What are SA keycaps? An A-to-Z Guide to SA Profile

  • Keycaps 101
  • Posted by: carson-rutz
  • May 9, 2022

There’s a high chance you have come across SA profile terms when surfing for beautifully designed keycaps. So, what are SA keycaps? And, will they be your best buddy? In this article, we will find out everything important about SA profile keycaps, from the pros and cons to places to buy.

Enjoy the trip with us, shall we?

What are SA profile keycaps?

SA stands for Spherical All (rows), which highlights its unique spherical shape. This unique profile keycap was first introduced in the mid-80s and manufactured by Signature Plastics, famous for its largest keycap sets.

SA keycaps are known for their tall height, providing a vintage and retro look to keyboards. The tall profile allows for a more prominent and satisfying typing experience, particularly for users who prefer a higher keycap feel.

Sa profile keycaps
sa profile keycaps

While other profiles such as OEM or Cherry have a slightly titled angle top, SA keycaps have a concave surface. The three most used rows evenly curve inward, creating a crater shape if you look from a side. From then, the top rows tilt higher like a curved slide while the bottom row keycaps protrude.

The spherical design aims to create a hold for your fingers. Thanks to that, you can place the fingers comfortably without using too much force to grip the keycaps.

Puppy team sa keycap set
puppy team sa keycap set

Are SA profile keycaps good?

After being introduced around 35 years ago, SA profile keycaps have gradually grown their fanbase. Well, it’s true that some people do not enjoy typing on these tall keycaps, but we believe the SA profile is good to go.

Since a keyboard has more factors besides profiles, we agree that keycaps are not universal. How about discovering which factors make a keyboard unique with us?

Let’s take a quick look at its pros and cons!

Pros Cons
  • Allow more room for personal customization with a big keycap
  • Suitable for people who love high profile
  • Have unique, low bass sounds
  • Very durable thanks to high-quality making.
  • Have a distinct and nostalgic vintage look that many appreciate
  • Improve comfort when typing thanks to sculpted shape
  • Need time to get used to typing on these keycaps
  • Quite wobbling
  • Hard to find
  • Expensive
  • Less responsive than other normal-to-short profiles
  • Easy to feel tired after typing for a long time due to the tall height
Yin yang keycap sa profile
yin yang keycap sa profile


The vital feature of the SA profile that turns people into its cult followers is the unique tall, round design

Taking a look from afar, a keyboard with SA keycaps really stands out. It has a dramatic, strong, yet classic feel that is loved by the community. Besides, they come in various colors and themes. This gives space for personal customization. People can create a whole artistic 3D picture inside which certainly levels up any keyboard.

A whole galaxy inside a sa keycap
a whole galaxy inside a sa keycap

Talk about the downside. SA profile keycaps are very tall and have different heights for each row. This can make typing on them more difficult and require more finger movement and force.


SA profile keycaps produce a deep and satisfying “thock” sound when you type on them. This can enhance your typing experience and make you feel more productive. Note that since there is a large space inside the keycap, the sounds also emit clearly and sharply.

Let’s hear what a keyboard with SA profile keycaps sound like!


Not many manufacturers produce the SA profile and they also don’t make a large quantity as well. These will certainly add more to the costs.

Furthermore, since they are specially-made keycaps for keyboard enthusiasts, the manufacturers usually go for the high-cost doubleshot method that ensures never-fading legends. At the same time, the large build of the SA profile requires virgin plastics for light and consistent keycaps, which costs more than recycled ones.

Thus, the money to pay for a SA profile keycap is clearly a lot, way more than other profiles. However, this also comes with solid quality, which is the plus point of SA keycaps.

Torii gate artisan sa keycap
torii gate artisan sa keycap


SA profile keycaps are not widely available and are often sold in limited quantities or group buys. This means that you may have to wait for months or even years before you can get your hands on them. Some of the popular SA profile keycaps, such as SA Oblivion or SA Yuri, are often out of stock or sold out quickly.

Waiting for group buy to purchase sa keycaps
waiting for group buy to purchase sa keycaps

Typing experience

SA profile keycaps have rounder and concave tops that can support your fingertips better than flat or cylindrical keycaps. They also have a smooth and glossy surface that feels nice to touch.

