Last Updated on February 23, 2023
Mechanical keyboards have been around for decades, but it was only recently that they started gaining popularity. What Are Mechanical Keyboard? and What makes them so special, you might ask? Well, there are many reasons why mechanical keyboards are a favorite among computer enthusiasts, gamers, and professionals alike. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into what mechanical keyboards are, their benefits, and why you might want to consider getting one for yourself.
What Are Mechanical Keyboards?
Mechanical keyboards are computer keyboards that use mechanical switches beneath each key instead of rubber dome switches found in most traditional keyboards. Each key switch has a mechanical component that provides tactile and audible feedback when a key is pressed. This makes mechanical keyboards more durable, responsive, and precise compared to rubber dome keyboards.
There are many types of mechanical switches available, The most popular mechanical switch brand is Cherry MX, but there are also switches made by other companies like Kailh, Gateron and Outemu which are available in different colors, each with a distinct feel and sound. For example, Cherry MX Blue switches require more force to actuate and provide a loud click sound when pressed, making them ideal for typing. Cherry MX Red switches, on the other hand, require less force to actuate and do not provide tactile or audible feedback, making them ideal for gaming.
Mechanical keyboards also offer customization options. Users can swap out keycaps to personalize their keyboard’s look or switch out the switches to modify the feel and sound of the keyboard. This level of customization is not possible with traditional rubber dome keyboards, making mechanical keyboards a popular choice among computer enthusiasts.
While mechanical keyboards are often more expensive than traditional rubber dome keyboards, they are also more durable and can last for years, making them a worthwhile investment for those who spend a lot of time typing or gaming. Additionally, the tactile and audible feedback provided by mechanical switches can reduce typing errors and increase typing speed, making them a favorite among typists and gamers alike.
To put it simply, mechanical keyboards are keyboards that use individual mechanical switches for each key instead of a rubber dome or membrane. When you press a key on a mechanical keyboard, you’re pressing down on a physical switch that registers your keystroke. This results in a tactile feedback and an audible clicking sound that many people find satisfying.
Benefits of Mechanical Keyboards
Here are some benefits of using a mechanical keyboard:
- Tactile feedback: Mechanical keyboards have individual mechanical switches under each key that provide tactile feedback when pressed. This feedback helps users to know when a key has been registered, which can lead to improved typing accuracy and speed.
- Durability: Mechanical keyboards are designed to last a long time. They are built with high-quality materials and can withstand heavy use without wearing out quickly. The keys are also designed to withstand repetitive typing and gaming, making them a good investment for long-term use.
- Customization: Mechanical keyboards offer a high level of customization. Users can often choose from different types of switches, keycaps, and backlighting options. This allows users to customize their keyboard to fit their individual needs and preferences.
- Reduced fatigue: Because mechanical keyboards provide tactile feedback, users can type with less force and avoid bottoming out keys. This can reduce finger fatigue and strain on the hands, wrists, and forearms.
- Improved typing experience: Mechanical keyboards provide a satisfying typing experience. The tactile feedback and clicky sound can make typing more enjoyable and even therapeutic for some users.
- Gaming performance: Mechanical keyboards are popular among gamers because they provide a faster response time and improved accuracy. The keys are also designed to handle multiple simultaneous key presses, making them ideal for gaming.
Mechanical keyboards are becoming increasingly popular among users due to their many benefits. One of the most significant benefits is their tactile feedback. Each key on a mechanical keyboard has an individual mechanical switch that provides tactile feedback when pressed. This feedback helps users to know when a key has been registered, which can lead to improved typing accuracy and speed.
Another benefit of mechanical keyboards is their durability. They are designed to last a long time and can withstand heavy use without wearing out quickly. The keys are also designed to withstand repetitive typing and gaming, making them a good investment for long-term use.
Mechanical keyboards also offer a high level of customization. Users can often choose from different types of switches, keycaps, and backlighting options. This allows users to customize their keyboard to fit their individual needs and preferences.
Using a mechanical keyboard can also reduce fatigue. Because mechanical keyboards provide tactile feedback, users can type with less force and avoid bottoming out keys. This can reduce finger fatigue and strain on the hands, wrists, and forearms.
The improved typing experience provided by mechanical keyboards can also make typing more enjoyable and even therapeutic for some users. The tactile feedback and clicky sound can be satisfying and relaxing.
