In this post, I’ll answer the question of how long do mechanical keyboards last, and give you pointers on why or why not you should choose them over the typical membrane keyboards!
Mechanical keyboard switches on average are rated for between 50 to 100 million keystrokes of daily, high-intensity usage. It is safe to say it will last 10-15 years minimum! Depending on your usage and how well you take care of your keyboard, it could last even longer.
Let’s go deeper into it and have a look at some of the benefits mechanical keyboards have!
Why do mechanical keyboards last so long?
Mechanical keyboards last so long because of their superior design and construction. The key switches in a mechanical keyboard are made with individual mechanical parts.
The mechanical components in a mechanical keyboard are typically more durable and long-lasting compared to the membrane in a traditional keyboard.
Additionally, the key switches in a mechanical keyboard are designed to withstand millions of key presses, whereas the membrane in a traditional keyboard may wear out or become damaged over a much shorter amount of time.
The sturdy construction and high-quality components used in mechanical keyboards also make them more resistant to wear and tear, and less prone to breakage, which further extends their lifespan.
Mechanical keyboards are modular, which means their parts are universally interchangeable, this allows for easy replacement of faulty and damaged parts.
All of this combined amounts to a whopping 50-100 million keystrokes of daily, high-intensity usage!
Related: Top 8 Best Mechanical Keyboards!
How often should you change your gaming keyboard?
You should change your gaming keyboard when it starts to feel uncomfortable or unresponsive.
If you're a hardcore gamer who is always playing the latest and greatest games, then you'll probably want to change your keyboard more often than someone who only plays a few hours a week.
Second, how well do you take care of your keyboard? If you're careful with it and clean it regularly, then it will last longer than if you're constantly spilling drinks on it or dropping it on the floor
Third, what type of keyboard do you have? Mechanical keyboards are built to last longer than membrane keyboards, so if you have a mechanical keyboard, you won't need to replace it as often.
Ultimately, how often you should change your gaming keyboard depends on how often you use it and how well you take care of it.
What parts are easily replaced on your mechanical keyboard?
One of the main selling points of mechanical keyboards is their modular design. You can change the key switches, keycaps, and the stabilizer with ease.
There are a number of tutorials on YouTube that you can follow to easily customize, maintain and replace parts as needed!
You can also change the case and the PCB but that requires much more technical know-how to complete safely, although it could be a nice self-challenge!
What features make a mechanical keyboard last longer?
There are several features that contribute to how long a mechanical keyboard will last, let’s learn them now!
ABS plastic is the cheapest and most common option, it can become brittle over time and degrade, the most immediately noticeable issue will be the letters fading away and then the texture will go away from the continued friction of pressing the keys.
If you want to ensure keycap durability then you will find the PBT keycaps a much better option, they are leagues ahead of the ABS.
“Double-shot” keycaps, especially backlit compatible ones cost more than the ordinary ones so beware, still, they are worth it and PBT provides the best option if you don’t want the cheap and easily degrading ABS, but also if you don’t wanna blow the budget on a keyboard with aluminum and stainless steel keycaps.
Now if you are feeling like dropping a couple hundred bucks in total and you really want the best, consider aluminum or stainless steel, this will not only ensure the most durability but will most likely feel the most premium, at a price! (But hey, it will also look really cool on “share your setup” posts on social media!)
Eventually, it will happen, tomorrow, 5 months, or 3 years from now, you will bump into that mug full of coffee and spill it onto your keyboard.
If your mechanical keyboard is not waterproof, there is a risk of damaging the electronics inside your mechanical keyboard, so best get one that has this feature and has peace of mind.
Keycaps are not the only components that have metallic options, the case of your mechanical keyboard can also be stainless steel or aluminum, which will bump up the price quite a bit, but will offer a much stronger housing for your keyboard along with feeling a whole lot more premium. Stainless steel cases will be rarer to find but aluminum is quite common at this point.
Full-metal keyboard case and keycaps sound cool, might work really well with certain themes!
This feature will make it so that you won’t have to replace the whole keyboard if the cord gets damaged, just replace the cord and it’s good as new.
We talked about the features that will work towards achieving a longer keyboard lifespan, now let’s talk about a neutral point that neither decreases nor increases the durability.
RGB, it’s quite controversial, on one hand, it looks so beautiful especially after programming the lights to your liking, on the other hand, RGB may not last as long as the rest of the components.
RGB lifespan will depend on how high the quality of parts that keyboard was made from, the soldering, wiring, and all the rest of the electronics' quality.
So you may or may not have to worry about this for as long as your key switches last, really can’t say for sure. The general rule of thumb, the more electronics, the more things to break down. Personally, I would definitely go for a mechanical keyboard with RGB.
Pros and cons of a mechanical keyboard
- Extremely long lifespan
- Modular design, replace parts as you wish.
