Mechanical Keyboards Vs. Membrane Keyboards: Making the Switch

Mechanical Vs. Membrane Keyboard article on Switch and Click

Mechanical keyboards cost about five to even twenty times more expensive than a regular membrane keyboard that comes with your computer when you purchase a PC. Yes, mechanical keyboards are very expensive, but when we made the switch to them, we never turned back. Many others feel the same way. So, why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?

Mechanical keyboards are so expensive because they have higher quality parts. The parts involve more work to make, but the labor associated with putting together a mechanical keyboard is also higher than a regular keyboard. Rather than having a single layer of rubber for the switches, mechanical keyboards have individual switches under each key (For some keyboards, this could be up to 104 individual switches) that have a metal spring, high-quality plastic housing, a stem, and sometimes a tactile leaf. The cost is high, but the result is worth it for improved longevity and experience.

There are many more features of mechanical keyboards that can drastically increase the price that we’ll discuss in more detail soon. Some of these include the custom keyboard market, some features you’ve never even heard of, and appearance such as lighting and build quality.

Why are Mechanical Keyboards So Expensive? The Difference Between Mechanical and Membrane

In the table below, we outline the differences between a mechanical keyboard and a membrane keyboard. The left column names the feature that we are looking at.

 Mechanical KeyboardMembrane Keyboard
SwitchesIndividual switches for each keyElectro-mechanical membrane underneath all the keys that is cheap to make
Accuracy of key registrationA keypress triggers a pulse sent to the circuit board which tells the computer which key was pressedA keypress sends an electronic signal to the membrane, which sends the signal to the PC
Key Roll-OverA precise one-to-one output that allows for more than one key to be pressed and registered at the same timeRegisters only one keypress at a time and may or may not ignore other simultaneous keypresses
Switch feelCustomizable switches depending on your preference: linear, tactile, or clickyKeys are typically flat and feels mushy when pressed
Switch forceKey force can be changed to fit your needs by change out the switches or the switch springsKey force is not customizable due to the membrane
Switch noiseNoise level varies between different keyboards from being whisper quiet to loud clicks heard from across the room depending on switch typeRelatively quiet when typing
Case MaterialCould be plastic, aluminum, wood, or acrylic. Case weight will vary depending on materialsPlastic exterior is low-quality but is more portable because it’s lightweight
LifespanUp to 100 million keystrokes, depending on switch brandWears out when it starts to feel mushy and no longer provides feedback of keypress
Ease of CleaningKeycaps are removable using keycap puller, making cleaning the keycaps and underneath easyKeycaps are not, difficulty to access the membrane
Other FeaturesRGB lighting, hot-swappability, different keycap options, high-quality stabilizers, ability to be modded, 100% customizableLow cost, may come in a package with mouse and computer

Looking at mechanical keyboards, we see that there is more customizability and longevity. The lifespan of each mechanical switch is much longer, and the case could be aluminum instead of plastic. Although this might be less portable, it will last you a much longer time.

Keyboard on desktop

What is the Average Price of a Mechanical Keyboard?

The price of a mechanical keyboard can range from $35 to $3500. That is a 100x difference between one and the other. There are so many factors in between that you can consider.

A cheap $35 mechanical keyboard can be found on sale at stores like Best Buy or Microcenter straight on the shelf. On the other hand, a $3500 must be custom-made by someone who has experience with building keyboards, hand wiring the circuit board, lubing each switch individually, modding the stabilizers, custom-finished case, and special switches. There are so many things that can affect the price of a mechanical keyboard, so let’s get into some of these things.

Other Things to Take into Consideration That Can Increase Price

Build Quality

Some keyboards have very cheap plastic cases called ABS plastic. Over time, this plastic can accumulate grime and oils from your fingers. Mechanical keyboard cases can come in different materials. Many are plastic, these are the cheapest ones.

There are more costly ones such as custom-wood, acrylic cases, aluminum cases, and more. If you ever decide to venture into the custom mechanical keyboard enthusiast community, there are many rabbit-holes regarding case materials to fall into. Typically, aluminum cases will be the most expensive.

Aluminum cases last longer, are sturdier, and don’t allow as much sound to echo inside of the case. It offers noise-dampening properties that plastic cases don’t offer. As for wood and acrylic, I’ve only seen people custom-cut or make these themselves. They can be expensive as well, but usually they’re only offered through group buys.  

The same goes for the keycaps. There are higher-quality, more expensive keycaps made of PBT plastic, which are more durable, don’t accumulate as much grime, and don’t have a shine to them.

For more information on cases, we have an in-depth guide to mechanical keyboard cases.

Switches

Switches can range from being 50 cents for each one up to $25 for each switch. Different factors can affect the price, such as supply and demand. Some switches are available everywhere such as Cherry MX switches, which are commonly used on the most popular mechanical keyboard brands such as Corsair.

There are MX-equivalents that are made in China that will cost approximately the same or cheaper. Cherry MX switches are usually $1 each. In a full-sized keyboard, this means $104 for the switches alone.

Then there are switches that are limited edition or rarities that go for much higher prices. Some mechanical keyboard enthusiasts even go as far as combining parts from different switches to get the exact feel that they want.

For more information mechanical keyboard switches, we’ve talked about Cherry MX switches, Razer switches, and have a list of MOST switches available.

RGB Lighting

RGB lighting or lighting in general is important for many people. The LED lights are not too expensive, but the labor involved is. You must make sure that each light is placed within the printed circuit board (PCB) and that each switch housing will let the lights shine through.

Some keyboard switches will have the LED lights on them. Other keyboards use clear housing and have the LEDs on the PCBs.

Usually, RGB lighting will cost $10-$20 more.

Features You Might Not Even Know About

Hot-Swappability

Other features such as hot-swappability increases the price of the mechanical keyboard as well. With these keyboards, you can change out the switches easily using a switch puller instead of having to desolder the switch and solder a new one on. This means that if one switch breaks, you don’t have to trash the whole keyboard. Just replace a singular switch.

We’ve looked at many hot-swappable keyboards if you want to learn more.

Wireless

Another feature is being wireless. Membrane keyboards and mechanical keyboards both can be wireless but adding in a receiver does increase the price.

We’ve also looked at many wireless keyboards if you want to learn more.

Custom Keycaps

Many of you may not be familiar with the enthusiast market, but there are custom keycaps called artisan keycaps available for sale.

They are made by artists and have different themes such as Star Wars, breakfast foods, Pokemon, pretty much anything you can think of.

You can also get expensive keycap sets that go for over $100 for a full set of keycaps. The market is amazing once you look further.

Artisan Keycap on keyboard
Artisan Keycap

Custom USB-C Cables

Along with custom keycaps, we also have custom USB-C cables. These can be bought from custom makers with exact specifications such as what connector, what length, if you want an aviator cable or not, the colors, and more.

For where to get custom cables and how to order, we wrote an in-depth guide for this as well.

Summary

We’ve looked at the many differences between mechanical keyboards and membrane keyboards. We’ve also looked many factors that can make a mechanical keyboard expensive: customizability, hot-swappability, wireless features, switches, cases, materials, and more.

Here are some of the things that you may be interested in checking out if you’re interested in reading more about mechanical keyboards and reviews that we’ve done:

As always, happy typing! We hoped this helped you figure out if you want a mechanical keyboard or not.

We would love some advice on how to improve our writing and content. Please leave a comment down below  if you have additional questions that we can do research on and answer, anything that we can improve, and any comments you have.

Kinesis Freestyle Pro: Completely Frustrating to Use

Kinesis Freestyle Pro Review: So Uncomfortable on Switch and Click Mechanical Keyboards Blog

First thing first: I typed for over ten hours on this keyboard with a typing speed of about 20wpm and pressing backspace every word to type out this review for you guys. I hope you really appreciate all the effort we put into our reviews. If there is any way that we can improve our quality and content, please let us know by hitting up our email address at theswitchandclick@gmail.com or in the comments down below. Let’s get into it.

Another note: Our site is not monetized, and we make no money when you click on any of our links. Any links that are affiliated, we will write that in parentheses right next to the link themselves. We just want to give you guys the best information we can objectively. Yes, we did spend a whole lot of money on this keyboard just for me to be really frustrated.

Kinesis Freestyle Pro with the Palm Rest and Tenting Kit
Kinesis Freestyle Pro with the Palm Rest and Tenting Kit

Introduction to the Kinesis Freestyle Pro Mechanical Keyboard

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro is a mechanical keyboard made by Kinesis, and it is a split keyboard. It comes with Cherry MX Brown switches. You can also purchase the Quiet version of this keyboard for the same price with Cherry MX Red switches.  It is meant to be an ergonomic keyboard with many ergonomic features such as splitting, tenting, palm rests, mechanical switches, and multiple keyboard layouts.

The keyboard lets you switch instantly between Windows, Mac, and Dvorak layouts. It’s also fully programmable using the Kinesis firmware to switch to whatever layout you need. It comes with Windows and Mac keycaps for the control, option, command, windows, and alt keys. It also has onboard shortcuts that do not require installation of the firmware.

Let’s talk about price. It’s expensive. At full price on the Kinesis website, this keyboard is $179. But that’s not all. If you also want the tenting kit and palm rests that make this keyboard ergonomic, you’ll also have to purchase the additional VIP PRO3 kit, which costs and additional $40. So, the total of this keyboard with all the bells and whistles would be $219.

