Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards [Compact, Wired & Wireless]

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When it comes to keyboards then mechanical keyboards offer numerous benefits that include less finger fatigue, better typing & gaming experience, longer life and they feel much more premium than a rubber dome or membrane mechanical keyboard. Despite all these advantages, mechanical keyboards do have a few disadvantages that include their relatively high price and high cost of repair. The switches used in mechanical keyboards are very reliable and durable especially if they are from reputable manufacturers like Cherry, Kailh, Logitech, etc. However, in some cases, the mechanical switches can become faulty or may develop key chatter where multiple keystrokes are being registered in a single keypress. This behavior can be very frustrating, annoying and can lead to reduced productivity and fatigue.

The key chatter issue can be fixed using key chatter software to quite an extent. However, if the mechanical switch has gone very bad or is not responding at all then the only option is to replace that faulty switch. For replacing the faulty switch with a new one, you have to open and disassemble the mechanical keyboard and then have to desolder the faulty switch and then solder the new one. This can be quite a task for an average person because not everyone has the knowledge and expertise in repairing and soldering electronic components. So, if you want to remain on the safer side of the spectrum and want to avoid any future issues with switch replacement then you can opt for the hot-swappable mechanical keyboards.

Hot-swappable Mechanical Keyboards Switch Compatibility

Mechanical Switch compatibility is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard. It is because mechanical switches from different manufacturers are not always cross-compatible with each other because of the difference in the keyboard socket design and switch pin design. The Cherry MX switches and their clones are available with either a 3-pin or 5-pin design. Both these switches have got two metal pins and a center plastic leg or pin in common. The only difference is that the 5-pin switch comes with two extra plastic legs (or pins) that give them extra stability on the keyboard mounting plate. You can use a compatible 3-pin switch on a keyboard that uses a 5-pin switch but the inverse is not possible unless you cut the two extra plastic legs of a 5-pin switch cleanly. Below you can see that in 3-pin and 5-pin switches, the two metal pins and the central plastic leg are common but in the 5-pin switch, there are two extra plastic legs at the opposite sides.

3-pin-and-5-pin-switch

When it comes to different manufacturers then you can swap Cherry MX switches with MX Style Gateron, Kailh switches, or vice versa. However, you cannot swap Outemu switches with Cherry MX Style switches because there is a difference in the construction of pins and their size.

Why buy hot-swappable mechanical keyboards?

As I have said earlier also in the article, the main advantage of having a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard is that whenever any switch gets faulty, you can easily replace it with a new one just by pulling the old switch out from the keyboard switch socket and then pushing down the new one into the socket. Moreover, a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard also gives you flexibility over the switches i.e. if you have got bored with the current switches or wish to try out other switches then you can replace the entire switches on the keyboard with different ones. For example, if you have a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard with blue switches and you wish to try out red switches then you can do that very easily without having to change the entire keyboard. It is also way more cost-effective than getting a new mechanical keyboard compared to swapping switches with other ones. You can also mix multiple switch types on a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard i.e. you can place red, blue, brown, or any other color switches on one keyboard only based on your requirements e.g. you use red switches for arrow keys, brown switches for WASD keys, blue switches for Numpad keys and so on.

Full-Size Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards [Wired]

Below are full-size wired hot-swappable mechanical keyboards.

Keychron C2 Wired Mechanical Keyboard (Hot-Swappable)

[Budget Pricing, White LED Backlight, USB Type-C Detachable Cable]

Keychron is a company that focuses only on mechanical keyboards and their accessories. It was started in the year 2017 by a group of keyboard enthusiast who has extensive experience in keyboard manufacturing. Keychron is quite well known for providing good quality mechanical keyboards at very affordable pricing. Their mechanical keyboard range is also quite extensive and you can get the mechanical keyboard in various sizes with different switch options. Here we have the hot-swappable version of the Keychron C2 Wired Mechanical Keyboard. The keyboard comes with Blue/Brown/Red Gateron switches and white & black colored ABS keycaps. The keycaps on the keyboard are illuminated by White LED Lighting that looks very elegant, unlike the RGB ones that do look flashy.

