RGB lighting usually is a mechanical keyboard’s most visually attractive feature, with plenty of room for customization and creativity. But most keycap sets only have shine-through legends, which might not be enough to really showcase your lighting. That’s where the best pudding keycaps come into the picture.
“What is a pudding keycap,” you ask? Pudding keycaps feature translucent inscriptions and sides, with only a small part of the top colored solid like usual keycaps. This means they let a lot more RGB lighting through than traditional keycaps, perfect for those seeking to take their RGB keyboards to the next level.
- Best Pudding Keycaps Overall: YMDK Doubleshot Shine Through Pudding Keycaps is a high-quality double-shot set with 140 keys covering almost all layout permutations.
- Best Pudding Keycaps Runner-Up: SteelSeries Prismcaps have large, clear fonts that let much more light through than competitors.
- Best Colorful Pudding Keycaps: HK Gaming Pudding Keycaps come in a variety of colors, including two-tone colorways.
- Best Value Pudding Keycaps: XVX Pudding Keycaps offer 160-plus double-shot keys at a remarkably low price.
Our Favorite Pudding Keycaps
Before we start, it’s important to point out that we’ll be using some keycap-specific terminology here, such as “PBT keycaps,” “double shot,” and “OEM profile.” If you’re new to keyboards, then these might be unfamiliar terms.
If so, we recommend checking out our guide to keycap types before going further. It’ll explain keycap materials like PBT plastic and the different keycap profiles that you’ll encounter when shopping for keycaps.
YMDK might not be a household name, but the Chinese company makes many great DIY keyboard kits and high-quality aftermarket keycap sets. So it’s no surprise that the company also has a great set of pudding keycaps for sale, too.
Like most other manufacturers, YMDK’s pudding keycaps are made of double-shot PBT plastic with shine-through legends in the OEM profile. The keycaps have decently thick walls, although they definitely can’t compete with non-pudding PBT sets here. But they still feel good to type on and will satisfy all but the pickiest keycap enthusiasts.
It’s worth noting that a few competing pudding keycap sets have the same font and legends as this YMDK set. Keycaps like the HyperX Pudding Keycaps look almost identical, leading us to believe that many companies are simply rebranding YMDK’s keycaps as their own.
The best thing about these YMDK caps is that they include almost every extra keycap you’ll need for different layouts. You get ISO keys, a short right Shift for 75% layouts, and differently-sized modifiers and spacebar keys compatible with non-standard bottom rows. This set covers almost every permutation of layout and bottom row you’ll find on mainstream keyboards, making this a safe buy no matter what keyboard you own.
YMDK’s pudding keycaps retail for more than most other sets, but the extra keycaps and high-quality materials go some way to justify the price. These YMDK pudding caps come in black and white and are a great way to elevate your mechanical keyboard aesthetic.
SteelSeries is best known for its keyboards and mice, but the company also makes a great set of pudding keycaps that it dubs the Prismcaps. They’re priced competitively and look great, making them a set well worth checking out if you’re shopping around.
The Prismcaps are OEM-profile, double-shot PBT keycaps with standard translucent sides. They’re reasonably thick, which gives them a slightly more satisfying sound, although they’re nowhere near as thick as many high-quality solid keycaps from companies like GMK.
We particularly like the legends on these SteelSeries pudding keycaps; the clear, all-caps font looks great and is much clearer and thicker than most other sets. They let a lot more light shine through, making them perfect for RGB backlighting.
The SteelSeries Prismcaps are a standard 104-key set currently only available in the common ANSI English layout. You don’t get any short right Shifts or other keycaps needed for non-standard configurations like 65% or 75%.
However, you do get a couple of alternate bottom row options compatible with non-standard bottom rows. This makes the SteelSeries Prismacaps compatible with products from rival manufacturers like Corsair, which is a nice touch.
Overall, SteelSeries’ Prismcaps aren’t quite as compatible as some other offerings, but they stand out with their clear, bold font and the extra vibrancy they allow for. If you’re sticking to a standard layout, this pudding keycap set is worth your time.
The SteelSeries Prismcaps are available in black and white.
Many pudding keycap sets are quite dull, relying on the shine-through RGB for visual flair. But that’s not the case with HK Gaming’s pudding keycaps, which stand out from the crowd with their vibrant colorways.
Fundamentally, the HK Gaming pudding caps are similar to most other offerings. They’re OEM-profile, PBT keycaps made using the double shot method. The legends are similar to competing sets, too.
So far, so standard. But HK Gaming took the welcome step of releasing its keycaps in a ton of different colors. Of course, the basic black and white colors are available, but why go for those when you can choose from red, yellow, and “pistachio” colorways, amongst others?