Currently, on Amazon, this keyboard by itself is currently selling for $169, which is $10 cheaper than on the Kinesis website. However, on Amazon, it doesn’t come with the 60-day guarantee or the 2-year warranty. It is currently rated 4.5 stars on Amazon with a total of 37 reviews.

It has a keyboard layout very similar to a 65% keyboard except they have extra keys such as the entire function row on its large forehead. It also has 8 macro keys that are currently programmed to productivity keys. A benefit of this layout is that the keyboard has all the arrow keys as well as buttons such as Home, PgUp, PgDn, End, and Pause and Delete. There are no dedicated media keys, but they do exist on a second layer on the Function row.

Design

Flat typing slope

When your first take this keyboard straight out of the box, it doesn’t come with a tenting kit. It has no natural slope to the typing angle unlike keyboards such as the Dierya DK61 or the Anne Pro 2. This is meant to prevent wrist extension while typing. You are supposed to float your hands over the keyboard while typing.

Flat slope of the keyboard without the lift kit
Flat slope of the Kinesis Freestyle Pro without the lift kit

20” Length Cord in Between Keyboards

The cord that connects the two halves can extend to as much as 20 inches. The extra cord length is hidden within the bottom of the keyboard, so it doesn’t clutter up your desk space. If you look at the bottom of the left side, there is a slide out lid that will reveal the extra cord.

The minimum length is at 12 inches. Unfortunately for me, there is still excess cord between the halves. When we talked about shoulder external rotation within the original ergonomic keyboard article, we found out that split keyboards allowed you to increase the distance between your hands, encouraging an open chest rather than a closed one, preventing a tight chest and shoulders.

Tenting Kit

Kinesis Tenting Lift Kit
Kinesis Tenting Lift Kit

The tenting kit costs extra, but without this kit, it would probably not be worth buying this keyboard. The accessories that come inside the kit are the palm supports and the tenting adjustments, which let you have three different slope settings: 5, 10, and 15 degrees.

The Size of the Keyboard

The keyboard is quite big. It has a full function row at the top, arrow keys, call of the keys on a tenkeyless layout basically, but in a different design. The far-left side has eight macro keys that you can change because this keyboard is 100% programmable.

Different Layouts

This keyboard offers three different layouts with a simple way to change between them. The first two are obvious: Windows and Mac. The last one is less known, and that is Dvorak. We’ve recently wrote an article comparing Colemak and Dvorak, so if you’re interested in more, then click the link to Dvorak.

Dvorak was created in 1936 and is the 2nd most popular keyboard layout after QWERTY for the English language. Its purpose is to make typing more efficient by reducing finger fatigue, lessening finger motion, reducing errors, and muscle fatigue.

It places the most common keys in the home row and the least common keys on the bottom row, allowing the base position to be used more often.

The Upsides: Why This Could Save Your Body

Ergonomics is an important thing to me due to my background in occupational therapy. It’s also very close to home because we do so much typing on a regular basis and do suffer from overuse injuries or strains from typing in an uncomfortable position.

We’ve touched on many of these topics in our article on ergonomic keyboards, but we’ll do a quick rundown here. Having the ability to split up your keyboard lets you type with shoulder external rotation or neutral. The problem with being constantly in internal rotation is that your front shoulder and chest muscles get shortened over time.

If you have wide shoulders, this keyboard can be spread up to 20 inches and will work for anybody. Another benefit is being able to tent the keyboard. When you type on a typical keyboard, your forearms are in constant pronation. Over time, this also encourages shoulder internal rotation as well. By tenting your keyboard to up to 15 degrees, you are facilitating the opening of your chest and shoulder position. It also encourages a neutral wrist position with the palm rest and ability to angle the keyboard to your liking.

And of course, there’s a benefit to typing on mechanical keyboards. Using individual switches that are easy to press lets you use less pressure to press the keys than if you were typing on a rubber dome membrane keyboard. Unfortunately, the switches are not hot-swappable, but they do offer Cherry MX Browns or Reds. These switches have a total distance of 4.0mm, a actuation distance of 2.0mm, and an actuation force of 45g each.

Split with lifting kit to facilitate shoulder external rotation
Split with lifting kit to facilitate shoulder external rotation

First Impressions

Decreased Typing Speed due to the layout of the keyboard

I could type at a rate of about 18 words per minute due to my typing style. I do not type by keeping my fingers on the home row keys. I also never use my left shift keys.

Currently, I am writing this review on the Freestyle Pro and it is going slow. I basically must change the way I type completely. It’s like learning how to type all over again.

However, despite this difficulty, I find this keyboard very ergonomic. It’s making me feel for those bumps that are right under the F and J keys. Almost like learning a new layout such as Dvorak. It might be easier to switch to a split keyboard if the layout is ortholinear because the staggered keys are difficult to remember the exact distance between each key.

So far, I’m noticing less stretching of my fingers when I’m typing despite all the typos. It pretty much forces you to keep returning to the home row keys or else you will lose your spot on the keyboard.

I’m also not sure where to put my mouse so that it’s not too far away. I just realized I never use my pinky finger when I type regularly, so there is a little bit of fatigue. Keep that mind if you do the same.

The cool features that are dedicated to productivity

On the far left of the keyboard, there are productivity macros. It has 10 additional keys on the left side of the keyboard, which makes the Escape button big.

Let’s talk through each of the macros. The first one is the Desktop button. Alright, the only function I can think of for this one is if you are doing something inappropriate in the workplace, and suddenly your boss walks in, and you press this button, which hides everything open and reveals only your desktop.

Just kidding, it’s probably great if you want a clear screen and want to start messing around with your open windows. To be honest, although the idea behind the macro keys are really cool, I can never see myself pressing them because I would have to take my left hand off the keyboard.

Okay, onto the next one, the Last App key. Pressing this key allows you to jump back to the previous application you had open. I can see this being really convenient if you are working on video editing or writing blogs and opening another window to do research.

The next one is Select All. We all know what this does. This would probably be convenient for word processing or doing office work. To be honest, I’d rather press Ctrl+A. In addition to Select All, the keyboard also offers the following keys: Undo, Cut, Delete, Copy, Paste, and Menu. It is very great to use those keys in combination with the mouse to do video editing or photo work. I actually found myself using the Last App button instead of reaching to use my mouse to use the internet for a quick Google search and then switch back to Microsoft Word to continue typing about the topic.

Kinesis Freestyle Pro Macro Keys
Kinesis Freestyle Pro Macro Keys

The Numlock Feature

But, wait there’s no number pad though. You’re right. The right side of the keyboard has an extra layer that simulates a number pad when you turn Numlock on.

This is very convenient for number entry, however, I have yet to use this feature at all. Keep in mind that I do a lot of typing, but almost no number entry.

Kinesis Freestyle Pro without any accessories

SmartSet Programming Engine

This program allows you to completely customize the keyboard’s layout without installing any software. This is in the keyboard itself, and the keyboard has up to 4MB flash memory. You can record macros of up to 300 characters long and choose different playback speeds.

If you prefer to use a graphical interface, you can launch the SmartSet App from your keyboard. Maybe I didn’t have the keyboard connected properly but I could not get the App to open up at all.

My Biggest Complaint: Took Some Time to Get Used To

One thing that I keep noticing is that when I go to press Ctrl+ something, I’ll always keeping going to the macro keys. It does take some time for your fingers to figure this keyboard out. For me, the most difficult part was getting my fingers used to where the keys were in relation to the split. I type weirdly and I jump around the keyboard a lot, so keeping them on each side was a bit difficult at first.

After a few hours of typing with the keyboard, it started feeling natural. I am impressed about my ability to adapt to such a different layout, and now I must use the left shift key, which is weird feeling as well.

For anyone who types using the home row keys, meaning you will always return to it after extending your fingers to type far away letters, it will be quicker for you to adapt to this kind of keyboard. It is not impossible for others to adapt though. The first hour or two, I was really frustrated and typed at a speed of about 15 words per minute. It was extremely frustrating compared to my usual 100+ words per minutes. After learning where the keys were, the speed quickly went up, although keys such as comma, period, apostrophe, and numbers are difficult.

Second Complaint: Why is it so big?

The ergonomic aspect of this keyboard is nice, but I think that it does have too many keys. I understand that it was meant for someone working in an office where they type a lot and need the productivity keys and the function keys, but it just seems like too much to have on your table.

This keyboard could’ve been made much smaller. The palm rests are huge and almost double the size of my hands. Each side of the keyboard can fit four of my hands…The forehead is very large and extra with the branding on the left top side.

Third Complaint: The Stabilizers

The stabilizers on this keyboard is especially rattly, especially the right shift key. It wouldn’t register for me sometimes since it clicked all funny when clicked from the far-left side.

I also occasionally find myself pressing Ctrl instead of Shift due to the placement of the keys. It is a regular layout, so nothing weird there, but I just wasn’t used to typing on a tented keyboard.

Summary

In conclusion, it’s the end of the review, and I type a little faster. It’s definitely possible to switch from a regular keyboard to a split staggered keyboard, but your productivity will drop for a couple of days while you sit there screaming every time you make a typo typing something you could breeze through a few days ago.

