Transform Your Setup with a Hot Swappable Keyboard in 2024

Innovation facilitates the generation of items that stand up to and even surpass our requirements. The hot swappable keyboard is fused with modern and innovative technology to offer personalization and adaptability in a device-to-user interface, and it changes the way computer operations are carried out.

In anticipation of 2024, we witness the rising popularity of hot swappable keyboards; such devices contain all the benefits in one unit.

Considerable ease is offered to end-users as one can simply replace the corresponding individual keycaps or the entire set of key switches without having to solder or involve complex dismantling.

Such engineering achievement offers end users some settings that fit users’ tastes and needs, unlike the situation previously, a transformation to our interaction with devices.

Benefits of a Hot Swappable Keyboard

The easiest replacement of switches on a hot swappable keyboard and the impact of adopting a hot swappable keyboard are vast and multi-sided.

Firstly and most importantly, these keyboards allow an individual to have no limitations, as they have the weakest imagination possible but a strong ability to personalize their keyboard with different keycap designs, switch types, and even their own personalized layout.

Be it an avid gamer wanting the just the right responsive felling or a writer looking to find that perfect button down typing, a hot swappable keyboards provides such functions with ease.

Not to mention the set of individual key swaps aiding the keyboard to work at peak as the extended use life that contributes to the affordability and as well being eco-friendly decision.

Now, you would not be obliged to replace the whole keyboard only with the little worn-out or damaged elements.

Unlike this, all you need is to buy new keys at an affordable price, that is guaranteed to extend your keyboard’s life or “staying in top shape” for some years.

History and Evolution of Hot Swappable Keyboards

Although the idea of hot swappable keyboards might seem like something new, it originates from the distant days of the peripheral devices.

At the outset, these keyboards were created for specific uses, like industrialized settings or natural environments where sustainability and simple maintenance was a priority.

Nevertheless, as technology grew and customers’ interest turned to personalization, hot swappable keyboard concept was developed, capturing the interest of fans, as well as manufacturers.

Today, the keyboard is a standard part of the computing world, as it strikes a balance between the versatility and user-friendliness that was impossible once.

How Does a Hot Swappable Keyboard Work?

At the core of hot swappable keyboard design is a pathbreaking approach that gives you the flexibility to replace keys and switches without glitches.

In spite of stable soldering from the PCB (printed circuit board) keys to the keyboard of early time which enables the keyword switches to be interchanged, the hot swappable keyboards employ either specific sockets or slots to hold the switches.

These terminals, forming a reliable and firm fixing points for the switches, are designed to provide a steady electric connection.

For instance, the change can only be done through removal of the switch available with the keyboard, after which a new switch is embedded.

Therefore, the users technical knowledge regarding the keyboard doesn’t need to seek for help any more.

Comparison with Traditional Keyboards

Although we have been satisfied by the regular keyboards for a long time, they lose in the process of personalization and logistics.

When a single key or switch on a regular keyboard goes wrong, the whole thing often needs to be replaced which is not economical, and wasteful as well.

Conversely, hot swappable keyboards provide the sustainable, economical option. Instead of throwing away an entire keyboard, users can simply replace broken parts, which enables increasing the life time of the peripheral and reduces environmental pollution at the same time.

In addition, conventional keyboards are less customizable since they only use a typical set of key switches and keycap designs, making it difficult for users to alter it to their specific tastes.

In contrast with the hot swappable keyboards, the users are provided with a large selection of options ranging from linear to tactile switches as well as from sculpted to flat keycaps to suit their specific preferences and needs to have the best position.

Different Types of Hot Swappable Keyboards

As the popularity of hot swappable keyboards grows, manufacturers are working to create a wide range of alternatives to fulfil demand and guarantee that their products match user expectations.

From compact and highly portable designs to full-size layouts with dedicated numeric keypads, the market offers different options for customers to pick from.

There will be hot swapping keyboards for gamers and power users that will have programmable macro keys, RGB back lighting and customized lighting effects for improved overall gaming experience and productivity.

On the contrary, for people who need a more minimalistic and ergonomic approach, sleek and low-profile hot swappable keyboards exist, which are designed to provide comfort and wrist support in mind.

A further point is that keyboards which are hot swappable have been recently designed with specific uses in mind like ergonomic split keyboards for correct hand placement or wireless ones for mobility and comfort.