- Being able to choose the perfect switches for you
- It is much more precise compared to membrane keyboards
- Mechanical keyboard switches are superbly durable to wear out!
- Price, they are definitely not the budget option when it comes to keyboards.
- Finding out the perfect switches for you might take time and cost money!
- Depending on the type of key switch, it may be loud enough to annoy you.
How to make a mechanical keyboard last longer?
If you want to maximize the lifespan of your mechanical keyboard then you’ll have to pay attention to some rules.
- You just took a round to the noggin out of nowhere in Escape From Tarkov, before you hulk smash the keyboard, please take a deep breath and reconsider, there is always the next raid!
- Place those mugs full of coffee behind the keyboard, it is much harder to knock them over if you put them behind, instead of the front.
- Some people type on the keyboard like they are poking holes in something, try to press the keys with just enough pressure to actuate the key, anything more will increase the wear and tear, and there is also a chance of bending the stabilizer if you press the keys too hard.
- Take care of the cord! You do not want to yank it from the cable itself, always grab it from the hard plastic head when connecting the cable on and off! (Also make sure the cat doesn’t chew on it!) Damage to the cord is especially bad when the cord is permanent because you’ll have to replace the whole keyboard, another reason to buy a mechanical keyboard with a replaceable cord feature!
- Every once in a while, it is good practice to use the keycap puller and remove the keycaps in order to clean any dust, dirt, and food like bread crumbs accumulated underneath. If left unchecked, there can be some nightmare scenarios, trust me, you don’t want to see them so make sure to clean underneath your keycaps at least every 2 months and try not to drop any breadcrumbs in there!
How often should you buy a new keyboard?
It depends on a couple of parameters, if something is broken, or not working as well as before, then it may be a good time to replace the keyboard. Don't forget one of the main selling points of mechanical keyboards, modular design, you can replace faulty/broken parts with new ones!
Your keyboard became too old or you are bored and want to shop for something new just to feel better (we’ve all been there), and there is that new mechanical keyboard with all the bells and whistles, go for it if you think it’s worth it for you!
Keyboards are more than just tools to type with, now they have all sorts of technologies and comforts integrated with them so you can do your typing and gaming easier, comfier, and more precisely!
These days it is common to find themed gaming/working stations in the house/office so keyboards also have a part to play in this role: the color, style, and features all contribute to the overall theme of the place, so think broadly!
How long do mechanical keyboards last vs membrane?
Several factors contribute to how long a mechanical keyboard will outlast membrane, let’s learn them now!
Mechanical keyboards are far superior to membrane keyboards in terms of lifespan.
It really depends from person to person and how well you take care of your mechanical keyboard, it is safe to assume they will serve for at least 50+ million keystrokes, with some care and less keyboard smashing after a loss in the game, you can expect to use your mechanical keyboard for over 15 years!
Let’s say, you are a gamer, a writer, or a translator then you might make a dent out of your mechanical keyboard’s lifespan. It all depends on how intensely and frequently you are using your keyboard.
There is a software called WhatPulse, you can track how many times you’ve pressed the keys with it and then calculate how long it will take you to reach the rated amounts of 50-100 million keystrokes.
Fun fact: some people on Reddit did the math with the help of this software and it turns out their mechanical keyboard will most likely outlast them with their usage!
Membrane keyboards are usually rated for 5-10 million keystrokes, which is about 2-3 years, again depending on the intensity and how frequently you are typing with the keyboard.
Higher quality ones are rated for about 15 million keystrokes but options are limited and you’re probably better off just buying a mechanical keyboard at those prices.
I personally had one such high-quality membrane keyboard, my old A4Tech gaming keyboard which I used for 5 years and it still works to this day.
I replaced it because the old fella needed some well-earned retirement! (Also the new computer is not compatible with PS/2 cable anymore… so there is that.)
A major drawback of membrane keyboards that is holding them from having a longer lifespan is, once the rubber membrane pad is damaged, you have to buy a whole new keyboard because replacing that membrane pad is no easy task and those parts are not modular so you most likely won’t be able to find it online or in any tech store, only from the original manufacturer.
Remember, they are the cheapest budget option, giving them an extra lifespan is not the goal of the companies that make them.
In conclusion, mechanical keyboards are far superior in durability, precision, feel, and even sound(if you prefer clicky switches).
Once you find your favorite switches, you just have to replace the keyboard as needed and you can carry over your switches and keycaps to the new keyboard!
Hopefully, you’ve learned some valuable information, see you in the next post!
- Does Mechanical Keyboard Improve Typing Speed?
- Are Mechanical Keyboards Good or Bad for Your Fingers?
- Which Mechanical Keyboard Is Good For Typing Practice?
- Are Mechanical Keyboards Better For Office Work?
- Are Mechanical Keyboards Good for Programming?
- Why Are Gaming Keyboards So Loud?
- What Is A 60% Keyboard?
- Are 60% Keyboards Good for Gaming?