Budget Stabiliser Rundown ft. Retooled GMK, KBDFans Screw in, Cherry Clip in, KBDfans Clip In

When comparing Western and Eastern manufacturing, it’s not uncommon for us to be a bit prejudice and sceptical towards Chinese manufacturers. So understandably when there is a new product priced competitively people initially have their doubts whether or not its worth the risk to purchase and try out.
I will be showcasing Stabiliser variants known as;Retooled GMK, KBDFans Screw in, Cherry Clip in and KBDfans Clip Ins -- Both Clear and Normal.
Most of the time you’ll be resorting to GMK stabilisers for your keyboard builds,.but with recent re-tooling, people are now questioning whether these are still the go to. KBDfans has also recently been selling their variant of screw in stabilisers, listed as Gold Plated Screw Stabilisers, so ill put a bit more emphasise on showing off the two.
/* Note
My understanding of the current stabiliser situation is that GMK stabilisers aren’t as remarkable as they once were, however, they still are a good option. Other people might be reporting that these stabilisers arnt useable or are flawed, I don’t know enough to say anything. I don’t know if it’s because the longer stabs aren’t performing to an expectation or because the stabilisers are in fact defective. So if people could provide their experiences in the comments that would be appreciated.

Cherry Clip ins were never a bad option, just were less favourable than GMK screw ins.

KBDfans Screw ins are great value and perform very well, nearly if not comparable to GMK.

KBDfans Clip ins are probably the least praised and arnt noteworthy because they don’t provide anything significant.

KBDFans Gold Screw in stabiliser next to a Retooled GMK stabiliser
Looking at the plastic, we can see that the KBDfans Screw ins have a glossy texture, while the GMK stabs are more matte. GMK also looks a bit more refined and have more structure to them. However, they don’t have a threaded insert whereas the ones from KBD do. One could argue that this isn’t too much of an improvement as there isn’t enough movement on the stab housing to justify the neat of a threaded insert, but that’s up to you to decide.

Front view of GMK and KBDfans Screw In
If you want to compare the space where the wire would go into, you can see that GMK has a smaller opening. And this makes it a lot easier to differentiate GMK from other variants.

Top Perspective of Retooled GMK stabiliser next to a KBDFans Gold Screw in stabiliser

Side-by-Side of 3 Stabiliser Insert/Sliders
Out of the 3 you can see that only the KBD ones have a flat base, where the other 2 have “legs.” Ive added Cherry inserts as well for a comparison because not many people know that they’re a bit different to other variants. So, with whats on the screen right now, take note of the space where the wire would go. The less space would mean less potential for the wire to wobble and move around in the insert, which is ideal. You can see that the KBD has slightly more gap, than the GMK stabiliser, while the cherry is similar to GMK, but has this weird piece of thin plastic.
This piece actually helps reduce the wire movement once you pierce it and poke the wire. So, the slider is essentially hugging and holding the wire and restricts it from moving around.

Four stabiliser variants side-by-side
Screw ins are preferred because they’re more consistent and don’t have the potential to move around too much when screwed into the pcb, so they do often sound and feel better than Clip in variants. This is why Cherry stabs failed to gain further traction as they were competing against GMK screw in the variant which provided better "value" and similar performance .
Underside of 4 Stabiliser Variants
(KBDFans Screw in,GMK, Cherry Clip in, KBDfans Clip In Variants)

Closing Thoughts (Subjective)
If I were to voice my opinion, Id definitely say that the Gold Screw in from KBD are great value, and is definitely a competitive low-to-middle- ground option --though they aren't going to satisfy many people who are after higher quality and better performing products-- which is understandable. Its understandable if people are investing large amounts of money into a keyboard, they'd want more premium stabilisers, so the Gold KBD might not meet the expectation. To me they do perform very similar (slightly worse) when compared to the GMK retools, so for some members of the community they potentially would be a usable substitute.



Great writeup with awesome pics. I've just built a board using the KBDfans gold plated screw ins. Lubed them up, and bandaided. Still quite a noticeable difference compared to the OG GMK screw ins with the same mods. But yeh, not bad after some tlc.
Thank you for this informative review.

I have some screw-in GMK stabs which bought from Daily Clack around July. One is 7u and the other is 2u. I intend to use these for my Koyu build about 36 years from now.

I also have some gold stab wires of 7u and 2u size that I bought from Sprit Designs.

Do you think these would be a good combination?

Should I do any modding on these stabilisers, such as bandaid or other?

I will probably lube them, if I can find a source for lube. :)