How Long do Mechanical Keyboards Last?

It can be difficult to justify buying an expensive mechanical keyboard for yourself when there are so many cheap non-mechanical keyboards available. Before committing to the purchase of a new mechanical keyboard, you’re probably curious, how long will this mechanical keyboard last for? Is it worth the price?

Mechanical keyboards can last for up to 10 years or more depending on how heavily they are used. Mechanical keyboard switches are rated for 50+ million keystrokes, which will last for years of heavy use. If you are willing to repair some of the parts as they break, mechanical keyboards can last for even longer. The quality of your keyboard also matters, a pricier keyboard will usually last longer than a cheaper one.

We’ll break down some of the details of what makes certain mechanical keyboards last longer than others and go over parts that can be repaired to increase the time your mechanical keyboard can be used.

There are also several features that can make a keyboard last longer, so we’ll go over that as well.

Why do Mechanical Keyboards Last So Long?

At first glance mechanical keyboards don’t look too different from a normal keyboard. So, what makes mechanical keyboard so special? Why do they last so long?

Anne Pro 2

Well, mechanical keyboards have much better quality than normal keyboards because they have more reliable parts and build structure. Every single key on a mechanical keyboard has its own independent switch mounted underneath. This allows for each key to have its own feel and response when pressed.

The switches have an incredibly long lifespan. You’re looking at 50-100 million keystrokes before the switch will even think about breaking. Normal keyboards generally don’t have quality standards anywhere close to those requirements, which is what makes mechanical keyboards so impressive.

Most membrane or chiclet style keyboards are mass produced for the public and are focused on a product that is extremely low cost, so in general they are not built for longevity. For reference, the IBM Model M mechanical keyboard, one of the first models of mechanical keyboards originally produced in 1984, still has a lot of keyboards that are still working 25+ years later.

The Model M uses the old buckling spring design instead of Cherry MX style switch, but they were the first to proof the mechanical keyboard design and the rest is history.

Post image
IBM Model M Industrial. Compliments of u/j0d1

What Parts are Easily Replaced on your Mechanical Keyboard?

A cool feature with mechanical keyboards is its quite easy to repair many issues that may come up with your keyboard. Whether you are DIY inclined or not, some fixes can as simple as ordering a replacement part online and spending 5-10 minutes replacing the broken part.

Lots of Repairable Parts

Mechanical keyboards are very similar to a PC. When ever a part breaks on your PC, it’s possible to buy a new part and replace. For example if one of your RAM sticks corrupt, you simply order a new stick of RAM online and replace it.

Some of the mechanical keyboard parts that are most likely to break first are the switches, keycaps, and stabilizers. The switches, as mentioned before, are rated for millions and millions of keypresses. So, after a few years to a decade of heavy use, one or two of your switches may break.

Broken PartHow to Fix/Replace PartCost to Repair
SwitchDesolder/unplug the broken switch and replace with a new switch. May require soldering and desoldering.New switch will cost ~$1. Will require solder kit unless you have a hot-swappable keyboard.
KeycapRemove broken keycap with fingers or keycap puller. Replace with new keycap.New keycap will cost anywhere between $0.50 to $2 depending on keycap material.
StabilizerRemove broken stabilizer from plate/PCB. Replace with new stabilizer.New stabilizer will usually cost ~$2 but can go up to $25 depending on which stabilizers you have.

Switches

In that case, we recommend ordering spare switches online and replacing the part yourself. This will require you to desolder the broken switch from the keyboard PCB, and re-solder the new switch back on. If you have a hot-swappable keyboard, however, no soldering is required.

Keycaps

Over time the keycaps will wear down from the friction of your fingers sliding over the tops of the keycaps. The letters/numbers on the keycaps will start to disappear and the keycap plastic will thin out. This will be after lots and lots of use, so no reason to worry about this happening if your keyboard is only a few years old. It’s a relatively easy fix, all you need to do is order the replacement keycaps online and replace the broken ones.

Stabilizers

The stabilizers are another issue that may develop over time. Stabilizers are used to keep your larger keys, such as space bar and enter key from shaking too much. To repair the stabilizers, you need to remove them from the PCB and replace with a new stabilizer. There are different styles of stabilizers, but generally you just unclip/clip them to the PCB.

What Features Make a Mechanical Keyboard Last Longer?

There are several things to look for when buying a mechanical keyboard that will help increase the longevity of the keyboard. These features are usually more wear and tear resistant and because of that will usually cost more as well.

Detachable Power Cable

Mechanical keyboards with detachable USB power cable tend to last longer than ones with a fixed non-detachable cable. If the non-detachable cable gets damaged in any way and no longer works, you will need to replace your entire keyboard to fix the issue.

A keyboard with a detachable power cable does not have this problem. If the detachable cable gets damaged it’s easy to order a new cable online for a relatively cheap price. No need to buy a brand-new keyboard just because the power cable broke. There are different f power ports on keyboards, but generally USB-C is considered the best.

keyboard with custom cable
Mechanical keyboard with custom detachable power cable.
Photo compliments of u/EST4R

Splash Resistant or Waterproof

Over the many years of owning a mechanical keyboard, there’s a pretty good chance that you may spill something on your keyboard. Whether you accidentally dump soda, beer, or water on your keyboard, it’s a good idea to buy a keyboard that is splash resistant.

A splash resistant keyboard will not get damaged by water or soda spills. As long as you’re not taking a bath with your mechanical keyboard and fully submerging it, a splash resistant keyboard will protect the vulnerable parts of your keyboard from water damage. The PCB is generally the most vulnerable component, so avoid getting water on this part if possible.

Aluminum Keyboard Case

The case is an important part of the keyboard, as it protects the inner components from outside damage and impact. The case will also determine how the keyboard feels in your hands, whether it’s heavy and solid or light and flimsy. It can also change how each keystroke will sound, as a heavier case will generally make your keystrokes sound deeper and fuller.

