Silent switches for mechanical keyboard
Sunday, April 9, 2023
Mechanical keyboards can be very convenient for typing and working. They can be austere or colorful, any kind at all. But more often than not we can hear an unpleasant loud clicking noise from them. It depends directly on what switches are installed on the keyboard, and they are of many kinds.
However, a loud “click” can be useful if the user needs a tactile feedback for video games, for example.
Since 1983 the German company Cherry GmbH has been developing and producing mechanical micro-switches for computer keyboards of middle and higher price segments. Despite the abundance of copycat companies (Kailh, Outemu, TTC and others) focusing mostly on budget mechanical keyboards it is Cherry MX switches that are the most durable (if not in theory but certainly in practice) and smooth-running, thanks to the good stabilizers (cheaper Chinese mechanicals may not have them at all). There are six widespread varieties of Cherry MX switches (not counting the very rare ones), which are marked with different colors.
Blue is the most common mechanical micro-switches, both in the original Cherry design and in numerous clones. The key stroke to press is 2 mm, to the stop 4 mm, and the pressing force is 50 grams. They have a pronounced tactile and audible feedback (in other words, they are a loud).
Brown is something between blue and red switches. There is a tactile, but no audible response. Standard key stroke is 2–4 mm, pressure force is 45 g.
Black is a tighter version of the red switches with the actuation force of 60 gr. Designed to minimize the number of accidental pressings.
Silent (or more precisely Silent or Mute Red) are the quietest mechanical switches, quieter even than many membrane keyboards. In fact, they are red switches with noise-absorbing silicon gaskets.
Silver (another name Speed) — switches with twice shorter stroke: 1,2 mm to actuation and 2 mm to stop. The pressing force is 45 grams. Naturally, with such a short stroke there is no tactile and audible response. Unfamiliar with the Silver Speed, you might mistake it for a membrane keyboard. But the membrane doesn’t have the same quick key response and stabilization.
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