LTT: Which Mechanical Keyboard Switches are BEST? Blind Test!

Meeho

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The team do a blind test of over 20 mechanical key switches from Cherry, Kailh, Gateron, Zeal PC, and more to figure out which switch most people prefer in their mechanical keyboards.

 

Filter

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i still prefer holy pandas. shocked they were only even mentioned on a slide in that video.
 

cyclone3d

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I like Cherry Red and clear Silent.

Interested in trying some of their new speed (less travel) switches though.

I have a few keyboards with different Cherry MX switches but don't like them as much.

I even bought a NOS really old keyboard (XT/AT compatible) keyboard that has clone Cherry MX switches for use on my retro systems. The switches are supposed to be socketed so super easy to switch to whatever Cherry MX switch I want to if those switches die. (EDIT 2: - decided to check it out since I still hadn't looked at it. The switches are actually ALPS switches. Now I just have to buy US keycaps for it since it came with German keycaps.)

Gateron switches are trash IMHO.

Edit: Only slightly less bad are the Logitech Romer-G.

I tested both Romer-G and Gateron in stores when I was shopping for keyboards and couldn't stand either.

Main home keyboard is a Corsair Strafe RGB with Cherry MX Clear.
Work keyboard is a Cherry MX Board 6.0 with Cherry MX Red.

Pretty much the perfect switches for me.
 
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cyclone3d

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Buckling Spring forever!

What about NKRO? While I do like old Model M keyboards for older stuff, they really aren't my favorite. After all, all they really are is a clicky membrane keyboard.
 

Wat

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I have owned a lot of keyboards over the years, used a lot more at the jobs I've worked. Not just pc keyboards, dumb terminals, xterms, custom built consoles, etc.
My favorite is still the ibm model m. The one I bought with a ps/2 in 1987 has been back on my desk for the last 10 years.
Ironically, my least favorite keyboard is a mechanical one. It's on my wife's desk.....
 

cyclone3d

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I have owned a lot of keyboards over the years, used a lot more at the jobs I've worked. Not just pc keyboards, dumb terminals, xterms, custom built consoles, etc.
My favorite is still the ibm model m. The one I bought with a ps/2 in 1987 has been back on my desk for the last 10 years.
Ironically, my least favorite keyboard is a mechanical one. It's on my wife's desk.....

I'm typing this on a IBM Model M with a manufacturing date of 16MAR1988. Just working on bench testing my X99 stuff so I pulled this kb out to use.
I pulled this keyboard out of a dumpster probably 25 years ago when a local office building was being remodeled.

When I went to college I left it with my parents and my dad used it for about 20 years.

I got it back from him the last time I went to visit and completely disassembled and cleaned it after I got back home.

That being said, I can type faster with a Cherry MX linear switch equipped keyboard.

I got the K70 RGB with speed switches I ordered and it is very, very nice.... a bit louder than my Strafe RGB with silent reds... but even nicer to type on.

I have a bunch of different mechanical keyboards, mostly with different Cherry MX switches, but the linear speed switches are sooooooo nice.
 

UnknownSouljer

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I haven't had a chance to test every switch personally, but based upon what I know about the switches, I figure I would probably like Browns or possibly one of the alternative brands of browns.
 

KazeoHin

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I sell keyboards at my shop and honestly there is no such thing as the 'perfect' switch. That's like saying there is a 'perfect' ice cream. Some are lower quality but overall it's the subjective feel of the switch in the hands of the customer that makes them feel better.

I prefer cherry or gateron Greens. Love the tactility, love the force. But some people prefer Reds, or even plain membrane squish. There's nothing wrong with those choices.
 

cyclone3d

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I sell keyboards at my shop and honestly there is no such thing as the 'perfect' switch. That's like saying there is a 'perfect' ice cream. Some are lower quality but overall it's the subjective feel of the switch in the hands of the customer that makes them feel better.

I prefer cherry or gateron Greens. Love the tactility, love the force. But some people prefer Reds, or even plain membrane squish. There's nothing wrong with those choices.

Heresy! Membrane squish is the DEVIL! Not to mention that almost all of them are utter crap when it comes to long term reliability.

Only those unwashed peasants who have never tried a good mechanical switch would say that.
 

