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Are Razer Keyboards Hot Swappable? The Quick Answer…


razer ornata chroma gaming keyboard 1

Eventually, most experienced keyboard owners are going to tinker around with changing switches on their keyboard. Even then, it’s nice to have a keyboard that won’t require a high level of effort to swap switches.

Are Razer keyboards hot swappable? Currently, there are no hot swappable keyboards in the Razer keyboard lineup.

It is going to be a much more difficult task to hot-swap a switch on a Razer keyboard and will require extra tools as well.

Are Razer Keyboards Hot Swappable?

No, Razer keyboards are not hot-swappable at this moment, and if a key fails you are either going to buy a new keyboard or take your chances soldering and try to swap out your keyboard the difficult way.

Here is a great video of someone replacing switches on a Razer Blackwidow if you choose to go down that route:

In general, I recommend that all people looking for a new keyboard currently get one that is hot-swappable as it makes maintaining the keyboard over time much easier.

If you are looking for a new keyboard right now, we will have our favorite hot swappable keyboard below so you see a good example of a keyboard that can last you a long time.

Why you Would Want to Hot-Swap a Keyboard

Most of the time people hot swap a switch when it begins to break. Considering it’s so easy to do and inexpensive it is a great solution that can prolong the life of your keyboard.

Other times, people who are bored of their current keyboard and want to switch it up (pun intended) will swap out the switch to achieve a new feel on their keyboard.

Let’s say you originally bought a mechanical keyboard with brown-switches that just didn’t quite feel right, but you didn’t want to return it and try again on a new keyboard with different switches.

That’s where with a hot swappable keyboard you could simply buy a pack of switches that are a different type, put them into your new keyboard and find what you were looking for without too much extra hassle.

In either case, you are saving a good amount of money by not having to buy a whole new keyboard and instead replacing a few switches or even putting new switches on the whole keyboard.

You can easily buy the individual switches online and typically they will come in a pack of 10 or some quantity close to that.

Not every switch works on every hot swappable keyboard though. There are a few things you need to check to make sure you are buying compatible switches that will work with your keyboards design.

We will talk more about compatibility when buying switches later in this article.

What is a good hot-swappable keyboard?

If you are curious about hot swappable keyboards but don’t want to spend a fortune trying one out then we have a good choice for you!

Personally, I am a fan of the GK61 Mechanical Keyboard by HK Gaming. Not only are the switches hot swappable but they are also optical.

Optical switches are relatively new the gaming keyboard scene, but they have much faster response times than a traditional gaming keyboard!

Not to completely nerd out on you, but the optical switches are using an infrared beam to trigger clicks. When you push down a key it removes a block on the beam and triggers the click for very fast input time.

Optical switches are less-common than regular mechanical switches, but you can still find them on various sites.

This is also a 60% keyboard so for those of you that prefer a more compact keyboard that won’t take up your entire desk this perfect.

The keycaps are made from an ABS material which may be a turn-off for some who don’t like the feel of this. I personally don’t mind, but when it comes to this matter it can be rather subjective.

ABS keys are known to shine quicker, and aren’t as thick as PBT but it also depends on what the quality of either keys are.

If either keycap is made poorly by the company then it won’t matter ultimately as they will feel about as good as how they were made.

In the case of this keyboard, if you don’t like the feel of the keycaps then you can always replace them with a better set you want to try.

The primary drawback of this keyboard is the software. I don’t think anyone that uses this keyboard is a huge fan of it as it can be quite confusing to use.

With all these cool features and a compact size, you can get this keyboard on Amazon for a fantastic price.

How to Hot Swap a Keyboard the right way

Although hot swappable keyboards make changing switches easier there a few things you should know before you begin switching.

You need to first make sure you are using the correct switches when replacing your current ones. To do that you must check the following:

  1. Check your pins, see whether you are using 3-pin or 5-pin switches. This information should be available somewhere in the manual or on the sales page. If can’t find it you can always pull out one of your switches and look for the pins on the bottom. However, if you have an optical keyboard it has a completely different type of switch!
  2. Check your switch type, if you are using an optical keyboard you need to get optical switches to replace them. Optical switches use unique technology the requires only optical switches to replace them. Optical switches don’t run on the pin system so you cannot put traditional mechanical switches in their place.
  3. Take the opportunity to shop around! See if you want to use a different color switch, maybe the linear browns are great but you still want to give the reds a try. Now is a great chance to change things up and give your keyboard a different feel if you don’t like your current switches.

After you buy the correct switches for your keyboard, and you have your key puller ready, you can begin hot swapping!

Here is the quick list breakdown of how to hot swap keys:

  1. Unplug your keyboard. For obvious reasons, it’s never good to work on electrical items while they are on.
  2. Remove the keycaps on the switches you want to replace and set them aside.
  3. Get out your switch puller and grasp the switch by the sides using the prongs. Gently pull the switches from your keyboard. Repeat this with the other switches you are replacing.
  4. Place in the new switches that are replacing the old ones. Make sure you correctly position the pins on the bottom of the switch with the keyboard socket so you don’t bend the pin.
  5. Put the keycaps back on and test your keyboard to make sure the new switches are all functioning properly.

Here is a great video resource that takes you through the step by step for those than are more visual learners:

Do You Need a Hot Swappable Keyboard?

Ultimately, you don’t need a hot swappable keyboard, you could get a very costly Razer keyboard that lasts you a few good gears and upgrade to a new fancy one after that.

If you want a keyboard with the potential to last longer or are new to gaming keyboards and want to be able to try different switches without buying multiple keyboards I recommend a hot swappable keyboard.

As we showed, it isn’t that hard to do, and can be done in 30 minutes to an hour depending on how many keys you have to swap out.

Also, if you don’t see a hot-swappable keyboard that you like you can always build your own!

All you would need is a barebones hot swappable keyboard, your favorite type of switches, some cool keycaps, and you are good to go.

If you want to see how that process looks check out this video by Randomfrankp:

Tom

I've been a PC gamer and builder for around 3 years now but my love for gaming spans many years all the way back to the Nintendo 64! Getting into PC gaming there was a lot of information that was hard to understand so I made it my mission to make PC gaming easy!

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