Holy Pandas are one of the most popular switches in the mechanical keyboard space. What’s the deal with this switch? Why were people willing to pay upwards of $4 per switch and its peak hype?
What are Holy Panda Switches?
Holy Panda switches are a combination of different switch parts, the original Holy Panda consisted of:
- Housing (and often spring) from an Invyr Panda switch
- Stem/slider from a Halo switch
Therefore: Holy Panda. By combining the solid housing and spring from the linear Invyr Panda, and the stem from the tactile Halo switch, the Holy Panda was born. You can still read Quakemz original blog post documenting the creation.
Holy Pandas are loved for two things, they’re very tactile with a noticeable rounded bump and they sound super satisfying in the right keyboard. Zealios v2 switches have a sharper, more noticeable tactility but don’t have the same sound profile for example. The sound profile make the Holy Pandas unique. As a tactile guy, the Holy Pandas are super nice, but I prefer the sharper crisp bump of a Zealios or Boba.
The most popular video on Holy Pandas on Youtube showcases why people love the HP’s.
What do Holy Pandas feel like?
Holy Pandas are a tactile switch, but they’re known for their prolonged smooth bump. There are other switches that are as tactile as the Holy Panda, but their bumps are much sharper, short, and rougher, making the Holy Pandas quite unique.
Holy Pandas’ tactility is sometimes compared to Topre and ALPS switches, which is definitely a desirable tactility profile to many.
Comparing to mainstream Cherry switches, Holy Pandas are a much more tactile, smoother and stiffer Cherry MX Brown.
Are Holy Pandas Clicky?
They are not clicky switches, Holy Pandas have a bump similar to clicky switches but do not make the same audible click noise.
Are Holy Pandas worth it?
If you’re a tactile switch fan, then yes, Holy Pandas are definitely worth trying, especially now there are many types of Holy Pandas available at reasonable prices. Holy Pandas are often considered a top tier tactile switch, so if you’re looking to end game your tactile journey, Holy Pandas are viable choice. There are a bunch of variants at a bunch of different price points, so the worth it part depends on which kind of Panda.
Holy Panda Variants
The original tooling needed to make true Holy Pandas was lost quiet a while ago. Several companies have stepped up to produce Holy Pandas that get very close, if not indistinguishable from the original.
Here’s a big list of Holy Panda’s. Theremin Goat’s blog post goes into much more detail on the variants.
OG Invyr Holy Pandas
The original incarnation of Holy Pandas that combined the housing of Invyr Panda v1’s and a Halo True stem.
One of the first recreations of the OG Holy Pandas that were made to be available and affordable.
Drop+Invyr Holy Pandas
Drop collaborated with Invyr to make their own version of the Holy Pandas. The Drop Pandas are a mostly faithful recreation of the original Pandas, though they’ve struggled with manufacturing consistency in regards to lubing. Drop Pandas are generally available.
Glorious’ own attempt at making Holy Pandas. While they have a similar profile and claim to use the same housing as the original Invyr Panda’s, they’ve made their own stem to replace the original Halo stem.
Novelkeys’ Holy Panda variants, they come in various colours that all behave exactly the same. The colours that YOK Pandas come in are: Red, Mint, Polar and Trash. Yok Pandas are generally available and easy to come by. Yok Pandas are a faithful recreation of the original Invyr Pandas, they’re a linear switch and are often used to make new Holy Pandas.
There are other limited run variants of Holy Panda clones out and about, I’ve included the most notable of them.
Are Holy Pandas Good for Gaming?
Holy Pandas are quite a heavy switch at 67 grams actuation. If you’re coming from a fast gaming switch or even just a regular Cherry MX switch, the difference in weight to push a key will definitely cause some fatigue. I would only recommend gaming with Holy Pandas if you are used to heavier switches for gaming.
Holy Panda recommendations
There are 3 widely available Holy Panda variants available: Drop Holy Pandas, YOK Purple Trash Pandas and Glorious Pandas. Of those three, I believe the Drop Pandas are the most true to the original Holy Pandas, as long as you get a consistent, high quality batch.
At $1 per switch, Drop is definitely at the high end price of Panda clones.
Glorious Pandas come in at $0.60 per switch and get pretty close in performance, the stem is wobblier and the sound is a little less thocky, but for 40% less price, a much better value.
Yok Purple Trash Pandas aren’t really Pandas, but get close to the performance of a Panda with a sharper bump. They’re similar in pricing to the Glorious Pandas at $0.55 per switch.
If you’re looking for the closest to the real Holy Panda experience go with Drop. If you’re okay with a 90% experience and want to save some cash, go with Glorious.