Mechanical keyboards are experiencing a renaissance. Whether potential buyers are looking for the best PC gaming keyboard or just the best keyboard for productivity and work, a mechanical keyboard is very likely to make its way up the list. One of the first decisions these buyers must make is what kind of exchange to buy, and it is not as simple a decision as it might seem. Cherry has been the leading manufacturer of keyboard switches for years, and of its most popular choices, red, brown, and blue, what exactly is the best mechanical keyboard switch anyway?
Poll any group of mechanical keyboard fanatics and your answers will likely vary. Switches are the mechanical buttons found under the keys on any mechanical keyboard, and while they may look similar (albeit different in color and design), they can feel and sound drastically different. As a result, the best change often comes down to what the user wants from their mechanical keyboard, both in feel and sound.
The important thing you should know Cherry MX key switches It is that the color represents certain characteristics, and those characteristics will determine which is the one that best suits each type of user. The red switches are lightweight and linear with a smooth travel throughout the keystroke. These switches are often popular with gamers because of their smoothness and light operation. The blue switches, on the other hand, are tactile and clickable. When a key is activated, it can be felt in your fingers and heard by everyone around you. They are a good choice for typists and people nostalgic for old school typewriters. However, they are not suitable for quiet environments, as their noise can often disturb coworkers and roommates. The brown switches, on the other hand, are a middle ground between the red and blue switches, offering the light travel of a Cherry MX red and a tactile bump that can be felt on the finger when the key is activated. They don’t have an audible click, so they’re best for quiet environments and are often enjoyed for both gaming and productivity.
With those basics in mind, most users will be able to determine the type of switch they want, but getting started with mechanical keyboards can be surprisingly overwhelming. When shopping, many users will find that there are many more switches than Cherry MX Red, Blue, and Brown and that those from other manufacturers can often cost less. Since switches are generally divided into linear, tactile, or click, most of the same rules apply, but there are a few important things to consider when shopping.
First off, newcomers will get better service if they keep things simple and start with the kind of switch they’re looking for: linear, tactile, or click. Cherry MX switches are a good place to start because they are well known, reliable, and the most popular on the market, so most users will be able to find an option that they enjoy. Second, avoid some of the less common options to get started. Cherry MX Black, Clear or Silver switches are very popular in certain circles, but many users find them too heavy or too sensitive to use comfortably. Another thing to keep in mind is that other brands, like Kailh or Gateron, offer their own versions of these switches at reduced prices. Although there are subtle differences in how they feel or sound, they will be minor and will likely reduce the price of the entire keyboard.
Finally, for users who are still undecided, a switch tester or sample pack is worth investing in. Keyboard vendors understand the struggle, and many sell standalone sets of various switches for customers to test out before making a final decision. Drop, for example, is aimed at keyboard enthusiasts, but offers a sample pack of 20 different switches try. Testing a single switch is not the same as testing an entire keyboard equipped with those switches, but being able to feel and hear the differences between the switches can often be the most helpful thing to do.
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