Hot-swap keyboards explained - and the 5 bestsellers for you

Hot Swap Keyboard

A hot-swappable keyboard is a type of mechanical keyboard that doesn't require soldering if you want to swap out broken keys. Instead, there are mechanical links on the keyboard that allow you to replace any key with another. You can also swap out the keycaps if you prefer different colors or designs.

The hot swappable keyboards were typically found in business or industrial settings where downtime needs to be minimized. Hot-swappable keyboards can also come in handy for a home user who wants to easily switch between different keyboard designs or layouts, or customize the key switches to suit their own needs.

Hot swappable: easy to use between different types of switches

Since you can change not only the keycaps, but even the key mechanism, a hot-swap keyboard also allows you to test various types of switches. The following three types are available:

  • Linear: Soft and consistent keystroke with low noise.
  • Tactile: A small bump with each keypress with a moderate noise.
  • Clicky: A small nudge with each keypress with a loud clicking sound
Hot-swappable keyboards allow you to swap out the switches and keycaps - this allows you to change the mechanics of the switches in the keyboard and the colors of the keys (Photo: Jay Zhang/Unsplash).

Hot-swappable keyboards allow you to swap out the switches and keycaps - this allows you to change the mechanics of the switches in the keyboard and the colors of the keys (Photo: Jay Zhang/Unsplash).

What are linear switches?

Linear styli offer smooth, consistent actuation without any tactile feedback. Linear switches are great for people who don't like the little "bumps" of click switches or the loud noise they make when pressed. They are popular with gamers because the even keystrokes provide more precision.

Linear switches are similar in feel to rubber domes, except they have no moving parts. Linear switches are ideal for typists who need a light touch. They are quieter than click switches (tactile and clicky) making them perfect for people who work in quiet environments and don't want to disturb co-workers or roommates.

What are tactile switches?

Tactile switches are a type of switch that produce a tactile jerk and audible click each time a push button is pressed.

Tactile switches give immediate feedback when you touch them, so just by hearing the sound you know they're working properly. Some people really enjoy typing on these keyboards because they feel like they're making more noise when they press the keys, which also gives them more feedback.

What are clicky switches?

Clicky switches produce a noticeable jerk when pressed and a loud, audible click when released.

When typing, the loud and clicking switches give excellent tactile feedback, so you know exactly when the keystroke was registered. Apart from that it sounds really good. In the office, these keyboards can be distracting to others, but they definitely make the listener feel that the person typing is very busy.

Three colors to identify the type of switch

If you're looking for a keyboard that's linear, clicky, or tactile, you can find almost every switch option on most hot-swappable mechanical keyboards. Typically, there are three color options for the switches: brown (tactile), red (linear), and blue (clicky). Based on these colors you can see which switches were used on which keyboards on a keyboard.

The Best Hot Swap Keyboards

To help you with the selection, I have a few good keyboards here, which I would like to give you as a start for further research. The keyboards are all mechanical and offer all the advantages that hot swap keyboards have. Some of the keyboards are smaller than a "normal" keyboard and also do not have a number pad, but you can already see that in the product photos.

6,00 EUR
EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK61 61 keys hot swappable keyboard wired with RGB backlight,...
  • 【Optical Gateron switch and hot-swappable】 To achieve the ultimate experience, SK61 uses the ...
  • 【Three layers programmable & NKRO】 Despite the three-layer programmable mode, FN1/FN2/FN3, all ...
  • 【Water-Resistant Motherboard & PBT Dye-Sublimation Keycaps】We believe that details make a brand...
Redragon K530 Pro Draconic 60% Bluetooth / wired / 2,4 GHz wireless mechanical keyboard, 61...
  • Upgraded K530 PRO - Feature Upgraded YES, price increase NO✗, this is the ultimate brand new K530 Draconic PRO....
  • YES! TRUE HOT-SWAP - The transformative innovation compatible with 99,8%+ switches free-mod hot swappable Redragon...
  • 3-mode connection - Equipped with Redragon's innovative tri-mode connection technology, USB-C wired, ...
RK ROYAL KLUDGE RK84 Wireless Bluetooth/2.4Ghz 75% RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, THREE Modes...
  • That's THREE MODES: Believe it or not, this is the first generation of wireless RGB keyboards with three...
  • 84 keys US layout, TKL redefined: The innovative, unique 75% layout differs from traditional...
  • Hot-swappable silent red switch: With the hot-swappable circuit board, you can freely exchange the 3-pin/5-pin switches without ...
18,00 EUR
Logitech K835 TKL Wired Mechanical Aluminum Keyboard - Tenkeyless PC Keyboard with...
  • Scope of application: professional work, no number pad
  • Wired (USB)
  • Layout: German
EPOMAKER SKYLOONG SK64 64 keys hotswap mechanical gaming keyboard with RGB lighting, no ...
  • 【Hot-swappable keyboard with 60% layout】 As a compact mechanical keyboard with 60% layout, the SK64 really uses ...
  • 【IP6X Dustproof Motherboard, PBT Keycaps】The motherboard adopts IP6X dustproof design. Make...
  • 【16 million RGB backlight】 With a backlight that comes with subtle functionality for ...

