The GMK brand is frequently mentioned in endless topics among avid fans of mechanical keyboards.

Mechanica keyboard enthusiasts often praise GMK for the outstanding quality they put into every keycap set. Many of  them even stayed up all night hunting for a set of GMK keycaps they had been waiting for a long time.

But for a newcomer who has just recently stepped one foot into the world of custom keycaps, the term GMK might mean nothing.

But don’t worry! We are here to help you answer the question: “What are GMK keycaps?”. Additionally, we will give you the deep look into the reasons for their hefty price.

What are GMK keycaps?

GMK Keycaps | Vala Supply
GMK Keycaps | Vala Supply

GMK, founded by Günter, Meinhardt, and Kredler, is a German-based firm that specializes in creating high-end keycaps for mechanical keyboards.

Although the business was established in 1992, it didn’t begin producing custom keycaps until 2011. Keycaps make up a very small part of the industry. In addition to keycaps, GMK manufactures a variety of products such as keyboards, printed circuit boards, and other parts.

All GMK keycap sets have their signature bright and stand-out color schemes. Besides, they are also renowned for both their outstanding quality and durability (we will discuss this in-depth in the next part).

The pricing of keycaps that GMK offers is extraordinarily high, but they still sell out when GMK limited edition keycaps are released that can only be acquired through presale.

So what factors exactly make GMK keycaps expensive and sought after? This question leads us to the next section.

What makes GMK keycaps so pricey?

GMK keycaps have gained millions of loyal fans around the world for many reasons. And here are a few key reasons for that:

High quality

GMK keycaps are made of thick ABS | Prototypist
GMK keycaps are made of thick ABS | Prototypist

GMK is best famous for its premium keycaps. They are frequently used in expensive custom keyboard builds and are highly sought-after by fans. Although there are other luxury keycap producers competing for customers, GMK is likely the most well-known.

So what makes GMK keycaps such high-quality? The answer is its material.

Generally, most people prefer PBT double shot keycaps to standard ABS ones. This is due to ABS keycaps being rated to be thin, slippery, and unpleasant to type on.

Despite the popularity of PBT keycaps, GMK makes the difference.

To make themselves stand out from other brands, GMK opts for high-end keycaps out of a thick ABS instead of regular ABS material that is cheap-made as mentioned above.

The ABS keycap produced by GMK differs from the standard ABS keycaps now on the market. These ABS keycaps are built with an increased 20% thickness which makes them more highly textured than the top PBT double shot keycaps.

This is one of the ways that GMK succeeded in shifting public perceptions of ABS keycaps.

Furthermore, sturdy ABS plastic not only helps your keyboard minimize flaws and warping but also gives numerous color options along with superior acoustics to boost a comfortable typing experience. ABS keycaps are much brighter and more vibrant than PBT keycaps because they can use double or triple shot processes to integrate colors. If you want keycaps with much higher customization options, GMK keycaps are the way to go.

This is where ABS outperforms PBT, as most PBT keycaps usually tend to warp during production, resulting in curved spacebars and off-center legends. (read more about ABS and PBT comparison here)

Unique Limited Edition Keycaps

GMK limited edition keycaps | Reddit
GMK limited edition keycaps | Reddit

Each year, GMK usually makes limited production runs with unique patterns and color schemes that can only be ordered in advance.

GMK limited edition keycaps are not only offered in small quantities, but they are also available for a short period of time with a countdown. If you miss a deal, your only options are to wait for another one to come along or buy the keycaps from an aftermarket source (typically inflated pricing).

Anyone who comes late may still get limited keycaps they love through third parties; however, the price can increase by up to 50%. For instance, while the limited edition GMK keycaps have the price of $200 after launching, you may find them for up to $300 through third parties or the aftermarket.

Due to a limited time for ordering and a very innovative version of keycaps, GMK is able to set the price of its keycaps pretty much whatever they choose. Despite the hefty price, GMK limited edition keys are always sought-after among keycaps fans.

Premium design

GMK keycaps with premium designs | Esty
GMK keycaps with premium designs | Esty

The double-shot design of GMK keycaps is one of its outstanding features. Doubleshot keycaps are created by combining two plastic parts.

The keycap, which is the top layer, features a cut-out where the legend is placed on top. The legend is created when the bottom layer connects to the top layer and covers the cutout.

Therefore, unlike the painted-on legends on standard keycaps, the legends on the keycaps can’t wear off or fade because of the double-shot design.

In terms of profile, GMK keycaps are exclusively built with the popular Cherry profile. The Cherry profile is distinctive since it is thicker and shorter than other typical keycap profiles. Therefore, before buying GMK keycaps, you should ensure that this profile works well with your keyboards and that you like the typing experience it offers.

Due to the comfortable feel generated from the Cherry profile in comparison to other profiles, the keycap size is perfect for typing and gaming. Additionally, it produces a pleasant acoustic sound during typing thanks to the thick plastic.

