If you’re in the market for a mechanical keyboard, then you’ve probably heard of Cherry MX switches. But with so many different types of Cherry MX switches to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.
In this complete guide to Cherry MX switches, I’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about these switches, including their different types, how they work, and what makes them unique.
Whether you’re a gamer, a writer, or just someone who wants a high-quality keyboard, this guide will help you make an informed decision about which Cherry MX switch is right for your needs.
- Cherry MX switches are widely regarded as the gold standard for mechanical keyboard switches.
- They offer a wide range of switch types, including linear, tactile, and clicky switches, with actuation force from 45g to 80g to suit the needs of different users.
- Cherry MX switches are known for their durability, reliability, and tactile feedback, making them a popular choice for gamers and typing enthusiasts alike.
Common Cherry MX Switches Quick Comparison
|Switch Type||Description||Actuation Force||Total Travel Distance||Sound Profile||Best Use Case|
|MX Red Switches||Linear switch with no tactile feedback.||45g||4.0 mm||Quiet and smooth linear action.||Gaming|
|MX Black Switches||Linear switch with no tactile feedback. Heavier than Red switches.||60g||4.0 mm||Quiet and smooth linear action.||Gaming|
|Mx Brown Switches||Tactile switch with a soft bump halfway through the keypress to provide tactile feedback. Quieter than Blue switches.||45g||4.0 mm||Soft tactile bump with a quiet sound profile.||Typing|
|MX Clear Switches||Tactile switch with a larger tactile bump than Brown switches and a higher actuation force. Quieter than Blue switches.||55g||4.0 mm||Stronger tactile bump with a quiet sound profile.||Typing|
|MX Blue Switches||Tactile switch with an audible click when actuated and a tactile bump halfway through the keypress to provide tactile feedback.||50g||4.0 mm||Loud clicky sound profile with a tactile bump.||Typing|
|MX Green Switches||Tactile switch similar to Blue switches but with a higher actuation force and louder sound profile.||80g||4.0 mm||Loud clicky sound profile with a stronger tactile bump.||Typing|
As you can see, each Cherry MX switch has its own unique characteristics.
Cherry MX Red and Speed Silver switches are great for fast typists who want a quiet keyboard, while Cherry MX Brown switches provide a tactile bump for a satisfying typing experience. Cherry MX Blue switches are perfect for those who want an audible click with each keystroke, and Cherry MX Black switches offer a smooth, linear feel.
History of Cherry & its MX Switches
Cherry MX switches were first introduced in the early 1980s by Cherry Corporation, a German company that specializes in electronic components. The switches were designed to provide a reliable, responsive experience when typing. Cherry Corporation introduced a switch solely for keyboards in 1983. This breakthrough was the Cherry Mechanical X-Point Switches, or simply the MX Switches.
The Cherry MX Black switch was the first switch to use a linear design, which means that the key press is smooth and consistent throughout the entire travel distance. The Cherry MX Blue switch, on the other hand, was the first switch to use a tactile design, which means that the key press has a slight bump or tactile feedback when the key is pressed.
The Cherry MX Brown switch is a compromise between the linear and tactile designs, offering a tactile bump without the audible click of the Cherry MX Blue switch. The Cherry MX Red switch is a linear switch with a lower actuation force than the Cherry MX Black switch.
Over the years, Cherry Corporation has continued to innovate and improve its Cherry MX switches, introducing new designs such as the Cherry MX Clear, Green, and Silent switches. Today, Cherry MX switches are considered industry benchmarks and are used in many popular mechanical keyboards.
Types of Cherry MX Switches
Linear switches are a type of Cherry MX switch that offer a smooth and consistent keystroke. They are popular among gamers because they allow for quick and precise movements.
The actuation force required to register a key press is usually low, making it easier to perform rapid keystrokes.
Some popular linear switches include:
- Cherry MX Red: 45g actuation force, 2mm actuation distance, 4mm total travel distance
- Cherry MX Black: 60g actuation force, 2mm actuation distance, 4mm total travel distance
- Cherry MX Silent Red: 45g actuation force, 1.9mm actuation distance, 3.7mm total travel distance
Tactile switches provide a tactile bump when the key is pressed, giving the user feedback that the key has been registered. This makes them a popular choice for typing enthusiasts who prefer a more tactile feel.
The actuation force required to register a key press is usually higher than that of linear switches.
Some popular tactile switches include:
- Cherry MX Brown: 45g actuation force, 2mm actuation distance, 4mm total travel distance
- Cherry MX Clear: 55g actuation force, 2mm actuation distance, 4mm total travel distance
- Cherry MX Silent Black: 60g actuation force, 1.9mm actuation distance, 3.7mm total travel distance
Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches in that they provide a tactile bump when the key is pressed. However, they also produce an audible click sound, which some users find satisfying.
