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10 Quiet Mechanical Keyboards: The Buyer’s Guide
Jeff is product expert who keeps an eye on every product that enters the market. Reach him at: email@example.com
Mechanical Keyboards are amazing for gaming, and moreover for typing, simply because of their unparalleled registry and responsiveness. They are also healthy for the fine bones and joints in your fingers since they not only require less force to press but they also bounce back up, providing you with all the comfort you could ever ask for. However, it usually comes at the price of a ton of noise.
Luckily, there has been tons of research conducted into mechanical keyboards and their keystrokes over the recent years. Scientists from across the world have come up with various solutions on decreasing the noise emitted by these keyboards. However, these keyboards are still nowhere as silent as their membrane counterparts.
That being said, the following Mechanical Keyboards have been tried by our team and tested under a variety of conditions. All of them bear one common result: they are as silent as mechanical keyboards can be. Choose one of the following to suit your purposes and let us know how you liked it.
Redragon K552 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Starting off with the Redragon K552 kumara, it is more or less, a pretty good keyboard despite all the shortcomings which it has. The keyboard isn’t the most silent of keyboards as it uses the Cherry MX Blue switches. Despite the reputation for a large amount of noise produced by these keys, the keyboard remains surprisingly silent, letting out only a tiny click with each stroke.
The keyboard itself looks really pretty with a red backlight highlighting all of the keys. The shape of the keyboard isn’t anything special by itself. However, the simple shape combined with the spacing between the keys, and the beautiful hallowed red lighting gives the keyboard a certain aura which makes it look very beautiful.
The keys on the keyboard are quite responsive, as expected from the Cherry MX Blue series. All keys denote the registry with an audible click sound, as is expected from Blue keys. The keys on this keyboard, however, produce a really low sound while maintaining their responsiveness.
Apart from this, additional features of the keyboard include the aluminium frame which ensures a light but durable frame to your keyboard, anti-ghosting keys for better registry while gaming completely conflict-free keys. This means all keys will be registered regardless of which one was pressed first or how many keys have been pressed simultaneously. While most keyboards can handle this up to 14 or 15 keys, Redragon shows its reputation by making these features available for all 87 keys.
Not only that, but the keyboard also has 12 working multimedia macros and a Windows Key which can be switched on or off while gaming to make sure that the Start Menu doesn’t get in the way of good gaming experience or during a crucial moment while playing online.
All in all, while the Redragon K552 is not the most silent Cherry MX Keyboard, it still does look comparatively pretty. However, the area where the keyboard shines the most is as a gaming keyboard which never misses a single keystroke and registers all presses with an audible, albeit suppressed, click of an acknowledgement. This is one mechanical keyboard where the responsiveness matters more than the noise.
Suppressed click comparatively silent for a blue cap.
Well furnished keys and LED backlight.
The aluminium frame is light and durable.
Complete anti-ghosting and conflict-free keys provide an amazing registry.
Windows key can be locked and unlocked for gaming.
Not the best when it comes to looks, albeit pretty.
Not the most silent of keyboards.
The aluminium frame is durable but prone to deformation.
LED backlight is beautiful, but not the brightest for complete darkness.
Das Keyboard 4 Professional: Quietest Mechanical Keyboard
Coming in next, we have a truly silent Mechanical keyboard of German origins which has more features than the keys available to you on the keyboard. Well, perhaps not quite as many, but you get the point. The keyboard simply has a ton of features which really help you while gaming, typing, or otherwise interacting with your computer system.
Coming from a German design, the keyboard does not have an LED backlight. However, it does have a very stylish design to it which involves a gorgeous matte finish to the entire keyboard. Even the fonts and spacing on the key give the entire keyboard a quite premium feel. The upper ridge which accommodates the volume regulator also adds some sophistication to it.
The keyboard is composed of Cherry MX Brown Tactile switches. Unlike their Blue counterparts, the Brown switches are tactile, or in other words, produce a slight bump instead of a clicking sound to indicate that a keystroke has been registered. While this doesn’t really make much of a difference while gaming, this does make a huge difference while typing. First, it makes much less noise per keystroke. Second, it takes lesser force to overcome while typing.
The multimedia panel on the top right corner of the keyboard adds a whole different sense of sophistication to the keyboard with five buttons etched into the aluminium frame and an oversized knob cut perfectly into the side of the board without sticking out of it. The keyboard also comes with a solid magnetic footbar which raises the keyboard by a height of four inches.
However, if you don’t wish to use it, or would rather prefer a ruler, you can use the same footbar which has markings on both sides and is meant to be useful for both purposes. Apart from this, the keyboard also comes with 2 USB 3.0 hubs, and anti-ghosting technology enabled on all keys. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, this keyboard also features an N-key Rollover to go along with that.