Cheaper mechanical keyboards tend to come with a plastic case. Plastic is by far the cheapest material to produce which is why it’s used so widely. There are some downsides to plastic. Plastic cases are lighter and more flexible and will scratch and bend more easily than other types of material. Because of this, they don’t usually last as long as other case materials such as aluminum.

Aluminum keyboard casing is usually a bit more expensive but does a much better job at protecting your keyboard from the outside elements. Aluminum is a much heavier, stronger material and can take more abuse before it will scratch or bend.

PBT Keycaps

The plastic material the keycaps are made of will also determine the how long your keyboard will last. The standard plastic material for keycaps is ABS plastic. Over time, a keyboard with ABS keycaps will start to develop a greasy shine and it will look like someone was typing after eating a bag of potato chips.

PBT vs ABS Keycaps
PBT vs ABS Keycaps

PBT keycaps, on the other hand, are made from a different type of plastic that does not develop this greasy shine. This style will last much longer, and will look brand new for a long time, even after heavy use. For this reason, we recommend buying a keyboard with PBT keycaps if your interested in the longevity of your keyboard.

Less RBG Lighting

While people find colored backlighting on a keyboard exciting and enjoyable, backlighting can cause issues over time. RGB lighting can have issues due to LED bulbs going out over time, and unlike other components are not that easy to replace.

Also, RGB lighting requires more parts to be soldered to the PCB which creates more possible points of failure on the PCB. Because of this, having RBG lighting can make your keyboard more susceptible to damage over time.

Conclusion

There are a lot of reasons why a mechanical keyboard will last longer than a normal keyboard, such as better build quality and higher standards for how long the components will last. If you’re wanting your keyboard to last even longer, mechanical keyboards are easily repaired, and broken parts can be replaced.

In addition, there are several features you can look for in a mechanical keyboard that will make it last longer than other keyboards. Look for a detachable power cable, splash-resistant design, aluminum case material, PBT keycaps, and minimalistic lighting.

We hope you enjoyed this post. As always, happy typing!

Should your Mechanical Keyboard have a Volume Wheel? Our keyboard picks.

Are you looking at purchasing a new keyboard? Perhaps you want one that can easily adjust volume levels on the fly. Volume wheels can be a great option, but the question is, are they a gimmick or worth getting?

We’ll discuss what we think of volume wheels and if you should get a keyboard with one installed.

While volume wheels can make changing the volume levels on your computer very easy by raising/lowering the sound by just scrolling the wheel, they unfortunately tend to not be very useful. Volume wheels built into a keyboard are not very reliable and can fail or act sporadically at any moment. If you want a volume wheel, it’s recommended to get a separate detached volume wheel. With its own dedicated connection, the volume wheel will be more reliable and can be placed anywhere on your desk.

Although they are not very useful, volume wheels can still be a great fit for some people. We’ll go more into the details of the different types of keyboard volume wheels and look at some of our favorite keyboard choices.

What is a keyboard volume wheel?

A volume wheel is a circular wheel built into the keyboard structure that when spun, will adjust the sound levels output by speakers or headphones.

The volume wheel can be useful for those who constantly need to adjust their sound levels and don’t want to go into the settings on their computer. It can be used by gamers, streamers, audiophiles, and anyone who listens to music while working from their computer.

Most keyboards do not come with a volume wheel installed, they instead have dedicated media keys to change the volume levels. Other keyboards have them placed on lower layer so they can be activated when pressing FN + one of the F keys. Both styles are easy and efficient to use.

Many people enjoy the feel and convenience of a volume wheel, as it can be much more enjoyable to use instead of just pressing a key. Spinning the volume wheel lets you act like a DJ for a short period while changing your sound levels.

Just keep in mind, you might get auditory feedback when using the wheel and changing the settings may not always move smoothly. Sometimes the wheel doesn’t respond at all when attempting to change the sound levels. Other times it may jump up or down too much.

Not All Volume Wheels are the Same

It’s important to note that not all volume wheels are the same exact style. Most volume wheels are vertical and are spun by rotating clockwise to increase the volume and counterclockwise to decrease the volume.

There is another style that is horizontally mounted inside the keyboard, and you can only see a small rounded part. The horizontally mounted volume wheel is different in the design and feel, to change the volume levels you roll the wheel up and down respectively.

Horizontal Volume Wheel

Neither style is considered superior to another, as they both are entirely dependent on what the user prefers. The vertical style is activated by rotating the wheel with your index finger and thumb, while the horizontal wheel is rotated by running just your index finger across it.  

Because of this, the horizontal style is easier to spin. However, it is also easy to jam. If any sort of debris gets inside the horizontal wheel, it can be very difficult to fix and may require you to remove the wheel to clear out the debris.

Das Keyboard vertical volume wheel
Vertical Volume Wheel

Issues with a Keyboard Mounted Volume Wheel

Due to several quality issues with keyboard mounted volume wheels, it’s difficult to recommend someone to buy these keyboards. Due to the fact the volume wheel needs to share the same USB input of the keyboard, it can create many problems.

In addition, these keyboards will sometimes require additional software installed on your computer to get them to work properly. Nobody wants to go through the trouble to download software that will bog down their computer just so they can properly use their keyboard.

Some of the possible issues include:

  1. Volume wheel movement does not register.
  2. Volume changes jump up and down more than it should.
  3. The user gets some auditory feedback when adjusting sound levels.
  4. Keyboard software does not work properly.

Get a Separate Volume Wheel

Independent Volume Wheel

If you still want a volume wheel, but a keyboard mounted volume wheel no longer sounds appealing, consider purchasing a separate, independent volume wheel. By having a separate volume wheel, you will see that the volume changes are more reliable and responsive. Since your keyboard and volume wheel will operate on separate USB inputs, the volume wheel will work more consistently, and the wires will get crossed less, hypothetically and literally speaking.

