The switches your keyboard uses are one of the most significant factors in the typing experience it provides. If you’re looking for a keyboard that offers the fastest response, minimal noise, and the most comfortable feel, linear switches may be the solution for you. So what are linear switches?
Linear switches are a type of switch used in keyboards that are quieter and respond more quickly than other types. This is because they’re activated as soon as the key is pressed rather than requiring you to press it all the way down. This means they respond more quickly, from any angle, and with less effort.
If you’re trying to decide if linear switches are the right choice for you, this article will help you decide. I’ll thoroughly explain what linear switches are, what makes them different, and when it’s ideal to use them.
Psst! looking for the best budget linear switches? check out our article on the 7 Best Linear Switches
What are linear switches good for?
Linear switches provide a quicker, smoother, and more comfortable typing experience. Additionally, they don’t make a loud clicking sound or “bump” sensation when you press the keys. These features make them ideal in several different situations.
If you’re an avid gamer, you know the importance of speed and accuracy, especially in highly competitive situations. Of the three basic types of switches you can choose from for your gaming keyboard, linear switches are the best at providing these things.
Their quick response is the main reason most gamers prefer them. Most situations you run into when gaming requires you to think fast and make a quick decision.
However, the ability to think quickly isn’t as helpful if the response from your keyboard is delayed.
When you press a key on a linear switch keyboard, the key will always activate at the same point in the keystroke, making it much easier to time your moves.
If you use another type of switch for gaming, you may notice that you don’t always get an accurate response when you press the same key multiple times in a row. Linear switches eliminate this issue, as well.
Lastly, linear switches won’t make your fingers stiff and achy as quickly as other types. This is because they require less force to activate when you press the key.
Linear switches are also good for regular typing tasks for many of the same reasons they’re good for gaming. They’re especially beneficial if you’re a fast typist or spend much of your day typing.
The lessened travel distance makes it possible to type as quickly as you’d like without the keyboard lagging. This allows you to accomplish your tasks more quickly and efficiently than other types.
You’ll also be able to type more accurately at a higher speed than you could using tactile or clicky switches. Linear switches are not as likely to miss a keystroke when you’re typing at a quicker rate, as they only have to be pressed about 2mm before they register.
Additionally, there’s not as much resistance when you press the keys, which is much easier on your hands. As someone who spends the majority of the day typing,
I prefer linear switches because I run into tingly and burning fingers far less often than when I use other types and they help me to avoid RSI Repetitive Strain Injury.
Linear switches are the quietest type you can use, making them an excellent choice if you often use your keyboard in an environment where a noisy keyboard is not welcome.
The quiet typing experience you’ll get from a linear switch could be a good thing in many situations, including:
- If you work in a quiet, professional environment.
- You use the keyboard in libraries, lobbies, etc.
- You use your keyboard for taking notes or completing assignments in a classroom.
In these instances, using a louder could easily disturb those around you. Using linear switches would allow you to carry out your tasks in these environments without disturbing others around you.
Are Linear Switches Better?
Linear switches are better for many things, but they’re not always the best solution for everyone. Whether linear switches are better for you depends on your personal preference and needs.
To determine if they’re the better option for you, it’s best to compare them to your other options before making a final decision.
I’ll help you do this by walking you through the main differences between linear vs. clicky switches and linear vs. tactile switches.
What is the difference between linear and clicky switches?
There are several differences between linear and clicky switches. The most significant difference is the noise. Clicky switches are the loudest switches used in mechanical keyboards, which could be a positive or negative characteristic, depending on your needs.
The main differences between linear and clicky switches are:
- Clicky switches are much louder than linear switches. Pressing a key with a clicky switch makes a distinct clicking noise that lets you know you’ve activated the key.
- Clicky switches aren’t activated as easily as linear switches. This means you’ll need to apply more force to the key when using a clicky switch than a linear switch. You’ll also have to push the key further before it’s activated.
- Clicky switches don’t respond as quickly as linear switches. When using a linear switch, the keystroke is recognized almost instantly, while there’s a slight delay in response with a clicky switch.
- Clicky switches aren’t as smooth as linear switches. When using a clicky switch, you’ll feel a subtle shift when you pass the point at which the key activates. This is related to an increased resistance that can also decrease your speed.
A clicky switch may be better if you prefer receiving audible feedback when you press a key. Additionally, clicky switches are good options for beginners and those who prefer a slower but more accurate approach.
What is the difference between linear and tactile switches?
The differences between linear and tactile switches are similar to those between linear and clicky switches. However, tactile switches are not as loud as clicky switches.
The main differences between linear and tactile switches are:
- Tactile switches provide feedback when you activate the key. Linear switches provide a smooth feel, while tactile switches allow you to feel a distinct bump once you’ve pressed the key far enough to activate it.
- Tactile switches can be more accurate for typing. When you type on a keyboard with tactile switches, it may be easier to miss keys if you aren’t receiving feedback to let you know you’ve activated the key. This is especially true if you’re a beginner and/or aren’t used to the feel of a linear switch.
- Tactile switches are noisier than linear switches. While tactile switches are not as loud as clicky switches, they’re louder than linear switches. Linear switches provide the most minimal typing noise.
If your keyboard is used for typing and accuracy is your primary concern, tactile switches are a good option for you. However, if you’re experienced and can type accurately with no feedback, linear switches can provide the same level of accuracy.
Why do people like linear switches so much?
Linear switches are the most popular switches among gamers and many typists. Many argue that once you use them, other switches will seem mediocre. If you’ve heard these claims, you’re probably curious as to why people love linear switches so much.
The simple answer is that they offer the best, most streamlined performance for gamers and experienced typists. However, many factors play a role in the growing obsession with linear switches.
Linear switches have the fastest response.
Gamers love linear switches because there’s no delay between when they press the key and when the command is triggered. This instant response gives them an advantage over their competition.
Additionally, they trigger the same command repeatedly without running out into problems with the response from the keyboard.
This response is also one of the reasons many prefer these keyboard typing. Personally, I love that they allow me to type as quickly as I need to without the interference of the tactile feedback slowing me down or causing me to miss keys.
Linear switches provide a smooth, soft, consistent feel.
The smooth and consistent feel makes your typing experience much more enjoyable. There’s virtually no resistance when pressing the keys, so it feels like your fingers are gliding across the keyboard.
Additionally, it requires minimal effort to press the keys, which decreases the painful impact that using the keyboard for long periods has on their hands.
Psst! if you want more information about the softest switches read my article on: Which Mechanical Keyboard Switches Are The Softest?
Should You Get Linear Switches?
When deciding if you should get linear switches, there are just a few things to consider. The most important thing is whether you depend on the feedback other switch types provide for accuracy.
If you can type accurately without this feedback, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give linear switches a try. When you do, there’s a good chance they’ll become your favorite switch type, whether you’re a gamer or typist.
Linear switches are a great choice for those who want a smooth, consistent typing experience. With their low actuation force and linear motion, these switches provide an effortless feel that many keyboard enthusiasts enjoy.
Not only do they offer excellent performance, but they also come in a variety of colors and styles so you can customize your keyboard to match your unique style.
Whether you're looking for a reliable switch for gaming or just need something comfortable to type on all day long, linear switches should definitely be on your list of options.
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