The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (2022)

A great keyboard is made up of many great key switches, and it's in these switches that the true variation in typing experience comes into play. You can find switches with clicks, bumps, or a smooth press all the way down. Some are firm, others light. Some use mechanical connections and others use the power of light, or magnets. There's genuinely tons out there to choose from, so we've tried to help you out with a guide to what's what.

Glossary

Actuation Point: The distance at which the switch needs to depress to register as an input. Measured from the top of the keycap.

Reset Point: The distance at which the key needs to rebound for the switch to reset.

Travel: The total distance a switch can depress.

Bottom-out: Pressing the key until it hits the bottom.

Hysteresis: When the actuation point and the reset point are misaligned. This is problematic because the switch needs to rebound higher than the actuation point for the key to reset.

Debounce: In the short period that two metal contacts complete a circuit, multiple signals can be generated. This is called signal bouncing and is an undesired effect in mechanical key switches. Debouncing is a signal processing technique that ensures only one signal is registered.

There are two core keyboard types: mechanical and rubber-dome. There are actually a whole bunch more keyboard types out there, but let's stick to basics for now.

Mechanical keyboards have individual key switches and metal springs. Rubber dome keyboards—most modern, cheap keyboards—have a sheet of rubber that provides the resistance, tactile feeling, and registers the keypress to the computer. Mechanical key switches give an unmistakable, stronger feedback as you type in the form of feeling a bump, hearing a click, and/or feeling a smooth bottom out to the keyboard’s base. Not only does it feel more satisfying than a rubber dome keyboard, it can be more precise and responsive, too.

In the early days, choosing a gaming keyboard often meant choosing between either Cherry MX or membrane. That’s no longer the case. Instead, the market is now saturated with a ton of switches that offer a wide range of characteristics. The massive selection can be overwhelming even for a seasoned gamer. We’re hoping to make that decision a little less daunting with our keyboard switch guide.

If you don't care much about the mechanics of mechanical keyboards and just want to know what to use for gaming, or you want to use your new-found smarts to pick up your next keyboard, here are the best gaming keyboard (opens in new tab) options right now. And here are the best mechanical keyboards (opens in new tab).

Parts of a keyboard switch

Before we dig into the different switch types, let’s get the basics out of the way. A conventional mechanical switch can be broken down into the following key parts, ordered from top to bottom:

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (1)

  1. Keycap. The plastic top cap with the letter printing.
  2. Stem. This is what the keycap is mounted on. The shape of the stem differs from switch to switch. 
  3. Switch housing. The case that holds all the components together.
  4. Slider. The slider pushes against the spring and interrupts the connection between the metal contact leaves mounted on the side off the switch.
  5. Metal contact leaves. These are what registers a keystroke when they strike one another.
  6. Spring. The spring wraps around the base of the slider and pushes the switch back into its resting position after release.

Rubber dome switches, on the other hand, usually consist of only 3 to 4 parts:

  1. Keycap
  2. Slider
  3. Silicon membrane layer
  4. Printed circuit board (PCB) with electrical circuits

Mechanical switches and You

Regardless of make, the behavior of any switch can be divided into three categories:

  1. Linear. The keystroke is consistent and smooth.
  2. Tactile. A bump in the middle of travel, usually around the actuation point.
  3. Clicky. A bump in the middle of travel accompanied by a sharp “click” sound.

No matter which type of switch you pick, mechanical keyboards are well-suited for playing PC games because they offer unmistakable feedback when pressed. That said, part of the fun of mechanical keyboards is getting one that perfectly suits your needs, and for that, you need to find the switches right for you.

With tactile and clicky switches, you have confirmation every single time you type that what you pressed is registering on the computer, with feedback in the form of a click or the feeling of the bump when you hit the actuation point. The actuation point is when the keystroke is registered on the computer. This means that the gamer doesn't have to press down fully to get the keystroke to register, leading to faster typing. This can be useful in game types such as RTS where your Actions Per Minute can play a factor in winning.

