To choose the best hot swappable keyboards you’ll want to find the model that fits your typing needs and aesthetic preferences. For those who prefer clicky switches with noticeable effort and great tactile feedback, a mechanical keyboard is definitely the way to go, and a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard gives you the extra freedom to hot-swap switches without having to solder anything. We recommend looking for a mechanical keyboard with great build quality and a solid, sturdy frame. Other than these basic qualities, the key features will depend on individual users’ needs. Some may look for lighting effects like RGB backlighting, while some enthusiasts demand a keyboard with fully programmable keys. You might also want a comfortable layout and ergonomic design.

After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a large array of products with different price tags and key features, we’ve found that the Drop CTRL is our top pick. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more about the best keyboards on the market.

Top 10 Best Hot Swappable Keyboards

 #1  Drop Ctrl Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This hot-swappable keyboard has great aesthetics and solid build quality, while its stock halo true switches offer a smooth, engaging typing experience and help boost typing speed thanks to their light preload and precise tactile feel.

Pros
  • Metal chassis for solid, steady typing
  • Per-key RGB lighting
  • Convenient yet space-saving 87-key layout
Cons
  • Some people may prefer a full-sized keyboard with a number pad
  • Not as easy to assign key functions as with some other mechanical keyboards

This mechanical hot-swappable gaming keyboard uses a compact yet convenient 87-key layout to save space while still offering arrow keys and a full set of F keys. It uses a solid built-in switch plate to minimize unwanted wobble, giving you a solid, precise typing experience. This version comes standard with halo true switches. For those who like to customize their keyboards, it’s compatible with Cherry MX and Kalih switches as well.

One of the best-looking keyboards out there, it has a minimalist, classic design without cheesy graphics or extraneous styling touches. It uses shine-through double shot PBT keycaps with easy-to-read legends and users can adjust the lighting for each key. Magnetic adjustable feet help add comfort for a more ergonomic typing experience. The best chiclet keyboard also features adjustable feet for typing comfort.

 #2  Keychron K6 Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This combination wired/ wireless hot-swappable mechanical keyboard stands out with its compact 65 percent form factor and a clean look, plus a high-quality metal frame, excellent battery life, and full Mac OS compatibility make this a great on-the-go keyboard for nearly any task imaginable.

Pros
  • Up to 72-hour battery life
  • N-key rollover in USB-C wired mode
  • Convenient yet space-saving 87-key layout
Cons
  • Lacks number pad
  • Limited key remapping ability

If you’re looking for the best wireless hot-swappable keyboard, this model is definitely worth considering. It offers a clean and classic design, ergonomic concave keys, and full Mac OS compatibility. It also feels great to type on, and its compact, 68-key layout saves desk space while preserving the arrow keys. The standard switches are Gateron browns, and swapping them out takes just 5 seconds or so, making it easy to go to linear switches or more clicky Blue switches depending on your preference.

The Keychron K6 hot-swappable keyboard connects via Bluetooth 5.1 or alternatively can be set up as a wired keyboard using the included USB-C cable. It also comes with gamer-friendly features like an N-key rollover in wired mode (or 6-key in Bluetooth) and programmable function keys. This is comparable to the best gaming keyboard that also offers full N-key rollover, 100% anti-ghosting, and true individual key RGB backlighting.

 #3  Epomaker SK61 Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: BEST SPLASH-RESISTANCE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This highly programmable compact 60 percent keyboard features a dust and water-resistant hot-swappable mainboard plus PBT keycaps for long-lasting durability.

Pros
  • Compact, space-saving 60% layout
  • Gateron optical switches standard
  • N-key rollover for gaming
Cons
  • Lacks number pad
  • Not as substantial-feeling as some mechanical keyboards

This enthusiast keyboard comes with hot-swappable switches and high-quality PBT keycaps with thermal sublimation printed letters. It’s also aesthetically pleasing with its compact design, RGB backlighting, and contrasting color keycaps that effectively mix form with function.

The stock switches are of the Gateron optical variety, which offers very fast input response and light finger effort. A different typing feel is just a hot-swap away, however, and you can use linear black or clicky blue switches instead if you prefer. The keyboard has internal flash memory and supports up to three user-defined profiles. It’s also compatible with Mac OS. Another model that is compatible across all major operating systems is the best quiet keyboard.

 #4  Drop Alt Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: BEST DURABILITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: This hot-swappable keyboard has a solid, high-quality feel thanks to its metal frame and secure built-in switch plate. A compact 67-key layout helps save desk space, while halo true switches offer a smooth, engaging typing experience and help boost typing speed with spring action and a light preload.

Pros
  • Space-saving compact layout
  • Fast, light touch Halo True switches
  • Per-key RGB backlighting
Cons
  • Some people may prefer a full-sized keyboard with number pad
  • Not fully compatible with Mac OS devices

This USB-C mechanical gaming keyboard uses a convenient 67-key layout to save space while maintaining all the essential functions. It uses high-profile shine-through double shot PBT keycaps that have nice-looking, classic legends. It also features RGB lighting with under lighting effects, and users can adjust the lighting for each key.

