Ever seen an eSports competition and wondered why are gaming keyboards so loud? Well, that's what most membrane users think when they first come across a mechanical board.
Gaming keyboards are so loud because they use mechanical switches for every keycap. These switches have a clicky actuation, and thus the keyboard makes the "click! clack!" sound. Secondly, many mechanical keyboards have their bases and keycaps made from plastic. When keycaps hit the base, noise is produced.
Mechanical keyboards are the best-selling ones in the gaming industry. You can't become a pro gamer with membrane keyboards. Mechanical boards are loud, yes, but they also have a lot of other benefits.
They are fast, reliable, durable, and have some cool designs!
But are all mechanical keyboards loud? Which one is the quietest? And how can you make your gaming keyboard quieter? Find out the answers to all these queries below.
Are all mechanical keyboards loud?
No, all mechanical keyboards are not loud. It depends on the key switches that they are using. For instance, a keyboard with Cherry MX Blue switches will be extremely loud due to the switch being clicky. Contrarily, a keyboard with Cherry MX Silent Red switches will be close to being completely noiseless.
In simple words, mechanical keyboards with clicky and tactile switches are loud. On the other hand, those with linear switches make the lowest sound and are the fastest.
But yeah, most mechanical keyboards are loud. They are not like membrane keyboards that have a rubber dome underneath to silence all the keys.
Rather, mechanical boards use a different key switch under each keycap that produces a sound upon actuating.
It's true that some people like the clicky noise while others don't. If you also have a clicky keyboard and want to make it quieter, don't worry as I'll later mention the methods to do exactly that.
Why do gaming keyboards sound bad?
Gaming keyboards might sound bad to users because of their key switches clicky sound. While engaging in high-intensity gaming, you have to focus on each and every sound of the opponent, especially in FPS games. Therefore, having a keyboard that's too loud will disturb your focus.
Moreover, your friends on call and those that are sitting beside you can be annoyed by the constant loud sound. However, it comes down to everyone's preference in the end. If your teammates are okay with it, then there's no problem.
Some gamers really like the clicky noise and strong tactile feedback! On the contrary, many gamers prefer fast, linear switches without tactile bumps.
The latter is recommended for you if your main focus is gaming. And if you are not a serious gamer, then tactile switch keyboards can be great too.
Just make sure to test out the noise of the keyboard and see if you like it or not. No one likes spending bucks and then not liking the product they bought.
Which gaming keyboard is quietest?
There are many quiet gaming keyboards from brands like Razer, Corsair, Fnatic, SteelSeries, Logitech, and more. If someone prefers a specific company, then he or she can go for their products.
Razer BlackWidow Elite
The quietest gaming keyboard is the Razer Blackwidow Elite. It is a full keyboard with great functionalities.
You'll get a USB 2.0 connection, an option for macro keys, a multi-functional digital dial, an ergonomic wrist rest, and excellent metal material.
But what makes it quiet? Well, it has the O-rings for dampening the sound and comes with the following three switches:
- Razer Green: Tactile and Clicky
- Razer Orange: Tactile and Silent
- Razer Yellow: Linear and Silent
If you want the keys to be a little haptic, then go for the orange switches. But to make the keyboard completely silent, I'd get the Razer Yellows. These switches are some of the best in the business, with a lifespan of over 80 million keystrokes.
And yes, the Razer Blackwidow Elite comes with RGB chroma lights!
How can I make my gaming keyboard quieter?
You can make any gaming keyboard quieter in a few ways. First, you can get linear switches that are silent. Second, lube the existing switches if you don't want to change them. Third, insert rubber o-rings in the switch stem.
The methods don't stop here. Below you'll find a total of 6 techniques to silence your gaming keyboard. They are great, especially for those who don't want to spend on a new silent keyboard.
1. Change the Key Switches to Linear
I have already covered an article comparing linear and tactile switches. If you want to learn more about linear switches in detail and see why they are better for silencing keyboards, then do refer to that post.