If you’re into faster-paced game types such as first-person shooters, linear switches may give you an edge. Because there is no dome to compress or a click to overcome, you can press the keyswitch faster and register keystrokes faster.

Mechanical keyboards are also much more durable than rubber dome keyboards. For example, Cherry MX switches are rated to a lifespan 20-50 million keystrokes depending on the switch type. Rubber domes are rated to last 5 million.

Cherry

First released in 1983, the Cherry MX switch family is arguably one of the most successful keyboard switches ever made. Each switch type in the lineup is marked with a distinct color to reflect its characteristics.

Cherry MX Red

Cherry MXRed

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (2)

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Gamers looking for fast action with minimal resistance. There isn’t a tactile bump in the middle to overcome. But for this exact reason, the Cherry MX Red may not be ideal for typists as it lacks that tactile feedback.

Cherry MX Black

Cherry MX Black

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (3)

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Heavy

Actuation Force: 60g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming with more resistance than Cherry MX Red.

The linear characteristics of Cherry MX Blacks make them ideal for spamming in fast-paced titles. Since the slider is a single piece, there’s no hysteresis.

Cherry MX Blue

Cherry MX Blue

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (4)

Behavior: Clicky

Feel: Heavy

Actuation Force: 60g to get over the tactile bump

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Loud

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Primarily typing. The Cherry MX Blue has a distinct “click” sound when depressed beyond the tactile point, making it the loudest switch in the Cherry MX family. The Cherry MX Blue’s separated slider construction also provides the highest tactile feedback out of all Cherry MX switches. With that said, the two-piece slider construction also introduces a very pronounced hysteresis, making rapid firing a bit more challenging than linear switches.

Cherry MX Brown

Cherry MX Brown

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (5)

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: A good blend of typing and gaming. Cherry MX Brown is widely considered to be the best “middle-ground” switch. Its tactile bump, silent travel, and medium actuation force makes it a versatile switch. Because the tactile bump is produced by a bump in the interruption fin, the hysteresis is less pronounced than the Cherry MX Blue.

Cherry MX Speed

Cherry MX Speed

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (6)

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The Cherry MX Speed is the only switch in the Cherry MX family that isn’t categorized by the color of its stem (It’s grey, in case you were wondering). Cherry most likely produced this switch to compete against the newer switch types with a higher actuation points.

Cherry MX Low Profile Red

Cherry MX Low Profile

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (7)

(Video) How to Choose the Perfect Switch For YOU!

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.2mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.2mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Gaming laptops. These switches will work wonders in a gaming laptop, though they will need some extra wiggle room over some slimmer switch types usually found in laptops.

Cherry MX Low Profile Speed

Cherry MX Low Profile

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (8)

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.2mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Gaming laptops. These switches will work wonders in a gaming laptop, though they will need some extra wiggle room over some slimmer switch types usually found in laptops. The Speed version is just that little bit quicker to actuate than the Reds, too.

Kailh/Kaihua

Kailh, also known as Kaihua Electronics, is a major China-based switch manufacturer. Since its founding in 1990, the company has expanded its presence all over the globe. Not only do its in-house Kailh switches compete directly against the Cherry MX, Kaihua also build custom switches for peripheral partners.

Commonly referred to as “Cherry MX clones”, the Kailh switches are identical to Cherry MX in design. They even have the same characteristics corresponding to the same color schemes. As such, keycaps designed for Cherry MX stems are also compatible with Kailh switches.

Kailh Red

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 50g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Kailh Black

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 60g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Kailh Brown

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 50g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Kailh Blue

Behavior: Clicky

Feel: Heavy

Actuation Force: 60g to get over the tactile bump

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Loud

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Razer

It’s almost impossible to search for gaming anything without bumping into Razer. In 2014, Razer teamed up with Kaihua to develop the Razer mechanical switches, which were then promptly installed on the Razer BlackWidow series of gaming keyboards. Since then Razer has developed its own production lines for the switches, with multiple manufacturers producing them, including Kaihua, Greetech, and possibly others.