The most important thing that makes GMK keycaps different from other brands is that they officially hold the license from Cherry Company to create the authentic Cherry profile while others design their own tools to make imitations of the Cherry profile.

In addition to being built with a genuine Cherry profile, you may be impressed by GMK’s keycaps with excellent coloring. Indeed, GMK always prioritizes outstanding color reproduction throughout manufacture.

You can quickly recognize that any of the GMK sets are made with attention to detail and skillful creation at the first glance.

With vivid colors and careful craftsmanship, keyboard fans always hunt for them, especially limited versions.

Drawbacks of GMK keycaps

At first glance, GMK keycaps with high quality, unique, and premium designs seem to lure all keycaps fans. However, they also have several certain downsides.

Drawbacks of GMK keycaps
Drawbacks of GMK keycaps

Price tag

The pricing of keycaps that GMK offers are sometimes extraordinarily high. Despite their absurd costs, they are still sought-after among custom keycaps fans.

Prices for GMK Keycaps range from $180 to $200, sometimes even exceeding the cost of your keyboard. These prices can be comparable with the price of hot-swappable mechanical keyboards from Keychron or Epomaker, which are priced at $100.

Moreover, due to factors like purchasing, GMK keycaps have to charge very high rates for its keycaps since the product you want is not accessible in your preferred marketplace. In essence, GMK keycaps are created somewhat more than their limited edition keycaps rather than being mass produced.

Your keycaps can be for sale on online forums without a fixed price. Following a discussion with the seller, a higher price is 50% or even up to 100% greater than the keycaps’ regular price presented to you. They are limited edition GMK keycaps, so of course, this will aggravate you.

Shiny and Greasy look after heavy usage

Keep in mind that no matter how pricey the GMK ABS keycaps are, you will still experience an unavoidable greasy shine after prolonged use. Even the best-made GMK keycaps will not be resistant to shine after heavy use.

The major downside of ABS keycaps is that they will get shiny and worn over time, and the lettering may also start to fade. If dye-sublimation printing is used, the lettering may even fade away altogether.

Shine often reduces the quality of GMK keycap sets, even if some people enjoy the appearance of worn-looking GMK keycaps. When acquiring GMK sets from the aftermarket, keep this in mind.

Long waiting time to get the keycaps

If you want to buy GMK keycaps, there is a high chance you will have to deal with the annoying long waiting time.

The production process at GMK is considerably different since we have to join a group to be notified when fresh stocks are available. Generally, you have to wait until every GMK keycap set achieves or surpasses the minimum order quantity (MOQ). At that time, production can’t even start.

Therefore, regardless of how quickly you take advantage of the group purchase, you will always have to wait for weeks or even months to acquire your favorite set of keycaps.

After all, this is the biggest concern you will get in the intensely competitive market for mechanical keyboards. There is no other way to get the greatest keycaps on the market but to be patient.

Difficult to find

You may be aware that limited edition things always go with limited quantities, which means that they are typically hard to find.

That’s true when purchasing a GMK keycap set.

You can find all the keycap variations by searching on Google for “GMK Keycaps Set”. Yet, you can’t find the keycap styles and colors you like. In reality, you can’t order a GMK set with only one click. You must purchase them as part of a group buy or with interest checks since each new keycap set is released in a limited quantity.

To get the information GMK keycaps you desire, you should actively participate in the community or group.

After scouring the group or forums, you will probably discover your dream GMK keycaps. However, if you come late, you will be the loser in this game, especially when limited edition GMK keycaps are released.

Are GMK keycaps worth the hefty price tag?

After all, GMK keycaps are just little colored pieces of plastic you add to your keyboard. Whether they are worth your money or not is totally up to your taste.

Customized keycaps appeal to certain users thanks to their uniqueness and premium feel.  On the other side, they might be expensive and hard to buy. Moreover, they don’t really improve the typing and gaming experience beyond looks.

However, going from the high demand for GMK keycaps, they are worth it. Indeed, despite the fact that GMK keycaps sometimes have exorbitantly high prices, most keycaps fans are still willing to pay more bucks to get them

Even if you’ve got a GMK keycap set that you don’t really like, you can easily sell them for a price that is equal to or even more than the amount you paid for them. Provided that there is a high demand for these upscale keycaps, their prices will remain hefty.

Best GMK Keycaps

The best GMK keycaps | Ali express
The best GMK keycaps | Ali express

The best GMK keycaps are sold on the marketplace by hundreds of sellers associated with the GMK Keycaps.

Even if we told you which GMK Keycaps were the greatest, it’s likely that you wouldn’t be able to get your hands on them due to their limited availability and hazy market release date.

As we advised above, don’t forget to be frequently active in the groups and forums to get the newest updates.

