The performance of your gaming keyboard can have a significant impact on your overall gaming experience. If you’re looking for the best key switches for gaming, chances are you’ve heard of linear switches. But are linear switches good for gaming?
Yes, linear switches are an excellent choice for gaming. They respond faster and offer a much smoother key movement than others. Additionally, linear switches are known to be more durable than other types, which means you’ll get a better value for your money.
If you’re wondering whether linear switches are your best choice for your gaming keyboard, the article below is for you.
We’ll cover why linear switches are the preferred choice among gamers and which brands you look for if you decide to give them a shot.
Do gamers use linear switches?
Both professional and non-professional gamers use linear switches. In fact, most gamers prefer them over tactile or clicky switches because of the many benefits they offer.
This is especially true for gamers involved in highly competitive gaming or playing for long periods.
Those who game for long periods without taking a break use linear switches because they're much easier on your fingers than other types and they will also help you avoid RSI in the long run. This is thanks to the lessened force required to actuate the key.
Professional gamers use linear switches for the same reasons, but they also love the competitive edge they give them. These advantages are provided by quick and accurate responses when the key is pressed.
Why is linear preferred in gaming?
Linear switches are the most popular key switch type among all gamers. Both professional and hobby gamers prefer linear switches for their comfortable, consistent feel and improved speed and accuracy.
Many also appreciate that they're much quieter, letting them enjoy an intense session without the distracting noise you get with tactile and clicky switches.
They are more comfortable to use.
Many gamers prefer linear switches because they're more comfortable to use. With other types, you can feel resistance when you press the keys. This resistance can cause your hands to tire, cramp, and tingle much more quickly than a linear switch.
With a linear switch, there’s virtually no resistance when you press the key, so you’re they don’t put as much stress on your hands. Some even believe that, because of this, they lessen the chances of carpal tunnel.
The smooth keystroke makes for a smoother and more comfortable transition from one key to the next. This makes it easier for them to glide through quick and complex key combinations.
Linear switches provide the fastest response.
Many situations you'll run into when playing your favorite games require quick thinking and response on your part. Therefore, it's equally important for the command to register as soon as you trigger it.
Of the three main switch types (linear, tactile, and clicky), linear switches provide the fastest response. When the key is pressed, the command is instantly triggered onscreen without noticeable delays.
This is also one of the reasons gamers prefer linear switches. The seemingly instant response gives gamers a competitive advantage over their opponents. Additionally, this speed allows for better accuracy when repetitive keystrokes are required.
A linear switch is quieter.
Many gamers also appreciate the quiet input. Linear switches are much quieter than others. Depending on the linear switch you choose, some make little to no sound at all.
Many gamers find that they can focus better without the loud key sounds. It's also helpful when playing late at night or in public locations where loud key sounds may disturb those around you.
They’re more durable.
Lastly, gamers love the durability of linear switches. Linear switches for gaming usually have a longer life span than other key switches. This is because they're designed to withstand the abuse that comes with intense gameplay.
Even though the initial cost is higher to get good quality linear switches, many gamers feel it's worth it in the long run.
Which is better for gaming: linear or tactile switches?
When deciding whether you should use linear or tactile switches for gaming, it's really a matter of what you prefer.
Linear switches provide the best speed, accuracy, and smoothest keystroke. However, some gamers prefer tactile switches because they find tactile feedback helpful.
If you're a competitive gamer or want a key switch that'll provide the best combination of speed and accuracy, linear switches are the best option. You're also more likely to find linear switches to be the best option if your hands tire quickly.
On the other hand, you may prefer to receive tactile feedback to confirm that you've activated the key.
For example, some gamers find their performance more accurate when they can feel the tactile bump of a tactile switch that lets them know they've successfully activated the key.
However, many gamers have noticed a slight delay between activating the key and when it registers on the screen.
This is one of the biggest reasons many gamers avoid using tactile switches.
Personally, I love the tactile feedback from a tactile switch, and something about the sound of the keystrokes is soothing to me.
However, tactile switches make my fingers ache much quicker than linear switches because they require a little more force to activate each key.
What brands of linear key switch should I look for?
If you decide to go with linear switches for your gaming keyboard, your overall satisfaction will depend heavily on whether or not you choose a good brand. Unfortunately, they're not all created equally, so it's essential to know which brands are known for delivering the best performance.
The following are some of the best linear key switch brands:
- Cherry MX
These brands are among the most reputable among avid gamers because they offer outstanding performance and durability.
Cherry MX: Red vs. Black
Cherry MX Red switches are one of the most commonly used linear switches for gaming. They feature light resistance and smooth keystrokes with a quiet sound. However, gamers with a heavier hand often opt for Cherry MX Black switches because they're almost identical to the Red switches.
The only difference is that Black switches have a higher resistance, requiring you to use a little more force when you press the key. They're also known to be a bit more durable.
One thing you should keep in mind with Cherry MX switches is that they can be a bit tricky to install. When installing them, the pins are easily bent if you don’t make sure they’re aligned
Gateron: Quality for Every Budget
If you're just starting out with linear switches, Gateron is an excellent choice because of its price point. If you're not sure you'll like the linear feel, you probably don't want to spend a fortune on the first set you try.
The Gateron Milky Yellow switch is one of the best options for budget-friendly linear switches that don't sacrifice quality. These switches keep up with many of their leading competitors in terms of quality.
Another good option for those who prioritize speed is the Gateron Speed Silver Pro. These switches are more expensive than many of their other options, but they’re one the best options for a speed-focused performance.
NovelKeys are a newer brand of linear switches that hit the market in 2018 that are definitely an option to keep in mind when looking for the best linear switches. More specifically, the most popular of the switches is the NoveltyKeys Cream.
These switches are known for providing the same streamlined performance as other top brands with the added perk of having a great sound. In addition, they're designed to be self-lubricating, which makes the installation a much quicker process, as lubing can be a very time-consuming process.
Many who use these keys choose to lubricate them because of the scratchy sound they produce when they’re new. However, if you can tolerate the sound long enough to break them in, you’ll find that the sound improves on its own over time.
Linear switches are the most popular choice among gamers. Most gamers choose them because of their quick response, improved input accuracy, and quiet sound. They’re also loved for their unique, smooth, and comfortable feel.
While some gamers prefer a tactile switch because they offer tactile feedback to confirm that the key was activated, many have noticed that tactile switches don’t respond as quickly. This, along with the higher force required to activate each key, is why most gamers choose linear switches over them.
Ultimately, whether linear switches are your best choice for gaming will depend on the features you want most. The best way to know for sure is to try them out for yourself. When you do, they're likely to become your preferred key switch.
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