Despite all of that, I really enjoy this keyboard. For me, my hands are too small and feel uncomfortable and slight discomfort and fatigue typing on this keyboard for too long. It almost puts my fingers in an abnormal position. Perhaps with the cushioned wrist pad, my wrist will be in a better position. Due to my inability to jump around keys on this keyboard, it’s really fatiguing for my smaller fingers, especially the pinky finger.

So it doesn’t work for me, but it works great for my husband. He almost had no adaptation period because he does type on the home row. He also has big hands, which helps on a big keyboard.

This is a difficult decision to make, but I do not think I would recommend this keyboard. It is a great idea, but the execution of it is not the best. I’ve tried typing on keyboards such as the ErgoDox, MiniDox, Iris, Quefrequency split keyboards and have enjoyed those typing experiences much more due to how small the keyboards themselves were. They also did not have extra keys that I could accidentally press.

Another thing that I didn’t go into much was little finger fatigue. Reaching far with my pinky fingers to type Enter, Backspace, and both Shift buttons was very tiring.

However, Kinesis does offer a 60-day guarantee, so if you’re not like me (typing style or hand size), I would recommend you go out and try it. Another reason I don’t recommend it is because of the price tag. The keyboard by itself isn’t very ergonomic without buying the tenting kit. That means to get all the benefits, the total cost would be about $220, and they charge another $20 for shipping. Returns are paid for by you, so keep that in mind too.

Keeb.io Iris Split Keyboard with DIY Tent Kit
Keeb.io Iris Split Keyboard with DIY Tent Kit

In the end, I do plan on returning this keyboard. It’s not what I expected, and the price is too crazy for me to keep it and type uncomfortably. I’m moving closer to building my own ergonomic keyboard such as the Iris or the Quefrequency by Keeb.io.

How to Remove Mechanical Keyboard Keys

how to remove your keyboard keys on switch and click

Question and Answer

Hey, guys. I wanted to learn how to take off the keys on my mechanical keyboard. It’s been a long time since I first got it, and now it’s probably dirty under there. I wanted to take them off to clean them. Is there an easy way I can do it? Do I need any equipment or tools to remove the keys from my mechanical keyboard?

The easy answer is to use a keycap puller, such as this one. Another option is to make a DIY keycap puller yourself out of household or office supplies such as a paper clip or clothespin. We’ll go over how to make your own keycap puller.

Why Would You Remove Your Mechanical Keyboard Keys?

Your desk probably isn’t dust-proof. Maybe it is. Even on the cleanest of desks and the best of rooms, mechanical keyboards can accumulate dust or hair underneath the keycaps. Removing the keycaps also lets you access your stabilizers and your switches.

If you’re interested in modding your stabilizers to make it more quiet (and other techniques to make your keyboard more quiet).

Make sure you refer to the Top 5 Mistakes When Modding Your Stabilizers if you’re going to be doing that. We made all the mistakes.

You might have spilled soda on your keyboard and now you need to take apart your keycaps to clean your keycaps and your keyboard. Perhaps a specific key isn’t working, and you’re trying to diagnose why. Well, it’s super easy if you have the right tools.

Keycap Pullers: DIY and Store-bought

Store-bought Keycap Pullers

Keycap puller
WASD Keycap Puller

Many mechanical keyboards come with a keycap puller. Some keyboards that come with that is the Anne Pro 2, Keychron K1, Drop CTRL, and more. Almost every mechanical keyboard we have bought have a keycap puller (not Razer though).

There are many options for cheap keycap pullers on Amazon. If you have Prime membership, getting free shipping on these would be a deal.

If you do not have Amazon Prime or access to buying a keycap puller, you can also make it yourself.

With a keycap puller, just put the wire prongs underneath the edges of each key. Pull up on the key until you feel a click when it clicked off. Then take the keycap off the puller and repeat.

With the long wire pullers, you can pull 3-4 keys before having to take them out of the puller.

If you’re looking for more discrete ones, the circle keycap pullers might be a good option.

small circle keycap puller
Small keycap puller

DIY Keycap Pullers

Let’s start with the tools that you can find easily around your home without having to MacGyver anything. Look around your home. Perhaps you have a flathead screwdriver or a butter knife.

With those two tools, start with the edge keys first and slowly make your way in. Be careful and do not cut yourself. Also, keep in mind that these tools were not meant to be used for this, so they may scratch or damage your keycaps or switches if not careful.

Start slow and slowly put pressure in an upwards motion until you hear the click. After that, use your fingers or another thin tool to completely remove the keycap off. Be careful not to use a lot of pressure, or you may lose your keycaps.

Okay, now for the funky stuff. First go find yourself some paperclips. You might need more than one just in case you mess up.

A pair of pliers will also help with the formation of the keycap puller, but I’ve used my fingers before.

Using the pair of pliers, first straight out the paper clip. Now you are ready to form the paperclip to make a triangle shape (the musical instrument, not necessary with sharp corners). You can see a simple example in this YouTube video. For a keycap puller that you can reuse, look at this simple video here.

Another simple model using a paperclip and just your fingers is to open the paperclip so that one side has an L-shape. Simply pop that end into the gaps and pull up slowly until it pops off. The L might become a J in the process, but that’s okay. It’s not perfect and may need to be reformed many times before all your keys are pulled, but it’s super simple.

DIY paperclip keycap puller
L-shape of DIY Keycap puller
Pulling up keycaps using DIY paperclip
Pulling up keycaps using the DIY paperclip

What About Macbook or Laptop Keycaps?

Do this at your own discretion, but you can use a butter knife or flathead screwdriver as well. Other tools are toothpicks or tweezers. Be careful as this might damage the keycaps.

Simply stick your tool underneath and apply a slow upwards pressure. Some keys may have stabilizers to be very gentle. These keys are the larger keys such as Backspace, Enter, Shift, and the Space bar.

If you feel an unusual resistance, almost as if you’re breaking your keys or switches, stop and do some research. The specific laptop may need the keys to be removed in a certain way.

Summary

We looked at why you would want to take off your keycaps, two different options to buying keycap pullers on Amazin, different methods of making your own keycap puller from paper clips and pliers, and laptop keys too.

Hope this article helped you find what you were searching for.

How can we improve our articles moving forward? Let us know, and we’ll try our best to do it for you. As always, happy typing!

Question of the day: Have you made your own keycap pullers before, and were you satisfied with the results?

My answer: I have, and I was very happy because it was the first time, I ever removed my keycaps in a frenzy to clean my keyboard. I lost it fairly quickly and came to realize that official keycap pullers are much easier to use and are important enough for me to keep in a safe place.

Sources

Make a DIY Keycap Puller Out of Two Paper Clips Lifehacker.com

Take Keys off a Keyboard Wikihow.com

Keychron K1: Mechanical Keyboard Review

Keychron K1 keyboard review

Today we will be reviewing the Keychron K1, we will discuss the features and specifications along with what we like and dislike about this keyboard. We’ll also go over our experience typing and using this keyboard as well.

Whenever we review a keyboard, we force ourselves to write the review with the very same keyboard. Sometimes the keyboard is smoother or better than others, but writing this post with the K1 was a pain the butt.

We’ll go more into why it’s so difficult to type with, this was just a little preview into what we think of the K1. Anyways, we hope you enjoy the review and learn some valuable information about this product.

What is the Keychron K1?

Forward facing photo of the keychron k1

The K1 is a low-profile mechanical keyboard designed and produced by Keychron, a company based out of China. The K1 is a slim keyboard that has wireless & wired capabilities and is easy to use to both Mac and Windows computers.

The K1 comes in either tenkeyless or full-sized layout, with the full-sized layout costing an additional $20. We went for the full-sized layout for the purpose of our review. You also get to pick between Gateron Low Profile Red/Blue switches, depending on if you want clicky feedback or a linear switch.

In addition, you can also pick between white back lighting or full RGB lighting. The RGB lighting comes with 18 different settings, so there are a lot of options to get the perfect light set-up for you.

The price comes out between $74 – $94, depending on if you want TKL or full-sized, and if you want RGB or white backlighting.

What is a Low-Profile Keyboard?

A low-profile keyboard is usually slimmer and is easier to pack and take on the go. Low-profile keyboards are usually designed with a different type of switch that is thinner and has a smaller travel and actuation distance. The thinner design makes the keyboard lighter, and easy to travel with.

Picture of Gateron low profile switch on Keychron K1
Low Profile Gateron Blue Switches

The switch design are low-profile as well. The keyboard we ordered today came with Gateron Blue low-profile switches, which are basically a cheaper version of the MX low-profile Blues. Overall, the switches are very similar to MX switches.

First Impressions

Upon opening the box, we saw that the keyboard case was slightly open and had been damaged. We were surprised to see the keyboard was shipped in such a sloppy way, but after doing some research apparently a lot of people have experienced shipping problems from Keychron.

Sloppy shipping by keychron

Although the box was damaged and the shipping looked unprofessional, the keyboard was in good condition.

Included with the keyboard was a keycap puller, instruction manual, and a few additional keycaps.

The keycaps are for switching between Mac/Windows, so your keyboard layout can match the proper operating system you are working with.

Overall, the keyboard is very thin but feels quite sturdy. It’s also surprisingly heavy for how light the keyboard looks. There is a light in the top left-hand corner that shows how much battery is remaining, it’s green when the battery is charged and red if battery is low.

