Are you looking for the best budget linear switches in the market? Continue reading, you’ve come to the right place!
If you are not feeling like reading the whole post then check out the best linear switch I’ll be reviewing today, the Akko CS Silver. These switches are one of the fastest linear Akko switches there are, they provide the best properties for gaming-oriented users when milliseconds matter!
The Akko CS Silver is the best because people are just extremely happy with them and it seems to be the top-rated option when it comes to linear switches.
I’ll go into detail about why I think this is the best choice.
Some common frustrations with linear switches
First of all, they are not really for people who enjoy clicky or tactile switches. These are made to be speedy, reduce strain on fingers and minimize delay, so there is not much feedback.
Difficulty choosing the best linear switch for you
There are so many options and there is as much variety of opinions on each option as there are sands on a desert, so how can you really make a good choice?
Well, these switches are all personal favorites of one person or the other, just try to figure out which features you want and check if comments and reviews of the products you’re looking at correspond, and then you can make a much better purchase.
Expensive doesn’t always mean the best but the cheapest is almost always the worst!
In my 7 best budget linear switches post, I’ve brought you the best budget linear switches, along with my top 3 choices based on my extensive research of products and reviews.
The switches I’ll be reviewing today should last a long time as they are tried and tested by many users.
Best Budget Linear Switches
Akko CS Silver
Akko CS Silver offers a smooth, linear typing experience. It has a travel time of 3.6mm and a actuation force of 60g. This makes it a great choice for those who want a fast and responsive keyboard.
Gateron Milky Yellow
Gateron's Silver Akko CS switch is a linear, silent switch that offers a smooth, consistent keystroke. It has a light spring force and a short travel distance, making it a fast and responsive switch.
This fun-looking linear switch is made of TECSEE's proprietary PME housing material for a smoother and deeper sound signature. These switches are a great choice to brighten up your keyboard!
Why use linear switches?
Linear switches are for people who want to be more competitive, who want to significantly increase their reaction times, and who want easier and lighter to use switches.
There is a lot of variety when it comes to linear switches, there are companies that give them some tiny amount of audio and/or actuation feedback, different actuation points, different actuation forces, and the list goes on and on.
You will need to do some “tasting” as John Wick would say until you find the right switches for you. Once you do, consider using lube if you want them to be even smoother.
The good news is, the majority of mechanical switches are rated for 50+ million keystrokes so they will last you a good 15 years and more if you look after them, regularly clean the dust and dirt, and do not hulk smash on ‘em when you get nuked by Talon in League of Legends!
Here are my top picks for the best budget linear switches this year.
Gateron Milky Yellow
The Gateron Milky Yellow is the first linear switch I’ll be talking about in detail. These switches are really great if the budget is tight, they are 5-pin switches and work with all MX-compatible keyboards.
The Milky Yellow features a travel distance of 2mm, a bottom distance of 4mm, an operating force of 50g, and a bottom force of 63g. These are smooth and easy-to-press switches.
The Gateron Milky Yellow has some great reviews, buyers seem to really enjoy the audio feedback. They also commend its smooth actuation, especially after lubed.
All in all, these are solid choices among the budget linear options!
Does Gateron Milky Yellow come pre-lubed?
These switches are not pre-lubricated, you’ll have to buy lubes separately if you want to make them even smoother than their stock condition.
Is Gateron Milky Yellow shine-through?
They are shine-through but apparently, it does not let a lot of light pass through, so the lights may look weak.
Akko CS Silver
These are what every gamer should consider first when they are looking for some linear switches to boost their reaction times.
Buttery smooth, with short pre-travel of only 1mm, this is the unicorn of Akko when it comes down to speed.
Stem is dustproof and made from POM for extra durability but still has a smooth texture like ABS.
It features a built-in LED slot that is SMD compatible. The durability of this switch is rated for 60 million keystrokes!
The Akko CS Silver is compatible with MX-style keycaps and they should fit almost all keycap sets with an X cross stem.
Now let’s look at the reviews a little bit.
Users seem to really commend the buttery smooth operation, easy actuation and still having enough force to let you rest your fingers on the keycaps. These switches work even better lubed but are still very good without so that may be something to consider once you try them.
This is definitely one of the top choices in the best budget linear switches I’m reviewing today!
