The Cost of a Custom Mechanical Keyboard

November 10, 2023

Hey there, fellow keyboard aficionados! For those of us who are borderline obsessed with our gaming and typing experience, the standard-issue keyboard just won't cut it. That's where custom keyboards come in.

Custom keyboards have become hot stuff in the tech world. These aren't your average keyboards. They're a work of art, a symphony of clicks and clacks, and a statement of your unique style. But here's the thing, creating the keyboard of your dreams comes at a cost---both financially and creatively.

We'll talk about how to build your dream keyboard, what it'll cost you, and why you might want to do it in the first place. Let's get started!

The Price of a Custom Mechanical Keyboard

Are you curious about the cost of building a custom keyboard? It really depends on many factors. But here's a ballpark figure. The price range for a custom keyboard typically falls between $200 and $600. It seems a bit expensive, isn't it? Yes, but it's important to remember that you're not just getting a standard keyboard. Instead, you're investing in a tailored and innovative tool that suits your specific needs. The final cost will depend on factors such as the size of the keyboard and the components you choose.

Several key factors influence the price of a custom keyboard including its switches, switch plate, case, and more. Each of these components can significantly impact your overall cost, so it's important to understand how they shape your budget. This doesn't branding, marketing, component quality, component reputation, and other intangible factors.

Let's check out how these all fit in determining the price of a custom keyboard.


When choosing the switches for your custom keyboard, the price can vary greatly. Clone switches can cost as little as $0.30, while high-end options like Cherry MX can go up to $1.

However, price isn't the only factor to consider. The type of switch you choose will also impact the tactile feedback and sound of each keystroke, giving you a personalized typing experience.

For example, Gateron Reds offer a light touch while Cherry MX Blues provide a satisfying click. Some enthusiasts may prefer pricier switches like Zealios for their smooth action.

Switch Plate

When investing in high-quality switches for your custom keyboard, it's important to also consider the cost of a switch plate.

A switch plate plays a crucial role in enhancing the sturdiness and stability of your keyboard. It acts as the backbone, keeping your switches securely in place.

The price of a switch plate can vary, starting at around $20 and going up to $100 or more, depending on the materials used and the level of customization. You have a range of options, from basic stainless steel plates to more premium choices like brass or carbon fiber.


When building your custom keyboard, it's important to consider the case. Not only does it protect the internal components of your keyboard, but it also contributes to its overall look and feel. The case is a vital part of your tech project where you can showcase your personal style.

Custom keyboard cases vary in cost, depending on the materials and design you choose. A basic plastic case may cost around $50, while a high-end custom aluminum case could cost upwards of $300. However, it's not just about aesthetics. A quality case also enhances the sound and feel of your keystrokes, improving your overall typing experience.


The PCB (printed circuit board) is what makes everything work. The components in the PCB convert electrical pulses to digital data, which is then interpreted by the computer and displayed on your screen. The PCB acts as the brain of your keyboard, interpreting each keypress and transmitting it to your computer. Its price can range from $30 to $70, depending on its complexity and features.


Keycaps have a significant impact on both the appearance and typing experience. You can choose budget-friendly sets that range from $20-30, but they may have minor flaws.

If you're looking for high-quality and unique designs, be prepared to invest $100 to 400 in premium sets like GMK. For a more affordable option, check out the "botanicals" from YMDK or HyperX Pudding keycaps.


The stabilizers in your custom keyboard ensure that the larger keys such as the Enter key and Space bar stay stable and balanced, without any wobbling or tilting.

Investing in high-quality stabilizers can make a significant difference in your typing satisfaction, and it doesn't have to be expensive. Options like Durock or ZugGear offer excellent stability at an affordable price. You can expect to pay just a few dollars per stabilizer, which is a small investment for such a long-term noticeable improvement.

When assembling your keyboard, it's important to correctly secure the stabilizers. Opt for PCB screw-in stabilizers to ensure a snug fit. This will pave the way for a smooth and enjoyable typing journey on your innovative custom keyboard.