Top Brands and Models of Hot Swappable Keyboards

Because many other companies have entered the industry market by making a variety of high-quality hot swappable keyboards, the popularity of these products has been increasing. Thus, companies are now considered the leaders of industry. Among the most prominent names are:

  1. Glorious PC Gaming Race: A company that is known for their gaming peripherals as well, Glorious PC Gaming Race, has a lineup of hot swappable keyboards that tend to their gamers and enthusiasts such as their GMMK Pro, and a compact GMMK Compact.
  2. Keychron: As their main attribute, the Keychron keyboards are sleek and minimalist while featuring the hot swappable connectivity and the well-liked K and Q series.
  3. Drop: Massdrop, which is now known as Drop, has obtained a considerable recognition for its mechanical keyboard top-quality, and is a maker of the Drop Shift and the Drop Alt models offering hot swappable capabilities.
  4. GMMK: As a sub-brand of the Glorious PC Gaming Race, GMMK positions itself as a key player in the market of hot swappable keyboards. It introduces the GMMK Pro, the GMMK Compact, and other models which attract more customers.
  5. Ducky: In the mechanical keyboards world, Ducky has become the brand of choice for consumers which is witnessed with productions like Ducky One 3 and Ducky Mecha SF that have taken on the hot swappable opportunities.

The list goes on and on as these are not the only brands in the market of keyboard customization, with each platform having their unique styles, designs, features, and different price point defining its user preferences and budget.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Hot Swappable Keyboard

These multiple aspects should be considered before choosing a keyboard so that it could be a perfect match with individual needs. Some key considerations include:

Redragon K668 Hot-swappable Keyboard
(Image source: Redragon)
  1. Size and Layout: Assess your work environment and establish if the full-sized, tenkeyless, 60%, or downsized keyboard would satisfy your specifications the best. Contemplate options like desk space, portability, and the existence of devoted keys for example numerical keypad and arrow keys among others.
  2. Switch Types: In hot swappable keyboards, you can find different kinds of switches, beginning from linear to tactile and clicky. Ascertain your typing options, including keycap configurations and uses (e.g., gaming, typing, and programming), to pick the switch variant that best resonates with your needs, whether it is 3-pin or 5-pin.
  3. Keycap Profiles: Keycap profiles vary from low-profile to high-profile as well as sculpted designs with grooves in between the keys. Evaluate dimensions such as typing comfort, appearance, and possible co-working with specialized keycap series.
  4. Backlighting and RGB: If the presence of backlighting or RGB lighting is a necessity for you, make sure to get a keyboard that offers support for these features and also provides you with a suitable level of customization feature.
  5. Connectivity: Find out if wired or wireless integration suits your design better. The plus side of wireless keyboards is mobility. But a wired type of keyboard assures a very low-latency connection which is an excellent choice for gaming or tasks that need accuracy.
  6. Software and Customization: Consider the computer or firmware offered by the manufacturer due to the extent to which one will have customization and programmability options for their hot swappable keyboard.

Step-by-Step Guide for Replacing Keys on a Hot Swappable Keyboard

Replacing keys on a hot swappable keyboard can be a quick and easy process. With a few tools and some patience, you can easily customize your keyboard to match your preferred style.

(Image source: Vissles)
  1. Prepare Your Workspace: Make sure you have a nice, bright area to work in. For security reasons, a towel or small mat must be placed beneath the keyboard to prevent scratches or damage.
  2. Identify the Key(s) to Replace: Identify the key(s) you want to swap. In case of any doubt, gently move up and down a key to see any damaged switches or keys.
  3. Remove the Keycap: Use a keycap puller or your fingers to carefully peel the keycap away from the switch’s stem. To avoid keycap or switch damage, use moderate force and avoid excessive force.
  4. Disengage the Switch: Removing the keycap will grant you a direct view of the switch. Depending on the kind of your keyboard, either a small clip or lever will be enough to dislodge the switch from its socket.
  5. Insert the New Switch: Meticulously position the replacement switch vertically next to the outlet and push it slightly down until you feel or hear a click or a noise, which means that it is in place.
  6. Replace the Keycap: Place carefully the new keycap against the switch stem and push the Keycap down firmly until the key is well seated.
  7. Test the New Key: Insert the keycap and then make sure to test the new key by pressing it a few times and confirm that everything is working just as you expected; the tactile feedback should be just right.
  8. Repeat as Necessary: To change multiple keys or switches, just do the same for each of them.

Tips for Maintaining a Hot Swappable Keyboard

To keep your hot swappable keyboard working perfectly over a long period of time, and deliver optimum performance, a couple of trivial maintenance guidelines are suggested.

