One of the most essential factors to consider in new keycaps is the keycap profile. On the journey of researching keycaps, you may have heard of OEM keycaps and don’t know what they exactly are. Well, you have come to the right place as we aim to not only answer “What are OEM profile keycaps” […]
What are OEM Profile Keycaps? An In-Depth Introduction & Review in 2024
One of the most essential factors to consider in new keycaps is the keycap profile. On the journey of researching keycaps, you may have heard of OEM keycaps and don’t know what they exactly are. Well, you have come to the right place as we aim to not only answer “What are OEM profile keycaps” but also highlight the pros and cons. So, stay tuned!
What are OEM Keycap Profiles?
OEM stands for Original Equipped Manufacturer. You mostly get the OEM keycap profile for a newly purchased keyboard as this is the standard profile universally.
These keycaps are known for their tall and sculpted design, featuring a slight curve towards the top to offer a comfortable and ergonomic typing experience. With a distinct cylindrical shape and rows of varying heights, OEM keycaps provide improved reach and easier key pressing, reducing strain on fingers and wrists for a more natural hand position.
Aside from OEM profile, we have a compiled article on keycap profiles if you are interested in learning more about them.
OEM Keycaps features
Now, it’s time to learn why OEM profile keycaps become manufacturers’ first choice to make their keyboards.
Our keyword: average, for all
The hallmark feature of OEM keycaps lies in their sculpted design, which differentiates them from uniform or flat-profile keycaps. This sculpted design means that each row of keycaps has a varying height, catering to the natural curve of the fingers during typing. As a result, the typing surface feels more comfortable and ergonomic, reducing strain and promoting a smoother typing experience.
The height of each OEM keycap is medium (normally at 11.9 mm), which means it’s easy for almost everyone to get accustomed to. Moreover, the curvature on the keycap’s surface is reasonable to place a whole finger on, so you won’t feel cramped when typing.
The whole keyboard tilts from the inside out with keycaps on the middle row having the sharpest angle. This helps to distribute the weight force evenly, not causing much fatigue on your fingers. Hence, this design element contributes to a satisfying and responsive typing experience, which many users find enjoyable and rewarding.
Apart from the design, most OEM profile keycaps are made of good durable PBT or ABS plastics. The process is meticulous to ensure each keycap will show consistent quality after mass-producing.
Typing Experience and Performance
OEM keycaps deliver reliable performance and responsiveness, making them suitable for various typing tasks such as document typing, coding, and casual gaming.
The sculpted design supports a natural hand position, reducing fatigue and improving efficiency. The distinct tactile response, often described as a "thock" sound, enhances the typing experience, boosting speed and accuracy.
For gaming, the taller profile offers a comfortable grip, enabling better control and responsiveness. However, the feel can vary depending on the surface texture, with ABS keycaps feeling shiny and smooth, and PBT keycaps being more matte and grippy.
Customization and Compatibility
Obviously, it’s not hard to find OEM profile keycaps in the two most common layouts, namely ANSI and ISO. Of course, when you want to change to a new keycap set, a standard profile as OEM will open many choices for you to choose from.
Additionally, OEM keycaps are designed to be compatible with a broad range of mechanical keyboards, including those using Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh, and other popular switch types.
For most keyboard enthusiasts, customizing keycap layouts and designs is a desirable challenge. And, the OEM profile is the basic quest as you can easily find beautiful customized keycaps in this profile.
OEM keycaps is generally known for its slightly deeper and more resonant sound compared to other keycap profiles. Due to their taller and more sculpted design, OEM keycaps can produce a slightly louder and more satisfying "thock" sound when pressed, offering a more substantial and tactile typing experience.
However, it is essential to note that the sound produced by keycaps can also be influenced by the material they are made of, the type of switches used in the mechanical keyboard, and the overall build and construction of the keyboard itself.
Among different keycap profiles, the OEM profile’s sounds are the most similar to that of the Cherry profile. You can watch the comparison video below to distinguish the typing sounds from different profiles.
Pros and Cons of OEM Keycap Profile
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturing, and it refers to the keycaps' standard manufacturer quality. In pre-built mechanical keyboards, OEM's sculpted keycap sets can be found. Let’s go through what makes them stand out and what are them Achille's heels.
Pros of OEM Keycaps
There are 3 main pros when it comes to OEM key profile. Let’s go through them real quick.
The typical OEM keycap profile is taller than others in terms of height. Compared to other keycap profiles, the size of each row of keycaps is quite impressive, making it easier for you to reach and push the keycaps.
One of the benefits of using OEM keycaps on your keyboard is extremely common. Almost all keyboard manufacturers include OEM keycaps as standard, which makes replacing them in the event of a problem affordable and straightforward for those on a tight budget.
If you don't have a replacement for your OEM profile keycaps, don't worry; you can still find a variety of great OEM keycaps on the internet and in stores for a fraction of other keycaps. This is a tremendous advantage of using OEM keycaps.
Cons of OEM Keycaps
Everything has two sides - we’ll get to the wrong side of the OEM right now.
We don't typically discuss keycap material. Even so, if you look at OEM keycaps on ordinary full-sized keyboards, you'll discover that most of the keycaps are ABS plastic due to low costs. Unfortunately, this demonstrates that OEM keycaps are typically ABS plastic, which isn't remarkably durable.