For the true audiophiles out there, consider getting a headphone amp and a volume wheel. Like the world of mechanical keyboards, this can get pricy and is quite the rabbit hole!

The benefits of a headphone amp are the volume controls are completely independent of the keyboard and will provide the highest quality sound possible. When your music reaches its peaks, the headphones don’t receive enough power and the sound gets distorted. With a headphone amp, the headphones will receive enough power and the sound will be much cleaner.

Best Keyboards with A Volume Wheel

If you’re still dead-set on a keyboard with a built-in volume wheel, we’ll go over some of our favorite picks with this feature that are not too gimmicky and that are reliable.

#1 Pick: Das Keyboard 4 Professional

The Das Keyboard 4 Professional keyboard is our number one pick. This keyboard is quite expensive coming in at $169, but the quality and craftsmanship are high. With a vertical style volume wheel, this is the most reliable keyboard on the list.

In addition to the volume wheel, there are some cool and unique features such as a USB 3.0 hub with two ports. It’s incredibly uncommon to find a keyboard with USB 3.0 ports, most keyboards are lucky to have 2.0 ports or any additional ports at all. USB 3.0 is 10x as fast as 2.0.

Also, there is an adjustable detachable footbar that also doubles as a ruler for taking measurements on the fly. Useful for both engineers and artists, or anybody who needs a straight edge.

You have the option between Cherry MX Blue and Brown switches, so whether you enjoy loud and clicky switches or a simple tactile switch, there are options for you.

#2 Pick: Redragon K550/K580

The Redragon K550 and K580 are both excellent picks and come standard with a horizontal style volume wheel. These keyboards are a bit more affordable coming in at $60-$70.

If you enjoy lights on your keyboard, these keyboards come with several RGB lighting options including individual key lighting and general keyboard backlighting, which allows for a lot of customization.

These keyboards come with Cherry MX knockoff switches, Outemu’s.

#3 Pick: Logitech G710

The Logitech G710 also comes with a horizontal style volume wheel and six programmable G-keys. An interesting pick for those who enjoy a keyboard with lots of programmability and customization.

The Logitech G710 comes outfitted with Logitech’s own proprietary switch that is tactile and silent, similar to the Cherry MX Brown.

Conclusion

While volume wheels can be an interesting and novel to have on your keyboard, they tend to be gimmicky and not reliable. If you really enjoy using a volume wheel, we recommend buying a separate volume wheel altogether.

If you are still determined to buy a keyboard with an integrated volume wheel, we recommend the following three keyboards: Das Keyboard Professional 4, Redragon K550/580, and the Logitech G710.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and as always, happy typing!

Explaining Different Mechanical Keyboard Layouts: ANSI and ISO

iso layout keyboard
ISO Layout

On some mechanical keyboard forums recently, I’ve noticed that some people are asking for ISO keyboards or ANSI keyboards. We did some research, and in this article, we’ll tell you all about what we learned. What are the differences between ANSI and ISO layouts on mechanical keyboards?

The acronyms, ANSI and ISO, stand for two different world’s standards organizations. ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute, and ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. These are both keyboard layouts that describe the size and position of the keys. These are different than the logical layouts such as QWERTY, Colemak, Dvorak, etc. ANSI and ISO keyboards differ in the size and orientation of the Enter key, Backslash, and Left Shift keys.

Many mechanical keyboard users say that the keyboard layout really depends on the user, but there are benefits and disadvantages to using either layout.

ANSI vs ISO Layout

 ANSIISO
Enter keyEnter key is a wide rectangle. This is seen commonly in keyboards in the United States.Enter key is an upside-down L-shape.
Backslash keyBackslash key sits above the Enter key, and fingers need to stretch to reach it.Backslash key is to the left of the Enter key, and fingers do not need to stretch as far.
Left Shift keyLeft shift key is the same size as the Right shift key.Left shift key is about 50% of the size of the right shift key and is the same size as the Ctrl key.
Right Alt keyLeft and Right Alt keys are the sameThe right Alt key is replaced with a Alt Gr key.
Number of Keys104 keys for full-size keyboard and 87-keys for a standard tenkeyless layout.105 keys for a full-sized keyboard of 88 keys for a TKL keyboard.
Commonality of keycap setsTypically, keycaps are common in ANSI layout.ISO keycap sets are less common, many people living in countries that use ISO layouts buy an ANSI keyboard just for the keycap sets.  

The Alt Graph key is available on ISO keyboards and allows the user to access the third symbol on a key. This is common in other languages. If there is a fourth symbol on the key, this is accessed by pressing Shift and Alt Gr.

The one-key difference between the ANSI and ISO layouts exists in the left shift key. In ANSI keyboards, the left shift key is one large wide rectangular key. In ISO layouts, this shift key is broken into 2 different keys, making up that one key difference. Typically, this extra key will be the <> key.

In fully programmable keyboards, that extra button is what you make of it. It just allows you to fit another extra key. Perhaps in a different language, it could be a symbol or something else.  

Disadvantages of an ISO Layout

The Enter Key is Far Away

On an ISO layout, the backslash is closer, but this poses a problem such as the Enter key being farther away from the home row. Your hands are commonly on the home row. In ANSI, with your pinky on the ; key, you only have to reach over one other key to press Enter. On the ISO layout, your pinky must jump over two keys. This is a problem of ergonomics since this is a frequently used key.

Does the Backslash Matter That Much?

So now the backslash is closer, but daily, that key is rarely used. I have only ever used it when doing programming when typing file paths in the Command Prompt or terminal window.

With the Enter key, we use that on a regular basis, every time we start a new line when typing in a document. Or when we’re typing something in a search bar on Google or YouTube, we press that Enter key quick.

The Left Shift is Far Away

The Left shift is split into two keys, which results in the left shift key being about 1” away from its typical position. The extra key could be <> or |\, depending on the language. These are not common keys. When I type and press my left shift, I press the right side. If I w as using an ISO keyboard, I would be accidentally pressing that extra key very often.

