Tired of typing on boring unresponsive keys? If so, then a mechanical keyboard is what you need to make your typing experience fantastic!
But before you go out into the market looking for a good mechanical keyboard, you should know everything about it. So what is a mechanical keyboard?
Well, a mechanical keyboard Is a board that uses separate mechanical switches for each of its keys. These switches are carefully placed to give you tactile feedback and a distinct clicking sound when pressed. And this is how mechanical keyboards offer a more satisfying and accurate typing experience than traditional keyboards.
Many enthusiasts and professionals put mechanical keyboards to daily use because of their accuracy and durability. Whether you need a keyboard for gaming, writing, or normal use, a mechanical keyboard has all your needs covered!
On top of all this, mechanical keyboards offer a level of personalization that can't be matched by other types of keyboards.
Related: 8 Best Mechanical Keyboards!
What makes it “mechanical”?
Under each key, mechanical keyboards have an individual mechanical switch. These switches are typically composed of a base, a spring, and a stem. So, the mechanical construction of this type of keyboard is what really makes it "mechanical."
On the other hand, traditional membrane keyboards use a rubber dome to create an electrical connection when a key is pressed.
What is a mechanical keyboard used for?
You can use mechanical keyboards for almost everything, ranging from gaming to programming to everyday typing.
Most people use mechanical keyboards for gaming. And why is that so? The tactile feedback and lightning-fast response time of mechanical switches make them ideal for gamers who require quick and accurate key presses.
Many gaming keyboards also come with additional frills like customizable RGB lighting and more that enhance the overall experience for a gamer.
But mechanical keyboards are not just ideal for gaming. Many professionals who spend a lot of time typing, such as programmers and writers, also use mechanical keyboards for their accuracy and comfort.
The tactile feedback and distinct clicking sound of the switches can help reduce typing errors and Improve typing speed.
Moreover, a mechanical keyboard offers more durability than membrane keyboards, making it a good choice for heavy computer users who need a keyboard that can last them a good while.
Why do people use mechanical keyboards?
People use mechanical because they are extremely comfortable, whether it’s for gaming, programming, or writing, a mechanical keyboard can offer a more accurate, customizable, and durable typing experience compared to traditional membrane keyboards.
For starters, mechanical keyboards use individual switches under each keycap, as opposed to the rubber domes found in membrane keyboards.
This gives each key distinct and satisfying tactile feedback when pressed, which can help reduce typing errors and increase typing speed.
Not only this! Mechanical keyboards offer a higher level of customization compared to membrane keyboards.
Many mechanical keyboards come with additional features like programmable macros and customizable RGB lighting, which can be useful for gamers or anyone who wants to enhance their typing experience.
Finally, mechanical keyboards are often more durable than membrane keyboards, making them a good choice for heavy computer users who need a keyboard that can withstand frequent use.
With proper care and maintenance, a good mechanical keyboard can last for years and provide a reliable and comfortable typing experience.
If I had to sum it up, I'd say it's because mechanical keyboards offer a superior typing experience compared to your normal keyboard.
Psst! If you're a typist, you'd wanna read this article: Which Mechanical Keyboard Is Good For Typing Practice?
How do mechanical keyboards work?
A mechanical keyboard uses individual switches under each keycap to register keystrokes. These switches work differently than the ones used in traditional keyboards.
When you press a key on a mechanical keyboard, the switch under the keycap has a stem and a spring. When you press down on the key, the stem pushes down on the spring, and the spring bounces back, pushing the stem back up.
This action makes a metal contact inside the switch connect, registering the keystroke.
You can use different types of switches in mechanical keyboards, which can affect the typing experience and how that particular mechanical keyboard will work.
For instance, clicky switches require more force to press down and give you haptic feedback when you press them, which can help reduce typing errors and increase your accuracy and precision as a typist.
Others, like tactile switches, are easier to press down and give you a smoother typing experience, which can be more comfortable for typing for long periods of time. They still have a tactile bump, but it's not as heavy as the one you get with clicky switches.
They are not the most accurate, but they are definitely up there in terms of speed and low actuation force.
For a more in-depth comparison between the mechanical switches, refer to my guide: Tactile vs Linear Switches
All in all, mechanical keyboards provide a more accurate, customizable, and durable typing experience compared to traditional keyboards.
Are mechanical keyboards loud?
A mechanical keyboard can be louder than your traditional keyboard. The sound of a mechanical keyboard comes from the switch mechanism under each keycap.
Different types of switches produce different levels of noise. For example, some switches produce an audible sound that you can hear from a distance, while other switches produce a smoother sound that is not as loud.
Moreover, the type of keycaps you are using on a mechanical keyboard can also affect the noise level. Keycaps made of plastic or ABS material can produce more noise than those made of PBT or other materials.
The noise level of mechanical keyboards can be reduced as well. Some switches, like the Cherry MX Silent and Gateron Silent, have built-in dampening mechanisms that reduce the sound of the switch.
In summary, your mechanical keyboard can be loud, but it depends on the type of switches and keycaps that are used in your specific keyboard. If you want a quieter experience, you can replace your switches with smoother ones.
To read this topic in detail, refer to my article on Why Are Gaming Keyboards So Loud?
Are mechanical keyboards expensive?
When you compare them to membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards can be more expensive. This is due to the higher cost of manufacturing the switch mechanism and the overall good build quality of the keyboard.
However, the price of mechanical keyboards can vary widely depending on the brand, features, and type of switches used.
Entry-level mechanical keyboards can start at low prices, while high-end models from premium brands can cost you a fortune.