  • Regular Cleaning: That will not stop the dust or dirt from accumulating, so you need to remove and clean them every month. Use a bristled brush with a soft texture or air compressed to help free up all the pieces that should be lifted from the keyboard.
  • Lubrication: Take a note of the nature of the switch type and manufacturer’s measured recommendations to lubricate the switches at periodic intervals so as to guarantee smooth and convenient switch operation.
  • Proper Storage: Keep your hot swappable keyboard stored in a dry, cool, place, not directly exposed to the sunlight or the moisture when it is not being used.
  • Careful Handling: Treat your switchable keyboard gently as the following actions like dropping, liquid spilling, and applying excessive force during key removal or replacement shall not be encouraged and must be avoided.
  • Software Updates: Be sure to run a firmware controlling state and a check for updates from the vendor regularly because it will help you to get the best performance and compatibility.
  • Keycap and Switch Rotation: Being mindful about in order to achieve a more even wear and service longer of the keyboard structures, you may use different keys or switches from time to time.

Customization Options for Hot Swappable Keyboards

It is one of the most interesting features of hot swappable keyboards is the fact that there are a variety of customization options available.

  • Keycap Customization: Some boards are hot swappable, which allows user to make a quick swap of keycaps and try different types of designs, materials, and profiles.
  • Switch Swapping: The swapping of key switches is truly a unique feature of the hot swap keyboards. By introducing various switch types like linear, tactile, or clicky you will be able to choose the best combination of responsiveness, feedback, and acoustics.
  • RGB Lighting and Effects: Many of the present hot swappable keyboards feature RBG backlighting, enabling you to set up the patterns and colors of your choice and matching them to your gaming gear or office design.
  • Macro and Key Remapping: By use of specialized software or firmware, it is possible to reassign the keys, create custom macro commands, and even program the key combinations to achieve this, thus you will end up increasing your productivity and workflow.
  • Firmware Customization: Some hot-swappable keyboards are also able to offer firmware modifications, which gives advanced users the ability to change different parameters of the board’s functionality, such as key debounce settings, polling rates, or even create custom layouts and—layouts.
  • Custom Plates and Cases: The custom plate and case, which can be either 3D printed or machined based on one’s taste and comfort consideration, are also the exploration of many enthusiasts.

Nowadays, one of the most appreciated features of hot swappable keyboards is that it offers a high degree of personalization as there are too many customization options available, hence allowing users to come up with a personalized typing experience which is simply not available with conventional keyboards.

Hot Swappable Keyboard vs Mechanical Keyboard: Which One is Better?

In the ongoing dispute between hot swappable keyboard and traditional mechanical keyboards, both choices provide specific pros and different users will prefer their types befitting their needs over time. Let’s clarify it now:

Mechanical Keyboards

  • Tactility is deeply embedded in the minds of many gamers and the act of pressing a key and feeling the springy feedback is an essential part of the gaming experience.
  • The features are sometimes stronger and more stable; it’s a high-grade construction.
  • One may experience a lag in available customization options past the keycap change.
  • Soldering skill is a replacement of traditional switch changing which is a tradition.

Hot Swappable Keyboards

  • Provide easy key and switch replacement without soldering via built-in flashing and Hopper tools.
  • Presume of greater user customization by using keycaps, switches, and programmable devices.
  • Facilitate living for a long time with minimal effort and ease of carrying out repairs and changes to components.
  • The predicate cost the slightly higher at first because of the hot-swap mechanism.

To conclude, whether to go for a hot swappable membrane keyboard or a mechanical keyboard very much depends on the type of a user one is and the requirements he has.

A hot swappable keyboard may be a better alternative if you are concerned about highly customized key switches, the ability to maintain and upgrade the board with self-sourced flexibility, and future proofing your PC peripheral.

Nevertheless, if its the authentic experience you look after and you don’t require that much of flexibility with extra features, the traditional mechanical keyboard would be a less expensive choice for you.

It is noteworthy to mention that few manufacturers are already starting to bridge the gap by introducing mechanical keyboards with a hot-swap feature.

It is certainly an area where the technology is heading towards, for the extremely demanding users.

The Future of Hot Swappable Keyboards

While technology keeps on growing, the outlook of the hot swappable keyboards for tomorrow seems to be more promising.

The following are some of the developments and trends you should keep track of:

Increased Wireless Connectivity: Since Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6 are wireless technologies of the next generation, users are anticipating the arrival of hot-swappable keyboards with secure and low latency connection, therefore boosting the portability and usability.

Integration with Smart Devices: As digital networks become increasingly interconnected, hot swappable keyboards may function smoothly with smartphones, tablet, and other smart gadgets, hence, creating a possibility for cross-platform customization and control.

Advanced Ergonomic Designs: As more importance is put on ergonomics and user comfort, we can definitely expect more groundbreaking innovations that provide natural hand positioning, adjustable layouts, and advanced wrist support features.