While a few features of the keyboard might just be a little bit of an overkill, it still is one of the Best Silent Mechanical Gaming Keyboards and is perhaps the best mechanical keyboard for typing. It is absolutely silent and makes sure that it captures every single keystroke. It looks quite stylish overall, even though it lacks a variety of multimedia controls.
Extremely silent with a tactile feedback response.
Well structured and spaced-out key layout.
Multimedia controls add to the overall style of the keyboard.
Comes with two USB 3.0 hubs.
All keys are anti-ghosting enabled.
Footbar doubles as a ruler.
Magnetic footbar cum ruler might be innovative but seems quite unnecessary.
No LED lights.
The multimedia centre contains only music controls and a quick-sleep switch.
Soft tactile feedback makes it difficult to tell precisely when the key has been pressed.
VicTsing Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Next, we have a keyboard which isn’t really renowned for its silence, but rather the raw efficiency and ergonomics which the keyboard provides. It is pretty much, the loudest keyboard man has ever made and the use of Cherry MX Blue keys really shows on the keyboard. Well, it’s not really the loudest and there are many other mechanical keyboards which can make a bigger ruckus than a troop of baboons in a kitchen.
However, this keyboard does remain quite loud nonetheless. It’s probably not the best option when you want to look for a keyboard which doesn’t make much noise. Even the style on this keyboard is more or less controversial. While the individual letters are beautifully etched into large fonts on the key faces, the keys are simply cascades and bunched too far together to look comfortable to the eyes. The huge font only makes matters worse.
However, sacrificing style, as far as ergonomics are concerned, the keyboard does provide a pretty good deal. The frame has a concave slope to it with the keys cascades on top of each other, giving you a good angle to type with without exhausting your fingers over time. It also makes the keyboard easy to use for a longer duration.
When it comes to functionality, the keyboard really shines by giving you twelve multimedia keys usable with the function key. In addition to these, the keyboard also comprises of anti-ghosting keys which are completely conflict-free, ensuring that every single keystroke gets registered when you choose to press it.
That being said, the keyboard does seem to be focused on saving space with its compact design and the lack of a numpad. While the keyboard will fit into a smaller space, it does lack the numpad which is often essential for a wide variety of games, making the keyboard more suitable for typing than gaming.
In the end, the keyboard does lack a vital part of the entire arrangement by removing the numpad and it is also rather loud compared to most other keyboards on this list. However, the overall functionality and registry of this keyboard are quite reliable. While the keyboard may not look the best, it still remains very comfortable and functions reliably.
Comfortable, ergonomic design.
Individual letters are quite large and beautiful.
Functional multimedia keys.
Extremely reliable keystroke registry.
Non-conflicting keys help while gaming and typing.
Cascading keys for added comfort and durability.
Overall, the keyboard looks quite messy and congested.
The lack of a numpad may cause problems in some cases.
The keyboard may be too compact for people with larger hands.
The keys are quite noisy, despite being comparatively less noisy for blue caps.
Corsair K95 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Corsair, being the premium brand which it is, brings us a marvel of a keyboard with the K95. While it is a little expensive, it is certainly worth the price to pay for it. The keyboard has it all, starting from style to functionality to ergonomics, including all the gaming features you could ever ask for. The price to pay for this is the sheer size of the keyboard as well as the expensive price tag.
The keyboard looks quite good overall. Even though the keys are quite congested together, the multimedia controls of the keyboard along with the six dedicated macros and the palm rest give the keyboard a nice look. The letters printed on the keys are quite durable but could’ve been a little smaller, given how small the keys are.
The keyboard itself has a brilliant RGB LED backlight which not only highlights the outer edge of the keyboard but also each individual key as well. The keyboard has many pre-programmed lighting patterns in it and can support up to three programmable lighting patterns on it, independent of the software used.
There are multimedia controls present for controlling music or other movies including the volume. Furthermore, there are also six different programmable macros on the left edge of the keyboard which can help you play games much better. Even the keys used in this keyboard are tactile Cherry MX Brown caps which are not only almost silent but also provide a nice tactile response when pressed.
The keyboard also has a 19-zone LED edge light. This further adds to its beauty while the full anti-ghosting keys and all-key rollover allows you to register every single keystroke when you need it the most. This keyboard also comes with a detachable soft palm rest, making it ideal for long durations of intense gaming.
In the end, while the Corsair K95 may seem like the complete package, it does lack a few things here and there. Despite that, it is a pretty respectable keyboard which is not only silent but also quite beautiful and functional. This is one keyboard which is meant for the gamers.
Near-silent Cherry MX Brown Tactile keys.
