Most of the mechanical keyboards available in the market come with ABS keycaps. These keycaps are durable and pretty good for general use, both for gaming and typing. However, if you are a professional and want something better and more durable and of high quality then you should look for a keyboard with PBT keycaps. A PBT keyboard comes with keycaps that are made up of PBT plastic, which is a high-performance plastic that does not degrade with time and is very highly durable. Let’s first learn about PBT plastic, its properties and where it is commonly used.
PBT or Polybutylene terephthalate is a high-performance semi-crystalline polymer thermoplastic that has wide range of applications. It is a strong, stiff, tough plastic that is resistant to stains, solvents, environmental changes, discoloration, UV radiators and has better impact resistance. It is used for making electrical switches, computer keyboards keycaps, computer parts and has wide range of applications in electrical, electronics and automotive industries.
PBT vs ABS Keycaps
ABS is the most commonly used plastic that is used for making keycaps for mechanical keyboards. It is relatively cheaper, and is pretty durable, but it develops shine over the time with constant use, because it reacts with oil on your fingers. It is also not that hard and feels kind of hollow, when you type on ABS keycaps. On the other hand, PBT keycaps are tougher, harder and gives you a more sturdy and satisfactory typing feel. However, they may feel a little loud, especially when you bottom out the keys, because of its much greater hardness.
PBT keycaps are resistant to oils and they do not develop shine in the long run and remain as good as new. Most of the PBT keycaps have a textured feel to them, which gives them better grip when typing, and it also enhances the typing experience. On the other hand, ABS keycaps are generally smooth and they do not have textured surface, unless it is deliberately done by the manufacturer for some keys (for WASD keys). Both, ABS and PBT keycaps can use double-shot molding manufacturing process, which is one the best ways to make keycaps. Double-shot keycaps are thicker, more robust and the legends on the keycaps do not fade ever.
Advantages of PBT Keycaps
Here are the benefits of using PBT keycaps over ABS keycaps or standard plastic keycaps.
- Enhanced Typing Experience
- Harder, Stiffer and Durable
- Resistant to Oil & Smudges
- Longer Lifespan & Textured
- Generally thicker than ABS Keycaps
There are not many PBT keyboards available in the market, but you can put aftermarket PBT keycaps on a mechanical keyboard with ABS keycaps. However, the caveat here is that not all PBT keycaps can fit on all mechanical keyboards, because some keyboard manufacturers use non-standard bottom row e.g. Corsair etc., which makes some of the PBT keycaps (space bar, windows, alt, ctrl etc.) to be left out unless they are specially made for Corsair keyboards. The reverse is also true where a non-standard set of PBT keycaps cannot fit on a standard layout mechanical keyboard. So, if you do not want to go into all this trouble and want a good mechanical keyboard that is fitted with PBT keycaps right from the factory, then here I am going list some of the best options available in all major keyboard form factors. All the below mentioned PBT keyboards come with genuine Cherry MX switches, which are unarguably the best mechanical switches in the market right now.
Note: In general, PBT keyboards mean keyboards with PBT keycaps. The body PBT keyboards may be of ABS plastic, normal plastic or of aluminum alloy, but the keycaps are always made of PBT material.
Full Size PBT Keyboards
Here are the best full-size PBT mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches.
[White PBT Keyboard, Feature Rich & Durable, RGB]
Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 SE is a premium version of the already popular Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. It is a classy looking keyboard that comes in all white color and has got all the features that is present in the original K70 RGB MK.2 RAPIDFIRE mechanical keyboard. It comes with Cherry MX Speed switches, which are one of the fastest switches and have lower actuation point. These are linear switches and are generally preferred for fast paced gaming. The keyboard has got white PBT double-shot keycaps that are highly durable and feels great when typing.
This is a gaming grade keyboard that supports RGB Lighting and 100% Anti-Ghosting with Full-Key Rollover. I have to admit that RGB lighting on white keycaps looks so much better, brighter, attractive and spread out than on back colored keycaps. The keyboard is compatible with Corsair’s iCUE software that can be used for changing RGB lighting & effects and configuring Macros. The keyboard also includes a grey color detachable soft wrist-rest to provide comfort during long gaming or typing sessions. The silver anodized brushed aluminum frame provides the keyboard an elegant look and also gives it rigidity. On the top of the frame, you will get dedicated media control buttons and volume control roller/wheel/knob. It also features a USB pass-through port for connecting your USB flash drives, mouse, headsets / headphones or any other low power USB device. The USB cable is non-removable, but is braided and has a USB Type-A male connector. As it is a high-quality premium keyboard, so it is a bit on the expensive side. So, if you are looking for a white color PBT keyboard for your gaming and typing needs, then you really can’t find anything better than this.
|Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 SE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Specifications|
|Form Factor||Full Size|
|Switch Type||Cherry MX Speed Silver|
|Features||Corsair iCUE Software Support, White PBT double-shot Keycaps, Per-key RGB dynamic backlighting, 100% Anti-Ghosting with Full-Key Rollover, 8MB Onboard Profile Storage, Windows Key Lock Mode, Dedicated Volume and Multimedia Controls, USB Pass-through Port, Braided USB Cable, Detachable Soft Touch Wrist Rest, Macro support|
[Switchable Layouts, Minimalist Design, Great for Professionals]
A minimalist and professional PBT keyboard from Cooler Master that comes with Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red mechanical switches. It has got 1.5mm thick PBT keycaps that offer solid feel and are very durable. This keyboard is geared more towards functionality rather than on frills, and it does not even come with LED backlighting. It is best suited for business and professional heavy-duty work, but can also be used for gaming as it does support N-key rollover with Anti-ghosting.
