The age-old battle of ABS vs. PBT is still going strong. But what are the differences between these two types of keycaps?

ABS plastic, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is a rigid thermoplastic commonly used in toys and other small objects. It's also used for the caps on many mechanical keyboards.

PBT plastic, or Polybutylene Terephthalate, is a highly durable material that was created to be used in high-wear items like automotive parts and sports equipment. PBT is also resistant to chemicals and oils, making it an excellent keycap option.

PBT has become a popular choice for keycaps because it provides more resistance than ABS without being too hard to work with. This makes PBT more durable over time than ABS.

Quick Differences Between ABS And PBT Gaming Keycaps




Comparatively Costly



Sound Deep

Sound Hollow

Easy To Mold Into Different Shapes

Thermoset Plastic That Is Much More Durable Than Abs

less prone to wear and tear because of superior durability


can be printed using dye-sublimation or double-shot molding techniques

UV coated to protect against sunlight



Easy to use

Common Differences Between ABS And PBT

The main difference between ABS and PBT is that

  • ABS is a thermoplastic polymer (as opposed to a thermoset), meaning it can be melted and re-molded. This makes it more flexible than other materials like aluminum, which makes it more adaptable to mass production.
  • It also has a lower melting point than other materials, such as titanium or steel.
  • The reason why PBT is so much better than ABS is that it's a lot more durable.
  • PBT has a higher hardness rating on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (ABS is rated at about 2), which means that it resists scratches and wear-and-tear better than other materials. The result is that PBT keycaps will last longer than ABS ones.
  • PBT also has more excellent chemical stability, which means it won't degrade over time like ABS does when exposed to UV light or repeated cleaning attempts with alcohol-based liquids. This makes it ideal for people who want to clean their keyboard often or even leave it outside during the day without worrying about their keycaps yellowing or cracking in the long run.

ABS Vs. PBT - Which One Made For You?

Keycaps are the most important part of your mechanical keyboard. They're what hold the switch in place, but they also take 90% of the visual appearance. The keycap is usually made from ABS plastic or PBT plastic, although some companies have also developed other types of materials in recent years. The difference between ABS and PBT is that the latter is more durable and resistant to cracking. But how do you assess the righteous for you? We would like you to keep reading us to find out about ABS Vs. PBT.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, aka ABS

A type of keycap made of thermoplastic acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is known as an ABS keycap due to its low cost, and they are the most popular type of keycap. It is very popular because of its simplicity of production, relative robustness, and lightweight. Your keyboard's keys may have become glossy due to the ABS plastic deteriorating. Keycaps made of ABS plastic come in a range of hues and textures.

On the other hand, it is less enjoyable to type on and smoother than many keyboard enthusiasts prefer. The keycaps will degrade with time due to wear and tear, which is the cause of the issue.

Features Of ABS Keycaps For Gamers:

  • The great durability of ABS, which can withstand millions of keystrokes, is well known.
  • The thermoplastic polymer Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is appropriate for recycling and molding.
  • The molding method is used throughout manufacturing to shape the ABS keycaps.

Benefits Of ABS Keycaps:

  • ABS keycaps are impact-resistant, so it would take a significant amount of force or use to break one.
  • ABS keycaps can also affect keyboard sound, and some people believe that ABS keycaps sound better than keycaps made of other materials.
  • Some people favor the smoothness and sheen of ABS keycaps.
  • ABS is much simpler to work with than PBT, so the colors are almost always quite clear and sharp.
  • Despite their flexibility, ABS keycaps are made of very sturdy materials.

Drawbacks Of ABS Keycaps:

  • The writing on the keycaps would also disappear with time.
  • The keycaps' outer layer deteriorates over time due to constant use. So, surface wear and tear occurs.
  • ABS keycaps are fragile and cheap to type on due to their reduced weight and thinner structure.

You May Find ABS As The Best For Your Gaming Desktop

  • In general, ABS keycaps are a superb low-cost yet durable keycap solution.
  • ABS keycaps might look much better than PBT since they are easier to create due to the material.
  • The options are much wider with ABS because it is much easier to obtain keycap sets for RGB and LED keyboards.

Polybutylene Terephthalate, aka PBT

Most enthusiasts agree that PBT is the ideal kind of plastic for keycaps. Most users favor PBT and think it is a worthwhile purchase for anyone who spends a lot of time at a keyboard. Furthermore, the surface is slightly roughened, which improves grip and makes typing more enjoyable. PBT only has one drawback: its higher production costs raise prices.

Plastic made of polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) is frequently used in high-heat products like engine covers. Keycap sets and keyboards that cost more, like our MAXFIT67, frequently feature PBT. Since PBT is substantially more resistant to wear and does not fade over time, the consensus is likewise rather clear.

Characteristics Of PBT

  • One of the strongest polymers in keycap sets is PBT, which is widely available. Many individuals prefer PBT keycaps over ABS keycaps because they are frequently louder and clearer, which enhances their aural enjoyment.
  • PBT keycaps provide a deeper sound due to the thicker plastic, which some people might not enjoy.
  • Compared to ABS keycap sets, PBT keycap sets frequently weigh more and use more material.

Advantages Of PBT Gaming Keycaps

  • A bit rough in texture.
  • It offers a posh appearance and feels under certain conditions.
  • Zero fading and resistance to discoloration.
  • Easy accessibility.
  • Simple and more economical molding.
  • It is less vulnerable to chemical or frictional damage.

Disadvantages Of PBT Gaming Keycaps

  • Make your typing louder.
  • Some color schemes are not accessible.
  • Additionally, there is a limited selection of double-shot PBT keycap sets compatible with RGB and lit keyboards.
  • It is also costlier than ABS.

Verdict About PBT Gaming Keycaps

  • PBT keycaps will last the keyboard's lifetime if you want to use the same keyboard for a long time.
  • PBT keycaps are often only seen on high-end keyboards and are seldom included with keyboards.

Major Differences Between ABS & PBT

  • Surface and Finish:

The ABS keycaps are shiny and smooth.

On the other hand, the PBT keycaps feel scratchy and have a grittier texture.

Typing Sound Of ABS And PBT

ABS keys are hollow inside and emit a hollow sound when pressed.

On the other hand, PBT keys are sturdy. So, they have a louder and sharper sound.

Melting Point Difference Of ABS And PBT

PBT has a melting point of 220 degrees, while ABS has a low melting temperature of 100 degrees. PBT has greater heat resistance than ABS.

Durability Of ABS And PBT

PBT keycaps, however, exceed ABS keycaps in terms of impact resistance when their durability is compared.

Cost Of ABS And PBT

PBT costs more than ABS because the molding is more challenging and requires more energy to reach its melting point.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which keycaps—ABS or PBT—is better?

A. The most popular and economical type of keycap is made of ABS. On the other hand, PBT keycaps are more durable and have a rougher feel than ABS keycaps.

Q.How should the keycaps be cleaned?

A. Soak the keycaps in a container of warm, soapy water, then use a damp cloth and compressed air to clean the keyboard of any dust.

Q. Which is better for gaming: PBT or ABS?

A. Well, I consider that this is a question of personal preference. But PBT offers a deeper sound and is more haptic. ABS has a softer tone and is made of a softer substance.

The Final Verdict

You are now fully informed about ABS vs. PBT. We have discussed their materials and characteristics. If your keyboard has broken, is dusty, or needs to be repaired keycaps, we think the upgrade is worth it. And we hope you may conclude which would be worth your keyboard the most.

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