There are currently three primary versions of the Razer switches in circulation: Razer Green, Razer Yellow, and Razer Orange.

Razer Green

Behavior: Clicky

Feel: Heavy

Actuation Force: 55g

Actuation Point: 1.9mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Loud

Rated Lifespan: 80 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Primarily typing and gaming. The actuation point is slightly higher than that of the Cherry MX and Kailh. Other than that, its behavior is nearly identical to that of Cherry MX Blue and Kailh Blue. Razer claims that it was able to reduce hysteresis by shortening the distance between the actuation and reset points to 0.4mm.

Razer Yellow

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.2mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.5mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 80 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Competitive gaming. This is Razer's speed switch, and that means it's great for rapid-fire competitive gaming or really, really fast typists.

Razer Orange

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 55g

Actuation Point: 1.9mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 80 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. The Razer Orange is almost a carbon copy of the Kailh Brown. It has a silent tactile bump and a single-piece slider design.

Razer Clicky Optical

Razer Opto-Mechanical

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (9)

Behavior: Clicky

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3mm

Sound Level: Loud

(Video) The Ultimate Guide to Mechanical Keyboards - All About Mechanical Switch Colors!

Rated Lifespan: 100 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here (opens in new tab)

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. Razer’s newest opto-mechanical switch is identical to the Bloody LK Libra Orange. Razer claims that it enforces a strict QC process for its clicky optical switches.

Razer Linear Optical

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.2mm

Total Travel Distance: 3mm

Sound Level: Loud

Rated Lifespan: 100 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. Razer claims that it enforces a strict QC process for its clicky optical switches.

Razer Mecha-Membrane

Razer Mecha-Membrane

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (10)

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: unknown

Actuation Point: unknown

Total Travel Distance: unknown

Sound Level: quiet-to-medium loudness

Rated Lifespan: unknown

Force Curve: unknown

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. Razer’s Mecha-membrane switch is proprietary to the company and comes in its Ornata Chroma keyboard. Razer combines both membrane and mechanical technologies into one switch, claiming that you get the best of both worlds. What Razer means is, you get the soft land of a membrane keyboard combined with the the tactile feel of a clicky mechanical.

In our preliminary tests with an Ornata Chroma prototype, the Mecha-membrane switches felt unusual at first, but after some use became quite enjoyable to type and play on.

Logitech

Logitech developed its Romer-G switch in partnership with Omron, a prominent Japanese electronics manufacturer. Currently, the Romer-G switch is only available in the Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum and the G910 gaming keyboards.

The Romer-G switch was designed from the ground up to overcome some of the flaws in mainstream mechanical switches. The Romer-G’s actuation point is set at 1.5mm, 25% shorter than the 2mm actuation point on Cherry MX and Kailh. It features a set of redundant contacts that not only ensures every keystroke is registered, but also extends its life expectancy to 70 million keystrokes per key. There’s a very subtle tactile bump at the actuation point that’s almost unnoticeable during intense gaming. The center of the switch is carved hollow to make room for a surface-mounted LED and a light guide for a more vibrant, even lighting.

Romer-G Tactile

Romer-G Tactile

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (11)

Behavior: Slightly tactile

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 70 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The Romer-G’s short travel distance plays a huge role in improving the rate of repeating keystrokes. The reset point is closely aligned with the actuation point so there’s no hysteresis.

Romer-G Linear

Romer-G Linear

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (12)

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.2mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 70 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here (opens in new tab)

Recommended for: Gaming. Building upon the legacy of the original Romer-G tactile, the Romer-G linear removes the tactile point and further enhances the actuation speed.

GX Blue

Behavior: Clicky

Feel: Heavy

Actuation Force: 60g

Actuation Point: 1.9mm

Total Travel Distance: 4.0mm

Sound Level: Loud

Rated Lifespan: 70 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here (opens in new tab)

Recommended for: Typing. Unlike the Romer-G switches, the clicky GX Blue employs a traditional mechanical key switch design. Both its internal mechanism and behavior are identical to that of the Cherry MX Blue. It is, however, still rated to last for 70 million keystrokes per key, just like the Romer-Gs.

