The Ultimate Guide to Mechanical Keyboards: Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated on 31 May, 2022 by Jochen

The Ultimate Guide to Mechanical Keyboards: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re a PC gamer, then you know the importance of a good keyboard. The mechanical keyboard can take your gaming skills to the next level. Not only are they more durable and responsive than rubberdome keyboards, but they also provide an extra level of customization that is perfect for gamers.

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about mechanical keyboards. We’ll cover what they are, how they work, and why you should consider using one. So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting, read on for the ultimate guide to mechanical keyboards!

Choosing the best gaming keyboard for you can be hard – there are so many options and brands available today.

We´re reader-supported. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


What is a mechanical keyboard and why should you care?

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses physical switches to register keystrokes. These switches are usually made of metal and plastic, and they provide tactile and audible feedback that is superior to the traditional membrane keyboard. Mechanical keyboards also offer better durability, as their switches can withstand millions of presses without failing.

In addition, mechanical keyboards offer a high degree of customization, as each key can be assigned a different function. This is perfect for gamers who want to have full control over their gaming experience.

There are several reasons why you should consider using a mechanical keyboard. First, they offer a better typing experience. The tactile feedback and audible clicks make it easier to know when you’ve pressed a key, which can help improve your accuracy and speed.

Second, mechanical keyboards are more durable than traditional keyboards. The switches can last for millions of presses, so you don’t have to worry about them wearing out over time.

Finally, mechanical keyboards offer a higher level of customization than traditional keyboards. You can choose from a variety of switch types, keycaps, and other features to create a keyboard that is perfect for your needs.

If you’re looking for a better typing experience, increased durability, or more customization options, then a mechanical keyboard is the perfect choice for you.

Different parts of the mechanical keyboard

The mechanical keyboard consists of three main parts: the keyswitches, the keycaps, and the PCB.

The keyswitches are the mechanical components that register key presses. They come in a variety of types, each with its own unique characteristics. The most common keyswitch types are Linear, Tactile, Clicky, and Optical.

The keycaps are the plastic caps that cover the keyswitches. They come in a variety of colors, materials, and sizes. You can even get custom keycaps to add a personal touch to your mechanical keyboard.

The PCB is the printed circuit board that connects all of the mechanical components together. It is typically made of FR-44, a type of fiberglass.

What to look for when shopping for a mechanical keyboard?

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a mechanical keyboard. First, you’ll need to choose the right switch type for your needs. There are three main types of mechanical switches: linear, tactile, and clicky. Linear switches are smooth and provide a consistent keystroke, while tactile switches provide a bump that can help you feel when a key has been pressed. Clicky switches are the loudest type of switch, and they provide both auditory and tactile feedback.

Next, you’ll need to decide on a keycap material. The most common materials are ABS and PBT. ABS keycaps are made of plastic and tend to be cheaper, while PBT keycaps are made of a stronger polymer that is resistant to wear and tear.

Finally, you’ll need to decide on a backlight. Backlighting can help you see the keys in low-light conditions, and it can also add a bit of style to your keyboard. There are two main types of backlighting: LED and RGB. LED backlighting is less expensive but offers fewer color options, while RGB backlighting is more expensive but provides a wider range of colors.


Types of mechanical keyboards

Different types of mechanical keyboard switches

There are three main types of mechanical keyboards: linear, tactile, and clicky.

Linear Switch

Linear switch, the benefits and properties

Linear mechanical keyboards have switches that provide a smooth, consistent keystroke.

Properties:

  • No feedback
  • No click

Benefit:

  • Smooth, consistent keystrokes
  • Easy to use
  • Low noise

Drawback:

  • No feedback when keystroke is registered
  • Requires more force and time as you usually press buttons completely due to lack of feedback

Tactile Switch

Tactile switch, the benefits and properties

Tactile mechanical keyboards have switches that provide a slight bump when activated, which helps you know when a key has been pressed.

Properties:

  • Tactile feedback
  • No click

Benefit:

  • Tactile feedback helps you know when a key has been pressed
  • Satisfying to press
  • Faster typing
  • Recommended

Drawback:

  • Louder than linear switches

Clicky Switch

Clicky switch, the benefits and properties

Clicky mechanical keyboards have switches that make a loud clicking sound when activated, which some people find satisfying.

