When it comes to typing, some people prefer the clickety-clack of mechanical keyboards, while others prefer a more subdued typing experience. For those who work in a quiet environment or share a space with others, having a loud keyboard can be distracting and disruptive. That’s where quiet keyboard switches come in. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of keyboard switches available on the market and which ones are the quietest.
What are keyboard switches?
Keyboard switches are the mechanisms underneath the keys on a keyboard that register keystrokes. When a key is pressed, then the switch is activated, and it sends a signal to the computer. The type of switch used in a keyboard affects the typing experience, including the amount of force required to press a key and the sound it makes.
Types of keyboard switches
There are several types of keyboard switches, but the most common ones are mechanical, membrane, and scissor switches.
Mechanical switches are the most popular type of keyboard switch among enthusiasts. They offer tactile feedback when a key is pressed, and they are known for their durability and longevity. Mechanical switches are further divided into three subcategories:
- Linear switches: these switches have a smooth keystroke with no tactile feedback or audible click.
- Tactile switches: these switches provide tactile feedback when a key is pressed, but no audible click.
- Clicky switches: these switches provide both tactile feedback and an audible click when a key is pressed.
Membrane switches are the most prevalent type of keyboard switch found in budget and laptop keyboards. They use a rubber dome and conductive traces to register keystrokes. Membrane switches are generally quieter than mechanical switches, but they have a mushy feel and are less durable.
Scissor switches are the type of membrane switch that employ a scissor-like mechanism to provide stability to the keycap. They are commonly found in laptop keyboards and low-profile mechanical keyboards. Scissor switches have a short keystroke and are generally quiet, but they are not as durable as mechanical switches.
What makes a switch loud?
The loudness of a keyboard switch depends on several factors. One of the main factors is the switch design. Clicky switches, for example, have a mechanism that produces an audible click when a key is pressed. Tactile switches also produce a sound, but it is less noticeable than clicky switches. Linear switches are generally the quietest of the three, but they can still produce a sound depending on the switch design.
Another factor that affects the sound of a switch is the keyboard’s construction. A metal plate or case, for example, can amplify the sound of a switch. Keycaps also play a role in the sound of a switch. Thicker keycaps can muffle the sound of a switch, while thinner keycaps can make it louder.
Quietest keyboard switches
Now that we’ve covered the different types of keyboard switches and what makes a switch loud, let’s look at the quietest switches available on the market.
Cherry MX Silent Red
Cherry MX Silent Red switches are a variant of Cherry’s popular mechanical switches that have been designed to be as quiet as possible. They have a linear design, meaning they do not provide tactile feedback or an audible click when a key is pressed. These switches are designed with a special damping system that reduces the sound of the switch when it bottoms out or is released. They are one of the quietest switches available and are ideal for those who want a mechanical keyboard that is as quiet as possible.
Matias Quiet Click
Matias Quiet Click switches are another type of mechanical switch that has been designed to be quiet. They are tactile switches, meaning they provide feedback when a key is pressed, but they do not have an audible click. These switches have a unique design that uses a rubber plunger to reduce the sound of the switch when it is activated. They are one of the quietest tactile switches available and are a good choice for those who want a quieter typing experience without sacrificing the tactile feedback of a mechanical switch.
Logitech G915 TKL
The Logitech G915 TKL is a wireless mechanical keyboard that uses low-profile switches to reduce the overall height of the keyboard. These switches have a linear design, meaning they do not provide tactile feedback or an audible click. They have been designed to be as quiet as possible, and Logitech claims that they are 25% quieter than their standard mechanical switches. The G915 TKL is one of the quietest mechanical keyboards available and is a good choice for those who want a wireless, low-profile mechanical keyboard that is as quiet as possible.
Topre Realforce 87U Silent
Topre Realforce 87U Silent switches are a type of electrostatic capacitive switch that has been designed to be as quiet as possible. They provide tactile feedback when a key is pressed, but they do not have an audible click. These switches use a special silencing material that reduces the sound of the switch when it is activated. They are one of the quietest tactile switches available and are a good choice for those who want a high-quality, quiet keyboard.
Rubber dome keyboards
Rubber dome keyboards are the quietest type of keyboard available. They use a rubber dome and conductive traces to register keystrokes. These keyboards are commonly found in budget keyboards and are generally less durable and less satisfying to type on than mechanical keyboards. However, they are extremely quiet and are a good choice for those who need a keyboard that will not disturb others.
Choosing the right switch for you
When choosing a keyboard switch, there are several factors to consider, including the level of noise, the amount of tactile feedback, and the typing experience. If you need a keyboard that is as quiet as possible, then Cherry MX Silent Red or Matias Quiet Click switches are a good choice. If you want a tactile switch that is still quiet, then Topre Realforce 87U Silent switches are a good choice. If you want a wireless keyboard, then the Logitech G915 TKL is a good choice.
Having a loud keyboard can be distracting and disruptive, especially in a quiet environment or when sharing a space with others. Quiet keyboard switches are a good solution for those who want a more subdued typing experience. Mechanical switches, membrane switches, and scissor switches all have their own pros and cons, but the quietest switches available are Cherry MX Silent Red, Matias Quiet Click, Logitech G915 TKL, Topre Realforce 87U Silent, and rubber dome keyboards. When choosing a switch, consider your needs and preferences to find the best option for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are quiet keyboard switches as durable as loud ones?
Yes, quiet switches can be just as durable as loud switches, depending on the type and quality of the switch.
Can I make my existing keyboard quieter?
Yes, you can make your existing keyboard quieter by using O-rings or dampeners, rubber pieces, known as dampeners, are placed beneath the keycaps to minimize the sound produced when the switch is fully pressed. You can also add a foam mat or padding under the keyboard to reduce the sound.
Are rubber dome keyboards comfortable to type on?
Rubber dome keyboards can be less satisfying to type on than mechanical keyboards because they lack the tactile feedback and precise actuation points of mechanical switches. However, they are still comfortable to type on for many people.
Can I replace the switches on my keyboard?
It depends upon the type of keyboard you have. Some keyboards allow you to replace the switches, while others do not. If you are interested in replacing the switches on your keyboard, do some research to see if it is possible with your specific model.
Can I use quiet switches for gaming?
Yes, you can use quiet switches for gaming. The type of switch you use is a matter of personal preference, and many gamers prefer quieter switches because they do not produce as much noise or distraction.