A lightweight but strong aluminum frame and magnetic detachable feet help add comfort and a feeling of stability for confident fast typing, great for the typist and dedicated gamer alike. Other notable features include full N-key rollover and anti-ghosting. Compare this with the best membrane keyboard that has robust anti-ghosting so you don’t miss any keystrokes.

 #5  Womier K87 Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: BEST LIGHTING EFFECTS

WHY WE LIKE IT: With its translucent shine-through glazed top panel, this hot-swappable tenkeyless keyboard is great for gamers and keyboard enthusiasts looking for a unique keyboard that stands out visually and also performs well.

Pros
  • Onboard flash memory saves settings
  • Gateron hot-swap switches
  • 16 different lighting effects modes
Cons
  • Not the most rugged keyboard on the market
  • Some may lament the absence of a number pad

This wired, hot-swappable mechanical gaming keyboard has a great tactile feel along with a unique visual presence thanks to its unique translucent glazed construction and programmable lighting effects. It uses a compact 87-key layout and connects via a detachable USB-C cable. You’ll have to look elsewhere, however, if you’re looking for a wireless keyboard or a number pad.

The hot-swappable switches are a great bonus for keyboard and typing cognoscenti, allowing you to swap in your choice of mechanical switch. Gateron quiet switches are standard. This cool-looking keyboard is also relatively portable thanks to its detachable USB cable. Another portable option is the best wireless keyboard that has a minimalistic look and offers USB-C wired or Bluetooth wireless keyboard functionality.

 #6  Glorious GMMK TKL Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: BEST CUSTOMIZABLE DESIGN

WHY WE LIKE IT: This tenkeyless mechanical keyboard comes with a switch puller tool and keycap puller tool, plus the flexibility to accept Cherry, Gateron, or Kalih brand mechanical switches, making keyboard customization easier than ever.

Pros
  • Slim and minimalist form factor
  • Durable brushed aluminum top plate
  • Customizable RGB backlit keys
Cons
  • No wireless option
  • Not splash-proof

If you enjoy customizing your keyboards and want to try out different switch types, or mix and match switch types on the same keyboard, this Gmmk TKL hot-swappable keyboard makes it easier than ever to do so. It even comes with a switch puller tool and a keycap puller tool. With the gamer and fast typist in mind, this modular mechanical keyboard also features anti-ghosting technology and an N-key rollover so you don’t miss any clicks. Its convenient 87-key layout offers a full set of function keys and maintains a compact form. It offers programmable RGB lighting with up to 16.8 million colors and connects via a USB-C cable. Compare this to the true individual key RGB backlighting on the best keyboard for programming.

 #7  GK61 Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: BEST QUIETNESS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This mechanical keyboard offers a fast key response along with low noise thanks to its optical switches. It also has programmable RGB lighting with the ability to save up to three user profiles.

Pros
  • 100 million keypress durability rating
  • RGB backlighting with selectable dynamic effects
  • Gateron optical brown switches with fast, short-travel actuation
Cons
  • Standard switches lack the “clicky” feedback of a pure mechanical switch
  • Lacks number pad and separate function keys

Designed for both gaming and productivity, this versatile hot-swappable keyboard comes stock with very fast Gateron Optical Brown switches. Users can swap them out with different optical switches if desired, though the board isn’t compatible with traditional mechanical switches. Like many eSports and gaming keyboards, it also has programmable RGB backlighting with dynamic effects.

With built-in memory, this keyboard allows for up to three user profiles, making it easy to save settings and adjust the backlighting. It has anti-ghosting and supports extensive macro recording.100% anti-ghosting is also a feature in the best keyboard for editing, which ensures you don’t miss any inputs when hitting multiple keys at once.

 #8  Epomaker SK71 Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: BEST NUMERIC KEYPAD

WHY WE LIKE IT: This keyboard has a rather unique layout that includes a full number pad and arrow keys. Hot-swappable optical switches provide fast input response and a splash-resistant design adds some durability.

Pros
  • Splash-resistant mainboard for reliability
  • Oil-proof PBT keycaps
  • N-key rollover and anti-ghosting features
Cons
  • Crowded layout can be inconvenient
  • Only compatible with optical switches

This keyboard stands out for its unconventional 71-key layout. It retains a full numeric keypad and arrow keys, but dispenses with F keys, unlike many other tenkeyless keyboards. This is great for those who use the number pad often, but it does render some common commands and punctuation marks less convenient. Of interest to designers, multimedia users, this keyboard has programmable backlighting with different modes.

This keyboard comes with Gateron Optical Brown switches and is hot-swappable for other optical switches. While some might prefer a more traditional Tenkeyless design, some find that having a number pad really boosts productivity. Solid battery life is also important in boosting productivity, especially while using the best keyboard for designers that have the ability to seamlessly cross over among multiple devices.

 #9  RK Royal Kludge 87G Hot Swappable Keyboard

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: This hot-swappable keyboard has the option of wireless 2.4 GHz or a wired USB connection and is a great value at its price point, providing features like programmable macros and N-key rollover.

