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What is a Mechanical Keyboard: All you need to know-( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Mechanical keyboards are becoming more and more popular as people discover the benefits they offer over traditional membrane keyboards.

They are said to perform better for typing, programming, and gaming. 

But what exactly is a mechanical keyboard?

This guide will answer that question and also explain the different types of mechanical keyboards components available, the pros and cons of using a mechanical keyboard, and how to choose the right one for you.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What is a Mechanical Keyboard?

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses individual switches beneath each key. The switch is activated when you press down on the key, which then sends an electrical signal to your computer.

what is a mechanical keyboard
Monitors are Crucial Components of ... x
Monitors are Crucial Components of your PC

Mechanical keyboards are durable, they last longer, and are known to enhance productivity. Unlike membrane keyboards, they do not use a membrane. Mechanical keyboards are the best choice, be it typing, programming, or gaming. 

A mechanical keyboard is built up using tiny components assembled. Mechanical keyboards have several components that make up their entire circuitry and build design.

Compared to traditional membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards are more durable and responsive. They also offer a wider range of tactile feedback, which can improve your typing speed and accuracy.

Components of mechanical keyboards

Mechanical keyboards are popular among computer users because they have tactile feedback that gives the user a sense of control. They also last longer than traditional keyboards.

mechanical keyboard components
mechanical keyboard components

The individual components of a mechanical keyboard are:

  1. Mechanical Switches
  2. Chassis (Frame or the Keyboard Housing)
  3. Keycap
  4. Keyboard’s PCB circuit
  5. Other components(like stabilizers and Dampeners)

Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Mechanical Switches are individual switches that are a significant form factor for any mechanical keyboard and are responsible for its performance. This is the part of the keyboard that is depressed to type a letter. The switch is made up of a base, a spring, and two metal contacts. When the key is pressed, the spring is compressed and the contacts touch, completing the circuit and telling the computer what letter has been typed.

Mechanical switches are the keys to which clicks are made and registered. 

mechanical keyboard switches
Picture mechanical keyboard switches(Blue Switch)

Types of Mechanical Keyboard Switches

As mentioned above, the mechanical keyboard being an individual unit, plays a vital role in registering the keyboard clicks. The performance, typing experience totally would depend on it. One of the most popular Mechanical Keyboards Switch manufacturers is Cherry MX. Others include Kailh, Otemu, etc. You can also refer to this list of mechanical switches from Wikipedia.

You would get a complete mechanical keyboard switch guide from this video. (Video Credits: Techquickie)

There are different types of mechanical switches (Based on color):

  1. Blue Switch
  2. Red Switch
  3. Brown Switch
  4. Black Switch
  5. Green Switch

I have explained the above switches in the following table below:

Switch TypeFeelActivation Force
Blue SwitchClicky and Bumpy50g
Red SwitchLinear and Smooth45g
Brown SwitchTactile and Bumpy45g
Black SwitchLinear and Smooth60g
Green SwitchClicky and Bumpy70g
These numbers are based on Considering Cherry MX mechanical switches

Based on usability switches can be classified into the following:

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Clicky Switches

Clicky mechanical switches produce much noise during typing. Also, you will find bumpy experience in typing, which gives a good amount of keypress feedback to you. Typing turns out to be very accurate with the clicky type of mechanical switches. 

You may not like a clicky switch if you want a keyboard to use for the office. You would love to use the Clicky switches for those who like the typical mechanical keyboard typing experience.

E.g., One example of a Clicky switch is Blue Switch.

Tactile Switches

Tactile switches, though, are bumpy in usage but are silent as compared to the clicky switches. The tactile switches are excellent and responsive but make less noise. 

During typing or gaming, you may like to have keypress feedback but not any noise to come. For these types of users, the tactile switches give a fantastic experience.

E.g., One example of a tactile switch is Brown Switch.

Linear Switches

Linear switches are the smooth ones and ones that create the slightest sound. It is preferred mainly in offices where noise may disturb your working. 

Also, linear switches are fast enough and require less activation noise. So, it is also recommended for gamers. 

