A keyboard stabilizer is crucial to most mechanical, vintage, or topre keyboards. The stabilizer helps prevent keys from wobbling, shaking, or tilting while gaming and typing. But keyboard stabilizers come in different types and sizes. So, what are the best keyboard stabilizers?
There are different styles and methods of installation of keyboard stabilizers, each with its ups and downs. However, the cherry stabilizer with a screw-in installation technique is the best as it is durable and allows users to replace it when necessary easily.
The stabilizer on your keyboard contributes to the typing feel and durability of the keyboard. Not all keys on a keyboard make use of stabilizers. And the number of stabilizers on your keyboard depends on your keyboard size.
Find out more about keyboard stabilizers below.
- Different Installation Techniques for Cherry Stabilizers
- Other Styles of Stabilizers on the Market
- Which Keys Requires Stabilizers?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Different Installation Techniques for Cherry Stabilizers
On the market today, there are about three different types of stabilizers that keyboard manufacturers use. However, cherry stabilizers are what most manufacturers focus on as it offers more advantage than others. One particular reason the cherry stabilizer is preferred is its flexibility, as it is the easiest to modify.
Unlike most stabilizers, a typical cherry stabilizer comprises three main components: the insert, the stabilizer bar, and the house. These components are assembled into one and mounted horizontally below the keycap. Hence, manufacturers can modify any of the components of the cherry stabilizer with various types of material and colors, making it the ideal stabilizer to get if you would like to customize your keyboard.
The cherry stabilizer may come with different mount types, such as plate mount, snap-in, and screw-in variations.
Technique #1: Plated Mounts
A plated mount stabilizer is a typical mounting style where the stabilizer is mounted directly on the printed circuit board. Plated mount stabilizers are cost-effective but less practical for longevity because they are not well-designed enough to reduce the vibration of keys to a minimal level.
Most manufacturers use this type of mount to attach the stabilizer to the metal plate with clips. To remove this type of stabilizer from the keyboard, you must first remove the switch by pressing the small plastic button while lifting the stabilizer simultaneously.
Technique #2: Screw-In Mounts
Another type of mount common with the cherry-style stabilizer is the screw-in mount, where the stabilizer is attached to the PCB with screws. This mount is the best as the stabilizers are much more stable and secure.
Moreover, with a screw-in stabilizer, the mount stays in place, even when the keycap is removed, making it easy for users to customize their keyboard how they want it. A screw-in mount type of stabilizer is not often found on a pre-built keyboard making them less common yet highly sought after.
Technique #3: Snap-In Mounts
Another stabilizer mount technique you will often find is the snap-in mount. This type of mount technique is not very effective as the mount. But when compared to other stabilizers like the plate mount, this mount is much better at reducing vibration. However, they are not quite as effective as screw-in stabilizer mounts.
However, the design of a snap-in mount is not the most durable. So, if you don’t have experience with how the snap-in mount works, you could damage your PCB when trying to remove this mount.
Other Styles of Stabilizers on the Market
Your keyboard may come with other types of stabilizers other than the cherry stabilizer. While the cherry stabilizer is preferred by many, this does not mean other stabilizers are unusable. The type of stabilizer you choose depends on your needs and budget. As such, other stabilizers you may find on some keyboards includes:
Style #1: Costar Stabilizer
The costar stabilizer is a rare type of stabilizer used today. You would often find this type of stabilizer on older series of keyboards, although some newer series of keyboards still feature this type of stabilizer for those who prefer it. The reason costar stabilizers are rarely used is that they are pretty tricky to apply.
The design of a costar stabilizer is such that they have to be connected to the keycap to fit snuggly. But the challenge most people face is getting the stabilizer bar to fit correctly into the keycap. Hence, you would find it quite tricky if you’d like to mod your keyboard and it features a costar stabilizer.
Apart from finding it challenging to mod a costar keyboard, it offers good performance and is an affordable option. However, having a costar stabilizer might not be suitable if you enjoy tinkering with your keyboard, swapping the keycap, or cleaning it.
Style #2: Optical Stabilizer
Another type of stabilizer you ought to know about is the optical stabilizer often found on keyboards with optical switches. This type of stabilizer has a funky design with small clips that insert into the keycaps. The keycap has to snap under the small clip that sticks right above the switch.
If you want a keyboard for easy modification, a keyboard with optical stabilizers is not the best option. But one advantage this keyboard has over others is its design; you could apply a small amount of lubrication to reduce rattle noise or sounds without damaging the keyboard.
Which Keys Requires Stabilizers?
Not every key on your keyboard makes use of stabilizers. Also, the size and type of keyboard you use can determine whether it would use stabilizers. The keys that often require stabilizers are the ones larger in size compared to other keys. Below is a list of keys on your keyboard that often use stabilizers.
- Caps lock.
- Right Shift.
- Left Shift.
- And some keys on the number pad.
A well-made stabilizer is constructed with solid plastic and metal capable of withstanding high temperatures and hard hits.
When you want a keyboard that uses a stabilizer, it is advisable to get one with a cherry-style stabilizer. This type of stabilizer makes it easy to customize and offers maximum performance. And if you would like to build your custom mechanical keyboard, opt for a cherry-style stabilizer with a screw-in mount.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your keyboard stabilizer could be stuck because it was pressed too hard, causing the handle on the PCB to shift or break. When this happens, you must remove the keycap and check the stabilizer to know if it is stuck or broken. If broken, use a tweezer to remove it, get a replacement and install it.
A rattling stabilizer is often caused by excessive vibration of the keys. If you don’t like the rattling noise, you can modify your keyboard to get rid of it. To get rid of a rattling stabilizer, you can cut one part of the stabilizer leg, add a band-aid to the screw, or lubricate the stabilizer to make it smoother.
To lubricate a cherry stabilizer, apply the lubricant to the point where the stabilizer is mounted on the PCB. This helps to reduce friction and dampen vibration, which could quickly damage its components.