The custom mechanical keyboard scene has been gaining a lot of traction in the market in recent times. As more and more customers look to get into the custom mech-board community, more and more companies are trying to offer high-end, custom mechanical keyboards at affordable prices.
So, if you are someone who is looking to get a custom mechanical keyboard to match your desk setup, you have clicked the right article.
In this, I am going to list the top custom mechanical keyboards you should consider getting in 2023. Hence, stick around till the end to know about some of the best custom mech keyboards that are available in the market right now!
Top 10 Custom Mechanical Keyboards to Buy in 2023
Now, before I move on to the list of the top custom mechanical keyboards of 2023, there are some important things that you should know.
Firstly, custom mechanical keyboards are not like your regular membrane keyboards that come bundled with your PC.
These keyboards are highly customizable, meaning that other than choosing the color of the keyboard case or adding premium weights, you will be able to change their key switches and keycaps to match your style or desk aesthetics.
Hence, some of the options on this list will include barebones kits, which essentially means that you will get only get the keyboard case and the PCB and you have to buy the switches and keycaps separately.
So, as you can imagine, these keyboards are usually higher in price compared to mass-produced, membrane keyboards that are available in the market. Some of them even go out of stock from time to time and also might take an excessive amount of time to ship.
Furthermore, moving forward, you might read some unfamiliar terms like “soldered”, “hot-swappable”, “gasket or top mount”, and others.
To understand these, I highly recommend you read my in-depth guide on custom mechanical keyboards first. Otherwise, do not worry, I will explain the terms when I come across them on the list.
So, with these out our way, if you are willing to get a truly customizable mechanical keyboard that also sounds really (like REALLY) good, check out some of the best options listed right below.
Best Premium Custom Mechanical Keyboards of 2023
Below, I have listed the best premium custom keyboards of 2023 that are either in stock or in group buy. So, keep in mind that these are usually a bit pricier than the custom mechanical keyboards available on Amazon or from other budget-focused companies.
Following this list, I have also provided some really good options for the budget gang who are looking to invest a bit less in their computer peripheral. But for now, check out some of the premium options available out there and their unique features right below.
1) QK75 by Qwerty Keys
Starting with the successor of one of the most hyped custom keyboards of 2022, which was the QK65, the QK75 is a budget-premium offering in the custom mech-board market. Designed and manufactured by Qwerty Keys, the QK75 is a beautiful keyboard that comes with a ton of customizability options and high-end features.
It comes in an exploded 75% layout, which essentially means that the keyboard does not feature a Numpad and the arrow key cluster is separated from the alphas and the modifiers. However, you can get an optional knob at the top-right of the board that can be customized to control volume, screen brightness, and other functions.
Other than this, you can design and configure your QK75 with a variety of options, including the case color and finish back weight color and finish, knob design, plate material, and PCB configuration. You can go to the official QK website and design your OK75 right now.
Now, the most important thing about this keyboard is that it is currently in Group Buy. You see group buys are like Kickstarter projects in which keyboard designers and studios run a sale for a specific keyboard for a limited time.
Once the group buys is over, you will not be able to get that keyboard until the company decides to go for an R2 (Round 2 GB).
So, the QK75 will be available to order on QK’s website until December 9, 2022. After that, Qwerty Keys will not take any further orders. If you’re reading this article after Dec 9, 2022, let’s hope the company decides to go for an R2.
Customers who have placed their order for the barebones kit (does not come with switches and keycaps) or the bundled edition (comes with switches and keycaps) will get their product in 8-12 weeks after the sale ends.
As for the price, the QK75 starts at $135 for the barebones kit without any plate option and goes all the way up to $255 for the top-end, bundled edition that comes with matching keycaps and factory-lubed Ashen switches manufactured by Kailh.
2) Drop ALT
Now, if you are looking for that gamer-Esque custom mechanical keyboard with full RGB magic, the Drop ALT high-profile mechanical keyboard should definitely be under your radar.
The Drop ALT custom mechanical keyboard comes with a full CNC-aluminium case, a hot-swap PCB supported by QMK, and most importantly, fully customizable RGB lighting for the keys as well as the case.
The Drop ALT keyboard, unlike the QK75, comes fully assembled with double-shot PBT shine-through keycaps. It has a 65% layout with a separated arrow-key cluster and a shorter right-shift button.
The case comes in two color options – black and space grey, and you have multiple switch options to choose from.
And the best part, the Drop ALT is an in-stock keyboard, meaning it is always available on Drop’s official website and ships relatively sooner than the previous offering.