In the top right-hand corner, there are three blue lights that show whether num lock or caps lock is engaged, along if it’s in Windows or Mac mode.

On the back of the keyboard there are 4 rubber circular studs to keep the keyboard from slipping when used. There are no adjustable legs, so you can only use this keyboard flat.

4 rubber studs on back of keychron k1
Small non-adjustable rubber feet

On the side of the keyboard there are two sliding switches, one is to alternate between Mac/Windows mode, the other is to activate Bluetooth or wired mode.

Wired/Wireless & Windows/Mac sliding button.

The USB-C port is located in the center of the keyboard. I like placement of the port, most keyboards usually place this port on the left or right side. The nicer keyboards will usually have a port on both sides to accommodate different setups, but placing the port in the middle is a nice compromise.

I’m impressed by the overall look of the keyboard. It looks very professional, it feels sturdy, and has the nice thin profile that you would expect from a low-profile mechanical keyboard.

However, all my opinions changed once I started to use it.

The Typing Experience

A quick disclaimer before we go into the next section, this is the first low profile mechanical keyboard we have ever used or reviewed, so we’re not sure what to expect in regard to performance, feel, etc. That being said, we did NOT enjoy the typing experience of the K1.

First Complaint: The sound of the switches

From the first keystroke, we knew this keyboard was NOT for us. The Gateron low-profile Blue switches emit a high pitched, horrible clicking sound. Perhaps lubing the switches would improve the sound, but these are almost too bad to be salvaged.

The switches are not satisfying to type on, the actuation pressure feels quite low and the click sound is unbearable. The normal Gateron blue switches sound much better than the low-profile ones.

If we had ordered the red switches, it’s possible we would have enjoyed using this keyboard more. We would not recommend the blues to anybody. I need to wear headphones while typing with this keyboard because I cannot stand the noise.

Check out the Youtube video if you would like to hear how the switches sound.

Second Complaint: The flat keycaps

The keycaps are extremely flat. They make it incredibly difficult to figure out where your fingers are when typing. You really need to focus to type accurately on this keyboard, I find myself consciously slowing down my typing speed so I can type without mistakes.

Keychron K1 angled view

Having a slightly rounded keycap would make the typing experience easier. A rounded keycap helps guide your hands to let you know if you’re properly over the correct key or not. The flat keycaps are very difficult to use, especially for prolonged periods of time.

Third Complaint: Grease central

Since the keycaps are so flat, black colored, and made of ABS plastic, these keycaps develop a greasy shine as soon as they are touched. After typing with this keyboard for five minutes with clean hands, it looks like I was eating a bag of potato chips and wiped my hands off on the keyboard.

Greasy keycaps
The shiny grease marks after five minutes of use

Many other keyboards have this same issue, but generally it’s not this bad. These keycaps instantly develop a shine and look very greasy.

Summary

We really like the features of the Keychron K1. Wireless/wired capabilities, Mac/Windows compatible, 18 RGB light settings, and the fact that it’s one of the few low-profile mechanical keyboards on the market. The amount of features is pretty impressive for a keyboard that only costs $74.

In addition, the keyboard has a nice aesthetic. The K1 is thin, feels solid, and looks professional.

We have a lot of complaints, and although this keyboard is packed with features, we did not enjoy our typing experience with the K1. Some of our main complaints were the noise and feel of Gateron low-profile blue switches, the flat keycaps, and the greasy shine the keycaps develop almost instantly.

Keep in mind, the shipping of this keyboard is generally very sloppy. Our box was already partially opened when it arrived in the mail and the box had been damaged. Keychron needs to work on their shipping or else that will continue to be an issue.

Overall, it’s really hard for us to recommend the K1. Mainly because it’s just not enjoyable to type on. If you are in desperate need of a low-profile mechanical keyboard, maybe try it out and see if you like it. But we do not like it.

Seattle Mechanical Keyboard Meetup, January 2020

Today, we went to our first ever mechanical keyboard meetup!

The Event

The event was hosted in Seattle, Washington at Living Computers: Museum and Labs, in the downtown Seattle area. The entry fee was $22/each, but if you brought your own custom keyboard, entry was free.

We we’re very excited to meet some fellow hobbyists and deepen our understanding of mechanical keyboards.

Upon entering the museum, we were absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of people that had shown up! There were at least 200 people, all showing off their custom keyboards and chatting about the intricacies of mechanical keyboards.

The main attraction of the event was a meet and greet with Twitch streamer Nathan Kim, also known as Taeha Types. Nathan has a popular stream where he builds custom keyboards and assembles them, live, on camera. He is well known amongst the mechanical keyboard community.

Taeha was seated on stage discussing mechanical keyboards and streaming. Afterwards, he was constantly meeting with people over the course of the event and talking about everything related to mechanical keyboards.

Twitch streamer Taeha Types

In the backroom, there were tables lined with hundreds of custom mechanical keyboards, all with unique layouts, cases, switches, and keycaps.

People were discussing all their unique builds and the work and customization put into them.

It’s hard to go to this event and not start a random conversation with someone about mechanical keyboards, no matter how new or experienced you are with the hobby. Everyone was incredibly nice and excited to talk about their keyboard(s).

If you would like to view all the photos we took during the event, check them out here.

There were also workshops going on that were teaching people how to solder. These workshops filled up fast and had sold out, so unfortunately, we didn’t get the opportunity to join the class. Next time we’ll make sure to sign up for the soldering workshop ahead of time.

At 4pm they had a free raffle for a Das Keyboard, which brought some excitement to the event. We had to leave before the raffle commenced, so we didn’t get to see who won.

Qlavier’s Keyblade

Our Experience

Although we still consider ourselves beginner mechanical keyboard enthusiasts, we have been starting to feel like we have a better understanding of the mechanical keyboard world, and how deep the rabbit-hole goes with this hobby.

Attending this meet-up truly made us understand how much more there is to learn about keyboards, and how into it people can get. We saw interesting combinations of switches, cases built from scratch, hand-wired keyboards, and some ultra-custom keycaps. Giving every keyboard its own personality and aesthetic.

At the event, we were hoping to get some ideas for our own custom keyboard builds. We talked with several people, and they gave us all sorts of advice about building our own keyboard. They shared their own mistakes and tips for building the best keyboard possible.

Overall, the event was surprisingly popular, and the people there were friendly and passionate. The rest of the museum was also free to view, and they had lots of older technology on display. It was interesting to see the evolution of computing and gaming.

Classic computers and calculators on display

What Makes a Waterproof Mechanical Keyboard Waterproof?

Waterproof mechanical keyboards on the switch and click blog

Question and Answer

Hey, you two, I know that mechanical keyboards and water probably don’t mix well together. Most technology involving electronics and water generally do not mix. I spill drinks such as water or souparound my mechanical keyboard all the time. I’m wondering if the keyboards that advertise themselves as being waterproof are viable options to buy. So, what makes a waterproof mechanical keyboard waterproof? Is it actually?

When manufacturers advertise their device as waterproof, spill-resistant, or water-resistant, many of them are doing so without necessary scientific testing. When we want to rate a device on its dust and water-resistance, we must look at the IP (international protection or Ingress protection) rating scale. It has two digits, the first digit is solids-resistance, the second is water-resistance. The higher the number, the more resistant to being infiltrated by the substance. A device with IP68 means that it is dustproof and can withstand water immersion up to a specified pressure. Many mechanical keyboards that are advertising themselves as water-resistant can withstand small water spills, but you must read reviews and see if any tests have been done with that keyboard specifically since many keyboards have an IP rating. We’ll list some options down below.

water

The Basics of Being “Waterproof”

IP Rating

Many of you have heard of the IP rating of electronics such as your cell phone having an IP68 water resistant rating. What do the numbers mean?

IP stands for International Protection Rating or the Ingress Protection Rating. It consists of the letters IP followed by a two-digit number. This rating was created to standardize the information of protection from solids and liquids of an object. It’s better to know something such as IP68 rather than saying it’s “waterproof.”

The first number is protection against solid objects. When it comes to protection against water, the second digit is what you want to look at.

A low number means very minimal protection, but a high number will protect against things such as spills and possibly immersion as well.

First Digit: Protection against Solids

IP LevelProtection against:
0Not protected against any contact
1Solid objects greater than 50mm (hand)
2Solid objects greater than 12.5m (finger)
3Solid objects greater than 2.5mm (screwdriver)
4Solid objects greater than 1.0mm (wire)
5Dust protected; some dust permitted
6Dust tight, zero dust permitted

Second Digit: Protection Against Liquids

IP LevelProtection against:
0Not protected
1Vertically falling drops of water such as light rain
2Vertically falling drops with device tilted at 15 degrees from the vertical
3Water spray less than 60 degrees from the vertical
4Water spray from any direction
5Low pressure water jets from any direction
6High pressure water jets from any direction
7Immersion between 15cm and 1m in depth
8Long term immersion up to specified pressure

So, if your cell phone is rated IP67, this means that it has total protection from dust and can be submerged underwater between 15cm and 1m in depth. An IP68 is the best rating that a device can get, dust-tight and long-term immersion within a certain pressure depth.

dust

“Water-proof”?

