A Comprehensive Guide To Hot-Swappable Switches for Gaming Keyboards

Hot-swappable switches for gaming keyboards enable gamers to change their switches without having to desolder and solder if they want to swap out broken keys. Customization of their setup is the ultimate way of expressing personal style for many gamers because it enables them to have the exact layout that they are looking for. Whether you’re a professional or amateur gamer, gaming peripherals will significantly impact your performance in all types of virtual scenarios. This discussion shows how to achieve optimum comfort and personalize your gaming setup by choosing hot-swappable keyboards.

Hot-swappable keyboards like the Red dragon K530 Pro Draconic 60% Wireless RGB Mechanical Keyboard, the Keychron Hot-swappable gaming keyboard, and the Drop CTRL mechanical keyboard offer the ability to easily customize your keyboard switches to suit your playstyle. These hot-swappable switches provide a customizable feel and sound that is essential for gaming. When selecting a hot-swappable gaming keyboard, choose one that’s compatible with both 3-pin and 5-pin swappable switches, with plate sockets that can accommodate  Gateron, Cherry, and Kailh Switches. Additionally, choose a keyboard with a standard layout and sockets that can accommodate any  standard 3rd party keyboard keycaps like Epomaker, Keychron, and RK Royal Kludge to further enhance customization options. 

A mechanical keyboard like this, with hot-swappable keys, allows gamers to swap out their switches easily. This feature offers customization options for gamers, such as feedback, sound, and feel of keystrokes. The hot-swappable keyboard provides gamers with great ease by allowing them to easily change switches using a switch puller like this without having to desolder. All needed is to pull out the switch and plug in another. It enables gamers to change the switch on the go without taking the keyboard apart (that’s what makes it “hot”). Thus enabling users to choose which kind of switch they prefer, key by key. 

As a gamer, having a mechanical keyboard with hot-swappable switches gives you an edge over others. So to help you to make your choice, this article discusses all you need to know about hot-swappable keyboard switches, extensively. To further help you, you can check out our recommendations for the best keyboard switches for mechanical keyboards.

Hot-Swappable Keyboards: What Are They and What Do They Mean For Gamers?

A hot-swappable keyboard is a very convenient option for avid gamers who want to have an edge over their opponents. 

A hot-swappable keyboard is a type of mechanical keyboard that allows users to easily change switches without the need for soldering or other specialized tools. Hot-swappable keyboards typically have sockets that are compatible with various types of switches. This feature allows gamers to experiment with different switch types, mix and match switches, and customize the feel and sound of their keyboard without needing to purchase an entirely new keyboard.  

Over and above the fact that the switches of hots-swappable gaming keyboards can be swapped, hardware can be plugged or unplugged while the computer is running. With appropriate software, peripheral devices that support hot-swap can be inserted or removed without turning off the power and without causing the host or peripherals to burn out. New devices can also be detected and used in real time. Compared to “plug-and-play” options, the software and hardware requirements of hot-plugging also include the contact sequence of the power supply, signal, and ground wire. Make sure to also read our related article explaining gaming keyboard trainer software and how to use trainers for better gaming.

Mechanical keyboards that support hot swapping enable quick switch replacement without the need for soldering or desoldering. This is ideal for gamers of all levels as it lets them switch between linear, tactile, and clicky keys by swapping switches instead of getting a new keyboard. Also, users can change keycaps to ones like these, and key mechanisms as well. This is because hot-swappable keyboards allow users to test various types of switches like these.

This article from Red Dragon Shop explains some of the distinguishing features of a hot-swappable gaming keyboard.

The keys and switches of hot-swappable keyboards can be changed.
A mechanical gaming keyboard allows the user to customize the keyboard to their personal taste. Source: Amazon.

Are Hot-Swappable Keyboards Good for Gaming?