Extremely quick and reliable keystroke registry.
The keyboard looks beautiful with aluminium finish and RGB backlights.
Programmable RGB patterns can be stored onboard of the keyboard.
Six programmable in-game macros.
Anti-ghosting keys complete with any-key rollover.
Detachable soft palm-rest for comfort while playing.
The keys are quite small and may not be suitable for larger hands.
The keyboard takes up quite a lot of space, especially with the palm rest.
Multimedia controls only restricted to music.
The Velocifire VM01 is a functional keyboard with some neat looks which make sure that the keyboard remains beautiful while you enjoy the benefits of the Brown caps which it comes with. The keyboard doesn’t exactly have a special shape or style to it. It is, for all purposes, the classic cuboid. However, the keyboard does have a nice slant to it which gives it a bit of style and the comfort which you deserve while gaming for a longer duration.
The keyboard has a very simple shape to it which comes along with the generous slant. Combined, the keyboard looks quite good. The VM01 also comes with a gorgeous ice-blue LED backlight which bathes all the dark-coloured keys in an aura of blue light, making the keyboard look quite stunning when combined with the broad layout and proportionately sized letters on the keys.
The keys on the keyboard are made up of Tactile Cherry MX Brown caps. While these keys are quite responsive, the best part about them is that they are completely silent. Furthermore, pressing them down is quite a pleasure as they have this slight bumpy feeling to them whenever a keystroke gets registered. This results in keys which are quite silent as well as easy to use while typing or gaming without disturbing others around you.
The keyboard also comes with a variety of multimedia hotkeys which are suitable for a wide variety of purposes. To add on top of that, all the keys on the keyboard are anti-ghosting enabled. This means that if you ever decide to press two keys at the same time, no other key is going to register, until and unless you decide to press another key. This goes for all the keys on the keyboard.
However, the keyboard isn’t exactly the most durable out there, even though the keys themselves are quite durable. The frame gets squeakier over time. Furthermore, the incline of the keyboard raises it up so high, that it becomes quite difficult to use the keyboard comfortably, leaving laying it flat the only option.
The Velocifire VM01 looks quite neat with an aural sense of beauty to it and is quite the functional keyboard. In addition to that, it is neither too large, nor too small, making it perhaps, the best budget mechanical keyboard today. There are better keyboards than this, but not all of them can offer as many features as this one does while being so cheap.
Silent Cherry MX Brown switches for tactile feedback.
Ice-blue LED backlight makes the keyboard look very beautiful.
Corsair, the famous manufacturer of gaming merchandise has yet another silent mechanical keyboard meant for all things gaming. This one is called Corsair Strafe RGB Mk. 2, making it the second, improved version the Corsair Strafe. The most noticeable difference is how the previous version of the keyboard used blue switches. The current version corrects this by using red switches instead.
The keyboard bears the classic style which is quite familiar to Corsair, with the well-spaced keys adorning a matte keyboard. There is an additional line of multimedia controls placed near the top of the keyboard along with a few other buttons. All the keys have an RGB backlight attached to them which places an aura of bright, colourful light all over the keyboard. Needless to say, the keyboard comes with a variety of lighting patterns installed.
The keyboard also has a variety of functional features including the multimedia controls meant to control music and movies without ever having to switch tabs or windows. Furthermore, all keys are anti-ghosting enabled, with complete rollover wherein every keystroke is registered just the way it is supposed to be, without any conflicts.
The Strafe RGB Mk. 2 also comes with soft detachable palm rest which can be attached or removed as per convenience. The shortcut keys also have three keys which can be used to switch the backlight, the microphone, and the windows keys on and off. The last option really helps in giving you the interruption-free gaming experience.
Not only that, but the keyboard also has a set of contoured and textured keycaps for the keys primarily used in gaming so that you can rest your hand on the keys with greater ease. The peripheral also comes with a USB pass-through port which enables you to attach an extra peripheral to your PC if you run out of yours.
To add on top of that, this mechanical gaming keyboard utilizes Cherry MX Red Linear switches for its keys. These do not make any sound and become increasingly more difficult to press once they have been registered. While these keys may be nearly silent, they sure make it difficult to detect when pressed correctly.
All in all, despite the few shortcomings of the Corsair Strafe RGB Mk. 2, it is a beautiful gaming keyboard which is not only comfortable but is also quite functional, especially while gaming rather than typing. The primary problem with this approach is the fact that it becomes difficult to know when your keystroke has been actually registered despite a good registry. But the utter silence of the keyboard makes up for it rather well.
Extremely silent Cherry MX Red switches.
RGB LED backlights add to the beauty of the keyboard.
Soft detachable palm-rest adds to comfort.
USB pass-through port.