When manufacturers or sellers advertise their products as being waterproof, spill-resistant, or water-resistant, spill-proof, these are mere terms that are used to make the keyboard seem sturdier and safer to use.

Some keyboards have a plastic/rubber membrane around the switches or partially around the switches so that liquids don’t touch the device’s primary electronics.

When you are specifically looking for a waterproof keyboard, make sure that the keyboard is rated on the IP scale. If it’s not, then you probably shouldn’t take that feature too seriously.

“Waterproof” Mechanical Keyboards

Corsair K68 Mechanical Keyboard

Yes, we have talked about this keyboard before, and we did not enjoy it. But it is an IP32-rated keyboard. The Corsair K68 offers a rubber membrane that covers approximately 80% of the switches, preventing water from going into the keyboard’s core electronics.

On Amazon, this keyboard is currently $89.99 for Red backlight with Cherry MX Red switches.

An IP32 rating means that this mechanical keyboard is resistant to solid objects greater than 2.5mm (which is the width of a screwdriver) and water-resistant to vertical water drops when the device is tilted at 15 degrees from the vertical.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the keyboard is spill-resistant or water-resistant. But a test video by NCIX, which involved them pouring an entire pitcher of water on top of the keyboard while it’s on and in use, shows that the keyboard can withstand water spills without any problems.

The water brushed right off. They did not open the keyboard to see if any water got into the keyboard switches or PCB. They did not do a submersion test because fully submerging a mechanical keyboard would never happen in a real-life situation.

Corsair K68
Corsair K68

Aukey KM-G3, G6, and G9

There are different options of waterproof keyboards that can be bought on Amazon. We’ll just name a few, but they’re not IP rated. Some of these include the Aukey KM lineup.

The Aukey KM-G9 is a TKL mechanical keyboard with Oetemu Blue switches. It’s advertised as being water resistant, but they do not specify what in their design makes it water resistant. It does have double-shot molded ABS keycaps. This keyboard is currently $29.99 on Amazon.

The Aukey KM-G6 is a full-sized mechanical keyboard with Oetemu Blue switches as well. It has a full metal top panel and RGB lighting. It also features a floating key design.This keyboard is currently $39.99 on Amazon.

The Aukey KM-G3 is also a full-sized mechanical keyboard with Oetemu Blue switches but it has a more compact design. It has full RGB lighting and double-shot molded ABS keycaps. It has a brushed aluminum panel. It currently costs $65 on Amazon.

A complete water spill test was done by UNWRAP on YouTube. The results show that the keyboards were completely functional during and after the water spill for typing and gaming, which is pretty awesome.

Blackwidow Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard

Razer Blackwidow
Razer Blackwidow

The Blackwidow Ultimate is water and dust resistant. It is rated at IP54. This means that it is dust-protected with only a limited number of dust particles entering the keyboard and can sustain water spray from any direction.

Whether you are snacking or drinking water or soda, this keyboard can sustain it all, even Cheetos and Cheetos dust. In terms of dust and water resistance, this keyboard has the highest IP rating.

The new Blackwidow Ultimate Green switches have two side walls around the switch stem, preventing dust and water from entering the switch. The PCB is coated by a water-repellant protective layer, giving the keyboard extra protective if something enters the switches.

Razer themselves tested how their keyboard held up against different real-life situations. When they spilled a cup of water on it, the water escaped through the drainage holes beneath the keyboard and remaining liquid was wiped off.

The side walls protected the switches from dust and crumbs such as Doritos, Cheetos, and salt.

However, make sure to not submerge or splash the USB connector opening with water as that will damage the keyboard. Razer also offers a 2-year warranty on this keyboard.

This keyboard is currently $87.99 on the Razer website, and it was originally $109.99.

Razer Blackwidow Ultimate

Sources

What is IP rating, and why is it important? 2M CCTV

COMPLETELY Spill-proof! Corsair K68 Mechanical Keyboard YouTube.com

This Keyboard SPITS Soda, We Try It In Fortnite and CS:GO YouTube.com

Best Mechanical Keyboards for the Office

Best Mechanical keyboard for the office. switch and click

Welcome, everybody!

Today we are going to talk about picking out the perfect mechanical keyboard for the office. Before we jump into the list of keyboards, we’ve created a quick guide to help you choose the best mechanical keyboard.

If you feel like you already have a good understanding of mechanical keyboards, feel free to skip this section and jump straight into the list. Otherwise, keep on reading.

Guide to picking out a mechanical keyboard for the office:

Let’s say you have a mechanical keyboard and you enjoy using your keyboard at home, then an amazing idea strikes you, what if I bring my keyboard to work? I mean, you spend eight hours typing at work, why shouldn’t you have the luxury to type on your very own mechanical keyboard in the office?

Photo by wang kenan

As you’re typing away on your loud Cherry MX Blue switches, you remember how much they drive your family crazy. The nonstop click-clacks being created from your fingers striking the keyboard are like Beethoven’s 5th to your ears and senses, but to your family, they would rather be subjected to medieval torture. There’s no way you can get away with your loud keyboard at work.

The bright, colorful lighting on your keyboard is without a doubt one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen, but to your family and coworkers it’s just distracting. You decide you don’t want to be the person at the office who looks like they are going to fly away on a UFO. You decide you need a change.

Since you’re a considerate person, you decide to get a second mechanical keyboard for the office. Perhaps a keyboard with minimal lighting and one that doesn’t create 100 decibels of sound every time a key is pressed. Something that is more workplace-appropriate, but still eye-catching enough to get a few compliments. Lucky for you, there are mechanical keyboards made just for the workplace.

Why use a Mechanical Keyboard at work?

Well, besides the fact that mechanical keyboards are objectively more aesthetic, mechanical keyboards offer customization unlike any other keyboard type. If you’re going to be spending 8+ hours everyday typing on a keyboard, shouldn’t it be designed by you, for you? Everything from the way it looks, to the how the keys feel, can be changed to get an ideal feel and look.

Photo by Niclas lllg

Customizing keyboard switches can allow for more tactile feedback, allowing for more accurate typing and satisfaction when working. There’s just something about pressing a button that gives a small bump as feedback that is intensely satisfying. The standard keyboard you use at work is most likely membrane or chiclet style, which tend to feel mushy and unstable to type on.

Many people tend to see an increase in typing speed or a boost in productivity when moving to a mechanical keyboard. Some just enjoy the experience of typing on a mechanical more, whether there is a performance increase or not. Using a mechanical keyboard is basically superior in every way.

To top it off, the durability and quality of mechanical keyboards is unmatched. Mechanical keyboards are rated to last anywhere between 50-100 million keystrokes. It’s not uncommon for your mechanical keyboard to outlive you. They can easily withstand a decade of abuse or more. Many of the original mechanical keyboards, such as the IBM Model M are still around to this day, even though they were made in the mid 80’s.

Downsides to a mechanical keyboard?

The main downside to mechanical keyboards is that they tend to cost more. The better build quality and lifespan typically make up for the extra cost, but for some, that can be a difficult hump to climb. Luckily, there are a lot of great mechanical keyboards priced in an affordable range, but they will never get quite get as cheap as a non-mechanical keyboard.

The reason mechanical keyboards are more expensive, is because every key gets its own switch underneath, instead of a membrane pad. Mechanical keyboards require a lot more components and tend to take more time and resources to build the parts and assemble them.

Mechanical keyboards also tend to be louder, but it’s possible to get a keyboard that is as-silent or more-silent than whatever keyboard you are currently using. We’ll go deeper into these types of keyboards later, but for now just keep your mind open to the possibility that mechanical keyboards can be very silent and stealthy.

Won’t the colored lights distract everyone?

While you may imagine most mechanical keyboards having colored lighting, its totally possible to get a keyboard with only white backlighting, or even without any lighting at all! It’s a common misconception to assume mechanical keyboards come with lots of different bright lights. If you do enjoy the lights, there are plenty of options available with RGB (red-green-blue) LEDs. But for an office space, were looking for a keyboard with some lights that are more tame, to avoid distracting your coworkers and yourself.

Photo by Nhu Nguyen

The list will include only include keyboards with white lighting. If you do want a keyboard with RGB lighting, keep in mind its possible to change the settings to turn off the lights, or change them to a less distracting color, such as white.

Aren’t mechanical keyboards loud?

When you think of a mechanical keyboard, I imagine you’re thinking of a loud, clicky keyboard that someone is typing on in the corner of the office, driving everybody else insane. This is a misrepresentation of what exactly a mechanical keyboard is.

While there are several loud mechanical keyboards, there are several types that are incredibly silent and stealthy. Generally, the sound produced by a mechanical keyboard is due to the keyboard switch type. Luckily for us, there are hundreds and hundreds of switch types, all with different sound output and tactile feedback. To simply things a bit, there are three main types of switches:


1) Tactile & Clicky

Gif from kinesis-ergo.com

Tactile and clicky switches are probably what you imagine when you think of mechanical keyboards. These can be incredibly fun and satisfying to type on, you just need to make sure there is nobody else in a 100-mile radius of yourself, because these suckers are LOUD.

Because of the noise, we would not recommend using these in the office, or any other public place for that matter. Restrict these to home-use only. Some examples of these louder type switches include the Cherry MX Blues and Razer Greens.

