The perfect clicky switch can be tough to find. We’re going to help you pick out a clicky switch by laying out a list of our favorites based on sound, feel, and performance. We have tested dozens and dozens of different switches to pin down that perfect clicky switch.
The best clicky switches for your mechanical keyboard:
- Kailh BOX White
- Kailh BOX Jade
- Kailh Speed Copper (Best for Gaming)
- NovelKeys Sherbet
- Cherry MX Blue/White
Runner-Up: Cherry MX Blue Clones (Outemu, Gateron, etc)
We’ll dive deeper into why we chose each clicky switch and ranked them the way we did. We will also go over their specifications, how long they last, and include some sound tests so you can hear the switches for yourself, because with clicky switches sound is everything.
What Are Clicky Switches?
I’ll briefly explain some of the lingo commonly thrown around in the mechanical keyboard world because if you’re totally new it can get quite confusing. A mechanical keyboard switch refers to the switch under each key that supports your finger through the keystroke and registers each entry. On mechanical keyboards, each key has its own dedicated switch, which makes for some high quality and extremely durable keyboards that have some fancy features such as N-key rollover (being able to press multiple keys and once and everything will register).
Clicky switches are a sub-set type of switch that focus on producing a tactile bump and loud audible click with each keystroke. There are other switch types as well (tactile & linear) but for now we will focus primarily on clicky. Loud and clicky switches offer great feedback when typing, so you know by the sound everything is working properly. Not to mention the sound is incredibly satisfying and fun to use.
Should You Get Clicky Switches?
While clicky switches are fun to use and offer the best feedback of any switch type, there are some factors you should consider before purchasing a keyboard with clicky switches. The main factor you need to consider is the sound. If you’re working in a public space or even talking through a microphone the loud sound of the clicky switches can be irritating or distracting to those around you. While the clicky sounds may be enjoyable for you, keep in mind, it is a double-edged sword.
If you’re working from home and have a dedicated space without too close of a proximity to anyone else, feel free to get a clicky switch and start typing away, there is nothing stopping you.
Different Types of Clicky Switches: Click bar vs Click Jackets
This section may be for the more advanced people who want to learn a bit more about the technical side of how the clicky switches work. I will explain the differences between the various types of clicky switches and what that means for how they feel and sound. There are two main types, switches with a click bar or a click jacket.
Click bar switches are very cool because they produce a small click sound in both directions, on actuation and release. Usually the first click is louder, followed by a smaller click when it returns to the original position. This makes for an incredible sounding double-click on each keystroke that gives the supreme tactile feedback. Most Kailh clicky switches use this design, which is why they do so well compared to the other switches on the list. It all comes down to the click bar design.
Click jacket switches make a loud clicking sound only during the first half of the keystroke, while the spring is being compressed. There is no sound on the return of the switch to the normal position. The click jacket design is the more common design for clicky switches and is found on Cherry MX Blue/Whites and the Cherry MX clones. I’m personally not as big of a fan of this style of clicky switch, but if you can’t get your hands on a click bar switch, these definitely get the job done.
|Clicky Switch Specifications|
|Switch Name||Actuation Force||Travel Distance||Life Span (keystrokes)||Clicky Switch Type|
|Kailh BOX White||50g||3.6mm||80 million||Click Bar|
|Kailh BOX Jade||50g||3.6mm||80 million||Click Bar|
|Kailh Speed Copper||50g||1.1mm||70 million||Click Bar|
|NovelKeys Sherbet||45g||4.0mm||Unknown||Click Bar|
|Cherry MX Blue/White||60g/70g||4.0mm||100 million||Click Jacket|
Our Picks for Best Clicky Switches
Now that we’ve got some of the explaining out of the way, let’s dig into our list a bit more and explore these switches and why they ranked the way they did. Keep in mind some of the ranking is subjective, based our own opinions on what feels and sounds the best. That being said, we feel that choosing any switch on our list is a safe bet, and will leave you with an awesome-sounding clicky keyboard.
1. Kailh BOX White
The Kailh BOX White is our all-around best pick for a clicky switch. This switch makes a really nice audible click in both directions due to the click bar. The sound isn’t too high pitched or super loud, but a very satisfying clear clicking noise. The switch does not rattle in the slightest and sounds great. The BOX switch design by Kailh allows the switch to be nice and stable throughout the keystroke, so you do not need to worry about creating an unwanted noise.
