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Type of Mechanical Switches: What you should know as a beginner

Choice of your keyboard switches: Clicky vs. Tactile vs. Linear

Each company has its lingo and names for each switch. Our goal is to cut through all the confusion and explain in simple terms what all of the different switch types are.

The three main switch types, Clicky, Tactile and Linear:

  1. Tactile: A small bump on each keystroke with moderate noise.
  2. Clicky: A small bump on each keystroke with a loud click noise.
  3. Linear: Smooth and consistent keystroke with a quiet noise.

Clicky Switches: Loud and Bumpy

What Are Clicky Switches?

Clicky switches are a type of switch that focuses on producing a tactile bump and loud audible click with each keystroke. Loud and clicky switches offer great feedback when typing, so you know by the sound everything is working properly. Not to mention the sound is awesome.

Should You Get Clicky Switches?

While clicky switches are fun to use and offer the best feedback of any switch type, there are some factors you should consider before purchasing a keyboard with clicky switches. The main factor you need to consider is the sound. If you’re working in a public space or even talking through a microphone the loud sound of the clicky switches can be irritating or distracting to those around you. While the clicky sounds may be enjoyable for you, keep in mind, it is a double-edged sword. If you’re working from home and have a dedicated space without too close of a proximity to anyone else, feel free to get a clicky switch and start typing away, nothing is stopping you.

Tactile Switches: Bumpy and Satisfying

What Are Tactile Switches?

Tactile switches are a type of switch that focuses on producing a tactile bump and a relatively quiet audible click with each keystroke. Tactile switches offer great feedback when typing, so you know by the sound and feel everything is working properly and all of your keystrokes are getting logged. Not to mention they are satisfying and fun to use.

Should You Get Tactile Switches?

Tactile switches are fun to use and offer great feedback whilst typing, but there are some factors you should consider before purchasing a keyboard with tactile switches. Tactile switches are a great switch for beginners or anyone new to mechanical keyboards. They will be undoubtedly an upgrade from your normal laptop keyboard or membrane-style keyboard. Anyone can pick up a keyboard with tactile switches and enjoy the satisfying bumps on each keystroke. Tactile switches produce a bump of varying sizes (depending on the switch) and emit a small click sound. The tactile switches are not quite as loud as a clicky switch, so you should be able to use them in a public setting without drawing too much attention to yourself with the noise. We highly recommend a tactile switch for someone getting a mechanical keyboard the first time.

Linear Switches: Smooth As Butter

What are Linear Switches?

Linear switches are a type of switch that focuses on producing a smooth, consistent actuation without any tactile feedback. Linear switches are great for people who don’t like the small bump experienced by tactile switches or the loud noises from clicky switches. Linear switches are usually quiet, smooth, and consistent throughout the entire movement. They are especially used by gamers as the consistent keystrokes allow for more precision in highly competitive games. Linear switches are also enjoyed by people who prefer smooth movements while typing.

Should You Get Linear Switches?

While linear switches are smooth and nice to use, there are some factors you need to consider before jumping aboard the linear switch train. For those of you migrating from a normal keyboard, the transition can be difficult as you may bottom out the switches at first. This can lead to some mild finger pain and discomfort. Once you get used to typing on the linear switches, they can be incredibly enjoyable and fun to use. Because of bottoming out issues though, we don’t recommend linear switches if it’s your first mechanical keyboard. Linear switches and more specifically, linear speed switches, are often used in the gaming community to give themselves a slight competitive edge over their opponents. If gaming is what you’ll primarily use your mechanical keyboard for, it may be worth it to explore some of the speed switch options from Cherry MX and Kailh.