Last Updated on December 5, 2023
When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, the most widely used and best known for now are Cherry MX and Gateron. These two brands of switches have been used in a wide variety of custom and pre-built mechanical keyboards on the market today. But, which is better, Cherry MX or Gateron?
Cherry MX is the first mechanical keyboard switch that was born in the world known for its excellent quality and durability. Gateron is a cloned switch from Cherry MX which is known for its smoothness. Gateron is the best alternative to Cherry MX because it has a more affordable price. For high-end mechanical keyboards, they usually use switches from Cherry MX, while keyboards with an ideal budget will prefer to use Switches from Gateron.
Overall, both Cherry MX and Gateron are two switch brands that both have advantages and disadvantages in each of their products. Through this article, we will compare in detail these two switch brands, which one is better? Let’s get started!
For a comparison of the best typing feel of course we will compare how the experience of using these two brands of switches when using them for any typing or gaming needs. Which is more fun to linger with these two activities, Cherry MX or Gateron?
The Gateron and Cherry MX switches both have linear, tactile, and clicky variants. For the typing experience we feel that the smoothness of the Gateron switch is better than the switch from Cherry MX, especially for the Gateron Linear Switch which feels very smooth when used for typing. This is because the Gateron Switch uses a smaller trunk than the linear switches on the Cherry MX which makes for smoother keystrokes. The Cherry MX switches, on the other hand, have larger, snug stems that provide a moderate experience, not too smooth and not too rough.
For linear type switches Gateron excels overall for smoothness compared to Cherry MX Linear. But for other variants like Siwtch Tactile and Clicky, we feel Cherry MX and Gateron provide a very similar experience. Especially Cherry MX Brown and Gateron Brown which provide the same typing experience.
Gateron as a whole can provide a great typing feel, especially the Gateron linear switch smoothness which is much better than Cherry MX. We highly recommend Gateron’s linear switches over Cherry MX for your use if you want maximum typing smoothness.
When comparing Cherry MX and Gateron for affordability, this is an absolute win for Gateron. Gateron sells their switches at a very low price compared to Cherry MX.
If you ask why Cherry MX so expensive? This is because Cherry MX is very concerned about the quality and durability of each of their switch products. Cherry MX manufactures their switches in Germany by undergoing various product tests such as temperature resistance testing and voltage testing to ensure the strength of each of their products, this is the reason that Cherry MX switches are sold at quite expensive prices.
Whereas Gateron manufactures their switches in China, at this point we don’t know if they perform the same tests that Cherry MX did on their switches. You buy a switch from Cherry MX at an expensive price but it has been tested for quality and durability, whereas when you buy a switch from Gateron at a low price, you don’t know how the quality and durability are. This is the basic business concept of China, quantity is everything.
Gateron’s Switch is a clone of Cherry MX Switch that copies the mechanism found in Cherry MX Switches and implements the mechanism into their switch products in bulk. By minimizing manufacturing costs, Gateron can sell their switches at low prices without going through the stringent quality and voltage tests that Cherry MX does. Apart from Gateron, you can find other brands that do the same thing like Kailh and Otemu.
Overall, Gateron is more affordable than Cherry MX, which is a lot of fun, but you should always prepare your money to buy a spare of your Gateron switches because Cherry MX has clear proof of testing for the quality of their products.
Quality and Durability
If you find detailed specifications on Cherry MX switches that can last up to 100 million keystokes, this is a very reasonable thing. Cherry MX switches manufactured in Germany undergo various European standard tests such as temperature, voltage and pressure tests.
Obviously Gateron’s switches made in China are not able to compete in terms of durability against Cherry MX switches, this is because Gateron doesn’t publish about what tests they do on their products before they are sold in the market.
Cherry MX focuses on producing switches of the highest quality, for the durability quality of Cherry MX compared to Gateron, this is a landslide victory for Cherry MX because their products have been clearly tested with European product testing standards. Only switches from Cherry MX are tested to withstand up to 100 million keystrokes.
While Gateron is considered to only be able to last up to 50 million keystrokes, this is also not a bad thing, meaning that Gateron also provides good durability, even though it is still half of the Cherry MX Switch. The only drawback of gateron is that they don’t meet the quality testing standards for their products like Cherry MX does. If Gateron did the same in testing the quality and durability of their products, it would probably cost the same as switches from Cherry MX.
Overall for quality and durability, Cherry MX excels Gateron because Cherry MX carries out rigorous testing of their products compared to Gateron’s products.
For smoothness and noise levels, the Gateron switches deliver smooth typing with minimal noise compared to Cherry MX switches. This is because the Switch from Gateron minimizes friction between switch components by creating smaller springs so that it can produce smoother keystokes and less noise compared to Cherry MX.
Comparison of smoothness and noise levels between Switches from Cherry MX and Gateron across all variants concludes that Gateron switches are smoother and quieter in all variants, this may be because Cherry MX embeds larger and harder springs than those in Gateron switches.
But for the smoothness or noise level, this all comes back to the taste of the user. Everyone has different preferences for the switches they want to use.
For clicky feedback switches, Cherry MX clearly wins this comparison over Gateron. The Clicky Gateron switch provides loud and responsive typing feedback with very loud noise levels.
But Cherry MX and Gateron both provide silent switch products that have a silent character that can minimize noise when used for typing or playing games. For Cherry MX you can find it on Cherry MX Red Silent and Black Silent. As for Gateron, you can find it on Gateron Red, Black, and Brown Switches.
