Mechanical Keyboard Switch Buying Guide
September 01, 2017
Even the most seasoned of PC gamers are slowly turning their attention to mechanical keyboards. Compared to "traditional" (rubber dome) keyboards, these can take the whole gaming experience to a new level. The result is much stronger feedback and improved overall precision with every new key stroke. This is mainly because mechanical keyboards offer a variety of mechanical keyboard switches to choose from. So, you might as well check out our Mechanical Keyboard Switch Buying Guide to make sure you got the right switches for your keyboard.
Mechanical Keyboard Switch Buying Guide for DIY people
Before going into more detail about mechanical switches, let us ask you this - are you willing to get aboard the mechanical keyboard train, but can't be bothered with choosing mechanical switches? If so, you can always order our prebuilt Glorious Modular Gaming Mechanical Keyboard (GMMK). It comes with brown (Gateron) switches and black keycaps, and has everything you need to start pwning your opponents in no time.
However, if you're more of a do-it-yourself kind of person and have nothing against doing some research, you will want to check out the different mechanical keyboard switch types on the market and see which ones work best for you.
The first thing you should know is that mechanical keyboard switches can follow three behavioral patterns:
|Push the switch all the way down||Push the switch about halfway down||Same as tactile, accompanied by a distinct "click" sound|
|Ideal for fast-paced games, like FPS||Ideal for games where APM matters, like RTS||Ideal for games where APM matters, like RTS|
The colored glory of mechanical keyboard switches
When shopping for mechanical switches, you'll notice that most brands offer several colors, each with its own unique characteristics. So, let's take a look at some popular mechanical switch brands and see what options you have.
Expected lifespan per key: 50 million keystrokes
Quite possibly the most popular mechanical switch brand on the market. Their switches have been used worldwide since 1983 and come in several colors.
|Cherry MX Red switches, Cherry MX Black||Linear||You want intense action with minimal to average resistance.|
|Cherry MX Brown||Tactile||You spend equal time both typing and gaming.|
|Cherry MX Blue||Tactile clicky||You're primarily typing.|
|Cherry MX Speed/Silver||Linear||You want almost identical behavior as that of Red and Black, with no color on the switch's stem.|
Thanks to The Keyboard Company, you can even see how these different colored mechanical switches work:
Unless you've been living under a rock over the past decade, you surely know that Cherry MX switches are extremely popular. That's why it should come as no surprise that there are a number of clones trying to have their own share of the cake. Naturally, not all are equally good at it, but there's one name that stands out: Gateron.
In fact, their switches are so good, that it's not uncommon for members of the PC gaming race to say that Gateron is better than Cherry. And you can't blame them for it. With an impressive life cycle, emphasis on smoothness, and choices for hardcore gamers, typists and casual PC users alike, it's safe to say that Gateron might just be the name that draws the biggest smile on your face. We're confident we made the right decision by selling these switches on our website.
For the Gateron Switch Guide and Gateron switches we offer, click here.
What's your favorite color? Red? Black? Purple? Whatever it is, there's a good chance there's a Kailh switch that matches it. Not only that, but the Kailh switches are also divided into 3 different "families": Box, Speed, and Pro. Every family is meant to meet the needs of a different profile of PC users.
If there's one thing all Kailh switches have in common, it's their super-long life cycle (~70 million cycles). Hence, if you are truly willing to invest in switches that will serve you for years to come, you'll do well to consider Kailh as one of your top options. After all, you get to choose from 8 different colors on our website.
For the Kailh Switch Guide and Kailh switches we offer, click here.
Expected lifespan per key: 80 million keystrokes
You didn't really think Razer would be absent from this list, did you? The company has its very own production line for mechanical keyboard switches which come in 2 main colors.
|Razer Orange||Tactile||You're focused on gaming, but want a decent typing experience as well.|
|Razer Green||Tactile clicky||You're planning on typing thousands and thousands of words daily.|
|Razer Mecha-Membrane||Tactile||You want Razer's "ultimate" response to people who want to use their mechanical keyboards for both typing and gaming.|
Expected lifespan per key: 70 million keystrokes
Shopping for Logitech mechanical keyboard switches? Then, you're probably looking for their Romer-G switch, as that's the only one the company has to offer. Make no mistake, though, it's a high-quality tactile switch designed with hardcore gamers in mind. Expect to get up to 70 million keystrokes, no matter how intense your gaming endeavors are.