Absolutely. Hot-swappable keyboards are equipped with the right mechanisms that enable them to offer faster, lighter, and smoother actuation. These give gamers easy movement during gameplay and the ability to change weapons smoothly. Hot-swappable keyboards like these easily adapt to every game and can be adjusted seamlessly for gamers too. Each PCB, or printed circuit board, has hot-swap sockets, unlike the older prebuilt keyboards and solder-only PCBs. 

Hot-swappable keyboards are good for gaming because they offer greater durability and are easier to clean. Additionally, it’s quick and effortless to change the keyboard switches, allowing for a customizable gaming experience with different feels and sounds. 

Hot-swappable switches are a valuable feature of customizable keyboards that can greatly benefit gamers. With hot-swappable Keyboards like these, gamers can easily personalize and replace their switches without needing any special tools. This feature can save gamers both time and money, as they can quickly swap out switches instead of having to purchase an entirely new keyboard. Hot-swappable switches are also a great option for new gamers, as they help them choose a preferred switch rather than being restricted to one type. 

These are the reasons that make hot-swappable keyboards worth buying: 

Reason 1. It’s Easy and Fast to Change the Sound and Switch Feedback of Hot-Swappable Keyboards

In today’s PC and gaming market, there are several options when choosing keyboards. However, a significant reason hot-swappable keys are worth choosing is that it is really quick and easy to make sound changes and customize. This also enhances user experience, making typing and gaming easier for people who use them. For gamers, movement and weapon changing become easier, thus making winning easier. 

In addition, hot-swappable keyboards are responsive and give the exact sound feedback programmed by users, either linear, clicky or tactile sound feedback. Its swiftness also makes it simple to push a button and get an instant actuation. Generally, hot-swappable keyboards are equipped with features that increase typing speed since the keys detect strokes faster as less force is required for each stroke. You can check out our article on how to make a mechanical keyboard quieter to help you change the sound. 

Using hot-swappable keyboards allows for complete customization of your keyboard.
A hot-swappable keyboard provides gamers with a wide range of options for modification of sound and switch feedback. Source: Switchandclick.

Reason 2. It Is Easier To Clean a Keyboard With Hot-Swappable Keys 

All keyboards eventually become dirty, as a gamer who spends all of their time at their PC will know. The last thing you want to see on your gaming keyboard is a growing coat of dirt and grime. Even worse, tiny bits of debris may ultimately find their way into the internal workings of your keyboard, impairing functionality. Fortunately cleaning a keyboard with hot-swappable keys is as simple as it appears. 

As we all know, key switches do have a significant influence on how your keyboard responds, especially for avid gamers. Besides typing precision and a more accurate feel, one of the many benefits of a keyboard with hot-swappable keys is how easy it is to clean and we recommend cleaning your keyboard once a week. Users can easily remove the keys for a thorough cleaning by using a standard keycap puller like this, which looks like a little tong. Switches can be swapped, removed, and replaced immediately after cleaning without needing extra help. ​​Hot-swappable keys make it easy to clean the keyboard regularly to keep dirt, dust, or food debris from building up under the keys. If you find it challenging to clean your hot-swappable keyboard, this video tutorial by Paul’s Hardware could help.  

If the switches of a hot-swappable gaming keyboard stop working optimally they could just be in need of a good cleaning.
Cleaning of key switches often has a great influence on their responsiveness. Source: techgeartalk.

Reason 3. Switches Can Be Replaced Multiple Times Enhancing Keyboard Durability 

Keyboards with hot-swappable keys are more durable compared to regular ones. This is Because they have more reliable components and a sturdier construction. These switches are quite easy to replace single-handedly which helps gamers to customize and use their gaming keyboards for much longer. A mechanical keyboard features individual switches located below each key. This enables each key to feel and react differently when pressed. Switches can handle between 50 and 100 million keystrokes making their lifespan extra long. 