Coming to the price, the Drop ALT ranges from $179 for the base edition to $199 with MX Brown switches.
3) Keychron Q8 (Alice Layout)
Now, if you are looking to try out a completely different kind of keyboard, I’d say go for the Keychron Q8 Alice Layout edition. It is a premium offering from the popular keyboard manufacturer Keychron and comes in an Alice layout that looks very different from regular-layout keyboards. Check out the image right below.
The Alice layout is designed to provide a more comfortable typing experience with angled alphas and split spacebars. The layout essentially helps you to widen your shoulders when typing and causes less fatigue when typing for long sessions.
However, as the Alice layout is not that common, getting compatible keycap sets can be tough. Hence, if you decide to go for this board, I’d recommend you get the fully assembled edition rather than the barebones kit. Oh! Did I mention that it also comes with an optional knob?
As for the price, the Keychron Q8 Alice layout comes at $175 for the barebones kit and goes up to $215 for the fully assembled edition with a special knob. However, it is an in-stock keyboard, meaning that you will not have to wait much to get the board after ordering it from Keychron’s official website.
4) Zoom TKL by Meletrix
The next keyboard on the list is the new Zoom TKL by Meletrix, a sister company of the popular Wuque Studio. The company became quite popular with the release of its 65% custom board, the Zoom 65, earlier this year.
Now, it has started offering a Tenkeyless (TKL) version of its Zoom keyboard, which essentially means that it has ten keys less than a standard 104-key keyboard, eliminating the Numpad.
Other than this, the Zoom TKL keyboard comes with an elegant glass back weight, an aluminum case, a hot-swappable PCB with VIA and Bluetooth support, a gasket-mount design (for a softer typing experience), and other custom features.
The PCB has flex-cuts and combining that with the provided poron gaskets, the board is designed to provide a soft and bouncy typing experience to users.
The Zoom TKL was in the group buy from November 15 until November 29. Although the group buys is over, the fully assembled edition of the Zoom TKL is currently available on Indiegogo for a price of around $199. However, the Essential Edition of the keyboard, which is the barebones kit, has been sold out even on Indiegogo.
5) Akko Spongebob/ Patrick Keyboard
Now, I do not know how many of you will like this custom mechanical keyboard but if you like quirky designs and Spongebob Squarepants, the Akko 3098S Spongebob mechanical keyboard is for you! This keyboard comes in a fully assembled edition, either with Spongebob-themed keycaps or Patrick-themed keycaps.
More importantly, it is a full-sized keyboard from Akko, which is considered one of the best budget-focused mechanical keyboard manufacturers in the market.
Other than the themed designs, the Akko Spongebob keyboard comes with full RGB support with a special music rhythm mode, support for customizable macro keys, a built-in dampener for improved sounds, and support for both Windows and Mac OSes.
However, one of the significant drawbacks of this board is that it comes with a soldered PCB rather than a hot-swap one. This means that you won’t be able to able to change the switches on this keyboard. It comes with custom Akko Sponge/ Starfish switches, matching the theme of the board.
Now, coming to the price and availability, this Akko custom mechanical keyboard is an in-stock keyboard that is available on DIYKeycap for a fixed price of $170. Although it is not as premium as the custom keyboards listed above, it does come with a metal case and a full 108-key layout, which is ideal for those who extensively use the Numpad.
Best Budget Custom Mechanical Keyboards of 2023
Now, for those looking to spend less than $100 on a custom mechanical keyboard, we got you! However, it is worth mentioning that as the prices drop, the quality of the mechanical keyboard will be inferior to those mentioned above. More importantly, the custom keyboards under the $100 mark do not usually come with a metal case but a plastic case.
However, you will still be able to get a hot-swap PCB for many of the options listed below that will allow you to change the key switches and keycaps. Furthermore, with a little modding, your budget board will be no less than a premium mechanical keyboard.
So, check out some of the top-budget custom mechanical keyboards that you should consider getting in 2023 listed right below.
1) Epomaker Theory TH80
The Epomaker Theory TH80 is a great entry-level custom mechanical keyboard that is perfect for gamers and those who are looking for an RGB-supported, wireless, 75% mechanical keyboard that comes with a knob. Epomaker is a renowned keyboard manufacturer that is known for its budget-focused, quality custom keyboards, and the TH80 is just that.
The keyboard comes with a hot-swappable PCB with Gateron Pro switches that come factory-lubed. It also has support for wired USB-C connection, Bluetooth, and 2.4 GHz wireless connection for flexibility and to let users connect with multiple kinds of devices.
Other than these, the Epomaker TH80 can be fully programmed using Epomaker’s software and users can also play around with various RGB effects.
