Keycaps are the lifeblood of keyboards that we gamers and professional workers use with our computers. Every keycap has its own dimensions, layout, ergonomics, and everything in between. Even the height is different for each keycap.
You might be wondering, what are the height, width, and overall dimensions of a keycap on a keyboard? Well, that’s precisely what I’m here to tell you.
In this article, I’m going to talk about how tall a keycap is, how different keycaps have different sizes, keycap profiles, and why the keycap height matters. So, make sure you read this article till the end before you get brand new keycaps for your mechanical keyboards.
How Tall is a Keycap?
This question gets asked a lot around the internet and not many specific answers have been given. Well, that’s what I’m here for. So, let’s see what the answer to this question is.
The height of a keycap depends upon which row it belongs to. This is the only thing that matters in a keyboard. Different keyboard rows have different heights and you cannot expect all the rows of a keyboard to be the same height because then it becomes an ergonomics issue.
The most common and standard profile of keycaps used around the world in keyboards is OEM. It is an angled keycap design that is quite ergonomic and feels good while pressing. Although there are other profiles as well, they’re not as commonly used as OEM keycaps. So we’re going to delve deeply into the OEM keycaps and how tall they are.
Why Does Keycap Height Matter?
The million-dollar question some of you may be wondering about is, why does the keycap height matter in a keyboard? Well, there are several reasons for this actually.
The number one reason is ergonomics. The taller and more angled a keycap is, the easier it is to reach and press it however, that doesn’t mean that keycaps should be too tall, just enough.
Secondly, the efficiency of the click. When you compare OEM keycaps with others like Cherry or XDA, what you see usually is that the typing and pressing speed is faster in OEM keycaps simply because the fingers can reach them sooner.
This plays quite an important role when it comes to keyboard usage and is one of the main reasons why keycap height matters and why you’re currently reading this guide. So, it will surely benefit you by learning about the keycap height if you’re thinking of buying OEM keycaps for your keyboard.
Keycap Height Guide
So, what is the height of each keycap then? Depending upon the row the keycaps in, you can say, the height of the keycaps in a keyboard is divided into 4 sections respectively. Lucky for you, I’m going to tell you exactly what the height of each of the rows of keycaps is, on a keyboard with OEM profile keycaps. Let’s take a look at them.
|Keycap Row||Top Height||Bottom Height||Description|
|Row one||10.1mm||7.9mm||Bottom 2 rows|
|Row two||9.3mm||8mm||Row with ASD|
|Row three||9.3mm||9mm||Row with QWERTY|
|Row Four||11.4mm||10.8mm||Numbers and Functions|
Height of the R1 Keycap Row
It’s actually pretty fascinating because R1 is two rows on the keyboard. One of the rows is the one with the Windows Key along with the Spacebar key and the other R1 row is right on top of this row which is the one containing “Z, X, C, etc.” alphanumeric keys along with the Shift keys.
When it comes to the height, this row is actually 10.10mm from the top and the lower angle is 7.90mm. The spacebar key has a smoother curve whereas the other R1 keys angle downward from lower end to upper end which makes them pretty ergonomic and easy to reach.
Height of the R2 Keycap Row
When it comes to the R2 row keycaps, the curve is straight but the angle is reduced to make pressing easier and accessible. This row comes to the “A, S, D, etc.” along with the Caps Lock key and if you have a full-sized keyboard, the “4, 5, 6” Numpad keycaps as well.
If you’re thinking about the height of the R2 keycaps, the taller side has a height of 9.30mm whereas the shorter angled side has a height of 8.00mm and the angle of the curve is still high to low from the lower end to the upper end of the keycaps.
Height of the R3 Keycap Row
The R3 keycap row is where things start to get a little straighter, however, there’s still a slight angle like the R1, R2 keycaps in this row as well. It includes the “QWERTY” as well as a few special characters and some numbers too making it one of the more important rows.
In terms of height, the taller side is 9.30mm whereas the shorter side is just slightly under with 9.00mm height. Still, the angling is the same and you’re going to see that the lower side is taller than the upper side but just slightly for ergonomic purposes.
Height of the R4 Keycap Row
Now, like the R1 keycap row, the R4 keycap row also covers two rows on the keyboard which are the top two rows. This section of the keycaps includes the numeric row as well as the much-important Function Key row right at the top of the keyboard.
The height of the taller side of the keycap is 11.40mm whereas the shorter side is 10.80mm. The angle finally changes direction and the upper side is now taller than the lower side making kind of a V ergonomic shape on the keyboard with the keycap angling. It’s quite cool and elegant, the design of OEM keycaps and definitely one of the best.
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to keycap height and size, many keyboard enthusiasts seem clueless. So, I decided to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding keycap height. Let’s take a look at them.
Are all Keycaps the same height?
In OEM, and Cherry MX profile, not all keycaps are the same size. However, one surprising profile of keycaps is the DSA family. In this profile, most of the keycaps are standard sized and have the same height.
What are Keycap Sizes?
Keycap sizes are basically the width a keycap occupies on the keyboard. Different keycaps have different sizes. It is measured in terms of units and usually noted as 1u or 2u etc.
|2U Key||2 Units|
|L-Shift Key||2.25 units|
|R-Shift Key||2.5 units|
|Caps Lock||1.75 units|
|Enter Key||2.25 units|
What is 1u Key?
The standard smallest keycap size is 1u. It means that the keycap is 1 unit. Most of the keys on a keyboard are 1 unit with gaps between them to make pressing easier.
How big is 1u Key?
The 1-unit key is the smallest unit in the case of keycaps. The dimensions of a standard 1u keycap can be around 19.05×19.05mm which is the case in most keyboards.
What is 2u Key?
The 2u key is a key that has a size of 2 units. A 2-unit key is mostly elongated because of difficult reachability and to make pressing easier, the surface area is increased.
How is the Spacebar Measured?
The spacebar key is measured pretty simply. All you need to do is measure the number of 1u keys over the spacebar key and you’ll have the size of the spacebar on your keyboard.
What is the standard size of the Spacebar?
Typically, all spacebars on standard keyboards are the same size. The size of a spacebar key is 6.25u or 6.25 units. However, if there is a split spacebar, then it’s half the size mentioned.
What is the Standard L-shift Key size?
Depending upon the layout, the standard Left shift key size is 2.25u. This key stretches 2.25 units along the keyboard to make it comfortably pressable for the user.
What is the Caps Lock Key Size?
The standard size of the Caps Lock key which is quite often pressed on the keyboard is 1.75 units. It is a very important key and takes a good amount of space for it.
What is the standard Enter key size?
If you’re using a standard ISO keyboard, the Enter key is going to be 2.25 units. Just like the shift key and the Caps Lock, the Enter key is also a very highly used key.
How do you know if a key will fit in your keyboard?
There’s no rocket science behind it. You need to simply check the size of your keyboard’s keycaps and the switch design to know if a keycap is going to fit in your keyboard.
Can all keys fit in all keyboards?
Different keyboards have different switches and layouts which basically means that not all keys can fit in all keyboards. The profiles and switch layouts need to match.
Keycap height is crucial for all keyboard users no matter if they’re using a membrane keyboard, semi-mechanical, or a fully mechanical keyboard. With this guide, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting when you’re buying keycaps on your own or a keyboard with high-quality keycaps.
I hope you learned a lot from this piece and that you’re going to get the perfect keycaps for your keyboard. So, make sure that you use this knowledge to have a great keyboarding experience!