Mechanical keyboards are amazing since ordinary keyboards typically fall short of those benchmarks in terms of quality. Mechanical switches include detachable keycaps that may be swapped out if broken or for customization. Gamers can take out switches to clean the contacts or replace broken ones, thus making them more durable. 

Hot-swappable keys and switches can be removed to clean a gaming keyboard, or changed to customize the keyboard.
Hot-swappable keyboards enable gamers to replace switches when necessary and this increases the keyboard's life span. Source: Tomshardware.

How To Choose the Best Hot-Swappable Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 

Hot-swappable keyboards provide gamers with ways to customize their gaming and work experience, to provide maximum flexibility to create a setup and feel that works for your style, for better functioning, and for better gaming performance. But deciding on the best hot-swappable mechanical keyboard isn’t always easy. This is because they come in different designs, sizes, and a variety of customization features. 

When choosing a hot-swappable keyboard for gaming, verify that the keyboard’s switch sockets are compatible with the preferred and available switch brands and types, such as the Cherry MX Brown. Next, look for a keyboard with a key pitch range of between 17x19mm to 19x19mm (vertical to horizontal), and finally, purchase a swappable keyboard with keycaps that are compatible with the desired switches.

A mechanical keyboard like this is unquestionably the best option for people who enjoy clicky switches and excellent tactile feedback without needing any kind of soldering to make changes.

To choose your ideal hot-swappable keyboard, you need to find the model that fits your typing needs and aesthetic choice. We advise searching for a mechanical keyboard with excellent construction and a durable frame. Beyond these fundamental characteristics, the important features will vary depending on the needs of every user. While some gamers enjoy a keyboard with fully configurable keys, others prefer cozy layouts and ergonomic designs. Check out our e-gaming keyboard layout tips and tricks to find out more about gaming keyboard layouts.

We’ve compiled a list of tips for choosing a hot-swappable mechanical gaming keyboard:

Tip 1. The Switch Sockets Should Match the Common Switch Brands and Popular Switch Styles To Ensure Compatibility

In terms of usability, swapping, and fixing without external help, getting a swappable keyboard like this with switch sockets that are compatible with common switch brands is an important feature. This is because replacing, fixing, and removing are made easy. Also, it enables you to easily get a suitable switch socket without stress and boosts customization and modification to suit the user's taste. 

To have a hot-swappable gaming keyboard that is as customizable as possible make sure that the switch sockets are compatible with the popular brands of switches.
Choosing a swappable keyboard with switch sockets that match common brands adds to the flexibility of the keyboard. Source: Amazon.

Tip 2. Consider a Hot-Swappable Keyboard with a Key Pitch Range From 17mm x 19mm to 19mm x 19mm for Effortless Key Swapping

According to this article from the Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, keyboards with 17 mm typing speed and accuracy are rated higher, and more efficient. When purchasing a gaming keyboard, you need to go for options that enhance your gameplay and offer a comfortable gaming experience. Therefore, using keyboards like this with flexible key pitches is best for swapping keys easily. Key Pitches are known as the distance between the centers of each key. It is an indication of whether the keyboard is tight or spacious. Also, this is independent of a keyboard's actual physical size. For full-sized keyboards, there is usually a pitch of about 18 mm or 19 mm, which spans from the center of one key to the center of the following key. A gaming keyboard with adequate key pitches greatly impacts typing accuracy and keypresses during gameplay.

The key pitch of hot-swappable gaming keyboards is flexible making it easy to swap switches and keys.
Swappable keyboards with the right key pitches boost efficiency and accuracy while gaming. Source: Amazon.

Tip 3. Ensure the Keyboard Is Compatible with a Range of Switch Styles Such as Cherry, Zeal, Gateron, and Kailh.

One of the biggest benefits of choosing a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard is its compatibility with multiple switch types. As we know, one of the main purposes gamers purchase a hot-swappable keyboard is to modify it and use it for different purposes. Therefore, ensuring a gaming keyboard is compatible with more than one switch cannot be overemphasized. This makes customization easy for users. 

