Tactile, linear or clicky? The truth is that there are many varieties and brands of switches for mechanical keyboards, but the reality is that, you couldn’t say if there are better or worse switches. The tactile sensation and quality will always depend on the consumer's preferences and the situation and purpose of the keyboard, as this will change if it is for working in the office or for gaming.
The main differences between switches are as follows:
Linear: they are the simplest. You feel the same sensation from the moment you start pressing the key until you bottom out. There is no special tactile sensation or noise when pressing the actuation point (the point where the keystroke is registered, usually in the middle). Therefore, for the most part you will probably bottom out with each key press.
Tactile: provide a tactile sensation when you reach the actuation point. As you press the key, you will notice a small thump, that lets you know that the keystroke has registered correctly.
Clicky: provide an additional "click" sound when the actuation point is pressed. The main advantage of clicky and tactile switches is that you do not need to press the key all the way down to register the keystroke. You can release the key immediately after perceiving the "click".
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Apart from the tactile feel of each switch, we can also differentiate between the shape of the switch stem, the force of its springs or the different switch brands.
The best known brand in the switch world is Cherry MX. In the 80's, they patented their switch model and, nowadays, most manufacturers use the same shape to make switches compatible with other keyboard accessories. In the image, you can see the central stem of the switch, in the shape of a "+", which other brands, such as Kaihl or Gateron, have also continued to do.
On the other hand, other brands of switches have decided to create a completely different stem, such as the Alps. This switch, therefore, will not be compatible with Cherry type keycaps.
The springs also make a difference when choosing a switch. On the inside of each switch, there is a tiny spring, which allows the key to return to its original position after you pressed it. The springs are measured by grams of force, this means, how much force must be applied to the key to register the information. In the picture, we can see the different springs, which can be from 35g to 85g of force.
There are many brands of switches, as well as designers who create their own projects through group buys, but the most recognized are:
- Cherry MX
Although these brands are the most recognized, there are many others and other small projects designed by entrepreneurs, that are very fascinating.
On our website, you can find most of the switches that we have talked about in this blog, and we remain at your service if you have any questions about it. You can always write us through our social networks, or through the contact form on the website. We hope that all your projects become true!