Glorious

Glorious Panda

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 67g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Medium

Recommended for: Everything, but typing especially. These are Glorious' take on the venerable Holy Pandas, and they've been well received as a great version of that highly respected switch.

Drop

Drop + INVYR Holy Panda

Drop Holy Panda

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (13)

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 67g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Medium

Recommended for: Everything, especially typing. Much like the switches above, these Holy Panda-a-likes are made to match the much loved switch.

Drop Halo True

Halo True

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (14)

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium–heavy

Actuation Force: 54g

Actuation Point: 1.9mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Medium

Recommended for: Typing. These are slightly heavier than you might expect from the specs, and are a great middle ground for heavy typists.

Drop Halo Clear

Halo Clear

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (15)

(Video) A Beginner's Guide to Mechanical Switches

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 52g

Actuation Point: 1.9mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Medium

Recommended for: Typing. These switches are a little lighter than the Halo Trues, but they are still best used by typists.

SteelSeries

SteelSeries turned to Kaihua to develop the fastest switch possible. What emerged from their partnership is the QS1, a switch that first made its debut on the SteelSeries Apex M800 gaming keyboard.

The QS1 has a similar structure to the Logitech Romer-G. A spring sits in the hollow center, providing the support for the keycaps. At the base of the switch is a surface-mounted LED, but it lacks a light guide.

QS1

QS1

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (16)

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The short total travel distance helps the keys rebound quicker after bottoming out. The light actuation force and higher actuation point makes spamming easy.

Topre

Topre

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (17)

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Light to Medium

Actuation Force: 30g, 35g, 45g, 55g

Actuation Point: 2mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: Gaming and typing. The speedy and tactile Topre switch makes it ideal for general use. Although there’s a tactile bump at the actuation point, there’s no hysteresis to overcome since the switch is capacitive.

Cooler Master

Cooler Master uses Cherry MX switches on all of its keyboards—except for one. The Cooler Master Novatouch TKL, the most esteemed plank in Cooler Master’s inventory, uses Cooler Master’s proprietary Hybrid Capacitive switch.

The Cooler Master Hybrid Capacitive switch is basically a modified Topre. It adds Cherry MX stem to the center of the Topre stem, giving users the flexibility to install custom keycaps.

Hybrid Capacitive Switch

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (18)

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1mm

Total Travel Distance: 4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 60 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Typing and gaming. The Hybrid Capacitive switch behaves identically to Topre. Cooler Master claims that it has an actuation point of just 1mm, which is 1mm shorter than the 2mm actuation distance on the normal Topre switch.

Bloody

Bloody has had a long tradition of using optical switches for its high-end gaming keyboards. Optical switches detect a keystroke when a laser under every switch is interrupted. Because they don’t rely on metal contacts, there are fewer moving parts and fewer potential points of failure.

LK Libra Orange

Bloody LK Libra Orange

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (19)

Behavior: Clicky

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.5mm

Sound Level: Loud

Rated Lifespan: 100 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Gaming and Typing. Unlike traditional clicky mechanical switches, the LK Libra Orange doesn’t rely on a two-piece housing to produce the click. By keeping the tactile mechanism and actuation mechanisms separate, hysteresis is reduced to nearly zero. Each switch also has its own stabilizing bar to reduce key wobble during depression. Fans of Cherry MX Blues looking for a lighter, more responsive alternative should definitely give this switch a try.

Bloody LK Libra Brown

Bloody LK Libra Brown

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (20)

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 100 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The Bloody LK Libra Brown is the linear counterpart to the LK Libra Orange. It offers an alternative to gamers who want the benefits of the LK Libra optical switch without the noise.

