Clciky vs Tactile vs Linear Mechanical Keyboard Switch Types

Clicky vs Tactile vs Linear – Which Switch Type Fits You Best?

Are you looking to try a mechanical keyboard for the first time? Everyone has to begin somewhere, but for newcomers to the hobby it can be overwhelming if you’re not aware of a few basic attributes associated with mechanical keyboard switches. Let’s start by ignoring the many different brands and variations of mechanical keyboard switches and just focus on the three main switch types you’ll most likely encounter in your search: Clicky, Tactile and Linear. Continue reading

Topre switches with exposed stems.

Topre Switches: Hybrid Design with Premium Feel (and Price)

Mechanical or rubber dome? They’re actually a little of both. Topre produces a electrostatic capacitive switch (key actuation is signaled electrically) that many users consider a hybrid between rubber dome and mechanical switches. Others simply aren’t willing to label them as mechanical because they make use of a rubber dome. Let’s discuss a few key facts about Topre switches and you can form your own opinion. Continue reading

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Buckling Spring: The Origin of Mechanical Keyboards

Buckling spring mechanism being actuated.Click to enlarge and see animated, Source: Wikipedia

The buckling spring keyboard was invented by Richard Hunter Harris and later patented in 1977 by IBM. Its name actually derives from how the physical mechanism works when actuating a key, with a spring being put under pressure and “buckling” between the keycap and a pivoting hammer, creating a distinct mechanical auditory feedback.

The buckling spring switch design has undergone several revisions to reach its current form. Initially, it was hard to predict the direction the spring would bend in as it’s attached to the key at only two points of contact. If the spring were to bend in the wrong direction no contact would be made and the circuit wouldn’t complete. Continue reading

Matias switches, modern ALPS-type clone.

Matias/ALPS Switches Explored and Explained

Although original ALPS switches are no longer manufactured, the clone ALPS created by Matias stay true to the originals. What makes ALPS so different is their tactile feeling and the distinct “click” sound that they make. This is especially true for the ALPS spring switch.

They were first introduced in 1983 and today Matias offers three versions of ALPS-type switches. They are the quiet click, click, and quiet linear switches. Each has its own benefits and specific uses. Continue reading

Cherry MX Red LED Switches

Common Mechanical Keyboard Switch Types

There are numerous types of mechanical keyboard switches and even more manufacturers producing them. Cheap membrane based rubber dome keyboards may still be the most prevalent, but mechanical keyboards have become extremely popular among gamers and computer enthusiasts over the last decade. Many new companies have been created with the sole goal of filling the gap in mechanical keyswitches. However, one brand was here from the beginning and still stands above the rest. Let’s learn a little about Cherry and their legendary keyswitches. Continue reading