Pros
  • Dust-resistant and water-resistant for durability
  • 87-key layout with function keys
  • RGB backlight with easy manual adjustments
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with name-brand switches
  • Switch puller tool not included

This versatile mechanical keyboard provides the option of connecting wirelessly with a 2.4 GHz USB receiver dongle or via the included detachable USB cable. It has a convenient tenkeyless 87-key design that retains a full 12 F keys. It also supports gamer-friendly N-key rollover and lets users program macro commands. It has RGB lighting with 8 programmable modes.

It’s compatible with most operating systems and comes stock with tactile brown switches and ABS plastic double-shot keycaps, providing a responsive and pleasant typing feel. The battery isn’t as large as on some wireless mechanical keyboards, but it does have a power-saving mode. Water and dust resistance help make it durable. The best mechanical keyboards for typing are also durable, with a well-built frame and high-quality switches.

 #10  Velocifire M2 Ergonomic Keyboard

Award: BEST VERSATILITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: This hot-swappable keyboard comes with an ergonomic concave design and a compact 60% form factor, plus comfortable high profile keys that make it great for typing productivity as well as gaming. It also has the option of connecting via Bluetooth or USB-C.

Pros
  • Mac and Windows compatible
  • Comes with responsive Gateron Red switches
  • Detachable USB-C cable for portability
Cons
  • Lacks function keys
  • Not as easy to customize lighting and macro commands

This compact keyboard stands out for its broad OS compatibility, easy Bluetooth wireless setup, and comfortable, ergonomic design. A concave frame and dished high-profile keycaps make for a more comfortable typing experience than the typical low-profile Bluetooth keyboard provides. With its small size and detachable USB-C cable, this is one of the more portable mechanical keyboards.

The Gateron red switch is standard, offering plenty of feedback. It’s also compatible with popular Cherry MX and other brand mechanical switches. RGB backlighting adds to the already handsome keyboard’s visual appeal. Just like the visually pleasing lights on the best backlit keyboard.

How We Decided

In order to choose the best hot-swappable keyboards, we looked for models with great typing performance and outstanding build quality. We only considered keyboards that enabled users to quickly hot-swap switches without soldering. A good keycap design was also a must. We looked for keyboards with good durability and stability, preferring those with built-in switch plates and metal frames. Spill and dust resistance was considered a useful bonus.

Aesthetics can be a factor as well when choosing the right hot swappable keyboard kit, and so we sought keyboards with classic designs and pleasing layouts. RGB backlighting, while not required, earned extra points, s did smudge-proof dye-sub printed keycaps. We included both full-size keyboards and compact keyboards, with extra points awarded to the best hot swappable keyboard 60 percent and 75 percent sizes in the interest of saving desk space.

We looked for a mix of wired and wireless keyboards, and we considered conveniences like a detachable USB-C cable a useful bonus as well. We took into account compatibility and ease of setup, preferring plug-and-play keyboards that functioned with Windows, Mac, Chrome, and Linux OS.

Best Hot Swappable Keyboards Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Switch Type
    Not all hot-swappable keyboards offer compatibility with the same switch type. In general, a given hot-swappable keyboard can accept either fully mechanical switches such as Cherry MX, Kalih, or Gateron, or else optical switches. If you prefer keyboards with a lighter effort and quieter actuation, you might want to go with the “silent” non-contact optical switches. Contact switches on the other hand tend to offer more tactile feedback and “bounce” as well as a more traditional clicky sound.
  2. Key Remapping
    Especially useful for keyboards that double as work and gaming devices, this feature lets you assign different functions to some keys; many hot-swappable mechanical gaming keyboards have fully programmable keysets, and most offer at least the option of assigning function keys and setting macro shortcuts.
  3. Layout
    If you work on spreadsheets or do a lot of number crunching you may want a full-size keyboard with a numeric keypad. A smaller compact model such as a 60 percent keyboard or tenkeyless design, on the other hand, can save desk space and be nearly as easy to use. Some people also prefer the minimalist aesthetic of a symmetrical compact keyboard.

Best Hot Swappable Keyboards Buyer's Guide

What keyboards are hot swappable?

Any keyboard that has a hot-swappable PCB and switch plate will allow you to hot-swap switches without soldering. Some models even include switch puller and keycap puller tools in case you don’t already own them, so you can work more quickly.

Is a hot swappable keyboard worth it?

When it comes to mechanical keyboards, a hot-swappable version offers some unique benefits; you can change out the switches for different needs, such as using quiet switches when working in a low noise environment, or you can even mix and match different switch types for different keys.

Are all keyboard switches hot swappable?

In general, a hot-swappable keyboard is limited to swapping between compatible switch types. This usually means the mainboard is set up to run either contact or non-contact switches. Thus, if a hot-swappable keyboard comes with optical switches, you can change those out for different optical switches but not for spring-based contact switches such as Cherry MX Blues.

Are Ducky keyboards hot swappable?

While the popular Ducky One 2 Mini keyboard has soldered-on switches and is not hot-swappable, there are guides available online if you’re looking to change out the switches. Ducky keyboards do allow easy replacement of keycaps though.

Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

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