Switches are the core of every keyboard. They’re the piece between your keycaps and the bulk of the board and they’re what governs how your keyboard feels to use. So, whether you’re building your own keyboard or picking up a prebuild, you’ll need to decide which type of switches you’ll be typing and gaming on. But there are a lot of options to consider. But what’s the difference between switches? And which one is right for you? Our Champions weigh in and recommend their favorite switches.
Pictured: Glorious Raptor Clicky Keyboard Switches
There are a lot of switches out there and I think all of them are better than the membrane switches found in traditional keyboards. Not only do mechanical switches offer far greater durability, but the feel is far superior. I have used several different types in my day-to-day and pressed dozens in demos. I would have to say that my current favorite switch type is the Cherry MX Speed Silver. My main keyboard is a Corsair with the Cherry MX Speed Silver keys added. The keys are very light to press with 45cN operating force. They have a pre-travel of 1.2mm and 3.4 mm of total travel space.
One of the biggest things that I had to get used to with the keyboard was how easy it was to click the buttons. Because of the light spring and early sensor on them, it takes very little pressure to activate the keys, so lightly resting your hands on them could result in a screen of “A”s. Now that I’m used to it, I like how quickly it presses the keys and I barely have to touch it to get the button pressed. It makes gaming reactions that much faster, which is the main thing that I use that computer for. We all know how important response time is for gaming!
My favorite switch type is Linear as they are seamless and typically quiet. Rather than a click or tactile bump when pressing, linear switches go straight down with no feedback. The benefit of this is speed, and linear switches are fast. And, as someone who primarily uses my keyboard for gaming, that speed is definitely important. If you ask me, they offer the most satisfying experience and are one of the best switches for gaming.
Red switches are the most common example of a linear switch, with a simple, no-frills, up-and-down keypress. Black switches are similarly linear but offer a bit more heft, making them slightly harder to press. If your hands rest heavy on your keyboard, these are a great alternative! Of course, manufacturers have their own take on linear switches as well, like Razer’s yellow switches.
Building Your Own Keyboard is a daunting task but a very exciting one. One of the main features you'll need in your keyboard is to figure out what switch type you'll be satisfied with. My current favorite switch type is Tactile Switches. Tactile switches have a slight bump or click whenever you press the keys. You’ll most commonly hear people refer to these as “blue” or “brown” switches. Blues add a “click” to that tactile experience, adding a very satisfying auditory component to your typing. Browns have that tactile bump but no “click,” offering a quieter typing experience.
There are plenty of brands that make switches, but my current favorite is Gateron. Gateron switches offer a buttery smooth, tactile experience for any typing or gaming enthusiast. There is a slight bit of weight to the switches which make travel speeds feel that much better on your fingers. Gateron offers the traditional blues and browns, but also has a wide range of switches in between as well, like the linear Gateron reds.
For switch types, it depends on the person. I love building keyboards myself and one of my favorite switches to use is linear types. There is just so much variety in linear switches; you can game or even use them for work. When it comes to linear, the word that usually is associated with the switch type is “thock,” which is the sound and feeling of pressing onto a keyboard switch. That said, not all “thocks” are the same. It all depends on the switch itself as well as if you’re going to mod the switch with either lube or using switch film. Those types of factors can change the overall feeling of the keyboard typing experience.
For linear switches, my go-to favorites are the Gaterons, like those found in the NZXT Function keyboard. Whether you're gaming or just planning on using your keyboard for typing, they're fantastic and a great switch to start your keyboard journey. Gaterons are great out of the box but feel even smoother when properly lubed, making for an incredible typing experience. Of course, there are many other linear switches out there, but overall, these are the ones I would highly recommend from experience for the daily user or gamer.
When it comes to building your very first keyboard, it can be daunting and overwhelming. There's a variety of options to choose from the keyboard frame down to the keyboard switch. Personally, I love the Redragon Bullet QT mechanical switch. If someone asks me for a recommendation, they're my go-to and I will absolutely talk at length about how great they are.
These Redragon Bullet QT switches have a tactile feel and are super quiet, which I personally love because the other switches are too loud for me. I don't know about you guys but, every time I'm typing out a Word document or sending out an important email, I’d rather not let my neighbors know. Plus the switch is buttery-smooth. If you're thinking about building your very own keyboard and unsure what kind of switch you should get for your keyboard, I highly recommend the Redragon Bullet QT mechanical switches for that super smooth feel and super quiet sound.
The Redragon switches are quite nice, and price very competitively.
I love Gateron brown switches personally, I enjoy having that tactile feedback!
I have both red and brown!
I'm glad Redragon made their own switches. They have a lot of cool and affordable items!
a lot of great options! i really do like black linears cause theyre heavy so they give a tactile feeling with no bump but i do like gaterons tactiles a lot
I'm personally not as techie as some of my counterparts in this area but because of this article I feel I know why certain switches feel and better to me
I need all of the switches hahaha
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