Razer Mechanical Keyboard Switch Types


razer mechanical keyboard switch types on the Switch and click blog

Question and Answer

Razer has been in the gaming world for a long time. They’ve always had those green clicky ultra-loud switches, but recently they’ve come up with new switches. Ones that are not as clicky. My favorite kinds of switches are the tactile ones that are not clicky, does Razer have a tactile switch, I wonder? Let’s do some research!

These are all mechanical switches. Razer’s most common switch is the clicky green switch that we’ve seen throughout the years. They’ve come up with new orange and yellow switches, which are known to be quieter and faster. The quick response would be the orange switches are tactile and silent, while the yellow switches are linear and quiet. The newest of the new are the optical switches, the purple and red switches. The red switches are linear whereas the purple ones are clicky.

Mechanical Switches

Green Switch

Okay first, the most common, the Razer green switches. These are tactile and clicky. When playing games with others, your friends will probably complain of the loud clicks coming from your keyboard for every time you press WASD.

Even with O-rings, it’s still super loud. Only get this if you REALLY want the clicks. I didn’t know any better when I did.

Its total travel distance is 4.0mm with the actuation point at 1.9mm. The actuation force is 50g, which is the heaviest of all three switches.

These switches are usually compared to Cherry MX blue switches.

Green switches from a 2014 Blackwidow Tournament Edition
Green switches from a 2014 Blackwidow Tournament Edition, don’t judge the dust

Razer’s Lineup with Green Switches

Here are the keyboards in Razer’s current lineup that feature these green switches.

First up is the Blackwidow, the iconic keyboard that started it all. This keyboard has RGB lighting, a full-size layout, and fully customizable keys.

The next one is the Blackwidow Elite, which is everything the Blackwidow has but so much more. You get a comfortable spot to rest your wrists on while gaming or typing, the choice of using green, yellow, or orange switches, and digital media keys and dials to change music and volume whenever you want.

Other variations such as the Blackwidow X Tournament Edition Chroma and the Blackwidow X Tournament Edition, also featuring green switches. This keyboard has a tenkeyless layout. The Chroma has RGB lighting and preprogrammed lighting effects, whereas the original does not.

Also the Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chrome V2, which has an additional wrist rest attached and the choice between the three different switch types.

There’s also the Blackwidow Ultimate, which is a full-sized keyboard that is water and dust resistant. Don’t worry about spills or dust getting into this bad boy. It only comes with green backlighting though. Hopefully, that matches with your computer’s look.

Yellow Switch

Razer’s yellow switches are linear and silent. They’re like Cherry MX Red Switches.

The total travel distance is 3.5mm (which is much shorter than Cherry MX Reds) and the actuation point is at 1.2mm. The actuation force is at 45g, which is lighter than their green switches.

These switches are the fastest due to their short travel distance and light actuation force. They’re extremely quiet as well. They’re good for gaming that requires fast button presses for optimal responses.

Pair these switches with O-rings and you’ll dampen the sounds of bottoming out (when your switches hit the bottom).

Razer’s Lineup with Yellow Switches

Currently, only the Blackwidow Elite and the Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chrome V2 have the option of having yellow switches in them when ordering.

Orange Switch

Razer’s orange switches feel like the green switches, but with less of a bump. It still gives you the tactile feels, letting you type quickly and accurately.

The total distance of the orange switches is 4.0mm with an actuation point of 1.9mm, exactly like the green switches. However, its actuation force is 45g, which is lighter and easier to press.  

These are usually compared to Cherry MX Browns.

If you’re going a lot of typing and gaming, these switches are for you. If you’re mostly using the keyboard for gaming, yellow will be your best bet. But it all boils down to personal preference. Don’t let common statements make decisions for you. Go to your local store and try them out. Press on all the keys as if you’re gaming or typing.

Razer’s Lineup with Orange Switches

Out of their current lineup, here are some of the keyboards that offer orange switches.

First, the Razer Blackwidow Lite which comes in black or white has these switches alongside coming pre-installed with O-rings to further dampen the sounds. It also has a sleek look, letting you see the white lighting underneath as well as the switches and stabilizers.  

The Razer Blackwidow Elite lets you pick between any of the green, yellow, or orange switches. This full-size keyboard sites at a hefty $170 price tag, but it does have the convenience of changing media keys at a button push and scroll wheel as well as an ergonomic wrist rest.

The Blackwidow Tournament Edition Chrome V2 offers the orange switches as well with a tenkeyless layout and RGB lighting.

For more details of the green, yellow, and orange switches, Razer has a full page with videos, graphics, and convenient charts.

Optical Mechanical Switches

Purple Switch

The Razer purple switch is labeled as an optical switch because when you press on the key, it covers a light that sends a signal to the computer that the key was pressed.

The optical switches are advertised to be able to handle over 80 million keystrokes. They come with a stabilizer bar on each switch to reduce wobble and increase stability.

This switch still gives a tactile feel and is clicky with actuation at 1.5mm (which is 30% shorter than common mechanical keyboards), but it is purely for the feels and not for the function. The actuation force is 45g, lighter than the green switches but like all the other ones.

cherry mx blues
Purples sound like Cherry MX blues with the clicks.

Red Switch

The red switch is also an optical switch. It’s a linear switch that gives you no tactile bump for feedback.

The actuation force is 40g, which is the lightest of all of Razer’s switches. It also has the shortest actuation distance of 1.0mm, which is 60% shorter than common mechanical switches.

Fun fact, the actuation and rest point are the same due to the way optical switches work, via infrared light. This lets you complete more keystrokes with less finger movement.  

Razer’s Lineup with Purple or Red Switches

For additional information on Razer’s optical switches, they have a full web page with graphics, videos, and tables.

The following keyboards offer purple or red switches:

The Razer Huntsman, which we’ve all heard of recently, has a Tournament Edition, and Elite edition, and the original Huntsman.

The tournament edition has a tenkeyless design, double-shot PBT keycaps, linear red switches, and a USB-C cable. Razer has finally listened to the people. The double-shot PBT keycaps are much higher quality than the old ABS ones.

No longer are the days of glossy and grimy keys, but new are the days of textured high-quality keys.

The Elite version is a full-sized layout with digital media keys and dials just like the Blackwidow Elite. This version lets you pick between the purple or red switches.

The Huntsman is a full-sized keyboard that offers only the purple switches. It’s available in three colorways: black, pink, or white with special keycaps as well. With RGB lighting.

Summary

We’ve discussed all 5 different switch types that Razer has to offer. The greens, yellows, and oranges fall into the mechanical switch category, whereas the purples and reds are optical mechanical switches.

The greens are loud, clicky, and tactile. This is the cornerstone of old-school gaming keyboards. The yellows are linear switches, and the oranges are tactile without the extra sounds.

The purples are clicky and tactile with less actuation force and distance. The reds are linear and quiet with the lowest actuation force and shortest distance. The optical switches offer more durability and improved response.

The mechanical switches go with Razer’s Blackwidow lineup, and the optical ones go with Razer’s Huntsman lineup.

In a few years, we’ll get to really see where Razer’s new switches are going to stand. Will they be the new standard compared to Cherry? Only time will tell.

Sources

What’s the difference between Razer mechanical switches? Windows Central

Which Razer Keyboard Switch is Right for You? Youtube.com

Razer.com

Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards work and show the world all of the cool aspects of the mechanical keyboard hobby.

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