Custom Keyboard – Why You Should Get a Deskmat
August 2, 2021 Andrew Cheng

Ever since I got into the custom keyboard hobby, one particular accessory that I got one too many of are…deskmats. I initially started off with more affordable deskmats off of Taobao, and while they are decent for the money, they don’t compare to higher quality ones from bigger brand names.

By “bigger brand names,” I’m talking about deskmats that complement keycap sets, such as ones from GMK and the likes. While I mainly purchase deskmats to complement my desk setup, they’re much more than just for looks, and I’ll tell you why in this article.

Deskmats Protect Your Keyboard

This is really the biggest reason I got a deskmat in the beginning of the hobby. By having my keyboard on top of the deskmat at all times, I reduce the likelihood of scratching or dinging it. A deskmat will prevent the keyboard from bumping directly against the table when I move it around, for instance.

I mean, when you spent in excess of RM3,000 on a keyboard, you would absolutely want to protect your investment, right?

A deskmat helps immensely when you’re building a keyboard too. After all, you’ve got a nice, soft surface to work on as you assemble each part of the keyboard. A deskmat would reduce the risk of these parts getting scuffed in the building process.

Really, I don’t think I can build a keyboard without the “security” of a deskmat anymore. I baby my products, and when I’m building a keyboard on a deskmat, I can flip it around without worrying I would ding it. This is especially helpful if I already have keycaps installed on the keyboard – imagine scratching a RM500 keycap set.

Your Keyboard Will Sound Better

Depending on what surface your keyboard is resting on, it may not sound as good as you thought it would be. Well, that’s where a deskmat will come in handy. It helps remove resonance from the table, so you can hear the “true” sound profile of your keyboard.

In fact, I actually…stack a few deskmats on top of each other to really isolate my keyboard from the table. Depending on how hollow the surface you’re typing on, you may need the extra dampening of more than one deskmat to completely remove table resonance.

Another benefit of having more than one deskmat is the fact that I can switch them out every now and then to freshen up my desk setup. Am I just trying to justify my deskmat purchases? Maybe. But I do enjoy the flexibility of changing to deskmats whenever I want to.

You Won’t Need a Mousepad Anymore

A typical deskmat measures 900mm x 400mm, which is more than large enough to accommodate keyboards of various sizes. On top of that, you’ve also got a lot of space to move your mouse around. Since I got into this hobby, I never needed to purchase a mousepad anymore.

You know how annoying it is to have your mousepad move around when you’re in the middle of an intense game session? Well, that won’t happen with a deskmat. The rubber bottom ensures that the deskmat doesn’t move around on the table.

Granted, some folks may not be thrilled by the cloth surface of a deskmat for gaming, but I reckon it’s just fine for the majority of gamers. I certainly don’t mind it.

Get a Good, High-Quality Deskmat

Of course, you do have to get a proper, high-quality deskmat to really enjoy these benefits. You can’t go wrong by getting deskmats that were made to match specific GMK keycap sets, such as the ones you can find on keyboard vendors like iLumkb. They do cost quite a bit of money (around RM100), but you are getting a high-quality product.

Okay, if you prefer getting a deskmat from Taobao or other e-commerce sites instead, here are a couple of things to look out for. Make sure it is a thick enough to serve its purpose; a typical deskmat is 4mm thick. Aside from that, it has to have stitched edges as well to ensure that the edges won’t fray over time.

Deskmats Look Great!

To an extent, I look at the custom keyboard hobby as a…form of expression. Having a deskmat with a design that is to your liking really does transform your desk setup. If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer typing away – like I do – you will really appreciate this.

That’s part of the reason why I absolutely love discovering this hobby. It can get tiring spending countless hours every day processing stories, and making that experience better with a proper custom keyboard – and a sleek deskmat – improves my productivity in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

But I digress. At the end of the day, it is up to you whether or not you need a deskmat, though I will highly, highly recommend getting at least one proper deskmat to see what the fuss is all about for yourself!