Roccat

Roccat is a mechanical keyboard veteran, but it’s fairly new to the proprietary switch deal. Despite the seemingly lack of experience, its first venture – the Titan mechanical switch – is damn impressive. In addition to carefully tuned actuation characteristics, the Titan is able to reduce switch bouncing and register keystrokes sooner due to the use of higher quality components. Roccat also pairs the switches with ultra-thin, lightweight keycaps. They help to reduce the weight the switch has to push against to bounce back.

Roccat Titan

Roccat Titan

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (21)

Behavior: Tactile

Feel: Heavy

Actuation Force: N/A

Actuation Point: 1.8mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.6mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: N/A

Recommended for: Gaming and Typing. The tactile and silent Titan feels like a heavier version of the Cherry MX Brown. It wobbles much less than a standard mechanical switch. The wobble-free travel significantly enhances the responsive feel.

Tesoro

Tesoro employs a wide range of low-profile mechanical switches for its Gram series low-profile mechanical keyboards.

Agile Red

Tesoro Agile Red

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (22)

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Medium

(Video) The Essential Guide to Mechanical Switches | Mechanical Switches Comparison

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.5mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Gaming. The Tesoro Agile switch is identical to the Kailh PG1280 switch. In addition to having a shorter 3.5mm travel, its switch housing has been reduced in height as well. This allows for thinner, more flush keyboard designs.

Agile Blue

Behavior: Clicky

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1.5mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.5mm

Sound Level: Loud

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Typing

Slim Blue

Tesoro Slim Blue

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (23)

Behavior: Clicky

Feel: Medium

Actuation Force: 50g

Actuation Point: 1mm

Total Travel Distance: 3mm

Sound Level: Loud

Rated Lifespan: N/A

Recommended for: Typing. This TTC-made ultra-slim mechanical switch is even shorter than the Tesoro Agile. With a super-thin casing and actuating at just 1mm, it helps to cap the height of the keyboard to a mere 24mm. With that said, I’m hesitant to recommend the Tesoro ultra-slim Blues for gaming due to its terribly inconsistent actuation point distance.

Slim Red

Behavior: Linear

Feel: Light

Actuation Force: 45g

Actuation Point: 1mm

Total Travel Distance: 3mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: N/A

Recommended for: Fast-paced gaming. The Tesoro Slim also comes in a linear Red variant. If you’re okay with using flat chiclet keys, then the speedy 1mm actuation distance could help you spam in game.

Matias

Matias of Canada produces three of their own Alps-mount switches and a few keyboards. Matias switches are clones or derivatives of the Alps Electric Corporation switches produced up until around 1996. Alps-mount switches have a high actuation point compared to Cherry MX switches. Matias produces quality keyboards, offers many of their parts for sale, and are involved in the enthusiast DIY community.

Matias Quiet Click

Matias Quiet Click

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (24)

Behavior: Clicky

Feeling: Tactile

Actuation Force: 60g

Actuation Point: 2.2mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.5mm

Sound: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: These are tactile switches so a lot of the same ideas from the MX Brown section can be applied here. These switches have hysteresis just like Browns too. However, the actuation point on the Matias switches is much higher than MX switches. If you learn a soft touch, you can type and input commands even faster.

Matias Linear

Matias Linear

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (25)

Behavior: Linear

Feeling: Light

Actuation Force: 35g

Actuation Distance: 2.2mm

Total Travel Distance: 3.5mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 50 million keystrokes per key

Force Curve: Here

Recommended for: These are linear switches, so a lot of the same ideas from the MX Red and Black sections can be applied here. These switches don’t have any hysteresis. However, the actuation point on the Matias switches is much higher than MX switches. If you learn to not bottom out, you can type and input commands even faster. These switches are the second lightest switches on the list, meaning the force needed to press down on the keys is very low.

Membrane/Rubber Dome Switch

Membrane/Rubber Dome Switch

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (26)

The membrane/rubber dome switch is the most common type of keyboard switches. Its simple structure and low cost makes it an ideal solution for budget keyboards.

The principle behind the rubber dome switch is simple. When the key is pressed, the rubber dome underneath depresses to complete the circuit on the PCB below. The electric signal is then allowed to pass, signaling a keystroke. Because the circuit is printed on the PCB, the switch must be bottomed-out for the keystroke to activate.

