ABS vs PBT Keycaps - Better or Worse?

ABS vs PBT Keycaps - Better or Worse?

If you’re asking yourself “what keycaps should I get” or “do I buy a keyboard with ABS or PBT keycaps”, then congratulations! You’ve now experienced the first step into keyboard enthusiasm, and it’s a really long journey ahead. A lot of gamers and keyboard enthusiasts may not know the ABS vs PBT keycap situation. 

It’s actually quite easy! We’re not going to get into the scientific details for the sake of word count either.

ABS vs PBT Keycaps - Differences

ABS Keycaps

ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic is a very common type of material used in toys, keycaps, 3D printing and even LEGO! ABS is known to be quite durable as well, which means it can hold up for long periods of time.

ABS keycaps are pretty much the standard on the market, but it doesn’t necessarily make them the “gold standard” by any means. If you’ve ever typed on a computer while growing up, which we know you have, then you’ve experienced ABS keycaps. 

Most ABS keycaps are made using injection molding, and then the keycap legend is printed on top. 

Benefits of ABS Keycaps:

  • Affordable
  • Common in the market (and therefore to replace)
  • Smooth texture (makes it nice to move your fingers across the keyboard)
  • Quieter when typing
  • Not as brittle as PBT

Downsides of ABS Keycaps:

  • ABS tends to be thinner than PBT (although this isn’t always the case)
  • Prone to fading
  • Affected by friction/chemicals from hands (and possibly UV rays according to some) causing glossy shine

PBT Keycaps

PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate) plastic is generally used in products that are exposed to high heat, such as engine covers. PBT is known to be brittle and a little rough feeling, but can be useful for keyboard lovers.

PBT keycaps are a newer trend in the market as some keyboard enthusiasts prefer the look and feel when compared to ABS. PBT usually makes its way into higher-end keyboards like our MAXFIT67, as well as higher-end keycap sets. This is due to how the keycaps wont fade or become glossy over time.

Benefits of PBT:

  • Not prone to fading (keycap legends or color won’t fade off)
  • Doesn’t wear down from friction or chemicals as easily (no glossy shine)
  • Gives a premium look and feel in some cases
  • Matte Texture (A little soft/rough feeling)

Downsides of PBT:

  • More expensive than ABS
  • Louder when typing (depends on setup)
  • More brittle than ABS
  • Not available in some colorways (due to how many brands make ABS colorways)

Double Shot Keycaps

While this isn’t a type of plastic like ABS or PBT is, it is a manufacturing process which is quite important to know. 

Double Shot Keycaps are made by injection molding two separate pieces of ABS or PBT, which is then connected together to make the keycap. This allows for the RGB lighting on the keyboard to “shine through” the legends on the keycaps. These are perfect for individuals looking to backlight their keyboard for use at night time. Double Shot keycaps also come in non-shine through variants, which allows the legends of the keys to not wear down as quickly as well.

Benefits of Double Shot Keycaps:

  • Allows for the keycap legends (letters and such on the keycaps) to not wear down as easily as standard single-molding keycaps
  • Able to be easily used at night time (shine-through variant)
  • Great for keyboards with per-key backlighting (shine-through variant)
  • Makes your setup have more RGB (shine-through variant)

Downsides of Double Shot Keycaps:

  • Usually not as pretty as printed keycaps
  • Keycap legend font can be a bit of an eyesore in cheaper keycaps
  • Makes your setup have more RGB (shine-through variant)


Looking for an award-winning keyboard with PBT keycaps?

Ultimately, it’s up to your own decision on whether you should buy ABS or PBT keycaps. As of most things keyboard related, it all comes down to personal preference. We suggest trying both to see which you prefer.

If you’re looking to check out a new keyboard, take a look at our award-winning MAXFIT67 which features PBT keycaps, hotswappable sockets and more! Pure power at your fingertips!


  • Highly Recommended by TechPowerUp!
  • 65% Form Factor
  • South Facing PCB
  • Rotary Encoder Knob
  • Wireless (BT + 2.4ghz) & Wired
  • Gateron Hotswap Sockets
  • Kailh Box White / Pre-Lubed Gateron Milky Yellow Switches
  • DYE-SUB PBT Keycaps
  • Includes plate foam & tray foam