Best Mechanical Keyboard Accessories for Gaming

Once you’ve joined the mechanical keyboard family, the next step in customizing your setup is to add accessories.

Choices range from keycaps and switches to aesthetically pleasing cables and desk mats. There are plenty of options for positioning your mechanical keyboard layout to suit your personality. Here’s our list of must-have products that are sure to enhance any gaming setup.

Image: Razer

When it comes to entering the world of mechanical keyboard accessories, trading in what you type day in and day out is a great place to start: the keys.

Keys are the plastic covering on top of each keyswitch that identifies the letter or symbol entered into the computer. Most users are familiar with stock or OEM keycaps, but keycaps can differ in several ways.

A basic variant is the keycap material. Most keycaps are made of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), a recyclable plastic that produces a soft, smooth sound when the keycap is pressed. A popular manufacturer of ABS keycaps is GMK. GMK offers custom keycaps with unique designs and patterns, usually with a higher quality finish than regular ABS keycaps.

The next popular choice is PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), a tougher thermoplastic that produces a more tactile sound. PBT tends to be built to a higher quality, holding up longer over time – a solid choice for most gaming setups.

A common way to distinguish keycaps is the keycap profile. A key profile indicates whether the overall shape of the keys is sculpted or uniform. A uniform keycap features a flat surface, while a sculpted keycap has a slight angle for easier typing.

It all plays into the feel, ergonomics and style of each key profile. Some examples of key profiles include Cherry profile, DSA profile, KAT profile, SA profile, etc. Generally, the ideal keycap profile for gaming is the Cherry profile as they are sculpted for an efficient and comfortable feel. However, there are always personal preferences.

Best Mechanical Keyboard Accessories for Gaming
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Crafted keys are a fun way to give a keyboard a unique look. Ranging from 3D printed solid color keycaps to sculpted and hand painted keycaps, handcrafted keycaps come in a wide variety of shapes, styles, colors and textures. Themes range from pop culture, video games, cartoon characters, cute animals, and more. There is no limit to the design possibilities.

Keep in mind that handcrafted keycaps often cost a pretty penny, considering the amount of detail that goes into many of them. If you’re looking to add that “wow factor” among your circle of gaming friends, handcrafted keycaps are the accessory for the job.

Best Mechanical Keyboard Accessories for Gaming
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If you plan to swap your keycaps at any time, keycap pullers are essential. They help navigate the pulling process and minimize any potential damage along the way. As a bonus, many gaming keyboards come with one right out of the box.

If you’re skeptical about investing in one, try pulling out a few keys with your fingers – it’s a frustrating business.

Best Mechanical Keyboard Accessories for Gaming
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Switches are the mechanisms under the keys of a given keyboard, registering each key press. It’s in the switches that clear variations in typing and gaming experience emerge.

There are three main types of keyboard switches: linear, tactile, and clicky. The variation occurs in terms of auditory feedback, tactile feedback, and the force required to activate the switch.

Linear switches produce smooth, consistent actuation without any tactile feedback. They resemble standard keyboard switches, in that they don’t have an audible bump or click with each keystroke. Many users claim that linear switches are ideal for gaming.

Tactile switches provide tactile feedback. They are ideal for typing because you receive a slight indication of each key press without having to press the keys. On key actuation, the tactile switches provide a noticeable mid-travel bump to let you know the key press has registered.

Finally, click switches are a type of subset of switches that produce a tactile bump and a loud audible click with each keystroke. They are very similar to touch, just with an additional audible click.

Best Mechanical Keyboard Accessories for Gaming
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Switch O-rings are a handy accessory that serves multiple purposes for mechanical keyboards. For starters, the O-rings dampen the clicking sound of the keys sinking, which helps minimize sound in close quarters environments like workplaces. Additionally, O-rings represent less travel distance between keystroke activation, which means keystrokes work faster and stealthily for gamers and typists.

Best Mechanical Keyboard Accessories for Gaming
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Here’s a great option for keyboard enthusiasts who aren’t entirely sold on the various switch options for mechanical keyboards. Switch Sampler Kits are pre-curated sets that include different types of switches in terms of design, manufacturer, and overall feel, all wrapped up in one neat package, ready for testing.

A switch sampler kit is a great way to try before you buy. Investing in one provides the confidence to commit to a specific typing style, because ultimately feel and personal preference go a long way, especially for gamers.

Best Mechanical Keyboard Accessories for Gaming
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Just as using a key puller is essential, investing in a switch puller is essential for effective switch removal, especially given the way fixed switches tend to fit into keyboards. Without a key puller, removing each switch can be difficult. Using the right tools for the job is always a good idea.

best lube tactile mechanical keyboard switches
Image: Technical advice from Linus

Over time, the switches on the keyboard may no longer behave as they once did and may begin to produce an overall creaking or noisy sound due to friction buildup over time, especially for players who often use the same switches (WASD) during each game session. Lubricant helps alleviate this.

Depending on the type of switch you have, there are several lubrication options, including lubricant for linear keyboard switches and tactile keyboard switches.

Switch lubricant calms the component, makes parts run smoother and more efficient, and helps overall longevity.

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If you’re looking to add more aesthetics to your keyboard, an aviator cable might be your answer. Aviator cables are a premium connection alternative to standard keyboard-to-computer connectivity. They are made of copper on the inside with paracord and woven plastic on the outside, providing an unparalleled degree of aesthetics.

If you happen to use several keyboards, swapping your keyboard for an aviator cable comes in handy. They’re also practical, allowing a bit of slack in the length of the cable, while looking neat and tidy, thanks to the cool, uniform layout. Just make sure your keyboard has a detachable cable and not a fixed connection.

Image: Razer

Wrist rests are essential for users and gamers who spend countless hours in front of their keyboard, especially if your keyboard is placed high up, which many mechanical keyboards do.

Because they’re usually made of padded foam, wrist rests provide extra wrist support. Also, their firmness varies: some wrist guards that are too soft may not provide enough wrist support, while firmer wrist guards may become uncomfortable over long periods of time.

Best Mechanical Keyboard Accessories for Gaming
Image: Razer

Mouse pads aren’t the only option for desk pads, as desk mats are a great upgrade to any setup, offering a variety of benefits. Desk mats are often larger in size, allowing users to place both their keyboard and mouse on the surface with plenty of extra space for additional peripherals, as if a headset holder wanted to board.

Besides looking good, desk mats dampen the sound of keyboards, to help dampen vibration, rattles and general everyday movement, which is good news for gamers. In terms of overall feel and practicality, the benefits of using a desk mat shouldn’t be overlooked.

Mechanical keyboard accessories offer endless options for enthusiasts and gamers, so there’s no shortage of ways to completely customize your setup.

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