Improved Software and Firmware: Manufacturers are likely to come up with improved software and firmware for hot swappable keyboards, thus providing even more powerful customization options, macro programming, and smooth integration with gaming software and productivity applications.

Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing: While environmental awareness is gaining traction, we can expect hot swappable keyboards manufactured with environmentally friendly materials and processes, consequently decreasing their environmental impact.

Hot-Swappable Keyboards for Gaming

For competitive gamers who want to triumph in their virtual conflicts, the hot-swappable keyboards have multiple benefits.

Responsive Switches: PC users have a plethora of switch types to choose from, including the linear switches for quick actuation, tactile switches for accurate feedback, or even clicky switches for an audible confirmation of each typing key. 

This degree of control over the process can translate to faster response times and enhanced gaming performance.

Programmable Macros: A number of gaming keyboards that are hot swappable featuring dedicated macro keys or software that empower the user to record a complex sequence of commands, thus giving them an upper hand in their preferred games. 

Compatibility with various gaming platforms, quick macro recording, and ease of use make these keyboards a must-have for all gamers.

RGB Backlighting and Effects: The immersive gaming environments frequently synonymous with hidden complex lighting schemes matched with hot swappable keyboards that are RGB enabled and whose light can be adjusted to match other peripherals, create a visually stunning and cohesive gaming environment. 

Personalized lighting effects are another feature that can be leveraged to create an enhanced gaming environment and make your setup look unique.

Durable Construction: Gaming sessions get intense sometimes and that is why hot swappable keyboards are designed to endure gameplay for hours. High-grade materials and rugged designs offer quality performance and long life under extreme working conditions.

Compact and Ergonomic Layouts: The keyboards with hot swappable switches are also available in compact tenkeyless layout as well as split ergonomic design for the users with somewhat small desk space or specific ergonomic preferences.

Thus, they will still have a comfortable and efficient gaming experience that is tailored to their needs.

Hot-swappable keyboards provide not only the customizable to the gaming experience for casual and professional players but also the performance-driven features that upgrade the gaming experience and the setups that are perfect.

How to Upgrade Your Existing Keyboard to a Hot Swappable Keyboard

If you are a proud owner of a mechanical keyboard but are looking for the ease and customization capability of hot swap model, no need to worry – there are methods to change your ordinary mechanical keyboard to a hot swappable configuration.

Option 1: Hot Swap Conversion Kits

A lot of the companies is capable of manufacturing hot swap conversion kits which are specifically created for the famous mechanical keyboard models.

These adapters often sport hot swap sockets or plates that can fit onto the PCB (printed circuit board) of your old keyboard and help to convert it into a hot swap capable one.

Option 2: Custom-Built Hot Swappable Keyboards

Short of a hand-made one, using the pre-built ones with hot swapping is an option for those who are rather frivolous about it.

Usually, the said components refer to a hot swappable PCB, case, plate, and switches that are properly assembled to follow certain manuals and instructions.

Option 3: Professional Modification Services

Alternatively, if you are not into old-fashioned DIY method or lack the skills of performing a DIY upgrade, there are service providers and individuals who do the professional keyboard modification.

Such services may turn your active mechanical keyboard in a hot swap switch enabled, guaranteeing a smooth and frustration-free change.

However, you may come across various options when trying to upgrade your regular keyboard to the hot swappable one, so it makes sense to experiment with the different possibilities before investing in a new keyboard.

Prior undertaking any upgrade procedure, careful study of compatibility criteria, seek specialist or experienced enthusiast advice and implement all instructions attentively for the successful and safe conversion process.

Conclusion: Is a Hot Swappable Keyboard Right for You?

Concluding from the hot swappable keyboards survey, the way we relate with these devices is certainly different. 

There is the community of gamers, programmers, writers, and accessibility enthusiasts who can build their keyboards customized to the needs and tastes of different kinds of users.

While this could be an option, it all depends on the hot swappable keyboard you want, along with your personal needs and preferences. 

In case you prefer an advanced personalized typing comfort, key-switch replacement, and a long-standing life of the keyboard over time, hot-swappable keyboards may perfectly fit your needs.

However, the mechanical keyboard offers a good typing feel and it is also fast and reliable even if you do not require to customize it a lot.

As far as the choice of brand is concerned, you must spare sufficient time to determine the requirements, research the reputable brands and models as well as take into account the factors like switch types, layout preferences and add on features like backlighting or wireless connectivity.

Mitesh Jadav, the brain behind, serving as the founder and technical writer.

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