Replacing mechanical keyboard switches can be a straightforward process if you follow the right steps. Before you begin, make sure you have the necessary tools, such as a keycap puller, a soldering iron, solder wire, and replacement switches.
First, unplug your keyboard and turn it upside down to access the underside. Look for any screws or clips that hold the keyboard casing together and remove them using a screwdriver or by pressing the clips gently. Carefully separate the casing to expose the internal components.
Locate the switches that you want to replace. Start by using a keycap puller to remove the keycaps from these switches. Gently lift the keycap puller on each keycap and wiggle it until the keycap comes off. Repeat this for all the switches you want to replace.
Once the keycaps are removed, you'll see the switches attached to the keyboard's PCB (Printed Circuit Board). Each switch is soldered onto the PCB with two or three pins. Use a soldering iron to heat the solder joints of the switch pins, and when the solder melts, gently lift the switch off the PCB. Be careful not to overheat the PCB or damage nearby components.
With the old switches removed, take your replacement switches and align their pins with the corresponding holes on the PCB. Insert the pins fully and straight into the PCB. Ensure that the switches are mounted securely and level.
Next, apply a small amount of soldering flux to the switch pins to facilitate soldering. Heat your soldering iron and touch it to the switch pin, then quickly touch the solder wire to the heated pin. The solder should flow smoothly onto the pin, creating a strong connection. Do this for all the switch pins.
After soldering all the replacement switches, reattach the keyboard casing by aligning the tabs and screws properly. Make sure everything is secured and no internal components are sticking out.
Finally, place the keycaps back onto the new switches. Firmly press each keycap onto its corresponding switch until it clicks into place. Plug your keyboard back in and test the replaced switches to ensure they are working correctly.
Best Mechanical Keyboard of 2023
Rating is 5 out of 5
Logitech K845 Mechanical Illuminated Keyboard, Strong Adjustable Tilt Legs, Full Size, Aluminum Top Case, 104 Keys, USB Corded, Windows (TTC Brown Switches)
- An adjustable 4-8 degree tilt and slim front lets you type at a comfortable angle.
- Choose between Red, Blue, or Brown switches for the right level of sound and tactile key feedback.
- White backlighting in 5 patterns lets you be productive your way — even in the dark.
- A modern and durable aluminum design gives you all the mechanics of a gaming keyboard in a sleek premium package that lasts
- A full-size keyboard featuring a number pad and FN keys — all in a surprisingly compact footprint.
Rating is 4.9 out of 5
Logitech G413 TKL SE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Compact Backlit Keyboard with Tactile Mechanical Switches, Anti-Ghosting, Compatible with Windows, macOS - Black Aluminum
- Take your gaming skills to the next level: The Logitech G413 TKL SE is a tenkeyless keyboard with gaming-first features and the durability and performance necessary to compete
- PBT keycaps: Heat- and wear-resistant, this computer gaming keyboard features the most durable material used in keycap design
- Tactile mechanical switches: Uncompromising performance is always within reach with this wired gaming keyboard
- Premium color, material and finish: Elevate your gaming setup with this backlit keyboard featuring a sleek, black-brushed aluminum top case and white LED lighting
- 6-Key rollover anti-ghosting performance: Experience reliable key input with this anti-ghosting keyboard versus non-gaming mechanical keyboards
- FN key media controls: Twelve (12) function (FN) keys let you control volume, play and pause, skip track, mute, toggle lighting, enter Windows lock, etc
Rating is 4.8 out of 5
RisoPhy Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, RGB 104 Keys Ultra-Slim LED Backlit USB Wired Keyboard with Blue Switch, Durable ABS Keycaps/Anti-Ghosting/Spill-Resistant for PC Mac Xbox Gamer
- 【Mechanical Keyboard: Responsive BLue Switches】RisoPhy PC keyboard features clicky keys which offer you higher accuracy and quicker response with an enjoyable click sound when typing.This keyboard is more comfortable to type on since it features deeper key travel,greater feedback,and more space between keys.For those who prefer keyboards with a more tactile and "clicky" feel,our keyboard with BLUE switches is a nice choice.
- 【Rainbow Backlit Keyboard: illuminate Your Desktop】With 9 different backlights,5 levels of light speed and brightness,this computer keyboard enriches your gaming experience and improves your mood greatly,which is a great addition to your desktop,especially in the dark.Plus,the ultra-durable double injection ABS engineered keycaps provide crystal clear uniform backlight and greatly improve your typing accuracy at night.
