What is a Mechanical Keyboard?

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated June 27, 2022

The best keyboard on the market is the one that matches your needs. Mechanical keyboard enthusiasts will undoubtedly tell you that their favorite type is superior. But what is a mechanical keyboard?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The switch type makes a huge difference in a keyboard, so make sure you’re educated on the different key switches and which will match your needs best.
  • A mechanical keyboard uses a specific switch type with a spring underneath each key, creating a “springy” sensation when using these clicky switches.
  • You can get mechanical keyboards in all shapes and sizes, from mini- to full-size keyboards.

We’re here to explain why they’re different and what makes them such a great choice. Then you can decide if mechanical keyboard switches are suitable for you.

Explaining Mechanical Keyboard Switches

While there are a variety of keyboard switches available, many people love the way a mechanical switch feels when they press a key. After all, what is a keyboard without those clicky switches?

Insider Tip

Mechanical keyboard enthusiasts have built entire communities surrounding their key switches of choice. These communities can be a wealth of information.

Tactile switches are a fan favorite for a variety of reasons. Some folks just like the way that these models feel. Others prefer them for the precision typing they encourage.

However, issues can pop up no matter what type of keyboard you have. For example, you may find yourself wondering why, when you press a key on your keyboard, it types different letters. With the proper knowledge, you can troubleshoot these issues quickly.

Of course, if you’re someone who doesn’t like the noise they make or need low-profile switches, look into what are the quietest keyboard switches.

How Mechanical Keyboards Differ from Traditional Keyboards

Regular laptop keyboards are known as rubber dome keyboards. Such a model is also called a “membrane keyboard.” Key presses are much quieter with this type because they use a rubber dome switch instead. The Razer Anansi MMO gaming keyboard is a good example of a gaming keyboard that uses this switch type.

These aren’t the only keyboard types out there, however, so try out several to find one that you like. For example, you might want to look into what a Scissor Switch keyboard is.

The Pros of Mechanical Switches

There is a wide range of pros to using mechanical switches:

  • They come in a wide variety of models.
  • There are wireless options.
  • They have better-quality keycaps.

The Cons of Mechanical Switches

Of course, these keyboards have their drawbacks:

  • Most mechanical keyboard picks are pricey.
  • They can also be pretty heavy.

Warning

A large variety of switches can be distractingly loud, so ensure you respect quiet areas and refrain from using loud keyboards in public.

F.A.Q.S

Which switch type provides the clickiest switches?

You’re going to want to look into the favorite keyboards of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts to figure out which options provide the best tactile sensations. However, Cherry MX Blue switches tend to be the loudest.


What are tactile switches?

Tactile switches are a type of mechanical switch. There is a wide variety of tactile switches available, but they all have one thing in common. Essentially, they provide a tactile “bump” when typing, unlike an ordinary keyboard.


What are ergonomic keyboards?

These are highly comfortable models to use that are made with the human body in mind. While you’ll still want to try out different ergonomic models, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a “bad” one.


Is a mechanical gaming keyboard better?

Whether a mechanical version of a gaming keyboard is worth it depends on your preference. Most gamers, though, prefer a mechanical gaming keyboard for its response time, N-key rollover, durability, and tactile feedback when playing.


STAT: In 2020, the wholesale value of portable keyboards was 109.34 million U.S. dollars. (source)

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