This article about choosing the best lube for your switches and stabilizers. If you want to learn how to lube your switches, check out the full guide here.
Lubing your switches and stabilizers is one of the best modifications you can do to improve your mechanical keyboard, so we’re super excited to help you with this fun and rewarding project. We’ll go over the best lubricants to use for your switches and stabilizers, as well as where to buy them. We’ll also make sure to link to helpful resources and videos that we have used in the past.
The Best Lube for your Mechanical Keyboard Switches:
- Linear Switches: Krytox Thick Switch Lube
- Tactile Switches: Krytox Thin Switch Lube
- Clicky Switches: Krytox Thin Switch Lube
The Best Lube for your Mechanical Keyboard Stabilizers:
- Preferred: Dielectric Grease by Permatex
- Subsitute: Any other dielectric grease.
Those are our top picks for switch & stabilizer lubricants to save you time if all you’re looking for is the product. You’ll definitely need a different kind of lubricant for your switches and your stabilizers. We’ll go into more detail about why we chose these specific products and talk about what you should get based on your budget. Many of these products are not internationally available, so we included links to other lubricants as well.
The Basics: Lubing your Stabilizers and Switches
Why Lube Switches & Stabilizers?
Lubricating surfaces that touch and move along each other can reduce friction and make the switches and stabilizers glide smoother. You can make parts that scratch against each other rub smoothly and more quietly. Your switches and stabilizers can both really benefit from lubrication as they are are constantly moving and rubbing when you enter a keystroke. We’ll go into more detail about the do’s and dont’s of lubrication.
Lubing your Switches: Clicky, Tactile, and Linear
The thought of having a buttery smooth and perfectly actuating switches probably makes you quite excited, but before you get ahead of yourself, you need to understand that lubricating a switch will change the way it sounds and feels forever. There are different types of switches and they all are impacted differently by lubricant. The three main types of switch actuation are linear, tactile, and clicky, we linked an article to help explain the difference if you’re not sure what that means. We’ll talk about how lubricant impacts each switch type.
Linear Switches: Lube Them!
Linear switches benefit the most from lubrication. Since linear switches are already designed to be smooth and consistent, adding lubricant just takes them to the next level. If you have linear switches and want to start lubricating them, do it! The switches will only improve.
Tactile Switches: Lube Them!
Tactile switches have a small tactile bump with each keystroke, so will lubing the switch ruin the tactility? Nope, feel free to lube them. Lubing your tactile switches will get rid of the scratchiness at the tactile bump, so it will improve the sound and feel of the switch.
Clicky Switches: LUBE AT YOUR OWN RISK
With clicky switches it’s recommended that you do not lube them. By applying lubricant, you will change the sound of them and if you’re not exact with your application of the lubricant, it will make your switches all sound slighly different. Some people have also accidently converted their clicky switches to tactile by accident during the lubrication process. Lubing clicky switches will decrease sounds from the switch housing, stem, and spring.
How to Lube your Switches
Since this article is mainly about picking out the best lube, we won’t go into too much detail about how to lube your switches. It can be a time intensive process of desoldering your switches from your keyboard, pulling the switches apart, and applying the lubricant.
To help you with your lubing journey, you can check out our other post on how to lube your switches. If you don’t have soldering equipment, check out our guide on how to lube switches without desoldering.
For some additional guides on how to lube your switches, check out Top Clack’s article, TaeHa Types’ video, and cijanzen’s video. In addition, here is a great picture guide on exactly where to lube on the housing, stem, and spring.
Lubing your Stabilizers: Should You Do it?
Short answer: yes! Lubing your stabilizers is much much easier than lubing your switches and you can feel the difference right away. You’ll notice how much better they sound and feel. While you’re at it, we also recommend you look into clipping and band-aid modding your stabilizers. Trust us, you won’t regret it. Keep in mind, you’ll need a different type of lubricant for your stabilizers, so keep reading for our recommendations.
We have a full guide on how to band-aid, clip, and lube your stabilizers, so you can have an awesome sounding keyboard in no time. We have two different methods depending on if you have soldering equipment or not.
