Have a 65 hot-swappable mechanical keyboard and looking to upgrade your switches but not sure how many you need?
A 65 keyboard will use anywhere between 67 and 70 switches depending on the configuration and layout of your keyboard.
But what about keycaps and stabilizers?
Below I’ve covered everything you need to know to upgrade your switches on your 65 keyboard.
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How Many Switches Do You Need for a 65% Keyboard?
Typically, a 65 percent keyboard uses anywhere from 67 to 70 switches depending on layout and configuration.
The reason that it may be up to 70 switches is because on some 65 keyboards you can split the spacebar which means you can use up to a total of 70 switches.
If your keyboard includes a split spacebar key you will need at least 2 additional switches to provision the split feature.
Even if you don’t need to split your spacebar, it’s never hurts to have backups and replacement switches available.
Better to do the job just once!
So when you’re shopping for your new switches plan on picking up 70 switches for your 65% keyboard.
How Many Keys Are on a 65% Keyboard?
In most instances 65% keyboard contains 67-68 keys.
65 is NOT the number of keys, but the size in comparison to a full-sized keyboard.
This number can vary a little depending on the configuration specs from the keyboard’s manufacturer.
As mentioned before, some 65 keyboards have the ability to split your spacebar, so that could affect the number of keys, but nothing substantially.
It can also be affected by the size of the keys the manufacturer uses.
Some manufacturers will use smaller 1.5u keys between the left arrow and the spacebar while others opt for a sequence of 3 1u keys.
As an example, the Durgod Hades uses 3 sequential 1u keys in that position:
The Drop ALT pictured below opts for the 1.5u keys in that position:
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If the sizing terms sound odd, it’s actually pretty simple. 1u means 1 unit. This is the standard, square-ish shape that’s used for your alphanumeric keys (A-Z, and 0-9). 1.5u means 1.5 units, 2u means 2 units, and so on. All the key sizes are based on the 1u size and go from there.
How Many Stabilizers Does a 65% Keyboard Use?
Generally speaking, a 65% keyboard will 4 to 5 stabilizers for the buttons.
The great thing about a super compact keyboard like a 65 is that the pack a lot of punch in such a small frame.
But sometimes because the space is optimized so tightly some manufacturers use a right shift key that’s bigger than 1.75u (the standard shift key size for most keyboards). It gives you a nice, full, complete look, but it also means that you will need to pick up an additional stabilizer for that key to avoid performance issues.
Stabilizers on most standard 65 keyboard layouts are only on the the spacebar, the enter key, the left shift key, along with the backspace key.
There are a variety of 3rd party aftermarket stabilizer kits you can get to improve the performance of your keyboard. Keep in mind, stabilizers aren’t universal – some are plate-mount, and some are PCB mount, so make sure you’re getting the right set for your keyboard.
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