Many people who come from countries that use an ISO layout often opt for an ANSI keyboard because they find themselves accidentally pressing that key of the backslash all too often when trying to press something else.

Which is better: ANSI or ISO?

The answer boils down to preference. As we can see from the above, there are many disadvantages to using an ISO layout keyboard. There are some languages that cannot be used without an ISO keyboard, typically in certain European countries. ISO keyboards make sacrifices in ergonomics to fit in an extra key that would be needed for that language.

In fully programmable keyboards, getting an ANSI keyboard and then reprogramming it to fit all the keys needed for your language would be the most optimal.

Alongside being more ergonomic, you also get access to so many more options for PCBs, keycap sets, and more. Many group buys that offer ISO layouts do not hit the minimum funding needed to manufacture and distribute them. A quick Google search for ISO keycaps shows minimal results.

Often, even if the group buy minimum limit is hit, the ISO keycap sets tend to be more expensive.

Frequently Asked Related Questions

What is the JIS layout?

The JIS layout is the Japanese Standard layout for their keys. The JIS layout uses the upside-down L-shaped Enter key, splits the right shift into two keys, splits the backspace key into two keys, and adds 3 more keys within the spacebar space. Altogether, the JIS layout has 5 additional keys when compared to the ANSI layout, totaling 109 keys. These extra keys are needed for Japanese character inputs.

ansi, iso, and jis layout

Can I still use an ANSI keyboard even if my language uses an ISO layout?

It is possible to use an ANSI keyboard with languages that need the additional symbols and keys due to the programmability of mechanical keyboards. The ANSI keyboard has better positioning of its symbols and frequently used keys. To go into other layouts, it’s possible to use Alt + Shift and then press the key with the symbol you need.

Where can I find places that sell ISO keycap sets?

A good place that sells ISO keycaps is at CandyKeys. They offer many different sets in different colors. It’s not much compared to the vast variety of ANSI keycaps, but it’s a good place to start.

Drop also sometimes have ISO keycaps for group buys. Currently, there are none available, but they previously have had them.

KBD Fans currently has 8 sets of keycaps that fit the ISO layout. They offer dye-sublimated Cherry profile keycaps, blank keycaps for a 65% and 60% keyboard, and the extra keys as a small standalone purchase if you buy ANSI keycap kits and then just replace those specific keys.

Where can I find ANSI keycap sets?

ANSI keycaps can be found pretty much everywhere. It’s unnecessary to type ANSI when looking for these keycaps, just searching for keycaps will give you these results as the default. Some good places to find keycaps is at Kono, Candykeys, KBD Fans, and Mechanicalkeyboards.com.  

Summary

We talked about the differences between the ANSI layout and the ISO layout as well as presented the many disadvantages of the ISO layout. It’s not as ergonomic and makes little sense when typing unless you type a language that absolutely needs the extra key. We also discussed different places to buy ISO and ANSI keycaps.

Hopefully, this article helped you. I found it cool. I had no idea that the ISO layout was a thing. At first though, I thought it was better because it fit an extra key, but now I think my keyboard is fine for me.

As always, happy typing!

What kind of keyboard layout do you have, and what do you think of it? Leave it in the comments down below.

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.

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

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

Comprehensive list of every single keyboard switch on the Planet

Comprehensive list of every keyboard switch on the planet

If you’re new to the world of mechanical keyboards or even an enthusiast then you must know looking at hundreds of different switch types can get a bit overwhelming. 

No matter where I looked on the internet, I could not find a comprehensive list that had all of the switches. Whether it’s Cherry MX, Gateron, Kailh or any other type of switch it’s quite difficult to sort through all these brands and find the switch that has the right feel for you.

The purpose of this post is to compile a list of all the different types and give a brief description of each switch. Search below to find info on every single switch you can possibly find.

Tip: If you’re looking for a switch in particular, CTRL + F is your friend.

Ace Pad Tech 

  • Hall Effect Linear
    • Linear contactless switch
    • Actuation force of 0.60N
  • Hall Effect Clicky
    • Clicky and tactile contactless switch
    • Actuation force of 0.60N
  • Hall Effect Tactile
    • Tactile contactless switch
    • Actuation force of 0.60N

Cherry MX

  • Red 
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.45N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Silent Red 
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.45N
    • 1.9 mm actuation distance
    • 3.7 mm travel distance
    • Sound dampened
  • Low Profile Red
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.45N
    • 1.2 mm actuation distance
    • 3.2 mm travel distance
    • Shallow profile
  • Low Profile RGB Speed
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.45N
    • 1.0 mm actuation distance
    • 3.2 mm travel distance
    • Shallow profile
  • Speed Silver
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.45N
    • 1.2 mm actuation distance
    • 3.4 mm travel distance
  • Nature White
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.55N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.60N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Silent Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.60N
    • 1.9 mm actuation distance
    • 3.7 mm travel distance
    • Sound dampened
  • Linear Grey
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force of 0.80N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Brown
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • Tactile force 0.55N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Clear
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • Tactile force 0.65N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Tactile Grey
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.80N
    • Tactile force 0.80N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Blue
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • Tactile force 0.60N
    • 2.2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • White
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.70N
    • Tactile force 0.80N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Green
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.70N
    • Tactile force 0.80N
    • 2.2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Viola
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • Tactile force 0.75N
    • Cheaper
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance

Flaretech (Wooting)

  • Red
    • Optical and linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 1.5-3.6mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Blue
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 1.8mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
    • Tactile and audible feedback at two points
  • Black
    • Linear and optical switch
    • Actuation force of 0.60-0.80N
    • 1.5-3.6mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance

ALPS Fuhua (Fukka)

  • Green
    • Tactile and clicky switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
  • White
    • Tactile and clicky switch
    • Actuation force 0.65N
  • Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N

