Why are mechanical keyboards so expensive? In contrast to regular keyboards, mechanical keyboards are expensive. This is due to high manufacturing costs and highly competitive market demand.
Moreover, custom keyboards are more expensive than regular and mechanical keyboards because of the specialized keycaps and switches.
Let us explore further!
- 1 Why Are Mechanical Keyboards So Expensive?
- 2 How Custom Features Are Affecting the Price?
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Conclusion
Why Are Mechanical Keyboards So Expensive?
Mechanical keyboards are expensive because they provide durability and efficiency but also offer more parts and mechanisms not available in a standard keyboard, like components, custom switches, gaskets, plates, PCBs, and high quality. But, amidst the value addition, people tend to be surprised at the cost of mechanical keyboards.
Mechanical keyboards are an all-time favorite when it comes to gaming. As gamers overuse their keyboards, they require speedy replacements; thus, creating demand for the keyboard. Besides gaming, both internal and external components of high quality include gaskets and plates. These additions dramatically impact the final price. Now, let’s review some of the components of such keyboards.
– Custom Switches
During the typing process on the keyboard, look and feel greatly matter. The transfer of keystrokes provides a whole new experience as such keyboards have varying traits from the sound of the keys to the final output; experience. However, to ensure such an environment, these components undergo extreme quality checks and promise rich aesthetics along with high performance.
It’s made commonly by using rubber, gaskets protect against minor spills. Additionally, gaskets provide protection to their internal components, especially from water, dust, or any other liquid.
Their placement is reserved between the top and bottom case for maximum efficiency. Due to such a distinct offering, gaskets support the rising price of the keyboard.
While protecting the PCB from harm, plates promise accuracy and consistency. Usually, the plates come in plastic, brass, carbon, steel, etc. Additionally, the plates also support the alignment of the switches. Be mindful that the quality of the plates’ material depends on the model of the keyboard as well.
– Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
As mentioned earlier about PCB, the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) consists of resistors, diodes, and circuits. While standard colors are available, PCB circuits also come in RGB lighting. By using keystroke conversion, PCB sends electrical signals to the computer system. Furthermore, PCB has a USB port for data sharing and charging purposes, as well as a port (dongle) if the PCB is wireless.
– Keyboard Stabilizers
Mechanical-keyboards promise consistency by limiting vibrating and any form of wobbling. It also ensures uniform keystrokes for many keys, such as backspace, enter, shift, and so on.
A lot of research from different brands shows that companies invest in quality mechanical keyboards for their day-to-day operations. One of the reasons is that these keyboards enhance typing efficiency, helping one to write more in a short period of time.
The manufacturing of mechanical keyboards is carried out by meticulous engineers who use complex processes to attain accuracy. These experts supervise skilled labor who assemble the keys by hand through a process of molding the keys in order to elongate shelf life. These specialized keyboards are not readily available for manufacturing due to limited demands. Thus, no large-scale production is feasible.
Moreover, the additional cost of skilled labor in large amounts to cater for the production further drives the cost towards the higher spectrum.
Different brands design custom keyboards in a way that each key on the keyboard has its switch mounted. This improves the quality of the pressure in which the key is pressed when typing at a rapid pace. Regular keyboards do not offer these quality standards and last for a shorter period. Moreover, it is easy to replace broken parts or keys in custom keyboards.
The high-quality standards, better build structure, and more reliable parts add to the cost of custom keyboards. The lifespan of custom keyboard switches is exceptionally long. The switch can bear up to millions of keystrokes before it gets broken or causes errors, which is entirely opposite to the lifespan of regular keyboards.
Custom keyboards have a durability of up to 10 years. However, the numbers can increase depending on how frequently the keyboard is used. The durability factor measures how many keystrokes a particular custom keyboard can bear over its lifespan.
Mechanical keyboards are usually used for gaming, where the keystroking factor is higher than typing. Due to this, manufacturers pay special attention to ensuring the excellent quality of these keyboards. Mechanical keyboards are expensive because manufacturers maintain the quality of the keyboard by using expensive products and passing them through different beta tests to ensure the quality remains the same.
– Human Resource
Another primary reason behind the expensive mechanical switches or keyboards is the extensive workforce. These keyboards are mainly used for high-end purposes and it takes great responsibility to focus on the production as they are assembled manually, by hand.
Since the process is manual, a large workforce is required to handle the production units. Supply-chain and distribution factors also play an essential role in the increased overall pricing. The warehousing and distribution of these units are also handled with care since they are much more sensitive than ordinary keyboards.
In the manufacturing of these keyboards, there is a need for a large team to manage sales and marketing campaigns. Since most marketing strategies include the setup of distribution units, companies hire in-house sales teams to get the sales running. After the product comes into the spotlight, the mechanical keyboard cost increases.
– Ease-to-Use for Everyone
Custom keyboards are generally easy to use and provide a great user experience. Product designers pay close attention to every detail to ensure they make it simple to use. The comfortable and quick response from buttons and switches make it easy for users to enjoy gaming for long hours. The strength of custom keyboards is the sensation it provides to the user.
