Posted in: Keyboards

Why are Mechanical Keyboards so Expensive?

Last Updated on November 18, 2022

If you’ve ever seen a custom mechanical keyboard priced from $500 to $1000, you might be wondering Why are Mechanical Keyboards so Expensive?

For me, a mechanical keyboard is a very nice thing to have. In addition to the mechanical keyboard is one of the tools that I use for productivity, the mechanical keyboard is also one of the technological innovations that has a fairly large development.

When compared to ordinary keyboards or membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards on paper have a more expensive price. Why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?

Mechanical keyboards have several components such as casings, switches, PCBs, keycaps, stabilizers, plates, and several other components so that to produce an ordinary mechanical keyboard it takes quite a lot so that the selling price becomes a bit expensive to cover the production costs. Mechanical keyboards use individual switches on each key which is one of the factors that make them so expensive.

Comparison of Mechanical Keyboard with membrane keyboard and Scissor Switch Keyboard

In this section I want to explain about some of the significant differences between a mechanical keyboard, In this section I want to explain about some of the significant differences between a mechanical keyboard, membrane keyboard, and scissor switch keyboard. This explanation will give you an idea of the different types of components used by each of these keyboards so you can understand why a mechanical keyboard has a more expensive price:

Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical Keyboard Components

  • Case
  • Mechanical Switches
  • Keycaps
  • Stabilizer
  • Plate
  • PCB

What characterizes a mechanical keyboard is the use of a mechanical keyboard switch component on each key. And the interesting thing is, if the mechanical switch on the mechanical keyboard is damaged, you can replace it easily.

The mechanical switches on the mechanical keyboard can provide a different typing experience and feel depending on the type of switch used. Linear switches are known for their smoothness and responsiveness, tactile switches are known for their slightly bumpy feedback and produce very pleasant typing sounds, and clicky switches that can give a loud bumpy effect and produce very loud typing sounds.

For durability, mechanical keyboards have very good durability, especially for switches that can last up to 50 million and even 100 million keystrokes, for example on mechanical switches made by Cherry MX.

For maintenance, the mechanical keyboard is very easy to disassemble and clean and you don’t need to be confused because all components have their respective places. And if one of the components on the mechanical keyboard is damaged, you can easily replace it with components that are already widely available in the market.

As for security features such as water and dust resistance, almost all mechanical keyboards on the market today have these security features, ranging from the cheapest mechanical keyboards to those sold at the most expensive prices.

The main problem with mechanical keyboards is that they are quite expensive.

Membrane Keyboard

Membrane Keyboard
Membrane Keyboard

Keyboard Membrane Components:

  • Membrane Switch
  • Keycaps
  • case
  • PCB membrane

The membrane keyboard is one of the most familiar types of keyboards and is still widely used to accompany work activities at the computer. As the name suggests, the membrane keyboard has a membrane switch made of rubber.

The problem that often arises with the membrane keyboard is that there is often damage to the membrane made of rubber. Usually you will experience the problem of the button not working, when the membrane has a problem all the buttons can not be used.

For repair, the membrane keyboard is very inconvenient to either open, clean, or reinstall it. This is because you have to really install the membrane so that its position is precise with the position of the keycaps on the membrane keyboard.

One of the reasons why membrane keyboards are widely used in companies is because they are very affordable and easily available at the nearest computer store in your city. Unfortunately the membrane keyboard does not have reliable durability. If the keyboard membrane is exposed to water, there is a high potential for the membrane to have problems and will be damaged.

Scissor Switch Keyboard

Scissor Switch Keyboard
Scissor Switch Keyboard

Scissor Switch Keyboard Components

  • Case
  • Scissor Switches
  • Keycaps
  • Scissor Switches PCB

Scissor switch keyboard is a type of keyboard that is quite familiar, if you feel you have never found it or have never used it, the scissor switch keyboard is usually used on the default laptop keyboard where the typing feeling is smooth and a bit mushy.

Scissor keyboards have a flat surface and generally scissor switch keyboards have a thin design. They have ergonomics that are good enough to use for long periods of typing but you will often make typing mistakes because the keys are tightly positioned and flat.

For the typing experience, the scissor switch keyboard feels smooth, soft, has no tactile feeling, and even the typing sound produced is very quiet.

In terms of durability, the scissor switch keyboard is very similar to a membrane keyboard in that it uses the same type of paper PCB which is very inert to water and small particles.

For the price of the scissor switch keyboard, it is also quite affordable, almost similar to the price of a membrane keyboard.

If you look at the comparison above, the main difference between a mechanical keyboard, a membrane keyboard, and a scissor switch keyboard is the type of switch used. Mechanical switches used in mechanical keyboards have the best construction and make mechanical keyboards sold at quite expensive prices when compared to membrane keyboards and scissor keyboard switches.