Windows key can be switched on and off.
Complete with anti-ghosting keys and rollover abilities.
Red switches need to be pressed down more.
Difficult to know when a keystroke has been registered due to the lack of a response.
The keys are little too small for larger hands.
The keyboard takes up a lot of space especially with the palm-rest attached.
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth: The Silent Keyboard
The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth was initially meant to be a gaming keyboard with all the latest technology built right into it. While the technology has become older and doesn’t remain fascinating any longer, the keyboard is still one of the best for gaming and typing as the name suggests, in stealth mode.
The keyboard looks quite stylish even today, even though the shape and design remain quite simplistic. It carries the steel-grey colour which Razer is so fond of using along with individual keys backlit with a Green LED. While the LED lights are not programmable and remain static, they do provide for a wonderful aesthetic hue to this gaming keyboard.
Other features of this keyboard include multimedia shortcuts which are bound to the function keys, The keyboard also has a fine spacing between all the letters to accommodate most hand sizes and remain comfortable during prolonged usage. The keyboard also has a gaming mode option which enables anti-ghosting and a USB pass-through and 3.0 mm jack on the device to help keep your desk neat and free of clutter. Just that these features are on the right side which might cause problems for your mouse.
Furthermore, the keyboard also has five programmable macro keys which can be used to perform complex operations in a game in just one keystroke. All macros can be managed via the cloud through the Razer Synapse software. The most interesting part about this is the lack of delay despite the storage of instructions on the cloud.
Apart from this, the keyboard uses the Razer Orange Switches. These switches are built to be more tactile and silent than their brown counterparts. As a result, you can feel a sure bump when you press your key as well as a noticeable lack of sound. This keyboard is so silent that it feels more like a loud membrane keyboard instead. It would probably qualify as a Cherry MX Brown Keyboard.
All things considered, the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth is more or less a pretty good gaming keyboard even today, despite the fact that the shape may make prolonged gaming a little more tiring than most other gaming keyboards today.
Uses silent Razer Orange Tactile Switches.
Simplistic, yet stylish shape.
Green LED backlights adds an aesthetic sense to the keyboard.
Multimedia shortcuts bound to function keys including game-mode switch.
Five programmable macro keys.
Features USB pass-through and headphone jack.
Uses Razer Synapse to store macros online.
The keyboard is quite durable.
Not comfortable to use over longer periods of time
Backlight stuck on a static green
Tactile keys require a little extra effort to press as compared to regular MX Brown switches
The macro keys can easily be confused for the control key and cause problems
USB pass-through and headphone jack present on the right side, which may cause problems for your mouse
Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Keyboard
The Razer BlackWidow Elite is the newer, upgraded version of the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate which was initially released in 2010. This keyboard comes with a variety of features and looks absolutely beautiful. You can also choose from up to three different types of switches when buying this keyboard.
Starting off with the looks, the keyboard looks absolutely stunning, complete with the RGB LED backlight and the multimedia control buttons on the top right corner which is also mechanical. The knob for volume built into the controls really stands out. The keyboard is quite simply shaped otherwise, but apart from that, the palm-rest is something else altogether.
The multimedia controls on this keyboard are a hybrid between mechanical keys for controlling multimedia, a knob for the volume keys, and shortcuts mapped to the function keys for the rest including engaging the gaming mode as well as controlling the brightness. Furthermore, there are up to five profiles which can be stored on the keyboard so that you can switch between macros and keys which you have bound.
More profiles can be stored on the cloud using Razer Synapse which also enables you to change the lighting patterns on the keyboard and much more. It is a very powerful software in the end. Apart from this, the ergonomic wrist rest is quite soft and provides extended durations of comfort when playing or typing. However, it does occupy quite a lot of space. It also has a USB pass-through and a Headphone jack on the left side.
The keys on this keyboard are available in three variants, Clicky Razer Green, Tactile Razer Orange, and Linear Razer Yellow. Razer Blue keys are noisy, so you could go for that if you’re interested. However, sticking to the purpose of this list, the Orange keys don’t make any sound while the Yellow keys prove to be completely silent, although it becomes quite difficult to know when you’ve pressed the key. All the keys are anti-ghosting enabled and conflict-free.
All in all, the Razer BlackWidow Elite is one hell of a mechanical gaming keyboard which is not only silent but also extremely functional despite being large and expensive. However, if you’re looking for a premium gaming experience with all the comfort and features in the world, then this is the keyboard to go to. If you don’t mind emptying your wallet, that is…
Capable of using absolutely silent Linear Razer Yellow switches.
A rather basic shape.
RGB LED lights add aesthetic beauty to the keyboard.
Efficient, stylish, and interactive multimedia shortcuts.
