What is a Keyboard Group Buy? 7 Must-Know Tips for Beginners

  • Keycaps 101
  • Posted by: carson-rutz
  • Apr 14, 2024

Buying custom keyboards typically works differently from buying most mass-produced keyboards due to their limited manufacturing runs. One of the ordering custom keyboard methods is called group buy. In this article, we'll answer the question “What is group buy?” and give you some must-know tips for joining one.

What are Keyboard Groupbuys?

What are keyboard group buy (source: keyboard university) 
What are keyboard group buy (source: keyboard university)

What does a keyboard group buy mean? It is  a kind of pre-ordering where a group of people pool their funds to purchase a product before production, often due to the limited availability of mechanical keyboards in small quantities. The minimum order quantity (MOQ) determines the number of pre-orders required.

Group Buy Phases

A group buy period typically has two dates: a start date and an end date. Once you join a group buy, you must be familiar with certain phases that occur during this period.

The following are 4 main Group Buy phases:

Interest Check

An interest check usually comes first in group buys. Before posting a group buy, these interest checks are a technique for making sure that  there is enough interest and demand for their items to meet the MOQ.

Each group buy has a different timetable, and not all group buys that are conducted will achieve the required MOQ.

Group Buy

Pre-orders will begin to flood in once the dealer starts a Group Buy. It can last up to a month in a typical situation. There may be a maximum number of keyboards or keyboard accessories that may be pre-ordered, but there are no limits on other items.


Following the completion of the group buy process, the designer contacts the manufacturer to start production. If there are any extras left from the pre-order, the seller can then sell them off. In most cases, these additions are few.


In this case, the manufacturer sends the finished product to the seller for inspection before it is sold.

Optional phases

Extras: The merchant may invite more orders once the item has been completed. Only if the vendor places large enough orders at the manufacturing stage will this happen. 

New Group Buy: After successfully fulfilling an initial group buy for a product, the vendor has the option to initiate a new one. This is commonly done with popular items that have proven financially successful and sometimes involves slight modifications to the original design.

Group Buys vs. Pre-orders

What is a group buy different from pre-order (source: vala supply) 
What is a group buy different from pre-order (source: vala supply)

Group buys require a minimum number of buyers to be successful, while preorders are individual orders that do not depend on other buyers. Group buys also require a collective order size, and potentially make buyers face delays, cancellations, or quality issues

On the other hand, pre-order offers products that will be sold later at a regular price or with incentives. So, pre-orders carry less risk and have shorter waiting times, more likely to be received on time. On the flip side, individuals participating in group buys may encounter extended waiting periods attributable to the manufacturing process. 

In general, if you want exclusive and limited products, and don’t mind waiting for a longer time, group buys are more suitable. Of course, you have to be willing to take on more risk. 

On the other hand, pre-orders are more suitable for people who don’t want to wait for a long time which minimizes the risk. These people may want to buy products at a regular price or with some incentives.

Here is the table that shows the different factors to compare group buys and pre-orders in keyboard and keycap buying:

Group Buys Pre-orders
Order size Collective order that requires a minimum number of buyers Individual order that does not depend on other buyers
Product availability Exclusive and limited products that may not be available again Products that will be sold later at a regular price or with some incentives
Risk level More risk for the buyers, as they may face delays, cancellations, or quality issues Less risk for the buyers, higher probability of receiving their products punctually and as expected
Waiting time Longer waiting time, as they need to reach the minimum order quantity and go through the production process Shorter waiting time, as they are already in production or ready to ship

4 benefits of a keyboard group buy

There are some benefits when having keyboard group buy (source: imgur) 
There are some benefits when having keyboard group buy (source: imgur)
  • Savings on expenses: Because group buyers buy in volume, they frequently receive substantial reductions that let you get high-quality keyboards for less than retail.
  • Getting unique designs: You may be able to acquire a genuinely unique keyboard by participating in group buys, which sometimes provide exclusive keyboard designs, keycap sets, and hues that might not be offered through conventional retail channels.
  • Community building: Taking part in a group buy puts you in touch with other keyboard aficionados who share your interests, creating a feeling of community and offering forums, information exchanges, and networking opportunities.

Assistance for small manufacturers: In the keyboard community, group buys frequently provide support to tiny manufacturers and craftspeople, enabling them to promote their distinctive products.