Linear switches primarily lack tactile feedback, which makes a clicky sound. With no bump, you get a switch that is rapid and silent. As a gamer, you'd love using something like a Cherry MX Red or Silent Red switch.
Clicky switches make the most noise, and they are followed by tactile switches. If your current keyboard has them installed, then I recommend changing them to linear.
2. Lubricate your Key Switches
This is not recommended if you have no idea how to unsolder the keyboard. However, you can get this process done at a keyboard repair store. Lubricating the key switches will lessen the friction between the stem and spring of every switch.
This will also increase the speed of the keys in the process. There are a lot of liquids available for lubrication. Moreover, there's also an option to get the keyboard hand-lubed or machine-lubed.
The choice is yours. I'd suggest examining how a lubricated keyboard feels before actually lubricating yours.
3. Get a Desk Mat
When you have nothing underneath your keyboard and it's directly placed over the work desk, the sound will amplify. Why? Because whenever you register a keystroke by pressing the keys, the desk gets vibrated. This results in the amplification of the sound.
So, getting a good desk mat will solve this problem. It will dampen the sound and make the keyboard comparatively silent. But before buying the mat, place your keyboard on your mouse pad and press the keys to see if the sound is getting lower or not.
If it does, then go ahead and purchase a pad for your keyboard!
4. Use Rubber O-Rings in Switch Stems
Rubber O-rings will reduce the sound of your switches but will also make them softer. These rings are placed around the stems of your key switches and are pretty easy to install. Simply take out every switch and insert the O-ring before placing them back.
These rings come in multiple colors. I'd suggest going for the transparent ones because they don't affect the RGB lights. Keep in mind that some people won't like the experience of using the keyboard with O-rings.
So before placing the rings under all the switches, place them under a couple of them and see how they feel.
5. Add Foam between the PCB and the bottom of the Keyboard
This is not a difficult process and won't take much of your time. All you have to do is buy foam for your keyboard and place it between its base and PCB.
It will require you to unscrew the base plate and screw it back again after adjusting the foam. This will make the keyboard significantly quieter. Just make sure to get quality foam, though.
6. Use Dampened Keycaps
Keycaps with a thicker material and a shorter height are ideal for lowering the decibel level of your keyboard. I suggest going for PBT keycaps instead of ABS in this regard. The latter is more hollow and makes more noise as compared to PBS, which is more premium.
PBS keycaps will definitely be more expensive than the cheap ABS ones. Nevertheless, they are a one-time investment as they won't deteriorate in a short span. Rather, you can be assured of the keycaps being as good as new for decades!
Why do some gamers like clicky keyboards?
Some gamers prefer and enjoy clicky keyboards because of their sound and haptic feedback. The clicky sound combined with the tactile bump notifies you that the key has been successfully registered. This gives a sense of satisfaction to the users and makes them more accurate.
If you use linear switches, you don't get any of the above two facilities. Linear keyboards are quiet and have fast actuation with no feedback.
Having said that, if someone like me gets a gaming keyboard, then I'll also at least get tactile switches just for the sound and actuation feel. It's simply a personal preference.
Clicky keyboards are not totally useless for gamers.
If you like a little bit of feedback while you play, clicky switches might be the way to go.
Besides, I have already mentioned the methods through which you can silence the keys, and as a result, your keyboard, very easily.
The problem with mechanical keyboards only begins when others start getting annoyed by the sound. If that's not the issue, there's nothing wrong with some clickety-clack!
So, why are gaming keyboards so loud? I hope you know the reasons now. Key switches, plastic material, unstable stabilizers, no desk pad, and some other factors make gaming keyboards noisy.
It's better to check the sound and feel of the keyboard you're getting before buying it. If you're directly purchasing from a store, then the checking process becomes easy.
However, if you're purchasing the board online, then do see a couple of its videos to hear the sound it makes.
For more similar content about keyboards and switches, make sure you stay in touch with TheTechSetup. I'll be covering many more exciting topics like this in the future!
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- Linear Vs Tactile Switches