Keychron-C2-Wired-Mechanical-Keyboard-Hot-Swappable

The Keychron C2 Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard hot-swappable switch socket is compatible with almost all Cherry MX style 3-pin or 5-pin switches from various manufacturers including Kailh, Cherry, Gateron, etc. When it comes to connectivity, the keyboard comes with a detachable USB Type-C cable that is braided to protect against damage from sharp objects and mice. The keyboard supports both Windows and Mac operating systems and you can switch between the Windows or Mac OS style using a physical toggle switch located on the side of the keyboard. The keyboard is minimalistic in design and looks great with black and white-colored switches. The media shortcuts are present on the function keys and can be invoked in combination with the special fn key located on the left side of the right Ctrl key. The polling rate offered is 1000Hz and NKRO is also present for gaming. The keyboard is on the budget side but does not compromise on quality and features.

Keychron C2 Wired Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor Full Size (104 Keys)
Switch Type Gateron Blue/Brown/Red
Switch Compatibility 3-pin/5-pin MX Style switches
Backlight White LED
Interface USB 2.0 (Type-C)
Features Multi-colored ABS keycaps, Windows & Mac support, Removable Braided USB Type-C Cable, Adjustable Feet, Fn key shortcuts, N-key rollover (NKRO), 1000Hz Polling Rate

Buy Keychron C2 Wired Mechanical Keyboard

EVGA Z15 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

[Low Latency (4K Hz), RGB Lighting, Good Build Quality, Dedicated Media Shortcuts]

EVGA is a computer components manufacturer that is widely known for its Nvidia Graphics Cards. The company also makes power supplies and computer accessories that include mice and mechanical keyboards. Here from EVGA, we have EVGA Z15 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard which is a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard targeted towards gaming. The keyboard comes with Kailh Speed Bronze or Silver switches that are hot-swappable with any other MX style 3-pin switches from Cherry, Gateron, etc. The keycaps are made of ABS plastic and are illuminated by RGB LEDs. One prominent feature of this keyboard is that it has a polling rate of 4000Hz that results in an ultra-fast response time of 0.25s. This ultra-low latency can be very advantageous in fast competitive gaming where the timing, trigger, or movement plays a very important role.

EVGA-Z15-RGB-Mechanical-Gaming-Keyboard

Another great thing about EVGA Z15 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is that all of the keys are Macro-programmable and you can also customize RGB lighting on a per-key basis using the EVGA Unleash RGB Software. For comfort, the keyboard does come with a Magnetic Wrist Rest that helps in reducing fatigue during long working or gaming sessions. The USB cable is non-detachable but is braided. The built quality of the keyboard is also great and it uses aluminum frame construction. The keyboard comes with dedicated media shortcuts and a Volume Scroll wheel that prove very useful in gaming as well during watching movies. Besides Windows, the keyboard does work with Mac too but customization is not possible in Mac OS. Overall, a very good hot-swappable mechanical keyboard from a well-known reputable brand.

EVGA Z15 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor Full Size
Switch Type Kailh Speed Bronze/Silver
Switch Compatibility 3-pin MX Style switches
Backlight RGB LED
Interface USB 2.0
Features 4000Hz (0.25 ms) Polling Rate/Response Time, Dedicated Media Shortcuts and Volume Roller, Customizable RGB LED Lighting, All Keys are Macro-programmable, ABS Keycaps, Magnetic Palm Rest, Adjustable Feet

Buy EVGA Z15 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Full-Size Hot-swappable Mechanical Keyboards [Wireless]

Below are the full-size wireless hot-swappable mechanical keyboards.

