Why Mechanical Keyboards Are So Heavy

If you’ve used a mechanical keyboard or held one in your hands, you’ve likely noticed they are significantly heavier than membrane keyboards, commonly found in offices and other workspaces. So, why are these keyboards so heavy?

1. Mechanical Keyboard Cases Use Thick and Heavy Materials

All the working components of a mechanical keyboard reside in the case. This is the bottom part of the keyboard and typically uses materials like plastic and metal, though sometimes wood is also used.

Plastic Cases

Cheaper keyboards often use acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic. While ABS plastic is cost-effective, it is also durable. Adding weight to the case stabilizes the base, preventing movement during typing or gaming on smooth surfaces, which enhances accuracy.

Metallic Cases

In mid to upper price ranges, you’ll find cases made of metallic materials like aluminum or stainless steel. Metallic cases are more durable and longer-lasting, often crafted from a single block of metal, which makes them heavier. For example, anodized aluminum is a common material in premium keyboards. These materials are preferred for their durability and the distinct sound they produce when typing.

Heavy cases are often associated with premium products, which is why manufacturers add weight to their keyboards.

2. Keyboard Cases Can Include Metallic or Wooden Inserts

Mechanical keyboards are highly customizable. Some users prefer heavier keyboards to prevent movement during heavy typing or gaming. Others may seek to change the sound profile of the keyboard.

Adding inserts at the bottom of the case can increase the weight. Inserts made of brass, stainless steel, or even wood can add significant weight, improving the keyboard’s stability and feel. These inserts can add up to 2.2 lbs (1 kg) to the keyboard’s weight.

3. Mechanical Keyboards Have High-Quality Keycaps

Mechanical keyboards provide a superior typing experience, and keycaps play a crucial role. High-quality keycaps are often reserved for premium models, but many users upgrade their keycaps to enhance the tactile feel.

Types of Keycaps and Materials

Keycaps come in various shapes and sizes, such as Cherry, DSA, OEM, SA, and XDA, and are typically made from ABS or PBT plastic.

  • Ceramic Keycaps: Heavier than plastic keycaps, ceramic keycaps can weigh around 0.13 oz (3.75 g) per key. Replacing all keys on a 100% keyboard with ceramic keycaps can add significant weight.
  • PBT Plastic Keycaps: These keycaps are thicker and heavier than ABS keycaps, improving the typing experience.
  • Artisan Keycaps: These are often heavier and made from materials like resin, wood, plastic, and metal. They add a creative touch but can significantly increase the keyboard’s weight.

4. Switches Increase Keyboard Weight

Mechanical keyboards use individual switches for each key, unlike membrane keyboards that use a single membrane. Each switch can weigh at least 0.03 oz (1 g). The total weight of the switches depends on the keyboard layout. For example, a 60% keyboard’s switches can contribute around 2.18 oz (62 g) to the overall weight.

Switches are crucial for the typing feel, sound, and the amount of pressure required for key actuation.

5. The PCB Contributes to the Mechanical Keyboard’s Weight

The PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is an essential component, converting electrical signals from key presses into inputs for the computer. The PCB contains resistors, LEDs, USB ports, and supporting circuitry, adding to the keyboard’s weight. A typical PCB can weigh over 3.5 oz (100 g).

6. Plate, Stabilizers, and Other Parts Affect the Weight

Keyboard Plate

The plate holds the switches in place and affects the typing sound. Plates made from materials like aluminum, brass, or stainless steel are heavier and can weigh over 1.7 oz (50 g).


Larger keys like the space bar, backspace, enter, and shift need stabilizers to remain balanced. Good quality stabilizers and the connecting metallic wire can add over 1 oz (28.3 g) to the keyboard’s weight.

Miscellaneous Parts

Premium keyboards often include additional components like rubber or foam to improve sound and feel. These materials absorb sound when keycaps bottom out, slightly increasing the keyboard’s overall weight.


Mechanical keyboards are heavy due to their thick, durable materials, high-quality keycaps, individual switches, and additional components like the PCB, plate, and stabilizers. This weight enhances stability, durability, and the overall typing experience, making mechanical keyboards a preferred choice for many users.

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