If you use your computer a lot, you know how excellent a good mechanical keyboard is. One doesn’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate the sound the keys make! However, Mechanical keyboards are not for everyone. In this post, we will see what you should look for when buying a mechanical keyboard.
Are mechanical keyboards better than normal keyboards?
Well, if your question is, are they better, then yes, they are miles ahead of the normal keyboard or even the ones that come with your laptop. However, they are expensive. One should not just splurge one’s hard-earned money on these devices if one can’t see its benefits.
What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
Mechanical Keyboards They can be termed as an advanced version of the normal keyboard, called a Membrane Keyboard. What makes them differ from your average keyboard is that, they have individual switches for each key making them a lot more tactile. They are more durable and can sustain heavy key presses. Since there are separate switches, we can customize not just the look but also the feel of it.
That is why, it is mostly used by programmers and gamers. Therefore, if you are someone who appreciates those features, then you must invest in a good mechanical keyboard. Do keep in mind that they make a lot of noise, so, if you appreciate the tranquil nature of the membrane keyboard, then it would be better if you avoid this or look search for a quiet mechanical keyboard.
What to look for when buying a Mechanical Keyboard?
When you go out in the larket to buy a mechanical keyboard yoy must take the following things into account:
- The sound and feel of Switches
- Pick a perfect size for yourself
- Get one to make ends meet
- Your budget.
Let us talk about them in detail.
1] The sound and feel of Switches
Switches help your keyboard in determining when you have given the input. As for the user, they are probably the most important part of a mechanical keyboard. Following are the type of switches that one can find in mechanical keyboards.
- Linear Switches: They are probably the most common and non-polarizing switch in the market. To activate linear switches, you need to just press the key down and the whole mechanism will apply force in the same direction. That is why, they are the most consistent of the switches. Cherry and Kailh are two of the best manufacturers of linear switches, especially for gamers. There are various Linear switches- Gateron Yellows (affordable), Gateron Ink Blacks (smoothest), Cherry MX Black (durable), Cherry MX Speed Silver (light-weight, made for gaming), and KTT Strawberry (Pre-lubed).
- Tactile Switches: They are tailored for people who enjoy writing. The spring attached to its keys that enables satisfying feedback is magnificent. Mostly, you will find Brown switches, as they don’t make a lot of noise and delivers a brilliant typing experience. Occasionally, you might also see Glorious Panda Switches, Durock T1s, and Boba U4s, although they are generally a little extra expensive.
- Clicky Switches: Finally, let us talk about the switches that your colleague will find the most annoying. They offer a relatively loud noise and pretty firm feedback. If you work in a closed environment and don’t mind or even love the noise these keys make, then you must try these switches. You can find good ones from Cherry MX or Gateron Blues.
So, depending on what you prefer, make a decision on what switch you will get.
2] Pick a perfect size for yourself
There are various keyboard sizes, you can find 100% keyboards, all the way to 40%. They will have different numbers of keys and obviously, different areas. Following are the sizes of mechanical keyboards.
- 100% Full-size keyboards: 101 to 104 keys, including a numpad, function keys, and control keys.
- Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards: 87-88 keys, do not have the numpad.
- 75% keyboards:70-75 keys, compact
- 65% keyboards:66-68 keys, do not have function row and some other rarely used keys
- 60% keyboards: 60 or 61 keys, do not have numpad, function row, and navigation keys, and rely heavily on shortcuts.
- 40% keyboards: 40-44 keys, way too compact for an average user.
There can be variation in the data provided earlier as there are some OEMs who take liberty in fiddling with norms.
You can go with the size of the keyboard that you are currently using, but it would be better if you go to the shop and try one yourself as differences in the intensity of keystrokes may demand a different layout.
3] Get one to make ends meet
You should always take into account what you intend to do with this keyboard. We have mentioned the types of switches and why they are used. You should look at the guide to know what kind of keyboard will be the perfect fit for your profession.
4] Keep your budget in mind
Mechanical keyboards, by nature, are expensive since the manufacturer has to put separate switches for each key. However, sometimes, the prices skyrocket. Also, since it is probably your first time buying a mechanical keyboard, it is better to not go overboard and get something that’s affordable.
How do I choose a good mechanical keyboard?
If you are in the market looking for a good mechanical keyboard, go through the points mentioned earlier. The most important part of a mechanical keyboard is its switches. They determine the sound and feel of the device. We have the aforementioned different types of switches and other parameters you need to take into account when getting a mechanical keyboard.
What makes a great mechanical keyboard?
It’s switches that make a great mechanical keyboard. If the switches are off or not according to the liking of the user, they won’t be able to justify buying the device. That is why if you are looking to buy a keyboard, first check what kind of switch it has and then how it performs. If find this too confusing, read the guide mentioned earlier.