Keychron K4 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard (Version 2)

[RGB Lighting, Good Battery Life, USB Wired Mode Option]

If you are looking for a full-size wireless hot-swappable mechanical keyboard then the hot-swappable Keychron K4 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard (Version 2) is one of the best options available. Technically, it is a 96% layout keyboard and comes with 100 keys. The keyboard features a minimalistic design and the build quality is also very good as it uses aluminum frame construction along with ABS plastic for the body. The keyboard comes with Gateron Blue/Brown/Red switches and the switches can be hot-swappable with 3-pin/5-pin MX Style switches. The keycaps are made of durable ABS plastic and are lit by RGB LEDs. The grey-colored keycaps give the keyboard a unique and trendy look.

Keychron-K4-Wireless-Mechanical-Keyboard-Version-2

The keyboard offers a dual interface which means it can be used in wireless as well as wired mode using the USB Type-C cable that comes along with the keyboard. For wireless operation, the Keyboard uses Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and a large 4000mAh Lithium Polymer battery. The battery backup time is quite good as the keyboard can last up to 72 hours typing, or up to 7 days of normal use (8 hrs/day). The RGB lighting has 15+ flashing modes and you can also adjust the brightness of LEDs. For gaming, the keyboard features N-key rollover (NKRO) on Wired mode and 1000Hz Polling Rate on wired mode. The wireless mode is not suitable for gaming as it has a polling rate of only 90Hz and supports 6-key rollover only. The keyboard supports both Windows and Mac layouts and you can switch between them using a dedicated toggle switch present on the left side. The multimedia shortcuts are shared with the function keys and can be invoked in conjunction with the special fn key. Overall, good wireless full-sizish hot-swappable mechanical keyboard that is on the affordable side.

Keychron K4 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 96% Layout (100 Keys)
Switch Type Gateron Blue/Brown/Red
Switch Compatibility 3-pin/5-pin MX Style switches
Backlight RGB LED
Interface Bluetooth/USB
Features Multi-colored ABS keycaps, Windows & Mac support, Removable Braided USB Type-C Cable, Adjustable Feet, Fn key shortcuts, N-key rollover (NKRO) on Wired mode and 6KRO on wireless mode, 4000mAh Li-polymer Battery, Adjustable 4-level RGB backlit, Aircraft-grade aluminum frame

Buy Keychron K4 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Compact Hot-swappable Mechanical Keyboards [Wired]

Here are the best wired compact hot-swappable mechanical keyboards.

Glorious GMMK Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

[RGB Lighting, Floating Keys Design, Removable Braided USB Cable]

Glorious is a PC Gaming hardware & accessories company that is quite popular for its innovative mice and mechanical keyboards. The two most popular products of the company are the ultra-lightweight mice with honeycomb vents and modular mechanical gaming keyboards. Here we have the tenkeyless (87 keys) GMKK Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard that comes with Gateron mechanical switches. The switch socket on the keyboard is compatible with any 3-pin MX Style switches from Cherry, Kailh, Gateron, etc. The keyboard comes with ABS Double Shot Injection Keycaps that add durability and are lit by RGB LEDs.

Glorious-GMMK-Modular-Mechanical-Gaming-Keyboard-GMMK-TKL-BRN

The keyboard features a minimalist design and has pretty good build quality. Moreover, the floating keys design makes the keyboard very easy to clean and maintain. For gaming needs the keyboard supports Full NKRO N-Key Rollover and has got Polling Rate of 1000Hz (1ms). The USB cable that comes with the keyboard is braided and removable. The keyboard support Macros and the Hotkeys or shortcuts are present on the function keys that can be triggered by using them in combination with the special F key. The operating systems supported include Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, Mac OS, Linux. Overall, a nice compact and portable modular keyboard that can be used for gaming as well as work. The exact model number of this keyboard is GMMK-TKL-BRN.

