PCB Comparison

There is a lot of mechanical keyboard PCB’s to choose from. Here is my attempt to review some of the data and compare the information in a chart. This is by no means a complete list, especially regarding the more exotic form factors. If your favorite PCB is missing, feel free to drop me a line and I will happily add it.

When it comes to mechanical keyboard PCB’s there are a couple of things you might want to consider.

Size

This is pretty obvious, there is different sizes and form-factors of mechanical keyboards. 80%, 75% or maybe a numpad – this is definetly the most important decision to make when chosing a PCB for your mechanical keyboard build.

Switches

There are basically two commonly used contact styles for the switches: MX or ALPS. MX style are definelty the most common style. Almost any PCB supports the MX style contacts. Some support ALPS too.

Firmware

There is different firmware for mechanical keybaords. The most wide spread and probably most flexible with its web configurator is QMK.

Underglow

Underglow (Glow) are RGB LED’s placed on the bottom of the PCB. Different PCB’s come with a different amount of underglow LED’s. If you are planning on using an opaque case, this feature might not be relevant to you.

Bluetooth

If you are not a fan of wires, go for a bluetooth (BT) enabled PCB. If you do so, do not forget to get a matching LiPo battery to power the keyboard from. The charging circuit is usually included on the board and you charge the battery by plugging in USB.

USB

The USB connector that is used. The most common conectors  are micro USB and USB Type-C. Personally I like USB Type-C best since you can plug it in any direction. Also the round plug looks more esthetically pleasing to me – but your taste may vary or you might not even care at all.

Switch LED’s

Almost any board will provide you with a means of mounting LED’s for the switches. Some even come with RGB LED’s pre-installed. The LED’s can come into two different positions: North or South. Meaning above or below the center of the switch. Which position you want your LED’s (if at all) will highly depend on the actual keycaps you are planning on using.

 Hot Swap

Hot swap refers to the replacability of the key switches. If the PCB is hotswappable it means that you can easily setup your switches without soldering. You simply plug them in and are ready to go. This gives you great flexibility if you want to experiment with different switches. Maybe you want to try out different switches on different keys – with a hot swap capable PCB this can be done in seconds. One step closer to your endgame.

Mic

Some PCB’s even have a built in microphone. But this is “only” used to display fancy patterns on the underglow or switch LED’s you can not actually use it as a  voice input. Also people on the other side would probably not appreciate the clicking of the switches.

UnderglowBluetoothHotswapMicSMD RGB

NameBrandPriceSizeSwitchesKeysUSBColorGlowBTHSSplitMicRGBPosQMKComment
1UP RGB Underglow1UP Keyboards$40.0060%MX65MiniWhiteN16MMMMMNN
40%Daisy$29.7040%MX, Alps42MiniWhiteN8MMMMMNN
BM16AKPRepublic$18.804x4MX, Alps16MiniBrownN4MMMMMSNWith plastic case
BM43AKPRepublic$22.6040%MX43Type-CBlackN6MMMMMSN
BM60RGBKPRepublic$48.4160%MX63Type-CBlackN6MNMMNNN
CS87Satan$39.8080%MX87MiniWhiteN20MMMMMNMTKL
DZ60$35.0060%MX68Type-C, MiniBlackN16MMMMMSN
GH60Satan$26.9060%MX64MiniWhiteM-MMMMMNN
GH60YMDK$21.90 - $26.9060%MX64Type-C, MiniBlackN12MMMMMSNWith / without backlight. Black or White
GK61Liang$49.0060%MX64Type-CWhiteM-MNMNNNMcomes with case
GK61 BTKPRepublic$55.0060%MX61Type-CWhiteM-NNMNNNM
GK64SSkyloong$35.3360%MX64Type-CWhiteN-NNMNNNMNot sure about the amount of underglow LED's. Possibly not an original KBDFans board.
GK64SKPRepublic$45.00 - $55.0060%MX64Type-CWhiteM-NNMNNNM
GON NerD1UP Keyboards$97.00100%MX108MiniBlackN-MMMMMSMUnderglow needs soldering
GON NerD TKL1UP Keyboards$95.0080%MX90MiniBlackN-MMMMMSMTKL, Underglow needs soldereing
GON NerD601UP Keyboards$79.0060%MX64MiniBlackN-MMMMMSNUnderglow needs soldering
JD401UP Keyboards$45.0040%MX, Alps44MiniBlackM-MMMMMSM
JJ 40JJ$31.7040%MX, Alps48MiniWhiteN5MMMMMSM
JJ 4×4JJ$21.904x4MX, Alps16MiniWhiteM-MMMMNSN
JJ 50JJ$33.7050%MX, Alps60MiniBlackN5MMMMMSN
JJ ErgoJJ$43.02OtherMX76MiniBlueM-MMNMN-N
KBD75 REV 2.0KBDFans$35.00 - $40.0075%MX89Type-C, MiniWhiteN16MMMMNSN
Niu MiniKBDFans$30.0040%MX48Type-CBlackN14MMMMMSN
NumpadYMDK$15.00NumpadMX17MiniRedM-MMMMMSM
PadSatan$30.60NumpadMX, Alps21MiniWhiteN6MMMMMNM
SP50KPRepublic$46.9050%MX60MiniWhiteN8MMNMNSM4 underglow LED's per side.
Super 16 Macro1UP Keyboards$10.004x4MX, Alps16BlackM-MMMMNNMComponents need to be soldered, needs controller.
Sweet 16 Macro1UP Keyboards$7.504x4MX, Alps16BlackM-MMMMN-NComponents need to be soldered, needs controller. Available in black or white.
XD60 Rev 2.0Xiudi$29.9060%MX, Alps67MiniBlackN6MMMMMNN
XD64Xiudi$30.2960%MX, Alps64Type-CBlackN12MMMMMNM
XD68Xiudi$30.9065%MX69Type-CBlackN7MMMMNNN
XD75AMXiudi$29.9060%MX, Alps75MiniWhiteN6MMMMNNN
XD87HSXiudi$39.9080%MX87Type-C, MiniBlackN14MNMMMNNTKL
YD60MQGeneric$40.5560%MX64Type-CBlackN16MMMMMSNListed as DZ60 - but is not genuine
YMD75YMDK$28.50 - $29.9075%MX84BlackN14MMMMNSN
Zlant1UP Keyboards$45.0040%MX48BlackM-MMMMN-N