Different Type of Mechanical Switches You Should Know About

By now, we are all aware of the fact that mechanical keyboards are the thing of the future. They have been around for some time now, but at the same time, people have been questioning whether these keyboards are worth the cost or not. After all, the best mechanical keyboard can cost you as high as $200 or more.

However, we have already talked about the mechanical keyboards time and again, today, we want to look at all the different switch types that are available in these keyboards. Since we have mentioned the famous Cherry MX switches on multiple occasions and even explored them in detail, we are going to limit ourselves to switches from companies like Logitech, Razer, and some other brands that are making some pretty great switches, too.

Before we begin, we would like to shed light on the anatomy of mechanical switches by talking about the different parts that make up a mechanical switch.

Parts of a Keyboard Switch

First things first, we need to talk about the different keyboard switches that are available in the market. This is an important factor that most people completely overlook and it is best if we look into it. Below are the parts of keyboard switches that are listed below.

  • The Keycap: This is the top plastic cap that letters or symbols printed on it.
  • Stem: This is the part of the switch on which the keycap is mounted. Although some companies still follow the standard design introduced by Cherry MX, there are different designs out there, as well.
  • Switch Housing: As the name suggests, this is the plastic housing in which all the switch components are housed.
  • Metal Contact Leaves: These leaves are what holds the task of registering the keystroke. Every time these hit each other, a keystroke is registered.
  • Spring: The last component is the spring which wraps itself around the base of the slider. It is also responsible for sending the switch back to its resting position.

Now that we have an understanding of how a mechanical switch works, it is time to look at the different mechanical switches that are available in the market from different companies.

Kailh or Kaihua

When we are talking about Cherry clones, we do not think anyone has done a better job than Kailh or Kaihua in replicating the look and feel of Cherry MX based switches. The Chinese company has managed to replicate the switches to the last detail, and the surprising part is that most of them are actually just as good.

Below, we are discussing the different Kailh switches available in the market.

  • Kailh Red: These switches work exactly the way your Cherry MX switches work. With actuation force of 50 grams, actuation point of 2mm, and a total travel distance of 4mm. These switches offer a linear pattern and are much quieter. Most importantly, these switches are rated at 50 million keystrokes per key.
  • Kailh Black: These switches are much like the Kailh Red switches, however, the only difference here is that they require an actuation force of 60 grams instead of the standard 40.
  • Kailh Brown: Kailh Brown switches are great for both gaming and typing as they have a tactile pattern, and a 50 grams actuation force, with an actuation point of 2mm. Despite being tactile, the switches do not offer an audible click.
  • Kailh Blue: Perhaps the most popular among the typists, the Kailh Blue switches are great for typing. These switches are heavier and require 60 grams of actuation force to move past the tactile bump. They are loud and have an audible click, as well.

Razer

Razer’s history as the company that has managed to produce some really amazing products is nothing short of impressive. True, the company did come across a rocky phase, but overall, they have been consistent with how they have performed.

Razer used to source switches from various manufacturers. However, over the past couple of years, they have been producing their own switches, and the results have been impressive, to say the least.

Below, you will get complete information about different Razer mechanical switches available in the market.

  • Razer Green: Perhaps their most famous switch, the Razer Green switches offer a clicky and heavy feel. With actuation force of 55 grams and actuation point of 1mm, these have a total travel distance of 4m and are rated at an impressive 80 million clicks.
  • Razer Orange: Razer Orange switches are somewhat similar to the famous Brown switches, as they are tactile and quiet. However, they have 55 grams of actuation required, with 1.9mm actuation point.
  • Razer Opto Mechanical: Perhaps the most impressive switch from Razer is their Opto-Mechanical switch. This is part optical and a part mechanical switch. Offers an audible click, and most importantly, has an actuation point of 1.5mm and 100 million keystrokes as a lifespan.

There is no denying that Razer’s quest for the best has brought them to make some truly amazing options available in the market.

Logitech

If you look at the companies with the longest history of making PC peripherals, Logitech’s name would be on the list, perhaps on the top, as well. Logitech has been making peripherals long before PC gaming stood at the spot it is on today.

With that said, Logitech’s foray into gaming peripherals was met with thunderous applause and the company has released some amazing products as well. Their Romer G switches are doing pretty well as far as fame and reception are concerned. Let’s look at them below.

