Is the RK68 Hot Swappable? A Comprehensive Guide for Keyboard Enthusiasts

The RK68 is a popular mechanical keyboard renowned for its affordability, versatility, and customization options. One of the key features that attracts many users is the promise of hot-swappable switches. But is the RK68 truly hot swappable? This question has sparked debates and confusion amongst keyboard enthusiasts. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of hot-swapping on the RK68, examining its capabilities, limitations, and alternatives, to provide you with a clear understanding of what to expect.

Understanding Hot-Swapping: A Boon for Customization

Hot-swapping refers to the ability to easily replace or swap mechanical keyboard switches without the need for soldering. This feature is a game-changer for keyboard enthusiasts who want to experiment with different switch types, find their ideal typing experience, or simply customize their keyboard to their liking.

Benefits of Hot-Swappable Keyboards:

  • Flexibility: Experiment with various switch types without the need for soldering.
  • Customization: Tailor the keyboard’s feel and sound to your preferences.
  • Upgradeability: Easily replace worn-out or damaged switches without sacrificing the keyboard.
  • Maintenance: Clean or lubricate switches without needing to desolder them.

The Truth About the RK68: Hot-Swappable or Not?

The answer is not as straightforward as a simple yes or no. The RK68, depending on the specific model and revision, can be classified as:

  • “Technically” Hot-Swappable: Some versions of the RK68, primarily those labelled “Hot-Swappable” or “Hotswappable,” utilize plate-mounted hot-swap sockets. This means the sockets are soldered to the PCB, but the switches themselves can be easily swapped without soldering. These models offer a degree of hot-swapping but with certain caveats.
  • Not Truly Hot-Swappable: Other RK68 models, particularly older versions or those labelled “non-hotswappable,” feature soldered-in switches. In this case, changing the switches requires soldering, which is a more involved process.

Examining the Plate-Mounted Hot-Swap Sockets: Advantages and Limitations

While plate-mounted hot-swap sockets offer a level of flexibility, they are not without their downsides.


  • Ease of Switch Replacement: Replacing switches is relatively easy, using specialized tools like switch pullers and pliers.
  • Cost-Effective: Plate-mounted sockets are generally less expensive to manufacture than fully-fledged hot-swappable PCBs.


  • Potential for Instability: Some users report issues with switch stability and wobbliness when using plate-mounted sockets, particularly with heavier switches.
  • Limited Switch Compatibility: Plate-mounted sockets often have limitations in terms of compatible switch types. Some manufacturers specify compatible switch types on their product pages.

Finding the Right RK68 for You: Understanding the Models

To determine if a specific RK68 model is truly hot-swappable, it’s crucial to carefully research the product description, specifications, and reviews. Look for keywords like “hotswappable,” “hot-swappable,” or “plate-mounted sockets” in the product description. User reviews can also provide valuable insights about the specific model’s hot-swapping capabilities.

Alternatives to Hot-Swapping on the RK68: Exploring Other Options

If your desired RK68 model lacks hot-swappable features, you can explore these alternatives:

  • Soldering: While a more advanced technique, soldering allows you to permanently install switches onto the PCB, providing greater stability and compatibility.
  • Switch Replacement Services: Several companies specialize in switch replacement services for keyboards. They can professionally install your desired switches, saving you the hassle of soldering.

Conclusion: Making an Informed Decision

Whether the RK68 is “truly” hot-swappable depends entirely on the specific model you choose. If hot-swapping is a critical feature for you, ensure you select a model with plate-mounted hot-swap sockets. While not as versatile as fully-fledged hot-swappable keyboards, plate-mounted sockets offer a convenient and cost-effective way to customize your RK68. However, remember that plate-mounted sockets have their own limitations, so research thoroughly before purchasing.

Ultimately, the decision of whether the RK68 is the right keyboard for you depends on your individual needs, budget, and preferences. By understanding the nuances of hot-swapping on the RK68, you can make an informed decision that meets your specific requirements. Enjoy the journey of finding the perfect keyboard for your typing experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What exactly does “hot swappable” mean in the context of keyboards?

“Hot swappable” refers to the ability to replace and change individual mechanical keyboard switches without the need to desolder them. This allows users to easily experiment with different switch types, customize the feel of their keyboard, or even repair faulty switches.

Hot swappable keyboards typically have dedicated switch sockets that are specifically designed to accommodate this feature. These sockets provide a secure connection for the switch while allowing for easy removal and replacement. This eliminates the need for soldering, making the process much simpler and faster.

2. Is the RK68 hot swappable?

Yes, the RK68 is a hot swappable keyboard. This means you can easily swap out the switches without any soldering. The keyboard features a standard MX-compatible hot swappable PCB, meaning it supports all popular mechanical switch types, including Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh, and more.

This feature makes the RK68 highly customizable and appealing to keyboard enthusiasts who enjoy experimenting with different switch types. You can easily adjust the feel and sound of your keyboard to your preference.

3. What are the benefits of a hot swappable keyboard like the RK68?

Hot swappability offers several advantages, including:

  • Customization: It allows you to tailor your keyboard to your specific preferences, whether you prefer a heavier or lighter typing feel or specific switch types for different tasks.
  • Experimentation: You can easily try out different switch types without having to commit to permanently soldering them. This makes it a great way to discover your favorite switches.
  • Repair and Maintenance: You can easily replace faulty switches without having to desolder them, making it a lot easier to maintain your keyboard.

4. How do I hot swap switches on the RK68?

Swapping switches on the RK68 is a straightforward process:

  1. Unplug the keyboard from your computer to prevent any electrical hazards.
  2. Use a switch puller to gently remove the desired switch from its socket. Be careful not to damage the switch or the PCB.
  3. Insert the new switch into the socket, ensuring that it is properly aligned. Push the switch down firmly until it clicks into place.
  4. Repeat this process for any other switches you want to change.
  5. Plug the keyboard back in and test your new switch configuration.

5. What are some popular switch types that I can use with the RK68?

The RK68 is compatible with a wide range of mechanical switch types, including:

  • Cherry MX switches: These are considered the gold standard of mechanical switches, known for their durability and responsiveness.
  • Gateron switches: These are often considered a more affordable alternative to Cherry MX switches, offering similar performance and feel.
  • Kailh switches: These are another popular option, known for their unique clicky and tactile feedback.
  • Outemu switches: These are a more budget-friendly option, offering a decent typing experience.

Ultimately, the best switch type for you depends on your personal preferences and typing style.

6. Is there anything else I should consider when choosing switches for the RK68?

In addition to your personal preferences, you should consider a few things when selecting switches for the RK68:

  • Switch type: Linear switches offer a smooth and consistent typing experience, tactile switches provide a bump when activated, and clicky switches offer a distinct click sound.
  • Switch weight: Higher weight switches require more force to actuate, which can be beneficial for typing accuracy but may feel heavier.
  • Switch lubrication: Lubricating your switches can improve smoothness and reduce noise.

By carefully considering these factors, you can find the perfect switches for your RK68 and create a truly personalized typing experience.

7. Where can I find more information about the RK68 and hot swapping?

There are many resources available online to help you learn more about the RK68 and hot swapping, including:

  • Manufacturer websites: You can find detailed information about the RK68 on the official manufacturer website.
  • Online forums and communities: There are many keyboard enthusiast communities that offer valuable information and tips.
  • YouTube tutorials: You can find numerous video tutorials on hot swapping switches and customizing keyboards.

By exploring these resources, you can gain a deeper understanding of the RK68 and how to customize it to meet your specific needs.

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