Blue Vs Red Switches

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Updated August 24, 2022

Many users building a premium keyboard wonder whether blue or red switches are better. Picking the correct mechanical switches is a critical choice for gamers and professional typists alike. Unlike membrane keyboards, mechanical models offer tactile and audible feedback for each key press. That said, mechanical keyboard switches deliver a different typing experience, depending on the type of switch you choose. So, stick around to learn whether blue vs red switches will deliver your ideal experience.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Red switches, also called linear switches, offer a smooth and quiet typing experience.
  • Blue or clicky switches deliver a slight tactile bump and a distinct clicking noise during keypresses.
  • Red switches are better for gamers, but blue switches are the superior choice for typing professionals.

Which is Better: Red vs Blue Key Switches

Mechanical keyboard switch colors indicate a difference in audible and tactile feedback. While Cherry switches are a popular brand choice in gaming keyboards, keyboard switch color meanings are pretty consistent across most manufacturers. For example, Cherry Reds will offer a similar experience to Razer Reds.

Insider Tip

Go with traditional gaming switches if you want faster response times and silent keypresses.

Red switches are also called linear switches, and they offer minimal feedback. Additionally, they only require a light touch to bottom out the actuation distance. Blue switches, also called clicky switches, provide a loud clicking noise and a small tactile bump.

There are many choices for key switches, so after reading our comparison below, if you decide that Cherry MX Red mechanical switches aren’t your thing, explore whether blue vs. brown switches might offer an enjoyable typing experience. Also, read about Cherry MX Black vs Red switches.

Gaming Experience

Most experts recommend red switches for gaming due to the limited travel distance and smooth actuation. Additionally, red switches are ideal for high-paced gaming environments that require fast and frequent button presses. While blue switches aren’t bad for gaming performance, they need more downforce, and the audible clicking noises might impact your immersion.

Typing Experience

While red switches, though quiet, are acceptable for touch typing, many writing professionals appreciate the blue switches’ distinctive clicky sound as input confirmation. Users needing a more discrete switch for a quiet office environment should go with red switches.

Tactile Feedback

Neither red nor blue switches qualify as a true “tactile switch.” However, you should choose a blue switch keyboard if you’re craving a tactile bump with each key press, which can lead to more accurate typing at high speeds.

STAT: A 2021 Pew Research Center poll showed that 48% of Americans use the internet several times daily. (source)

Blue vs Red Switches FAQs

How does a mechanical switch work?

Mechanical switch keyboards contain a mechanical switch under each key that registers an input when you press it. A mechanical switch contains a base, spring, and stem, and the shape of the stem determines the switch type. Switches aren't complicated mechanisms, but there are multiple switch variants that operate differently.

How much do mechanical keyboards cost?

Unless you choose an advanced performance model, you’ll pay between $80 to $150 for a good, mass-produced mechanical keyboard. That said, custom models can exceed $300 due to small-batch items, such as pre-lubed homemade switches and custom keysets.

What's the difference between mechanical and membrane switches?

Membrane switches consist of a rubber or plastic dome that registers a keypress with a flat circuit. Unlike mechanical keyboards with many individual switches, the switches on a membrane keyboard are connected by the same rubber sheet underneath the keycaps. Lastly, mechanical models offer a more tactile typing experience than membrane switches, which are more squishy.
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