Understanding Mechanical switches

Understanding Mechanical switches

I have seen many people who are willing to buy high end mechanical keyboards but are not aware of the different type of switches. It’s critical to understand some basics about the switches types and how they make difference in your keyboard performance.

While considering the purchase of mechanical keyboards it’s important to understand common categories and types of switches you can have your keyboard switches. 

mechanical keybords
cherry mx switches

Before we get into the discussion of different switch types it’s important to understand the advantages you are going to experience while using mechanical keyboards.

Advantages:

  1. Improved typing and gaming experience: the major reason behind the success of mechanical keyboards is the key switches that are used. These switches work much more efficiently than any conventional keyboard with the membrane. You will experience better responsive keys and faster clicks.
  2. Lifespan: while most of the membrane keyboards are not built to last long, mechanical keyboards switches have a lifespan of 50 million clicks. And if in case any switch has completed its life expectancy then you can just change the single key instead of changing the whole key set.
  3. High stability: these keyboards are built to last longer and most of the high-end gaming keyboards are built with high-grade aluminum material for increased durability. The material used in the construction of these keyboards is quite heavy that make the keyboard gain better stability.
  4. They don’t drain out: even after the years of usage you won’t find these keyboards getting drained out, these keyboard’s switches are built to perform the same way at any all the stage of life.
  5. Anti Ghosting: most of the membrane keyboards are not built to prevent ghosting, Ghosting is a situation when your system is unable to understand your command when more than one keys are pressed simultaneously. Mechanical keyboards are built to prevent any ghosting effect.
  6. Sound: You will fall in love with the rhythmic sound it produces. Many people might get annoyed with the louder sound of these switches but I personally love it, it gives me that extra kick to type faster. If you have noise restrictions then you can opt for switches that are built to make less sound, switch variants like ‘Cherry MX Brown’ is built to produce low sound.

Disadvantages

  1. Not pocket-friendly: gaming keyboards are definitely costlier than your conventional keyboard, but better quality comes with its price.
  2. Loud sound: for some people, mechanical keyboards might sound annoying, especially your girlfriend or family members.

Switches are categorized between three different categories

Linear switches: these are the simplest switches which are built for the speedy clicking. They feel the same from the movement they are pressed from top to bottom.

Tactical switches: tactical switches contains a slight bump in the middle of the distance, it let the user aware of hitting the actuation point. Tactical switches generally need more power to press the keys.

Clicky switches: these switches were built for the sound lovers; switches contain the bump at the actuation point and also produce additional click sound, in some cases these switches can be quite noisy and disturbing to others. 

 

The company that is manufacturing world class mechanical keyboard switches is a German company naming “Cherry”, this company has produces the most superior quality mechanical switches with the name of “Cherry MX”, so next time you hear the name of Cherry MX switches in any keyboard, you can consider it the most reliable option. Today most of the high-end keywords contain different variants of Cherry MX switches. Here is the list of common Cherry Switches. 

Variations of Cherry X switches 

Cherry MX switches functionalities are based on their color, that means every color denoted different switch handling characteristic, like the switch type, actuation force required and preferred use. Although there are many type of switches available in the market, but the 5 most common switches are Red, Blue, Brown, Blue and Silver.

Cherry MX Red

• Switch type: Linear

• Manufacturer: Cherry

• Actuation force: 45g

• Feel: light

• Actuation distance: 2mm

• Sound level: Quiet

Recommended for: if you are looking for a keyboard with lesser resistance then you can have a look at this switch, red switches are one of the most common type of switches found in most of the mechanical keyboards.

Cherry MX Black:

• Switch type: Linear

• Manufacturer: Cherry

• Actuation force: 60 g

• Feel: Heavy

• Actuation distance: 2 mm

• Sound level: Quiet

Recommended for: if you prefer fast pacing gaming that require harder resistance then you should opt for the MX black switches. These switches are quire suite to work with but can proven to be good workout for your fingers.

Cherry MX Brown:

• Switch type: Tactile

• Manufacturer: Cherry

• Actuation force: 45g

• Feel: Medium

• Actuation distance: 2 mm

• Sound level: Quiet

Recommended for: this if the most versatile option you can get, this is a best option for professional gamers and people who require to do lot of computer work. Switches are quite light and the slight bump gives you the much needed feedback. Due to lower actuation force these keys are quite easy to press.

Cherry MX Blue:

• Switch type: Clicky

• Manufacturer: Cherry

• Actuation force: 60g

• Feel: Heavy

• Actuation distance: 2 mm

• Sound level: Noisy

Recommended for: Built especially for hardcore gamers who like to have feedback on every key pressed, these switches can we quite noisy but if you are love to play in your privacy then those clicky sound can work as a dope for your gaming experience.

Cherry MX speed:

• Switch type: Linear

• Manufacturer: Cherry

• Actuation force: 40m

• Feel: Very light

• Actuation distance: 1.2 mm

• Sound level: Quiet

Recommended for: this switch has got everything you could expect the switch to have. This is the only switch in Cherry MX family that is not named after the color of switch (these switches are grey in color) these switches has got lower actuation point that helps in faster key press registration. You can use it for your office work or serious gaming, these switches are truly a winner.

Which mechanical keyboard is right for you?

Since you have educated yourself about different type of keyboard switches its important to know which switch will be the best suitable for your purpose, lets discuss different criteria to go through before finalizing your purchase.

 

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