  • Romer G Tactile: Romer G tactile aims to provide a slightly tactile and light feel with an actuation force of 45 grams and a 1.5mm of actuation point. The switches are quiet and are rated at 70 million keystrokes.
  • Romer G Linear: The next switch we have is the Romer G Linear, a switch that is light in feel, offers 45 grams of actuation force, and 1.5mm of actuation point.
  • GX Blue: GX Blue is Logitech’s take on creating something that is not just heavy, but also has an audible click, and tactile feedback. The switch requires 60 grams of actuation force and 1.9mm of actuation point. The switches are also the loudest of the bunch.

Needless to say, looking at the switches from Logitech, there is no denying that they have come a long way.

SteelSeries

SteelSeries has always been one of those companies that focused primarily on e-sports crowd. However, they have released only one mechanical switch so far, and the information on that switch is listed below.

  • QS1: The first switch we are looking at is the QS1 from SteelSeries, it offers a light feel with 45 grams of actuation force, as well as 1.5mm of actuation point. The switch is quiet, as well.

Topre

Topre is another manufacturer of switches that actually cater to multiple users. Although they only have one switch type, that does not even have a designated name, the good thing is that the offerings they have available in different actuation forces ranging from 30 grams to 55 grams, and a standard actuation point of 2mm. The switches offer a tactile feel that ranges from light to medium and as far as their audible properties are concerned, they are quiet.

Bloody

Bloody has developed quite a history for themselves as a company that started fairly recently. Although their keyboards and other peripherals look outlandish and too futuristic for their own good, they are actually pretty good.

Unlike some of the other companies, Bloody uses optical switches for their keyboards, which are rated at higher longevity, too.

  • LK Libra Orange: The first switch type from Bloody is their LK Libra Orange, a medium, clicky switch that offers 45 grams of actuation force with 1.5mm of actuation point. With an impressive 100 million keystrokes and an audible click, as well.
  • LK Libra Brown: The brown switch from Bloody is a linear switch with 45 grams of actuation force, and an actuation point of 1.5mm.

Although Bloody has started fairly recently, we have to say that we are impressed by how good their switches are both in terms of performance and their suggested lifespan.

Roccat

The one thing that many people do not know about Roccat is that when it comes to mechanical keyboards, they are one of the pioneers. However, they never really used their own switches up until the release of Roccat Titan, their in-house switch.

Below is what we know about the Roccat Titan.

  • Roccat Titan: Roccat’s Titan switch comes with a tactile and heavy feel. Although it is strange that Roccat has not mentioned the actuation force of the switch, but the actuation point is 1.8mm and the audible properties are quiet.

Tesoro

While everyone is trying to follow what is conventional, Tesoro is pushing the boundaries by releasing some amazing low profile mechanical switches. If you have ever had the chance to see a low profile keyboard from Tesoro, you would be in awe as to how good it looks.

Below, you can see all the Tesoro switches and their respective specifications.

  • Agile Red: Tesoro’s Agile Red switch offers a linear behavior, with an actuation force of 45mm and an actuation point of 1.5mm. They are quiet and rated at 50 million keystrokes.
  • Agile Blue: For the typists, Tesoro offers Agile Blue switches; their Clicky switches with 45 grams of actuation force, and an actuation point of 1.5mm.
  • Slim Blue: The Slim Blue from Tesoro are great because they offer the same clicky feel but in a lower profile. However, the actuation force is 50 grams, and the lowest actuation point of just 1mm.
  • Slim Red: Slim red is the linear switches, offering 45 grams of actuation force, and 1mm of actuation point.

There is no denying that Tesoro has been providing some excellent switches and are really looking to create some truly amazing experiences, too.

Conclusion

So, that pretty much wraps up for this article. Aside from the usual list of Cherry MX switches, these are all the mainstream mechanical switches available in the market at the point. Do know that there lesser known and obscure brands that we have not mentioned simply because they are so few and far between.

Rest assured, every other switch is mentioned along with their respective manufacturers so you will not have any issues that might come in the way!

Bill Wilson


Bill is a certified Microsoft Professional providing assistance to over 500 remotely connected employees and managing Windows 2008 to 2016 servers.