Uses Razer Synapse to load profiles, LED patterns, and macros from the cloud.
Stores up to five macro profiles on board.
USB pass-through and headphone jack for a clutter-free environment.
Soft, comfortable wrist-rest for extended durations of gaming.
Anti-ghosting and anti-conflict enabled keys for reliability.
Extremely fast keystroke actuation and registry speeds.
Razer Yellow Switches are linear and difficult to tell when actually pressed.
Yellow switches require more force to press.
The keyboard is quite large in size.
LED lighting interface tends to restart from time to time.
Logitech G513 RGB Backlit
The Logitech G513 is perhaps the best quiet mechanical keyboard till date. We’ll just give you all the reasons why and let you decide the rest on your own. For starters, the keyboard is so interactive that it can actually change the lighting depending upon your condition in the game which you’re playing, adding a more dramatic mood to the entire game.
Starting off with the looks, the keyboard doesn’t really have an especially stylish shape to it. However, what the keyboard does have is a beautiful aluminium finish on the top along with well-spaced out keys. These keys also have a fine quality etching on them which are not only durable but look very pretty combined with the lighting.
Moreover, the keys are etched in not just one but on multiple surfaces. This is especially evident on the multimedia shortcuts mapped to the function keys as they have their function numbers on the top and their shortcuts on the side facing you. The RGB lighting is also quite dynamic and provides more of an aural light to the entire experience.
The keyboard also comes with 12 gaming keys which look much better and provide a better feel to your fingers. These are the keys which are used most often while gaming. The keyboard also comes with a USB pass-through to keep your desktop clutter-free. Besides, the keyboard comes with Logitech’s proprietary software which enables you to further customize your keyboard.
This software lets you customize the macros, the lighting, the key bindings, and much more, all while you enjoy the feel of soft leather on your wrists as you type away or game for extended hours at a time. Perhaps the best feature of the keyboard is known as Lightsync which synchronizes the colours on your keyboard to events in your game and lets you enjoy a more immersive and dramatic effect to your game.
The keys are made using Logitech’s own Romer-G Linear switches which are absolutely silent and don’t make a single noise while being pressed. Getting to know when you’ve pressed them isn’t as difficult either as they require a considerable amount of force to press. Although, this can be bad for your fingers in the long run unless you keep a light touch. The keys are anti-ghosting enabled, but for some reason, only 26 of the keys are rollover enabled.
All in all, given the entirety of what the keyboard provides, we would definitely call the Logitech G513 the best mechanical gaming keyboard which money can buy. There are a few features which this keyboard lacks. However, losing those features seems to be a fair enough price for this marvel.
Silent Logitech Romer-G Linear Keys.
Linear Keys respond quite well.
RGB LED is completely customizable and looks amazing on the aluminium finish.
The keys have a healthy amount of spacing between them.
12 gaming keycaps for a better gaming experience.
Soft wrist-rest for extended hours of typing and gaming.
Logitech gaming software can be used to customize everything about the keyboard.
Lightsync technology enables you to add dramatic, event-based enhancements to your keyboard’s LED lighting.
Fast and accurate registry.
Large in size.
While good with response, the linear switches can be bad for your fingers.
Rollover provided for only 26 keys.
Lightsync doesn’t work equally well with all games.
Cherry MX Board: The Cherry MX Silent Keyboard
Cherry MX is known for the mechanical switches it produces which are used in keyboards all around the world and are really preferred by a variety of gamers. These keys are usually preferred for their feel and the speeds of actuation which they provide while typing or gaming. The Cherry MX Board is practically a keyboard made by Cherry MX.
While the keyboard doesn’t really have anything special about it, it is pretty much a good silent mechanical keyboard. This keyboard is primarily suitable for simple typing applications, although you can game with it as well. There isn’t really anything much remarkable about it. It’s just a simple plain old keyboard.
The overall shape of the keyboard is quite basic, without any sort of focus on ergonomics or functionality or even style. There is no LED backlight to the keyboard. The keyboard does have a sort of retro look to it, but that’s about it. It’d probably look much better in front of a CRT monitor than a modern LCD screen.
Functionality wise, the keyboard has anti-ghosting keys with a 14-key rollover, which is rather surprising coming from Cherry since they are the maker of switches used around the world. However, 14 keys are usually more than enough. All keys remain conflict-free. The keyboard can also be used via a USB port or simply through a PS/2 connector port.
The keyboard uses the Linear Cherry MX Red keys which makes the keystrokes absolutely silent. This, however, makes it difficult to understand when a key was pressed. Furthermore, linear keys are built such that they require more and more force to press as you keep pressing them down. That’s the only response which they have.