Finally, mechanical keyboards are popular among gamers because they provide a faster response time and improved accuracy. The keys are also designed to handle multiple simultaneous key presses, making them ideal for gaming. Overall, mechanical keyboards are an excellent investment for anyone who wants to improve their typing accuracy, reduce fatigue, and customize their keyboard to fit their needs.
Overall, mechanical keyboards offer a superior typing experience, durability, customization options, and improved gaming performance. While they can be more expensive than standard keyboards, their long-term value and benefits make them a worthwhile investment for many computer users.
Drawbacks of Mechanical Keyboards
Here are some drawbacks that are commonly mentioned by users of mechanical keyboards:
- Noise: Mechanical keyboards are louder than membrane keyboards due to the sound produced by the switch mechanism when a key is pressed. This can be disturbing to others in the same room.
- Cost: Mechanical keyboards are generally more expensive than membrane keyboards, making them less accessible for some people.
- Bulky: Mechanical keyboards tend to be bulkier and heavier than membrane keyboards, making them less portable and taking up more desk space.
- Maintenance: Mechanical keyboards require more maintenance than membrane keyboards as the switches can become dirty or worn over time, leading to malfunction or reduced responsiveness.
- Customization: While some people enjoy the ability to customize their mechanical keyboards with different keycaps or switches, others may find the process overwhelming or unnecessary.
- Typing experience: While many people enjoy the tactile feedback and increased responsiveness of mechanical keyboards, others may find them uncomfortable to type on for long periods.
Mechanical keyboards have become increasingly popular due to their unique features and benefits. However, they also have some drawbacks that may not make them suitable for everyone. One of the most significant disadvantages of mechanical keyboards is their noise level. The sound produced by the switch mechanism when a key is pressed can be distracting and disturbing to others in the same room.
Another drawback of mechanical keyboards is their cost. They tend to be more expensive than membrane keyboards, which may make them less accessible for some people. Additionally, mechanical keyboards tend to be bulkier and heavier than membrane keyboards, making them less portable and taking up more desk space.
Maintenance is also a concern for mechanical keyboards. They require more maintenance than membrane keyboards, as the switches can become dirty or worn over time, leading to malfunction or reduced responsiveness. Customization is another aspect of mechanical keyboards that can be a drawback. While some people enjoy the ability to customize their keyboards with different keycaps or switches, others may find the process overwhelming or unnecessary.
Lastly, the typing experience of mechanical keyboards may not be suitable for everyone. While many people enjoy the tactile feedback and increased responsiveness of mechanical keyboards, others may find them uncomfortable to type on for long periods. In conclusion, while mechanical keyboards offer several benefits, it is important to consider their drawbacks before making a purchase decision.
What Makes Mechanical Keyboards Different?
Mechanical keyboards differ from traditional rubber dome keyboards in several ways. The primary difference is the mechanical switch beneath each keycap. These switches use individual physical mechanisms to activate the keystroke, resulting in a more tactile and responsive typing experience.
Mechanical keyboards also tend to offer more customization options, with the ability to replace keycaps, switches, and sometimes even the entire keyboard body. This level of customization allows users to tailor the keyboard to their specific needs and preferences, resulting in a more comfortable and efficient typing experience.
Another advantage of mechanical keyboards is their durability. The individual switches are designed to withstand millions of keystrokes, making them more reliable than rubber dome keyboards. Additionally, mechanical keyboards often have a sturdier build quality, with heavier materials and more robust construction.
Finally, mechanical keyboards can be a bit louder than traditional rubber dome keyboards due to the tactile feedback from the switches. Some users find this noise to be satisfying and helpful for typing accuracy, while others prefer a quieter keyboard. However, there are some mechanical switches that are designed to be quieter, such as Cherry MX Silent switches.
Overall, mechanical keyboards offer a more tactile, customizable, and durable typing experience compared to traditional rubber dome keyboards. While they may come at a higher price point, the benefits they offer make them a popular choice among serious typists, gamers, and professionals who spend a lot of time at the keyboard.
Types of Mechanical Keyboards
By Switch Types
There are several different types of mechanical keyboards Based on the type of switch used:
- Linear switches: Linear switches are smooth and don’t provide any tactile feedback when you press a key. They are quiet and fast, making them ideal for gaming.