This PBT mechanical keyboard supports switchable layouts, which means you can switch between DVORAK, QWERTY, and WORKMAN layout modes, just with a press of a FN key. It also supports Macros and profiles and you can set or configure them with the onboard keys itself as no software is required for it. The overall build quality of the keyboard is very good and it comes with a braided USB cable that is detachable. Also, it is one of the cheapest PBT mechanical keyboards that comes with Cherry MX switches. The keyboard supports Windows, Mac and Linux operating system. So, if you are looking for a no-nonsense mechanical keyboard for work that comes with PBT keycaps and switchable layout functionality then this is the one to go for.
Note: A tenkeyless variant of this keyboard is also available as Cooler Master MasterKeys S PBT with same set of features. The only difference is that it lacks number pad. You can check out this version too from the link given below.
|Cooler Master MasterKeys L Mechanical Keyboard Specifications|
|Form Factor||Full size|
|Switch Type||Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red|
|Features||Detachable Braided USB cable, MACRO & Profile support, Switchable Layouts (Dvorak, QWERTY, and Workman), Mac and Linux compatible, 1.5mm thick PBT keycaps, N-key rollover with Anti-ghosting, On-the-Fly Adjustment of Settings (No software required)|
[Great Value for Money, 3-Layout options, Blue Backlighting]
iKBC is a Taiwanese manufacturer of high-quality Cherry MX mechanical keyboards. Here we have iKBC TD108 Mechanical Keyboard that comes with ergonomic shape double-shot PBT keycaps and Blue LED Backlighting. The keyboard is available in Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown and Black switches, and you can choose the desired mechanical switch based on your requirements. The keyboard has simplistic design and has got great build quality. The keyboard supports switchable layouts (Qwerty, Dvorak and Colemak) and you can switch between them on-the-fly using the FN key.
For gaming, it supports N-key Rollover with 100% Anti-ghosting. The cable is detachable but is not braided. The package includes keycap puller and ten Gaming Keys (QWEASD and Arrow Keys). The keyboard is priced very competitively and if you are looking for high quality PBT mechanical keyboard in budget, the you should definitely get this one.
Note: A hybrid connectivity variant of this keyboard is also available as iKBC CD108BT, with both Wireless (Bluetooth) and USB functionality. It does cost extra and you can check out this model too from the links given below.
|iKBC TD108 Mechanical Keyboard Specifications|
|Form Factor||Full Size|
|Switch Type||Cherry MX Blue / Brown / Red / Black|
|Backlight||Blue LED Backlighting|
|Features||Switchable layouts (Qwerty, Dvorak and Colemak), supports N-key Rollover with 100% Anti-ghosting, Mac OS X compatible, 9 built-in LED modes with brightness adjustment,|
[Retro Vintage Looks, Solid Build & Durable]
A retro color scheme mechanical keyboard that has got 1.5mm thick double shot PBT keycaps. This keyboard reminds me of the original IBM Model M mechanical keyboard in the past. The build quality of the keyboard is solid and it comes with Cherry MX Red switches that linear switches and are best suited for gaming. The keyboard supports NKRO with Anti-Ghosting and has DIP switches to change the layout according to your requirements. The design of the keyboard is simple and it does feel very sturdy. So, if you are looking for a durable PBT mechanical keyboard that has vintage looks to it then it will not let your down.
|Leopold FC900R PD Mechanical Keyboard Specifications|
|Form Factor||Full Size|
|Switch Type||Cherry MX Red|
|Features||1.5mm thick double-shot PBT keys, Rubber-feet, Unique sculpted key design, DIP switches, NKRO with Anti-ghosting, Windows and Mac Compatible|
[RGB Backlight, Switchable Layouts]
An RGB mechanical keyboard from the iKBC that comes with Cherry MX Blue/Brown/Red/Silent Red switches and Backlit Double-shot PBT Keycaps. The design of the keyboard is simple and the frame is made of aluminum that gives it greater strength and rigidity. It has Built-in preset layouts (Qwerty, Dvorak and Coleman) that you can switch accordingly. The RGB lighting and effects can be controlled on-the-fly using the FN key. On the top, you can find some volume control keys and dedicated calculator key that proves very handy. It also supports N-Key Rollover with 100% Anti-ghosting that is must for gaming. The USB cable is detachable but is non-braided. Overall, a durable RGB keyboard with PBT keycaps, and can be used for both gaming and typing. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.
|iKBC MF108 V.2 RGB Mechanical Keyboard Specifications|
|Form Factor||Full Size|
|Switch Type||Cherry MX Blue/Brown/Red/Silent Red|
|Backlight||RGB LED Backlighting|
|Features||9 preset and per key RGB lighting customization, N Key Rollover with 100% Anti-ghosting, FN multimedia keys, Switchable layouts (Qwerty, Dvorak and Coleman), Aluminum Frame, Macro support|
Other PBT Mechanical Keyboards (Full Size)
Here are some other good mechanical keyboards with PBT keycaps that are worth checking out.
