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Guide to mechanical switches for gaming keyboards 2022

The keyboard is a peripheral of high importance for any fan of video games. We currently find a wide variety of solutions on the market according to needs. The most valued keyboards are those that implement mechanical switches, found a great offer in the market.

So that you can correctly choose the mechanical keyboard that best suits you, we have compiled this guide to mechanical switches. Here you will find the characteristics of the solutions developed by Cherry, Razer, Kailh, Logitech, Topre and many other manufacturers.


What are the advantages of a mechanical keyboard

Let's see what are the main characteristics that mechanical keyboards offer us:

  • Durability: The normal thing is that they offer us a durability of 20 million keystrokes or more, but it depends on the manufacturer. This guarantees us to have a keyboard for many years. Membrane or scissor-type keyboards typically have a durability of 1-10 million keystrokes, at most.
  • Personalization: There are keyboards with switches from different manufacturers on the market. Each manufacturer offers a certain variety of mechanical switches according to the needs of the user. Most switches already offer RGB lighting.
  • Anti-ghosting: It allows us to press many keys simultaneously without the keyboard collapsing. Normally gaming keyboards support ten or more keys pressed simultaneously, which is called N Key Rollover.
  • Speed ​​and precision: Mechanical keyboards offer us more precision when it comes to keystrokes. This is due to its internal mechanisms and that it is easier to feel the travel of the switch. Additionally we can find switches with different actuation routes.
  • Simple to repair and clean: All keyboards end up getting dirty with the passage of time, especially they fill with dust. Removing the plastic switch cover and replacing it is very simple, simplifying cleaning. Changing mechanical switches is also a fairly straightforward task compared to other switches.

What is better a membrane or mechanical keyboard?

The main difference between both types of switches is the travel distance in the pulsation. In mechanical keyboards we can obtain a much more comfortable keystroke than in a membrane type. Within the mechanical switches we can even choose its path according to the manufacturer and model chosen.

The membrane-type keyboard has the advantage of being significantly quieter than mechanical keyboards. Although it is true that manufacturers like Cherry have the switches Cherry MX Silent. These are quieter than conventional models, although there is less variety.

One advantage of membrane-type keyboards is that they are cheaper. This is because they are easier to manufacture, while mechanical switches are somewhat more complex. The mechanics offer us different routes, sensitivity and pressure force, while the membrane ones are all 'same'.

We must also take into account the durability of the switches. Membrane ones usually have a durability of between 1-10 million keystrokes, with 5 million keystrokes being the most common. While mechanical switches offer us at least 20 million keystrokes, and can reach 50 million. Here the mechanics have a greater advantage, who also have N-Key Rollover technology, which allows them to recognize the pressing of multiple keys at the same time, which is not possible in membrane keys.

Finally indicate that the membrane having a flat pulsation are considered uncomfortable to write, but above all to play.


Cherry MX mechanical switches

mechanical-switches-cherry-mx-test

Cherry is a Canadian founded in the United States in 1953. It was in 1967 when the company began marketing keyboards, becoming the oldest company in the world of keyboards. In 1967 the company decided move to Germany and was acquired by ZF FIEDRICHSHAFEN AG in 2008, but today keyboards and mechanical switches are still made under the Cherry brand. The company is known for the Cherry MX switches, which were launched on the market around 1985. Based on their physical color, they are named and each color has a switch's working characteristics. These characteristics are: luxation, whether it is tactile or not, and the amount of force required to actuate the switch, which is measured in centi-Newtons (cN) or grams (g).


Cherry MX Black

cherry mx black

They were introduced to the market in 1984 and have become the oldest Cherry switches. These black switch have a fairly high actuation force, of 60cN (61.18g), which makes it the stiffest of the most common Cherry switches. These fabrics are often used for point of sale keyboards, since they are not usually considered good for typing because of the high weight to activate them. These are currently considered good for RTS games as well, as the high weighting helps prevent accidental taps that can happen with less rigid switches. They have a fairly strong spring, which causes a rapid rebound, allowing a shorter actuation time between pulsations.

  • Linear switch
  • Ideal for retail keyboards
  • Actuation force: 60cN (61g)
  • Activation distance: 2.0mm
  • Travel distance: 4.0mm

Cherry MX Red

Chris MX Red

They were introduced to the market in 2008 and are the most modern developed by the company. These network switch an actuating force 45cN (45.89g), this being the least weighted and one of the four most common switches. These have been designed and marketed as gaming switches, allowing faster action. These keys are the most used in gaming keyboards, although they are more prone to accidental keystrokes than Black. They have an actuation point of 2mm.

