How to Buy Replacement Keys and Parts for Laptop Keyboards on eBay

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How to Buy Replacement Keys and Parts for Laptop Keyboards on eBay

The line between a fully functioning laptop keyboard and malfunctioning one can be thin. A single broken key can make using a laptop keyboard frustrating, and laptop keyboards have a handful of other parts working below the surface that can cause a keyboard not to work properly. The way in which a keyboard is integrated into a laptop computer makes it even more distressing to users when something goes wrong. Replacing a part or an entire laptop keyboard can seem like a daunting task, but it is possible. Doing so is significantly less expensive than replacing an entire keyboard, so it benefits consumers to learn how to buy replacement keys and parts for their laptop keyboards.

eBay is a good source from which to buy these keys and parts, but consumers should be adequately prepared if they wish to shop successfully on the site. If consumers understand laptop keyboards and follow a few tips for buying replacement keys and parts on eBay, they can find what they need on the site to get their laptop keyboards running like new.

Understanding Laptop Keyboards

Successfully buying replacement keys and parts for laptop keyboards requires that consumers understand laptop keyboards. This includes knowing the differences between laptop keyboards and desktop keyboards, the different types of laptop keyboards that exist, and the parts that comprise laptop keyboards. Having good background knowledge of keyboards helps consumers know what to look for and shop with confidence on eBay.

Differences Between Laptop Keyboards and Desktop Keyboards

One important aspect of understanding laptop keyboards is knowing the differences between them and desktop keyboards. One of the more notable distinctions is that a laptop keyboard usually does not have a numerical keypad separate to the numerical keys running horizontally near the top of the keyboard. Most desktop keyboards have a numerical keypad on the right hand side that includes a few other cursor functions. It is also important to be aware that the keys on laptop keyboards do not depress as deeply as the ones on desktop keyboards do. The keys on desktop keyboards also tend to protrude further than the ones on laptop keyboards. All of these differences are due to the more limited space that laptop computers have in comparison to desktop computers. Finally, it is also important to note that laptop keyboards are integrated into laptop computers, whereas desktop keyboards are separate components that connect to desktop computers via a cable.

Types of Laptop Keyboards

There are a few types of laptop keyboards, and consumers should be familiar with these in order to understand the makeup of their own laptop keyboards.

Capacitive Keyboards

Capacitive keyboards have an electrical current running through them along with a control processor. When the user presses a key, a plate at the bottom of the key moves closer to a fixed plate below it. This disrupts the electrical current in that spot, and the control processor recognises that the user is typing a specific key. It then sends this information to the laptop's processor. Capacitive keyboards go through less wear and tear than other types of keyboards and therefore tend to last longer.

Rubber Dome Keyboards

A rubber dome keyboard has a series of rubber domes beneath each key. When the user presses a key, the rubber dome beneath it depresses. The control processor senses the depressed dome and passes along the information that the user is pressing a certain key to the main processor. Rubber dome keyboards respond well to users' typing, and the rubber is relatively resistant to foreign objects corrupting the functioning of the keys.

Membrane Keyboards

Membrane keyboards have a single membrane covering the entire keyboard matrix beneath the keys. They may even have letters, numbers, and symbols directly printed on the membrane rather than key caps. The control processor senses when the user presses a particular area or areas of the keyboard and responds accordingly. Membrane keyboards are inexpensive to make and durable, but they do not give users the feel and touch they are accustomed to with bigger key caps.

Metal Contact Keyboards

Metal contact keyboards feature relatively basic technology compared to the other types of keyboards described above. Each key has a metal spring beneath it. When the user presses a key, the spring coils, and the key comes into contact with a small metal plate beneath it. The control processor detects this and relays the information to the laptop's processor. This technology is older, and fewer manufacturers use it in the laptops they produce.

Foam Element Keyboards

A foam element keyboard works much the same way that a metal contact keyboard does, but it has a piece of foam attached to the metal strip that the key comes into contact with. This makes typing less abrasive for users. Although the foam element keyboard is an enhancement over the metal contact type, few manufacturers use it in keyboards.

Parts in Laptop Keyboards

The table below describes the different parts of a laptop computer. Being familiar with these parts helps consumers find the parts that they need on eBay.




The keys that users press; representations for users that enable them to send typing instructions to the processors in their laptops

Contact Layer

Layer at the bottom of the keyboard; contains the circuits that keys come into contact with when pressed, or move close to in the case of a capacitive keyboard

Control Processor

This is a chip that detects when the user presses a key; relays information about typed keys to the laptop's processor

Indicator Lights

Lights that indicate when a certain function is engaged; examples include the caps lock function and the muting of sound

Serial Cable

Sends information about which keys the user has pressed from the contact layer to the control processor

It may not be possible to locate all of these parts on eBay. If consumers are unable to find particular parts, they it is a good idea to buy non-functioning laptop keyboards for the parts.

Tips for Buying Replacement Keys and Parts for Laptop Keyboards on eBay

Good knowledge of laptop keyboards is only part of the equation when it comes to buying replacement keys and parts for laptop keyboards on eBay. Consumers should also be familiar with the eBay buying process. By following tips on searching, evaluating sellers, finding local sellers, and using eBay Shops, consumers can use eBay to buy the replacement keys and parts they need for laptop keyboards.

Searching on eBay

Consumers can perform searches from any eBay page that contains the search bar. They can use a descriptive term, such as "laptop keys", and then choose the appropriate series of categories when eBay returns the results. Once consumers are in the right category, they can filter the listings for keys that are compatible with their laptops.

Another option is to search for "laptop keyboard", and select the "For parts or not working" filter option after choosing the appropriate categories. Consumers may be able to salvage the parts they need from these keyboards.

Evaluating Sellers on eBay

eBay enables consumers to evaluate sellers on the site by checking their feedback. This is a collection of the comments and ratings that previous buyers have left for a seller, and good feedback indicates that a seller typically provides reliable service. Consumers can check a seller's feedback by clicking on the username on the listing.

Finding Local Sellers on eBay

One way to save additional money on replacements keys and parts for laptop keyboards is by buying from local sellers. The closer a seller is to a consumer, the less shipping is likely to cost. Consumers can find local sellers by specifying the distance from their postcode within which sellers should be located. eBay can then filter the results to leave listings only for those sellers located close to the consumer.

Using eBay Shops

Those who need multiple parts for their laptop keyboards and want to buy them all from the same seller should try eBay Shops. Many eBay sellers have shops on the site through which they sell many related products. Consumers can visit the eBay Shops page and search for the parts they need by using a term such as "laptop keys". eBay then lists all of the shops selling these parts, and consumers can check to see which other parts a particular shop sells.


The common design of integrating a keyboard into a laptop's housing makes for efficient use of space, but it can also be stressful for users if something goes wrong with the keyboard. Rather than replacing a whole keyboard, computer users can buy replacements keys and parts for their laptop keyboards.

eBay is a good source to buy these items from because it offers a large selection and competitive pricing. Consumers can shop successfully on the site if they know a bit about laptop keyboards and the eBay buying process. It helps to be familiar with the differences between laptop keyboards and desktop keyboards, the different types of laptop keyboards, and the different parts found in laptop keyboards. Consumers should also know how to search eBay, evaluate sellers, find local sellers, and use eBay Shops. By combining good knowledge of laptop keyboards with an understanding of the eBay buying process, consumers can save money on the replacement keys and parts they need for their laptop keyboards.

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