The Tecsee Carrot switch comes in nice packaging and in it, is a bag of extra two-stage springs, a bag of o-rings, and a switch puller, this, of course, affects the price a bit but I think it is still within the budget category considering the smallest pack is a 70-pack.
The Tecsee Carrot is a plate-mounted, SMD-compatible, 5-pin switch. They are not pre-lubed so you’ll have to do your own lubrication if you want these to get even smoother.
Users suggest these switches are great for gaming without being too light, so they are somewhere around really fast and fast of the linear spectrum but these are the feedback from the users and everyone has their own opinion so you’ll have to try and see for yourself.
One thing is for sure, once lubed, these Tecsee carrots are silky smooth!
Are Tecsee Carrots PCB or plate mounted?
These switches are 5-pin plate-mounted switches.
What kind of stem is on Tecsee Carrot?
Tecsee Carrots have Long stems, which helps remove interference issues with certain keycap combinations!
Are Tecsee Carrots backlit compatible?
Yes, they are!
Feker X Matcha
The Feker X Matcha is perfect for people who are looking for that “thocky” sound, they even come pre-lubed for extra smoothness!
The Matcha is a 5-pin switch that is compatible with MX-style X cross stems.
It is compatible with both plate-mounted and hot-swap mechanical keyboards!
The Matcha is rated for 50+ million keystrokes and it’s made from extremely durable POM housing.
Feker X Matcha’s are many users’ favorites. They definitely have a distinct character to them whether it’s the audio feedback or the feel of typing with them.
Feker X definitely captured many customers with the Matcha and it seems like a solid choice if you’re looking for a switch with the aforementioned features!
Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Red features a smooth and light press, it is in fact one of the lightest switches from Cherry and it’s great for competitive gaming.
In the scope of the 7 switches I’m reviewing today, this would be comparable to Akko CS Silver, in lightness and speed. So if you want to pump up those KDRs, consider these speedy options!
The Cherry MX Red gives quiet audial feedback and has an actuation force of 45g, actuation distance of 2 mm, bottom-out force of 75g, and travel distance of 4 mm.
They may not be for people who have bigger, heavier hands and like to rest them on the keyboard, you may accidentally press a key but I think it won’t be a problem for most people.
All in all, absolutely great for gaming!
Akko CS Jelly Black
Akko Custom Series Jelly Black is one of the newer additions to their linear lineup. It features a dustproof stem for longer reliability and smooth actuation. Jelly Black is rated for 60+ million keystrokes, it is definitely made to last a long time.
It doesn’t come pre-lubed however you may not need it depending on your preferences but as always, lubing the switches will make it much more smoother and enjoyable to use so keep that in mind!
Jelly Black features SMD compatibility, they will fit the majority of X cross stems. The actuation force is 50gf, total travel is 4.0 mm, and pre-travel is 1.9 mm.
This is not the fastest or the lightest switch I’m reviewing today but it is definitely capable and just a tad heavier than the lightest ones. It may be more suitable for people who still wanna be competitive but have heavier hands.
Reviews are great, users are commending its easy actuation, subtle audio and actuation feedback, and also its affordable price considering the features.
All in all, well worth the buy if you want to get something a tad heavier than, let’s say Akko CS Silver.
Do Jelly Black switches have good RGB?
Most users report that it has excellent translucent housing that puts up a great light show!
Cherry MX Speed Silver
Do you want the fastest Cherry MX? Let me introduce you to the Speed Silver, this thing is so light and fast, it throws people’s timings in games, you’ll need to spend some time to get accustomed to these if you choose to buy them.
Official Cherry MX points out that these are 40% faster than standard Cherry MX switches, they are highly precise with extremely short reaction time and high switching frequency.
Speed Silver is compatible with SMD LEDs, it features Cherry Gold Crosspoint technology, low-bounce time, and self-cleaning contacts which makes switches extremely resistant to dust and dirt.
Speed Silver is rated for 100+ million keystrokes with no loss of quality!
This one is a bit of a jump than the others, since there is almost no resistance when pressing the keys, you could accidentally actuate the switch without meaning to.
On the other hand, this could be a good thing, giving you the highest potential of reaction time once you get used to them.
I recommend them only to people that will use these switches for competitive gaming, they are definitely not for typing!
Linear vs clicky switches
Clicky switches are for people who enjoy CLICK CLACK CLICKK!! noises(lol, had to be done), they are most suited to be used alone as they will slowly but surely annoy the hell out of anyone in close enough proximity to your keyboard when you are typing with it.
