The Comparative Guide to Mechanical Switches

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Tactile Clicky

Examples:
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX Green

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Tactile

Examples:
Cherry MX Brown
Cherry MX Clear

Read more

Linear

Examples:
Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Black

Read more

Why did we make this guide?

The current market for mechanical keyboard switches has increased dramatically over the last few years with little comparison between each brand. This page contains the data for all of the switches that are currently produced and sold that we could find.

We custom built a force gauge to gather and reliably check the data from each switch in order to provide real data to compare various brands without the need for user interpretation.

What are we able to measure?

Friction

  • Caused by the movement of the slider over various surfaces inside of the switch.

Tactile (Tactility)

  • Perceptible to the sense of touch. The point at which a user knows the switch has been pressed and can begin to stop the finger from descending without an abrupt change.

Actuation

  • The point at which an electrical connection is made. In a membrane keyboard this is the same as the bottom-out.

Bottom-out

  • The point where the switch has achieved the maximum distance preventing any further movement. In general the bottom-out position is considered a bad point when typing as hitting it will likely introduce joint and finger fatigue and strain.

Spring Force

  • The amount of force required to compress linear springs. Most keyboards have this type of spring. The amount of force required to compress the spring goes up at the same rate over the distance of the whole spring.

Switch categorization

For our testing we have categorized the switches into three types:

  • Tactile: Defined as any switch that has a tactile point with no audible feedback.
  • Tactile + Clicky: Defined as any switch that has a tactile point and an audible feedback.
  • Linear: Defined as any switch that has no tactile point and no audible feedback.

We also categorized the switches by actuation force:

  • Light: 0 – 80gfmm
  • Medium: 80-115gfmm
  • Heavy: 115gfmm+

Please see our GLOSSARY for more information.

Note: These pages may be continuously updated as manufacturers revise or alter their designs, or as we develop pages for more varieties and categories