Cherry vs OEM profile: What's The Best For Game, Type, Program? Let’s Compare

  • Keycaps 101
  • Posted by: carson-rutz
  • May 1, 2024

Cherry and OEM are the two most popular types of keycap profiles. Cherry with low height and gently curved surface or OEM profile with rounded corners, curved surface hugs your fingers, which one is the best choice for games, typing or programs? Let's compare Cherry vs OEM profile to help you pick the right one!

Feature OEM Profile Cherry Profile
Height Tall (11.9mm) Medium (9.4mm) - shorter 
Appearance Sculpted design with cylindrical tops for comfort Sculpted with cylindrical tops, varies between rows for ergonomics
Material Typically made from PBT or ABS plastic; ABS being less durable Commonly made from PBT or ABS plastic; PBT preferred for durability.
  • Uniform and consistent typing experience
  • Causes arm fatigue at higher heights
  • Strange feeling when first used
  • More convenient, more comfortable when typing for long periods of time
Sound Tend to have a higher and clearer pitch compared to Cherry profile Bassier, softer sound profile, less room within the keycap for sound to bounce.
Compatibility High compatibility with many prebuilt mechanical keyboards May have interference with certain switches, especially south-facing LEDs
Price More affordable, widespread availability makes them cheaper  ($20 - $50) Generally more expensive due to less availability and custom designs ($80 - $120)
  • Readily available
  • Mass-produced and standard on many prebuilt keyboards
Harder to find, often sold in exclusive group buys or aftermarket.

OEM Profile keycap - the most popular type of keycap profile - is considered the standard of famous brands in the mechanical keyboard world such as Logitech, Corsair and Razer. The OEM profile is also a sculpted keycap set with differences in the design and height of the keycap rows. At the same time, the keycap surface is designed to be concave like a cylinder with a tilt of about 3 - 4 degrees to help cover your fingertips, thereby providing comfort and stability when typing or playing games.

Cherry Profile keycap is a popular type of keycap profile produced by Cherry GmbH, a manufacturer of basic switches for mechanical keyboards. Cherry profile is also often compared to OEM profile keycap but shorter. It has a sculpted design with the keycap surface having a gently curved cylindrical top, providing a comfortable typing experience. This makes it the preferred choice for those looking for a balance between style and function in their mechanical keyboard.

Besides, Cherry profile is famous for its low height, the keycaps are located close to the surface of the switch. This design creates a tight and gentle feeling when typing, so it is popular with many people. However, it is quite difficult to buy Cherry profiles because they are often sold to exclusive groups or at inflated prices.

Oem profile higher than cherry profile. (source: geek hack)
Oem profile higher than cherry profile. (source: geek hack)

OEM vs Cherry Profile keycaps: Which is Better

Cherry vs oem profile
Cherry vs oem profile keycaps


Cherry profile have higher price than oem (source: amazon)
Cherry profile have higher price than oem (source: amazon)

Because they are often pre-installed on basic mechanical keyboards and have thinner shells, OEM profile keycaps are cheaper than Cherry profile keycaps. Depending on whether you choose ABS or PBT material, usually the price of an OEM profile set will range from $20 - $50. You can also easily buy it online.

Meanwhile, Cherry profiles, with less availability and better materials, often have a higher market price than OEM profiles. Each set will usually cost from $80 - $120. However, if you want to experience Cherry profile but the budget is not enough, imitation Cherry sets with prices ranging from $30 - $50 will be the right choice for you. Surely its experience will not be comparable to the original from GMK or ePBT.

Note: Please note that prices as shown are valid at the time of publication and are subject to change without prior notice.

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Most cherry and oem profile keycaps are made from abs and pbt plastic. (source: best dabsm) 
Most cherry and oem profile keycaps are made from abs and pbt plastic. (source: best dabsm)

ABS is a highly glossy plastic material that is lightweight and easy to process, while PBT is often matte and more durable. Both Cherry profile keycaps and OEM profile keycaps use both ABS and PBT plastic. Additionally, they are still made of some other less common materials like POM jelly and TPR rubber, floating around. Each keycap material will bring a different experience to you.