- Tactile switches: Tactile switches provide a slight bump when you press a key, giving you some tactile feedback. They are popular among programmers and writers who want a more satisfying typing experience.
- Clicky switches: Clicky switches provide both tactile and auditory feedback, making them very satisfying to type on. They are also quite loud, which can be a drawback if you share a workspace with others.
- Low profile switches: Low profile switches are smaller and flatter than traditional mechanical switches. They are often used in portable keyboards and are popular among gamers who want a compact keyboard they can take on the go.
- Custom switches: Some keyboard enthusiasts create their own custom switches by combining different parts or modifying existing switches. This allows them to create a keyboard that is tailored to their specific preferences.
By Variety of Sizes
Mechanical keyboards come in a variety of sizes to cater to different users’ preferences and needs. The most common sizes are:
- Full-size mechanical keyboard: This is the standard layout with all the keys, including a numpad.
- 1800-compact mechanical keyboard: This layout is a slightly more compact version of the full-size keyboard with the numpad moved closer to the main keys.
- Tenkeyless mechanical keyboard: This layout excludes the numpad to create a more compact and portable design.
- 75% mechanical keyboard: This layout includes all the essential keys, including arrow keys and function keys, but removes the numpad and some other keys to reduce the size further.
- 65% mechanical keyboard: This layout is even more compact than the 75% layout and often excludes the function keys.
- 60% mechanical keyboard: This layout is a popular choice among gamers as it includes only the essential keys for gaming, such as the letters, numbers, and arrow keys.
- 40% mechanical keyboard: This layout is the smallest and most minimalist layout, with only the most essential keys included.
- Numpad mechanical keyboard: This layout is for users who frequently use the numpad and prefer a separate keypad for faster data entry.
By Variety of Designs
There are several different designs of mechanical keyboards that are available in the market. Three common designs are ergonomic, ortholinear, and splitted mechanical keyboards.
- Ergonomic mechanical keyboard: An ergonomic mechanical keyboard is designed to reduce strain and discomfort in the hands and wrists. This type of keyboard is angled and curved in a way that conforms to the natural shape of the hands and provides a more comfortable typing experience.
- Ortholinear mechanical keyboard: An ortholinear mechanical keyboard, on the other hand, arranges its keys in a grid-like pattern rather than the traditional staggered layout. This allows for a more efficient use of finger movements and can improve typing speed and accuracy.
- Splitted mechanical keyboard: Finally, a splitted mechanical keyboard is designed to separate the keyboard into two halves. This allows for a more comfortable and natural arm and wrist position while typing, reducing the risk of strain injuries.
Overall, each design has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, and the choice of keyboard design depends on the user’s preferences and needs.
Why You Might Want to Consider Getting a Mechanical Keyboard?
Here are some reasons why you might prefer a mechanical keyboard:
- Durability: Mechanical keyboards are known for their durability, and they can last for years with proper care. The individual switches are designed to withstand millions of keystrokes, and they are less likely to wear out or break than regular keyboards.
- Tactile feedback: The individual switches on a mechanical keyboard provide tactile feedback when you press a key. This can be satisfying for some users and can make typing more comfortable and efficient.
- Customization: Mechanical keyboards often come with removable keycaps, allowing you to customize the appearance of your keyboard. Additionally, some keyboards allow you to program macros or shortcuts for specific keys, which can be useful for gamers or professionals who frequently use specific programs.
- Improved typing speed: The tactile feedback and individual switches on mechanical keyboards can lead to improved typing speed and accuracy. Additionally, some mechanical keyboards have a higher polling rate, which means that they can register keystrokes more quickly and accurately than regular keyboards.
Overall, if you prioritize durability, tactile feedback, customization, and improved typing speed, a mechanical keyboard might be a good choice for you. However, they can be more expensive than regular keyboards, and they can be louder due to the clicking sound of the switches.
How to Choose the Right Mechanical Keyboard
Choosing the right mechanical keyboard can be a challenging task, given the multitude of options available in the market. A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses mechanical switches instead of the rubber domes found in traditional keyboards. The switches are designed to register keystrokes more accurately, provide tactile feedback, and have a longer lifespan than regular keyboards. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the right mechanical keyboard.