Tenkeyless PBT Keyboards
Here are the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards that come with PBT keycaps and Cherry MX switches.
[Solid Build Quality, Practical, Simplistic Design]
iKBC CD87 is basically a Tenkeyless 87 keys variant of the full sized iKBC TD108 Mechanical Keyboard. It is minimalist and simple looking TKL mechanical keyboard that has great build quality and comes with Cherry MX Blue/Brown/Clear/Red switches. The PBT keycaps feel great and has got laser engraved printing for legends. The keyboard supports N-key rollover with 100% anti-ghosting for gaming. It does not come with LED backlighting, which can bother some users, but if you want a high-quality and no-frills mechanical keyboard that is great for both typing and gaming then it will definitely suit you. It is available in two colors: black and white.
Note: A hybrid connectivity variant of this keyboard is also available, which is iKBC CD87BT. It comes with both Bluetooth (Wireless) and USB (Wired) connectivity, and you can check out this model too from the links given below.
|iKBC CD87 Mechanical Keyboard Specifications|
|Switch Type||Cherry MX|
|Features||NKRO with 100% Anti-ghosting, 3-way cable management, 3-levels adjustable feet|
Taurus K320 is a compact Tenkeyless Mechanical Keyboard from a Chinese brand DURGOD. This keyboard comes with Cherry MX mechanical switches and double shot PBT keycaps that offer great reliability, durability and typing experience. The construction quality of the keyboard is sturdy and it does not feel cheap, even though it is made of all plastic. It supports NKRO with Anti-ghosting for gaming and has FN multimedia keys. The keyboard also lets you save and customize profile and Macros through Durgod Zeus Engine software, which you can download for free from its official website.
For connectivity, it uses USB interface and comes with two sets of USB cable, one is Type-C to Type-C and other one is Type-C to Type-A USB cable. It supports both Mac and Windows operating systems. It does lack LED backlighting, which could have made this keyboard even better. Nevertheless, it is still a very good TKL mechanical keyboard with high-quality PBT keycaps. It is available in two colors: Space Grey and White.
|Taurus K320 Mechanical Keyboard Specifications|
|Switch Type||Cherry MX|
|Features||Detachable two Different USB Cables (Type-C to Type-C & Type-C to Type-A), NKRO with Anti-ghosting, FN multimedia keys, Software support, Mac and Windows Compatible, Adjustable feet|
[Quieter Operation, Solid Build Quality, Retro Look]
Leopold FC750R PD is a compact tenkeyless mechanical keyboard with retro color scheme that looks very cool. This is basically a TKL 87 keys variant of the above-mentioned Leopold FC900R PD Mechanical Keyboard. You can get this keyboard in two mechanical keys options: Cherry MX Brown or Cherry MX Silent Red for quiet operation. It has got 1.5mm thick double shot PBT keycaps of high quality. The keyboard allows you switch layout using the four DIP switches present on the back of the keyboard. Other features include N-Key Rollover with Anti-ghosting. The keyboard has solid build quality and it even has a sound-absorbing pad in between the plate and PCB to keep the noise as minimum as possible. It is compatible with Windows and Mac OS.
|Leopold FC750R PD Mechanical Keyboard Specifications|
|Switch Type||Cherry MX Brown / Silent Red|
|Features||1.5mm thick double-shot PBT keys, Rubber-feet, Unique sculpted key design, DIP switches, NKRO with Anti-ghosting, Sound-absorbing pad, Windows and Mac Compatible|
Other TKL PBT Keyboards
Here are some other good TKL mechanical keyboards with PBT keycaps that are worth checking out.
75% Keyboard with PBT Keycapas
A very good 75% form factor mechanical keyboard with PBT keycaps and RGB backlighting.
There are some ultra-portable 60% mechanical keyboards available too that come with PBT keycaps, and you can check them out from the link given below.
40% PBT keyboard
If you are a professional who types a lot then getting a mechanical keyboard with PBT keycaps can greatly enhance your productivity and comfort. Also, these PBT keyboards are more durable than the ones with ABS keycaps, because of the sturdier PBT keycaps. These keyboards can also be used for gaming as some of them do come with RGB or LED backlighting that is becoming very important for gamers. If you have any kind of query about them, then you can ask me in the comment section below.