How to Pick Out a Lubricant: Different Types
Let’s get down to business and talk about picking out lubricants. Which one to use? Which one to avoid? There are several different factors to consider such as if the lubricant is an oil or grease, and the overall viscosity of the lubricant.
Oil vs Grease Lubricants
There are two main types of lubricants: oil and grease. So what’s the difference? The primary difference between the two comes down to the application. Neither are better when it comes to performance, but you can make the lubing process a bit quicker if you choose oil/grease smartly.
With oil, you have the option of mass-lubing springs all in a bag while brushing the housing and stem. So, it saves you a little bit of time. Lubing switches is already a time-consuming process, but we want to do what we can to make it quicker.
Grease can only be brushed on each individual part: housing, stem, and spring. This requires a bit more time to do, instead of throwing all of the springs in a bag and oiling them all at once. Most people use a mix of oil and grease, they mass-lube the springs with oil and then brush on grease to the rest of the switch.
Viscosity of the Lubricant
Viscosity is extremely important for picking out lubricant for you switches and stabilizers. A higher viscosity means the more dense and thicker the lubricant will be. For example, honey has a higher viscosity than juice.
The general rule of thumb for viscosity is: Lower viscosity lubricants are better for tactile and clicky switches. Higher viscosity lubricants are better for linear switches. Stabilizers need a thick and viscous grease, not a thin one.
For tactile and clicky switches, good viscosities are at 3203 or 203. For linear switches, a 205 of 206 may be better. The 3204, 204, and 104 can be used for either linear or tactile switches. The numbers refer to the viscosity of the individual product, which we’ll get more into later.
The Best Stabilizer Lubricants
Since stabilizers need a thick and viscous grease we have found that a pretty basic dielectric grease gets the job done. We really like the Permatex lubricant 22058 on Amazon for a pretty cheap price.
Other thick lubricants include dielectric grease, silicone grease, lithium grease, and Extreme Fluoro by Finish Line (Amazon), but they will all work well for your stabilizers. Most of these are cheap and widely available in hardware stores such as Home Depot or Lowes. The lubricants are safe to use on plastic, and they are nonconductive. As a stabilizer lube, these are thick and great.
When you’re lubing stabilizers, make sure to use a small amount, equivalent to the size of a grain of rice for each point of contact you are lubing.
The Best Switch Lubricants
As mentioned breifly before, the viscosity of the lubricant is important depending on the type of switch you are lubing, so we’ll go over some of our recommendations for the best products. In general, switches require a slighly thinner lube, but that doesn’t mean getting your can of canola spray from the kitchen.
Best Lubricant for Tactile Switches
For a tactile switch your going to want a lubricant that is a lower viscosity. Our favorite lubricant for a tactile switch is the Krytox Thin Switch Lubricant. It comes with a brush and enough lube for your keyboard. It’s the perfect mix for a tactile switch. Another option (if Krytox is out of stock) is the GHV4 Thin Lube.
Best Lubricant for Linear Switches
For a linear switch, you want a thicker viscosity, our favorite lubricant for a linear switch is the Krytox Thick Switch Lubricant on mechanicalkeyboards.com. The lube is the perfect mix for a linear switch and comes with a brush and enough lube for your keyboard. Another option is the GHV4 Thick Lube.
Best Lubricant for Clicky Switches
As mentioned previously, you probably shouldn’t lube your clicky switches unless you really know what you’re doing. If you do want to lube your clicky swithes, we recommend the Krytox Thin Switch Lubricant.
Why We Recommend These Lubricants
Krytox is regularly used in the automotive industry. You can get this lube from many different places, such as AutoZone or auto dealers. Many people within the mechanical keyboard community rave about Krytox lubricants for the purpose of switches. One thing to note that the oils and the PTFE solids within the lubricant separates after a few days. Krytox is meant to be used within a closed system such as within cars with extreme temperatures. Switches are open systems that are open to the air, dust, and temperature.
Different Grades & Viscosity Lubes
Krytox lubricants have different viscosity ratings based on the numbers after them. For example, 205g0. The lower the number, the less viscous. Lower is better for switches. They have two different ranges: the 10x and the 20x. The 10x range are oils, and the 20x are greases. So, 205 is a grease.