6 potential risks of a keyboard group buy

Keyboard group buying also has risks (source: imgur) 
Keyboard group buying also has risks (source: imgur)

There are so many benefits, so what is a group buy difficulty? In fact, group buying has many risks to buyers:

  • Delays: Group buys can be delayed for a variety of reasons, such as production issues, shipping delays, or other unforeseen circumstances. Customers eagerly anticipating their new keyboard may find this situation to be vexing..
  • No Refund or Cancellation: Some group buys may not offer refunds or cancellations since the supplier needs to guarantee the money for the manufacturing. This can be problematic if the product does not meet your expectations.
  • Uncertain Quality: With group buys, there is always the risk that the final product may not meet your expectations in terms of quality. Several factors could contribute to this, including production challenges or design imperfections.
  • Overcommitment: Organizers may overcommit themselves by taking on too many orders or by promising more than they can deliver. Such situations can result in setbacks, issues with quality, and various other problems..
  • Unforeseen Costs: Participating in group buys might involve extra expenses that were not initially revealed. Additional charges for shipping or customs duties may be necessary.
  • Limited Availability: Group buys are often limited. This means that if you miss out on the group buy, you may not be able to purchase the product at all.

Thus, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the product, the vendor, and the group buy's terms and conditions before participating in the purchase. It's also a good idea to have patience and be cognizant of any obstacles that can come up throughout the group buy procedure.

Related Articles

7 keyboard group buying tips

What is a group buy and 7 tips when buying keyboard (source: reddit) 
What is a group buy and 7 tips when buying keyboard (source: reddit)
  • Research the Organizer: Before committing to a group buy, it’s important to research the organizer’s reputation and track record. Check out their previous group buys and reviews from other participants. This will give you an idea of their reliability and whether they deliver on their promises.
  • Read Terms and Policies: Familiarize yourself with the terms and policies of the group buy before deciding to participate. This includes information on payment, shipping, returns, and refunds. Stay mindful of any deadlines or limitations that may be in effect.
  • Payment Security: Ensure that the payment method used for the group buy is secure and reliable. Contemplate utilizing a payment method that provides buyer protection, such as PayPal or a credit card.
  • Communication: Stay in touch with the organizer throughout the group buy process. Pose inquiries and address any uncertainties you may harbor. The expenses may fluctuate based on your location and can accumulate rapidly.
  • Shipping Costs and Import Fees: Be aware of shipping costs and import fees associated with the group buy. These costs can vary depending on your location and can add up quickly. Ensure that you include these costs in your budget prior to participating.
  • Backup Plan: Establish a contingency plan in case any issues arise during the group buy. This could include having a secondary keyboard option or being prepared to wait for a refund. Being ready for the worst-case scenario is consistently advisable.
  • Manage Expectations: Keep your expectations realistic when participating in a group buy. Recognize that delays or unexpected challenges may occur throughout the process. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly, but also don’t assume the worst.

Best site for keycap and keyboard group buying


MechGroupBuys is a popular website for purchasing keycaps and keyboards through group buys. The buying process at MechGroupBuys is straightforward. You pay upfront for the product, which is manufactured and delivered later. The frequency of group buys at MechGroupBuys varies, but there are currently three live group buys available on the site. 

As per the website, you can reach out to the organizer of the group buy for any additional inquiries about it. The platform provides a range of products, encompassing keyboards like Reflection, Haitun40, and Dymium65. 

Mechgroupbuys is one of the best sites for group buying 
Mechgroupbuys is one of the best sites for group buying


Keycaplendar is a website that tracks group buys for keycaps and keyboards. The website presents an exhaustive inventory of all the keycaps accessible for the upcoming year or thereabouts. The site offers a variety of keycaps in unique designs, and you can find the latest and most unique keycap designs here. 

The vendors will only have a prototype or a 3D image of the product. You will be placing an order for a keycap set, and it will be dispatched to you within a few months. Group buys have the newest and coolest designs but fetch a high price. The products that can be purchased at Keycaplendar are limited to group buys for keycaps and keyboards.