All in all, the Cherry MX Board isn’t a very remarkable or spectacular peripheral device. However, it is priced at quite a high point and does come with a great warranty attached to it. If the reputation of the brand and a simple, effective keyboard is what you’re after, this is the one for you. However, if you’re looking for style, features, beauty, or performance, it’ll be better to stay away from this keyboard.
Silent Cherry MX Red Linear keys.
Good keystroke actuation speeds and registry.
Can be connected via either USB or PS/2 ports.
Has a retro feel to it.
Lacks any sort of style.
Gets uncomfortable and even painful over a longer duration of use.
Difficult to tell when Red Linear Switch activates.
Rollover limited to only 14 keys.
There are a vast variety of mechanical keyboards out there in the market. While we could surely not cover all of them, we tried our best to cover the ones which can be most commonly found and tried to include the different types which would appeal to most people.
However, if you didn’t like any keyboard present in this list, or you are confused about which keyboard you wish to purchase, we have prepared a buyer’s guide for you so that you can go ahead and attempt to purchase your preferred keyboard while making a more informed decision. Here are the things to look out for while purchasing a quiet mechanical keyboard:
Mechanical keyboards tend to produce a lot more noise as compared to standard membrane keyboards. This comes mostly due to the fact that membrane keyboards use a membrane and pressure sensors to register keystrokes, while mechanical keyboards use actual moving parts called switches to do the same.
While modern technology has enabled mechanical keyboards to be as silent as membrane keyboards, most mechanical keyboards are still quite noisy. If you don’t like a lot of noise, it’s best that you stick to membrane keyboards instead.
Mechanical keyboards use primarily three sorts of switches, clicky, tactile, and linear. Out of these switches, clicky ones produce a clicking sound when pressed and are the noisiest of them all. Tactile keyboards are less noisy, while linear keyboards can be as noiseless as membrane keyboards if made well. You can further add O-rings under the keycaps of your keyboard to further dampen the noise made by it.
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Mechanical keyboards are usually more durable than their membrane counterparts. They are also generally certified to be able to register as many as millions of keystrokes throughout their lifetime. While membrane keyboards get the job done, mechanical keyboards are more oriented towards the pleasure of typing which sticks with you for the long haul.
Mechanical keyboards are also built to handle quite a lot of stress and impact simply because most users like to bash on the keys instead of being gentle with them. Gamers especially, don’t have the time to go easy on their keys during intense gaming sessions. In such times, hitting as many keys as you can and as fast as you can often make the difference between clearing the level or seeing a game-over screen. Not to mention the fact that pressing a key harder will always make your car run faster.
Similarly, typists have to type a lot on their keyboards. If a key or two stop working because they have been put through a lot of abuse, it is going to put their careers at a risk. Hence, a durable keyboard is always better for other obvious reasons as well.
Purpose of Use
Yes, we all have our own preferences. However, our preferences don’t run the world and there are some immutable laws which have to be constantly observed and followed, no matter where we go. As a result, a certain type of mechanical keyboard is better-suited for a certain type of usage.
Gamers, in general, like to have a responsive keyboard so that they know for sure whether they actually hit a key or not. They want their keyboard to be responsive and quick with the actuation of keystrokes. They also want a lighter hit to be registered well.
As a result, gamers tend to prefer Linear and Clicky switches for their keyboards. Tactile switches call for a bit of resistance before you actually press the switch, which usually leads to confusion about whether the switch was actually pressed or not.
Typists and writers usually prefer switches which require more force to register keystrokes and remain quite responsive at the same time. They dislike the fact that it becomes difficult to guess whether or not a button was pressed with Linear switches and tend to stay away from them. As a result, they prefer Tactile or Clicky switches.
However, as far as use in the office room is concerned, not everyone is as fond of the keyboard click noise as you are. While responsiveness may be desired, a lack of noise in the office would turn out to be the wiser course of action should you want to avoid petty office politics or wouldn’t want to be told off by your boss. Hence, it is best to use Tactile or Linear switches in the office. They make lesser noise and are usually responsive enough for you to do your work.
Mechanical keyboards use analogue signals to make sure that you have pressed your keys and relay them to the computer. They work the fastest when wired directly to the PC or Mac. However, wireless keyboards have their own advantages as well. You can roam around with them, or keep them practically anywhere and use them from most practical ranges where wired keyboards usually don’t reach. Wireless keyboards are also easier to handle as they lack the wires to clutter up your desktop.
However, as far as wired keyboards are concerned, they are simply faster in relaying information for the keystroke to the PC. Furthermore, they do not suffer from any potential latency in the radio signals which are broadcasted by the wireless receivers used in wireless Bluetooth keyboards, and they sure don’t need to be charged over and over again. Instead, they can be used as soon as they are attached to the device.
