Mechanical keyboard switches are the heart and soul of any mechanical keyboard. They determine how the keyboard feels, sounds, and performs. However, mechanical switches have various differences among them. There are many different types, brands, and models of mechanical switches, each with their own characteristics and advantages. In this article, we will explore some of the most common and popular mechanical switches, and how they differ from each other.
Linear Switches Linear switches are the simplest type of mechanical switches. They have a smooth and consistent keystroke, without any tactile feedback or audible click. They feel the same from the moment you start pressing the key until you bottom out. Linear switches are ideal for fast and accurate typing, as well as gaming, where quick and smooth key presses are essential. Some examples of linear switches are Cherry MX Red, Black, and Speed Silver, Gateron Red and Black, and Kailh Silver and Bronze.
Tactile Switches Tactile switches provide a tactile bump when you reach the actuation point, which is the point where the keypress is registered. This gives you a physical confirmation that you have pressed the key enough, without having to bottom out. Tactile switches are great for typing, as they offer a satisfying and comfortable typing experience. They can also be used for gaming, as they allow you to release the key faster after actuation. Some examples of tactile switches are Cherry MX Brown, Clear, and Grey, Gateron Brown and Clear, and Kailh Brown and Pro Purple.
Clicky Switches Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches, but they also produce an audible click when you reach the actuation point. This gives you both a physical and an auditory feedback that you have pressed the key enough. Clicky switches are preferred by some typists who enjoy the loud and crisp sound of their keystrokes. They can also be useful for gaming, as they provide a clear indication of when a key is pressed. However, clicky switches can also be noisy and annoying for some people, especially in quiet environments or shared spaces. Some examples of clicky switches are Cherry MX Blue, Green, and White1, Gateron Blue and Green, and Kailh Blue and Box White.
Other Factors Besides the type of switch, there are other factors that affect how mechanical switches differ from each other. These include:
Actuation force: The amount of force required to press the key until it registers. This can range from light to heavy, depending on the switch model and spring strength.
Actuation distance: The distance the key travels until it registers. This can vary from short to long, depending on the switch design and shape.
Bottom-out distance: The total distance the key travels until it hits the bottom of the switch. This can also differ from short to long, depending on the switch construction and height.
Sound level: The loudness of the switch when pressed. This can range from quiet to loud, depending on the type of switch, material, housing, plate, case, keycaps, and other factors.
Conclusion Mechanical keyboard switches are an important aspect of any mechanical keyboard. They determine how the keyboard feels, sounds, and performs. There are many different types of mechanical switches, each with their own characteristics and advantages. Linear switches are smooth and consistent, without any feedback or click. Tactile switches provide a tactile bump when actuated, without any sound. Clicky switches provide both a tactile bump and an audible click when actuated. Other factors that affect how mechanical switches differ from each other include actuation force, actuation distance, bottom-out distance, and sound level.
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