It also depends on the layout that you're getting. Sometimes, a 60%, 65%, or TKL keyboard can be more expensive than a full board.
The reason for this is mainly the use of compact keyboards in the world of Esports.
But are they worth your hard-earned money? Absolutely!
Are mechanical keyboards better for typing and gaming?
Mechanical keyboards are not only better but way better for typing and gaming. The primary reason why people use mechanical boards remains gaming, but don't underestimate their use in the world of typing.
Furthermore, the linear switches make mechanical keyboards the one and only keyboard choice for gamers.
The clicky and tactile switches (I'll touch on them later in this article) are made to be the best assistant for a typist or programmer. They don't only have a satisfying feel; they will also make you a lot more precise with time.
You cannot simply use a membrane board for gaming. They are slow, bulky, heavy, and even unresponsive sometimes.
Meanwhile, a mechanical keyboard has low latency combined with anti-ghosting and N-key rollover, making it the best option in this domain.
Look at the top competitive players like s1mple, NiKo, Ax1le, electroNic, and others; each of them uses a mechanical keyboard.
I have personally used mechanical keyboards for both typing and gaming. And, because of this experience, I can certainly say that they have no competition at the moment with their performance.
Are mechanical keyboards more ergonomic?
Mechanical keyboards are more ergonomic than traditional keyboards. This is because mechanical switches provide tactile feedback and require less force to function, reducing the amount of strain on your fingers and wrists.
Moreover, you can use additional customizable layouts and ergonomic features like wrist rests and adjustable feet in mechanical keyboards, which can further improve comfort and reduce your risk of repetitive strain injuries.
Yes, it's true that mechanical keyboard switches are the best to avoid RSI!
So, if you're someone who spends a lot of time typing or gaming, then you should heavily consider investing in a mechanical keyboard for the potential ergonomic benefits.
What do mechanical keyboards sound like?
Mechanical keyboards usually have a clicky sound due to the tactile bump present between the pre-travel and bottoming-out of the key switch. You will mainly find three kinds of switches on a mechanical keyboard: Clicky, tactile, and linear.
Clicky Switches: Loud and Snappy
Clicky switches have the sharpest noise, but they are also the most accurate. Keyboards with this switch type are mostly used by typists or programmers.
One can also use them for casual gaming, but these are not what I would recommend for competitive battles.
Tactile Switches: Less Noisy with a Soft Bump
Tactile switches do provide recognizable feedback upon pressing, but it is less than what you'll experience on a clicky switch. Those who don't like the decibel levels on the clicky switches opt for them.
You can use tactile switch keyboards for typing, programming, and gaming. They'll perform just as well.
Linear Switches: Quiet and Smooth
Keyboards with linear switches are the quietest, although they're not completely noiseless. Anyway, they don't offer any friction while actuating, which makes them fast.
Linear switches are excellent for fast-paced gaming but not so much for typing or programming. Due to their speed, these switches lack some accuracy, making them a suboptimal choice for the tasks mentioned.
Psst! Wondering which keyboard switches do pro gamers use? Then check out my blog on this topic for a detailed answer.
Are mechanical keyboards always wired or can I get one with Bluetooth?
Mechanical keyboards are not always wired. So yes, you can get one with Bluetooth. Users can find numerous options in both categories on the market with different price ranges.
Just for your info, wired mechanical keyboards are comparatively faster than Bluetooth ones.
The former has low latency and registers the keystroke in an instant since it is connected directly to the system.
On the other hand, Bluetooth keyboards don't maintain a physical connection with the PC but rather communicate via signals.
This makes them a little slower when it comes to acknowledging keystrokes. In simple terms, they have a higher latency than wired mechanical keyboards.
Which parts of a mechanical keyboard can be customized?
From keycaps and switches to lighting, mechanical keyboards are truly customizable. You can customize these parts for different colors, materials, or styles on your terms!
You don’t have to stop here though; you can also customize your keyboards' switches to design a completely new tactile configuration that suits your wrists and fingers.
You have a choice between different mechanical color switches and north-facing or south-facing switches. Besides, you can compare switches of different brands as well, like Cherry MX vs Gateron, and then go for the clicky, tactile, or linear switches that suit your budget and style.
The result? You end up creating a truly remarkable keyboard experience for yourself that makes your everyday clicking experience extremely fun and productive.
Do mechanical keyboards last?
Mechanical keyboards are extremely long-lasting and remain in good shape for 10–15 years. The first reason is their solid build, which nowadays is even an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. Even if you drop your board somehow, there are chances that it won't break up like a membrane keyboard.
Secondly, the key switches of mechanical keyboards are as durable as you can imagine! Their minimum lifespan is almost 50 million keystrokes, while many can last up to more than 100 million without any problems.
Just make sure to clean your keyboard routinely to not let the dust settle between the keycaps. Many keycaps and switches are indeed dust-resistant, but it's still recommended to give them a little rubbing with a brush or cloth.
This was a detailed guide on what a mechanical keyboard is. I tried to cover each and every aspect of these boards and explain why they are viable for gaming and typing, how long they last, how they work, what's their price range, why people use them so much, and a lot more.
If you had any doubts about the functionalities of mechanical keyboards, then I hope that they are gone for good. There are hundreds of models to choose from, and you also get the option to customize them according to your preferences.
Whether it's typing, programming, or gaming, a mechanical keyboard can do it all.
For more comprehensive guides like this, make sure to keep yourself updated with TheTechSetup.
Until then, read: History of Mechanical Keyboard Switches