The following is a list of the top 10 GMK Keycaps that you may love:

GMK Keycaps Sets

Price

Originative Cyrillic

$200.00

GMK Cyan

$180.00

GMK Hyperfuse

$180.00

GMK Originative

$180.00

GMK Sky Dolch

$180.00
GMK Hydro

$180.00

GMK Skeletor

$175.00

GMK Carbon

Unknown

GMK Troubled Minds

Unknown

Classic beige

Unknown

GMK DolchReborn

Unknown

How do you know if GMK keycaps are compatible with my keyboard?

It’s critical to consider if GMK keycap sets are totally compatible with your available switches before purchasing them.

Provided they feature a Cherry stem, all GMK keycap sets are compatible with Cherry-type switches and their clones. This implies that every GMK set is totally compatible with all keyboard that has Cherry MX switches, including  Kailh, Gateron, and other Cherry clones.

Since GMK uses genuine Cherry molds to create its switches, you won’t notice any inconsistencies in their quality. Therefore, their keycaps have a perfect fit and finish on authentic Cherry switches.

You’re out of luck, though, if your keyboard has exclusive key switches like the Logitech Romer G or Razer. These first-party switches will not be compatible with any GMK keycap set.

Therefore, you must adhere to keycap sets produced by either the same company that makes your switches or by other suppliers whose products have been tested for compatibility.

To do that, check out this post: Are Keycaps Universal? How to find keycaps that fit your mechanical.

Where to buy GMK keycap sets?

Where to buy GMK keycap sets? | Omnitype
Where to buy GMK keycap sets? | Omnitype

Interest checks

An interest check (IC) refers to a survey that the creator or supplier gives to determine the level of interest. Feedback from target respondents is frequently gathered so that the finished product more precisely satisfies your objectives.

In order to receive details on the progress of the survey, you can frequently opt to provide your email address.

If you explore forums for mechanical keyboards, you could find some people doing an interest check. They are testing a sense of community in their keycap style and renderings with these postings. These artists will contact a manufacturer of their choosing to get a quote if they garner enough awareness.

You can browse the interest checks via kbdfans.

GMK Keycaps Group buys

Makers and designers to present their concepts and ideas to the mechanical keyboard community in an effort to build a fan base that will eventually purchase the item they are marketing.

After getting a price from the supplier, the artist frequently launches a collective selling campaign to raise funds to make these keys.

Fans will collectively purchase a certain set on given day months in advance, hoping that they will meet or surpass the MOQ.

Then, the keycap set will be put in line for production at GMK’s German facility as soon as there is enough demand for it.

The keycap set’s run will end after the group buys period closes, and anyone who missed out on it will no longer be able to purchase it.

Visit these websites to join up for group buys:

Aftermarket

The aftermarket is the third option to obtain GMK keycaps. These include locations like the Mech Market Subreddit and Discord, Facebook groups, eBay, and others. It is, however, the least preferable choice. 

The point is that buyers will probably pay twice as much for these keycaps—or even triple it. Keycap sets that are in high demand, like the GMK Nautilus, may easily sell for $200 or more.

Besides, purchasing secondhand sets may also provide some possible problems. Apart from the possible shine or other damages, they risk breaking while being mounted on your keycaps.

You even won’t receive a replacement set or a refund if you purchase a second-hand set because there is no guarantee on them.

Amazon

A select number of GMK keycap sets are generally accessible on Amazon.com. You must look into group buys and the aftermarket if you want the more distinctive sets.

MechanicalKeyboards.co

This may be the finest source to buy GMK keycaps that are currently in stock. Here are some i available GMK keycap sets from this website:

GMK Yoda 2

GMK Classic Retro

GMK Vice Nights

GMK Miami

FAQ

What does GMK stand for?

GMK stands for Günter, Meinhardt, and Kredler – the three Germans who established GMK.

Who makes GMK keycaps?

The GMK company, situated in Germany, is the manufacturer of GMK keycaps.

Are GMK Keycaps Worth the price?

It all depends on your taste and preference.

What Are GMK Keycaps Made Of?

GMK keycaps are made of thick ABS plastic that is 20% thicker than standard ABS.

Is GMK resistant to shine?

No. Regardless of how pricey they are, ABS keycaps remain ABS that still gets unavoidable shiny. 

Do GMK keycaps come in different profiles?

No. GMK keycaps are exclusively built with a Cherry profile.

Wrapping Up

Are GMK keycaps best-suited for you? | Prototypist
Are GMK keycaps best-suited for you? | Prototypist

GMK keycaps are unquestionably amazing keycaps that can offer your mechanical keyboard a premium appearance, an unique feel, and exceptional durability.

Besides the standard keycaps, GMK also comes with a bunch of limited edition sets that are sought after and lured great attention when its name has just been leaked.

That’s the reason why custom keycap fans are willing to stay up all night, pay even more, and wait months to hunt GMK limited edition keycaps.

Ultimately, is such a high-end GMK keycap set word you money and time? The answer is totally up to you!

Thank you for reading! We hope you will make smart decisions and get your dream keycaps.