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Mechanical Keyboard Switches Explained

The humble keyboard plays a crucial role in shaping the user experience. While traditional membrane keyboards have long been the norm, a growing number of enthusiasts are turning their attention to mechanical keyboards, and for good reason. At the heart of these mechanical wonders are the switches – the keys to a satisfying and customizable typing experience. In this guide, we'll delve into the world of mechanical keyboard switches, exploring their types, colors, and more.

Understanding Mechanical Switches

Unlike membrane keyboards, which rely on a rubber dome for key presses, mechanical keyboards use individual mechanical switches for each key. These switches are made up of several moving parts, including a hard plastic "stem" and two metal contacts. When a key is pressed, the stem pushes the contacts together, completing the circuit and registering the keypress.

Types of Mechanical Switches

  1. Linear Switches:

    • Smooth keystrokes with a consistent force throughout the keypress.
    • Examples: Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Black.
  2. Tactile Switches:

    • Provide feedback with a noticeable bump at the actuation point.
    • Examples: Cherry MX Brown, Cherry MX Clear.
  3. Clicky Switches:

    • Combine tactile feedback with an audible click sound.
    • Examples: Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Green.
  4. Hybrid Switches:

    • Blend features of linear and tactile switches for a balanced typing experience.
    • Examples: Cherry MX Silent Red, Cherry MX Silent Black.

Switch Actuation Force

Each switch has a specific actuation force, measured in grams, which denotes the force required to register a keypress. Users often choose switches based on personal preferences for a lighter or heavier touch.

Popular Mechanical Switch Brands

  1. Cherry MX:

    • One of the oldest and most renowned switch manufacturers.
    • Offers a variety of switch types and colors.
  2. Razer:

    • Known for its Razer Green and Razer Orange switches.
    • Emphasizes gaming performance.
  3. Logitech Romer-G:

    • Engineered for precision and speed.
    • Features a shorter actuation distance.
  4. Gateron:

    • Gaining popularity for providing Cherry MX alternatives.
    • Offers various switch types.

Switch Colors and Their Significance

Mechanical switches are often associated with distinct colors, each representing a different switch type. Here's a quick overview:

  1. Cherry MX Red:

    • Linear switch with a light actuation force.
  2. Cherry MX Brown:

    • Tactile switch with a moderate actuation force.
  3. Cherry MX Blue:

    • Clicky switch with tactile feedback and an audible click.
  4. Cherry MX Black:

    • Linear switch with a heavier actuation force than Cherry MX Red.

Customization and DIY Enthusiasts

One of the key attractions of mechanical keyboards is the ability to customize the typing experience. Enthusiasts often build their own keyboards, selecting switches based on personal preferences and needs. Keycap materials, colors, and designs also contribute to the overall aesthetic of these customized keyboards.


As the demand for personalized and high-performance peripherals grows, mechanical keyboards and their switches continue to captivate users around the world. Whether you're a gamer, typist, or DIY enthusiast, the world of mechanical keyboard switches offers a vast array of options to suit your preferences. As you embark on your journey into this tactile realm, consider the multitude of switches available, experiment with different types, and discover the perfect key to unlocking your optimal typing experience.

About this post

Posted: 2023-12-14
By: dwirch
Viewed: 71 times





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