Fraly

  • Blue
    • Tactile and clicky switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N

Gateron

  • Clear
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.35N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Red
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Blue
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Green
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.80N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Brown
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Yellow
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 4 mm travel distance

Greetech

  • Blue
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Brown
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Red
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 4 mm travel distance

IBM

  • Buckling Spring
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.65N

Kailh

  • Blue
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Brown
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Red
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 2mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Green
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • BOX White
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.8 mm actuation distance
    • 3.6 mm travel distance
    • Dust resistant
  • BOX Thick Navy
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.77N
    • 1.8 mm actuation distance
    • 3.6 mm travel distance
    • Dust resistant
  • BOX Thick Jade
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.66N
    • 1.8 mm actuation distance
    • 3.6 mm travel distance
    • Dust resistant
  • Speed Silver
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.1 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance
  • Speed Copper
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.1 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance
  • BOX Red
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.8 mm actuation distance
    • 3.6 mm travel distance
  • Speed Bronze
    • Clicky and Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.1 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance
  • BOX Heavy Burnt Orange
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 1.8 mm actuation distance
    • 3.6 mm travel distance
  • BOX Heavy Dark Yellow
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.70N
    • 1.8 mm actuation distance
    • 3.6 mm travel distance
  • BOX Heavy Pale Blue
    • Tactile and Clicky switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 1.8 mm actuation distance
    • 3.6 mm travel distance
  • Kailh Speed Gold
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.4 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance
  • Kailh BOX Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 1.8 mm actuation distance
    • 3.6 mm travel distance
  • Kailh ML Chocolate Red
    • Linear switch
    • Low profile
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.3 mm actuation distance
    • 2.8 mm travel distance
  • Kailh ML Chocolate Brown
    • Tactile switch
    • Low profile
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.3 mm actuation distance
    • 2.8 mm travel distance
  • Kailh ML Chocolate White
    • Clicky switch
    • Low profile
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.3 mm actuation distance
    • 2.8 mm travel distance

KBT

  • Blue
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Brown
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Red
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 4 mm travel distance

Logitech

  • GL Tactile
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 2.7 mm travel distance
  • GL Linear
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 2.7 mm travel distance
  • GL Clicky
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 2.7 mm travel distance

Matias

  • Click
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 2.2 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance
  • Quiet Click
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 2.2 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance
    • Dampened sound
  • Linear
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.35N
    • 2.2 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance

MOD

  • H Tactile
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.62N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • H Linear
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.62N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • L Tactile
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • L Linear
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • M Tactile
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • M Linear
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 4 mm travel distance

Outemu

  • Blue
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.60N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Brown
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Red
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Black
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.65N
    • 4 mm travel distance

Razer

  • Green
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 1.9 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Orange
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 1.9 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Yellow
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 1.2 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance
  • Clicky Optical
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.40N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance
  • Linear Optical
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.40N
    • 1.0 mm actuation distance
    • 3.5 mm travel distance

Topre

  • 30g
    • Tactile switch
    • Rubber dome
    • Actuation force 0.30N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • 35g
    • Tactile switch
    • Rubber dome
    • Actuation force 0.35N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • 45g
    • Tactile switch
    • Rubber dome
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • 55g
    • Tactile switch
    • Rubber dome
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • Silent 45g
    • Linear switch
    • Rubber dome
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 1.5 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance

Varmilo

  • EC Sakura
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.45N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • EC Ivy
    • Clicky and tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.50N
    • 2.3 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance
  • EC Rosery
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.55N
    • 2 mm actuation distance
    • 4 mm travel distance

ZealPC

  • Tiffany Blue Tealios
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.67N
  • Blue Zilents 62g V2
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.62N
  • Orange Healio
    • Linear switch
    • Actuation force 0.67N
  • Zealios 62g V2
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.62N
  • Zealios 65g V2
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.65N
  • Zealios 67g V2
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.67N
  • Zealios 78g V2
    • Tactile switch
    • Actuation force 0.78N
  • Blue Zilents 65g V2
    • Tactile and silent switch
    • Actuation force 0.65N
  • Blue Zilents 67g V2
    • Tactile and silent switch
    • Actuation force 0.67N
  • Blue Zilents 78g V2
    • Tactile and silent switch
    • Actuation force 0.78N

Should you use a wireless keyboard?

Should you use a wireless keyboard?

On our journey to learn everything humanly possible about mechanical keyboards, I realized we hadn’t even considered one of the most popular kinds, wireless! Well, today I’m going to take my best shot at addressing this of this type of keyboard and go over some of the pros and cons of cutting the cable. 

Maybe you enjoy sitting on your couch and projecting your computer screen onto your TV or you like the clean look of not having a power cable. Or maybe you’ve tried using a wireless keyboard in the past and got sick of constantly replacing the batteries.

Regardless of what your motives are, wireless keyboards offer mobility and freedom from the constraint of sitting at your desk within a few feet of your PC.

The question is, however, are the quality of wireless mechanical keyboards worse than that of it’s wired counterparts? 

While allowing for greater mobility and less time spent on cable management, wireless keyboards come with some disadvantages over wired keyboards including interference issues, speed limitations, battery usage, and a more complex set up. We’ll dig deeper into more of the details.

The main upsides to a wireless keyboard:

Mobility

Logitech wireless keyboard mechanical

The main upside to a wireless keyboard is the mobility! No longer will you be stuck to your desk. You can type from anywhere in the house or workplace and not worry about being tether to your computer. It’s also much easier to pack a wireless keyboard with you and take it on the go if you enjoy typing on your keyboard at your local Starbucks or don’t enjoy typing on a laptop keyboard.

Some people may be concerned about the range of the device, but you should be able to type comfortably from across the room without any issues. To verify the distance I would look at the product specifications of your specific keyboard.