Why do Mechanical Keyboards Cost More?

Why do Mechanical Keyboards Cost More?
Why do Mechanical Keyboards Cost More?

When mechanical keyboard quality, build quality, and typing experience are better than membrane keyboards and scissor switch keyboards, you will definitely pay more to own a mechanical keyboard. This is clear because the mechanical keyboard has more components than the membrane keyboard and the scissor switch keyboard.

The mechanical switch on the mechanical keyboard is the component that makes it sold at a higher price than the membrane keyboard and scissor switch keyboard.

If you compare the mechanical construction of switches with membrane switches and scissor switches, you will find out how far the mechanical quality of switches feels and looks better than membrane switches and scissor switches.

Mechanical switches have better build quality because they are made of several components such as plastic bottom housing, plastic top housing, springs, pins, and stems. While the membrane keyboard has switches made of rubber that can be torn, and the keyboard scissor switches are made of thin plastic which has a construction that is prone to breaking.

Mechanical Keyboard Features That Make It More Expensive Compared to Membrane Keyboards and Scissor Switch Keyboards:

A mechanical keyboard is sold at a higher price because it has several features that membrane keyboards and scissor switch keyboards don’t have. Here are its features:

1. Anti-Ghosting

When using the keyboard for normal activities, such as typing, press multiple keys at the same time (except when using the shift key). And when that happens, it’s usually an error where the button wasn’t inputted.

This is called the ghosting effect. There will be no problem if you only use it for typing, but it’s a different story when gaming.

When you are gaming, pressing multiple buttons at the same time always happens because every button is important. Therefore, the best gaming keyboard must have an anti-ghosting feature so you can input multiple keys at the same time.

2. Poll Rate

This feature is a bit technical. The polling rate is the average speed required for the keyboard to convey messages to the computer’s CPU. So, if you write the letter A on the keyboard, then in a fraction of a second it will appear on the screen. Currently, the standard polling rate for quality keyboards is 1000Hz.

These important features should be included in the gaming keyboard you have. In addition to features, you also have to pay attention to the components that support the gaming keyboard, such as the quality of the switches, palmrests, cables, and so on.

3. N-Key Rollover

This feature is often referred to in the abbreviation N-KRO, and refers to the keyboard’s ability to register multiple keys being pressed at the same time. Mechanically expensive gaming keyboards usually include True (or Full) N-Key Rollover specifications. But you can also still find keyboards that list the X-Key Rollover specs.

What you should know is the number that is usually used instead of the “X” in X-Key Rollover writing. The True N-KRO type is a keyboard device that can input correctly, no matter how many keyboard keys are pressed at the same time. So, for example, if you press the letter “JIKAHEINEA” at the same time, a keyboard with the True N-KRO feature will receive the input properly and can execute it perfectly.

How much do mechanical keyboards cost?

How much do mechanical keyboards cost?
How much do mechanical keyboards cost?

Mechanical keyboards cost from $40 to $300 depending on the components used. For a prebuilt mechanical keyboard made with quality components like Drop Shift you have to spend around $270 to have it. As for an affordable mechanical keyboard like the RK ROYAL KLUDGE RK68 that uses mediocre quality components, you’ll need around $50 to own it.

So, the price of a mechanical keyboard is dependent on the brand of components and the quality of the components used. To make it easier, take a look at the table below:

ComponentsExpensive Mechanical KeyboardCheap Mechanical Keyboard Material
Keyboard CaseAluminum/Tick PlasticPlastic
KeycapsPBT PlasticABS Plastic
Switch BrandCherry MX, Kailh, ZealPCGateron, Outemu
LightingRGB & UnderlightingWhite lighting, No lighting

As in the table above, mechanical keyboards that are sold at higher prices generally have better quality components such as aluminum casings or thick plastic casings, use PBT Keycaps, cool backlit features, and use mechanical switches from several brands such as Cherry MX, Kailh, or ZealPC. This is because the components that I have mentioned above can provide a very pleasant typing experience and have great durability.

As for cheap mechanical keyboards, generally using components with mediocre quality such as casings made of fairly thin ABS plastic, ABS Keycaps, and using mechanical switches from the Outemu or Gateron brands, which are known as switch manufacturers who sell their products at low prices. very affordable. The use of these components will affect the typing experience as well as the average durability.

So, Why are Mechanical Keyboards so Expensive?

Mechanical keyboards are more expensive than membrane keyboards and scissor switch keyboards due to the use of components such as aluminum or solid plastic casing, mechanical switches, quality keycaps, and very complete features such as Anti Ghosting, Poll Rate, and N-Key. Rollovers.

In addition, the mechanical keyboard has a solid construction with a much better build quality than membrane keyboards and scissor switch keyboards. Mechanical keyboards have better durability, are easier to maintain, easier to replace if damaged, and a very pleasant typing experience.
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