Being a budget product, the membrane switch has a significantly shorter lifespan compared to mechanical switches—lasting only 5 to 10 million keystrokes on average. It’s also notorious for becoming “mushy” as it slowly degrades due to wear.

Behavior: Varies

Feel: Varies

Actuation Force: 50-60g

Total Travel Distance: 3-4mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 5 -10 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Gaming and typing on a budget

Scissor Switch

Scissor Switch

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming (27)

The scissor switch is a variation of the rubber dome that’s commonly used for laptops and low-profile keyboards. The keycap sits on top of two pieces of crisscrossed plastic stabilizers. It has a much shorter travel than that of the traditional rubber dome.

Behavior: Varies

Feel: Varies

Actuation Force: 50-60g

Actuation Point: 1mm

Total Travel Distance: 2mm

Sound Level: Quiet

Rated Lifespan: 5 - 10 million keystrokes per key

Recommended for: Gaming and typing on laptop or on a budget.

Gateron

Gateron is a Chinese manufacturer which makes MX-stem switches. Like Cherry, they have a range of different switch types which are classified by their stem colors. The enthusiast community has recently seen an influx of these switches and some say they favor the Gateron Clear and Black linear switches.

SKCL/SKCM “Complicated” Alps (Alps Electric Corporation)

These switches were made by Alps Electric Corporation from around 1983 until 1996. They are referred to as complicated Alps because they are comprised of 9 different parts. Like the rest of the switches on the list, they are differentiated by their stem color. Complicated Cream Alps serve as the basis for the Matias Quiet Click key switch. Like the Matias switches, they have a square stem, instead of a cross shaped stem like the MX-mount. Just like Matias switches, SKCL/SKCM switches also feature a higher actuation point. These switches are found in vintage keyboards.

Final Thoughts

There is no such thing the best switch for gaming. While it’s generally agreed upon that mechanical keyboards offer superior durability and performance, the choice of what to purchase depends entirely on your preference.

We’ve seen professional StarCraft players excel using keyboards equipped with Cherry MX Blues. We’ve also seen Counter Strike players dominate using membrane keyboards.

So try out the different switches to see which flavor suits your fingers the most.

FAQs

Which mechanical keyboard switch is best for gaming? ›

Red switches are linear switches. This means that the keys require less force to press, but that you don't feel or hear when the key is registered. The red switch is popular with gamers because these switches respond faster and they require less force to hold down a button.

What are the 4 types of switches keyboard? ›

There are three main types of switches: tactile, clicky, and linear. Most big companies label them as brown (tactile), blue (clicky), and red (linear), but it varies between each brand. Each provides a unique feel and provide their own sound feedback.

Are mechanical keyboards better for gaming? ›

Most gamers prefer mechanical keyboards because they're more tactile, durable, and faster. At the same time, some gamers appreciate the smaller footprint, portability, and lower price points of the membrane keyboards.

How do you pick a keyboard switch? ›

When choosing your switches, there are several things you should consider:
  1. How much noise do you want your keyboard to make? ...
  2. Do you prefer a smoother typing experience, or do you want to feel a slight bump when the key is actuated? ...
  3. How much force do you want to use when typing on your keyboard?

What switches do pro gamers use? ›

Razer Yellow. Recommended for: Competitive gaming. This is Razer's speed switch, and that means it's great for rapid-fire competitive gaming or really, really fast typists.

What are the fastest switches? ›

Linear switches don't have any audible click or tactile bump when a key is pressed. They're the fastest out of all mechanical switches since it's literally a straightforward press of the switch.

Which switch is best for gaming? ›

If you want a switch that's really fast for gaming, the Razer Red Optical switch or Cherry Speed Silver are your best bets. But if you need a well rounded switch, for typing/gaming, the Cherry MX or Gateron linear switches are great options.

Is brown switch good for gaming? ›

Brown switches are tactile. They have a slight bump on each keystroke which makes them excellent for typing and programming but they are not the best for gaming. Brown switches produce a moderate amount of noise.