- 【High-end 104 Keys Full-Size Keyboard】The Win lock function frees your worry about mistyping when gaming(Fn+Win).Keycaps are pluggable and easy to clean,saving you much unnecessary trouble.We designed 4 hydrophobic holes for this keyboard,allowing water to flow away quickly to prevent damage to the keyboard.No longer afraid of accidents.(✦Include a keycaps puller for cleaning or other needs.)
- 【Advanced Ergonomic Comfort】This PC gamer Keyboard adopts a scientific stair-up keycap design that keeps your arms in the most natural state to minimize hand fatigue for long time use.In order to improve your posture and make you more comfortable during use,the wired keyboard comes with 2 strong foldable rear kickstands to slope it.Moreover,the keyboard is non-slip enough because there are 4 rubber padding underneath the keyboard.
Rating is 4.7 out of 5
RK6 Pro Wireless Custom Mechanical PC Gaming Keyboard,2.4G/Bluetooth/USB-C,Via Hot Swap RGB Backlit,Suspended Keycap,4000mAh,Anti-ghosting,12 Multimedia Keys for FPS,MOBA,RPG,LOL,PUBG(Orange/Linear)
- ⌨【Compact 96% 100 keys Layout】K6 Full Size Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with 100 keys Layout is fantastic for gamers, typists and office workers,featuring independent arrow keys and number keys, with all keys anti-ghosting,ultimate gaming experience for you.This custom keyboard has 1 USB and provides a Type C to USB data cable for data transfer.Durable and high-quality TPU materials for long-lasting performance.Universal compatibility with most USB Type-C devices.
- 💻【Tri-Mode BT5.0+Wired+2.4GHz】K6 provides a variety of connection methods, including Fn+4 2.4G wireless mode, Fn+1/2/3 Bluetooth 5.0 and Fn+5 USB C wired mode( Support USB2.0--Transfer speed 60MB/s,1000Hz report rate).It can connect to up to five devices,Long press Fn+1-5 to pair with devices & short press to switch between them easily,suitable for home, office, outdoor and casual games.
- ▶【Hot Swappable Linear Switch】Smooth and quiet operation with minimal actuation force for fatigue-free typing and gaming.Durable 50 million keystrokes lifespan and 2mm actuation point, providing accuracy and faster response.Ideal for those who prefer a more linear and silent switch.Support 99% 3-pin socket, hot-swap, DIY various switches like Akko /Glorious Panda Switch/Epomaker/ Kailh Cream/ Gateron switch.
- 🎁 【Ergonomics & Replaceable Keycaps】 Classic High-quality Double Shot ABS material for superior durability and long-lasting usage.Ergonomic 3 adjustable supporting angles for maximum relief of hand fatigue.Resistant to wear, fading, and oil build-up,ensuring longevity and easier maintenance.Multi-color design and replaceable, you can replace keycaps according to preference like RK/ XDK/ VXV/ Hyekit XDA profile keycaps.
Rating is 4.6 out of 5
Redragon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Wired Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlit, 94 Keys, Programmable Macro Editing, Numeric Pad, Red Switches, Compact Keyboard Mechanical for Pc Mac Ipad, K636CLO
- Programmable Macros Expand your options to design your own keys, light effects and macro, the macros with different keybindings or shortcuts combine multiple keys function in one key for more efficient work and gaming
- 【Programmable Macros】Expand your options to design your own keys, light effects and macro, the macros with different keybindings or shortcuts combine multiple keys function in one key for more efficient work and gaming
Rating is 4.5 out of 5
MageGee Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, 104 Keys White Backlit Keyboard with Brown Switches, USB Wired Mechanical Computer Keyboard for Laptop, Desktop, PC Gamers (Black & White)
- WHITE BACKLIT GAMING KEYBOARD: MageGee gaming keyboard is designed with single white lighting effect, 20 different backlit modes, 5 backlight brightness levels and 5 backlit speed, creating a cool and colorful game atmosphere to enhance the excitement of the game. The backlight can be easily turned off. NOTE: THE WHITE & PINK / WHITE & BLUE KEYBOARDS COME WITH AN EXTRA SET OF KEYCAPS IN THE NEGATIVE COLOR SCHEME. THE BLACK & GRAY / GRAY & BLACK / BLACK & WHITE KEYBOARDS COME WITH 16 KEYCAPS.
