April 22, 2023

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Gateron switches might not be the most highly rated out there, but they are definitely worth a try. Their smoothness, feel, and performance are second to none.

They have multiple color switches; however, today our focus of discussion will be their black variants. If you're also stuck in the Gateron Blacks vs Black Inks debate, then today I'll reveal the winner.

Gateron Black Inks have an edge over the regular Black switches due to being more smooth, linear, and pleasant to hear. Besides, the transparent-smoky housing of these switches, coupled with their black stem and spring, gives them a sleek and modern look. The Ink series of Gateron is considered to be their premium collection.

Gateron Blacks vs Black Inks

Don't get me wrong; it's not like Gateron Blacks are bad. They have their own features and are still very viable, especially for those with a light budget. The statistics of both black switches are pretty similar except for the overall user experience.

I'll be highlighting some more differences between Gateron Blacks and Ink Blacks below. Moreover, I'll also suggest a very fine keyboard for the fans of Gateron Ink switches. 

What are ink black switches?

Ink Black switches are from the "Ink" series of switches by Gateron. I'd define them in three words: linear, smooth, and stable! These switches have proven to be effortlessly fluent for typing, and they are just as good for casual gamers too.

Ink Blacks have a clear, smoky housing that displays the inside of the switch as if someone sprayed the black color there and reduced some opacity.

Moreover, the stems and springs match the color of the switch, which makes it look super cool!

There is a gold alloy crosspoint contact that provides reliable protection from corrosion, making sure the switch lasts for no less than 50 million keystrokes.

The sound is just a little bit more than you'd expect on some other linear switches. However, these switches can be easily lubricated with Krytox 205g0 to make them super smooth! The lubricant will reduce friction and, as a result, make the switches feel natural and consistent. 

Is there a difference between Gateron Ink Black and Gateron Black?

There are a few differences between the Gateron Ink Black and the Gateron Black switch. Firstly, the former has a stronger build, and its unique housing design makes way for better light transmission. Similarly, the Ink Blacks feel much lighter on the fingers than the regular Blacks.

Is There A Difference Between Gateron Ink Black And Gateron Black?

The actuation point and bottom-out force of Gateron Ink black and Gateron black  are 60 and 70 grams, respectively. Besides, the total travel distance is also similar with a reading of 4 mm.

Another striking difference that you'll notice is the anti-corrosion protection in the Ink Blacks. This, of course, increases the lifespan of the switch, ensuring at least 50 million keystrokes without hurdles.

Ink switches were released by Gateron to provide extra stability for typists and gamers.

And to be honest, they have been really successful in carrying out this job.

Their switches, like Gateron Ink Blacks and Ink Reds, have slowly but surely made a name for themselves in the mechanical switch arena.

Having said that, the Gateron Blacks are cheaper and won't break the bank. On the contrary, some people might not be able to afford the Ink Blacks.

Are Gateron ink blacks tactile or linear?

Gateron Ink Blacks are linear switches, which means that they don't offer any sort of tactile feedback and guarantee a smooth and uninterrupted actuation. This also implies that these switches don't have any clicky sound.

On top of that, if you still don't like their feel, then there's an option to hand- or machine-lube them. This will give these switches the perfect sound and feel if you're all about quiet and fast switches.

There's also an option to use the Durock switch film for this smoothening purpose. However, I'd recommend getting this done from a keyboard repair store if you're not an expert.

Do Gateron ink blacks sound good?

In simple words, yes, the Gateron Ink Blacks sound good. But again, it depends on several factors. For instance, the type of keycaps you're using, the build and layout of your keyboard, and your typing style all contribute to the sound of not only the Gateron Ink Blacks but any switch.

Generally, you won't find many issues with the sound of these switches. Even if you do, there's always the lubing option, as I have already mentioned.

The users can also play around with the sound by trying out different keycaps. A thicker or denser keycap will allow for a crispier sound. Whereas a lighter keycap will do vice versa.

All in all, the Ink Blacks feel natural and have a soft sound like other linear switches.

What Is The Best Gateron Ink Keyboard?

The Keychron K6 Pro 65% board is one of the best keyboards to get that is compatible with Gateron Ink switches.

Keychron K6 Pro QMK

It is a hot-swappable keyboard that comes with G Pro switches, but they can be replaced by Ink switches without any soldering. The keyboard has both Bluetooth 5.1 wireless and USB-C wired connections.

Keychron Q2

It can connect with up to three devices at once for simultaneous work. Moreover, it features ergonomic support, double-shot PBT keycaps, an aluminum body frame, and 22 different RGB backlight options.

The users can program the keyboard with QMK and VIA to remap keys, make shortcuts, create macros, and more. The typing sound on this keyboard is really pleasant, thanks to the sound-absorbing foam. There's also a silicone-dampening bottom pad to further calm the sound.

There will be hardly any keyboards that come with the Ink switches pre-installed. Therefore, it's better to get one that's hot-swappable and doesn't require soldering.

Is Gateron Ink V2 better than Cherry MX?

If by better you mean the smoothness and the overall feel and experience, then yes, Gateron Ink V2 is better than Cherry MX. However, Cherry MX is much more durable and has almost twice the lifespan of Gateron switches.

Gateron Ink V2 and the other linear switches are often considered to be the smoothest switches in the current market. And the people who claim this aren't wrong either.

Gateron has surely become popular by manufacturing keys that make you feel like you're typing on an angel's cheek.

