Choosing your keyswitches?

Keyswitches are one of the most important aspects of a mechanical keyboard. Getting to know your options will help you get the most out of your keyboard.

What are mechanical keyswitches?

Each key on a mechanical keyboard hides an actual physical switch under it. Typing on these mechanical switches is a very different experience from typing on regular ones. The keys have more travel and are much more tactile; you don’t have to press a key all the way down to get it to register, which makes typing easier on the fingers; and of course, mechanical keyboards have their own unique sound.

They sound like a keyboard.

What are your options?

Listen to the intro
When buying one of our keyboards, you get to choose from many keyswitch types.
When thinking about your switches, there are several things you should consider.
First, how much noise do you want your keyboard to make?
Do you want a clicky switch or a non-clicky switch?
Second, do you prefer a smoother typing experience, or do you want to feel a little bump when the key is actuated?
So, do you want a linear switch with no bump or a tactile switch with a bump?
And how much force do you want to use when typing on your keyboard?
This is measured in grams of pressure.
So do you want something really light, or do you want something that pushes back on your fingers a little?
If you can find some friends who have mechanical keyboards, try different switches to see what you like best: See what feels best under your fingers.
And remember, this decision isn't forever: you can swap out the keyswitches on your keyboard anytime, no soldering required.

A summary

Switch
Force
Pre-travel
Feel

Cherry MX brown

45±20gf

2.0±0.6mm

tactile

Cherry MX blue

50±15gf

2.0±0.6mm

clicky

Kailh box red

45±15gf

1.8±0.3mm

linear

Kailh bronze

50±10gf

1.4±0.3mm

clicky

Kailh gold

60±10gf

1.4±0.3mm

clicky

Kailh silver

40±10gf

1.1±0.3mm

linear

Kailh copper

40±10gf

1.1±0.3mm

tactile

Kailh box brown

50±15gf

1.8±0.3mm

tactile

Kailh box white

45±10gf

1.8±0.3mm

clicky

Kailh box black

60±10gf

1.8±0.3mm

linear

Our keyswitches

Filter
tactile
clicky
linear
Cherry MX brown (RGB)
Actuation force
45±20gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
tactile
Our most popular switch. Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile and quiet. Excellent for office use. These are a preferred choice for developers, writers, and anyone who works long hours in front of the computer.
Listen to Tisha talk about this switch in more detail.
Cherry MX blue (RGB)
Actuation force
50±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
clicky
Almost as popular as the Browns, MX Blue are everyone's favorite "clicky" switch. Easily recognizable by their signature audible clicking sound. Ideal for people who work from home, or have colleagues who appreciate old-school mechanical keyboards.
Listen to Tisha talk about this switch in more detail.
Kailh box red
Actuation force
45±15gf
Pre-travel
1.8±0.3mm
Feel
linear
These are very civil switches. Typing on them is a pleasant, gentle experience. The linear action is easy on the fingers, and the sound is a little muted. Like other Kailh switches, actuation is beautifully smooth and fluid.
Cherry MX brown
Actuation force
45±20gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
tactile
Our most popular switch. Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile and quiet. Excellent for office use. These are a preferred choice for developers, writers, and anyone who works long hours in front of the computer.
Listen to Tisha talk about this switch in more detail.
Cherry MX blue
Actuation force
50±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
clicky
Almost as popular as the Browns, MX Blue are everyone's favorite "clicky" switch. Easily recognizable by their signature audible clicking sound. Ideal for people who work from home, or have colleagues who appreciate old-school mechanical keyboards.
Listen to Tisha talk about this switch in more detail.
Cherry MX clear
Actuation force
55±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
tactile
A slightly heavier sibling to the Brown switch. The MX Clear has the same qualities of Brown with a bit more resistance, for those who want more pronounced tactile feedback.
Kailh bronze [SpeedSwitch]
Actuation force
50±10gf
Pre-travel
1.4±0.3mm
Feel
clicky
Popcorn in keyboard form. These are clicky in a way we’ve never experienced before: Clicks once on the downstroke, and clicks again on the upstroke. A high-pitched, crisp click. Light, precise, and utterly unique — this keyswitch is addictive. These switches actuate before the audible click. This means you can tap them very lightly and still get a character on your screen.
Kailh gold [SpeedSwitch]
Actuation force
60±10gf
Pre-travel
1.4±0.3mm
Feel
clicky
An extremely fun keyswitch — we would almost say it’s exciting to type on. Its click is crisp and precise, and its actuation is smooth. Just typing on this switch would make you feel productive. These switches actuate before the audible click. This means you can tap them very lightly and still get a character on your screen.
Kailh silver [SpeedSwitch]
Actuation force
40±10gf
Pre-travel
1.1±0.3mm
Feel
linear
This is an extremely smooth keyswitch. Light enough not to tire your fingers, and quiet, too. You can feel the linear resistance, but it’s not too much — just springy enough so that you feel you’re actually pressing something. Ideal for soft typing in an office environment. These switches have a high actuation point. This means you can tap them very lightly and still get a character on your screen.
Kailh copper [SpeedSwitch]
Actuation force
40±10gf
Pre-travel
1.1±0.3mm
Feel
tactile
Quite similar to the Kailh Silver, only these are tactile. So even though it’s specced the same in terms of actuation force, to our fingers these switches felt heavier than the Silver. Just as smooth as the Silver, but louder and a bit more muscular. Think “Brown lite”. These switches actuate before the audible click. This means you can tap them very lightly and still get a character on your screen.
Kailh box brown
Actuation force
50±15gf
Pre-travel
1.8±0.3mm
Feel
tactile
As we've come to expect from a switch labeled Brown, the tactile bump is gentle. These feel solid, right between a loud clicky switch and a smooth linear. Actuated slowly, you'd feel an almost buckling effect as the switch reaches its tactile point.
Listen to Tisha talk about this switch in more detail.
Kailh box white
Actuation force
45±10gf
Pre-travel
1.8±0.3mm
Feel
clicky
Slightly lower in pitch than the Kailh Gold, these are clicky to the point of being crunchy. Actuation is a smidge lighter, and it feels as though the box design might result in a slightly more resonant click.
Kailh box black
Actuation force
60±10gf
Pre-travel
1.8±0.3mm
Feel
linear
Oh, such springy smoothness. We often think of Black switches as somewhat firm due to the high actuation force, but the buttery smooth action of the Box Black makes them feel lighter somehow. These switches still push back, but they don't feel tiresome.
Cherry MX red
Actuation force
45±20gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
linear
Most popular among gamers for their relatively light weight, and lack of tactile feedback. A solid performer for high-speed keypresses.
Cherry MX silent red
Actuation force
45±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
linear
These really are silent. A very quiet keyswitch, it’s as close as you’re going to get to the acoustics of typing on a laptop. Ideal for typing during conference calls and next to coworkers. It’s so quiet, people around you might not even realize it’s a mechanical keyboard.
Cherry MX black
Actuation force
60±20gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
linear
Think Cherry MX Red, but heavier. Linear, with no tactile or audible feedback.
Cherry MX speed silver
Actuation force
45±15gf
Pre-travel
1.2±0.4mm
Feel
linear
The smoothest Cherry MX Switch there is. Like a Red but lighter and more responsive, springy enough to get that mechanical feedback that you know and love, light enough to type for hours.
Kailh brown
Actuation force
60±10gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm
Feel
tactile
Oh so smooth. At 60gF, this rendition of the classic Brown switch takes a bit of pressing. Compared to Cherry MX Brown, its sound is pitched a little lower and more subdued, and its return action is less pronounced.
Listen to Tisha talk about this switch in more detail.
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