Overall for smoothness and Noise Level, Gateron switch products produce less noise compared to Cherry MX switches.
Mechanical Keyboard Switch Variations
For switch product variations, Gateron has more variety than Cherry MX. Starting from the Gateron Switch Main Line Up, Gateron Silent Switch, Gateron Milk Switch, Gateron Ink/Smokey Switch, and Gateron Low Profile Switch.
But Cherry MX also makes speed switches that Gateron doesn’t have, Cherry MX speed switches are made to maximize keyboard mechanics when playing games. Cheey MX Speed has incredible responsiveness and speed for gaming. This is the only switch variant that Gateron doesn’t have.
Gateron has more switch variants than Cherry MX. Gateron creates unique switches that have never existed like Gateron Switch Milk which has a housing with the same color as milk white, next is Gateron Ink/Smokey Siwtches which are switches with colored housings according to the color of the switch that use a different plastic material from other Gateron switches.
The gateron ink switch is sold at a slightly more expensive price because this is a special switch because it provides a smooth typing feeling. If you want a new switching experience, you can try the Gateron Milk Switch or Gateron Ink/Smokey Switch.
Easier to Find And Availability
Cherry MX is the most popular switch and is very easy to find anywhere. Switches from Cherry MX are always the first choice when you want to buy a mechanical keyboard or want to replace your switch with a new one.
Most of the mechanical keyboards in the middle to high price use switches from Cherry MX, when a mechanical keyboard uses switches from Cherry MX people can immediately judge that this is a premium mechanical keyboard because it uses switches from Cherry MX. This is because switches from Cherry MX are well known for their excellent quality and durability.
Switches from Gateron are a little hard to find in some of the major marketplaces, as most of them provide switches from Cherry MX. The best place to find Gateron switches is that you have to explore Amazon, there are already many Switches from Gateron for sale.
If you look for Gateron switches in your local computer shop or mechanical keyboard shop, you will find that Gateron switches are not available, because Cherry MX was distributed earlier than Gateron.
You will get a mechanical keyboard with Gateron switches in the middle to lower mechanical keyboard class, this is because Gateron switches have a low price, so they are used in very affordable mechanical keyboards.
Overall for the aspect of availability and easier to find, Cherry MX is easier to find and always available anywhere, this is because Cherry MX is very well known and the distribution is very even.
Which is Easier to Modify? Cherry MX Or Gateron
One of the fastest ways to change the character of a switch is to modify your switch. You can minimize noise or increase switch bounce by simply modifying it. For example, providing lubricant on the switch spring so that it can work more smoothly and produce a quiet sound.
All you need to do to modify the switch is open the switch housing to remove the springs and open the switch cover.
For ease of modification regarding how to open the switch, Cherry MX and Gateron are equally easy to open and install. So for both are equally flexible and easy to modify.
Getting to Know the Terms in Switch
A switch has terms and parameters to assign a value to a particular aspect. For example, for the speed switch, the Travel Distance language is used, while for the weight or lightness of the pressure required, the Actuation Force language is used in Gram units. Here we will explain in detail:
Actuation type is a language used to distinguish the type of feedback and noise generated by a switch. There are three types of switch actuation, namely Linear, Tactile, and Clicky.
- Linear is a type of switch that has little typing feedback with quiet noise.
- Tactile is a type of switch that provides feedback with a fairly loud noise.
- Clicky is a type of switch that provides loud, responsive typing feedback, and produces loud typing sounds.
Actuation force refers to the weight or force required to push the switch to send instructions to the PCB to provide input to the computer. The actuation force is measured in grams (g). It also refers to the weight required to exert pressure on the switch.
Travel Distance/Actuation Distance
Travel distance or actuation distance is measured in mm (Millimeter). This is the distance required when pressing the switch to give instructions to the PCB and send input to the computer. Most switches have a travel distance of 4 mm, for low profile switches it has a travel distance of 2mm.
This refers to the maximum number of keystrokes that can be performed by a mechanical keyboard switch as measured by the number of millions of times the pressure. For example Switch from Cherry MX can work up to 100 million keystrokes and Gateron can last up to 50 million keystrokes. This is a specification written on a switch that has been tested according to standards.
Cherry MX and Gateron are equally great switch manufacturers as they continue to innovate to provide and meet all the needs of mechanical keyboard users.
Gateron provides a variety of switch variants that can meet your mechanical keyboard needs at very affordable prices. Gateron is the first alternative if you feel Cherry MX is not friendly to your budget.
Cherry MX has a big name and is well known worldwide for making switches for mechanical keyboards with great quality and durability, but you have to pay a little price to buy switches from Cherry MX.
In the end it all comes back to your needs. If you want a mechanical keyboard switch at an affordable price and still reliable, then Gateron is the right choice for you. If you need a switch with quality that has been tested according to European standards, then Cherry MX is the best choice even though you have to pay a little more than buying Gateron.
We recommend that you buy switches from Cherry MX through an official and trusted website, because there are many fake Cherry MX switches out there, we recommend Mechanicalkeyboards.com to buy Cherry MX switches. As for Gateron switches, you can easily find them on Amazon.
Kizaru is a fan, collector, and has a huge addiction to mechanical keyboards. Kizaru has a collection of dozens of mechanical keyboards that come in different sizes and use different switches. He also frequently contributes to various forums that discuss keyboards such as Reddit and GeekHack.