Clicky switches are less common than linear or tactile switches, but they are still popular among typing enthusiasts. Some popular clicky switches include:
- Cherry MX Blue: 50g actuation force, 2.2mm actuation distance, 4mm total travel distance
- Cherry MX Green: 80g actuation force, 2.2mm actuation distance, 4mm total travel distance
- Cherry MX White: 80g actuation force, 2mm actuation distance, 4mm total travel distance
Cherry MX Switches Comparison
When it comes to Cherry MX switches, the actuation force is the amount of pressure required to register a keystroke. This force is measured in grams (g). Here’s a breakdown of the actuation force for each switch:
|Switch Type||Actuation Force|
|Cherry MX Red||45g|
|Cherry MX Black||60g|
|Cherry MX Brown||55g|
|Cherry MX Blue||50g|
|Cherry MX Silent Red||45g|
|Cherry MX Silent Black||60g|
The actuation point is the distance a switch must be pressed before a keystroke is registered. This distance is measured in millimeters (mm). Here’s a breakdown of the actuation point for each switch:
- Cherry MX Red: 2mm
- Cherry MX Black: 2mm
- Cherry MX Brown: 2mm
- Cherry MX Blue: 2.2mm
- Cherry MX Silent Red: 1.9mm
- Cherry MX Silent Black: 1.9mm
Total Travel Distance
The total travel distance is an important factor to consider when comparing Cherry MX switches. The total travel distance is the distance the key travels before it bottoms out on the keyboard.
The Cherry MX Brown switch has a total travel distance of 4mm, while the Cherry MX Clear switch also has a total travel distance of 4mm. The Cherry MX Red switch has a total travel distance of 4mm as well. In contrast, the Cherry MX Ultra Low Profile switch has a total travel distance of only 1.8mm and is used for Notebook Keyboards.
The lifespan of a Cherry MX switch refers to the number of keystrokes the switch can handle before it starts to wear out. Cherry MX switches are rated for 50 million keystrokes. This means that you can expect the switch to last for years, even with heavy use.
When choosing a Cherry MX switch, it’s important to consider your personal preferences and typing style. If you prefer a lighter touch, you may want to go with a switch like the Cherry MX Red.
If you prefer a tactile bump, the Cherry MX Brown may be a better choice. And if you want a switch that’s quiet, the Cherry MX Silent Red or Black may be the way to go.
Ultimately, the best way to determine which Cherry MX switch is right for you is to try them out for yourself. Many mechanical keyboards come with a variety of Cherry MX switches, allowing you to test them out before making a purchase.
Cherry MX Clicky Switches
Cherry MX Clicky switches are known for their tactile feedback and satisfying click sound. They are perfect for those who want an audible and tactile response when typing or gaming. In this section, I will discuss the three types of Cherry MX Clicky switches: Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Green, and Cherry MX White.
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX Blue switches have an actuation force of 60g and a tactile bump that can be felt when the key is pressed. They are known for their loud clicking sound, which can be satisfying for some but distracting for others.
These switches are commonly used for typing as they provide tactile feedback that helps with accuracy and speed.
Cherry MX Green
Cherry MX Green switches have an actuation force of 80g, making them heavier than Cherry MX Blue switches. They also have a tactile bump and a loud click sound, similar to Cherry MX Blue switches. These switches are ideal for those who prefer a heavier keypress and tactile feedback.
Cherry MX White
Cherry MX White switches have an actuation force of 80g, similar to Cherry MX Blue switches. However, they have a quieter click sound and a shorter travel distance. These switches are ideal for those who want tactile feedback without the loud click sound.
Cherry MX Tactile Switches
As a fan of mechanical keyboards, I’ve had the chance to try out a variety of Cherry MX switches. Tactile switches are my personal favorite because of their satisfying bump feedback. Here are a few of my top picks for Cherry MX tactile switches:
Cherry MX Brown
Cherry MX Brown switches are a popular choice for both typing and gaming. They have a tactile bump that is not as pronounced as some other switches, making them a good middle ground option. They require an actuation force of 55g and have an actuation distance of 2mm. The travel distance is 4mm, which is standard for Cherry MX switches.
Cherry MX Clear
If you prefer a more pronounced tactile bump, Cherry MX Clear switches might be the right choice for you. They require a slightly higher actuation force of 65g but have the same actuation distance of 2mm. The travel distance is also 4mm. These switches are great for typing, especially if you want a more tactile feel.