The big downside of the SA profile is obviously its tall shape. You will need more time to finish a full pressing than short keycaps. And, they tend to wobble more than other high profiles.

Tall sa keycaps looking from a side
tall sa keycaps looking from a side

Gaming experience

Because a gaming keyboard values fast and precise response from each press, the SA profile keycaps are not ideal. As we have mentioned, the tall height performs shaky issues and late replies compared to other profiles. What’s more? Their glossy surface may reduce the precision due to the slippery.

Ducky horizon abs sa profile keycaps
ducky horizon abs sa profile keycaps

Surely, the feeling of having something one-of-a-kind can really make keyboard lovers give in. That is why the orders for SA profile keycaps are increasing, despite the fact they are not the best keycaps for typing.

SA vs Other keycap profiles

For people who are confused about whether to buy SA profile keycaps or not, we believe a comparison with other profiles can make things easier. Hence, we highly recommend you check out our full article on keycap profiles for a better understanding.

Now, it’s time to dive deep into the SA profile vs the others.

Height Shape Row Shape Sound
SA keycaps Tall Angled and spherical from the top Sculpted Thocc sounding
Cherry keycaps Low Angled Sculpted Low-register + thocc sounding
DSA keycaps Low Curved Uniform Low to quiet + crispy sound
OEM keycaps Medium Angled Sculpted Low-register + thocc sounding
MDA keycaps Medium Subtly spherical ortho-linear Sculpted Thocc sounding

Then, it’s time to explore the differences between each pair of SA vs Cherry vs DSA vs OEM vs MDA closely.

SA vs Cherry profile keycaps

Let’s see what SA and Cherry look like when we put them together!

  • They both have sculpted designs but while SA’s top is spherical, Cherry’s top is angled.
  • SA keycaps are the tallest at 16.55 mm while Cherry keycaps are in the lower-middle range (9.4 mm).
  • For a large build such as SA keycaps not bending, the plastic has to be thick enough so overall, they are thicker than the Cherry ones.
  • They both release “thocc” sounds whereas the sounds from SA are somewhat higher pitched.
  • Cherry profile keycaps are easier to get used to and they won’t tire your wrist like the high-profile SA. In fact, they are considered the best profile for typing. However, they are a bit bland to look at, unlike the impressive-looking SA.
Sa vs cherry profile
sa vs cherry profile

In conclusion, Cherry keycaps are a better option for those who value typing comfort over appearance. Moreover, they are considered the best choice when it comes to gaming keyboards. But, go for the SA profile if you are into the aesthetic looks.

Want to learn more about the typing-friendly Cherry profile?

SA vs DSA profile keycaps

Next, we will compare the high-profile SA keycaps with short-profile DSA ones.

  • They both have spherical tops but unlike the SA profile, the DSA keycaps are uniform, meaning they have the same height and shape.
  • DSA keycaps are one of the shortest keycap profiles, at 7.6 mm while SA keycaps are the tallest.
  • As low-profile keycaps, DSA is thinner than the big-built SA ones.
  • With little room inside the keycaps, the DSA profile keycaps have the quietest, crisp sound as opposed to the loud, thocky sound from SA profiles.
  • Since short height means less distance to travel, typing on the DSA profile keyboard is faster, more responsive, and more stable than on the SA profile. Moreover, there is less stress on the wrist, so it’s way more comfortable.
Sa vs dsa profile
sa vs dsa profile

In short,  the DSA profile fits those low-profile or compact keyboards due to the short height and uniform looks. In contrast, the SA profile will meet the needs of people who prefer tall keycaps on a sleek, big, mechanical keyboard.

SA vs OEM profile keycaps

Now we will turn to the OEM vs SA keycaps battle.

  • While the SA profile keycaps are spherical and sculpted, OEM profile keycaps are also sculpted, but angled.
  • The OEM keycaps are in the middle-to-high range, at 11.9 mm, but they are far from competing with the SA keycaps’ height.
  • SA profiles are slightly thicker than the OEM profiles in general, mostly for supporting the height.
  • In our opinion, the sounds coming from the SA profile and OEM profile are quite similar, both bassy and thocky. But, we think the SA profile has a slightly higher pitch
  • The OEM keycaps have a middle height and a sculpted design that makes them easy to type on the first try. In contrast, the tall build of the SA profile takes time to practice.
Sa vs oem profile
sa vs oem profile

To sum up, the OEM profile keycaps are suitable for keyboard beginners as they are both easy to use and find. On the other hand, only keyboard enthusiasts look for the SA profile thanks to its lavish appearance.