Keycaplendar is one of the best sites for keycap and keyboard group buying
Keycaplendar is one of the best sites for keycap and keyboard group buying


Keycapsets is a website that offers a wide range of keycaps and keyboards for group buying. Group buys are held frequently on the site, and you can check the site’s calendar to see when the next one is scheduled. 

At Keycapsets, there is a strict no-refund policy, so be sure to double-check your order before completing it. You can find keycaps in different colors, materials, and designs, and keyboards in various sizes and layouts in this site. You can also find accessories such as keycap pullers, switches, and stabilizers.

Keycapsets for finding your favorite keycap set
Keycapsets for finding your favorite keycap set

Kono Store

Kono Store is a popular online store for mechanical keyboards, keycaps, and enthusiast accessories. The website offers many products, including keycap set group buys, and much more. The buying process at the Kono Store is user-friendly in that you can add to your cart the available designs, and proceed to checkout. 

Kono Store offers live group buys, updated regularly on their website. The website has received acclaim for its outstanding customer service, prompt delivery, and top-notch products, according to satisfied customers. You can purchase a wide range of products at the Kono Store, including keycap sets, mechanical keyboards, and enthusiast accessories.

Kono store offers high-quality mechanical keyboards, keycap set group buys
Kono store offers high-quality mechanical keyboards, keycap set group buys


CannonKeys offers a wide range of products, including keyboards, keysets, and other keyboard-related accessories. The purchasing procedure is simple, and you can still participate in ongoing group buys and pre-orders. However, make sure to check the listing you’re interested in for an end date to ensure you don’t miss out. 

The site has a dedicated page for group buy status updates, which you can visit for more information. The frequency of group buys varies, so it’s best to keep an eye on the site for updates.

Cannonkeys for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.
Cannonkeys for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.


KBDfans is a popular site for purchasing keycaps and keyboards. Group buys are held frequently on the site, with new ones being added regularly. When buying from KBDfans, it is important to note that the site is based in China and shipping times may vary depending on your location. 

You should divide your purchase into many ones if you order more than one item so the shipping is inexpensive or free. It's beneficial that the entire order won't face a blockade even if certain items are out of stock. 

KBDfans offers a variety of products, including keyboard DIY kits, keycaps, switches, and accessories. You can find more information about KBDfans and their products on their website.

Kbdfans - mechanical keyboards store 
Kbdfans - mechanical keyboards store


ClickClack offers an extensive range of products, including monitors, switches, keycaps, and accessories. The website frequently offers group buying; you can check the impending Groupbuys page to be informed about impending group buys. 

It's crucial to remember that ClickClack only takes PayPal payments when making purchases. Furthermore, none of the products on the website are eligible for returns or refunds, so before finishing your transaction, be sure you are happy with your purchase. 

The Vertex Arc60 keyboard kit, the Aeroboard70 (65%+5%) keyboard kit, and the Great Artist Lotus keycaps are a few of the items that may be purchased on ClickClack. A comprehensive inventory of items is offered for sale on the website's Group Buy and Keyboard Kits sections. 

Clickclack only takes paypal payments 
Clickclack only takes paypal payments

FAQs on Group Buys

Are group buys safe?

Yes, keycap, keyboard, and switch group buys are quite safe. Buying products from there allows you to try out various tools without spending a lot of money.

How do I join a Group Buy?

We’ve updated the list of the group buys you can join here:

  • Mechgroupbuys
  • Keycaplendar
  • Keycapsets
  • Kono Store
  • cannonkeys
  • KBDfans

Can I change or cancel my group buy order?

When you join keycap & keyboard group buys and switch group buys, it is non-refundable and non-cancelable.

Order changes are not allowed, and the non-cancellable rule only becomes null and void if a vendor is unable to meet the MOQ.

How long do Group Buys usually take?

Lead times for various group buy items vary. Group buys are generally unpredictable and may go on for a while. Even though the seller may provide you with an estimated time, unexpected problems might arise and lengthen the time it takes to complete your order.

Final Thoughts

Unquestionably, there is always a trade-off to getting something unique, especially if it comes from your idea.

Ordering your desired custom-made keyboards or keyboard accessories through a group buy is not also the exception.

Before making a decision in any group buy, remember to ask all questions that will satisfy your curiosity. There is nothing better than doing thorough research before dumping money out of your pocket.

Hope you get the items that are worth all the risks!