Top 5 Best Sellers on Amazon

If you want to browse a little further, you will find the current 5 bestsellers available on Amazon here. This list is always up to date and should also provide you with good keyboards that offer hot-swap mechanics.

1,53 EURBestseller no. 1
RK68 mechanical gaming keyboard, wireless/wired mechanical keyboard 65%, RGB lighting...
  • 65% wireless mechanical keyboard: RK ROYAL KLUDGE RK68 is a compact mechanical keyboard with 68 keys that gives you ...
  • Wired/Wireless: The wireless mode with the stable Bluetooth 5.1 chipset and the wired USB-C mode sets ...
  • Hot-swappable: Hot-swappable circuit board allows you to freely replace 3-pin/5-pin switches without soldering hassles...
Bestseller no. 2
MOUNTAIN Everest Core RGB Gaming Keyboard with hot-swappable Cherry MX Brown - DE ISO - Gunmetal Gray
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A hub for your other USB devices
  • Hot-swappable Cherry MX switches - use original Cherry MX switches or exchange them for any other compatible...
  • USB Type-C port to connect Everest Keyboard
Bestseller no. 3
CIY X77 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard丨88 Keys QWERTZ Layout丨Programmable RGB丨Three...
  • ⌨️Hot-Swappable Clear Brown Switch - Hot-swappable PCB allows you to freely swap 3-pin and 5-pin switches...
  • ⌨️Top cover with magnetic adsorption - It is very convenient for you to remove the dirt that has gotten into the ...
  • ⌨️Dynamic RGB backlighting-15 preset backlighting modes available onboard 5...
Bestseller no. 4
EPOMAKER Ajazz AK816 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 75% sealing, hot-swappable, Bluetooth...
  • 【A 75% keyboard with high-quality dye-sub PBT keycaps】 The Ajazz AK816 keyboard adopts the 75% design ...
  • 【Seal and poron foam】 To achieve a soft typing experience, Ajazz AK816 is in a seal bracket ...
  • 【Three modes: Type-C wired, Bluetooth 5.0 & 2,4 GHz available】 The Ajazz AK816 supports connection via ...
Bestseller no. 5
TM680 RGB Modular DIY Mechanical Keyboard, 67 Keys Hot Swap 3pin/5pin Switch, USB-C Wired Keyboard...
  • 【TM680 DIY Keyboard】You can easily create your own unique mechanical keyboard. Looks,...
  • RGB keyboard: The RGB keyboard contains 6 types of backlight effects and 8 types of ...
  • 【Hot Swap Switches】 You can install MX switches directly without soldering and simply use your own mechanical ...

3 pin or 5 pin switch change: pay attention to compatibility

If you buy a keyboard, you have to see if it is compatible with the 3-pin or 5-pin switches. There are different techniques here. Some keyboards like that Redragon K530 Pro Draconic (a 60% keyboard) even gets along with both types and thus recognizes up to 99% of all available switches from well-known brands.

It's a bit easier to hot-swap a 5-pin switch correctly without bending the contacts. On circuit boards and panels that don't hold switches very well, it also helps to keep the switch from tipping. 5-pin switches are definitely recommended for use with hot-swap sockets, but depending on the board, 3-pin switches may also do.

-

Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership or at Patreon would support.

The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de

1 comment

  1. Grafzahn says:

    It's shocking how many keyboards are still white on black.

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.