Custom keyboards’ response rate is higher than standard ones, which are made with high-quality internal and external materials. This makes keyboards-cost more than the normal ones. Moreover, most keyboard brands produce various switches for every type of keyboard to give users a variety of options to choose from. It is easy to find switches that fit perfectly on that keyboard model.
– Research And Development Cost
Another reason why mechanical keyboards cost a lot is that brands spend heavily on the research and development department of custom keyboards to ensure they meet the needs of every type of customer. They utilize the expertise of highly qualified engineers and research analysts to measure the accuracy and precision of these keyboards.
Furthermore, these companies analyze the outputs of the previously launched products to meet the users’ requirements. Multiple brands have dedicated research centers that spend a significant budget to keep up with every technological advancement.
– Counterfeit Products
There are different counterfeit custom keyboards available in the market. These products generally attract the most price-conscious user base since they are available at extremely low pricing. For this reason, legitimate brands spend heavily to counter plagiarized products.
All the legit brands spend heavily on handling all the legal matters to protect their patented products. They also have legal teams to tackle these situations adequately. Additionally, the brands increase their prices to cover the revenue loss, downtime, and replacement cost. This counterfeit product production limits brands’ production for some time, which results in higher prices of the keyboards.
How Custom Features Are Affecting the Price?
Custom keyboards offer a variety of features to the users. They are an extremely feature-rich product for gamers, typists, or any other type of user who frequently uses mechanical keyboards. Due to this reason, the prices of the keyboards have increased. These keyboards are more resistant to wear and tear. Given below are some of the premium features of custom/mechanical keyboards.
– Detachable Power Cable
Custom keyboards use a detachable USB cable that lasts longer than standard keyboards. If a detachable cable gets damaged, it is easy to get a new one at a relatively low price.
On the other hand, standard keyboards use non-detachable power cables that last for a short time. Additionally, once the cables are damaged, the entire keyboard must be replaced.
– Splash Resistant
The splash-resistant feature protects the vulnerable parts of the keyboard from water damage and protects the keyboard from water entering the circuits. It also avoids getting water on the PCB segment, which is the most sensitive component of the device.
– Reliable Keyboard Case
A reliable keyboard case serves the purpose of protecting the internal components of the keyboards. It also has an impact on the in-hand feel of the product.
An aluminum keyboard case is a better option than a plastic case. Moreover, a plastic case can withstand a lot of hits and bumps on the keys while playing. Similarly, the aluminum case helps in protecting the keyboard from any significant hits or scratches. Therefore, these products protect the keyboard and enhance the gaming experience.
– PBT Keycaps
Keycaps quality is another major factor that makes a custom keyboard quite durable but expensive as well. PBT keycaps come with the characteristics of shiny and more resilient ABS plastics.
Even after rough usage, it maintains its look and unique design for a longer time. PBT keycaps are comparatively more expensive due to their reliability and characteristics – increasing the mechanical keyboards’ overall pricing.
– RGB Lighting
Most custom keyboards come with built-in RGB lighting, giving users a more enhancing look. RGB backlighting gives many users a sense of joy, excitement, and enjoyment.
It also requires more parts to be soldered on PCB, which results in the high pricing of the custom keyboards.
The quick response rate depends on the architecture of the switches, which allows getting an immediate response. Custom keyboards send signals to the internal circuit board when a key is pressed. They make this possible with quality internal units and efficient circuit wires.
Also, custom keyboards offer a better gaming experience due to the fast response time and customization features. They are incredibly reliable, and the hands remain comfortable and satisfied while using this keyboard because of its simple design, aesthetic looks and quality.
1. Are Custom Keyboards Worth the Money?
Yes, custom keyboards are worth purchasing because they give a seamless keyboard-using experience. Custom keyboards offer excellent quality and last longer than ordinary keyboards.
2. Do Mechanical Keyboards Have High-quality Mechanisms?
Yes, mechanical keyboards have a high-quality mechanism. Moreover, they have a solid form factor that adds reliability to the keyboard. On average, the lifespan of a custom keyboard is about ten to fifteen years, which is incredible.
3. How Does a Custom Keyboard Provide More Value Than Standard Keyboards?
A custom key provides more value than a standard keyboard by its features and lifespan. Mechanical keyboards have a longer lifespan compared to other standard keyboards. Additionally, they are excellent gaming keyboards as well.
After reading this article, you will have detailed information on mechanical keyboards and why they are so costly.
Here is a quick recap of what we learned above:
- There are three main types of mechanical keyboards: Tactile, Linear, and Clicky.
- Due to high manufacturing costs and beta tests, these keyboards have high prices.
- Gamers and typists are recommended to use mechanical keyboards since they are the most suitable option.
Therefore, now you can make a clear decision on whether to buy a mechanical keyboard or not since your queries are answered in this guide.