Mechanical keyboards come in a variety of form factors, but there's a section of this market dedicated to a vibrant modding scene. Why use the very same keyboard like everyone else when you could buy a starter kit and personalize your own keyboard? I've rounded up some of the best custom mechanical keyboards out there.
There's so much to appreciate with the Keychron Q3. While it may be the company's more affordable custom mechanical keyboard, there are some killer features here, including an all-aluminum build, gasket mounting, plenty of sound dampening, and an excellent choice of Gateron G Pro switches and PBT keycaps. This is one of the best value options here.
The Drop CTRL has been around for years, and Drop has yet to give it a refresh, but it really doesn't need one (other than support for 5-pin switches). If you can overlook that slight niggle, this is a fantastic custom mechanical keyboard, and the price reflects that fact. You've got QMK support, two USB-C ports, and an all-aluminum design, but there's no gasket mounting.
For CAM fans
Should you already be using NZXT CAM to control your AIO liquid cooler, smart RGB lighting, and more, the NZXT Function may be just what you require. Some may find it a little lacking that it doesn't support QMK and you have to go through CAM, but others will find this a blessing to use one software for everything. It also helps that this is an extremely good first keyboard from NZXT.
If you're wanting something a little different, give the MelGeek Mojo68 a look with its transparent top case design. You've got the choice of wireless or wired connections, QMK support, advanced features like gasket mounting, and more. Not only does this thing look insane, but it's also an excellent starter kit for anyone looking to customize their keyboard.
We're now entering enthusiast territory. The KBD75 V3.1 is a special custom mechanical keyboard since you can literally build it from scratch to your own strict specifications. This makes it possible to purchase your own lubricant, dampeners, tape, and other parts to make a one-of-a-kind typing experience. Just make sure you're ready for the cost to balloon (and pick up some soldering equipment if you're going full barebones).
Small and mighty
Something a little smaller would be the KPRepublic DNA65. This custom keyboard has a lot going for it, including support for 5-pin switches, a 65% layout, and a decent price. It's a barebones kit, requiring switches and keycaps to be purchased afterward, but the DNA65 is a decent keyboard that will see you typing and gaming away with some underglow RGB lighting.
What is the best custom mechanical keyboard?
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There's one major difference between your average best gaming keyboard and the best custom mechanical keyboard, and that's the ability to customize it to your liking. This could be hot-swapping switches or adding additional dampening and such inside the keyboard itself.
If you've seen keyboards out there with fancy keycaps and other custom bits and pieces, it's more than likely the owner used a kit like the ones we've recommended here in this collection. If you're new to the modding scene and just want a good value starter kit to get you going, the Keychron Q3 is a great choice, especially if you buy it preassembled.
This isn't the only great custom mechanical keyboard around, however, and our other picks are also worth considering. The Drop CTRL is another excellent keyboard that's a little old now, but it's still an amazing foundation. The MelGeek Mojo68 is also an interesting one since it's transparent and has wireless capabilities. There are just so many to choose from!
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.