Pabaisa

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Was using cherry brown switches before (was not satisfied), went to logitech g910 (switches started dying after a year of use) and now am back to using my old but trusty sidewinder x6. Will use it till it dies as I did not get any more satisfaction from using mechanical (and I really tried) than using a good membrane keyboard (and sidewinder X6 is really good in that respect). The only garbage"high end" membrane keyboard I had was logitech G19. Man, that thing was utter garbage (for actual use of keys, LCD was/is awesome) for the price it was sold at.
 

sharknice

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Basing your switch preference on subjective feelings is for softcore peasants.
 

atarione

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I have to wonder if keyboard design / materials / manufacturer isn't at least a big a issue as key switch choice... stabilizer design (crap) Cherry ... lol. or Awesome Costar..

I mean a cheap Chinesium $24 aliexpress special with the switches you like may still be like butt to use because of poor construction... I don't like blues but I'd rather use a decent Filco w/ mx-blues than some $25 gamer font POS from Aliexpress.

whatever I have settled on mx-red's with dampers which for myself is a great combo.. also Filco Master race.. my MT2 TKL is over 5 years old and it is perfect still.

filcoTKL.jpg
 

Topweasel

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I have to wonder if keyboard design / materials / manufacturer isn't at least a big a issue as key switch choice... stabilizer design (crap) Cherry ... lol. or Awesome Costar..

I mean a cheap Chinesium $24 aliexpress special with the switches you like may still be like butt to use because of poor construction... I don't like blues but I'd rather use a decent Filco w/ mx-blues than some $25 gamer font POS from Aliexpress.

whatever I have settled on mx-red's with dampers which for myself is a great combo.. also Filco Master race.. my MT2 TKL is over 5 years old and it is perfect still.
Getting into Keyboard options like crazy. Trying to find the perfect setup for every use. Ducky Mini for laptop bag, Huntsman with Linear optical switches for gaming station, Ducky full size with silent reds for work and so on. Even going to dabble in self build keyboard if for no other reason to say I did (hell the switches I am looking at will cost me the same as most of the rest of the keyboards, but if I am doing it, I am doing it right). But outside lubing, specially lubing the stabilizers, and knowing what kind of switch you like (Tactile, Clicky, Linears), chassis and key caps seem to have a much larger affect then the billions of slight switch variations out there. Heck on even the most basic level, I really doubt most people could tell the difference between something like a black or red Cherry with their different actuation weight differences. Sure once you have them both next to you and can compare the two directly maybe. Also maybe on the extreme end. Base Cherry's vs the more extreme switches that are you also hand lubed. In the end it comes back to how good of a chasis and using good solid caps. Probably the biggest issue is the cheaper boards out there use really thin abs caps. So much so that ABS I think gets a bad name (though the shine is real). But those crappy caps mess with sound, the feel of the press, and are probably the biggest reason for dislike of some boards over others.
 

Epos7

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I've only tried a handful of switches, but I'm liking the Cherry MX Clear setup I've been using for the last couple years. They felt a little rough at first, but the action is really nice and smooth now. I've got o-rings under them for noise reduction.

In my experience it's not just the switch either. Keyboard feel is really a combination of the switches, keys and chassis. Same switches feel a bit different with PBT keycaps than ABS. A heavy stiff chassis feels a lot different than a light flexible one.
 
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vegeta535

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I honestly can't tell a damn different between different switches. I have a Corsair on with red and it is fine? Sure they are better then membrane I the difference is not earth shattering like some people make out even between different cheery keys. I just don't get it. I don't feel my typing speed changes much between any kbs.
 

Bitbat

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I honestly can't tell a damn different between different switches. I have a Corsair on with red and it is fine? Sure they are better then membrane I the difference is not earth shattering like some people make out even between different cheery keys. I just don't get it. I don't feel my typing speed changes much between any kbs.

Mx reds are too springy and sensitive
 

IdiotInCharge

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Really it's construction. Same MX switches, even the same caps, and one can have totally different experiences with different chassis and stabilizers and so on.

Wife got a Ducky One Two, I have a Durgod; compared to a Corsair? Or Razer? Toss the big-names in the trash.
 

Keljian

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I have a razer blackwidow elite with yellow key switches - I got it because it was on sale for 50% off. I have zero issues with it now, but it took me a while to adjust to it.
 

p05ta1

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keyboard seems very nice . gateron browns are a clicky style.
I think it will take a wile to get use to it over the MS membrane one i was using.
 