- MECHANICAL BROWN SWITCHES: Brown switch is somewhere in between the blue and red switches, with good tactile feedback and a slight click. It is responsive and feels a little heavier than the red switch, especially suitable for fans of entry-level mechanical keyboards. Floating keys design, easy to clean the dust.
- DESIGNED FOR COMFORT: The mechanical keyboard adopts premium metal panel construction to make it stable. Ergonomic key layout fits your fingers perfectly and reduces typing fatigue. Two-step keyboard feet allow you to set your keyboard up at 3 different tilt angles. No driver needed, just plug and play.
- ANTI GHOSTING KEYBOARD: All keys have individual switches with full n-key rollover, which provides faster response and better keystroke feeling. 104 mechanical keys are conflict free, allowing you to press or hold multiple keys simultaneously. 12 multimedia combination keys on the top of the keyboard (FN+ F1~F12) offer quick operations, great for gaming and office.
- WIDE COMPATIBILITY: The USB wired gaming keyboard works well with computer, PC, laptop, compatible with Windows 2000/Vista/Win7/Win8/Win10/MAC/Linux.
Rating is 4.4 out of 5
Havit Mechanical Keyboard, Wired Compact PC Keyboard with Number Pad Red Switch Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 89 Keys for Computer/Laptop (Black)
- 【Compact Keyboard with Numpad】Unlike bulky full-sized layout, this 85% keyboard saves more desk space but keep the numkeys which is essential. Press Fn+Backspace to lock/unlock the numkeys (Note: The numpad lights up ONLY when it's unlocked, the rest of the keys don't have lighting)
- 【Colorful PBT Keycaps】 Constructed from unique and high-quality durable PBT keycaps, Havit mechanical keyboard has excellent touch experience and long serving time. Colorful keycaps can bring a more pleasant mood during games or work, decorate your space and enhance your life.
- 【Red Switches Keyboard for Different Needs】Perfect for office typing or playing games. Havit HV-KB487L wired keyboard frees up your desk during work, after working sessions, you can enjoy the keyboard for gaming, or bring it with you as the size is compact and easy to carry out.
- 【Ergonomic Comfort】The design of this mechanical gaming keyboard is based on ergonomics, the two keyboard kickstands provide comfortable angle for typing and effectively reduces the burden on the wrist.
Rating is 4.3 out of 5
RK ROYAL KLUDGE RK100 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard, Bluetooth5.1/2.4G/Wired 96% Full Size 100-Key Hot Swappable Gaming Keyboard with 3 USB Ports, Red Switch for Mac Windows, Carbon
- Full Size Mechanical Keyboard - RK100 wireless mechanical keyboard is 96% full size with compact 100 keys, which is solid, stable and durable. Especially suitable for the mechanical keyboard starters during gaming or working.
- Three Modes Connectivity - This mechanical keyboard includes 2.4Ghz wireless, Type-C-USB 2.0 wired and bluetooth 5.1 connections. And RK100 gaming keyboard could be connected with up to 3 devices via Bluetooth5.1; N-key rollover (NKRO) in the wired mode, all 100 keys are conflict free.
- Hot-swappable Switches - RK ROYAL KLUDGE RK100 wireless keyboard can be hot swapped at wish and replaced by all of MX-similar mechanical switches (including Gateron, Cherry, etc.), supporting 3-pin/5-pin switches. This wireless keyboard is available in blue/brown/red switch.
- 3 USB Ports - This hot swappable keyboard is armed with a 3750mAh large battery and geared with 2 built-in USB pass-through ports and 1 Type-C port, this wireless keyboard is allowed to back up more facilities and works for long-time gaming/working. This gaming keyboard is compatible with Win/Mac dual system, unlimited use.
- All Keys Programmable - This bluetooth mechanical keyboard is attached with a newly-developed software that you can customize the lighting modes, macro keys and using scenarios. Find the latest software link under the part of “Product Description”
Rating is 4.2 out of 5
8Bitdo Retro Mechanical Keyboard, Bluetooth/2.4G/USB-C Hot Swappable Gaming Keyboard with 87 Keys, Dual Super Programmable Buttons for Windows and Android - N Edition
- Inspired by the classics. Compatible with Windows 10(1903) or above, and Android 9.0 or above.
- Connnect via Bluetooth, wireless 2.4G, or wired.