What are the loudest switches for a keyboard? ›

The Blue switches are the loudest, but if you want a slightly quieter click, the Whites are an excellent option as well. The White switches are also slightly heavier, so if you type with a heavy hand, they can help protect you from bottoming out on each keystroke.

What switches feel the best? ›

Tactile switches offer the best feedback out of any mechanical switch. The sound and feel when typing on them make it easier to type accurately without any misclicks. The tactile bump generated is a great indicator of when a keypress is logged without having to fully bottom out your keys.

Is red switch good for gaming? ›

Gateron red switches are good for gaming because they are linear, have a low actuation force, and are relatively quiet. Gateron red switches are good for gaming because they are linear, have a low actuation force, and are relatively quiet. This makes them ideal for fast-paced gaming, as well as for general use.

What is the loudest keyboard? ›

1. CORSAIR K70 RGB Gaming Keyboard – Best Overall. Our best overall pick for the best loudest mechanical keyboard is the Corsair RGM MK 2 K70 Mechanical Gaming keyboard.

What keys do games use? ›

The commonly used keys for gaming on a computer are the 'W', 'A', 'S', 'D', and the keys close and adjacent to these keys. These keys and style of using a keyboard is referred to as WASD.

Are Blue switches good for gaming? ›

Despite their popularity, blue switches are not ideal for gaming. The strong tactile bump on each keystroke can prevent you from pressing keys in rapid succession and results in less control in-game. The loud clicky noises can also be distracting when chatting with your teammates.

What switches does Tfue? ›

Tfue's new keyboard is the Ducky Miya Pro Rainbow with MX Silver Switches. Tfue replaced the default (white) keycaps with a purple Tai-Hao Rubber Gaming Keycap set.

What's the fastest keyboard? ›

The Razer Huntsman V2 is the fastest keyboard in 2022. This keyboard allows for an incredibly fast gaming experience with super responsive optical switches. The response time for this keyboard is a fraction of a millisecond.

What is the best mechanical switch? ›

Here is a guide to the most popular.
  • Cherry MX Switches. The crème de la crème for most, Cherry (specifically, the Cherry MX line) is the most popular brand of keyboard switches—and for good reason. ...
  • Kailh (Kaihua) Switches. ...
  • Gateron Switches. ...
  • Razer and Logitech Switches. ...
  • SteelSeries and Roccat Switches.
29 Apr 2022

What keyboard does Tfue use? ›

Spacebar: custom made exclusively for Tfue. Tai-Hao Rubber Gaming keycaps Neon blue for the keys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Q, W, E, R, A, S, D and F. Tai-Hao Rubber Gaming Neon Pink keycaps for the keys: Y, X, C, V, 7, 8, 9 and 0. Rest of the keyboard: MK x Ducky 'Good in Blue' Keycap Set.

What keyboard do the pros use? ›

Mechanical Keyboard Advantages

If you ask the pros (and us) you will want a mechanical keyboard for gaming. Looking at our analyzed professionals we can see that 98% use a mechanical keyboard. That says a lot, and it makes sense too. The advantages of a mechanical over a regular membrane board really can't be denied.

What color key switches are best for gaming? ›

The best switch ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you like the classic, clicky sound and feel, you'll love blue mechanical switches. If speed is a consideration, stick to linear (red) switches, and for a mix of both, go with brown.

Which switches are best for FPS? ›

  1. Cherry MX Red. Best gaming keyboard switch overall. ...
  2. Gateron Brown. Best keyboard switch for gamers who want the best of both worlds. ...
  3. Cherry MX Blue. Best keyboard switch for MMOs and MOBAs. ...
  4. Razer Yellow or Cherry MX Speed Silver. Best for fast-paced games and competitive gaming. ...
  5. SteelSeries OmniPoint. ...
  6. Logitech Low Profile GL.
1 Feb 2022

Is Green switch good for gaming? ›

The Green switch is LOUD and can cause fights between spouses if used irresponsibly. This switch not ideal for gaming because the bump on each keystroke can be distracting and make your gaming less consistent. Usually a linear switch is best for pressing keys in rapid succession while gaming (see Razer Yellow).