Cherry MX Grey
Cherry MX Grey switches are a bit of a rarity, but they are worth considering if you want a heavier switch with a tactile bump. They require an actuation force of 80g, which is higher than most other Cherry MX switches. The actuation distance is 2mm, and the travel distance is 4mm.
These switches are great for typists who want a more tactile feel and don’t mind the extra weight. In conclusion, Cherry MX tactile switches are a great choice if you want a satisfying typing or gaming experience. The Cherry MX Brown, Clear, and Grey switches are all excellent options, depending on your preferences.
Cherry MX Linear Switches
Cherry MX Linear switches are known for their smooth and consistent keystrokes. They are ideal for gamers who need to press keys quickly and accurately. The Cherry MX Linear switches do not have a tactile bump or audible click, which makes them quieter than other switches.
They require less force to actuate and bottom out compared to other switches, which makes them a great choice for gamers who need to press keys quickly and accurately.
Cherry MX Red
The Cherry MX Red switch is a popular choice for gamers. It has a linear switch that requires a low actuation force of 45g and a total travel distance of 4mm.
The Cherry MX Red switch is known for its smooth keystrokes and fast actuation, which makes it ideal for gaming.
It is also relatively quiet, which makes it a great choice for those who don’t want to disturb their roommates or family members.
Cherry MX Black
The Cherry MX Black switch is similar to the Cherry MX Red switch, but it requires a higher actuation force of 60g. The Cherry MX Black switch has a linear switch and a total travel distance of 4mm.
It is a great choice for gamers who prefer a heavier switch and a more tactile feel. The Cherry MX Black switch is also relatively quiet, which makes it a great choice for those who don’t want to disturb others.
Overall, the Cherry MX Linear switches are a great choice for gamers who need to press keys quickly and accurately. They are relatively quiet and require less force to actuate and bottom out, which makes them great for fast-paced games.
Cherry MX Silent Switches
If you’re looking for a quiet typing experience, then Cherry MX Silent switches are a great choice. These switches use patented noise reduction technology that makes them up to 30% quieter than regular Cherry MX switches.
They are available in two variants: Cherry MX Silent Red and Cherry MX Silent Black.
Cherry MX Silent Red
Cherry MX Silent Red switches are linear switches that have a very light actuation force of only 45g. They have a total travel distance of 4mm and an actuation distance of 2mm. These switches are great for gaming because they offer a very fast response time.
Here are some key features of Cherry MX Silent Red switches:
- Linear switch
- Actuation force: 45g
- Actuation distance: 2mm
- Total travel distance: 4mm
Cherry MX Silent Black
Cherry MX Silent Black switches are also linear switches, but they have a higher actuation force of 60g. They have the same total travel distance of 4mm and actuation distance of 2mm as the Cherry MX Silent Red switches. These switches are great for typing because they offer a more tactile feedback than the Cherry MX Silent Red switches.
Here are some key features of Cherry MX Silent Black switches:
- Linear switch
- Actuation force: 60g
- Actuation distance: 2mm
- Total travel distance: 4mm
Overall, Cherry MX Silent switches are a great choice for those who want a quieter typing experience without sacrificing the quality of the switch. Whether you choose the Cherry MX Silent Red or Cherry MX Silent Black switches, you can be sure that you’re getting a high-quality switch that will last for years to come.
Cherry MX Speed Switches
Cherry MX Speed Silver
I personally love the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches. They are linear switches that are super smooth and quiet. They have an actuation force of 45g and a bottom-out force of 80g. The actuation distance is only 1.2mm and the total travel distance is 3.4mm.
In theory, this shorter distance could make for a faster reaction time, which is great for gaming. One thing to note about the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches is that they don’t need to be pressed all the way down for the key to be registered. This is due to their short actuation distance of only 1.2mm.
This can take some getting used to if you’re used to typing on a regular keyboard, but it can also lead to faster typing speeds once you get the hang of it. If you’re someone who suffers from wrist pain or carpal tunnel, you might want to consider the Cherry MX low-profile switches.
These switches offer roughly the same sound and feel as regular MX switches, but are 35% thinner, which requires your fingers to do much less work. The main difference between the MX low-profile Reds and Speed Silver is the travel distance.
Overall, the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches are a great choice for anyone who wants a smooth, quiet, and fast typing experience. They are especially well-suited for gamers who need to react quickly to in-game events.
Cherry MX Low Profile Switches
Cherry MX Low Profile switches are a newer addition to the Cherry MX family. These switches offer roughly the same sound and feel as regular MX switches, but are 35% thinner. This makes them a great option if you suffer from wrist pain, Carpal tunnel, or just prefer a sleeker design.