  • Linear switch
  • Ideal for gaming
  • Actuation force: 45cN (45g)
  • Activation distance: 2.0mm
  • Travel distance: 4.0mm

Cherry MX Silver or Speed ​​Silver

cherry mx speed or silver

These switch silver or switch speed silver They are quite unknown and came to the market for the first time this year 2016 by the hand of Corsair. They are very similar to the Cherry MX Red, what's more, they require the same actuation force, which is 45cN (45.89g). The MX Reds have a 2mm travel, while the MX Silver have a 1.2mm travel, this being the biggest difference. They are not yet very well established in the market and it is obviously intended for gaming mainly, offering a faster performance than the MX Red.

  • Linear switch
  • Specifically designed for gaming
  • Actuation force: 45cN (45g)
  • Activation distance: 1.2mm
  • Travel distance: 3.4mm

Cherry MX Brown

cherry mx brown

They were introduced in 1994 and are the most popular touch switches. These switch brown They are ideal for writing, since they are better for long texts, allowing less waiting time, both when we press a key or when it returns to the initial position to press it again. Many gaming keyboards also use these switches, as they offer the best balance. between typing and gaming. The Brown ones have an activation travel of 2mm and a maximum activation travel of 4mm, while the activation pressure is of 45cN (45.89g). just like the Cherry MX Red.

  • Linear / touch switch
  • Hybrid typing and gaming
  • Actuation force: 45cN (45g)
  • Activation distance: 2.0mm
  • Travel distance: 4.0mm

Cherry MX Blue

cherry mx blue

These keys have two parts, causing these switches to have a 'click' effect when pressed. These blue switch they have the same route as the MX Brown. Through its two-part arrangement on the main body, the pulsation becomes much more comfortable, as the first half of the stroke is very smooth and the second half is already a bit harder. It has a relatively high weight of 50cN (50.985g).

They are considered best for typing and long texts, although it exposes us to perform several keystrokes at the same time without wanting to. The lower white part of the image sometimes does not go up completely, this means that if we press that key again, it can be interpreted as having pressed it more than once. An example is to put 'Cherry', where by this keyboard it could be possible to write 'Cherrrry'

  • Linear / touch switch
  • Ideal for typing
  • Actuation force: 50cN (51g)
  • Activation distance: 2.2mm
  • Travel distance: 4.0mm

Cherry MX Purple

cherry-mx-viola-mechanical-linear-switch

Latest type of switch designed by Cherry is designed for cheap gaming keyboards. These kinds of keys are a lot simpler than other switches of the company, but equally high quality. Internally uses a bronze contact with V shape spring contained in a pressure casing made of plastic polymer with eight pillars.

Features a semi-transparent plastic housing and has the ability to contain RGB lighting

  • Linear switch
  • Ideal for gaming
  • Actuation force: 45cN (45g)
  • Activation distance: 2.0mm
  • Travel distance: 4.0mm

RGB switches

Corsair K68RGB

The Cherry MX Red, Black, Brown, Blue, Speed ​​Silver, Silent Red and Silent Black, are characterized by having a variant with RGB LED lighting. The only difference is in the outer body of the mechanical switches, not the mechanism. The bottom of these switches is white and the upper body is transparent, integrating an RGB led diode inside, which can be configured and customized by the client.


Cherry MX Low Profile RGB

Cherry MX Low Profile RGB red

Presented at CES 2018, these more compact mechanical switches, have the main characteristic of being mechanical switches are small in size, allowing to develop more compact keyboards. Creation is based on Cherry MX Red, which in their original model have some dimensions of 18.5 × 15.x15.6mm, while the Cherry MX Low Profile RGB Red they have some dimensions of only 11.9x15x15mm, allowing a size reduction of 35%.

It is not the only difference between the two models. The model MX Red has an activation travel of 2mm, while the total travel is 4mm. In the chaos of MX Low Profile RGB Red has a 1.2mm trigger travel, while the total travel of these switches is 3.2mm.


Less common Cherry MX

The four mentioned above are the most common, although there are also other varieties of less common mechanical keyboards, which we can sometimes find on some very specific keyboards.

  • Cherry MX Clear. They are more rigid than MX Brown switches, requiring an activation pressure of 65cN (66.28g).
  • Cherry MX Gray. These are most commonly used for spacer bars, with an activation pressure of 80cN (81.58g).
  • Cherry MX Green. These switches are a more rigid version of the blue switches, using a tactile bump and a small audible sound, both of which have a pressure of 80cN (81.58g). These are also used for the spacer bars.
  • Cherry MX White. They are quite similar to the MX Greens, but they are a more modern version of them, with a pressure equal to the MX Greens, but it is a bit quieter than these.
  • Cherry MX Super Black. Extremely rigid switches, with an actuation pressure of 150cN (152.96g). These special keys have been developed for space keys, where the rest of the keys of these keyboards are MX Black.
  • Cherry MX Dark Gray. These switches are slightly stiffer linear, with a pressure of 80cN (81.58g), which are used on spacer bars with MX Black switches.
  • Cherry MXLock. Linear switches with lock, which are held down until pressed again, used mainly for the Caps Lock and TTY Lock found on keyboards in the 80s.