They also have different grades. Grade 0 is the smoothest consistency. The higher the grade, the denser it gets. Basically, the thicker it gets. Grade 0 is what you’ll be wanting if you’re going to be lubing your switches. As a recap, a 205g0 would be a grease that is the smoothest consistency with grade 0.
GH V4 Lubricants
These lubricants are a custom mixture of different Krytox lubricants. A GH V4 thick lube is a mixture of thick Krytox oil and a grade 3 Krytox grease. It is great for linear switches, tactile switches, springs, and stabilizers. A GH V4 thin lube is a mixture of thin Krytox oil and Krytox grease. It has the consistency of oil but contains PTFE particles as well. These mixtures are great for each respective switch types.
Other Lube Options:
Tribosys lubricants are produced by Miller-Stephenson. They’re intended for general purpose and low thickness switch lubricants. They’re popular lube mixes and have an indefinite shelf life when stored within the container. Tribosys 3204 is great for tactile and linear switches. Be careful when using this because a spill cannot be cleaned with soap or water or many common solvents.
CAIG Laboratories DeoxIT
First, let’s look at CAIG Labs DeoxIT lubricant, for an affordable price on Amazon. The application of this is a spray-on. It can be a little messy, so make sure you have a workstation that is ready to get sprayed.
It is completely safe to use on ABS and PBT plastics, however, like other lubes, there is a downside. That downside is that there can be an increase in dirt and dust buildup. As a lubricant, this works fine. However, to be more precise in lubing the parts that actually need to be lubed, using a oil lube with a paintbrush may be a better option.
This is much faster and convenient than individually taking each switch apart, painting the contact points and springs, and then putting it back together.
If you do find other lubricating sprays that you would like to use, check on a small piece of plastic that you won’t value to do a trial on to be sure it won’t ruin your keycaps.
CAIG DeoxIT FaderLube
Another one of CAIG Laboratories formulas, the Faderlube which comes in a liquid form with a need dropper, lets you lube at a higher precision. It is formerly known as CaiLube MCL. It is a bit more expensive at $24.95 currently on Amazon.
From an online forum, they tested that this lubricant was safe for plastic. HOWEVER, they lost the click of their Cherry MX Blue switches when they applied this lubricant to it since it is a thicker oil (like machine oil rather than olive oil).
It tested fine for Cherry MX Red switches since there is no click or tactile point on those switches.
A member within the mechanical keyboard community, /u/uln, wanted to test and provide answers for a cheaper option than expensive Krytox Lubricants.
The conclusion was that Krytox GPL-105 could be substituted by Super Lube Oil with Syncolon and that GPL-205 (a common one) could be substituted by Super Lube Multi-Purpose Grease. They are both plastic safe and contain the same ingredients as the Krytox lubes.
He emailed Super Lube, and they emailed him back, saying that you can combine both the Oil and the Multi-Purpose Grease to get the desired viscosity that you want, although it does warrant some experimentation.
If you’re going this route, make sure to do some trial mixes and test it on a non-valuable switch before applying it to all the switches of your keyboard.
Lube Out of Stock? Other Stores to Buy From:
If you have trouble purchasing the recommended lubricants because you live outside the US or the current product is out of stock, check out some of these other stores as well. They are all very well-known and used in the keyboard community.
Novelkeys.xyz sells Krytox lubricants for $12 for approximately 5ml. They also sell Christo-Lube MCG for $8 for a 5ml container. A big benefit is that they come in beautiful glass containers that could sit next to the facial moisturizer in the bathroom if you wanted it to.
They sell Krytox 203, 204, 205, and 206 all with grade 00 and Christo-Lube MCG 111, 112, and 129 with grade 2.
Christo-Lube MCG 129g2 is very similar to Krytox 205g0. It is much thicker but consistent when applying. Remember to use less when starting out, not more. You probably can’t go wrong with any of these lubricant choices. Overall time, with experience, you’ll start to develop your own preferences for lube viscosities and brands.
1Up Keyboards also sells a variety of switch lubes. Prices range from $8.00 to $9.25.
They sell the following switch lubes:
- Tribosys 3203, which is like Krytox 203g0. This is recommended for tactile switches.
- Tribosys 3204, which is thicker than 3203 and recommended for linear switches.