Interestingly, HK Gaming’s pudding keycaps also come in several two-tone colorways. The highlight here is the Miami colorway that faithfully recreates the classic pink and teal Miami keycap set from a few years ago. The two-tone variants look great and open up a new world of color combos you wouldn’t get with plain black or white caps.
The main downside of HK Gaming’s pudding keycaps is that they only support standard ANSI and ISO layouts, with no support for alternate bottom rows or 75% keyboards. Unfortunately, you’ll have to look elsewhere if your board doesn’t have a standard bottom row.
Overall, the HK Gaming pudding keycaps are some of the most colorful pudding keycaps you can get. Their compatibility is slightly limited, but those with standard keyboards will have a lot of fun with all the colors on offer.
If you want to add some pudding keycap goodness to your keyboard for not a lot of money, XVX’s pudding keycaps are likely your best bet.
These XVX (or Womier) pudding keycaps are the usual double-shot PBT offering, with the standard OEM profile of all other pudding caps. However, the company uses different double-shot molds than most other pudding keycaps, as evidenced by the modifier keys’ legends.
For example, instead of the arrows for Shift and Caps Lock on most other sets, these XVX keycaps have a combination of text and arrow symbols for keys such as Shift, Enter, and Backspace. If you don’t like the symbol-only legends on sets like the YMDK and HK Gaming keycaps, these XVX pudding keycaps might be more of your thing.
What we particularly like about the XVX keycaps is that they include a ton of extra keys, including ISO keycaps and all the ones you’ll need for 75% layouts and non-standard bottom rows. You get more keys than most pudding keycaps, with 165 keys total. So, get these if you need a pudding keycap set to cover all the core mechanical keyboard layouts.
It’s worth noting that XVX is also one of the few companies (aside from Razer) selling “phantom” keycaps. These are similar to pudding keycaps, albeit with almost fully-transparent sides and “stealth” legends that are only visible when you enable RGB lighting. They’re an interesting variation on the pudding keycap style, although likely not for everyone.
If you’re on a budget or want slightly different legends on your keycaps, then the XVX pudding keycaps are a great choice. The fact that you get enough keys to cover almost all bases for around $15 is the icing on the cake, making this one of the cheapest ways to spruce up your mechanical keyboard.
A Note on Compatibility
The most crucial factor to pay attention to when buying a pudding keycap set (or any keycap set) is compatibility with your keyboard’s layout. While 75% or 65% mechanical keyboards have relatively obvious non-standard keys such as a short right Shift or 1u modifiers, even ostensibly “standard” 104-key mechanical keyboards can have some non-standard features that might trip you up.
The most common example is the non-standard bottom row on keyboards from companies like Corsair. For context, here’s the common 104-key layout with a standard bottom row you’ll find on most mechanical keyboards. Note the 1.25-unit modifier keys and the 6.25-unit spacebar.
Most aftermarket keycap sets are designed with the standard bottom row configuration in mind. They may not come with the different-length spacebar and modifier keys needed to work with other layout types.
Here’s one type of non-standard bottom row, usually found on Corsair boards like the Strafe RGB Mk. 2. You have a 6.5-unit spacebar, 1.5-unit Control keys, 1.25-unit Alt keys, and 1-unit Win and Menu keys.
Not sure what we mean by “6.5-unit” or “1.25-unit”? It’s quite simple.
The primary keycap size is the one used for the alphanumeric keys. These are single-unit, often shortened to “1u” keycaps. All keycap sizes derive from this basic unit. So a 1.25u keycap is one-quarter keycaps wide, while a 6.5-unit spacebar is six-and-a-half standard keycaps wide.
These non-standard bottom rows are widespread on mechanical gaming keyboards, especially older ones. Companies like Razer and Logitech have moved towards more standard bottom rows in recent years, but their older mechanical keyboards will still throw some curveballs if you try installing standard bottom row keycaps on them.
If you’re using a gaming keyboard and want to install a pudding keycap set on it, make sure that the set you’re buying has the right keycaps for your keyboard’s bottom row.
Most pudding keycaps on the market are generally quite similar, as they’re all double-shot PBT keycaps in the OEM profile. So if you’re shopping around for a set, don’t get too hung up on the finer details of materials or build quality. Instead, ensure that the keycaps include the keys you need for your layout and that it comes in a color you like.
That said, the YMDK Doubleshot Shine Through Pudding Keycaps are a cut above the competition in terms of overall quality, so they’re our top recommendation if you want a pudding keycap set. But the XVX Pudding Keycaps should work great, too, especially at half the price.