Aesthetic

If electrical cables are cluttering your workstation and you are having a bit of trouble neatly routing everything, a wireless keyboard will help alleviate your cable management problems. By getting rid of the keyboard cable, your workstation will look much more tidy and aesthetic.

On the flip side, however, some people enjoy buying customized power cables for their keyboard and that can also add to the aesthetic. It’s also possible to make and design your own from scratch with little equipment and cost requited.

So whether you have the power cable or not, the way your keyboard looks is entirely objective, so do whatever you like best! 

Close up of arrow keys

The main downsides to a wireless keyboard:

Speed Limitations & Interference

Wireless keyboards can have slight lag and latency issues resulting in slower or sometimes missed keystrokes.

While a slightly slower response time may not be a big deal for the everyday user, this can often be a dealbreaker for gamers because those missed keystrokes can take away from their competitive edge.

If you tend to play competitive games that rely on milliseconds of reaction time, wireless keyboards may not be for you.

In addition, having other wireless technologies in close proximity to the keyboard can create interference issues and your keyboard may experience difficulty connecting.

Items that are close by such as wireless mice, wireless routers, cell phones, and even metal objects can cause interference issues.

While interference is an issue, most people don’t experience this problem too often, but when it does it can be frustrating to deal with. So keep an eye out around your workstation for any possible culprits that may cause connectivity issues.

Setup

Unlike wired keyboards which only require you to plug in a USB port and your to start typing away, wireless keyboards require you to fumble around with the settings on your computer to try and pair the devices. 

While this may not sound too difficult for some people, less tech-savvy individuals may have trouble setting things up.

Once the keyboard has been paired, you don’t need to worry about routing the keyboard cables anymore or be in close proximity to your PC, which makes it much easier to move around and use.

Since the wireless keyboard is USB-less, that means the keyboard no longer has an infinite power source so you’ll need to install some batteries. Since the batteries will drain over time, you will always need to be prepared for a little maintenance in case they run out of juice.

Wired cable benefit from the fact that they never need to worry about running out of power.

There are two main battery types, disposable and reusable. Going the reusable route is usually more recommended as you don’t constantly need to replace the batteries. The cost of disposable batteries can add up over time. 

A reusable battery generally requires being charged more often but comes with the upside of not needing to go to the store to buy batteries.

Are wireless keyboards more expensive?

Most of the time, yes. The wireless keyboards require extra hardware for connecting to the computer via bluetooth including the bluetooth technology itself and some form of independent power supply.

There are very affordable wireless mechanical keyboards available for purchase and I would recommend looking at models such as the Keychron. Keychron’s have the option to be purchased with a wireless configuration and are relatively inexpensive.

Another good option is browse the wireless keyboard section on Amazon to find the exact keyboard you are looking for. They have a comprehensive selection of keyboards priced anywhere from relatively cheap to expensive.

Can I convert my keyboard to wireless?

Yes, it is possible to convert your keyboard to wireless. However, this is not for everyone. Converting your keyboard to wireless can be a time-heavy investment and should be reserved for those who are more DIY inclined.

In order to do the wired-to-wireless conversion, you will need to be equipped with some basic soldering skills and a few extra components and tools.

Wireless keyboards

After your soldering kit is ready, you will need to install a rechargeable battery and bluetooth to usb converter. If you’re interested you can read more about it here.

Conclusion

A wireless keyboard can be a great purchase for anyone who does not rely on an extremely fast connection and will work perfectly fine for most of the keyboard users out there.

Wireless keyboards offer excellent mobility and allow you to type from positions that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. 

They also help with keeping your workstation decluttered and clean as you’ll have one less wire to deal with routing.

There are some downsides to purchasing a wireless keyboard and we would definitely not recommend these to competitive gamers or very fast typists.

You also need to look out for issues such as connectivity, interference, and battery usage. If you’re not the most tech inclined it may also be difficult for you to configure and setup the keyboard, so keep that in mind before purchasing.

Thanks for reading. Happy typing!

Resources

https://itstillworks.com/disadvantages-using-wireless-keyboard-1005.html

The Essential Pieces of Equipment You Need to Build a Mechanical Keyboard Right Now

essential parts to build a custom keyboard on the switch and click blog

Question and Answer

I’ve been in the mechanical keyboard world for only a short time now, but I’ve come to really see the wonders of having a custom-built keyboard. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you have the same thoughts on your mind. So, exactly what do I need on my desk at this very moment to be able to build a mechanical keyboard?

Well, to start with, you’re going to need all these parts: switches, a case, keycaps, a printed circuit board (PCB), stabilizers, a soldering kit, snippers, and maybe a keycap puller and a switch puller. A way that you can save time and some money is to buy a prebuilt keyboard kit, which we’ll discuss later in the article.

custom 60% keyboard

The Main Parts

PCB and aluminum frame

PCB stands for printed circuit board.  The PCB is the base of your keyboard. It lets the switches communicate with your computer, after it’s soldered.

Tenkeyless and 60% layouts are the most common size for building your own custom mechanical keyboard.

Upon doing some research, the Satan GH60 is widely used in the community and has extensive documentation. It is fully programmable, has macro support, and has an RGB option too. It does require soldering and is not hot-swappable.

Some resources for PCBs include Keebio, the beloved KBDfans, Clueboard, and mechanicalkeyboards.com.

Case

The case is the foundation of a stable keyboard that will be steady and not wobbly.

Cases vary from plastic to wooden to aluminum. Even gold. Anything you can think of.

Aluminum offers the sturdiest option for your keyboard. But if you’re lugging it around to tournaments or to work and back, this might be too heavy. Typing on this keyboard can result in loud echoing and metal sounds.

The important points to consider here are:

  • Make sure the keyboard size you are planning on making is compatible with the case.
  • Do you want a certain angle for your case?
  • Do you usually type with the feet of your keyboard up or down? Make sure your case agrees with your typing position.

