Looking to take your typing experience up a notch? The replacement of the stock springs in your linear switches is one of the most significant improvements you can make.
With smoother actuation and improved feedback, a high-quality spring can offer a more enjoyable and reliable typing experience.
There are several factors to consider when selecting the best springs for linear switches. The feel and functionality of your switches might vary greatly depending on the weight, length, and type of spring used.
There is no single "best" spring, but generally, a good spring for linear switches lies between the weight category of 50-70 and has a length of 14-2 mm.
Multiple spring types like progressive, complex, linear, and others are available in the market. You need to do your homework properly on them before buying yours.
Since there are so many options to choose from different types of springs, it can be difficult to make a choice for someone who is just stepping into the world of mechanical keyboards.
Therefore, I'll be guiding you all about mechanical switch springs today and answering all your queries. So buckle up and get ready to take your typing experience to the next level!
What are the different types of switch springs?
There are over 10 types of switch springs but only a few are famous. You would have heard of the linear, complex, and progressive springs alongside the stainless steel and gold-plated ones.
Well, the latter two are just the bodies of the spring but the actual mechanism depends upon the spring's nature. There are also short, long, and extra-long springs used for different purposes.
Following is a breakdown of the primary mechanical switch springs:
1. Linear Springs
As evident by the name, they are used in linear switches. These have a consistent force from top to bottom. Linear springs are an important part of the softest mechanical keyboard switches.
2. Tactile Springs
hese springs have a tactile bump between their travel and give haptic feedback. Ideal for both typing and gaming switches.
3. Clicky Springs
These are the audible springs that produce a clicky sound upon actuating. They are used in high-accuracy switches.
4. Progressive Springs
The force of these springs increases progressively as you press down the key switch.
5. Complex Springs
These springs require a light initial force like linear springs but the bottom-out force is high like the progressive ones. You can term complex springs as the hybrid of linears and progressives.
6. Light Springs
They are light in weight and require minimal force to actuate. These are often used in speed switches.
7. Heavy Springs
Heavy springs are ideal for precise typing as they require more force to actuate and give tactile feedback.
So these were all the main spring types for mechanical switches. Further in this article, I'll do a short comparison between stainless steel and gold-plated springs as well.
What is the best spring weight for switches?
For a spring of linear switches, the best weight would be around 50–70 g. Springs with 50 g of force will of course be a bit lighter, have quick actuation, and have a lower bottom-out force. Contrarily, those with 70 g will be a little heavier with more bottom-out force.
Having said that, the best spring weight for switches boils down to personal preference. Some people fancy lighter springs for fast actuation and a more responsive feel.
Meanwhile, others prefer heavier springs for more precision, accuracy, and tactile bump.
Springs can weigh as little as 35 grams or as much as 150 grams and above. As I said, linear springs are in the 50-70 g range, while tactile and clicky springs are somewhere between the 60-80 g category.
Are longer springs better for switches?
Yes, longer springs can be better for switches for a few reasons. First, they let the key switch have a consistent force throughout the total travel distance. And secondly, they have a sharp or snappy return that makes a nice clicky sound.
However, there are some drawbacks to longer springs as well. Lengthy springs are equivalent to increasing the size of the key switch. This results in them not being compatible with compact keyboards.
Nevertheless, they are still very useful and are used in many switches around the world. Typically, you'll find longer springs to be 15–22 mm long.
Now, one thing that I'd like you to keep in mind is that longer springs are just one aspect of a switch. The overall performance depends on many other factors too. They include the operational force, nature of the switch, travel distance, actuation point, manufacturability, and more.
Do springs affect sound on switches?
Yes, the springs on mechanical switches do affect the sound. When you press a switch, it compresses and then retracts to its original position. This produces a clicky, tactile, muffled, or pinging sound, depending upon the manufacturing of the switch.
The characteristics of a spring include its length, thickness, material, lubrication, and more. Be that as it may, the sound of a switch is not totally dependent on the spring alone. Rather, the stem, housing, keycap, and some other switch materials add to the cause.
Another thing you should know is that sometimes the springs inside the keys get twisted or rusty. This can also be the reason why your switches suddenly sound bad.
How does spring length affect switches?
The length of the spring affect how deep the keypress is, and how much resistance you feel when pressing the key. Shorter springs are generally used in linear switches, while longer springs are used in tactile and clicky switches.
Some people prefer shorter springs because they have a lighter feel, while others prefer longer springs for a more satisfying keypress.
Ultimately, it's up to personal preference which spring length you prefer.
Which linear switch has the least stem wobble?
When it comes to stem wobble there is one clear winner: the Cherry MX Red switch. Cherry MX Reds have a very strong spring that keeps the stem nice and tight in the housing. This means that there is very little wobble when you press down on the keys, making for a smooth and responsive typing experience.
Other linear switches, such as the Kailh BOX Browns, can also have quite good stem stability. However, they don't quite match up to the Cherry MX Reds in this regard.
So if you're looking for the linear switch with the least amount of stem wobble, Cherry MX Reds are the way to go.
Stainless Steel springs vs Gold plated: Which is better?
Gold-plated springs are better than their stainless steel counterparts due to their being resistant to corrosion and rust. Someone who lives in a humid climate might face the issue of their stock springs not living up to their lifespan. This is where the gold-plated springs come in handy.
Let me clear up any confusion before going further. Gold-plated springs are not made of gold. They just have the gold plating. Their base is still made of stainless steel. So, that's that. These springs are also more expensive due to obvious reasons.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, springs make a ping or clicky sound when pressed and released. In this regard, the gold-plated springs will have a smoother sound as compared to the regular springs. They are also more durable and work in every environment.
Now if you think that stainless steel springs are not worth it, then I'm afraid you're wrong. These springs will still prove to have a very long lifespan in a normal environment.
In case you're tight on the budget, then there's no necessity to get gold-plated springs.
So, to conclude, the best springs for linear switches are more of a personal preference in the end. There are a variety of springs ranging from 50 to 70 grams in weight and 14 to 22 millimeters in length.
Moreover, one should decide the type of spring that they are after, as there are many different categories. If you want quick actuation, then go for light or linear springs.
And for those who want to do some typing with their linear switches as well, a keyboard with a bit heavier switch springs won't do any harm. Not to mention that some users would prefer progressive or complex springs.
For more content related to everything about keyboards and switches, do keep up with TheTechSetup!