Having a hot-swappable keyboard means that you can easily change the switches by popping them out or clicking them into place. Why would you want to do this? Well, there are a few reasons why this can be a benefit.
If you enjoy gaming, certain keys that receive repetitive use may wear out quicker than others. Or you may like to use clicky keys for some applications and soft ones for others. Being able to easily swap and change the switches is, therefore, a great option.
So, we decided to take a look at the very Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards currently on the market to find the perfect one for you…
- 1 Top 5 Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards In 2021 Review
- 1.1 1 Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard – Best Classic Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
- 1.2 2 Keychron K6 – Best Value for the Money Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
- 1.3 3 Drop ALT – Best Barebones Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
- 1.4 4 Skyloong SK61 – Best Budget Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
- 1.5 5 Redragon K530 – Best Portable Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
- 2 Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards Buying Guide
- 3 Are You Looking For Something Else?
- 4 What Are The Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards?
Top 5 Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards In 2021 Review
1 Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard – Best Classic Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
The Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard, or GMMK as many know it was the first-ever hot-swappable keyboard. That means that when it comes to experience, Glorious has more than any other competitor.
Each of the 104 keys can be fully customized, plus it features awesome RGB lighting. Does the experience mean that this is the best hot swappable keyboard on the market? Let’s take a closer look to find out…
Make the switch…
Owning the GMMK means that you can add any type of mechanical switch that you like. All the Cherry MX switches fit, or perhaps you’d prefer Kailh or Gateron switches. Mix up between clicky, tactile, or linear. It’s completely up to you.
Changing the switches isn’t too difficult; all you need is the included switch puller tool and a bit of force. One thing is for sure; it certainly beats having to pull out a soldering iron and owning a specialist keyboard.
Glorious has used a sandblasted aluminum faceplate that looks and feels strong and should withstand multiple switch changes. Continuing with premium materials, the USB cord sports a tangle-resistant braided jacket and is fully removable.
Even though the design is minimalist with no branding, the GMMK is certainly not boring. Over 16 million colors are possible with the RGB lighting, complete with adjustable brightness and effects.
- Compatible with all mechanical switches.
- Quality construction materials.
- Adjustable RGB lighting.
- No dedicated media controls.
- No USB hub or passthrough.
2 Keychron K6 – Best Value for the Money Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
The Keychron K6 is an attractive compact keyboard at 65% size of a regular keyboard, making it a good option for gamers. It is suitable for use across a variety of devices thanks to its wireless connectivity.
An affordable keyboard with so many features makes it a great choice as an introduction to hot-swappable mechanical keyboards. The K6 is compatible with all types of mechanical switches and is also compatible with both Windows and Mac.
The choice is yours…
Upon initial purchase, you have a choice of Gateron switches including, Blue, Brown, or Red. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be stuck with them, though, as it is relatively easy to swap them out using the included switch puller.
On the left-hand side of the keyboard, you will find a toggle switch that allows you to swap between Windows and iOS modes. All it really does is change the mapping of the Windows/Command key. Being optimized for each operating system is helpful, though.
A Broadcom Bluetooth 5.1 chip offers a power-efficient, stable wireless connection. Running from the in-built 4,000 mHa rechargeable battery will up to 72 hours of use with RGB lighting or up to nine days without lighting. This makes it one of the best wireless hot swappable mechanical keyboards available.
Other features include NKRO in wired mode using the USB Type-C cable or six key NKRO over wireless. Backlighting can be either white or full RGB, along with 15 different effects modes to choose from if you feel like putting on a show.
- Compatible with both Windows and Mac.
- Bluetooth 5.1 wireless with a 4,000 mAh rechargeable battery.
- 15 different backlighting modes, including RGB.
- The keyboard feels high and takes some getting used to.
- No remapping software available.
3 Drop ALT – Best Barebones Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
Our next product from Drop, called the ALT, is a compact, 65% keyboard with 67 keys. Unlike the previous products so far, the ALT comes in what is called a barebones setup. That means there are no switches or keycaps included.
This is perfect for someone who wants the full customized experience with their keyboard. You can order one with Cherry MX Blue or Brown, Halo Clear, Kaihua Box White, or Kaihua Speed Silver if any of those tickle your fancy.
Constructed with a solid anodized aluminum frame along with a built-in switch plate, this keyboard is rock-solid. This keyboard can take a battering and will maintain its quality finish for years to come. Furthermore, it’s one of the best gaming hotswap keyboards on the market.
By using QMK firmware, you can fully map and customize each key. That includes programming macros and keymapping so you can fine-tune your keyboard to suit your exact preferences and specifications.
Light up your fingers…
This wouldn’t be a gaming keyboard without some RGB lighting, would it? Each individual key is capable of cycling through the entire color spectrum independently. A built-in LED diffuser also does a fantastic job of minimizing hotspots often found in other keyboards.
There is no wireless mode for the ALT, and you’ll need to plug in the USB Type-C cable. Besides the USB cable, you will also receive a keycap puller, and a switch puller to assist with adding or swapping your choice of keys and switches.
- Available in barebones for full customization.
- Solid construction and materials.
- Individual RGB lighting for each key.
- Only supports 3 pin sockets.