Switches

Switches are a necessity. Make sure you know the basic switch types and have an idea of what you’re looking for: linear, clicky, or tactile. We discussed the very basic Cherry MX switches in a previous article.

There are many resources for getting different keycap sets: Amazon, the mechanical keyboards subreddit, Geek Hack, websites such as KBDfans, eBay, and mechanicalkeyboards.com.

This is your time to shine! Time to find your feel. Cherry MX switches are the most common, but you can explore around. Make sure the switches are compatible with the PCB.

Input Club has an amazing guide on different switches with graphics, charts, and descriptions. For sound tests, you can do to Youtube or ask someone on Reddit.

Keycaps

Keycaps are another are where you can be creative. Or sleek and clean. Or colorful and dazzling. Again, this is where you can shine through.

Some of the same websites we’ve linked to before have keycaps to offer in different sets. Make sure you are buying the right size set. Don’t build a 65% keyboard and forget to get arrow keys.

It’s not all about looks, sometimes it’s about feel too. There’s different kinds of plastics, finishes, heights, and size.

Different websites for keycaps: KBDfans, the keycaps subreddit, mechanicalkeyboards.com, KPREPUBLIC, and Drop (formerly Massdrop) also has keycaps.

MT3 /dev/tty keycaps on a keyboard
MT3 /dev/tty

Stabilizers

Stabilizers are super important for your larger keys such as the space bar, enter, shift, and backspace. We explained what stabilizers are and what they did in a previous post.

There are different price points for stabilizers with different feels and quality. We previously did research on the 3 best keyboard stabilizers for your mechanical keyboard and talked about the differences.

You’re going to need one longer stabilizer for the space bar, the space varies based on your PCB. And four smaller stabilizers for the other ones. Again, make sure you get the right sizes.

There are different mods you can do, but I think that’s going further than the scope of this article.

Soldering Kit

TaeKeyboards recommends getting a variable temperature soldering station rather than an iron that plugs straight into the wall to keep it at a safe temperature. Make sure it has an iron holder to avoid burning things or yourself.

Input Club has a good list of recommended soldering irons. The best one is the Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station. Currently, it is priced at around $100 on Amazon (not affiliated).

For their other recommendations, go to their guide on their website. A solder sucker to fix up mistakes and cutters are also recommended.

JUJU on YouTube has great video tutorials on how to solder your own keyboard.

soldering a circuit board

Keyboard kits and how they might save you some time and effort

For the beginners out there, there are keyboard kits out there a hot-swappable PCB. Some popular places to buy these keyboard kits are KBDfans (This is a scary website! It’ll hook you in quickly. Beware.)

Inside most kits, you get the USB-C cable, switch remover, and keycap puller. The kit itself includes stabilizers, the PCB, case and aluminum framing.

Depending on pricing, the case can range from plastic to aluminum to wood.

When looking at these kits, make sure the switches that you want to use are compatible with the PCB.

These kits enable you to build a fully customized keyboard without having to solder anything. There are only three steps.

Building a keyboard using a keyboard kit

  1. Open the keyboard kit and gather your keycaps and switches.
  2. Match the switch to the PCB and push your switches in.
  3. Put the keycaps on top, and tadah! All done!

If you were to do all this yourself, you would need to clip on the stabilizers, mount the aluminum frame to the PCB, insert switches, solder it, put it into the casing, and then keycaps.

Having a kit saves you about an hour of work if you know what you’re doing and are experienced.

In no way am I turning you off buying individual parts, but as a beginner myself, soldering is a hump that I must overcome. And don’t worry, I will. Custom build incoming someday.

Another option that’ll reduce all the effort but still end up with a customized build

Now I know you’re hear to build your own keyboard, but if you’re looking to make a customized keyboard without going through the effort of putting it together yourself, you can go this route.

Certain manufacturers such as WASD Keyboards give you the option to customize a keyboard online. They’ll send you the completed product in the mail, and you can start typing right out of the box.

On WASD Keyboards, there are many options such as choosing your case color and choosing the switches.

When picking out keycaps, you can select your colorways. For example, my letter and number keys and the space bar could be mint green. The modifier keys could be, hmmm, royal navy blue. And together, you have a beautiful work of art. It’s possible to add specific colors for the engravings on each key.

For the more creative people, you can upload image designs for the keys and even pick your own engraving fonts and styles.

Summary

We’ve looked at all the essential parts to building your very first mechanical keyboard.

For a convenient list, I’m going to bullet list it down below for reference in the future:

  • PCB
  • Aluminum frame
  • Case
  • Switches
  • Keycaps
  • Soldering station
  • Solder wire
  • Cutters/snippers
  • Solder sucker
  • Keycap puller
  • Switch puller
  • Stabilizers

We’ve also discussed other options out there such as customizing your keyboard online from a manufacturer and having them build the keyboard to ship to you.

And don’t forget about keyboard kits that come with PCB, frame, and case all put together so all you must do is put in switches and keycaps. This method doesn’t require any soldering.

There were a ton of links and resources to other websites and stores to obtain some ideas for purchasing your different parts.

Good luck! And I cannot wait to see your custom keyboards! Make sure you link it so we can see in the comments down below.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, we would love to hear it in the comments down below. If there’s anything else you want us to research, we are at your bidding.

As always, happy typing!

Sources

How to build a custom keyboard (cheap) Youtube.com

How to design your own mechanical keyboard Youtube.com

Can you build your OWN mechanical keyboard? Youtube.com

Build your own mechanical keyboard project: What you need to get started Techspot

How to build your own keyboard Kotaku

Beginner’s Guide: How to build a 60% mechanical keyboard Youtube.com

How To Clean a Mechanical Keyboard

mechanical keyboard cleaning guide on the Switch and Click blog

Question and Answer

You’re typing away on your keyboard when your fingers notice something wrapping around them, squeezing them into little sausages? You look down, it’s long, dark, and slightly irritating to your fingertips to pick up. It’s a long piece of hair that fell onto your keyboard and might have lodged itself under your key caps to live again for another day. Now that you have invested in an expensive mechanical keyboard, the question is: how do you keep it clean and well-maintained to get the maximum lifespan out of it?