Size and Layout
Now, the size and layout depend entirely upon your personal preferences. All that matters is that the mechanical keyboard should be heavy. A mechanical keyboard that slides all around the workspace is of no use at all.
Beyond that, your keyboard should be sized as per your personal wishes and the area where you wish to accommodate said keyboard. If the area is too small for your keyboard or causes too much of a clutter, then it’s best to not go for that keyboard.
However, your size also plays an important role in the factor. If your hands are larger, it is only going to be more uncomfortable to type on a smaller keyboard. Choose a size which is more comfortable for you as compared to other smaller or larger sizes.
The same goes for the layout. There are a ton of layouts out there. Some focus on gaming functionalities, some on ergonomics, and some on pure style. Go for the one which appeals to you the most, or which is closer to what you want.
An ergonomic keyboard is quite comfortable while only a gaming keyboard can help you play games better. That being said, nothing beats the style of a well designed and decorated keyboard. One which has all three factors is a true blessing.
Types of Keys
Broadly speaking there are three different types of keys: Clicky, Tactile, and Linear. Different brands use different names for these. For example, the mechanical keyboard switches from Cherry MX use their colours. The ones from Razer and Corsair have their own colours. Similarly, the keys used by Logitech use the names RX-Clicky and Romer-G Linear and Tactile.
Despite the minor differences among the brands, all keys fall under any one of these three categories and share a common characteristic with the others. For the record, all keys are noisier than most membrane keyboards.
Clicky keys tend to be the noisiest as they actuate, or register a keystroke in other words, and respond by making a loud, audible clicking sound. While the sound does sound quite good on its own, when you’ve got ten keys being struck simultaneously, this can prove to be pretty noisy for most people to endure. These usually require the most force to actuate.
Tactile keys have a bump like structure on them. These keys don’t really make much noise, by responding to actuation when you cross a certain ‘bump’ when pressing the key down. You’ll face a brief amount of resistance before the keystroke is actuated. These require a medium amount of force to actuate.
Coming to the keys with the lightest actuation force required of all, Linear keys are built such that they are absolutely silent and provide no feedback to your actuation whatsoever. This makes it a little difficult to understand when you have pressed these keys. However, Linear Keys are called that because beyond the actuation point, the amount of force you need to apply to keep pressing the key down increases over time.
Mechanical keys are usually preferred by professional gamers as the keys can recognize a keystroke at even half a keypress. Most players don’t need to press the entire key down in order to get a registered keystroke, unlike in the case of membrane keyboards. This usually saves up a lot of time for most players and makes playing games much easier.
Build Quality and Design Features
The overall build quality of a keyboard does matter quite a lot, no matter the durability of the keys. Often times, the keyboard is the one which cannot handle all the smashing and grinding and ends up caving in before the keys. A durable keyboard is often a better asset. Similarly, your keyboard should also be as heavy as possible. This ensures that your keyboards do not move from its place when receiving punishing keystrokes by your hand.
The keyboard should also have the appropriate design features including the features which are most useful for you. Gamers can make use of Macro buttons and Windows key locks. Most people can make use of multimedia macros and shortcuts.
Similarly, a USB passthrough really helps in keeping more USB slots free on your device and makes it more accessible. A keyboard with an RGB LED or even a simple LED, for that matter, really adds a lot of beauty to the keyboard. Even the pattern of the backlight should have multiple modes and patterns to it. Advanced technology like Logitech Lightsync can actually change the lighting of your keyboard, based on the events and actions in a game.
That being said, everybody can benefit from the comfort and efficiency provided by more ergonomic designs. They might not seem like much initially, but you become more and more thankful for them as you keep using them for longer and longer.
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Keystrokes and Comfort
The best part about a mechanical keyboard is a simple fact that it makes keystrokes very, very easy. You can press a key all the way in until it caves much like a regular membrane keyboard. However, you don’t necessarily need to do that. You can press a key down just half the way and watch as it continues to register on your screen.
To add to that, you also have faster actuation as compared to membrane keyboards. When it comes to performance, mechanical vs regular keyboards are like Heaven and Earth.
Most mechanical keyboards are anti-ghosted by default due to their analogous input, something which has to be explicitly and painstakingly done for membrane keyboards. Not to mention that rollover technology is also much easier to implement in a mechanical keyboard than on a regular keyboard.
This makes gaming, or simply typing a much easier task on the whole as it takes much less effort to perform half the things which you used to perform with more effort earlier. Ultimately, it just saves you a whole lot of energy on the whole while making the entire experience much more comfortable for you.
Which is the quietest mechanical keyboard switch?