- High power requirement limits cable length to five feet or less.
4 Skyloong SK61 – Best Budget Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
Skyloong’s SK61 keyboard is of great value that includes optical key switches, and will make a great first hot-swappable keyboard. It is an ultra-compact 60% keyboard making it easily portable and will free up desk space.
Featuring a total of 61 keys, it uses a function button to add extra capabilities to the reduced number of keys from a standard keyboard. Examples include media keys, function keys, and screen brightness.
Built to last…
Since this is a budget-range keyboard, that means you miss out on an aluminum base. Although, the ABS plastic is of extremely high quality, and the keyboard feels plenty sturdy and strong.
Switch options with your initial purchase include a choice between either Gateron Blue or Gateron Red. Being hot-swappable allows you to swap out all or any of the switches quickly and easily using the included tool.
Using a stair-up keycap design brings maximum comfort to the user experience. A natural 4-degree tilt ensures your hand is kept in its most natural state, reducing fatigue, including your wrists and arms.
Don’t worry if you spill your drink because the keyboard is water and dust-resistant, even with the inclusion of multiple effect RGB lights. Other handy features include NKRO, macro recording, and key mapping. For one of the best cheap hot swappable mechanical keyboards, you won’t find much better.
- Affordable option as a first hot-swappable keyboard.
- Water and dust resistance.
- Stair-up ergonomic keycap design.
- Function key requires two handed operation.
- Software is not as comprehensive as competitors.
5 Redragon K530 – Best Portable Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard
Finally, we have another affordable 61 key 60% compact, portable keyboard from Redragon. The K530 is packed with features that you wouldn’t expect for the price, and also looks pretty darn good in either black or white.
Once again, just like the Drop ALT keyboard, this budget K530 is constructed from high-quality ABS plastic. It is incredibly lightweight, making it easy to bring with you for gaming sessions. The small size also allows for easy portability and maximizes desk space.
One way to keep costs down was to use their own Redragon mechanical key switches. They are still decent switches, and you get a choice between Blue, Brown, or Red depending on what your personal preference is.
One of the big appeals to a keyboard at this price is the wireless ability. You can easily switch between wired, which uses a USB Type-C cable, or wireless which connects using Bluetooth 5.0.
When using the wireless mode, the keyboard is powered using its built-in rechargeable 3,000 mHa battery. It lasts around 15 hours, even with the RGB lights turned on. You can then charge it with the included USB cable.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a gaming keyboard without some RGB lighting. There are 13 profiles ready to go, or you can create your own using the drivers. Unfortunately, the remapping and customization of key functions are limited. That said, if you like bringing your gaming gear with you, this is one of the best compact hotswap keyboards out there.
- Affordable wireless keyboard.
- Decent battery life.
- Customizable RGB lighting.
- Limited compatible switches.
- Keymapping is limited.
Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards Buying Guide
Now that you’ve taken a look at the top hot-swappable mechanical keyboards currently available, it’s time to buy one. Having the flexibility to customize each key and switch exactly how you like will completely change your PC experience.
But how do you know which of these products will suit your individual needs best? That’s why we included this buying guide so you can make the most informed decision. So, let’s take a look at the main considerations you should be aware of before making that final decision.
What Size Would You Like?
There are three different sized keyboards available in our list here. They include a full-size, which features a numeric pad, arrow keys, and function keys. Next is the 65%, which loses the numeric pad and function keys. Finally, the compact 60% loses the arrow keys too.
We only featured one full-size keyboard, the Glorious, as most prefer something compact. For the 65%, you have a choice between the Keychron or the Drop ALT. That leaves the final two, being the Skyloong and the Redragon, for 60%.
Making the switch…
Most of these keyboards are compatible with any type of mechanical switch. If you already have a favorite type of switch, it may already be available pre-installed on one of these keyboards.
If you already plan on adding a variety of switches for that full customization, then there’s only really one choice to make. The Drop ALT is the only keyboard here that is available in barebones, so you can plan from scratch.
Hopefully, these areas have helped to make your decision a little easier. If you still can’t decide which way to go, then maybe our next section will get you across the line. Join us as we reveal our choice for the best hot-swappable mechanical keyboard and why. But before that…
Are You Looking For Something Else?
The perfect computer and office equipment is easy to find by checking out our in-depth Best Ergonomic Keyboards Reviews, our Best Quiet Mechanical Keyboard Reviews, our Best Membrane Keyboards Review, our Best Expensive Gaming Keyboards Review, and our review of the Best Ergonomic Keyboard Tray you can buy in 2021.
Also, have a look at our comprehensive Corsair K63 Wireless Review, our Logitech G Pro Keyboard Review, our Das Keyboard Model S Review, our Das Keyboard 4 Professional Review, and our reviews of the Best 60% Mechanical Keyboards currently on the market.
What Are The Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboards?
To choose the best product we have considered the following things. The keyboard must be well constructed using quality materials, have a great range of switches available, and offer great features.
The product we believe achieves best in all these areas is the…
It feels like it was built to last and looks fantastic. There are three different switch styles available, and this keyboard is packed with features. Wired or wireless, compatability with Windows and Mac, and a long-lasting battery makes this keyboard the best of the best.
Until next time, happy tapping.