We recently had a self-confessed mechanical keyboard obsessive introduce us to the world of custom keysets, fancy switches and soldering your own board. The best keyboards around don't stop at our list of best gaming keyboards (opens in new tab). In fact, if you're serious about the hobby, that's just where it starts. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a great keyboard, but if you want it to be perfect and just for you, or if you want multiple keyboards for multiple purposes, you can end up spending a lot of money. But you can also end up with a one-of-a-kind keyboard that you love.
We fed our own custom keyboard lust by putting together a gallery of some of the best boards we've seen online. Some of them are so good they might inspire you to start customizing, too.(opens in new tab)
We'll start off with a custom board from a designer featured in the aforementioned keyboard article, MiTo. As you can probably tell, this one is designed with Counter Strike: Global Offensive in mind, and there are multiple color schemes to be found on the keyboard's MassDrop page (opens in new tab).
While we're on the subject of MiTo, here's another one of his custom keysets, entitled Canvas (opens in new tab). An XDA profile keycap set for MX stem mechanical keyboards. Inspired by the design of 90s Apple keyboards.
The first really out there keyboard on the list is this vertical beauty which was designed because GeekHack forum user yesguchi (opens in new tab) thought it might ease his wrist ache problems.(opens in new tab)
The next keyboard is from Reddit user EnigmaSA (opens in new tab), which looks great mounted on a wooden board. It's made all the more impressive by the fact it's their first attempt at a custom keyboard.(opens in new tab)
This keyboard from Reddit user Grokodaemon (opens in new tab) entitled Ono-Sendai Matrix 83 has a custom layout and a mixture of various switches. The numpad is switched over to the left, and it has Overcast DSA keycaps.(opens in new tab)
This set of beauties is called the Carbon collection, and is being shown off here by techmattr on Reddit (opens in new tab). A selection of sizes and keycaps, all with the same orange and gray color scheme.(opens in new tab)
This piece from cant_remember_old on Reddit (opens in new tab) combines their love of Super Smash Bros. and mechanical keyboards. It's made out of an old ASCII GameCube controller, and both the controller and the keyboard work.(opens in new tab)
Reddit user Rosmajoor's (opens in new tab) keyboard is simple, yet beautiful. Most of the keys are completely blank on top, with the lettering on the sides, while the escape and WASD keys are strikingly orange.
This stylish looking Atreus keyboard (opens in new tab), which are based around the shape of the human hand rather than having the standard keyboard layout, has a simple yet effective custom color scheme. It was found on a list of 100 keyboards (opens in new tab) on the Mechanical Keyboards Subreddit.(opens in new tab)
Reddit user violetviceroy (opens in new tab) has a lovely pastel colored rainbow keyboard which almost looks... tasty.(opens in new tab)
Reddit user DannyDaKid (opens in new tab) has shown off his custom Norbauer keyboard (opens in new tab), with replacements like "Rescan" for Backspace, and "Fwd" and "Aft" for up and down. It's got a great looking color scheme too.(opens in new tab)
This next keyboard has custom keycaps for flight controls, and it's also mounted on a nice looking black and white board. It's another one from DannyDaKid on Reddit (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
GeekHack forum user Clemence (opens in new tab) really likes The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and has made custom kits as an homage. Of course Escape is the Don't Panic key.(opens in new tab)
Mechanical keyboards can be very expensive, but they don't often look as expensive as this one which combines a number of parts from Massdrop like the KBC Poker II keyboard (opens in new tab) and the Zinc Gold Tone 37 keyset (opens in new tab).(opens in new tab)
This is a rather interesting keyboard from Reddit user Noobas4urus. It doesn't have a numpad, but some of the keys on the main board have been replaced to make way for 1-3. Add in the bright colors and the nice mahogany spacebar, and you've got an exciting looking keyboard.(opens in new tab)
This keyboard is from GeekHack forum user kurplop (opens in new tab), and it's entitled Planet 6. It's one of the strangest layouts on the list, and the central piece is very reminiscent of HAL 9000.(opens in new tab)
Another popular choice from the GeekHack forum (opens in new tab), this all black keyboard is from Ghostjuggernaut, and is named Deathkish. You'll probably have to be able to type without looking at the keyboard to make the most out of this one.