The 80 million keystroke life span guaranteed by Kailh is nothing to scoff at either, these switches were made to last. The actuation force of the BOX Whites is 50g with a travel distance of 3.6mm, this puts the switch in the mid-level normal range for resistance and distance. The BOX White would make a great switch for typing or general keyboard usage. You can find the Kailh Box switch on Amazon through this link for a decent price.
2. Kailh BOX Jade
The Kailh BOX Jade is by far the loudest switch on the list, in fact it’s the loudest switch you can get anywhere. The reason this switch is ranked number two is the switch sound was not quite as nice as the White. If you’re looking for a switch based on the decibel output alone, I would recommend the BOX Jade for high-quality clicky switch. The BOX Whites produced a more aesthetic sound that was less scratchy and more clear sounding.
The BOX Jades have the same general design of the BOX Whites, with an actuation force of 50g and a travel distance of 3.6mm, making it an awesome switch for someone looking for a normal feeling keystroke. They are guaranteed to the same 80 million keystrokes as well. You can look at the price of this switch on Amazon.
3. Kailh Speed Copper
The Kailh Speed Copper is another switch from Kailh, but it does not follow the same BOX design. Instead they have a more standard switch design, but with a short travel and actuation distance. I found the Kailh Speed Copper to have best clicking sound of any switch on the list, it was by far the most crisp and the click bar made for an equally awesome sounding click in both directions of the keystroke.
The Speed Copper only ranked number three due to the overall switch design compared to the BOX. The shorter travel distance makes the switch feel less comfortable to type on and the durability is not quite as good, being rated for 70 million keystrokes instead of 80 million.
The Speed Copper switch is made more for the purpose of gaming, as the shorter travel distance allows for a quicker response time and reaction time in games where every millisecond matters. For the purpose of gaming, I recommend the Kailh Speed Copper for the best clicky switch. You can find the switch on KBDfans.
4. NovelKeys Sherbet
The NovelKeys Sherbet is a newer switch produced by NovelKeys. The switch follows the same click bar design as the Kailh switches but has a slightly long travel distance and a lower actuation force. Towards the end of the keystroke, however, the spring resistance is quite heavy making the first half of the keystroke much lighter and the second half much heavier.
If you have lead fingers and bottom out your switches on each keystroke, I would recommend the Sherbet switch as it protects your fingers from impact a bit better.
The Sherbet switch makes a nice audible clicking sound in both directions, but being a relatively new switch, I am hesitant to recommend it too much as we don’t know exactly how long it will last or if there are any issues that people have encountered. My initial impression is that these switches feel nice and have a quality design. You can find the Sherbet switch on NovelKeys.
5. Cherry MX Blue/White
The most popular clicky switch by far is the Cherry MX Blue, followed by the Cherry MX White. How the heck did these switches get ranked last on the list? Well, they have the click jacket design which means they only click when entering a keystroke during the downward pressing of the key. Don’t get me wrong the Cherry MX Blue and Whites are both great switches and sound great, the click bar design is just better all-around if you’re looking for a clicky switch.
Despite being last place, the quality of the Cherry MX switches is unparalleled. These suckers will last for 100 million keystrokes and are a safe bet for a long lasting and reliable switch. They offer two different clicky switches, the only difference being how heavy the spring is. The Cherry MX Blue has a resistance of 60g while the Cherry MX White has a resistance of 70g, so if you type with more force the Whites are a better pick. You can find many keyboards with the Cherry MX Blue already installed or you can get the switches directly off of Amazon.
Runner-Up: Cherry MX Blue Clones (Gateron, Outemu, Content)
Quick word on some of the Cherry MX clones. From my experience, the clone switches never quite match up when it comes to the Blue switches. I would say it’s debatable for some of the linear switches, but Cherry MX destroys all of the imitation switches for the Blue clicky switches. If Cherry MX Blue switches are outside of your price range, I would say the best clone switch would be the Outemu Blue. Keep in mind the durability and quality of the switch will not be as high, but they definitely get the job done. If you want to read more about the different clone switches, we have a write-up here.
We talked about our favorite clicky mechanical keyboard swiches and went into some detail about why click bar switches are better than click jackets. We ranked the different clicky switches with the Kailh BOX Whites coming in first, followed by the BOX Jades, and then the Kailh Speed Bronze switches. We would say Kailh has really separated themselves from the pack when it comes to their clicky switch design and we would like to see other companies get more competitive (looking at you Cherry).
Overall, clicky switches can be super fun and enjoyable to use, but finding the right switch can be tough. If you’re really struggling to pick out a switch, we recommend purchasing a switch tester kit similar to this one on Amazon, to get an idea of what all of the different switches sound and feel like.
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