Don’t look too far. The answer is near. Keyboards, not just the mechanical kind, are near things such as finger oils, food spills, and the occasional hair loss. Regular light cleaning can be done regularly, and deep cleanings can be done as needed. It’s important to avoid damaging the electronics such as wiring and switches within the keyboard. Some keys, such as the ones with stabilizers underneath may be difficult to take off and put on, so save those for the deep cleanings. Keyboard maintenance can be done with simple household supplies such as a vacuum, cotton swabs, all-purpose cleaner, microfiber towels, and a brush. Keep reading down below for in-depth cleaning.

dirty and dusty keyboard
Go from this nasty-looking thing.
clean mechanical keyboard
To this beautiful thing.

Regular Preventive Cleaning and Maintenance

Personally, a regular basis may mean once every 2-4 weeks, depending on how often your keyboard is near dust and food particles. Doing this regularly will keep your keyboard nice and shiny. It also prevents accumulation of the bad stuff. We don’t like the bad stuff.

Materials Needed

  • Vacuum cleaner with an attachment to reach the keyboard
  • Microfiber towels (2)
  • Warm water or diluted isopropyl alcohol or all-purpose cleaner

Steps to Basic Cleaning Routine

  1. Unplug your keyboard. You don’t want the power to be on while you’re doing this. It’ll be annoying if your keyboard is still connected to the computer and you start hearing those beeping sounds.
  2. Use a vacuum with an attachment tube to blow dust out or suck dust out. Using a vacuum cleaner, gently press on the keys while it’s on to get under those keycaps.
  3. Use a microfiber cloth with a gently diluted all-purpose cleaner to wipe the surface, top and bottom. Make sure that it’s just a little damp and not soaked.
  4. Dry it using another microfiber cloth that doesn’t shed particles. Do not use paper towels, those can shed easily and undo what you’ve just worked so hard to clean.
vacuum attachments
Use an attachment similar to the one on the left-most side.

Other Related Tips

  • Turning your keyboard upside down and shaking may be enough for a weekly basis if you’re feeling lazy and just want a quick fix that will delay the inevitable.
  • Using cotton swabs between the keys and pressing can also help get those grimy areas.
  • White keyboards may accumulate dust and grime much faster (or visibly show faster). Using a toothbrush will help you get deep in there.

Deep Cleaning Routine

A deep cleaning routine may be necessary every 6 months or so. This is when you’ll have to take it apart a bit to get to the root of the problems. Hopefully, you’ve been doing the basic cleaning routine often so this part won’t be as painful.

Materials Needed

  • Keycap puller, I first started with a paper clip that I Macgyvered to go under the keys and pull out. You can also find a  more official one on Amazon (not affiliated).
  • Cotton swabs
  • Safe solvent – see below
  • Bowl
  • Warm water
  • Microfiber towel
  • Possibly pillow case or old undershirt
denture cleaner
Use the cheapest denture cleaner you can find at the store.

Steps for a Deep Cleaning Routine

  1. Unplug the keyboard, should I even say this anymore?
  2. Pull out your keycaps using your keycap puller of choice. If it’s a low-profile keyboard, you’re lucky. You get to use your hands for this step. Be careful of the switches as they are connected in more complicated ways. Make sure you remember which ones go where eventually when you put it back together. The arrow keys are especially hard for me on this step.
  3. Vacuum and use cotton swabs to get at the dust that’s under the caps you just pulled. That should be it for that.
  4. Clean the keys using a safe solvent. Here’s where those denture tablets come in handy. Put all your caps into a large bowl, fill it with water, and drop in a denture tab. Of course, you can replace the denture tablet with a drop of dish soap, laundry detergent, or Simple Green. DO NOT THROW THEM IN THE DISHWASHER. It could melt your keys.
  5. Wait 20-30 minutes, then strain the keycaps. Rinse off the solvent with plain warm water.
  6. Lay out your keycaps on a microfiber towel to dry. It’s also possible to put the, inside a fabric that doesn’t shed and shake them until dry.
  7. Make sure they are completely dry before reassembling.
  8. This might be the time to lube your switches. I’ll link a resource here on how to go about doing that since I have no experience with it yet. It’s time-consuming, but I’ve heard its worth it.
Keycaps spread out on carpet
Hmmm, clean keycaps.

Important Information Below Cleaning Your Keyboard

  • Make sure you use safe solvents to clean your keyboard or bad things will occur.
  • The safe solvents are:
    • Denture tabs
    • Water with a drop of laundry detergent
    • Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner (diluted)
  • The unsafe solvents (AVOID) are:
    • Acetone
    • Ethyl alcohol
  • Do not use compressed air on your keyboard. Compressed air usually comes out cold and then condensates within the plastic.

Summary

We’ve looked at a simple preventative and simple maintenance routine that’ll keep your keyboard looking nice and shiny for when your coworkers or friends come over to check out the feels. We’ve also looked at a more deep and comprehensive cleaning routine that should be done every 6 months.

This is something that I have yet to do myself on my Massdrop CTRL keyboard I got recently, but I know I need to soon. In another guide article, we’ll gather up the resources on what to do if a spill occurs (gasp!), but in the meantime, don’t spill anything on your keyboard that can’t be wiped up with a quick towel.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them down below! I hoped this helped you as it did me, I’ll be doing more routine cleaning for my keyboards in the meantime.

Happy typing! And thanks for stopping by.

cotton swabs
Can’t forget these bad boys.

Sources

Updated Guide: How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard. Daskeyboard.com

Ripster Guide: Cleaning Keyboards reddit.com

How to Clean a Mechanical Keyboard youtube.com

How I Lube MX Switches with Thin Lube youtube.com