As for the price and availability, the Epomaker TH80 is an in-stock keyboard that is available on Amazon for a price of just $90. At that price, the Epomaker TH80 is a great keyboard that comes with all the features and customizability options that you need in a custom mechanical keyboard.
2) Royal Kludge H81
Dropping down a notch in terms of the price, you can get the Royal Kludge H81 mechanical keyboard that comes packed with a ton of features.
The RK H81 is essentially a great budget-focused mechanical keyboard for those who are looking to get their first mechanical keyboard. It comes pre-built with a hot-swappable PCB, an exploded 75% layout, wireless connectivity options, and RGB lighting.
On top of these, the board also features a knob and comes with a gasket-mount design for a soft and bouncy typing experience. Moreover, the keyboard can connect with up to three devices simultaneously and can be even used with your mobile device. Additionally, it even comes with its own silicon case foam to dampen the typing sound and provide a more soothing typing experience.
So, if you are in the market for a custom 75% mechanical keyboard that will suffice your gaming as well as typing needs on a budget, I’d recommend you check out the RK H81 on Amazon right now. It costs only $80, which is great, considering its features.
3) Ajazz AK873
The Ajazz AK873 is an amazing choice when it comes to budget custom mechanical keyboards. Although it comes in a wired configuration with no support for wireless connectivity, you will get a premium-feel coiled USB-C to USB-A cable.
Furthermore, the Ajazz AK873 features a 2-in-1 design where you can use a magnetic top case for a fully-covered look or remove it for a floating-keycaps look with the key switches exposed on the board.
Furthermore, the keyboard comes with a hot-swappable PCB to change the mechanical key switches. In fact, the keyboard will come with two kinds of switches – blue for the primary keys and white linear switches (with no tactile bump or clicky sound) for the keys that have stabilizers like the spacebar, the Enter, and the Backspace keys, and such.
You will also get four extra blue switches from Ajazz as a gift if you want to switch out the white linear switches on your keyboard. Additionally, the keyboard has RGB, which essentially works as an under glow for the switches.
Now, coming to the price of the Ajazz AK873, the keyboard retails for around $56, which is a great price for those looking for a feature-packed budget keyboard. Furthermore, it is always available on Amazon and can be easily shipped to various regions.
4) Womier WK61
The Womier WK61 is a perfect choice for gamers as it comes with a full RGV-focused design to match that gamer aesthetic. It is essentially a 60% keyboard, meaning that there is no Numpad, no arrow cluster, and no F-row at the top.
However, if you want to use the arrow keys and the F-row on this keyboard, you can do so by using the Fn key and changing the key layer.
As for the design, as aforementioned, it is an RGB-blasting keyboard with per-key RGB and various pre-set RGB effects for gamers. It also comes with a hot-swappable PCB with linear switches to provide maximum speed while gaming.
Furthermore, the WK61 comes with an acrylic case with a frosted design that complements the RGB lights on the keyboard. Even the provided keycaps are pudding keycaps with a translucent bottom that helps the RGB effects to shine more.
Coming to the price, the WK61 is a super-affordable mechanical keyboard, coming in at just $46. It is an in-stock keyboard and is always available to buy on Amazon.
5) E-Yooso 60% Mechanical Keyboard
Coming to the last keyboard in this category, the E-Yooso 60% mechanical keyboard is essentially an ultra-budget mechanical keyboard and is priced at just $21 on Amazon
. It is a pretty nice 60% board that you will be able to easily carry around in your backpack. The E-Yooso board comes with a plastic case, a hot-swappable PCB, linear Red switches, and a backlight with 18 pre-set backlight modes.
Furthermore, the E-Yooso keyboard features adjustable tilt legs at the back to let users adjust the angle of the keyboard when it is placed on a desk. Hence, you can expect to get a comfortable typing and gaming experience when you use this super affordable mechanical keyboard.
So, this was all about some of the best custom mechanical keyboards of 2023. The custom keyboard market is a unique hobby-turned-business industry that is now gaining a lot of momentum around the world, especially after the gaming industry took off and reached new heights during the pandemic.
So, if you are thinking of getting your first custom keyboard, I’d suggest you go for a budget one to see how you feel about them in the first place. Once you start digging the rabbit hole, I assure you that there is no going back, and before you know it, you will start spending hundreds of dollars on group buys.
However, it is worth mentioning that the mechanical keyboard is quite expensive as the prices of premium mechanical keyboards can go all the way up to $1000-$1200 if you really want to spend that much. For now, you can choose one of the above mechanical keyboards to get started.