So you’ve bought a top mechanical keyboard or the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboard, now you want to figure out what the best mechanical keyboard switches are for your gaming needs.
In this guide, you’ll find out exactly what you need to know about the best mechanical switches for gaming.
Mechanical Key Switch Glossary
1. Actuation Point – refers to the distance required for the key switch to travel so that the input will register on the screen.
2. Actuation Force – the term used to refer to the force required to actuate the mechanical key switch.
3. Total Travel – the maximum distance the key travels. Once you reach the bottom, you “bottom out”.
4. Reset Point – the opposite of actuation point; refers to the distance it needs to go before you can press the key again.
5. Hysteresis – refers to the term wherein the reset point and actuation point are not in their supposed order.
6. N-Key Rollover – When you press a number of keys at the same time, all of them will register on the screen.
7. Polling Rate – is a term used to refer to how frequently your computer checks for incoming USB data (in this case, inputs from your keyboard). Keyboards usually have a few polling rate options. 1000Hz (1ms) seems to be the standard amongst gamers because of zero latency.
Mechanical Switch Brands
There are a number of brands out there that provide mechanical switches… The biggest and most reputable are Cherry MX. Not to bash the other brands here, but these are tried and tested switches that offer you top quality functionality.
In my view they are the best mechanical switch brand.
That being said, some of the other options include;
and many others.
If you’re looking for your first set of switches, just stick with Cherry MX and you can always test out the others later.
Different Types of Mechanical Switch
There are a number of different mechanical keyboard switches.
The differences may be small, but the end result is actually quite decisive…
Linear style switches are generally favored for gaming, meaning that almost any mechanical gaming keyboard you see will be fitted with Cherry MX Red Switches. Or at least should be.
Browns/Tactiles are preferred for typists. That being said, I find Cherry MX Reds quite good for that too since I write a lot here on BREECH… Generally, though, that’s the rule of thumb.
Blacks are another type of Linear mechanical switch that are sometimes preferred by gamers. These switches are better for your MOBA/MMO style player. The best switch for FPS players being the Reds since they require less pressure to press the key to the bottom. This means that these switches are better for gamers who require extremely quick reaction times. Browns are still liked widely by a lot of gamers, despite the fact that they don’t boast the same statistics as Reds.
Most gamers find that the best switches for gaming are simply the Red ones as they cover a broader spectrum of games. While in MMO/MOBA it might be overkill, it’s better to have a switch that covers you for the more extreme games you play. Always buy switches in mind with the most extreme scenario you’ll use them for in mind.
Suggested: Best Beginner Mechanical Keyboards 2018
TIP: Cherry MX O Rings
Assuming you’re going to take my advice on going with Cherry MX then you’re probably going to want to grab some O-Rings for them.
If you’ve not heard of O Rings before then let me give you a little intro.
O-Rings are essentially dampeners that you can install on each Key/Switch… These enable your keys to not only get a better lifespan, but they’ll help your gaming needs in a few key ways.
– They offer less distance when bottoming out, meaning better reaction times.
– They provide more cushioning when you do bottom out which is why they offer a better lifespan on your keys as a whole.
– O-Rings cushion a lot of the noise, which is great because it’s feedback you don’t really want in your team’s ear when playing FPS.
I can’t see why anyone would want to game without O-Rings. That being said, you can do so without absolutely fine… It’s just my personal preference after having tried both with and without.
Best Cherry MX Switches:
Cherry MX Red
Our Rating: 9/10
Cherry MX Black
Our Rating: 8.5/10
Cherry MX Brown
Our Rating: 8/10
Cherry MX Clear
Our Rating: 7.5/10