Pause for a moment before reading any further. If you’ve never tried a mechanical keyboard before, maybe never even heard of one, consider whether it’s worth peeking behind the curtain. There’s nothing wrong with using a normal keyboard, some mass produced wireless Microsoft or Logitech product, in the same way that there’s nothing wrong with driving a Ford Fiesta. It does what you want, it gets the job done, it’s generally reliable… that’s everything right?
Anyone who uses a mechanical keyboard knows that the answer is no, that is not everything. Not even close. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that can’t be appreciated until you know it’s there. This guide is intended to help break that knowledge barrier – to serve as a complete introduction to mechanical keyboards and cover everything from the basics of what a mechanical switch actually is to different keycap plastics to the top brands on the market right now. It’s not intended to be digested in one sitting. It won’t answer all of your questions. But after a lot of work and numerous revisions it’s become a foundational and kickass reference that will help you navigate a range of topics and new jargon to help you make more informed decisions.
Ducky One TKL Review
Ducky is hands down the most recommended brand in the mechanical keyboard niche and the Ducky One TKL is the most recommended board period. It sports a clean, minimalistic design, comes in a variety of color and switch options, PBT double-shot keycaps, and best of all is priced appropriately. Newer models have cleaned up some of the switch and quality issues that were a problem in the past. I finally got my hands on one and I’ll nitpick where I can but spoiler… it’s a good keyboard and this isn’t going to be a bad review.
iKBC F87 RGB Review
iKBC hangs right behind Ducky and Leopold as a recommended, entry-level brand that offers good functionality and quality. They make a bunch of great boards in the TKL and full-size range. iKBC is a subsidiary of Vortex and currently makes all of their boards above 60%. The iKBC F87 is very similar to Ducky TKLs in terms of quality and price. It’s hard to go wrong with either but there are some small differences for the F87 worth noting: a non-detachable cable, switch casing, keycap labeling, and available switch types. And if backlighting is important to you, the F87 RGB costs $40 less than an equivalent Ducky TKL RGB.