Generally, if any other companies offer a blue switch, they tend to be loud and clicky, so avoid these unless you want the noise. These switches come standard in a lot of keyboards, but you’re often given the option to swap these out for more quiet switches.

2) Tactile & Silent

If you enjoy the small bump as feedback whenever a key is pressed but cannot stand the loud noise, these are the perfect option for you. These offer excellent feedback when typing and they make virtually no noise at all. These are silent and a great choice for a switch that you would want to use in the workplace. Some common switches that have the tactile and silent qualities include the Cherry MX Browns and Gateron Browns. Typically, if the switches are brown that means they are silent and tactile. These are an excellent option for someone who wants to type in a public space and not make too much noise.

3) Linear

Linears are an interesting switch type as well. Linear switches offer no tactile feedback and in general make very little noise. These types of switches can be difficult to get used to typing on because the lack of feedback can make it tough to know when to stop pressing the key. People tend to bottom-out on these types of switches until they learn the proper actuation point.

Linear switches are also commonly used by gamers, because they have some of the fastest actuation of any switch type, since they do not rely on the friction created during tactile bump that is experienced with other switch types.

If you are not a gamer, these switches can still be a great option, just keep in mind they may take a small adjustment period to get used to typing on. Since these are generally silent switches, they can be a great option for an office keyboard and won’t distract the people around you.

If you’ve ordered a mechanical keyboard, but you’re still concerned the keyboard might be too loud, there are several modifications you can make to lower the noise and dampen the sound output.

What sized keyboard should I use for work?


There are a wide variety of different sized keyboards available. Some of the different sizes include full-sized, tenkeyless, 65%, 60%, and 40% keyboards. To decide what size keyboard is best for you, you need to look at how much space you have available to work with and which keys you actually use on your keyboard.

A full-sized keyboard, for example, has all the keys you could ever need, including the arrow keys, number pad, and the F1-12 keys. This style of keyboard is great if you have a data entry job, because the number pad makes entering numbers into your computer fast, easy, and ergonomic. Most people, however, rarely use the number pad, so this may be a waste of precious desk space.

Another great option is tenkeyless, this keyboard layout has everything but the number pad. If you don’t use the number pad often, this would be great fit for you. It allows you to have more desk space, and if you’re right handed, it means that you don’t need to reach as far for the mouse.

It’s possible to go even smaller with your keyboard, down to sizes such as 65%, 60%, and 40%. The smaller you get, the less keys there are on the keyboard. At 60%, you no longer have arrow keys, and at 40% you basically only have alphabet left. To type in numbers, usually you need to press two keys as once. These smaller keyboard sizes are not for everybody, but many people do enjoy this simple layout for typing.

A quick word on split keyboards.

If you tend to get wrist or finger pain when typing, I would highly recommend looking into a split keyboard as an option. They are more ergonomic, and it puts your body in a more friendly position for typing over long periods of time.

We have a short guide about ergonomic keyboards and typing here. Although ergonomic keyboards tend to be more expensive, the amount of strain and pain they can relieve is definitely worth the price. Our main keyboard list won’t include any of these types of keyboards, but we have another post that will help you pick one out, if you are interested.

Our Favorite Pick: WASD CODE V3 Mechanical Keyboard

Photo from wasdkeyboards.com

The CODE V3 by WASD is an excellent keyboard that comes in a tenkeyless or full-sized layout. Coming in at $155-160, the CODE V3 is very clean and is “void of any gamer over-the-top fonts and colors” and is made specifically for those who need a professional, serious looking keyboard.

We recommend ordering the keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches, because they will be the quietest switch option, but will still give you tactile feedback when typing. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, you can order the keyboard with additional O-rings which will help dampen the sound even more.

The CODE V3 has a clean white LED backlighting, so you will be able to clearly see your keys in an office with dim lighting, without worrying about starting a light show. The keyboard also allows for easy cable routing and management, which should help you avoid having a cluttered workstation full of tangled wires.

If you do a lot of repetitive tasks, the CODE V3 allows several of the keys to be reprogrammed with macros to help you boost your efficiency and cut out non value-added activities. There are four reprogrammable layers in total.

It’s hard to find a mechanical keyboard that is better suited for an office environment than the CODE V3, it’s professional, sleek, and has all the benefits of a mechanical keyboard.

Second favorite: Ducky One Grey

Photo from mechanicalkeyboards.com

The Ducky One Grey is a professional-looking mechanical keyboard geared towards those with who work in an office environment. With a case colored in different complimenting shades of the grey and white keycaps, the keyboard looks attractive and sleek.

Made for comfort and efficiency, the One Golden-grey comes with several three different keyboard stand adjustments to allow you to pick the ideal height. For a price of $109, the Ducky One Grey is relatively affordable option.

The keycaps are made from double-shot PBT, which is an extremely durable type of plastic that does not wear down overtime. Most keycaps are typically made of ABS plastic, which over time tends to wear down and develop a greasy shine. The PBT keycaps also have a more textured feel and aren’t quite as slippery as ABS.

We recommend ordering this keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches for the ultimate quiet and tactile experience.

Runner Up: Kinesis Freestyle Pro

Photo from kinesis-ergo.com

The Kinesis Freestyle Pro may seem like a strange pick, it’s a split keyboard design for maximum ergonomics and comfort. It may take a small adjustment period to get used to this style of keyboard, but it can be a great fit for those who experience wrist or finger pain when typing. This keyboard keeps your body in a more favorable position when typing.

The split keyboard is, well, split into two halves. It allows you to angle your arms outwards in a V shape, instead of inwards. It also lets you keep your wrists straight, with your arms angled upward slightly.

Coming in at $179, the Freestyle Pro comes with several adjustable settings, including retractable legs and optional wrist support. It’s also very easy to switch between several keyboard layouts such as Colemak and Dvorak.

Made for those who care about their bodies and the longevity of their typing career, the Freestyle Pro is an excellent option.

Wrapping up

We went over a short guide of what makes a good office mechanical keyboard, including picking out the proper size, switch type, and what qualities to look for in the keyboard itself. Our top three include the WASD CODE V3, Ducky One Grey, and the Kinesis Freestyle Pro.

I hope you enjoyed our list of favorite keyboards for the office! If you have any questions or anything you would like to add, please comment below.

And, as always, happy typing!

HyperX Alloy Origins Core Review : $200 Build Quality for Less than $100

HyperX Alloy Origins Core Review on the Switch and Click blog

Basic Information About the HyperX Alloy Origins Core

Let’s start with a disclaimer first. I absolutely love HyperX. My brother has owned the original HyperX Cloud headphones, which let me to get the Hyper X Cloud II headphones. And I’ve also convinced my husband to get himself a pair of the HyperX Cloud II headphones as well. They’re super comfy, and I will recommend them to anyone that is gaming or listening to music or podcasts for an extended period.

Okay, first let’s go over some basic information that we need to discuss with this keyboard. The HyperX Alloy Origins Core is a Tenkeyless mechanical keyboard that uses HyperX’s proprietary red switches. These are quiet linear switches, and they’re very similar to Cherry MX Reds.

This keyboard is priced at $89.99 on Amazon, on the HyperX website, and at Best Buy.

HyperX Alloy Origins Core
HyperX Alloy Origins Core

The Looks

The case is made of aircraft-grade aluminum. It is a matte black on the top plate and base. It is sturdy and has a hefty weight to it. Despite this, it’s still extremely portable. Just throw it in your backpack.

If someone is breaking into your home, you can probably grab this keyboard, disconnect it really quick, and slap the criminal with your keyboard base. It will sustain it.

The base has four rubber feet. It offers 3 different angles for personalization of typing/gaming angle. The kickstands have dual-adjusting feet. The three angles are 3 degrees (which is flat), 7 degrees, and 11 degrees.

It has a USB-C connector on the right-hand side of the keyboard. There is no USB-passthrough. The USB-C cable is braided, but it is very rigid and can accumulate kinks easily.

One downside I’ve noticed is that it doesn’t fit all USB-C type cables. I tried using it with the USB-C cable that came with my Drop CTRL keyboard, but it didn’t fit into the hole extending out of the port. Only the HyperX USB-C cable fit through it. So, unfortunately, using a custom-made USB-C cable might be difficult with this one.

The legends are super clean. The space bar has a simple HyperX logo (HX) on it. Despite this, it’s still very nice looking. The keycaps have a matte black finish, although they are ABS plastic with double-shot molding. The legends are laser etched. Feels great on the fingers but can pick up finger oils easily. Same with the matte black aluminum plates.

Front profile of HyperX Alloy Origins Core
Front profile of HyperX Alloy Origins Core

All the legends are capitalized, including modifiers. It doesn’t have dedicated media keys, but the media functions are integrated within the function keys.

It has RGB lighting that is completely customizable using Ngenuity, which is an app on Windows. There are multiple pre-programmed effects that you can customize. Because the switches are red, when you use solid lighting effects, you will notice the red coming through.

It works great with a yellow color, looks like the sun. Also, very delicately, HyperX has their complete logo in a glossy black above the arrow keys.

HyperX Alloy Origins Core red tint under keycaps
The red tint you see despite having yellow lighting

The Functions

This keyboard is made for gaming. It has game mode, which prevents you from hitting the Windows key and exiting out your game accidentally.

It has onboard memory for three profiles, so if you change settings on one computer, you can take your keyboard and bring it to another one without worrying about it resetting on you.