Cherry MX Low Profile Red Switches
Cherry MX Low Profile Red switches have an actuation force of 45g and an actuation point of 1.2mm. The total travel distance for these switches is 3.2mm, making them a great option for gamers who need quick response times.
These switches are linear, meaning they have a smooth keystroke with no tactile feedback. This can make them a great option for those who prefer a quieter typing experience.
One thing to note about the Cherry MX Low Profile Red switches is that they have a shorter lifespan than some of the other Cherry MX switches. They are rated for 50 million keystrokes, which is still a significant amount, but less than the 100 million keystrokes that some of the other switches are rated for.
Cherry MX Low Profile Speed Silver
Cherry MX Low Profile Speed Silver switches have an actuation force of 45g and an actuation point of 1.0mm. The total travel distance for these switches is 3.2mm, making them a great option for gamers who need quick response times. These switches are also linear, meaning they have a smooth keystroke with no tactile feedback.
One thing to note about the Cherry MX Low Profile Speed Silver switches is that they are designed for speed. They have a shorter actuation point than most other switches, which means they can register keystrokes faster. This can be great for gaming or for typing quickly but may take some getting used to if you are used to a longer actuation point.
Overall, the Cherry MX Low Profile switches are a great option for those who prefer a sleeker design or suffer from wrist pain or carpal tunnel. The Low Profile Red switches are a great option for those who prefer a quieter typing experience, while the Low Profile Speed Silver switches are designed for speed.
Anatomy of Cherry MX Switches
Cherry MX switches are widely regarded as the best mechanical switches for keyboards. They are known for their durability, reliability, and tactile feedback.
In this section, I will break down the anatomy of Cherry MX switches and explain the function of each component.
The upper housing is the top part of the switch that houses the stem and spring. For the Cherry MX switches, it is made of a translucent or opaque plastic material, depending on the switch color. The upper housing also has two small pins that hold the switch in place on the PCB (printed circuit board).
Switch Slide/ Switch Stem
The switch slide, also known as the switch stem, is part of the switch that moves up and down when a key is pressed. It is responsible for actuating the switch and registering a keystroke.
The Cherry MX switch slide is made of a durable plastic material and has a unique shape that varies depending on the switch type (linear, tactile, or clicky).
The spring is the component that provides the force needed to actuate the switch. It is located inside the upper housing and sits on top of the switch slide. The MX Switch spring is made of a strong metal material and is rated for a certain actuation force (measured in grams).
Gold Crosspoint Contact
The gold crosspoint contact is a small metal component located in the bottom housing of the switch. It is responsible for making contact with the PCB and registering a keystroke. The gold crosspoint contact is coated with a thin layer of gold to improve its durability and conductivity.
The housing base is the bottom part of the switch that holds the gold crosspoint contact and provides stability to the switch. It is made of a durable plastic material and has two small pins that hold the switch in place on the PCB.
Choosing the Right MX Switches
When it comes to choosing the right Cherry MX switch for your keyboard, it can be overwhelming. With so many different types of switches available, it can be difficult to know which one is the best fit for your needs. Here are a few things to consider when selecting your switch:
- Switch Type: There are three main types of Cherry MX switches: linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches have a smooth keystroke with no tactile feedback, making them ideal for gaming. Tactile switches have a bump in the keystroke, providing feedback for typists. Clicky switches have an audible click sound with each keystroke, providing both tactile and auditory feedback.
- Actuation Force: The actuation force is the amount of pressure required to register a keystroke. Cherry MX switches range from 45g to 80g of force. Lighter switches are better for fast typists, while heavier switches are better for those who prefer a more tactile feel.
- Bottom-Out Force: The bottom-out force is the amount of force required to fully depress the key. This can range from 45g to 80g. A higher bottom-out force can help prevent accidental keystrokes.
Based on your preferences, you can choose the best Cherry MX switch for your needs. Here are a few popular options:
|Switch Type||Actuation Force||Bottom-Out Force|
|Cherry MX Red||45g||75g|
|Cherry MX Brown||45g||60g|
|Cherry MX Blue||60g||60g|
Cherry MX switches are a popular choice for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts due to their durability and reliability. By considering your typing preferences and needs, you can choose the right Cherry MX switch for your keyboard.
Are Cherry MX The Best Keyboard Switches?
When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, Cherry MX is undoubtedly one of the most popular brands out there. But are they the best switches?
Well, that depends on your personal preference and what you’re looking for in a switch. Cherry MX switches come in a variety of colors, each with their own unique characteristics.
For example, Cherry MX Reds are known for their smooth linear feel, making them great for gaming. On the other hand, Cherry MX Blues have a tactile bump and an audible click, making them a popular choice for typists. One thing that sets Cherry MX switches apart from other brands is their durability.