- Krytox GPL 205g0, which is thicker than both above and recommended for linear switches only, NOT tactile switches
- Krytox GPL 206g0, which is thicker than 205g0 and recommended for linear switches and stabilizers, NOT tactile switches.
- Krytox GPL 107 Oil, which is a very thick oil and is recommended to switch springs and linear switches.
They all come in 2ml small vials, which approximately lubes 120-200 switches, but results may vary. Currently they have a deal where you get 15% off with a purchase of 2 or more lubricant vials. For more information, check out their switch lubricant product page.
Keys.my sells a variety of lubricants. They measure quantity as a gram measurement. If you buy 1 unit, you get 2 grams of lubricant. Depending on the lubricant itself, the actual amount of lubricant may vary due to density differences.
They have bulk sales and discounts for every lube type, ranging from 5% off if you buy 3-4 units to 35% off if you buy 100 or more units.
In addition, they have in-depth descriptions of each lubricant they sell, operating temperature, color, appearance, viscosity, density, and shelf life.
Here is a list of some of what they offer:
- Dupont GHV4
- Dupont Krytox GPL 103, 104, 105, 106, 107
- Dupont Krytox GPL 203, 204, 205, and 206 in different grades: 0, 00, 1, 2
- Permatex Dielectric Grease
- Superlube Multi-purpose synthetic grease
Switch Top has a variety of lubricant options as well.
The Geekhackers Krytox Switch Lube is a proprietary blend of Krytox lubricants, which is custom mixed by mkawa @ Geekhackers. Each vial is $15, is 2ml of lube, which is enough for lubing over 100 switches.
It is recommended for linear switches. Other than that, they do not product a lot of information.
The Super Lube is a 1cc packet of multi-purpose lubricant with Syncolon (PTFE). This product is recommended for lubricating stabilizers ONLY. It costs $2.25 for each packet.
They also sell Tribosys 3203 and 3204 switch lubricants that range from $5.00 to $6.25. This is a collaboration between Hungerwork Studio and Miller Stephenson. They are both grade 0 greases, for all switch types.
3202 is a medium thin mix, and 3204 is a medium thick mix. Both come in 2ml vials.
Apexkeyboards.ca offers 3 different lubricating products specifically for mechanical keyboards. One of which is the Tribosys 3204 switch lube at $8.00 CAD. This is a semi-fluid grease used for switch lubrication. It can be used for linear and tactile switches. You will get 2ml which is enough for over 100 switches.
Apex also sells Krytox 205g0 Switch Lube in 3ml vials for $10.29 CAD. This lubricant is a thick lubricant that has the consistency of peanut butter. It’s good linear switches, however, it is not recommended for switch springs.
Compared to Tribosys 3204, Krytox 205g0 is much thicker. Krytox 205g0 can work well in tactile switches as well, but make sure to do a trial run on a non-vital switch just so you know what feel you’ll be getting afterwards just in case you don’t like it.
While those other lubricants shouldn’t be used for switches, Apex also sells Switch Spring Oil for $2.00 CAD for 2ml specifically for your switch springs. You can use it to brush the springs or to bag lube them.
In addition, they offer a lubricant bundle of all three products for $19.29 CAD right now.
Zeal PC sells keyboard lube as well. They have different products and ship for free for orders over $150USD within North America.
They offer Tribosys 3204 and 3203 (5ml for $35), Krytox GPL 205g0 (5g for $25, approximately 300 switches), GH V4 thick or thin lube (2ml for $15).
Lubing switches is a fun project that many people within the mechanical keyboard community prefer due to the improved feel and dampened sounds that lubing produces. There are many different types of lubricants to use. We’ve compiled a long list of different ones that may be more easily accessible at local stores or online..
A general consesus is to use thinner lube for switches and thicker for stabilizers. Also you may need different types of lube depending on how your switches actuate, whether they are clicky, tactile, or linear.
Make sure that you do not overlube and test beforehand on a non-vital switch to make sure you like the way it feels before doing it to your entire keyboard.But it does dial down to preference and experimentation. We’ve covered a lot of information in this article and hope that you found it helpful.
All About Keyboard Lubes Reddit.com
NovelKeys Lube Choices Reddit.com