Linear mechanical switches tend to be the most silent of the lot, simply because they have no response associated with them. Only increasing resistance. A few examples of silent mechanical keys include Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Black, Razer Yellow, Logitech Romer-G Linear.
The only sound which you can find with these keys is simply the mechanical sound produced by the keycaps and the mechanism inside the switches. These can be easily further dampened with the use of O Rings.
How to make a mechanical keyboard quiet?
There are few ways to make a mechanical keyboard quiet. If your keyboard is using clicky switches, you can substitute them for Linear or Tactile switches since they make a clicking sound upon actuation. You can further decrease the sounds produced by a keyboard by placing an O-ring underneath the keys to dampen the sound produced by the mechanisms inside the switches and keycaps.
Can mechanical keyboards with additional features be used on Linux/Mac?
Yes, Mechanical keyboards can be used on any operating system, be it Windows, Linux, Mac, Ubuntu, or even RedHat and Fedora. However, if a few parts of your keyboard relies upon the software or drivers which are installed in your system, then these drivers might not be compatible with all operating systems alike.
You can overcome this by checking whether there is an appropriate proprietary or open-source driver available for your operating system and installing it. Otherwise, you can always code a customized driver of your own, even though that is easier said than done.
Are there silent mechanical keyboards?
Yes. Contrary to popular belief, mechanical keyboards can be pretty silent. In fact, modern technology enables us to make mechanical keyboards which are as silent as regular membrane keyboards or at least close to them. The most popular forms of keyboards use clicky blue switches which make a lot of noise when pressed.
However, there are other keyboards, especially those which use Cherry MX Black and Cherry MX Red switches which produce virtually no noise whatsoever. They don’t really sound like mechanical keyboards until the time that you press the keys and feel the difference.
What is an O-ring keyboard?
An O-ring keyboard is basically a keyboard with O-rings placed under the keycaps. O-rings are simple rubber bands designed to be placed underneath the keycaps between the switches and caps so that these caps and the corresponding mechanisms don’t vibrate or move much during operation, hence suppressing or dampening the sound emitted by each keystroke.
These O-rings only eliminate mechanical noises arising from the operation of keys and do not influence the sound or feel of the switches themselves.
What are Cherry MX Silent switches?
Cherry MX is a brand which specializes in making good quality mechanical switches for computing needs. They have two varieties of silent switches called the Cherry MX Black and the Cherry MX Red which make very little noise when pressed.
This is in contrast to Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Green, and Chery MX Clear switches which usually make a lot of noise when pressed, giving mechanical keyboards the noisy reputation which they are infamous for.
Usually, silent mechanical keyboards use these silent Cherry MX switches for smoother, noiseless operation.
Are MX Silent Switches good for gaming?
Quite a lot of gamers often find the clicky noises of the Blue and Green switches quite distracting. They often want something which registers upon keystroke but is also quite silent while retaining the same level of actuation and responsiveness. MX Silent switches were the answer which has been replicated and modified countless times.
There are a wide variety of gaming keyboards which employ silent switches such as the Stealth series keyboards by Razer. In the end, Silent Switches usually are linear switches which require less actuation force, making keystrokes even more effortless.
Are mechanical keyboards better?
To be fair, mechanical keyboards require much less force per keystroke, are better for your hands and fingers over a longer duration, and also outlast membrane keyboards by a huge margin. They can also handle much more stress and punishment at the hand of their users. Mechanical keyboards also help people type much faster without much effort. All of these factors combined to make sure that mechanical keyboards are simply better than their membrane counterparts.
However, membrane keyboards are usually cheaper, lighter, and smaller. They are also much less noisy as compared to mechanical keyboards.
There are various kinds of mechanical keyboards out in the world, and ones which are quiet, or even silent are priceless. They can offer a wide variety of features while giving you that one thing which you love the most about membrane keyboards, silence.
From there on, it is more about what you want in your silent keyboard. Some keyboards are meant primarily to be the original grandfather of them; all like the Cherry MX Board, while others are meant to be pure functionality like the Razer BlackWidow Elite. Some are meant for the true gamers out there as is in the case of the Logitech G513, while some are meant for simple typing tasks like the Velocifire VM01. There are also those that have a ton of features like the Das Keyboard 4. There are a ton of keyboards out there, and all of them serve very different specific needs.
If you like any of the keyboards present in this list here, let us know. Alternatively, you can also tell us about how we helped you determine which keyboard you would rather want to have. Hopefully, this article has helped you reach a better-informed conclusion about what you would rather want.
Jeff Lampkin was the first writer to have joined gamepolar.com. He has since then inculcated very effective writing and reviewing culture at GamePolar which rivals have found impossible to imitate. His approach has been to work on the basics while the whole world was focusing on the superstructures.