The sound of a keypress is usually determined by the switch utilized, but in the case of the keycap profile, the surface can also influence the sound. Unfortunately, the keycap sound on OEM keycaps is more clicky and direct, which isn't ideal in a quiet and peaceful setting.
It’s time to find out what are the best advantages of OEM keycaps and also their disadvantages.
Comparisons with Other Keycap Profiles
A good way for better understanding OEM profile is by comparing its with other profiles. So, let’s move to the battle which’s named SA vs OEM vs Cherry vx other keycaps!
SA vs OEM Profile keycaps
The first battle shouts out names of OEM and SA keycaps.
OEM Profile Keycap
SA Profile Keycap
Usually more affordable
Generally higher priced
Medium, 11.9 mm
Tallest profile option (16.5 mm)
Angled, concave top shape and a sculpted row shape
Comfortable for typing & gaming
Easy to get used to
Difficult for some users to adapt to
Relatively less common
Similar to Cherry profile (bassy)
Produces distinct "thocc" sound
To sum up, SA and OEM profiles are both high and sculpted keycaps. The main difference is that SA profile are more curved and taller. That unique design makes it way less accessible and harder to get used to than OEM profile. In a way, it’s only suitable for advanced typists who opt for new experiences. Hence, we believe OEM is more user-friendly and better for gaming.
OEM vs Cherry Profile keycaps
Now, it’s turn of OEM vs Cherry profile. We know some of you have waited for this battle as they are identical in some senses.
|OEM Profile Keycap
|Cherry Profile Keycap
|Generally higher priced
|Slightly taller (11.9 mm tall)
|2.5 mm shorter than OEM keycaps
|Sculpted with an aggressive angle
|Easy to get used to
|Popular for aftermarket keycaps
|Thocky and Loud
|Thocky and slightly less loud
In short, Cherry and SA profile are very similar so people who love OEM will enjoy Cherry . The key differences are Cherry is more tilted than OEM, which allows users to feel less fatigue when typing. So, if you are willing to get used to the uncommon Cherry profile, we suggest you give it a try. Not very convincing? How about reading the thorough Cherry-vs-OEM comparison then?
Recommended OEM Profile Keycaps Sets for you
5.1. YMDK Double Shot Dyed PBT Shine Carbon
The YMDK Double Shot Dyed PBT Shine Carbon is one choice to consider if you want one of the highest quality OEM profile keycaps and one of the best-selling keycap sets. This is a high-quality keycap set constructed of thick, strong PBT plastic that will last a long time.
The YMDK Double Shot Dyed PBT Shine Carbon has an excellent design with carbon colors, including a white, gray, and orange blend, giving your keyboard a classic retro feel. This keycap set is available on Amazon for a meager price.
5.2. Sumgsn Halloween Keycaps
Sumgsn Halloween Keycaps are a high-quality OEM profile keycap set constructed of PBT plastic that is exceptionally thick and strong. Because this keycap set has a Halloween motif, it's ideal for those who like your keyboard to have a little frightening aspect.
Sumgsn Halloween Keycaps include a design that mixes white and black keycaps with numerous animations linked to Halloween on the black surface of the keycaps, giving your keyboard a truly distinctive look. This keycap set is available on Amazon.
5.3. Happy Balls PBT Keycaps
Happy Balls PBT Keycaps is a popular OEM profile keycap set in the mechanical keyboard custom community because it offers a unique look for an RGB keyboard. This is a high-quality keycap set constructed of thick, strong PBT plastic that will last a long time.
With a combination of white and slightly bluish-gray keycaps, Happy Balls PBT Keycaps have a unique design. Every word, number, and symbol on this keycap set is an engraving made from the interior of the keycaps, which will flash brightly if your keyboard's LED or RGB lights are turned on. Once again, you can turn to Amazon to find this beauty.
5.4. IDOBAO Matcha Keycaps Green Cute PBT Keycaps
IDOBAO Matcha Keycaps Green Cute PBT Keycaps are high-quality OEM profile keycaps with many applications. This is a stylish and high-quality keycap set constructed of PBT plastic, thick and durable.
IDOBAO Matcha Keycaps Green Cute PBT Keycaps feature a Matcha-themed design that combines tea-green keycaps with slightly greenish-white keycaps. This OEM keycap profile is ideal for those desiring a new look. Several keycaps with animated images related to matcha-themed color are available. This keycap set is available on Amazon.
We hope you learned a lot from this post and will put what you've learned to good use in finding the ideal keycap profile for you. You'd likely prefer OEM keycaps because of their abundant availability. The next step would customize those purchases with OEM artisan keycaps, and we have the most extensive collection from pop culture to internet niches inspired right here for you.
Have fun with your keyboarding adventure!
Is OEM keycap profile good for typing?
The OEM keycap profile is considered good for typing due to its sculpted design, which conforms to the fingers' natural curve, providing a comfortable and ergonomic typing experience.
Is OEM keycap profile good for gaming?
The OEM profile is an excellent choice for gaming purposes, as its tall and well-designed structure ensures optimal performance and endurance during prolonged gaming sessions.
Is OEM keycap profile loud?
The sound produced by OEM keycaps is generally similar to the Cherry profile, which can be described as a bit bassy and thocky
Is OEM keycap profile cheap?
OEM keycap profiles are often considered the more affordable option compared to other profiles, making them a cost-effective choice for mechanical keyboards.