Hot swappable vs soldering keyboard: Comparison, Pros & Cons

There are many different types of keyboards. One type is the hot swappable keyboard. This type of keyboard is not soldered to the motherboard, so it can be easily removed and replaced with a new one. The other type of keyboard is the soldered one, which cannot be removed. This article will compare these two types of keyboards and determine which is best for you.

Hot swappable vs soldering keyboard: Comparision, Pros & Cons

Hot swappable vs soldering keyboard

When you have the freedom to customize a device according to your liking it is desired more. Hot swappable keyboards are such devices that enable you to customize them according to your liking. On the other hand, soldered keyboards provide you with long life and sturdy build. Let us dive into a distinction between these two keyboards to know about their potential advantages and disadvantages.

Hot SwappableSoldering
The keys on the board can be easily changed by simply pulling the switch.The keys on the board are soldered and require de-soldering to remove them for replacement
Doesn’t involve soldering and attaching any wire to the key switch and the boardIt requires individual soldering of the keys into the board with the wires.
Doesn’t require a skill in solderingRequires proper skill in soldering. Otherwise, you may damage the keyboard and you may even harm yourself.
There are two types of pins available in the switch: 3-pin switch and 5-pin switchThe type of switch differs according to the type of keyboard used
The 5-pin switch is more stable and doesn’t come out easily when compared to 3-pin switchOnce soldered, the keys don’t come out easily and stay in place for a long time.
There are different types of switches used in these keyboards and the user may choose anything that suits their liking.This type also has different types of switches and the user may choose whatever suits their requirement.
The hot swap enables them to modify the keyboard as they like it but you have to look for the type of switch your key is compatible with and the number of pins it has to connect with.If you have the proper skill to de-solder, soldering equipment, and knowledge about PCBs you can modify the keyboard as you like it. But there is always the risk of the keyboard being damaged.
Sometimes the pin or the type of switch may become incompatible with the key socket.If you buy the right type of switch and keys, no compatibility issues will arise.

Are all hot swap keyboards the same?

Hot swap keyboards are similar for the most part except in the number of pins the switches have and the type of switch. The switches may have a 3-pin configuration or a 5-pin configuration. 

A 3-pin configuration has only three pins that connect to the key socket. Whereas the 5-pin configuration has two extra legs that provide more stability to the key socket and doesn’t allow it to remove easily from the board. 

Apart from this, the type of switch may vary from soft, tactile with mild feedback, and tactile with a loud click sound. This classification is present with the color configuration of the cherry switches for mechanical keyboards.

Each color provides a distinct specification on how the key travels, actuates, feedback, and responds. The hot swap keyboards also have the same classification as key switches. Other than these differences, there aren’t any distinguishing features from the keyboards. 

So, when you are buying a hot swap keyboard, you must look out for the switch type and the number of pins available on the switch. This will help you to customize the switch as you like in the future.  

Why hot swappable keyboards are getting popular?

Hot swappable keyboards are always popular due to their freedom of customization. Especially gamers are more enthusiastic about mechanical keyboards and in particular, these hot swappable keyboards are desired by them more. Because

  • You can change the color of the socket as you like
  • You can easily rearrange the sockets
  • The ability to use backlit switches and sockets without any soldering

Due to such advantages, these keyboards are popular. Even though these keyboards are very costly, it is more desired for their tactile feedback and clicky nature. Combined with the customizing nature, these keyboards are fun and useful in many aspects.

Is soldered keyboards are durable?

Soldered keyboards are more durable than standard keyboards because they have a higher tolerance for heat. The solder can withstand high temperatures without melting, so the keyboard is less likely to become damaged.

The soldering process also ensures that there are no gaps between the keys and metal contact points, which prevents dust from getting in and causing problems with the circuit.

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Pros and Cons of hot swappable keyboards 

Most keyboards on the market today are not hot swappable. There are some pros and cons for hot swappable keyboards as follows:

Pros

  • Hot swappable keyboards are an excellent way to reduce the time it takes to switch between tasks.
  • They are a good option for people who work in environments where they need to switch between tasks quickly.
  • They make it easier for people who have dexterity problems.
  • Hot swappable keyboards can be customized and tailored to suit individual needs.

Cons

  • Hot swappable keyboards require more desk space than regular keyboards.
  • They can be expensive, especially if they are customized and tailored to suit individual needs.

Pros and Cons of Soldered Keyboard

A soldered keyboard is a keyboard that has been permanently connected to the motherboard. There are a few advantages and disadvantages as follows:

Pros

  • Soldered keyboards can last longer than hot swaps due to the keys being soldered to the board.
  • The keys don’t fall off the board at all.
  • There are more layout options in soldered keyboards

Cons

  • Requires soldering skills to make any repairs or changes to the keyboard
  • Requires a full-fledged soldering kit and a de-soldering kit
  • The maintenance of the keyboard might be hard
  • Any liquid spill might damage the board. 

Which keyboard do we recommend (Hot Swappable or Soldered)?

Those who are going to try mechanical keyboards for the first time and want to enjoy the customization option, then you must go with hot swappable. They are very easy to use and handle. You can also play around with it and don’t have to worry about any kind of damage to the keyboard. If you have the right set of sockets, you can have fun with it by rearranging the keys easily. 

But if you are not into customization and prefer a long-lasting keyboard, then you have to choose the soldered one. It works better and keeps the key in place, unlike the hot swap keyboard. 

Conclusion

Keyboards are personal preferences of people and they must choose them according to their liking. But in order to do that, you must know some technical details about keyboards to choose the right setup. This guide on hot swap keyboards and soldered keyboards will let you choose the best one for you without any difficulty. 

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