Hell, it even annoys people who are on the other side of the planet if you are on a discord voice channel with them and you don’t have push-to-talk on for some reason!
Please don’t be that guy or gal who uses clicky switches for gaming and terrorizes voice comms!
It doesn’t make sense anyways, your reaction times will be hindered, and you will most likely get tired much quicker gaming with them since they usually have much higher actuation force compared to linear switches, so I really do not recommend them for gaming!
Clicky switches give the most distinct audio and felt feedback when pressed, they are like modern typewriters really, so if you need switches with those features, now you know what they’re called!
Linear switches are on the other side of the spectrum in terms of audio and felt feedback, they were designed so there is minimal time loss when pressing these switches. In competitive gaming, milliseconds matter so these switches are perfect for it.
Of course, there are some linear switches with a bit of feedback too, they are not all the same, otherwise, I don’t think we’d have so many different brands, they all have their distinct features after all.
Linear vs tactile switches
Linear switches are much closer to tactile than they are to clicky switches.
Tactile switches can be used for gaming although they are not as fast or as light as the linear switches, it all comes down to preference, when I say “as fast” the time saved using one type of switch over the other is very marginal, so just get something you think you’ll enjoy and don’t look back!
Tactile switches are also good for typing as the feedback is distinct and allows for confidently typing fast. It may be a good option for people who are doing both.
Psst! If you want more info about the key differences between linear & tactile check out our full article on: Linear Vs Tactile Switches
Why do lighter switches matter in gaming?
Lighter switch matters because you do not want any more than a hint of resistance when pressing the keys. Faster switch matters because every millisecond matters when you are trying to jump into the ranks of major league players.
Can you be competitive with let’s say, a membrane keyboard? Sure you can but it is a matter of which is better.
People who always played with a 60hz monitor at 60fps will never be able to know how better playing with 144hz monitors at 144fps compared to the 60, remember all the “human eye can’t even see above 60hz bro” broscience?
Yeah, that quickly died didn’t it? Because it is just painfully clear that a 144hz monitor is superior as long as your PC can output 144fps.
It is about the same ordeal with mechanical keyboards with linear switches, you don’t know what you’re missing until you try them!
Just know that the size difference will be felt much more strongly if you are coming from a membrane keyboard or clicky switches, because from tactile to linear won’t be a huge difference.
How to choose the best switches for you?
First of all, let’s consider what is the main goal that the keyboard is helping us achieve.
Are you a writer by any chance? You could use the distinct audio and felt feedback from tactile switches, this would also allow you to do some gaming as tactile is good for both use cases.
If you are saying “no, I’m only looking for switches for my workstation keyboard”, well then you could consider clicky switches but I would suggest them only after trying tactile ones, clicky switches have some extremely loud feedback, pressing them is no different than pressing typewriter switches.
They are not compatible with most offices where people must respect the quietness of the place.
Are you a gamer trying to stack up your KDR in online competitive games?
Well try linear switches, there are a lot of options from no resistance to moderate resistance so your options are not limited to tactile and clicky if you want some feedback from linear switches.
Another thing to consider is if you are doing a fair bit of gaming but also type a lot, then it could be a good idea to get linear switches that are on the harder side of the resistance spectrum.
What is actuation force?
Actuation force means the amount of pressure needed to register a single key press.
What does bottom out mean?
Bottoming out refers to a switch traveling all the way down to the natural base point where it reaches the bottom during a full key press.
What does LED mean on mechanical keyboards?
LED refers to “light emitting diode”, these are simple LED lights with predefined colors and pre-programmed animations like “blinking” and “pulsing”, it is different from RGB.
What is POM material?
POM means Polyoxymethylene, it is an engineering thermoplastic used in precision parts requiring high stiffness, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability.
In conclusion, linear is best for gaming, tactile is best for gaming and typing, and clicky should be reserved for typing if you need extreme feedback.
Before you go back to business, I want to remind you again of the Akko CS Silver. If you’re looking for a tremendous linear switch, I’d start from that!
Hopefully, I taught you a thing or two today, Happy Typing!
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- 6 Best Linear Switches For Typing
- Which Switch Is Best To Avoid RSI?
- Are Linear Switches Good For Typing?
- Cherry Mx Vs Gateron switches
- Are Black Switches Good For Gaming?
- Are Red Switches Good for Gaming?