Home » Choosing the Best Mechanical Keyboard Switches: A Comprehensive Review
As a professional writer and avid gamer, I have had my fair share of experience with mechanical keyboards. From gaming competitions to long writing sessions, having a keyboard that can keep up with my typing speed and provide a satisfying tactile feedback is essential. One of the most important components in a mechanical keyboard is the switch. In this comprehensive review, I will explore the different types of mechanical keyboard switches, compare their characteristics, and provide recommendations for choosing the best switches for gaming and typing.
Before diving into the different types of mechanical keyboard switches, it is important to understand what they are and how they work. Unlike traditional rubber dome keyboards, mechanical keyboards use individual mechanical switches for each key. Each switch contains a spring and a stem that moves up and down when pressed, triggering an electrical signal that registers the keystroke.
One of the main advantages of mechanical switches is their durability. They are designed to withstand millions of keystrokes, making them ideal for heavy usage. Additionally, they provide a more tactile and satisfying typing experience compared to rubber dome keyboards.
There are three main types of mechanical keyboard switches: linear, tactile, and clicky. Each type has a unique feel and sound when pressed, making them suitable for different types of users and applications.
Linear switches are the simplest type of mechanical switches. When pressed, the stem moves straight down without any tactile feedback or clicking sound. Linear switches are ideal for gaming since they are fast and smooth, allowing for quick and precise key presses. However, they may not be suitable for typing since they lack feedback and can lead to errors.
One popular linear switch is the Cherry MX Red. It has a low actuation force of 45g and a linear feel with no tactile feedback. Other popular linear switches include the Gateron Red and the Kailh Black.
Tactile switches provide a tactile bump when pressed, giving the user a physical feedback that the key has been activated. This can be beneficial for typing since it helps reduce errors and improve accuracy. Tactile switches are also suitable for gaming since they provide a satisfying feedback when pressing keys.
The Cherry MX Brown is a popular tactile switch with a low actuation force of 45g and a tactile bump halfway through the keystroke. Other popular tactile switches include the Gateron Brown and the Kailh Brown.
Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches, but they also produce an audible clicking sound when pressed. This can be satisfying for some users but can be distracting for others. Clicky switches are not recommended for shared workspaces or quiet environments.
One popular clicky switch is the Cherry MX Blue. It has a high actuation force of 50g and a tactile bump with an audible click. Other popular clicky switches include the Gateron Blue and the Kailh Blue.
Comparison of Popular Mechanical Keyboard Switches
To help you choose the best mechanical keyboard switches, I have created a comparison table of popular switches based on their characteristics.
Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Brown
Cherry MX Blue
Factors to Consider When Choosing Mechanical Keyboard Switches
When choosing mechanical keyboard switches, there are several factors to consider. The first is the intended use of the keyboard. If you are a gamer, you may want to choose linear switches for their speed and smoothness. If you are a typist, you may want to choose tactile switches for their feedback and accuracy.
Another factor to consider is the actuation force of the switch. This is the amount of force required to activate the switch. Some users may prefer lighter switches with a lower actuation force, while others may prefer heavier switches with a higher actuation force.
Finally, the noise level of the switch may be a consideration. Clicky switches produce an audible clicking sound, which may be satisfying for some users but distracting for others. Tactile switches provide a tactile bump without the clicking sound, while linear switches provide no feedback or sound.
Best Mechanical Keyboard Switches for Gaming
For gaming, the best mechanical keyboard switches are typically linear switches with a low actuation force. These switches provide a fast and smooth typing experience, allowing for quick and precise key presses. Additionally, they do not provide any tactile feedback, which can be beneficial for gaming since it reduces the chance of accidental keystrokes.
One popular gaming switch is the Cherry MX Red. It has a low actuation force of 45g and a linear feel with no tactile feedback. Other popular gaming switches include the Gateron Red and the Kailh Black.
Best Mechanical Keyboard Switches for Typing
For typing, the best mechanical keyboard switches are typically tactile switches with a medium actuation force. These switches provide a tactile feedback when pressed, helping to reduce errors and improve accuracy. Additionally, they may produce an audible clicking sound, which can be satisfying for some users.
One popular typing switch is the Cherry MX Brown. It has a low actuation force of 45g and a tactile bump halfway through the keystroke. Other popular typing switches include the Gateron Brown and the Kailh Brown.
How to Replace Mechanical Keyboard Switches
If you have a mechanical keyboard and want to replace the switches, it is possible to do so with some basic tools and knowledge. The first step is to remove the keycaps and the switches from the keyboard. This can be done using a keycap puller and a soldering iron.
Once the switches are removed, you can replace them with new switches by soldering them onto the keyboard’s PCB. It is important to ensure that the new switches are compatible with the keyboard’s PCB and that they are correctly aligned and soldered.
What are the Best Mechanical Keyboard Switches?
When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, there are three primary types: linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches offer a smooth, fast typing experience, while tactile switches provide a muted bump and moderate resistance. Clicky switches, on the other hand, offer a pronounced bump and an audible click. According to a  guide, Cherry MX Red switches are the best overall option due to their fluidity, precision, and quiet operation, making them suitable for most gamers, especially those who play various genres. Kailh Speed Silver switches are recommended for gaming, Gateron Brown switches for multipurpose use, and Romer-G GX Blue switches for clicky gaming. Gateron switches are also quite popular among keyboard aesthetes and enthusiasts due to their smoothness. 
Choosing the best mechanical keyboard switches depends on your intended use and personal preferences. Linear switches are ideal for gaming, while tactile switches are better for typing. Clicky switches may be satisfying for some users, but may be distracting for others. When choosing switches, consider factors such as actuation force, tactile feedback, and audible feedback. With the right switches, a mechanical keyboard can provide a satisfying and durable typing experience.