Now's the perfect time for you to dive down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole

Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra with GMMK Pro Desk Setup
(Image credit: Android Central / Andrew Myrick)

Few things in life are as satisfying as coming up with an idea, executing said idea, and seeing just how well it turns out when you've accomplished the task. This can be applied to a lot of things in life, especially when you build something yourself.

It's part of the reason why I have become so infatuated with mechanical keyboards over the past few years, moving away from low-profile alternatives that just aren't ergonomic (or fun). The majority of folks will probably just use whatever cheap keyboards they can get their hands on, but the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole offers a fun alternative.

When we talk about building a keyboard, we don't mean literally creating everything from scratch. But instead, you essentially figure out the different parts that you want to use and then assemble everything together. And with Cyber Monday upon us, now's the time to take the plunge if you've been holding off on jumping down the rabbit hole. 

If you're just getting started

$79.99 (opens in new tab)

Keychron V1 - Barebone Knob: $79.99 $63.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

This 75% keyboard works with any platform you could want, sports a translucent design, and is hot-swappable so you can change out your key switches if you want to try out something else.

$30.96 (opens in new tab)

Gateron G Brown Pro Switches (72-pack): $30.96 $24.77 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Brown switches are some of the most popular for mechanical keyboards, as they offer smooth feedback with a little bump. They are also a great hybrid solution if you want a single keyboard to use for both productivity and gaming.

$46.99 (opens in new tab)

Keychron Hacker Mint Keycap Set: $46.99 $37.99 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

While Keychron continues to deliver fantastic keyboards, the company has also started offering some new keycap sets. This Hacker Mint set is a personal favorite, as it includes a total of 219 keys, isn't too expensive, and looks pretty darn great.

Even with all the different deals that can be found today, you might not want to go out and break the bank on a hobby that you aren't 100% sure about. Luckily, you don't have to do that, as you can get everything you need for less than the best gaming keyboard. 

Keychron has skyrocketed in popularity over the years, and for good reason. The company does a fantastic job at providing excellent mechanical keyboard options, ranging from pre-built solutions to barebones kits, and everything in between. And that's where we start with the following set.

Build your "end game" keyboard

$169.99 (opens in new tab)

GMMK Pro 75% Mechanical Keyboard (Barebones): $169.99 $136.07 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

The GMMK Pro is made from aluminum while supporting both QMK and VIA for any potential software configurations. Plus this keyboard features programmable RGB, including a "Signature Side Lighting Panel" to add even more flair to your setup. 

Drop + Invyr Holy Panda Mechanical Switches: From $59 (normally from $85) (opens in new tab)

Drop + Invyr Holy Panda Mechanical Switches: From $59 (normally from $85) (opens in new tab)

If there's such a thing as "holy grail" switches, it has to be the Holy Panda switches from Drop + Invyr. These are tactile switches, but you'll almost never have to worry about fatigue from typing too much. Just make sure you get enough switches for whatever keyboard you grab. 

$130 (opens in new tab)

Drop + Matt3o MT3 Susuwatari Keycap Set: $130 $79 at Drop (opens in new tab)

Without going too crazy, the MT3 Susuwatari keycap set features a comfortable Hi-Profile design. This is almost an exact replica of what you would find on those old-school IBM terminals from the old days. 

As you can see, there are three different key pieces that you need, in order to successfully (and easily) build your own mechanical keyboard. First is the body, which includes the PCB, backlighting, and the case itself. Our go-to barebones kit for most budgets is the GMMK Pro with its CNC aluminum case, 

From there, you'll need to grab some key switches, and the Drop + Invyr Holy Panda switches are a personal favorite. These are tactile switches, offering smooth and responsive feedback with every press on the keyboard. Rounding out the pack is a keycap set, and again we're back to Drop, as the company is holding an incredible Cyber Monday sale (opens in new tab) on many different products. 

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.