Double-Shot Vs. Dye-Sub Keycaps: Understanding The Differences

Double-Shot Vs. Dye-Sub Keycaps Understanding The Differences


When it comes to building your customised keyboard, selecting the ideal keycaps is one of the most crucial processes. Not only do the custom keycaps contribute to the overall aesthetic. They also affect the tactile experience of the keyboard. With numerous keycaps available on the market, you might wonder how to select the one that best fits your needs.


Thankfully, most mechanical keyboard enthusiasts generally defer to the two most popular options – double-shot or dye-sub keycaps. With that said, you will likely still have a dilemma deciding between both options. So to help you make an informed decision, let us compare both choices and share the differences between each keycap.


Understanding what double-shot and dye-sublimation mean


Understanding what double-shot and dye-sublimation mean-custom keycaps


Before we get to the comparison, you might be wondering what these jargons mean. That is a fair question, especially if you are a newcomer to the world of custom mechanical keyboards. In summary, double-shot and dye-sublimation refer to the manufacturing processes used to produce these custom keycaps.


Double-shot keycaps utilise injection moulding to insert the legend. Meanwhile, dye-sub keycaps involve the process of printing via heat. Regardless of your decision, you can rest assured that both keycap options offer excellent durability with a smooth-to-the-touch feel.


Comparing double-shot and dye-sub keycaps


Comparing Double-Shot And Dye-Sub Keycaps-Custom Keycap


Difference #1: Durability


Some keyboard enthusiasts mistakenly assume that dye-sublimation printing is not durable since the legends are printed onto the keycaps. However, aside from double-shot keycaps, dye-sublimation is the most reliable manufacturing process. Nevertheless, the lettering can wear down after prolonged usage as the surface of the keycap begins to fade. But the marking will remain thanks to the heat treatment process used to engrave the legend onto the keycap.


Conversely, double-shot keycaps offer lasting visibility since the legend is a separate piece of plastic injected into the keycap. As a result, there is near zero chance of the marking ever fading. However, at the end of the day, both manufacturing methods are robust and offer excellent durability, so you will not go wrong with either option. But if you want the most durable custom keycap, double-shot sets are the obvious choice.


Difference #2: Aesthetics


The popularity of double-shot and dye-sublimation sets are often due to the quality and clarity of the legends on the surface of the keycaps. As a result, keyboard enthusiasts can expect the keycaps to look sharp and aesthetically pleasing. However, low-quality dye-sub sets occasionally suffer from a visual phenomenon known as “fuzzy-looking letters”. Meanwhile, this is not an issue for double-shot keycaps.


Another aesthetic difference is the colour options available for both manufacturing methods. Due to its printing process, dye-sub legends must be darker than the custom keycap they are printed on, thus limiting its colour options. As a result, most dye-sub sets feature lighter colours.


On the other hand, double-shot keycaps can incorporate a wider variety of colours since the legends and base colours utilise separate plastic layers. That gives them an advantage over dye-sub keycaps. So if you prefer a dark-coloured set with maximum contrast or more vibrant hues for your customised keyboard, double-shot keycaps are the ideal choice.


Difference #3: Material


Dye-sub keycaps are limited to PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) plastic, as this material can withstand the high temperatures involved in the dye-sublimation printing process. While double-shot keycaps are also made from plastic, they have a broader selection, including ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and POM (polyoxymethylene). The type of plastic chosen for your custom keycap can affect its durability, feel, and sound.


Difference #4: Price


Naturally, as the manufacturing process for double-shot keycaps is more challenging and resource-intensive, double-shot sets are usually more expensive than their dye-sub counterparts. Even the high-end dye-sub keycaps feature a price range similar to the lower-end double-shot keycaps.


But just because dye-sublimation is less expensive does not mean it is necessarily worse. It remains an excellent option for those using non-backlit customised keyboards. Nevertheless, acquiring a double-shot set is well worth the extra money. So if you have the budget, why not purchase the better-looking keycap with more varied colour options?


At the end of the day, dye-sub and double-shot keycaps offer excellent quality and long-lasting durability. So you cannot go wrong with either option. Consider the trade-offs between durability, aesthetics, material, and price to determine the custom keycap that suits your preferences and requirements. By weighing these factors, you can enhance the look and functionality of your mechanical keyboard while achieving a personalised typing experience.


Look no further than The Masked Studio if you are looking for quality custom keycaps to build your own mechanical keyboard. We carry a comprehensive range of keycaps from reputable brands like AKKO and Keychron, so you are sure to find a set that suits your preferences and requirements. Do not hesitate to visit our website today to view our catalogue of products.


Learn More: Choosing Your Keyboard Customisation With Akko Keycaps

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