Choosing a keyboard that is compatible with common and popular switch types makes customization much easier.
Investing in a keyboard that is compatible with multiple switch styles makes it worth your time and money. Source: Amazon.

Tip 4. Select a Hot-Swappable Keyboard that Has Keycaps Compatible with Your Preferred Switch Styles

As a gamer interested in purchasing a hot-swappable keyboard, choose one with keycaps that are compatible with your desired switch styles. Keycaps generally have a great effect on switches and choosing a type that suits your style results in a smooth typing and gaming experience. 

Also, choosing a hot-swappable keyboard with keycaps compatible with various switch styles makes customization and modification of keys easy for gamers. They can easily modify these keys to create shortcuts and faster movement to change weapons while in combat, with more resulting wins and a competitive edge. 

Flexible switch styles on a hot-swappable gaming keyboard can give a gamer a competitive edge.
Choosing a hot-swappable keyboard with flexible switch styles makes customization easy. Source: technewstoday.com.

Tip 5. Make Sure that the Switch Sockets are Compatible with Both 3-Pin and 5-Pin Switches

Most switches for hot-swappable keyboards can easily be inserted into the hot-swappable sockets even though they are actually intended to be soldered. However, there are two types of switches: 3-pin and 5-pin switches as discussed in our article on whether you can change switches on a keyboard. Interestingly, even though the two variations are centered on pin count, there is no electrical basis for the differences between them.

A 5-pin switch has two extra plastic "legs" or pins than a 3-pin switch, which is the only real difference. Two additional "legs" or pins give the keyboard pins more rigidity when inserted. This makes it less probable for the switch to come out of the keyboard when in use.

However, 3-pin switches will work on any hot-swappable keyboard that supports 5-pin switches. However, 3-pin switches could be less stable because they are designed with two fewer plastic pins. It is worth noting that the only difference between 3-pin and 5-pin switches is the number of legs, and it can be clipped away if necessary. 

A 5-pin hot-swappable switch for a gaming keyboard is more stable and rigid.
5-Pin hot-swappable switches allow for more stability. Source: Vissles.

Why Should You Buy a Hot-Swappable Keyboard for Gaming?

Hot-swappable switches are a crucial component of hot-swappable keyboards, making it easier to customize computers and other devices. With a hot-swappable keyboard, gamers can now change their keys for an all-in-one experience rather than purchasing numerous keyboards for various styles and purposes. Although anyone who enjoys customization can use them, hot-swappable keyboards are most suited for gamers because users can swap out the keys for various clicks, experiences, and sounds. They are adaptable, simple to replace, and excellent for various types of typing, thus improving the gaming experience.

Buy a hot-swappable keyboard for gaming because it's easier to clean, more durable, and really simple to change the look and feel of the keyboard. 

According to this article from the Faculty of Management, AGH University of Science and Technology, Cracow, Poland, the keyboard is the most common device used to interact with a computer. Therefore choosing one that enables flexible modification enhances typing and gaming experience for users. 

A hot-swappable keyboard provides users with tons of benefits. It removes the hassle of desoldering and soldering the board. Hot-swappable keyboards are a good option for professional and amateur gamers as they are highly convenient. It is easy to modify the keyboard stabilizers to provide improved sound. Hot-swappable keyboards are great for customization and gamers. It is typically referred to as a premium function that is definitely a fantastic addition to your PC. A hot-swappable keyboard is ideal if you enjoy playing video games and have diverse switch requirements. Your keyboard's appearance and main functionality can quickly be changed.