However, most OEM profiles are usually made of thin and smooth ABS plastic, only keycaps produced by Razer and HyperX use PBT plastic. Meanwhile, Cherry profile keycaps are usually made of thick ABS plastic and are very comfortable to use. If you want to own PBT Cherry profile keycaps, the product set produced by ePBT is for you. However, they are quite difficult to buy because they are often sold to groups of buyers or exclusively.


Oem profile is easier to buy than cherry profile. (source: ebay)
Oem profile is easier to buy than cherry profile. (source: ebay)

OEM profile is usually a popular choice and is often considered a standard and popular choice for keyboards that you see on the market. You can easily find and buy them on e-commerce platforms because there are many famous companies in the industry retailing them such as Tai-Hao, Razer, HyperX.

Cherry profiles are also popular but are harder to find on the e-commerce platform than OEM profiles. It often appears in high-end mechanical keyboards and is considered to have a quality typing experience. Therefore, to own one, you often have to buy in groups or pay a higher price at separate keyboard suppliers like Drop and KBDFans.

Height Difference

Oem profile higher than cherry profile (source: keycap industries)
Oem profile higher than cherry profile (source: keycap industries)

The biggest difference between the OEM profile and the Cherry profile is the overall height. The OEM keycap profile is usually 11.9mm high, while the Cherry keycap profile is a bit lower, only about 9.4mm. Moreover, the top row of keys of the OEM keycap is designed higher at the back and lower at the front, and the last row is designed in reverse with the back lower and the front higher. This helps you limit your hand movements but still operate accurately.

When choosing a different keycaps configuration, any change in height, shape or tilt will lead to errors, so you will need time to adapt to the new profile.


The keycap rows of oem keycaps have a larger tilt than cherry (source: reddit)
The keycap rows of oem keycaps have a larger tilt than cherry (source: reddit)

OEM profile and Cherry profile have quite similar appearances but there are still small differences. They are all designed to counteract the height and tilt of different keycap ranges. Specifically, the keys in the outer row are more inclined and tend to gradually tilt into the middle row of keycaps.

However, the keycap ranges of OEM keycaps have a greater difference in height and tilt than Cherry. Besides, the tops of these two keycap profiles are also usually small and cylindrical in shape, creating a gentle sound and a small dot when the key is pressed down, but the OEM profile is a bit rounder.


Oem profile provides comfort with gentle sculpting (source: amazon)
Oem profile provides comfort with gentle sculpting (source: amazon)

On first use, most people will find the OEM more comfortable and familiar as this is the type commonly found in basic keyboards. Designed with rows of gently sculpted keycaps and slight curvature, providing a comfortable typing experience. On the contrary, you will have a new and somewhat uncomfortable feeling when using Cherry profile keycaps.

However, after a period of use, you will gradually get used to the Cherry configuration and feel more comfortable with this low configuration. The gradual curvature towards the middle, moderate height combined with good tactile feedback create an overall pleasant experience. You won't need to stretch your arms too far, thereby reducing finger fatigue and increasing comfort when playing games or typing for long periods of time. Therefore, it is loved by many people.

If possible, you should still try both to find something you love.

Sound profile

Typically, Cherry profiles often produce deep sounds due to their low height and more curved keycaps, helping to reduce the space between the keycap and the switch. This reduces the noise generated and creates a gentle sound when typing.

Meanwhile, the sound of the OEM profile is a bit higher than Cherry profile. The gap between the keycap and its switch is also higher, so it can create some noise compared to the Cherry, but not to the point of making the sound too loud.

However, the sound of the two types of profiles will vary depending on the keycap material, switch type, modifier as well as lubricant. Therefore, the final choice depends on your preferences.