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Nobu

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I have a cooler master kb with cherry browns, and a epomaker sk61 with gateron optical browns. Think I like the cherry switches a bit more, but haven't compared side by side. They're close, but the sound profile and feel is definitely different.
 

oMek

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NovelKeys/Kailh Thick Clicks - NAVY.

Run these in all my keybords, love em.
 

TheSlySyl

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i've been rocking a Corsair K90 with cherry red switches for literally 8 years now. (Keyboard's still going strong.) But I'm really curious to try something else. Definitely want something a little less clicky next time.

Double checked Amazon:
"You last purchased this item on March 13, 2012."
 
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Deleted whining member 223597

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Reds aren't clicky, that's probably just you bottoming out on they keypress. Blues are the most popular clicky switch, I have Kailh Pinks in one of my keyboards and those are super loud but also really nice for typing/gaming. Personally I use Gateron Blacks in my 60% keyboard for gaming and general usage at home, I prefer the heavy linear travel. I have some browns sitting around in a box somewhere but haven't found a reason to try them out yet.
 

vegeta535

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Honestly I can't tell a damn difference between the different cherry keys. I do prefer mechanical to any other type but with in the cherry switch line they feel the same. I have red switch on my current KB and more then happy with it. That said I have always been terrible at typing. For someone that been using computers for 30 years at least.
 

SQLmaster

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Cherry Browns with O rings but ill be honest, I am kinda digging this cheap ass G512SE i scored from Best Buy for $49 with "clicky" GX Blue. Surprisingly, its not that bad and am using it on my work computer. Its better than those G-Romers with those shitty ass keycaps that breakoff and get stuck in the switch.
 

Dan_D

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It's totally subjective. I'm still a fan of the Cherry MX Blues and some of their clones. I don't really use anything else. Although, I've tried nearly all of them at some point.
 

Meeho

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It's totally subjective. I'm still a fan of the Cherry MX Blues and some of their clones. I don't really use anything else. Although, I've tried nearly all of them at some point.
What I couldn't stand on the blues, for gaming, was the different actuation and release points. You can't do that instant click-release-click with minimum movement on them.
 

Dan_D

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What I couldn't stand on the blues, for gaming, was the different actuation and release points. You can't do that instant click-release-click with minimum movement on them.

I think differences like this are over stated. I've never seen any difference in my gaming performance between the shittiest membrane keyboards and high end mechanicals with whatever the latest super switch is supposed to be.
 

Nobu

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I think differences like this are over stated. I've never seen any difference in my gaming performance between the shittiest membrane keyboards and high end mechanicals with whatever the latest super switch is supposed to be.
It can make a difference. For instance, if you're pressing one key repeatedly and you just want as many keypresses as you can get, having that detent can slow you down or (if the release is too high) prevent keypresses from registering at all. That said, I'm not af an of button mashers anyway, so it doesn't usually effect me.
 

Dan_D

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It can make a difference. For instance, if you're pressing one key repeatedly and you just want as many keypresses as you can get, having that detent can slow you down or (if the release is too high) prevent keypresses from registering at all. That said, I'm not af an of button mashers anyway, so it doesn't usually effect me.

Again, it's splitting hairs. Even if technically true, I doubt many if any people can really see a difference. If they do, I have to wonder if its some sort of placebo effect going on. That being said, I primarily play shooters so I don't know if that makes a difference or not.
 

Meeho

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I think differences like this are over stated. I've never seen any difference in my gaming performance between the shittiest membrane keyboards and high end mechanicals with whatever the latest super switch is supposed to be.
It's not about performance per se, it's about feel. When I press a key in a quick succession I wanna be able to travel back the same amount to depress it. It is that longer mandated travel on the way back that feels unnatural. Botherhered me the most while dodge double tapping in UT.
 

Dan_D

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It's not about performance per se, it's about feel. When I press a key in a quick succession I wanna be able to travel back the same amount to depress it. It is that longer mandated travel on the way back that feels unnatural. Botherhered me the most while dodge double tapping in UT.

I prefer the clicking of the blue switches by a mile. Then again, I type more than anything else.
 

Meeho

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I prefer the clicking of the blue switches by a mile. Then again, I type more than anything else.
Understandable, that's blues strength and the different points don't come into play.
 
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