Here are a few convincing reasons why you should buy a hot-swappable keyboard for gaming: 

Reason 1. A Hot-Swappable Keyboard Allows for the Replacement of Old Switches Instead of Buying a New Keyboard

Hot-swappable keyboards like these enable users to replace old switches without having to pay a professional to do it. It allows gamers to change old switches easily just by using a switch puller like this to pull out the old switch and plug in a new one. This serves just the same purpose as buying a new keyboard. It can also be modified and customized to suit the user's style. On the other hand, there is absolutely no need for soldering, as the socket that holds the switch together allows them to easily be changed. In addition, it makes hot-swappable switches a great choice for a variety of serious PC gamers and individuals looking to plan out a keyboard with a very particular feel. However, if you are unsure about switch replacement, our article on how to replace keyboard switches could help. 

Hot-swappable gaming keyboards can have parts replaced which means that it will last longer and can be used long-term without having to be replaced.
Hot-swappable keyboards have a long lifespan and thus save money. Source: Amazon.

Reason 2. No Skill Is Required To Swap Switches on Swappable Keyboards

Swappable keyboard options are great for gamers who love to be in charge of fixing and repairing their mechanical keyboard. The best thing about a swappable keyboard is that users need no extra knowledge or skill to fix it. All that is needed is to pull out the old switches and plug in new ones. Compared to regular keyboards, Users no longer have to go through cumbersome procedures to replace keys and enjoy their keyboard. Also, no special tool is needed to remove switches and replace them with ones like these, which saves you the cost of buying a new keyboard. 

Being able to replace the switches and keys of your hot-swappable gaming keyboard means that you can have it working optimally without having to spend too much money.
Hot-swappable keyboards are easy to use for less tech-savvy users. Source: image.cnbcfm.com.

Reason 3. It's Easier To Clean Hot-Swappable Keyboards

Another impressive feature that makes a swappable keyboard a good fit for gamers is the fact that it is so easy to clean. The last thing you would want is the accumulation of dust and dirt on your gaming keyboard, which could hinder its performance. However, with hot-swappable keyboards, cleaning is easier than it seems. Gamers can clean their keyboards on the go as keys can be pulled out instantly for a thorough cleaning using a standard keycap puller without needing help. 

When it comes to cleaning a keyboard our article on how to clean a laptop keyboard after a spill could be useful. 

The spacing and the convenient removal of keys and switches of hot-swappable gaming keyboards make them really easy to clean.
Hot-swappable keyboards can easily be cleaned inside and out. Source: Ebay.

Summary of Hot-Swappable Keyboards From Amazon, and Their Features

What Are You Trying to Fix By Getting A Hot-Swappable Keyboard? What Features Will Meet Your Needs? Example of Swappable Keyboard From Amazon
I want to be able to swap and replace old switches. Comfortable and responsive typing Easy repair and replacement Glorious Gaming Keyboard
I want something easy to clean. Ultra-low profileWide key pitch range Corsair K60 RGB Pro Low Profile Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 
I want something that can easily be modified or customized Good key customization optionsEasy swapping and remapping  Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma v2 TKL Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
I want a swappable keyboard with multiple switch compatibility.  Adaptable for clicky, linear, and tactile switches Logitech G915 LIGHTSPEED RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
I want a swappable keyboard with switch sockets that are comparable with the common switch brands Wide compatibility Logitech G815 LIGHTSPEED RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

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Which Hot-Swappable Switches Are Best For Gaming Keyboards? 

Hot-swappable switches for gaming keyboards are becoming the new norm in the gaming world. Professional gamers tend to try different key switches and test different preferences to determine the switches that suit their long-term use. However, quite a number of newbies are only scratching the surface of what hot-swappable keyboards can provide, as well as their benefits. 

The most popular hot-swappable keyboard switches include the Cherry MX Red due to its short actuation point of 2mm and a minimal actuation force of 45g. Cherry MX Speed has an actuation point of 1.2mm, a low actuation distance of 45g, and is quiet. Razer Yellow, Romer-G Linear, and Kailh Red switches are also good for gaming due to their feel, short actuation point, long lifespan, and sound levels.