Is tactile or linear better for gaming? ›

Though some say linear switches are best for gaming and tactile switches are best for typing, neither type of switch is inherently better than the other. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference.

Is blue switch good for gaming? ›

Despite their popularity, blue switches are not ideal for gaming. The strong tactile bump on each keystroke can prevent you from pressing keys in rapid succession and results in less control in-game. The loud clicky noises can also be distracting when chatting with your teammates.

Which switch is better for gaming? ›

The first step to choosing a switch is deciding between linear, tactile, and clicky. Most gamers prefer linear variants for their smooth, speedy, and quiet operation. Meanwhile, tactile switches are a great multipurpose option, while clicky switches are best for typists.

Which color switch is best for gaming? ›

The best switch ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you like the classic, clicky sound and feel, you'll love blue mechanical switches. If speed is a consideration, stick to linear (red) switches, and for a mix of both, go with brown.

What's the fastest keyboard? ›

The Razer Huntsman V2 is the fastest keyboard in 2022. This keyboard allows for an incredibly fast gaming experience with super responsive optical switches. The response time for this keyboard is a fraction of a millisecond.

Are red switches good for gaming? ›

Gateron red switches are good for gaming because they are linear, have a low actuation force, and are relatively quiet. Gateron red switches are good for gaming because they are linear, have a low actuation force, and are relatively quiet. This makes them ideal for fast-paced gaming, as well as for general use.

What is the best keyboard switch? ›

Cherry MX Switches

The crème de la crème for most, Cherry (specifically, the Cherry MX line) is the most popular brand of keyboard switches—and for good reason. They're some of the most reliable switches on the market.

Are yellow switches quiet? ›

Gateron Yellow Switches are a very good switch option for those who like linear switches for mechanical keyboards . It's a very smooth, quiet, vertical pressing sensation with no clicky feel.

Why do pros use Clicky switches? ›

Clicky switches are a type of switch that focus on producing a tactile bump and loud audible click with each keystroke. Loud and clicky switches offer great feedback when typing, so you know by the sound everything is working properly. Not to mention the sound is awesome.

Is clicky better than linear? ›

Personal Preference Is Key

Just because clicky switches are most often recommended for the best typing experience, linear for fast paced gaming and tactile for general purpose use doesn't mean those are the switch types you'll favor in each scenario.

Are brown switches good for gaming? ›

Brown switches are tactile. They have a slight bump on each keystroke which makes them excellent for typing and programming but they are not the best for gaming. Brown switches produce a moderate amount of noise.

Do switches matter for gaming? ›

When it comes to identifying which switch is suited for the job, mechanical keyboard enthusiasts loosely agree that linear switches are suited for gaming and tactile switches are better for typing.

Which keyboard switch is loudest? ›

The Blue switches are the loudest, but if you want a slightly quieter click, the Whites are an excellent option as well. The White switches are also slightly heavier, so if you type with a heavy hand, they can help protect you from bottoming out on each keystroke.

Which are better for gaming blue or red? ›

While Blues will give you the feedback to confirm your key-presses and commands, the Red is the clear victor when it comes to practicality. If you're a gamer that wants a light and predictable switch that will get you the performance you need without all the distractions, go with the Reds.

Videos

1. Best mechanical keyboards and switches for gaming
(Kephren)
2. Mechanical keyboards: everything you need to know
(TechRadar)
3. A Guide to Mechanical Keyboard Switches - QWER8 V2 Testing Kit - By TotallydubbedHD
(TotallydubbedHD)
4. DON'T Buy a Mechanical Keyboard Before Watching THIS!
(Hardware Canucks)
5. How To Choose The Right Mechanical Keyboard Switch For YOU
(Brainbean)
6. Which Key Switch Should You Get?
(randomfrankp)

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