Is a Mechanical Keyboard Better for Gaming?

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Updated June 27, 2022

If you’re shopping for a top-rated keyboard to improve your gaming experience, you may wonder if a mechanical keyboard is better for gaming.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A mechanical keyboard with linear switches is the most common choice for professional gamers.
  • Tactile and linear switches deliver a great response time, but clicky switches aren’t as reliable for fast gameplay.
  • Membrane keyboards are great for budget-minded gamers, but a mechanical model will last longer and stand up to intense gameplay.

Competitive video game players appreciate the tactile feedback and durable plastics featured in many mechanical keyboard designs. Some users value the extra features found in budget-friendly membrane keyboards. So, keep reading to learn whether mechanical keyboards are better for gaming.

If you’re already settled on a mechanical gaming keyboard, read our guide to Razer Huntsman vs the Razer BlackWidow to compare two of the best options. And for a genuinely decked-out gaming keyboard, check out the finest backlit keyboards for colorful RGB lighting.

Are Mechanical Keyboards Better for Gaming?

When picking a keyboard for gaming, users should understand how different switches and types of keyboards affect their movement in games. Like comparing linear and tactile switches, the choice isn’t immediately apparent. Gamers need an ergonomic keyboard that offers faster response times, and a mechanical keyboard might be the best pick.

How Does a Mechanical Keyboard Work?

Mechanical keyboards feature spring-loaded switches that deliver physical and audible feedback with each keypress. Multiple mechanical keyboard switch types offer different levels of noticeable feedback, and they can alter your typing or gaming session.

The mechanical switch offers a tactile typing experience that bolsters accurate typing and increases your degree of control. Below are the types of switches available for a mechanical gaming keyboard.

Linear Switch

Possibly the best choice for gamers, linear switches offer a smooth typing experience without much tactile or audio feedback.

Insider Tip

Unless you’re comfortable with a soldering iron, you need a hot-swappable keyboard before buying supplies to change a key switch.

Tactile Switch

Tactile switches deliver a satisfying tactile typing experience marked by the slight bump felt by the user. These are the best choice for accurate typing, but they do not actuate as quickly as a linear option.

Clicky Switch

Clicky switches deliver aural feedback with each press of the keyboard, and users do not need to press the key down to actuate the key. While this isn’t the best option for gaming, some users like it for its unique sound.

Other Types of Keyboards vs Mechanical Keyboards

While searching for the perfect gaming keyboard, you should consider more than just mechanical switches. While the consensus on gaming hardware is that mechanical keyboards are the best choice, other types of keyboards are on the market.

Membrane Keyboards vs Mechanical Keyboards

Also known as a standard keyboard, membrane models are a cost-effective and common keyboard type. In addition, membrane keyboards are usually the more compact option than mechanical models. Lastly, membrane keyboards are generally cheaper than mechanical models, but they aren’t nearly as durable or long-lasting.

Optical Keyboards vs Mechanical Keyboards

Optical keyboards are the fastest-responding switches for gaming. While most professional gamers still choose linear mechanical switches, top-end optical switches can offer 10-times faster response times. Optical switches are more expensive and harder to maintain than traditional mechanical ones.

Warning

Don’t be distracted by fantastic features and customizable RGB lighting if you’re looking for a high-end gaming keyboard. Ensure that it is durable and features the type of switch that you find most comfortable.

F.A.Q.S

What features matter for typing and programming?

Experts recommend a full-size keyboard with an ergonomic design and multiple custom mechanical keys for macros and shortcuts. In addition, you should pick light and responsive physical switches to enjoy a smooth typing experience and a shorter travel time than with membrane keyboards.


Who should buy a membrane keyboard?

A standard membrane keyboard will work for most casual internet users and slow-paced gamers. In addition, membrane keyboard models often offer additional features and softer typing that limits your sound level while working or playing games.


Who should buy a mechanical keyboard?

Mechanical switch keyboards are excellent for avid gamers or people who type for extended periods, like writers or programmers. In addition, users can customize individual switches or apply custom keycaps. Mechanical gaming devices are expensive, but they are durable and often professional-grade.


STAT: According to a Pew Research Center polling series, internet usage in America has grown by 41% since 2000. (source)

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