- 87-key layout. Kailh Box Switch V2 White. Dye-sub PBT keycaps.
- Top mount style. Hot-swappable PCB. Support n-key rollover.
- Dual Super Buttons - offer large, programmable keys. Map anything to the Super Buttons instantly without using software.
- Classic power status LED, with independent control panel.
Rating is 4.1 out of 5
XVX Retro 75% Gaming Keyboard with OLED Display&Knob, M87 Pro Bluetooth 5.1/2.4GHz /USB-C Wireless Mechanical Keyboard with Hot-Swappable Custom Switch, Compact TKL Gamer RGB Keyboard, PBT Keycaps
- 【Smart OLED Color Display and Knob Design】XVX M87 PRO gaming keyboard built-in smart OLED color display can intuitively display the keyboard status, including custom gif image, caps lock, connection mode, WIN/MAC, battery. Built-in mechanical knobs allow quick adjustment of complex functions: connection, system, backlit brightness/speed, RGB mode/color, volume & language.
- 【3-Mode Connection Wireless Keyboard】The M87 Pro TKL mechanical keyboard gears tri-mode connectivity technology, USB-C wired, BT 5.1 and 2.4Ghz wireless modes, which can be easily switched not only with key combinations, but also by knobs.
- 【Unique silencing Installation Design】This custom keyboard has built-in triple absorption layers, including an EVA sound absorbing foam, an IXPE switch pad and the sponge case Foam, In addition, silencer foam installed under the space bar, which increase the rebound speed of the keys while reducing vibration, resulting in improved key sound for a unique typing feel.
- 【Hot-Swappable Custom Keyboard】You can alter every switch on the M87 pro keyboard without the need to solder. Hot-swap PCB is compatible with almost all 3-pin/5-pin switches on the market, personalize your typing experience with ease.
- 【Ultimate Personalization RGB Keyboard】The keyboard itself comes with 19 RGB backlight modes, 9 colors selection, 5 brightness levels and 5 speed levels. This RGB gaming keyboard can enhance your gameplay atmosphere at its maximum, and the light can also be turned off if you don’t need it for saving power. It can be intuitive switched by the knob.
What are the common methods used to desolder old switches?
There are several common methods used to desolder old switches. Here are a few:
- Soldering Iron: The most common method is to use a soldering iron to heat up the solder joint that holds the switch in place. Once the solder becomes molten, you can typically use a desoldering pump or solder wick to remove the old solder.
- Desoldering Pump: A desoldering pump, also known as a solder sucker, is a tool that creates a vacuum to suck up the molten solder. After heating up the solder joint with a soldering iron, you can place the desoldering pump on the joint and press the button to suck up the melted solder.
- Solder Wick: Solder wick, or desoldering braid, is another commonly used method. It is a braided copper wire coated with flux that helps to remove solder. To use solder wick, you heat up the solder joint with a soldering iron and then press the wick onto the molten solder. The wick absorbs the solder as it cools down, pulling it away from the switch and PCB.
- Hot Air Rework Station: Hot air rework stations are specialized tools that blow hot air onto the solder joint, melting the solder and allowing the switch to be easily removed. These stations typically have adjustable temperature and air volume controls, making them suitable for more delicate components.
When using any of these methods, it's important to be cautious and avoid damaging the PCB or surrounding components. Practice on scrap components or seek guidance from experienced individuals if you are new to desoldering.
Can I convert my non-mechanical keyboard to a mechanical one by replacing switches?
Yes, it is possible to convert a non-mechanical keyboard to a mechanical one by replacing the switches. In most cases, you would need to desolder the existing switches from the keyboard's circuit board and then solder new mechanical switches in their place. Additionally, you may also need to modify or replace other components depending on the specific keyboard. However, it is important to note that this process requires some technical knowledge and skills in soldering and electronics. If you are not confident in your abilities, it might be better to consult a professional or consider purchasing a pre-built mechanical keyboard instead.
Can I use hot-swappable switches in my existing mechanical keyboard?
In most cases, it is not possible to retrofit a keyboard with hot-swappable switches unless it was specifically designed to support them. Hot-swappable switches require a specific PCB (printed circuit board) and mounting mechanism to allow for easy removal and insertion of switches without soldering. If your existing keyboard does not have this feature, you would need to either purchase a keyboard that already supports hot-swappable switches or consider purchasing a new PCB that is compatible with your current keyboard case and supports hot-swappable switches.