Properties:

  • Tactile feedback
  • Audible click

Benefit:

  • Provides auditory feedback so you know when a keystroke has been registered
  • Satisfying to press
  • Faster typing

Drawback:

  • Loud clicking sound may be annoying to others

Each type of mechanical keyboard has its benefits and drawbacks. Linear mechanical keyboards are the most popular type because they offer a smooth, consistent keystroke that is perfect for gaming. However, some people find the lack of feedback to be a downside.

Tactile mechanical keyboards are good middle ground, as they provide a slight bump that helps you know when a key has been pressed. However, they can be louder than linear mechanical keyboards.

Clicky mechanical keyboards are the loudest type of mechanical keyboard, but some people find the sound satisfying.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which type of mechanical keyboard is right for you. Consider your needs and preferences before making a decision.


Optical mechanical keyboard

New on the market are the optical switches for mechanical keyboards, which ensure even faster transmission for better response times when playing games or typing.

Thanks to the optical shutter release, triggering and reset always take place at exactly the same point, so triggering operations are possible at incredible speed, especially useful for gamers who often have to press buttons several times.

Optical mechanical keyboards have switches that use infrared light to register keystrokes, which makes them more responsive than traditional mechanical keyboard switches. Optical switches are also available in linear, tactile, and clicky.

Benefit:

  • More responsive than traditional mechanical keyboard switches
  • Faster keystrokes

Drawbacks:

  • More expensive than traditional mechanical keyboard switches

The different brands of mechanical switches

There are three main brands of mechanical switches: Cherry MX, Gateron, and Kailh.

Cherry

The german company Cherry is also the inventor of the mechanical switch, Cherry is the most well-known brand of mechanical switches. They offer a wide variety of switches that are suitable for different needs and preferences.

The Cherry MX switches are available in a variety of colors, each of which corresponds to a different type and level of actuation force. For example, Cherry MX Reds require the least amount of force to activate, while Cherry MX Blacks require the most.

Gateron

Gateron is another popular brand of mechanical switch. They offer a similar variety of switches to Cherry MX, but some people find them to be smoother and quieter.

Kailh

Kailh is the third main brand of mechanical switches. They offer a variety of unique switches that are not available from Cherry MX or Gateron.


Each brand of mechanical switch has its benefits and drawbacks. Cherry MX switches are the most popular because they offer a wide variety of options. Kailh mechanical switches are a good choice for people who want a slightly lower actuation force. Gateron mechanical switches are a good choice for people who want a consistent actuation force.

Important for mechanical keyboard switches is the actuation force. This is the amount of force required to press a key and activate the switch. The higher the actuation force, the more effort it takes to press a key. Mechanical keyboard switches also have a travel distance, which is the distance the key travels when pressed. The shorter the travel distance, the less effort it takes to press a key.

Lastly, the type of switch as we discussed briefly above, mechanical keyboard switches come in three main types: linear, tactile, and clicky.

Brands like Corsair, Logitech, and Razer also have their own mechanical switches, but they are not as widely available.

For more information, we have an in-depth guide to each mechanical switch and brand here.

How to choose the right mechanical keyboard for you

When choosing a mechanical keyboard, there are several factors you should consider, such as the type of mechanical switch, the size and layout of the keyboard, and the features you need.

The type of mechanical switch is the most important factor to consider when choosing a mechanical keyboard. Each type of mechanical switch has its benefits and drawbacks. Linear mechanical switches, such as Cherry MX Reds, have a smooth, consistent keystroke. Tactile mechanical switches, such as Razer Greens, have a slightly higher actuation force. Clicky mechanical switches, such as Kailh Blues, have a shorter travel distance.

The size and layout of the keyboard are also important factors to consider. The most common mechanical keyboard layouts are full-size, tenkeyless, and 60% keyboard. Full-size mechanical keyboards have a numeric keypad, while tenkeyless mechanical keyboards or TKL mechanical keyboards do not. 60% mechanical keyboards are smaller than TKL keyboards, but they still have a full set of keys.