E.g., One example of Linear Switches is Red Switch.

Keycaps

Keycaps are the plastic or metal caps that fit over the top of each key on a keyboard. This is the top piece of the key that you see when you look at it from above.

They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Some keyboards have custom keycaps, while others use stock keycaps.

Keycaps are important because they protect the keys on a keyboard from wear and tear. They also help to identify which keys are which and can add personality to a keyboard. When choosing the right keycaps, you need to consider the type of keyboard you have, know the keycap profiles as well as the switches underneath the keys.

Chassis (Frame or the Keyboard Housing)

The Chassis(keyboard housing) is the frame or outer casing that holds the keyboard together. It is also responsible for protecting the keyboard from damage. The housing can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic and metal(Aluminium).

There are a number of different designs for the housing, which can vary in terms of shape and color. Some keyboards have detachable housing, while others are fixed in place.

The better the fit, the better the experience of typing would be. Otherwise, the keys may vibrate or move a bit left or right.

Keyboard’s PCB circuit

A keyboard PCB circuit is a board that houses the electronic components of a keyboard. PCB circuit can also be considered as the heart of the keyboard. It is responsible for transmitting the signals from the keys to the computer and allows the keyboard to work as it should.

The PCB circuit is also responsible for detecting when a key has been pressed and sends this information to the computer.

Other Components

While the above components are the most important component, there are other components that make up a mechanical keyboard or are required once in a while with your keyboard.

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Stabilizers

As the mechanical keyboard has each key as a separate movable part, the longer keys like the space bar keys have some stability issues. Due to this, the stabilizers are used beneath the keys to ensuring that the keys sit straight and stabilize to get a superb typing experience. 

Without the stabilizer, you are typing experience reduced as you would get a less stabilized switch that would shake.

Dampeners

To reduce the noise of the switches, dampness or noise reducers are implemented, which works like a charm. O-shaped rings made of rubber works very well for dampening the mechanical keyboard, even the blue switches.

Lube

Lubing is an essential part of the case of mechanical switches. Lubing the mechanical switches is a pretty important task. It sets a good diving experience by reducing the friction or the noise. Leaving the keys would help you to get constant clicking and typing experience.

Types of Mechanical Keyboards Layout

Mechanical Keyboards can have a standard full-sized keyboard style layout or a more custom layout that can bring more positive factors out of convenience. 

They have many custom layouts other than the full-sized keyboard layout like 

  • Full-sized layout,
  • 60% keyboard layout, 
  • layout without the function keys, 
  • layout without the number keys.

Difference Between a Mechanical Keyboard and a regular Keyboard

Mechanical keyboards though serve the same problem as any regular keyboard but have several differences that would help to know why it is better.

Mechanical KeyboardRegular Keyboard (Membrane)
TechnologyIndividual Mechanical Keys registers clicksA membrane register clicks beneath the keyboard keys.
Performance in GamingModerate to HighLow to Moderate (Depending on brand)
Typing SpeedHigh (Makes your typing faster)Average to High
DurabilityDurableNot Durable
Longevity10-15 years on average1.5 to 3 years on average
LoudnessLoud(Blue Switches) to comparatively silent(Linear Switches like Red Switch) Low Sound
RGBBoth RGB and Non-RGB presentBoth RGB and Non-RGB present
CostCosts MoreCosts Less

Advantages of Mechanical Keyboards

1. Highly Durable

For any keyboard, durability is a significant factor to consider. Mechanical Keyboards are pretty durable enough and are very good for any performance-oriented task like Gaming. In Gaming, durability is a very crucial factor to consider.

Due to their durability and consistent performance, mechanical keyboards are a choice for even pro gamers.

Many of the mechanical keyboards are constructed well to break down with mild to moderate drops.

2. Highly Customisable

Mechanical keyboards are known for the way you can customize them, and it imparts convenience to the users. Gamers love the aura of the RGB switches with anti-ghosting features. The typists and the programmers love the different keyboard layouts, like the more compact and portable 60% layout. 