Apart from that, they are much cheaper than Cherry MX switches. Nevertheless, keyboards with Cherry switches are widely available, but that's not the case with boards having Gateron switches.

However, if you have a hot-swappable keyboard, then you can install the Gateron switches there. 

How heavy are ink blacks?

The Ink Blacks are in the medium-weight category of mechanical switches. Their actuation force is 60 g, which is more than what you'll find on most linear switches. The bottom-out force of the Gateron black inks is 70 g.

That being said, you won't experience any sort of resistance while pressing the keys. This is due to their extra-smooth functioning, and that's what most users have said after using them.

I'd recommend these switches for those who are fans of Cherry MX Blacks but want an even softer switch. This one is not for those who want very light and quick switches like the Cherry MX Red or Speed Silvers.

What is the difference between Gateron Black Ink V2 and Gateron box ink?

There are a number of differences between Gateron Black Ink V2 and Box Ink. Firstly, the Box Inks are even more smooth, and the wobble is reduced. Secondly, they feature a new stem mold that guarantees excellent protection against dust and corrosion.

Furthermore, they differ in the total travel distance as well. The Black Ink V2 has a 4 mm total distance, while the Box Inks have a much reduced travel of 3.4 mm.

The Box Inks are just slightly noisier than the regular Ink switches. However, you can get them pre-lubed, and there's the option to extra-lube them yourself as well.

Apart from this, the rest of the things are the same in both switches.

Both have a 60 g actuation force and are silent due to being linear. Both of them have a great user experience, but the Box Inks feel much lighter while pressing. This saves you from any finger strain.

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Are Gateron Ink Blacks quiet?

The Gateron Ink Blacks are simply the upgraded version of the Gateron Black switches. The latter is linear, as is the former. Therefore, the Ink Blacks are quiet and don't make any clicky or tactile sounds because of the lack of an operative bump.

These switches can be made even more silent by lubricating them with Krytox 205g0 switch lube. You can do the process yourself by watching any tutorial or getting it done by a professional.

But anyway, this will make the switch noiseless, and you'll have a peaceful writing experience on your computer. As I mentioned earlier as well, you can also apply switch films on the Ink Blacks apart from the lubricant for silencing purposes.

Both the Krytox 205g0 and the Durock Switch Film can be bought together with the Ink Blacks online or from any physical mechanical switch store.

Are Gateron black switches good for typing?

Gateron black switches can be deemed "okay" for typing but not very good. The reason is obviously their linear nature. Linear switches are fast with no tactile bump.

And as you know, I have mentioned numerous times in my blogs that tactile feedback is recommended for good typing switches.

Gateron Black switches can still be used by typists who are already very accurate and have good muscle memory. Touch typists can also use these after getting a hold of them.

They can certainly improve your typing speed, but you might have to compromise on the accuracy a bit.

And this is the reason why I won't suggest that newbies use linear switches for typing. Rather, they should always go for a tactile or, more preferably, a clicky switch. 

What is the smoothest Gateron switch?

The Gateron low-profile Red switches are the smoothest and possibly the fastest Gateron switches. They have an operating force of just 50 grams, and pre-travel is only 1.5 mm. The total travel is also pretty low at 2.5 mm, rather than the 4 mm of Ink switches.

Red switches are always linear by nature, and the low-profile manufacturing makes them even swifter. You guessed it, these switches are a hot pick in the gaming community.

The other two low-profile options you can get are the Browns and the Blues. These two are optimal choices for typists and programmers.

Psst! you might want to check my article on Which Mechanical Keyboard Switches Are The Softest?

Which Gateron is the quietest?

Gateron Silent Red is the quietest Gateron switch. If you've had the experience of using the Cherry MX Silent Red switches, then the Gaterons won't feel much different. They are almost completely silent and just have a dull, light sound.

Gateron has four other options in the silent category, including Silent Clear, Yellow, Black, and Brown. All of them are viable for someone in search of a silent switch.

But still, they have their differences in terms of the pre-travel, total travel, actuation force, bottom-out force, and more.

The sound is also slightly different in all the silent Gateron switches, with the Reds being the quietest of the lot.

Which Gateron switch is the loudest?

Gateron Blue is the loudest Gateron switch, just ahead of Gateron Green. The latter is heavier but just a little less noisy than the Blues. Gateron Blues are clicky switches, and they are like the clones of the Cherry MX Blues.

Being clones, they are cheaper as well.

Anyhow, these switches have a high tactile bump for key registration indication. This makes them slower than the linear and tactile switches but also more precise.

Gateron Blues are highly recommended for typists who don't mind a clickety-clack and are not surrounded by a bunch of people in their working environment.

Because, as you know, clicky switches can be very disturbing to constantly hear sometimes.


So, this concludes the comparison between Gateron Blacks and Gateron Inks.

The Ink switches are more durable, reliable, stable, and smooth. Their performance and user experience are much better as compared to the regular blacks.

But all of these qualities come at a price. I know that not everyone can afford these switches, and therefore, I mentioned in the article that Gateron Blacks are still very usable. Don't consider them futile by any means!

Keep following TheTechSetup for more comparisons, guides, and reviews related to keyboards and switches.

Until then, read: Cherry Mx Vs Gateron switches

About the author 


Hussain is a self-taught "tech nerd" and has been tinkering with computers & keyboards since he was a kid. After working in the IT industry for a few years, he decided to start this blog as a way to share his knowledge with others.


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