These switches are rated for up to 50 million keystrokes, meaning they can withstand heavy use without wearing out quickly. However, some people may prefer switches from other brands such as Gateron or Kailh, which offer similar characteristics to Cherry MX switches but at a lower price point.
While Cherry MX switches are certainly a top contender in the mechanical keyboard world, whether they are the “best” switches is subjective and ultimately up to personal preference.
How long does the Cherry MX switch last?
Cherry MX switches last much longer than other competitors. With a 100 million keystroke lifespan they double in comparison to others which offer only around 50 million.
Their durability lasts even after 100 million keystrokes. They work fine only with a few discomforts which can be a broken-in switch.
However, this is also pleasurable for some who find them to be far more smooth and less scratchy.
Cherry MX As Compared to Its Competitors
Now, let’s consider the comparison of Cherry MX switches with its competitors.
Compared to Gateron Variants: Are Cherry MX better than Gateron?
While comparing Red switches which are classy linear ones, both Cherry and Gateron switches have similar actuation force, travel, and distinct feel. With a subtle difference, Gateron red is lighter and smoother offering more comfort than Cherry red which is slightly scratchy.
With a lower actuation force that requires less pressure on the keycaps, Gateron blues are highly recommendable. Although blue switches are defined as clicky switches, Cherry blues are comfortable with softer and more stable sound whereas Gateron blues are sharp and louder making them noisy around.
Popular for their tactile keystrokes, brown switches are common picks for mechanical keyboards. In this sphere, Cherry brown is easier with keystrokes although they sound louder than the Gateron browns. However, Cherry Brown is solid with perfect tactile bumps and does not wobble much.
Gateron switches are much smoother and more comfortable to use than Cherry due to smoother keystrokes with less friction; these are less noisy. Although for more resistance and stiffer feel some prefer Cherry switches that are consistent with lower actuation. However, Gateron has also introduced a series of switches for customization.
Compared to Kailh Variants: Are Cherry MX better than Kailh?
When it comes to originality, Cherry MX is considered to be the best. Kailh is no doubt a clone switch since they copy the design of Cherry MX although Kailh switches offer switches at a much lesser price.
In terms of travel distance and actuation force both are similar but Kailh is far more rigid and requires 5g force additionally.
Conclusively, Cherry MX switches are better than Kailh for their longevity, durability, stability, and better build.
Overall, it’s important to note that switch preference is highly subjective and can vary from person to person. Some people may prefer the feel of Gateron or Kailh switches over Cherry MX switches, while others may prefer the opposite.
How to Improve Cherry MX Switches?
There are actually quite a few improvisations that you can try on a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches like –
- Lubing the Switches: This can restrict spring ping and scratchiness to an extent. This makes the switches smooth and sounds better. There are various techniques to lube your switches with your regular tools in case you have a hot-swappable keyboard as well.
- Installing Film on your switches: This can limit the wobble and movement while typing. It makes your switches extra secure and stable, reducing the rattle in case your default switches do not fit perfectly.
My Recommendation: Which Cherry MX Switch is the best for your Mechanical Keyboard?
Cherry MX Reds are best for gaming with their smooth, quiet, and no-click features rated for 100 million actuations. With a thicker sound, they give you a pleasant gaming experience.
A linear WASD cluster with faster key presses generates faster reaction times and smoother gaming. Their high actuation force restricts accidental key presses making your gaming experience comfortable and relaxing.
The best switch you can pick for typing from Cherry MX is the Cherry MX Speed Silver. It is the fastest model with linear switching features combined with low spring resistance. It triggers immediately.
However, Cherry MX Reds are also considered preferable to tactile and clicky switches when you are planning for a comfortable typing experience.
Cherry MX switches are a popular and reliable choice for mechanical keyboards. With a wide range of switch types available, including linear, tactile, and clicky switches, Cherry MX switches offer something for everyone.
Whether you’re a gamer looking for quick and precise movements or a typing enthusiast who prefers a more tactile feel, there’s a Cherry MX switch that’s right for you.
For more information about the different types of Cherry MX switches and how they compare to each other, be sure to check out our other posts:
We hope you found this guide helpful and informative!
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I’m Anirban Saha, Founder & Editor of TechBullish. With a B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering, and 5+ years of experience as a software developer, I have expertise in electronics, software development, gadgets, and computer peripherals. I love sharing my knowledge through informational articles, how-to guides, and troubleshooting tips for Peripherals, Smart TVs, Streaming Solutions, and more here. Check Anirban’s Crunchbase Profile here.