Razer mechanical switches

Keyboard manufacturers usually use the solutions that are already on the market. There are many manufacturers of mechanical switches that offer many different solutions. Razer has chosen to manufacture its own mechanical switches, better adapting to the needs and products of the brand.

For many years Razer used the Cherry MX mechanical switches, but the company wanted something more specific. For this design your own mechanical switches, which began by manufacturing Kaihua Electronics, a Chinese company. Currently the company indicates that they are the ones who manufacture them, although it is not very clear.


RazerGreen

razer green mechanical switch

The first mechanical switch made by the company that was first integrated into the Razer BlackWidow. Has a tactile and sound sensation, with a force of 49cN (50g) performance and a 4.0mm travel distance and 1.9mm trigger distance.

Features

  • Ideal for gaming and typing
  • Actuation force: 50cN (50g)
  • Travel distance: 4.0mm
  • Activation distance: 1.9mm

Razer Orange

razer orange mechanical switch

This we could say is a evolution of the Razer Green. It is characterized above all by being of tactile sensation and significantly quieter than the previous model. This switch offers a force of 44cN (45g) performance and shares travel and activation distance with previous model.

Features

  • Ideal for gaming and typing
  • Actuation force: 45cN (45g)
  • Travel distance: 4.0mm
  • Activation distance: 1.9mm

Razer Yellow

razer yellow mechanical switch

This mechanical switch is characterized by being of type linear, silent and very fast. The activation force is the same as the Razer Green. Travel distance is 3.5mm and activation distance is 1.2mm. This does ideal for shooter type games, since its performance is very fast, due to the short distance of travel.

Features

  • Ideal for gaming and typing
  • Actuation force: 45cN (45g)
  • Travel distance: 3.5mm
  • Activation distance: 1.2mm


Razer Optical Mechanical Switches

Razer has begun to introduce the new optical mechanical switches. These optomechanical switches They are activated by pulses of light. When we actuate the key, the light crosses the axis of the switch, detecting the pressing of the key.

These Razer switches feature stabilize on both sides of the key and the number of moving parts are reduced. Due to this optical drive, the physical contact is less and durability is increased. This reduction in degradation provides durability of at least 100 million keystrokes.

They have a new stabilizer bar system that allows more balanced keystrokes, regardless of the point of pressing the key.


Razer Clicky Optical Switch

switches-mechanical-optical-touch-razer

Features

  • Ideal for gaming
  • Actuation force: 45cN (45g)
  • Travel distance: 1.5mm
  • Activation: 1.5mm

Razer Linear Optical Switch

switches-mechanical-optical-linear-razer

Features

  • Ideal for gaming
  • Actuation force: 40cN (40g)
  • Travel distance: 1.0mm
  • Activation: 1.0mm

Roccat mechanical switches

The Roccat Titan switches have been developed for video game lovers who want high precision and high performance mechanical switches. These new switches have innovative aspects that have not been implemented to date. They have reduced actuation points, eliminated bounce, strengthened the case and created custom firmware.


Titan Linear Switch

roccat-titan-linear-switch-mechanical-switch

El Linear switch is characterized by being 30% faster than its competitors in terms of pulsation. Travel has been significantly reduced to make a much faster keystroke. This is combined with a bounce reduced to a minimum and specific firmware that takes advantage of all the benefits of these mechanical switches.

  • Ideal for shooter
  • Drive force: -
  • Travel distance: 1.4mm
  • Activation: 3.6mm

Titan Touch Switch

roccat-titan-tactile-switch-mechanical-switch-big

If we are looking for something more versatile, but with a good response we have the Tactile switches. These switches are practically the same as Linear switches, only changing travel distance, which is slightly higher.

  • Ideal for gaming
  • Drive force: -
  • Travel distance: 1.8mm
  • Activation: 3.6mm

Outemu Mechanical Switches

These mechanical switches are manufactured by Dongguan Gaote Electronics Co. LTD, which is based in China. The Chinese company has a wealth of experience in manufacture of electronic components. This company has been manufacturing USB ports, HDMI connectors and other connectors for more than a decade. Some years ago the company developed the Outemu ICE switch and later developed the SKY.