- The type of switch: Mechanical switches come in various types, each with unique features and characteristics. The most common switches are Cherry MX Blue, Brown, and Red, each with a different level of tactile feedback, noise level, and actuation force. It is essential to consider your typing style and preferences before choosing a switch type.
- The size and layout: Mechanical keyboards come in different sizes and layouts, including tenkeyless, full-sized, and compact keyboards. The layout of the keyboard is also a crucial factor to consider, as it affects the placement of the keys and the overall ergonomics of the keyboard.
- Build quality: Mechanical keyboards are typically more durable than traditional keyboards, but the build quality varies among brands and models. It is essential to consider the materials used, such as the type of plastic or metal used for the case and the quality of the keycaps.
- Brand and price: Mechanical keyboards are available in different price ranges, from affordable options to high-end models. It is essential to consider your budget and the brand reputation before making a purchase. Popular mechanical keyboard brands include Ducky, Corsair, and Logitech.
- Additional features: Some mechanical keyboards come with additional features, such as customizable RGB lighting, programmable macros, and detachable cables. It is essential to consider these features if they are important to you.
In conclusion, choosing the right mechanical keyboard requires careful consideration of the switch type, size and layout, build quality, brand, price, and additional features. It is also essential to consider your personal preferences and typing style to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable typing experience.
Maintaining and Customizing Mechanical Keyboards
Maintaining Mechanical Keyboards
To maintain their performance and longevity, they require regular cleaning and maintenance. Here are some tips to help you keep your mechanical keyboard in good condition.
- Regularly clean your keyboard: Over time, dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate between the keys, affecting the keyboard’s performance. To clean it, use a can of compressed air or a soft brush to remove debris from the keycaps and keyboard base. You can also use a damp cloth to wipe the keys and casing, but avoid using water or any cleaning solutions.
- Lubricate the switches: To keep the switches smooth and quiet, you may want to apply a small amount of lubricant to the stems. However, be careful not to over-lubricate, as it can cause the switches to become mushy. You can use a silicone-based lubricant, but avoid using petroleum-based products that can damage the switches.
- Replace worn keycaps: Keycaps can wear out over time, especially if you use your keyboard frequently. If you notice that the keycaps are fading, cracking, or becoming loose, it’s time to replace them. You can buy replacement keycaps from a variety of online retailers or directly from the keyboard manufacturer.
- Store the keyboard properly: When you’re not using your keyboard, it’s essential to store it properly. You can use a dust cover or a keyboard sleeve to protect it from dust and other debris. Also, avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures or humidity, as it can damage the switches or the electronic components.
- Be careful with the key puller: If you need to remove the keycaps to clean or replace them, use a key puller to avoid damaging the switches. However, be careful not to pull the keycaps too hard, as it can damage the stem or the switch housing.
In conclusion, maintaining your mechanical keyboard is crucial to its performance and longevity. By following these tips, you can keep your keyboard in good condition and enjoy its benefits for years to come.
Customizing Mechanical Keyboards
With a wide range of switches, keycaps, cables, and accessories available, you can create a unique and personalized keyboard that matches your style and preferences.
- One of the most common ways to customize a mechanical keyboard is by changing the keycaps. Keycaps come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. You can choose from ABS, PBT, or even artisan keycaps made of resin or metal. Keycaps can have different profiles, such as OEM, Cherry, DSA, SA, or XDA. Each profile has a distinct shape and feel that can affect your typing experience.
- Another way to customize a mechanical keyboard is by choosing the right switches. Switches are the heart of a mechanical keyboard and determine the tactile feedback and sound of each keystroke. You can choose from different switch types, such as linear, tactile, or clicky. Each type has a different feel and sound, and some switches are designed for gaming while others are better for typing.
- You can also customize the cable of your mechanical keyboard. Instead of using the stock cable that comes with your keyboard, you can choose from a wide range of aftermarket cables that have different colors, materials, and lengths. Custom cables can add a pop of color to your setup and improve cable management.
- Finally, you can customize the case and layout of your mechanical keyboard. Some keyboards have a standard layout, while others have a more unique or ergonomic design. You can also choose from different case materials, such as aluminum, plastic, or wood. Customizing the case can improve the durability, aesthetics, and ergonomics of your keyboard.
Overall, customizing mechanical keyboards is a fun and rewarding hobby that allows you to express your creativity and improve your typing experience. With the right combination of switches, keycaps, cables, and accessories, you can create a keyboard that is truly unique and personalized to your preferences.