You may want to add various extras and upgrades to improve and personalize your keyboard's aesthetics, functionality, and overall typing experience. Here are some of the common extras and customizations:

  1. Artisan Keycaps: Artisan keycaps are highly detailed, hand-crafted keycaps that add a unique and artistic touch to your keyboard. They often come in various themes and designs, allowing you to personalize your keyboard.
  2. Switch Stabilizer Upgrades: High-quality stabilizers can reduce key wobble and improve keypress consistency. Some custom stabilizers, like Durock or Zeal stabs, are popular choices for enthusiasts.
  3. RGB Lighting and Underglow: Custom keyboards often have RGB or underglow lighting options that allow for a range of lighting effects, color schemes, and animations. These can be customized to match your preferences.
  4. Sound Dampening and Acoustic Foam: Adding foam layers inside the keyboard case can help dampen sound and improve the overall sound profile of the keyboard.
  5. Custom Cables: Custom-made USB cables can add a unique and personalized touch to your keyboard setup. These cables come in various colors and materials.
  6. Custom Case and Plates: Some enthusiasts invest in custom-made keyboard cases and plates that are machined from premium materials like aluminum or brass. These offer durability and a high-end appearance.
  7. Hot-Swappable PCBs: Hot-swappable PCBs allow you to change switches without soldering, making it easier to experiment with different switch types.
  8. Custom Firmware and Macros: Some custom keyboards support custom firmware that enables advanced programmability, macros, and key remapping, enhancing functionality and productivity.
  9. Custom Engraving or Etching: Personalize your keyboard by adding custom engravings, etchings, or artisan accents to the case or keycaps.
  10. Custom Coiled Cables: Coiled cables not only add a unique visual flair but also reduce cable clutter and tangling. These can be custom-designed to match your keyboard's aesthetics.
  11. Custom Logo or Decals: You can apply custom logos, decals, or vinyl stickers to the keyboard case or plate for a unique and branded appearance.

Pricing a Keyboard Build

When it comes to building your own custom keyboard, you'll come across different pricing strategies. These strategies can be categorized as the 'Dirt-Cheap' method, the 'In-Between' method, and the 'All-In' method. Let's take a closer look at each of these methods and understand how they affect the cost of your keyboard build.

The "Dirt-Cheap" Method

It's the Affordable Method. The 'Dirt-Cheap' method is ideal for those on a tight budget. This approach focuses on finding the most affordable components and options available. While it may require some compromises in terms of features or aesthetics, it allows you to build a functional keyboard without breaking the bank. 

Building a custom keyboard on a tight budget requires careful selection of affordable yet reliable components. Your main expenses will be the case, PCB, and metal plate. You can save money by choosing budget-friendly switches, such as clone switches, which can cost as little as $0.30 each.

For stabilizers, it's recommended to go for PCB screw-in types, which don't have to be expensive.

When it comes to keycaps, it's important not to skimp. Even on a limited budget, you can find sets ranging from $20 to 30.

You get what you pay for, so note that quality might be sacrificed to some extent with this method.

The "In-Between" Method

This middle ground strikes a balance between affordability and quality. It involves selecting components that offer a good balance of performance and price. You can have a reliable and well-performing keyboard that doesn't empty your wallet completely. It's a popular choice for many keyboard enthusiasts who want a balance between cost and functionality.

Start by selecting a sturdy case, a reliable PCB, and a durable metal plate. Choose mid-range switches, such as Gateron or Kailh, that offer excellent performance without breaking the bank. Invest in high-quality stabilizers to prevent key wobbling.

For keycaps, opt for entry-level PBT sets that offer both durability and an appealing look. This way, you'll create a custom keyboard that not only meets your typing needs but also reflects your aesthetic preferences without exceeding your budget.

The "All-In" Method

If money is no object and you're willing to invest in a high-quality custom keyboard, then you go the all-in. You can handpick top-tier components that will truly create not just an exceptional keyboard but also an exceptional gaming or typing experience. By opting for premium switches, keycaps, and stabilizers, you can enhance both the performance and aesthetics of your keyboard.

When it comes to switches, you'll have the opportunity to choose enthusiast-grade options that offer exceptional tactile feedback. These switches may come at a higher price, but their superior quality is worth the investment.

Selecting a high-end keycap set provides a touch of uniqueness, a better feel, and lovely aesthetics to your custom mechanical keyboard.

To ensure a smooth and stable typing experience, invest in top-notch stabilizers. These components will eliminate any wobbling and guarantee a satisfying keystroke every time. Furthermore, the case and PCB (Printed Circuit Board) should be of superior quality to ensure long-lasting durability.

The "All-In" method is indeed pricier, with costs potentially exceeding $600. However, it offers innovative seekers a truly exceptional and customized keyboard. If you're looking for an unmatched typing experience and you have all the money to spend, then the 'All-In' method is the way to go.

Custom vs Premade Keyboard: Is it Cheaper to Buy or Build

When it comes to keyboards, you might be wondering whether it's more cost-effective to buy a premade one or build your own. Let's consider a few factors to help you decide whether a custom keyboard is for you.