The keys have 100% anti-ghosting and N-key rollover so you can button-mash away without any worries.

The bottom row is completely standardized. Feel free to switch out the keycaps depending on what you want your keycaps to look like.

The space bar has a bit of rattle, but it is still relatively quiet. The right shift key probably has the most rattle and noise. I might be bias because I mostly use my Right Shift key. The other keys that require stabilizers feel good. They are Cherry-style stabilizers, which means just easily pop out your keycaps without messing with those wired stabilizers.

Hyper X Red Mechanical Switches

HyperX Red switch with Cherry-style stabilizers
HyperX Red switch with Cherry-style stabilizers

These are linear switches designed by HyperX themselves. They do not tell us which switch designs they based off their builds from.

The total travel distance is 3.8mm, and the actuation distance is at 1.8mm. The actuation force is 45g, and they boast a lifespan of 80 million keystrokes.

HyperX has a great information page with plenty of charts and information regarding these switches.

First Impressions

I’m starting to grow fond of linear switches. Compared to the Corsair K68 that had Cherry MX switches, this keyboard feels much sturdier and much more fun to type out. The better build quality means that the sounds that comes out of the switches and the case sounds dampened. It doesn’t echo off the plastic case because it’s not a plastic case.

The RGB lighting is very bright, and the red tint to every color doesn’t turn me off in any way. The legends are clean. It is a bit strange that the numbers and symbols are next to each other on the number row instead of stacked on top of each other. It does help the lighting show through all the legends.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t just connect this keyboard to the USB-C cable that I already had connected to my computer. I had to disconnect that cord and plug in the braided USB-C cord that came with the keyboard.

This is personal, but I did not like that the USB-C port was only on the right side of the keyboard only. My keyboard sits on the right side of my desk relative to my PC, so that was inconvenient having to route it behind my monitor and then to my PC.

Side profile of HyperX Alloy Origins Core keyboard
Side profile of HyperX Alloy Origins Core keyboard

For the price, honestly, this felt like a $150 keyboard at least. The build quality is amazing. I love the aluminum top plate and case. The black matte is nice compared to the silver of my CTRL.

The firmware that is used to customize the lighting and keys is very easy to use. It’s called HyperX Ngenuity. I installed it easily, but it did require me to have a Microsoft account because it was a Windows app.

My husband customized the colors on his PC, and then I transferred it to my PC. No problems since the colors were stored within onboard profiles.

I didn’t need the rubber feet since I prefer to type on a flat keyboard. The feet are a plus though, because I love options.

I’m used to using a TKL mechanical keyboard, so no complaints about the lack of dedicated media keys. I don’t mind using the FN key with some function keys. You can also change the onboard color profiles via the FN key with F1, F2, or F3. You can change the brightness settings to 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, and 0% via the FN key and the arrow keys.

Compared to Cherry MX Red switches, I prefer these a lot more. The total distance and actuation distance are less than the Cherry MX Reds. These are fantastic switches. They’re light and fast.

Design

As I’ve said before, this keyboard looks like a $200 keyboard. The only thing that would make it better is to have more open access to the USB-C port.

The keyboard has a floating keycap style design, which I absolutely love. Some people may not prefer this, but I think it’s cool to be able to see your switches and RGB lights. It really lights up on your desk. Also, it makes it easy to pull off the keycaps (which might be a bad thing if you’re traveling with your keyboard often) without using a keycap puller.

One problem with the design is that the keycaps are ABS plastic that’s just sprayed matte. It looks cool and feels good and grippy, but I don’t like the idea that my finger oils are slowly accumulating on this keyboard as I’m typing right now.

The keycaps can be easily replaced though, since it does have a standard layout. HyperX also offers their own lineup of PBT double-shot keycaps in white or black. How nice of them. They’re also affordable as well and makes the RGB lighting stand out even more. Currently, they are $21.25 for a set of 104 keycaps. This TKL keyboard only has 87 keys, so you got some extras.

In the associated YouTube video, we will go over the design, RGB lighting pre-programmed effects, and more.

Typing

Despite being linear switches that I don’t prefer to type with, I haven’t had that many typos with this keyboard.

While typing, even quickly or harshly, there is no pinging or tinging sounds. They feel great, I am not as fast on these as on tactile switches.

That’s it, really. They feel awesome. No noises, no shaking keyboards, just great performance in general.

typing test of 15wpm
Very few mistakes, which is good for typing on linear switches.

Complaints

I only have two complaints. One is that the USB-C port is on the right side and that you MUST use the HyperX USB-C cable, which is stiff and can get kinks easily. The second is that the keycaps are sprayed a matte black and made of cheap ABS plastic which accumulates some nasty nasty over time.

These both could be personal preferences, since the keys do feel great to type on. Not slippery at all. They sure don’t feel like the shiny plastic of other keycaps.

Summary

For a keyboard of this high of a build quality to be under $100 is amazing. This keyboard is only about $90. The HyperX red switches are great, they’re like Cherry MX reds but shorter and faster. They boast a long lifespan of 80 million keystrokes, not as good as the 100 million of Cherry switches, but you’ll never get there anyways.

The keycaps feel good but may be the downfall of this keyboard. Good thing the easy solution is just to get a new set of PBT double shot keycaps and put them on since it has a standard layout.

My primary love for this keyboard is in the aircraft-grade aluminum frame. It has rounded edges; it looks like a black stealth jet. Flying in the night sky. All in all, HyperX is absolutely winning! They’re killing the gaming headset game and now they’re branching into the mechanical gaming keyboards arena as well, and with a winning chance at that.

Sources

HyperX Alloy Origins Review – Are These NEW Switches Worth It? YouTube.com

HyperX Alloy Origins Core Mechanical Gaming Keyboard HyperXGaming.com

Guide to Mechanical Keyboard Cases

guide to keyboard cases

Let’s say you’re looking to build your very own custom keyboard and you’re stumped on what case to choose. Or, maybe you are trying to decide between several different keyboard models, you just have no idea what keyboard to choose.

Well, today we will go over several of the different keyboard case sizes and materials. We’ll discuss what we like and dislike about each material, and hopefully help you choose what type of case your next keyboard will be made of.

Make sure everything fits

The layout of your keyboard will determine what size case you will need. For example, a full-sized keyboard will need a case that fits all the components required for a full-sized keyboard. There are dozens of different keyboard sizes and once you start to venture into the world of split and ergonomic keyboards, there are even more types.

How do you determine what size is best for you? Well, it comes down to personal preference. A lot of people don’t feel the need to use a number pad anymore, so they go with a tenkeyless keyboard. A tenkeyless board is basically a keyboard with all the normal keys, minus the number pad. There are also 75%, 65%, 60%, and 40% keyboards. The smaller they get, the more keys that are removed in favor of a smaller, more compact keyboard.

It’s important to make sure the case you pick out matches the size of your printed circuit board (PCB) and plate. If these component sizes do not match, the keyboard will not fit together properly. It’s usually easiest to buy a kit that comes with the PCB, case, and plate together, so you do not need to worry about the parts not fitting properly together.

If you’re looking for an ultra-custom set-up on the other hand, you will need to do more legwork to make sure all the components fit together properly. This will include a lot of research into each of the components and looking to see if other people have assembled the same parts successfully in the past. I would recommend researching other custom keyboards built in the past to find something that you enjoy the look of.

Keyboard Case Sizes

The most common sized keyboards include: Full-sized (100%), TKL (80%), 75%, 65%, 60%, and 40%. There are split keyboards as well. Split keyboards are basically a standard keyboard split into two halves.

The benefits to split keyboards include better ergonomics and can be easier to type on. Purchasing the case for a split keyboard can be difficult because you will need to purchase the LH case and the RH case separately. We caution you to be careful when buying the case for a split keyboard as it can be easy to order the incorrect parts.

Material Types for Keyboard Cases

There are several different types of materials that keyboard cases can be made from. The most common two are aluminum and plastic. Aluminum and plastic are the easiest to mass produce, which is why so many keyboards are available in these two types of materials. The less common keyboard case types are acrylic and wood, to order these you will generally need to get them custom made by someone online. Or you could design these keyboards yourself, if you are DIY inclined.

Each material has its own look, feel, and weight to it, and can change the way each keystroke sounds when typing. On top of that, some materials are more durable and can last longer than others. Picking the right material comes down to personal preference and how much you are willing to spend.

Plastic

Without a doubt the most common material to build a case out of, plastic is the easiest to manufacture and is the cheapest of all the material types. Plastic keyboard cases typically come in black or gray but can easily be produced in other colors as well.

Photo by u/HandsomMichael

Typically, plastic keyboard cases are made of ABS plastic and have a metal plate to help support the structure of the case. ABS plastic is used because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to liquefy when forming plastic components. This makes injection molding and 3d printing easier. On top of that, ABS plastic is resistant to corrosive chemicals and physical impact.

Another plastic type commonly used in the construction of keyboard cases is polycarbonate (PC). PC is like ABS but has a better toughness, which makes the plastic more impact resistant. A lot of keyboard cases nowadays are a blend of PC & ABS plastic, which make a more reliable material when combined.