Glorious GMMK Modular Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor Tenkeyless
Switch Type Gateron Brown
Switch Compatibility 3-pin MX Style switches
Backlight RGB LED
Interface USB 2.0
Features ABS Double Injection Keycaps, Full NKRO N-Key Rollover, RGB LED backlight with special effects, 1000 Hz Polling Rate, 6 ft. Braided Removable USB Cable, Macros & Hotkeys, Supports Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, Mac OS, Linux

Buy Glorious GMMK Modular Mechanical Keyboard

Compact Hot-swappable Mechanical Keyboards [Wireless]

Here are the best wireless compact hot-swappable mechanical keyboards.

IQUNIX L80 Formula Typing Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

[Triple Connectivity Modes, PBT Keycaps, Trendy Design, RGB Lighting, Wide OS Support, Feature Rich]

IQUNIX is a young company that specializes in mechanical keyboards and was founded in 2014 in Shenzhen. The company offers high-quality feature-rich mechanical keyboards that are trendy in design. Here we have IQUNIX L80 Formula Typing Wireless Mechanical Keyboard which is an 80% layout mechanical keyboard having 83 Keys and is about 10% smaller than a Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboard. The keyboard offers a wide range of switch options that include Cherry MX Red/Brown/Blue or Gateron Blue/Brown/Red. The hot-swappable switch socket is compatible with any similar 3-pin/5-pin MX Style switches from different brands. The keyboard comes with PBT Keycaps that adds durability, does not fade or develop shine over time, and provides a superior typing feel and experience. The keycaps are lit by RGB LEDs and there are seven built-in RGB lighting effects. The keyboard looks trendy and has multi-colored keycaps. The frame of the keyboard is made of ABS plastic and is quite durable.

IQUNIX-L80-Formula-Typing-Wireless-Mechanical-Keyboard

The keyboard offers three modes of connectivity that include Wireless 2.4GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB Type-C. In 2.4GHz Wireless and USB Wired mode, the polling rate is 1000Hz (1ms response time) while in Bluetooth mode the polling rate is 125Hz (8ms response time). For Wireless operation the keyboard comes with a large 4000mAh rechargeable battery that provides backup of up to 200 days via Bluetooth connection and 60 days via 2.4GHz connection with backlit off and 5 hours of using per day. For gaming, the keyboard does support N-Key Rollover and Anti-Ghosting. The USB Type-C cable is detachable and is braided. The keyboard supports Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android operation systems. You can switch between the different operating systems’ layouts by holding FN+TAB for 5 seconds to switch. Overall, an excellent compact wireless hot-swappable keyboard for gaming as well as for typing. Highly Recommended!

IQUNIX L80 Formula Typing Wireless Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 80% Layout (83-keys)
Switch Type Cherry MX Red/Brown/Blue or Gateron Blue/Brown/Red
Switch Compatibility 3-pin/5-pin MX Style switches
Backlight RGB LED
Interface Wireless 2.4GHz/Bluetooth/USB
Features PBT Keycaps, Three Angle Adjustments, ABS Frame, Changeable RGB Backlighting Effects, 4000mAH Battery, N-Key Rollover, Detachable & Braided USB Type-C Cable, 1ms Response Time (2.4GHz & USB), Windows/Mac OS/Android/iOS Support

Buy IQUNIX L80 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Vissles V84 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard Hot-Swappable

[PBT Keycaps, Lightweight, RGB Lighting & Macros, Dedicated Software Support]

A very good compact and lightweight and wireless hot-swappable mechanical keyboard. Vissles V84 Wireless hot Swappable Mechanical Keyboard comes with Gateron Red/Blue/Brown switches and is compatible with 3-pin/5-pin MX Style switches. It is a TKL form factor keyboard and comes with 84 Keys. The keyboard comes with PBT keycaps that are superior to ABS keycaps both in terms of durability and typing feel. The keycaps are lit by RGB LED lighting and you can customize the RGB lighting using the supported software. Moreover, using the dedicated software, you can also define programmable functions and Macros.

