Cherry MX Black vs Red

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Updated August 29, 2022

If you’re looking for a top-tier keyboard, you may wonder what wins the debate between Cherry MX Black vs Red switches. The mechanical keyboard switch you use affects your typing technique and tactile experience, so finding one that meets your personal preference is essential. While mechanical switches seem complicated, we’re here to help you decide whether Cherry MX Black vs Red switches are best for you.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Cherry MX Blacks and Reds are linear switches that deliver a fast and smooth typing experience with minimal feedback.
  • Cherry MX Black switches feature short key travel, but they have a heavy actuation that isn’t ideal for typists.
  • Cherry MX Reds are prone to accidental presses due to the shallow actuation travel.

Cherry Black vs Red Switches

You can control a mechanical keyboard’s audible and tactile feedback by picking the switch type that matches your personal preference. For example, when comparing Cherry MX Blue vs Red switches, a heavy typist might appreciate the click sound of Cherry MX blues, but the shorter travel distance of Cherry MX reds better suits gamers. Of course, sometimes the difference is nuanced, like when comparing Cherry MX Clear vs Brown switches.

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Red and black switches are relatively similar on a tactile and sound level because they are both linear. Black switches require 60-gram actuation on average to register a keypress, and Cherry MX reds need 45-gram actuation. Either type of switch is an excellent pick for gaming keyboards due to the shorter actuation distance compared to other common switches.

Typing Speed

Both types of linear switches have minimal travel distance, but Cherry Black switches have a higher gram actuation weight than Reds. The Cherry Red’s lower resistance delivers faster actuation than Cherry MX Black switches, which makes them an excellent choice for quick presses while touch-typing or gaming.

Tactile Feedback

Neither Cherry Blacks nor Reds offer much tactile response while typing. That said, heavy typists appreciate the higher resistance of Cherry Blacks. Compared to Cherry Blacks, Reds register inputs with the lightest touch, leading to more mistakes.

Warning

Heavy-resistance switches will wear you out unless you have the strong fingers of an accomplished typist.

Sound Level

Cherry Reds and Blacks are not ideal if you’re after clicky switches. Since both are linear models, you will not experience much audible feedback while typing. That said, either switch is an excellent pick for shared office environments or quiet public workspaces.

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Cherry MX Black vs Red FAQs

How much do mechanical keyboards cost?

Pre-made keyboards with Cherry switches or a different leading brand should cost between $80 and $150, but many mechanical keyboard fans recommend buying a slightly-used premium model to save money. If you're considering a custom mechanical switch keyboard, expect to spend over $200.

What is the quietest Cherry MX switch?

The Cherry Corporation's most silent models are the Silent Blacks and Cherry MX Red Silent switches. They can reduce your keyboard's sound level by up to 78% due to the linear switches and rubber sound dampeners.

What are membrane keyboards?

Membrane keyboards use a series of rubber domes on a plastic membrane that sits underneath the keycaps. As you type on a rubber dome keyboard, the domes flatten and communicate inputs to a flat circuit underneath the middle membrane.
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