The Value of Time

Consider your available time. Building your own keyboard can be a time-consuming process, from choosing the components to putting them together However, it offers the opportunity to design a keyboard tailored to your specific needs, which can be a fulfilling experience despite the time investment involved.

On the other hand, pre-made keyboards provide a quick and convenient solution, perfect for those who just want to game and type right away. However, they often lack the customization options that tech enthusiasts want. 

Quality vs Cost

You might be wondering if it's more cost-effective to build a custom keyboard or buy a premade one. The answer depends on what you value most: personalization or affordability.

A custom keyboard offers tailored features but can be quite expensive, ranging from $200 to $600. However, the level of customization and performance it offers is unmatched. You can control the degree of quality of your keyboard.

A premade, store-bought keyboard is a more budget-friendly option, typically priced under $100. However, its capacity to be customized to your exact specifications is limited. You are "locked in" to what the keyboard can offer you.

The Benefits of Buying a Fully Built Keyboard

While the idea of a custom keyboard may be appealing, there are also advantages of choosing a prebuilt, ready-to-use option, especially if you're on a budget.

  1. Convenience: One of the most significant benefits of store-bought keyboards is convenience. They are ready to use out of the box. You don't have to go through the assembly process, select individual components, or solder switches, which can be time-consuming and daunting for beginners.
  2. Reliability: Store-bought keyboards are typically manufactured by established companies with a reputation for quality and reliability. They undergo rigorous quality control processes, so you can trust that they will function consistently.
  3. Warranty and Support: Most prebuilt keyboards come with warranties and customer support. If you encounter issues or defects, you can often rely on the manufacturer's support to resolve them. With custom keyboards, troubleshooting and repairs are primarily the user's responsibility.
  4. Variety of Options: There is a wide range of prebuilt keyboards available, catering to various preferences. You can find keyboards with different layouts, switch types, sizes, and features to suit your specific needs.
  5. Out-of-the-Box Features: Prebuilt keyboards often come with features such as backlighting, multimedia keys, and dedicated macro buttons, enhancing the keyboard's functionality without additional customization.
  6. Consistency: Store-bought keyboards offer a consistent typing experience. All switches and components are factory-tested to meet the same standards, resulting in a uniform feel across the entire keyboard.
  7. Cost-Effectiveness: In some cases, prebuilt keyboards can be more cost-effective, especially if you consider the total cost of purchasing all individual components for a custom build, including switches, keycaps, PCB, and case.
  8. Aesthetic Appeal: Manufacturers put effort into designing visually appealing keyboards that cater to a broad range of tastes. These keyboards often have professional and polished aesthetics.
  9. Availability: Prebuilt keyboards are readily available at electronics and computer stores, both online and offline. This makes them accessible to a wider audience and eliminates the need to source and wait for individual components.
  10. Plug-and-Play Compatibility: Prebuilt keyboards are typically designed to work seamlessly with various operating systems, requiring no additional configuration or software setup.
  11. Less Risk: Custom keyboard builds involve more risk of errors, compatibility issues, and dissatisfaction if the components don't meet your expectations. Store-bought keyboards reduce these risks.
  12. Time-Saving: Building a custom keyboard can be a time-consuming project, especially for beginners. Prebuilt keyboards save time and effort.

Finished Product with Warranty

When deciding whether to build or buy a keyboard, it's important to consider the warranty of the finished product. Premade keyboards often come with a manufacturer's warranty, providing peace of mind. It's that easy. 

However, building a custom mechanical keyboard from scratch is another story. Since you are creating something unique and altogether non-existent as a brand, the individual components of a custom keyboard may not come with a warranty. If something goes wrong, you'll be responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.

Pre-Built Keyboards Are Potentially Cheaper

Store-bought or pre-built keyboards are generally more affordable than the cost for a custom mechanical keyboard. This is because the cost of production is spread across a larger number of units, resulting in a lower price point. You also have more options to choose from on a whim.

However, with good planning---and some degree of shrewdness---you can lower your custom keyboard cost to that of a pre-built keyboard.

Convenience of Purchasing

In terms of convenience, pre-made keyboards have the advantage as they're ready to use right out of the box. Most pre-built and branded mechanical keyboards can readily be ordered online or purchased in computer stores.

When you build a mechanical keyboard, you need to buy components piece by piece. Depending on stock availability, they may be---or may not be---available in popular purchasing venues. You may have to buy them straight from the manufacturer, for example. Or you may have to wait for a week or two if you want a very specific component. You may need to have a minimum order.