Hot-Swappable Keyboards are designed with sockets that grip the switches, thus keeping them secure, and this way, switches can be repaired and replaced easily. This also enables deep customizability, as you can change the switch type under each key to suit your preferences. As an enthusiastic gamer that spends a lot of time playing on the computer, it is important to customize every little detail.

 A fully personalized gaming keyboard provides a completely comfortable and enjoyable gaming experience that a non-hot-swappable keyboard cannot. When it comes to choosing hot-swappable switches that are best for gaming, it might take time to select them. So we have simplified this for you by compiling a list of the best hot-swappable switches for gaming keyboards. 

Summary of Hot-Swappable Switches

Hot-Swappable Switches Actuation Point Type Feel & Sound Actuation Force Actuation Distance Example 
Cherry MX Blue 2.0 mm Clicky Heavy & Loud 60 g 4.0 mm Cherry MX Blue Keyswitch
Cherry MX Brown  2.0 mm Tactile Medium & Quiet 55 g 4.0 mm Cherry MX Brown Keyswitch
Cherry MX Black 2.0 mm Linear Heavy & Quiet 60 g 4.0 mm Cherry MX Black Keyswitch
Cherry MX Red 2.0 mm Linear Light & Quiet 45 g 4.0 mm Cherry MX Red Keyswitch
Cherry MX Speed Silver 1.2 mm Linear Light & Quiet 45 g 4.0 mm Cherry MX Speed Silver
Cherry MX Low Profile Red 1.2 mm Linear Light & Quiet 45 g 3.2 mm Cherry MX Low Profile Red
Cherry MX Low Profile Speed 1.0 mm Linear Light & Quiet 45 g 3.2 mm Cherry MX Low Profile Speed
Gateron Black 2.0 mm Linear Light & Quiet 50 g 4.0 mm Gateron Black Keyswitch
Gateron Blue 2.3 mm Clicky Medium & Loud 45 g 4.0 mm Gateron Blue Keyswitch
Gateron Brown 2.0 mm Tactile Medium & Medium 45 g  4.0 mm Gateron Brown
Gateron Red 2.2 mm Linear Light & Quiet 45 g 4.0 mm Gateron Red Keyswitch
Gateron Yellow 2.0 mm Linear Light & Quiet 50 g 4.0 mm Gateron Yellow Keyswitch
Razer Clicky Optical  1.5 mm Clicky Medium & Loud 45 g 3.0 mm Razer Clicky Optical 
Razer Linear Optical 1.2 mm Linear Medium & Loud 45 g 3.0 mm Razer Linear Optical
Razer Yellow 1.2 mm Linear Light & Quiet 45 g 3.5 mm Razer Yellow
Razer Green 2.0 mm Clicky Heavy & Loud 55 g 4.0 mm Razer Green
Razer Yellow 1.9 mm Linear Medium & Quiet 55 g 4.0 mm Razer Yellow
Logitech GX Brown 2.0 mm Tactile Medium & Loud 50 g 4.0 mm Logitech GX Brown
Logitech GX Red 2. 0 mm Linear Light & Quiet 50 g 4.0 mm Logitech GX Red
Logitech GX Blue 2.0 mm Clicky  Heavy & Loud 60 g 4.0 mm Logitech GX Blue
Romer-G Tactile 1.5 mm Tactile Light & Quiet 45 g 3.0 mm Romer-G Tactile Keyswitch
Romer-G Linear 1.5 mm Linear Light & Quiet 45 g 3.2 mm Romer-G Linear Keyswitch
Roccat Titan 1.8 mm Linear Heavy & Quiet 50 g 3.6 mm Roccat Titan
Drop + INVYR Holy Panda 2.0 mm Tactile Medium & Medium 60 g 4.0 mm Drop Holy Panda
Drop Halo True 2.0 mm  Tactile Medium & Medium 55 g 4.0 mm Drop Halo True
Drop Halo Clear 2.0 mm Tactile  Medium & Medium 50 g 4.0 mm Drop Halo Clear


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