As not all keys in a keyboard are required, and some keys are redundant too. So, having a good keyboard layout eliminates redundant or unused keys in the layout, like the number keys on the right and even the function keys(F1 to F12).

3. Long-Lasting

Due to their solid design and build, mechanical keyboards last about 10 to 15 years with heavy usage. The longevity is far better than membrane keyboards which break down often within a year or more.

See also  How Long Do Mechanical Keyboards Last?

Mechanical keyboards are made of well-built and designed switches, which impact how much longevity would be.

4. Enhanced Typing and Gaming Experience

With Mechanical Keyboards, you would have an overall enhanced typing experience. The activation of the keys is 40-50 gm as per the keys, and you also get feedback that makes the typing experience way better. 

I love typing using mechanical keys a lot. Mechanical switches also improve the typing speed and hence the overall productivity you do.

Disadvantages of Mechanical Keyboards

1. Mechanical keys are Noisy

Mechanical keys are noisy. For example, the clicky type of keys, ie. The Cherry MX Blue keys are very noisy. They are not suitable to use in the office environment or anywhere where noise can be a problem. 

In contrast, the linear mechanical keyboards or the membrane keyboards are not at all noisy. 

Suppose you want a silent profile mechanical keyboard. In that case, you can look for linear keys, which are an excellent option for the office.

2. High Price

Mechanical keyboards come at a high price point. Compared to mechanical keyboards, membrane keyboards are often even ten times cheaper.

Being at a high price point, many do not prefer choosing a mechanical keyboard. Though mechanical keyboards are expensive, they are worth having.

3. Mechanical Keyboards are heavy

Unlike the Membrane type of keyboards which weigh around 500-700 grams, a mechanical keyboard weighs more than 1.5 kg. On average mechanical keyboards weigh around 1.3 to 1.8 kg. 

Mechanical keyboards being much heavier is a problem for those who want to carry the keyboard with them. Due to its increased weight, a mechanical keyboard cannot be considered a portable option.

Who would take advantage of mechanical keyboards?

Mechanical keyboards are for anyone who relies upon and does heavy tasks using a computer keyboard, typing, programming, or Gaming. The professionals mostly use these, and in the gaming industries, even the programmers in the competitions use this.

People in different professions who can get benefit by using a mechanical keyboard in their daily work routine are: 

  • Journalists
  • Content creators
  • Copywriters
  • Programmers
  • Professional typist
  • Any Gamers and even the pro-gamers and many more people.

Top Mechanical Keyboard Brands

The most popular peripheral manufacturers are all in the mechanical keyboard industry. Even the quality and innovation they are putting in the mechanical keyboards are commendable.

The most popular mechanical keyboard brands are:

  1. Logitech – known for Peripherals in all ranges and with trustworthy products that last long and perform well.
  2. Steelseries – best for gaming keyboards
  3. Razer – best for durable and high-performance mechanical keyboards
  4. Corsair – known for a high-quality mechanical keyboard. Corsair keyboards last longer.

Mechanical keyboard using experience: How is it?

I have been using a mechanical keyboard for more than two years, and I mainly use it for programming, gaming, and blogging.

I use it very heavily throughout the day. The essential thing I note is that typing seems to be less tiring than any membrane type of keyboard. Typing has improved significantly in terms of speed and accuracy.

mechanical keyboard

After using a mechanical keyboard, you would not like to move to any keywords like membrane type of keyboard, scissor-type of switches in laptop. 

Overall the typing experience using a mechanical keyboard is worth it. You would feel the keypress and the sound that would help type without looking even at the keyboard as you get to know that the key has been registered already by hearing the keypress sound.

This keypress sound or the experience that you gave us feedback from the mechanical keyboard is excellent.

Conclusion

Let’s conclude the post on Mechanical keyboards!

Mechanical keyboards are the quality and durable keyboards ever manufactured. I have explained each and every bit of clarity regarding what is a mechanical keyboard, their types, and what advantages they have.

Though they are expensive, the value these keyboards provide is unmatched. I use a mechanical keyboard with Blue Clicky switch for daily work like coding and blogging.

I hope you enjoyed reading the post.