PBT plastic is commonly used in the design of keycaps, because it does not develop a greasy shine to it like ABS keycaps do. While this material is great for keycaps, it is too brittle to be used in the construction of a keyboard case. When taking any sort of impact, the PBT will crack or shatter, while ABS will bend to take the impact.

While plastic is the most common material to make a keyboard case out of, it is by no means the best. A lot of people describe the experience of typing on a plastic keyboard as rattily or unstable. The key strokes have more bounce to them and overall do not feel as sturdy.

This can be improved by adding a dampener or metal plate to the inside of your keyboard, but overall plastic is not preferred for the case material. It is the most economical and will continue to be produced to keep costs low, so more people can afford to purchase mechanical keyboards.

Aluminum

Aluminum cases are another common option available, they tend to be heavier and sturdier. They are a great option for someone who wants a case that feels solid and stable. Generally, aluminum cases are less flexible and more rigid than the plastic counterparts.

The quality of aluminum cases can widely vary. The more upscale aluminum cases tend to have better better machining from the manufacturer, which allows for a more precise, clean case to be built. The better aluminum cases also tend to be heavier as well.

The anodization/finish of the aluminum also determines the quality of the product. Anodization is the process of converting the outer metal surface into a more decorative, durable, and corrosion-resistant layer. This is typically done through an electrochemical process of placing the aluminum in an acid bath and passing an electrical current through the metal.

In general, a product that has been anodized more thoroughly, will last longer and have a much better finish afterwards. The outer layer will disappear over time, so it’s better if the anodized layer is thicker.

Aluminum cases are a great choice of material for a keyboard case, but it would be in your best interest to make sure the quality of the metal is good. Or else it may make sense to go with the plastic option. Keep in mind that metal cases are more conductive, and tend to be colder in the winter, so it may be uncomfortable to touch when the temperature is low.

Stainless Steel

Steel cases are much less common than aluminum, as they are much more difficult to produce and machine. Steel is generally much heavier than aluminum and is the most impact and bend resistant of the case options you can buy. It is also rust resistant.

Photo by u/bakingpy

A stainless-steel case will make the key presses feel stiff and less bouncy. This is a great option if you want a very tough, heavy case that can take a lot of abuse. Stainless-steel cases typically only come in different shades of silver/grey and are usually shiny and reflective.

Acrylic

Acrylic cases are interesting option as well. While Acrylic is technically a plastic, it has the physical qualities of glass. Acrylic is a transparent plastic that is incredibly strong and stiff, and weathers very well over time. It’s about half the weight of glass, but much more impact resistant.

Acrylic cases are made by laser cutting sheets of acrylic into the proper shape. They generally need to be about 4-5mm thick to achieve proper stiffness and strength.

Photo by u/sherminnater

People like to acrylic cases for the clear see-through aesthetic, as it tends to show off lighting better than other case materials. Keep in mind that acrylic can scratch easily, and it can crack if you drop the keyboard. You need to be a little more careful with a case made from acrylic to avoid damage. They are also slightly more flexible than the metal counterparts.

Wood

Wood cases not commonly used on mechanical keyboards. They require a bit more work to prepare, such as cutting, sanding, and finishing. The quality of a wood base depends mostly on the type of the wood used, and how it’s prepared.

Wood cases offer some of the most interesting aesthetic choices, due to the different wood types and ways to produce them. Some of the most common choices are rosewood, zebra wood, and walnut. Generally, these case styles are only available on custom-made 60% keyboards, but there are some other ones available online, it just takes a little extra research.

Photo by u/madditup

Some of the benefits to a wooden case include, a nice solid feel, unique aesthetic, and the fact that they do not bend very much.

Different Mounting styles

Keyboards also have a wide variety of different mounting styles and configurations. Some of the keyboard mounting styles include tray mount, top mount, bottom mount, sandwich mount, plateless mount, integrated plate, and gasket mount.

Each style refers to a different way in which the PCB and plate are secured to the case. It also refers to how the switches are held in place as well.

Check out the graphic below for a better understanding of each style.

Photo from thomasbaart.nl

Wrapping Up

There are many things to consider when picking out a keyboard case that will work for you. You need to know what size keyboard you want, the material type, and which style of PCB/plate mounting you prefer. Picking out the details of everything can be difficult, so if you feel overwhelmed or confused, we would recommend checking out several keyboard kits online. The kits take a lot of the guesswork out of building a custom keyboard and make the process smoother overall.

Whether you prefer a plastic, aluminum, steel, acrylic, or wood base, none of the options are to superior to another. It all comes down to your budget and personal preference.

We hope that this guide helped you in choosing which keyboard is best for you.

And, as always, happy typing!

What lube to use for mechanical keyboard switches?

what lube to use for keyboard switches at the switch and click blog

Why do we lube switches?

Lubricating surfaces that touch and move along each other can reduce friction and make the switches glide smoother. This can be a good thing or a not as good thing. Of course, linear switches will work even better with lubricants since there is no point where there is a click or tactile bump.

Clicky and tactile switches can be lubed as well, which can improve feel and sound, but be cautious to where and how much lubricant you are applying since this can affect the tactile bumps that you all and myself love so dearly.

Lubing switches can decrease sounds from the switch housing, stem, and spring if you choose to lube your springs too.

For some awesome guides on how to actually 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. And another great picture guide on how to lube switches.

Lubricants

First, let’s talk lubricants. Which one to use? Which one to avoid?

When we look at lubricants, we think of them as two categories, oil or grease. Some greases are silicone or dielectric grease. The primary difference between the two comes from the application of them. Grease can only be brushed on each individual part: housing, stem, and spring.

With oils, 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. It’s already a time-consuming process, but we want to do what we can to make it quicker.

What is viscosity, since we hear it so much?

Higher viscosity means the more dense and thicker it will be. Honey has a higher viscosity than juice.

Lower viscosity lubricants are better for tactile and clicky switches. Higher viscosity lubricants are better for linear switches.

Cijanzen, from KeebTalk, explains that lubing switches is like finishing wood, “The best analogy I can think of is comparing finishing wood with an oil coat or painting over it. The oil finish will fill minor imperfections in the wood and perhaps give it a glossy or matte finish but in general it’s about highlighting the underlying qualities of the wood. This is opposite to paint whose purpose is to entirely cover the imperfections in the wood, masking its original qualities but perhaps making the wood useable whereas perhaps it was not before.”

For tactile and clicky switches, good viscosities are at 3203 or 203. For linear switches, a 205 of 206 may be better. Based on cijanzen’s opinion, the 3204, 204, and 104 can be used for either linear or tactile switches.

Tip: When first starting out, use less. It’s easier to add more lube if needed than to take off lube that’s already been applied.

Stabilizer Lubricants

Stabilizers and switches work different, and therefore, they need different lubes. As we’ve seen before, stabilizers need a thick and viscous grease, not a thin one.

Examples of thick lubricants include dielectric grease, silicone grease, lithium grease, and extreme fluoro by Finish Line.

Most of these are cheap and widely available in stores such as Home Depot or Lowes. They’re safe for use on plastic, and they are nonconductive. As a stabilizer lube, these are thick and great. For switches, these are not good due to their thickness.

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.

So now we know what to use for stabilizers and what NOT to use for switches. Let’s move on.

Switch Lubricants

Switches require a thinner lube such as oil or a light spray, now that doesn’t mean getting your can of canola oil spray from the kitchen.

There are so many keyboard lubes to look at. We’ll first look at some general lubricants that can be bought on Amazon or at local shops.

CAIG Laboratories DeoxIT

First, let’s look at CAIG Labs DeoxIT lubricant, priced at around $17 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.

Super Lube

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.

Krytox Lubricants

Krytox is regularly used in the automotive industry. You can get this lube from many different places, such as AutoZone or auto dealers and, of course, Amazon.

Many people within the community use Krytox lubricants. 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.

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. This one is seen frequently because many in the mechanical keyboard community like to use this lubricant for both stabilizers and switches.

small clear vial
Many lubricants come in small vials such as this and can be stored on the shelf indefinitely.

Tribosys Lubricants

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.

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. Make sure to do a test run (I seem to be saying this a lot).

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.

Note: Do NOT use WD-40 on your switches. It is NOT a lubricant. Its purpose is to be a solvent or rust dissolver. WD stands for water displacing.

Where can I buy them?

As keyboard enthusiasts, we don’t need that much lube. Many companies sell lubricants in small amounts just for the keyboard community.

Novel Keys

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

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

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

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.

Apex Keyboards

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

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).

Summary

Lubing switches is a preference 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 only such as Tribosys lubricants.

A consensus of the mechanical keyboard community is to use thinner lube for switches. 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.

Many have used the Krytox and Tribosys lubes and recommend them to others to use to lube their switches. Make sure that you read about whether the lube is appropriate for linear or tactile switches before you ruin a nice clicky keyboard.

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.

I sure did. Now I know what kind of lube I’ll be purchasing in the future to lube my tactile switches.

Leave a comment down below of any questions, suggestions on what we should do research on next, comments, or whatever you want.

And a question for you: What lubricants have you used to lube your switches? What switches were they? What effect did they have on your switches? Did you like it or not?

Happy typing!

Sources

All About Keyboard Lubes Reddit.com

Which Lube for Switch Lube: An updated guide on the what, how, and where of switch lubricants Keebtalk.com

NovelKeys Lube Choices Reddit.com