The Benefits of Building a Custom Keyboard

While the initial mechanical keyboard cost may be higher, building your own can be a worthwhile investment.  It offers numerous benefits that cater to the preferences and needs of keyboard enthusiasts:

  1. Personalization: Custom keyboards allow you to tailor every aspect of your typing experience. You can choose switches, keycaps, layouts, and aesthetics that match your preferences and typing style.
  2. Quality Control: When building a custom keyboard, you have full control over the quality of components. You can select high-quality switches, keycaps, and stabilizers, which can result in a more durable and reliable keyboard.
  3. Unique Aesthetics: Custom keyboards can be a creative outlet. You can design a keyboard with a unique and personalized look, using different keycap sets, cases, and materials.
  4. Improved Typing Experience: Selecting the right switches and keycap profiles can enhance your typing experience. You can choose switches with the specific feel and sound you prefer and keycaps with the desired texture and profile.
  5. Endless Layout Options: Custom keyboards offer a wide range of layout choices, from compact 60% boards to ergonomic split designs. You can find or design a layout that suits your workflow and typing needs.
  6. Hot-Swappable Switches: Many custom keyboard PCBs are hot-swappable, allowing you to change switches without soldering. This flexibility makes it easy to experiment with different switch types.
  7. Upgradability: Custom keyboards are often designed with upgradability in mind. You can replace or upgrade components over time to adapt to changing preferences or technological advancements.
  8. Learning Experience: Building a custom keyboard is an excellent opportunity to learn about electronics, soldering, and mechanical keyboards. It can be a rewarding and educational experience for enthusiasts.
  9. Noise and Sound Control: Custom keyboards allow you to fine-tune the acoustic profile of your typing. You can add dampening materials, lubed switches, and other modifications to control the sound.
  10. Custom Macros and Shortcuts: Some custom keyboard PCBs offer advanced programmability, enabling you to create custom macros and shortcuts for improved productivity.
  11. Hand-Ergonomics: Custom ergonomic keyboard designs, such as split or ortholinear layouts, can provide a more comfortable typing experience and reduce strain.
  12. Unique and Rare Switches: Custom builds give you access to a wider range of switch options, including unique and rare switches that may not be available in prebuilt keyboards.

Enjoyment of a DIY Project

When you embark on any kind of custom work, it goes beyond just personalizing every detail. There's a deep sense of satisfaction that comes from the process.

As you carefully select each component and piece them together, you're not just creating a tool. You're undergoing an experience that's uniquely yours. This DIY project is more than just a creative endeavor; it's an act of innovation. While there may be a cost involved, the sense of accomplishment you'll feel as you press each custom-made key is priceless.

Expression of Personal Style

Expressing your personal style is a truly unique experience, and creating a customized keyboard allows you to infuse that individuality into every keystroke. Say goodbye to the days of being stuck with ordinary, mass-produced models. Now, you have the freedom to personalize every component according to your preferences.

The case, switches, and keycaps become a blank canvas for your creativity. Want to showcase your vibrant energy? Choose a vibrant case and design your keyboard with flashing RGB backlighting. Are you focusing more on simplicity and efficiency? Opt for a minimalist design if that's more your style.

Select switches that provide a satisfying click or a gentle thud, depending on your preference. And let's not forget about the keycaps. They add the perfect finishing touch to your masterpiece, offering a wide range of colors, textures, and profiles.

A customized keyboard isn't just a tool; it's an extension of your personality and a testament to your innovative spirit.


Are you ready to explore the world of custom keyboards? Custom keyboards offer a tantalizing canvas upon which to craft a typing experience tailored to your individual preference or need. However, as we've explored in this article, the path to custom keyboard nirvana is not without its financial and logistical considerations.

In contrast, prebuilt, store-bought keyboards offer a more convenient and straightforward solution. They provide reliability, warranties, and an array of features that can meet the needs of many users without the complexity of a custom build. 

But make no mistake about it. While it may require some investment, there's nothing quite like the satisfaction of creating something with your own hands.

By carefully planning, finding good deals, and being savvy with your shopping, you can build the perfect typing experience without breaking the bank.

Chris Greiner, a Mechanical Keyboard specialist, boasts a solid educational background with dual bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Business Management from Lewis University. His additional certification in Mechanical Keyboard Design showcases his dedication to staying on the forefront of keyboard technology. Chris primarily writes for keyboard enthusiasts and has been featured on platforms like Jestik, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the mechanical keyboard community.
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