making them a cost-effective choice for manufacturers and users.
- Durability: ABS keycaps tend to wear out and shine over time due to their softer material, which can lead to a less appealing look and feel after extended use.
- Fading and Discoloration: UV exposure and prolonged use can cause ABS keycaps to fade or develop a yellowish tint, affecting the overall aesthetics.
- Oil Absorption: The smooth surface of ABS keycaps can lead to oil and grease absorption, resulting in an uneven and unpleasant appearance.
- Durability: PBT keycaps are renowned for their durability, as the material is harder and more resistant to wear, making them a long-lasting choice.
- Texture: PBT keycaps often have a slightly textured surface, providing a pleasant tactile feel that resists oil and grease buildup.
- Fade and UV Resistance: PBT keycaps are less likely to fade or discolor over time, even with prolonged UV exposure, ensuring a consistent appearance.
- Sound Dampening: PBT keycaps tend to produce a softer and deeper sound profile compared to ABS keycaps, which can be preferable for some users.
- Customization Limitations: PBT keycaps are less suited for intricate legends and vibrant designs due to the material's more matte and textured surface.
- Cost: PBT keycaps are generally more expensive to produce, which can contribute to a higher overall keyboard cost.
Doubleshot PBT Keycaps:
Doubleshot PBT keycaps offer the best of both worlds. In this manufacturing process, two layers of PBT plastic are molded together, resulting in legends that won't fade over time. This method also allows for more intricate legends on the keycaps while maintaining the durability and texture benefits of PBT material.
In the debate between ABS and PBT keycaps, the choice ultimately depends on your preferences and priorities. If you value a sleek appearance, affordable customization, and unique sound, ABS keycaps might be your preference. However, if you prioritize durability, resistance to wear and shine, and a pleasant tactile texture, PBT keycaps are likely the better option. For those seeking the best of both worlds, doubleshot PBT keycaps offer durability and customization without compromising on design. Consider your typing style, aesthetic preferences, and budget to make an informed decision that enhances your overall keyboard experience.