Although Outemu switches are considered white label, these they offer a pretty good quality. They are becoming more and more common in gaming keyboards. Due to their good quality / price ratio they have even managed to displace the economic solutions of other manufacturers.

Outemu Network

outemu red mechanical switch

These switches are specifically designed for video games. They are characterized by a fast and silent action. They are optimal for any type of game and these switches have an RGB variant.

  • Type: Linear
  • Performance: 45g
  • Actuation travel: 2mm
  • Total travel: 4mm
  • Loudness: Silent

Outemu Black

mechanical switch outemu black

Review of Outemu Red switches that are characterized by being more resistant. A special version for users who consider Reds too soft. Due to their greater resistance, they can cause fatigue. These mechanical switches also have an RGB variant.

  • Type: Linear
  • Performance: 50g
  • Actuation travel: 2mm
  • Total travel: 4mm
  • Sound: Silent

Outemu Brown

mechanical switch outemu brown

It’s a type of Multipurpose switch designed for writing long texts and playing games. They are considered ideal for all types of shooter games. They also have an RGB version.

  • Type: Touch
  • Performance: 45g
  • Actuation travel: 2mm
  • Total travel: 4mm
  • Sound: Medium

Outemu Blue

mechanical switch outemu blue

Shipping is some classic cut switches. They have one medium resistance, they are quite loud and have a fairly fast return to position. Is it so especially for writing, although they can cause fatigue.

  • Type: Touch (clicky)
  • Performance: 50g
  • Actuation travel: 2mm
  • Total travel: 4mm
  • Sound: Sound

Logitech mechanical switches

One of the manufacturers of keyboards and peripherals in general is Logitech, with years of experience. To offer users the best solutions, Logitech has developed its own mechanical switches. They have been designed to offer the best performance, quality and reliability. Not only do Logitech offer standard height mechanical switches, they also offer low profile mechanical switches.

GX Blue

logitech gx blue

These mechanical switches are characterized by offering an audible and tactile response, just like conventional switches for gaming. They are the best solution for those who want a 'perceptible click' feeling.

  • Response type: audible click
  • Actuation distance: 2.0mm
  • Total travel: 4.0mm
  • Medium strength: 50g
  • Touch force: 60g
  • Durability: 70 million keystrokes

GX Brown

logitech gx brown

Developed to offer a reduced response through performance. They have been designed in this way to provide high update accuracy. These switches are very quiet. They are especially intended for users who play competitive titles or FPS.

  • Response type: clear bump
  • Actuation distance: 2.0mm
  • Total travel: 4.0mm
  • Medium strength: 50g
  • Touch force: 60g
  • Durability: 70 million keystrokes

GX Network

logitech gx network

Thanks to their linear actuator, these switches are specially designed for fast pulsations. Furthermore, these mechanical switches are especially optimal for rapid successive keystrokes and non-stop keystrokes. They are especially optimal for action games and MMOs.

  • Response type: fluid and smooth
  • Actuation distance: 1.9mm
  • Total travel: 4.0mm
  • Medium strength: 50g
  • Tactile strength: n / a
  • Durability: 70 million keystrokes

Romer-G Touch

logitech romer-g touch

It offers us a minimal response thanks to a performance that guarantees confidence and precision when pressing. These switches are specially designed for competitive games and FPS.

  • Response type: clear bump
  • Actuation distance: 1.5mm
  • Total travel: 3.2mm
  • Medium strength: 45g
  • Touch force: 50g
  • Durability: 70 million keystrokes

Romer-G Linear

They are switches with a linear actuation that is optimal for double presses, for quick presses, successive keystrokes and for half presses without interruption. They are specially designed for action games and MMOs.

  • Response type: soft
  • Actuation distance: 1.5mm
  • Total travel: 3.2mm
  • Medium strength: 45g
  • Tactile strength: n / a
  • Durability: 70 million keystrokes

Huano mechanical switches

Huano Network

switch huano network

It is characterized by having a simple linear actuation with no pressure point with minimal resistance. Offers smooth movement so they are quieter than touch and click switches. They are compatible with RGB plates and are also compatible with Cherry MX.

  • Type: linear
  • Actuation force: 45g
  • Actuation distance: 2mm
  • Total travel: 4mm
  • Compatible with Cherry MX, Outemu and Kailh switch sockets
  • Durability: 50 million keystrokes

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Robert Sole

Director of Contents and Writing of this same website, technician in renewable energy generation systems and low voltage electrical technician. I work in front of a PC, in my free time I am in front of a PC and when I leave the house I am glued to the screen of my smartphone. Every morning when I wake up I walk across the Stargate to make some coffee and start watching YouTube videos. I once saw a dragon ... or was it a Dragonite?

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