Razer's cheap keycap customization kits are a gateway to an expensive hobby

Razer custom keycap set
(Image credit: Razer)

Anyone who's delved into the depths of mechanical keyboard modding knows that it's by no means a cheap hobby. Even the most affordable kits can cost hundreds of dollars, and that's not even counting the additional tools and cleaning supplies required. Those who want to build the best gaming keyboard possible have limited options if they're working with a smaller budget. 

However, the easiest way to put your own stamp on your keyboard is with a nice new set of keycaps. Last month, Razer entered the custom space with a new selection of kits and wrist rests designed to allow you to personalize your deck without having to break it down to the PCB. We've seen replacement keycaps on sale from Razer before, but the new bundles also include coiled cables and feature Phantom caps as well. 

This is only very light touch customization, essentially putting a new skin on your existing keyboard. It doesn't have to be a Razer keyboard; we outfitted some Cherry stemmed HyperX and Corsair keyboards as well. If you're yet to get bitten by that mechanical bug though, such personalization scratches an itch that you might not have even known was there.

While you're only swapping out the top part of your keyboard, digging around and experimenting with your own designs is a gateway to diving even deeper into your deck. Tinkering with your toys is undeniably exciting, especially if you're creating something new at the same time. 

These keycap sets only cost around $30, but the mechanical keyboard hobby is notoriously moreish, and even we felt a yearning to whip out the screwdriver while playing with new keycap combinations. Razer likely knows this as well, which bodes particularly well for the future of the best Razer keyboards.

Razer keycaps

(Image credit: Razer)

Today, you need a lot of money and a lot of time to get into the keyboard modification game. Not everyone has the capacity to sit down and build the deck of their dreams. Hotswappable decks and custom kits still cost a pretty penny. However, with Razer's latest focus on affordability in its $29.99 sets (some keycap sets cost well over $200), the sun might just come out tomorrow.

Whether or not we finally get a hotswappable Razer keyboard remains to be seen. At the moment, all your customizations are very surface level with no way to break in and swap out your switches (without a solder and a broken warranty). 

However, as the technology to produce simple modular keyboards progresses, it's likely we'll start seeing more and more gaming keyboards hitting the market with open PCB. Razer might simply be extending its product range here, or we could be scratching the surface of a new era of affordable customization. 

If you're after more equipment, check out the best Razer mouse options on the market right now. Or, take a look at the best gaming laptops and best gaming PCs if you're looking to fully revamp your setup. 

Tabitha Baker
Managing Editor - Hardware

Managing Editor of Hardware at GamesRadar+, I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, gaming laptops (and the keyboards and mice that come with them), and tracking everything that suggests VR is about to take over our lives.