Mechanical keyboards are a type of computer keyboard that uses individual mechanical switches for each key instead of the rubber dome switches found on most conventional keyboards. These mechanical switches use a spring-loaded mechanism to register keystrokes, providing a tactile and audible feedback that makes typing feel more responsive and satisfying.
Mechanical keyboards come in a variety of different types of switches, with different levels of tactile feedback, resistance, and noise levels. The most common types of mechanical switches are Cherry MX switches, which are named after their German manufacturer. The Cherry MX switches come in several different varieties, including linear, tactile, and clicky switches, each with its own unique feel and sound. Other popular types of switches include Kailh and Gateron switches, which offer similar performance to Cherry MX switches at a lower cost.
In addition to their improved typing feel, mechanical keyboards are also known for their durability and longevity. Unlike rubber dome switches, which can wear out over time and lose their responsiveness, mechanical switches are rated for tens of millions of keystrokes, making them a more reliable and long-lasting option for heavy typists and gamers.
Mechanical keyboards also offer a high degree of customization and personalization. Many mechanical keyboards allow users to replace individual keycaps with different colors and designs, or to program custom macros and key bindings for specific games or applications. Additionally, many mechanical keyboards offer backlighting options, allowing users to customize the color and brightness of the keyboard’s LEDs.
While mechanical keyboards can be more expensive than traditional rubber dome keyboards, they offer a higher level of performance and customization that makes them a popular choice for gamers, programmers, and other heavy typists. Whether you’re looking for a quieter, more tactile typing experience or want to customize your keyboard to match your personal style, a mechanical keyboard is a great option to consider.
What is a mechanical keyboard?
A mechanical keyboard is a type of computer keyboard that uses individual mechanical switches under each key. These switches provide tactile and auditory feedback, and are considered more durable and responsive than the membrane switches found in most standard keyboards. They are often preferred by gamers and professionals who value precision and speed in their typing or gaming performance.
How is a mechanical keyboard different from a regular keyboard?
A mechanical keyboard is different from a regular keyboard because it uses individual mechanical switches for each key rather than rubber dome switches. This provides a more tactile and responsive typing experience, with better accuracy and durability. Mechanical keyboards also often have customizable keycaps and programmable macro keys for increased functionality.
Are mechanical keyboards more expensive than regular keyboards?
Yes, mechanical keyboards are typically more expensive than regular keyboards. This is because they use high-quality mechanical switches instead of cheaper rubber dome or membrane switches, and often have more advanced features and customization options.
What are the different types of mechanical switches available for keyboards?
There are three main types of mechanical switches available for keyboards: linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches have a smooth and consistent feel when pressed, tactile switches have a noticeable bump when pressed, and clicky switches have both a bump and an audible clicking sound when pressed. Within each of these categories, there are also different levels of actuation force and travel distance.
How do I choose the right mechanical switch for my keyboard?
To choose the right mechanical switch for your keyboard, you need to consider several factors such as the switch type, actuation force, tactile feedback, and noise level. Some switch types include Cherry MX, Kailh, and Gateron switches. Actuation force refers to the amount of pressure required to activate the switch, while tactile feedback refers to the feeling you get when you press the switch. Noise level refers to the sound produced when the switch is pressed. You should also consider your personal preferences and usage needs when selecting a switch. It’s recommended to try out different switches before making a final decision.
Can I customize my mechanical keyboard with different keycaps and colors?
Yes, you can customize your mechanical keyboard with different keycaps and colors. There are various options available in the market for keycaps and you can choose the ones that best suit your preferences. Some people even go as far as customizing the switches, cables, and case colors to create a completely unique keyboard.
Are mechanical keyboards louder than regular keyboards?
Yes, mechanical keyboards are generally louder than regular membrane keyboards due to the physical switches that produce a clicking or tactile sound when pressed.
Can a mechanical keyboard improve my typing speed and accuracy?
Yes, a mechanical keyboard can improve typing speed and accuracy as they provide tactile feedback and have a faster response time compared to traditional membrane keyboards. The tactile feedback allows the user to feel when a key has been pressed and the faster response time ensures that the key press is registered accurately. Additionally, some mechanical keyboards have customizable keys and layouts that can improve typing comfort and efficiency.