Vissles-V84-Wireless-Mechanical-Keyboard-Hot-Swappable

The keyboard supports Wireless mode using Bluetooth 5.1 interface and wired mode via USB Type-C cable. The keyboard has got a rechargeable 3750mAh Lithium Battery that has a claimed backup time of 180 hours of typing when backlighting is turned off. The operating systems supported by the keyboard include Windows/Android/Mac/iOS. The keyboard features magnetic removable footpads and a soft-touch wrist is also included with the package. The exact model number of the keyboard is V84 Version 1.

Vissles V84 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard Hot-Swappable Specifications
Form Factor Tenkeyless (84 keys)
Switch Type Gateron Blue/Red/Brown
Switch Compatibility 3-pin/5-pin MX Style switches
Backlight RGB LED
Interface Bluetooth 5.1/USB Type-C
Features 3750mAh Lithium Battery, Windows/Android/Mac/iOS Support, PBT Keycaps, Magnetic attachment and detachable foot pads, Bundled Wrist Rest, Macros Support, Customizable RGB Lighting, Removable USB Cable

Buy Vissles V84 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Keychron K6 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard (Hot-Swappable)

[Super Compact, RGB Lighting, Good Build & Feature Rich, Gateron G Pro Switches]

The most compact wireless keyboard in this list with hot-swappable functionality. Keychron K6 is a 65% form factor keyboard that comes with 68 keys and Gateron G Pro Brown/Blue/Red switches that are superior to normal Gateron switches and are one of the best mechanical switches in the market. For hot-swappable functionality, the keyboard supports both 3-pin and 5-pin MX style SMD-LED mechanical switches from Gateron, Cherry, Kailh, etc. The keyboard has got ABS keycaps which are lit by RGB LEDs. The build quality of the keyboard is good as it has aluminum frame construction and an ABS plastic body.

Keychron-K6-Wireless-Mechanical-Keyboard-Hot-Swappable

The keyboard supports Bluetooth 5.1 for wireless interface and wired mode is supported via USB Type-C cable. For wireless mode operation, the keyboard comes with a 4000mAh battery that provides up to 240 hours of typing backup when the backlight is off. The keyboard features a minimalist design and looks great. For gaming, the keyboard supports N-key rollover (NKRO) on wired mode or 6KRO on wireless mode. The Polling Rate on wired mode is 1000Hz and on wireless mode (Bluetooth) is 90Hz. The media shortcuts are shared with function keys and can be invoked in combination with a special fn key. The operating systems that are supported by the keyboard include Windows/Android/Mac/iOS. If you are looking for a high-quality travel keyboard or a super-compact keyboard for work then it is one of the best options available.   

Keychron K6 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard Specifications
Form Factor 65% Layout (68 keys)
Switch Type Gateron G Pro Brown/Blue/Red
Switch Compatibility 3-pin/5-pin MX Style switches
Backlight RGB LED
Interface Bluetooth/USB Type-C
Features 4000mAh Rechargeable li-polymer battery, AB Keycaps, 18 Types of RGB Lighting Effects, Connect up to 3 devices, Aluminum Frame construction, N-key rollover (NKRO) on wired mode or 6KRO on wireless mode, Windows/Android/Mac/iOS Support

Buy Keychron K6 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Barebone Mechanical Keyboards (without switches)

These are the mechanical keyboards that come without mechanical switches installed. You can buy the compatible switches of your choice and can install them in the hot-swappable socket plate.

Other hot-swappable mechanical keyboards

Some other good compact hot-swappable mechanical keyboards that you may want to check out. 

See also:

Final Words

Well, hot-swappable mechanical keyboards are a great innovation in the field of mechanical keyboards. They allow great customization in terms of switches and the replacement of faulty switches is very convenient and fast. They may cost you somewhat more than the regular mechanical keyboards with soldered switches but I think the extra money you pay for a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard is totally worth it. If you have any queries regarding hot-swappable mechanical keyboards then let me know in the comment section below.

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