Don’t forget to check out our article here if you are interested in OEM keycaps and how they aid typing comfort.

MDA vs SA keycaps

Lastly, we will compare the performance between SA vs MDA profile.

  • Regarding the top and row shapes, the MDA and SA profiles are alike, having crater-like appearances except for the outwardly curved spacebar row.
  • The key difference between these two profiles is the height, with MDA keycaps shorter by 4 mm.
  • ABS SA keycaps have thicker layers than the MDA ones overall. Note that PBT SA keycaps can have the same thickness though.
  • The sounds from MDA keycaps are just like that from the SA ones but lower pitched due to the smaller room inside.
  • The calculated  sculpting and enlarged contact area ensure good support for your fingers. But, unlike the tall SA profile, you won’t meet issues like fatigue wrists or fingers with the medium-height MDA keycaps.
Sa vs mda profile
sa vs mda profile

With this in mind, the MDA profile is an alternative to the tall SA profile if you prefer the spherical ergonomic build but not a painful wrist. However, the short keycaps may not have the stand-out look as the SA profile, so we believe the visual aspects of the SA keyboards cannot be replaced by any other profiles.

Where can I find SA profile keycaps?

Unlike when SA keycaps were first introduced, we have more choices about this type of profile now.

  • Signature plastics: the birthplace of SA profile keycaps so you can be sure of their quality as well as reliability.
  • Maxkey: famous dupe of Signature Plastics for those who cannot afford the expensive keycaps, however, the quality cannot come close to the original.
  • Filco: a big name from Japan that provides simple yet elegant SA profile keycaps.
  • Hirosart: a treasure island for those who love artisan resin keycaps and geek culture. You can ask for your favorite characteristic to be hand-made as vivid SA keycaps.
Hirosart resin sa keycaps
hirosart resin sa keycaps

In case you feel lost when wandering into the vast market of keyboards and keycaps, we have here a guide on the best places to buy.

Final Thoughts

Well, it’s time to close the article and by now, we hope you are able to tell the differences between the SA profile keycap and the rest. Even though this type of profile is not the most practical option for typing comfort, we still highly recommend it to those who are into a new experience or in search of a unique, personal-feel keyboard.

“What are SA keycaps?” - Answer: “A beautiful, tall, spherical keycap that has created turbulence among the keyboard fandom since it first appeared.”

Thanks for reading!


What does SA profile mean?

SA shorts for Spherical All. It has the tallest profile with a concave top made for holding the fingers better. Moreover, the row shape is also an inward curve which allows stretching your fingers to the right keys to be less stressful.

Are SA profile keycaps comfortable to type on?

Even though the sculpted, spherical design helps to reduce the typing stress a lot, the high profile makes typing somewhat jiggle and tiresome. Therefore, the SA profile is not the most comfortable keycap to type on.

Are SA profile keycaps good for gaming?

SA profile keycaps are not suitable for gaming keyboards as the high profile makes it wobble to type on as well as less responsive than other short profiles.

Who manufactures SA profile keycaps?

You can find the best SA profile keycaps from Signature Plastic. Or, you can look for other brands such as Maxkey or Filco. If you are interested in a beautifully-made artisan resin SA keycap, we highly recommend you check out Hirosart.

Are SA profile keycaps expensive?

Due to the small production and the difficult, high-quality, and detailed-making process, the prices of SA profile keycaps are very high.

Are SA profile keycaps loud?

The high profile provides more room inside the keycaps for the sound to emit. Thus, SA keycaps are quite loud when typing.

How do SA profile keycaps sound?

SA keycaps are very tall and thick, which makes them quite heavy compared to other profiles. Hence, each typing will release a high-pitched, thocky sound.

Are SA profile keycaps sculpted?

SA keycaps have sculpted row shapes as well as spherical, concave tops. The design does not only look aesthetically cool but also helps to create support for the fingertips.


Comments (1)

  1. Your article gave me a lot of inspiration, I hope you can explain your point of view in more detail, because I have some doubts, thank you.

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