The features you need will also affect your decision. Some mechanical keyboards come with built-in USB-passthrough, while others do not. Some mechanical keyboards have backlighting, while others do not. Consider your needs and preferences before making a decision.

We have an in-depth guide about gaming keyboards and all the features here

How to install a mechanical keyboard

Usually the mechanical gaming keyboard comes assembled. So, most of the mechanical keyboard installation process is just taking it out of the box and connecting it to your PC.

If you do need to assemble your mechanical keyboard, it is a relatively simple process that only takes a few minutes. First, remove the keycaps from your mechanical keyboard. Next, insert the mechanical switches into the keyboard PCB. Make sure the switch pins are aligned with the holes in the PCB. Once all of the switches are inserted, Solder the switch pins to the PCB. Finally, replace the keycaps and enjoy your new mechanical keyboard!

To connect your mechanical keyboard to your PC, you will need a USB cable. Most mechanical keyboards use a standard USB cable, but some use a mini USB cable. Once you have the correct cable, simply connect it to the keyboard and then to your PC.

If your mechanical keyboard has backlighting, you will need to connect the keyboard to an external power source. Most mechanical keyboards use a USB cable for this, but some use a separate power adapter.

Once your mechanical keyboard is connected, you will need to install the drivers. Drivers are software that allows your computer to communicate with your keyboard. Most mechanical keyboards come with drivers, but you can also download them from the manufacturer’s website.

Once the drivers are installed, you should be able to use your mechanical keyboard. If you have any problems, make sure that the drivers are installed correctly and that the keyboard is connected to your computer.

The benefits of using a mechanical keyboard

There are many benefits to using a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are more durable than other types of keyboards, so they will last longer. Mechanical keyboards are also more comfortable to use, so you can type for longer periods of time without discomfort. Additionally, mechanical keyboards have a shorter travel distance, so you can type faster.

A mechanical keyboard is the perfect choice for anyone who wants a durable, comfortable, and fast keyboard. If you’re looking for the ultimate typing experience, look no further than a mechanical keyboard!

How to maintain your keyboard

Just like any other piece of technology, your mechanical keyboard will need some occasional maintenance. Here are a few tips to keep your keyboard in top condition.

  • Dust your keyboard regularly with a soft, dry cloth. This will help to prevent dust and dirt from building up on the keys.
  • If your keyboard gets wet, immediately turn it off and unplug it from the computer. Then, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down the keys.
  • If you spill something on your keyboard, immediately turn it off and unplug it from the computer. Then, use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down the keys.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your mechanical keyboard in good condition for years to come!


What is the best mechanical keyboard

We have tested and reviewed mechanical keyboards to find the best mechanical keyboard for you. After testing a variety of mechanical keyboards, we have found that the best mechanical keyboard is the Corsair K100 RGB.

The Corsair K100 RGB is a high-end mechanical keyboard that offers a great typing experience. It features Corsair OPX Optical mechanical switches, which provide a fast, responsive typing experience. Additionally, the Corsair K100 RGB has per-key RGB backlighting and a detachable wrist rest, making it an ergonomic mechanical keyboard and a great choice for gamers and typists alike.

For more information and our full list of the best gaming keyboards you can find our article here.

If you’re looking for the best mechanical keyboard on the market, the Corsair K100 RGB is the perfect choice for you!


Frequently asked questions

What is a mechanical keyboard?

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses mechanical switches to register key presses. Compared to traditional keyboards, mechanical keyboards are more durable and responsive, and they offer a level of customization that is perfect for gamers.

What is the best keyboard switch?

There is no definitive answer to this question. Different people have different preferences when it comes to keyboard switches. Some people prefer the tactile feel of a mechanical switch, while others prefer the clicky sound. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.


Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this ultimate guide to mechanical keyboards. Now that you know everything there is to know about mechanical keyboards, you’re ready to choose the perfect keyboard for you! Thanks for reading! See you next time, Happy Fragging! 🙂


Affiliate Disclosure

Widgetstream is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

The Links with * are affiliate links that can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase through my links on Amazon.com. You can read our affiliate disclosure here.


Learn more about Gaming Accessories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.