Mechanical keyboards are fantastic, but once you’re hooked, you’ll want to try as many switches as possible to find your favorite. That could become an expensive hobby, but that’s where hot-swappable keyboards come in handy. Instead of purchasing a new keyboard, simply purchase the switches you want to try and plug them into your current slate. Hot-swappable keyboards are also ideal for experienced mechanical keyboard users who want to switch between different, well, switches without having to swap the entire keyboard. You can even assign different switches to different keys, which is useful for users who spend the majority of their time writing.

Fortunately, hot-swappable keyboards are available in most form factors, so no matter what size you prefer, you should be able to find a nice modular keyboard. Furthermore, because most modular keyboards use switches based on the Cherry MX design, they are compatible not only with a wide range of different switches, but also with the majority of custom keycaps, which use Cherry MX switch stems. Because of their modularity and compatibility with a wide range of switches and most aftermarket keycaps, hot-swappable keyboards are perfect for customers who desire a completely customised mechanical keyboard. Today, we’re going to show you the best hot-swappable keyboards available right now.

The list includes keyboards that are difficult to locate and purchase, instead focusing on models that are readily available online. We’ve got premium and budget models, wireless keyboards, and a couple of unique and quiet  options. Check out our list of the best white gaming keyboards if you’re just looking for a good gaming keyboard. If you’re looking for a low-profile mechanical keyboard, we’ve put together a list of the best low-profile mechanical keyboards. Finally, read our Shuriken Gear Hanzo EC V2 review if you want to try a mechanical keyboard with a unique design.

1. Best Full-Sized Hot-Swappable Keyboard: Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard

On the market, there aren’t many full-sized hot-swappable keyboards. This niche is dominated by 60 percent, 65 percent, and TKL keyboards. However, Glorious offers three sizes of its modular mechanical keyboard, one of which is full size. The keyboard has a solid RGB backlighting and excellent build quality. ABS keycaps are an oddity, but at least they can be swapped.

This keyboard comes with brown mechanical switches, but any Cherry MX, Gateron, or Kailh switch will work. If you don’t want any preloaded switches, consider the barebones form of this keyboard. Just be aware that the barebones edition may be more expensive than the regular version.

Overall, for newcomers, this is the best hot-swappable keyboard. It’s reasonably priced, has excellent build quality, and is compatible with a wide range of switches. The RGB backlighting could be brighter, and the keycaps are ABS, but those can be replaced with some nice PBT ones.

2. Royal Kludge RK84: Best 75 Percent Hot-Swappable Keyboard

The RK84 from Royal Kludge gets our vote for the best hot-swappable 75 percent keyboard. This is a low-cost hot-swap keyboard with solid build quality and the option of Bluetooth or 2.4GHz wireless connectivity. Gamers should benefit from the 2.4GHz connection because it is faster and more stable than Bluetooth. Just keep in mind that older versions of the keyboard have connection issues, so look for this keyboard on the used market with caution.

When it comes to Bluetooth, the RK84 can connect to up to three devices at once. This is a really handy tool. The body is made up of two pieces, with the frame being removable. This allows users to toggle between regular and floating keycaps, which look great in the dark when using RGB. The RGB backlighting is adequate but not exceptional.

The keyboard has a 3750mAh battery that should last about ten days before it needs to be recharged. Both 3-pin and 5-pin switches are supported by the hot-swap PCB. The switches provided are made by Royal Kludge and are not compatible with Cherry, Gateron, Kailh, or boutique switches from smaller manufacturers. On the other hand, stabilisers are fantastic. Pre-lubricated, relatively quiet, and superior to the Keychron K2 Hot Swappable, the RK84’s main competitor.

The default keycaps are made of ABS and are of poor quality. However, they are more than adequate for the price. A USB passthrough with two USB A ports is also included. They are only useful in wired mode. The keyboard uses a detachable USB-C cable when wired. The bendy plastic frame, unimpressive default switches, and the aforementioned keycaps are all drawbacks.

3. Drop CTRL: Best Hot-Swappable Barebones Keyboard

The Drop CTRL is the best barebones modular keyboard available. This is a TKL hot-swappable keyboard with a variety of switch configurations.

With an aluminium frame and zero flex, the Drop CTRL offers excellent build quality. The keyboard also has a slick design that combines a black and grey frame and keycaps with RGB backlighting to create a board with a modern industrial look that fits into almost any setup.

The RGB backlighting on each key looks fantastic. It’s vibrant, with saturated colours that look fantastic at night. Drop didn’t skimp on keycaps, offering double-shot PBT keycaps that are both beautiful and functional. All Cherry MX, Kailh, and Gateron switches are compatible with the CTRL, which means you can use aftermarket keycaps.

The thing is, we don’t think you’ll swap the keycaps on this board because they’re so good. Unless you dislike the font or the design. Overall, this is a sturdy and well-made modular keyboard. It has incredible RGB backlighting, premium keycaps, and a tank-like build quality. The only significant disadvantage is the cost.

4. Keychron K6: Best Hot-Swappable Wireless Keyboard

Keychron makes some good wireless mechanical keyboards, and the K6 is one of their hot-swappable models. The K6 comes with Mac and Windows-specific keycaps, just like the rest of the K lineup, and it works perfectly fine on both operating systems.

The aluminium frame has a great feel to it, and the keyboard has RGB and single-color backlighting options. The 4000 mAh battery can power the device for up to nine days (without backlighting). Bluetooth connectivity is adequate but not perfect.

The thing is, you may occasionally experience a few moments of lag. Nothing major, but if you’re a serious gamer, a wired model or using the K6 in wired mode while gaming is recommended.

Gateron blue, red, and brown switches are available, and the keyboard is compatible with all Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh switches. We’d prefer a barebones keyboard, but you can only get it with switches already installed.

We also dislike the keyboard’s ABS keycaps, but at least they are shaped in a way that allows for seamless typing. Also, because the default keycaps dim the backlighting, you can replace them with PBT or ABS transparent keycaps.

The K6 is currently the best wireless modular keyboard available. Its wireless performance isn’t perfect, and the opaque ABS keycaps aren’t a good match for backlighting. Also, the K6 does not come in a basic configuration. However, it has excellent build quality, good wireless performance (gamers should use it in wired mode), and it can be customised with a variety of switches. Finally, the K6 appears to be fantastic.

5. HK Gaming GK61: The Best Hot-Swappable Keyboard For Under $60

We have the GK61, the best 60 percent budget modular keyboard, for those looking for a budget hot-swappable keyboard. This keyboard comes in two colors: black and white, and it is reasonably priced.

The build quality isn’t the best on the market, as you’d expect from a budget keyboard. But it’s not all bad. The ruggedness of this keyboard will satisfy you for the price. On the other hand, you get a detachable USB-C cable, IP64 protection, full RGB backlighting, and decent double-shot ABS keycaps. These aren’t PBT, but they feel good and should last for years before they need to be replaced.

All colours of Gateron optical switches are included with the keyboard. These aren’t Cherry MX switches, but they type silkily and are even better than regular Cherry MX switches.

The downside is that only other Gateron optical switches can be hot-swapped. You won’t be getting any Cherry MX. However, these optical switches are extremely comfortable to use. We’re not sure if they’ll last as long as Cherry MX switches, but they certainly feel better. Because the Gateron optical switches have standard stems, you can use aftermarket keycaps.

There is no barebones version available, so you’ll have to order a keyboard with switches already installed. Although the GK61 has flaws, it is an excellent value for money. For the price of a regular budget mechanical keyboard, you get RGB backlighting, decent build quality, excellent optical switches, detachable cable, double-shot keycaps, and more. Quite a bit.


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