Both profiles use Cherry's standard MX plug, which means they can be used with multiple switches without size issues. However, OEM profiles are often widely used, easily replaced and compatible with many different basic keyboards. Cherry profile is also popular but it is often compatible with many high-end mechanical keyboards. It is often used in keyboards with specialized designs and is highly appreciated by users for its quality typing experience. To ensure compatibility, check the keyboard type and keycap range from the manufacturer.

Overall, both Cherry profile keycap and OEM profile keycap have strengths and weaknesses compared to the other type. Cherry profile offers a deeper sound and a more comfortable feel, but is more expensive, harder to find, and less compatible. On the contrary, OEM profiles have clearer sound, cheaper price, higher compatibility but are less comfortable. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude which type is better. The final choice will depend on your personal preferences.

What are the Similarities between Cherry and OEM profile?

In general, OEM profile and Cherry profile are considered by everyone to have many similarities.

  • MX body: allows compatibility with many types of switches of other configurations.
  • Sculpted design: Both configurations have a sculpted design and the keycaps in the rows have varying degrees of curvature and height.
  • Cylindrical top: The top surface of the keycap in both configurations is typically cylindrical, creating a consistent and comfortable typing experience.
  • ABS and PBT keycap: Keycaps of both profiles can be made from ABS and PBT. This diversity gives users many options to choose a keycap that suits their preferences as well as durability.

What are the differences between OEM and Cherry profile?

Although quite similar, Cherry profile keycap and OEM profile keycap still have differences that you need to consider.

  • Curvature and shape: OEM profiles have a clearer, more sculpted design. The keycap height in the rows has a large difference and has a clear curvature. Cherry profile features a lower sculpted design, with a milder curvature than OEM, providing a flatter and more uniform appearance across the rows.
  • Keycap height: OEM Profile keycap is slightly higher than Cherry.
  • Sound: Cherry Profile is a low profile so the distance between keycap and switch is smaller than OEM. Therefore, the sound of Cherry profile is also range and less resonant than OEM.
  • Cylindrical top: Both OEM profile and Cherry profile have a cylindrical surface but OEM is a bit more rounded and curved.
  • Compatibility: OEM Profile is more widely used in commercially available keyboards, while Cherry profile is more compatible with high-end mechanical keyboards.

OEM vs Cherry profile: Which is better for Gaming?

Cherry profile is better for gaming. (source:autonomous)
Cherry profile is better for gaming. (source:autonomous)

In terms of gaming experience, Cherry profile keycap is slightly better than the OEM profile keycap. With a lower profile and consistent sculpting, the Cherry profile delivers quick response and high precision. The low profile also eliminates the need to stretch your fingers, helping to reduce pressure and fatigue during long gaming sessions. Although the OEM profile is not suitable for hard core games, if you still love high sharpness and clear sculpting, you can also try it.

You should also consider the switch you are using, for example a linear switch might pair better with a lower profile like Cherry, while tactile or clicky might be more comfortable with a higher profile like OEM.

OEM vs Cherry profile: Which is better for Typing?

Each profile offers a different typing experience (source: youtube)
Each profile offers a different typing experience (source: youtube)

Both OEM profile and Cherry profile have their own characteristics that may appeal to different users. However, if familiarity and accuracy are a priority, the OEM's familiar configuration may be better thanks to the support key. The clear difference in height of each row of keycaps will help you easily type without looking. If you prioritize speed and comfort, the Cherry profile may be better due to its lower keycap profile, which gives a more flat and even feel across the keys. Try both configurations to choose the most suitable one.

Bottom Line

In the Cherry vs OEM profile debate, the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and specific use cases. For gaming enthusiasts who require a responsive, low-profile feel, Cherry profile is the right choice. On the other hand, those who prioritize a familiar, comfortable typing experience can be satisfied by the OEM profile's slightly higher configuration.