NZXT Function Key Switch and Keycap Compatibility

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Have you purchased a barebones NZXT Function Mechanical Keyboard and are wondering which switches you can use to get your keyboard up and running?  Maybe you've got a completed keyboard, but you're looking to branch out and try a different typing experience.

Whichever the case, this guide will give you all the information you should need in order to pick out the right components for your keyboard build.

What Mechanical Switches are compatible with my NZXT Function Keyboard?


Depending on the model of your keyboard, you'll find that your keyboard will use either Mechanical or Optical switches.  For switch compatibility, please see the guides linked below:

What Keycaps are compatible with my NZXT Function Keyboard?

Keycaps will for many people be the most important part when building or modifying your keyboard.  Keycaps come in many shapes, sizes, and materials that can make choosing the right caps a daunting task or outright overwhelming for many people.  Thankfully, we can easily break down each of these steps:

PBT or ABS Keycaps, which should I choose?  What about other materials?

The two most common materials for keycaps will be ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or PBT (Polybutylene terephthalate).  While there are other materials such as POM (Polyoxymethylene) aka Acetal or even more uncommon materials such as metal, ceramic, or wood, these are the two most common materials that you will see.  The key differences between these materials can be seen in the chart below:

Usually less expensive Usually more expensive
Shiny or Glossy finish Matte finish
Smooth texture Rough texture
Usually thinner walls Thicker Walls
More muted typing sound Deeper typing sound
More flexible material Stiffer, more brittle material
May wear faster over time May wear slower over time


It is worth noting that the above is based on average keycaps for each material.  You may find some ABS keycaps that are more expensive than a similar PBT set, or even a PBT set that may wear faster than a comparable ABS set.

Retail NZXT keyboards will include double-shot ABS keycaps that allow for RGB backlighting to shine through, while Custom NZXT keyboards will include dye-sublimation PBT keycaps without shine-through.

What about "double-shot" keycaps?

Most keycaps will fall into one of two categories:  Dye Sublimation ("dye sub") and Double-Shot injection.

Dye Sublimation is a process where ink is heated to the surface of the key, directly dying the plastic of the key to print a clean, readable legend on the key.

Double-shot injection however is a process where a key is made from two or more layers of plastic being injected in stages to keycap mold.  This process results in the legend of the key being its own physical layer within the key, and tends to result in a far more durable legend when compared to other types of keycaps and even allows for effects such as easily allowing for backlighting to shine through the keycaps or even allow hybrid appearances such as pudding or holo keycaps that allow large sections of the keycap to glow.

What are keycap profiles?  Should I go with Cherry, OEM, XDA, etc.?

A keycap profile is the physical shape of the keycap itself.  The profile of your keycap will likely have the most impactful in changing your typing experience.  Depending on the profile, you'll notice a change in the height, angle, and surface of the keycap itself.  Below is a diagram of a few of the most common keycap profiles:


Of the profiles shown above, all retail and custom NZXT Function keyboards will include OEM profile keycaps which feature a greater slant on the top and bottom rows when compared to other popular profile such as Cherry, XDA, and DSA.  It is worth noting that there are many, many other profiles not shown above so it is recommended to try out a few different sets to find what works best for you.

It is worth noting however, that the Cherry profile of switches are designed with South Facing switches (top LED section facing the bottom of the keyboard) in mind.  All NZXT Function Keyboards include North Facing sockets for switch installation, so you may encounter situations with Cherry keycaps where the switch itself will collide with the keycap, rather than allowing for a true bottom out of the switch.

Summary:  Which is the best keyboard build for me?

Hopefully the above guide was able to help you in picking out what is best for your personal preferences, however that itself is the key.  There is no single "right answer" for what is best for you, rather picking the best keyboard will come down to your own personal preferences and tastes which can change over time as you come to experience new things.  The great thing about custom mechanical keyboards is the ability to freely experiment with new switches, keycaps, materials, etc. until you find what fits you just right.

If you are looking for instructions on how to build or customize your keyboard, go ahead and check out the guide linked below:

NZXT Support - Building your NZXT Function Keyboard


Do you have any questions not covered by this guide or need further assistance?  Please feel free to reach out to our Customer Support team and one of our friendly support agents will be there to assist you.

Are you looking to keep up on all things NZXT?  Go ahead and join the Official NZXT Community Discord to keep up to date on our latest products, upcoming sales, and join in on discussions on everything from PC hardware to gaming.

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