Mechanical Switch Guide

 

So if you are relatively new to mechanical keyboards you will probably be looking for more information on mechanical switches, on why they are so special, how they are different from each other, and which one might be best for you. So with that in mind I have written this guide to go over the 9 most common switch types. So let us get started with the Cherry switches, then move on to others.

 

Cherry MX Brown

Brown

Specifications

Tactile: Yes
Actuation Force: 45g
Key Travel: 0.2cm to register, 0.4cm to bottom out.

Pros:
– Being a tactile switch, it is very easy to feel when the keystroke has been activated, useful for typing and gaming.
– Light actuation force when compared to other switches. Not the lightest, but a good balance between both extremes.

Cons:
– Smaller life expectancy than linear (non-tactile) switches.
– Tactile bump smaller than compared with other tactile switches. Some have the opinion that it is not as useful.

 

Cherry MX Blue

Cherry MX Blue

Specifications

Tactile: Yes – A loud click.
Actuation Force: 50g
Key Travel: 0.2cm to register, 0.4cm to bottom out.

Pros:
A very loud “click” when the key is activated, very good for typing.

Cons:
– The design causes a slight delay when trying to “double tap” that some find annoying.
– Smaller life expectancy than linear (non-tactile) switches.
– The loud click can be annoying to people around you.

 

Cherry MX Red

Red

Specifications

Tactile: No (Linear)
Actuation Force: 45g
Key Travel: 0.2cm to register, 0.4cm to bottom out.

Pros:
– Some people find linear switches better for gaming.
– Designed to be good for “double tapping” switches.
– Lives longer than tactile switches.

Cons:
– The low actuation force combined with being a linear switch makes these more prone to accidental key presses

 

Cherry MX Black

Cherry MX Black

Specifications

Tactile: No(Linear)
Actuation Force: 60g
Key Travel: 0.2cm to register, 0.4cm to bottom out.

Pros:
– The larger than normal actuation force helps people make less accidental key presses.
– Some gamers find the fact this is a linear switch to be a big benefit.
– Has a higher life expectancy due to being linear.

Cons:
– The extra force needed to press down the keys causes fatigue for some people.

 

MX Cherry Clear

Cherry MX Clear

Specifications

Tactile: Yes
Actuation Force: 55g
Key Travel: 0.2cm to register, 0.4cm to bottom out.

Pros:
– Some people find the large tactile bump very useful for gaming and typing.
– Allows for better “double tapping”.

Cons:
– Like the black switch, some people find using these switches causes fatigue.
– Shorter life time than Linear switches.

 

Topre

Topre

Specifications:

Tactile: Yes, but not clicky
Actuation Force: Between 30g and 50g depending on model.
Key Travel: 0.4cm

Pros:
– Very smooth.
– Very reliable.

Cons:
– High Pricing
– Some have said they feel similar to rubber domes.

 

White Alps

white alps

Specifications

Tactile: Yes, very clicky
Actuation Force: 60g – 70g
Key Travel 0.35cm

Pros:
– Like Cherry MX Blues, the loud tactile click is very useful for typing.

Cons:
– They hit the bottom (bottoming out) very hard.
– Very loud.
– Supposed latency issue.

 

Black Alps

black alps

Specifications

Tactile: Yes
Actuation Force: 60g – 70g
Key Travel: 0.35cm

Pros:
– Small tactility makes this useful for typing.

Cons:
– Effect from wear shows quicker
– They hit the bottom (bottoming out) very hard.

 

Buckling Spring

buckling spring

Specification

Tactile: Yes, very clicky.
Actuation Force: 60g – 70g
Key Travel: 0.27cm to register, 0.37cm to bottom out.

Pros:
– Very loud tactile click, useful for typing.

Cons:
– A very heavy switch, can cause fatigue.
This completes my short list of the most common mechanical switch types. If you are looking into getting a mechanical keyboard, this list should cover everything about the switches you may need to know about.