Mechanical keyboards are now more popular than ever thanks to the plethora of more affordable options now flooding the market. They’re practically the superior keyboards right now when it comes to a balance of price, durability, and customizability. But if you want to get deeper into mechanical keyboards as a hobby, then mechanical keyboard accessories are a must.
In fact, we’d even go as far as to say that mechanical keyboard accessories are semi-mandatory even if you don’t view them as a hobby.
Some of these mechanical keyboard accessories allow you to change the keycaps and the switches with ease. Those are the two most customizable components of a mechanical keyboard. In the event that either switches or keycaps also break, replacing them is necessary, and having tools or accessories on hand will make that an easy feat.
Meanwhile, some of these accessories are there to make your typing and acoustics experience more satisfying or smoother.
So consider these mechanical keyboard accessories and tools if you’re a new owner or are getting deeper into the hobby. The most important ones are mentioned first, of course.
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A keycap puller is one of the most common mechanical keyboard accessories bundled with the pack or box. However, on a lot of budget mechanical keyboards, the keycap puller is made of rather dubious quality or thick, hard plastic. The latter is worrisome as it has the potential of scratching keycaps.
A better deal would be purchasing your own keycap puller that’s made out of aluminum or steel wire. These are typically easier to handle due to their longer design.
The risk of damaging the switches and the keycaps themselves is minimal with wire pullers instead of those short plastic pullers.
Like keycap pullers, most switch pullers bundled in with budget mechanical keyboard packs are of poor quality. Sometimes, they just throw in some U-shaped clamps/tweezers and just call it a day. These kinds of switch pullers are terrible; they can hurt your fingers with strain and might even scratch the switches or the keyboard’s plate.
Sometimes, they don’t even perform their function correctly. So save yourself the trouble and get a proper, long switch puller; you’ll thank us sooner or later if you ever plan to change the switches on your hotswappable keyboard.
Likewise, a switch puller with a long handle provides the best amount of control and precision. It also minimizes the effort needed to squeeze the switches loose and pull them out.
Ergonomics is the key when it comes to staying healthy while sitting, and every body part needs to be accounted for. Often, wrists get neglected in ergonomics, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome or typing fatigue.
It just so happens that mechanical keyboards are higher compared to membrane or other flatter keyboards. So having a wrist or palm rest at the ready is always crucial to maintaining good workstation ergonomics.
Because the ideal typing posture or ergonomics for the hands is for them to stay parallel to the ideally flat (not angled) keyboard. Any angle or bend for the wrist while typing can lead to fatigue or exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome.
Apart from dust, food bits, dandruff, and even liquids are some of the most invasive substances that can squat inside the keyboard. Cleaning them out is a hassle and might require you to remove all the keycaps (or even switches) so you can blow out the particles.
You can, however, save yourself the headache and just resort to prevention instead of cure. That means covering your keyboard. If you don’t want crude solutions such as cloth or plastic sheets, you can opt for a cheap acrylic case or even a plastic case for your keyboard.
These are specifically designed to go on top of the keyboard while also making room for the cable. This way, you can minimize the amount of dust or mess that will settle on the keyboard.
Even if the mechanical keyboard you bought is wireless, you’ll still need a cable for charging– or if you’ve finally gotten tired of charging too often, you might just surrender to wired usage back again. Whichever the case, a good cable can go a long way in making your desk look clutter-free.
The usual straight cables might not cut it anymore. They’re often too messy and can get tangled. Coiled cables are all the rage these days because they’re highly functional while also providing more aesthetic appeal to your desk.
You can even extend the coil depending on your needs, and it will still stay tidy regardless of its length.
The fun part is that they also come in many different colors or color combinations, so you can have a sense of customization that matches your keyboard or desk setup.
Speaking of desks, subjecting your keyboard and mouse to the cold, hard surface of the table is just too cruel.
A deskmat offers a good deal of protection for those rubber pads or feet under the mouse or keyboard.
Moreover, a thick and high-quality deskmat (3-4 mm) can enhance the typing sound and feel of a mechanical keyboard, giving it a deeper and more muted signature. It can also remove some hollowness or reverb, which is why a deskmat is also an important part of a mechanical keyboard’s acoustics, as far as enthusiasts’ sentiments.
Like with the coiled cable, there are countless deskmat designs, meaning there’s something for everyone here. So consider replacing that old and moldy mousepad with something more refined and larger.
Backup Keycaps and Switches
When it comes to owning a mechanical keyboard, know that there will always be better keycaps than what you currently treasure. Because sooner or later, the keycaps you’re using right now will start to shine, which is the community’s term for what happens when the plastic surface layers start to thin due to wear and tear.
This is the case for most ABS keycaps, which is a type of plastic. Having a backup ABS keycap set is well-recommended. Or if you want something significantly more durable, then a keycap set made of PBT plastic (PBT keycaps) is better though more expensive.
Meanwhile, having backup switches will depend on the type of mechanical keyboard you have. If it’s hot-swappable, then you can change the switches. In that case, having some backup switches is a good idea, especially if some of the switches start showing signs of instability or malfunction (though this is rare for soldered switches).
You can replace each switch depending on your preference or their functionality. If you want, you can even mix and match some switches.
That’s the beauty of owning a mechanical keyboard; every bit of customization is up to you and your preferences. But do consider practicality as a factor; form should never take precedence over function, after all.