There is a multitude of keyboards currently available on the market. However, not all of them are optimized for gaming. One common type of keyboard is the scissor-switch keyboard. Are they suitable for a person’s gaming needs, possibly offering a good alternative to common keyboards?
Scissor switch keyboards are a subset of membrane keyboards, with scissor-shaped stabilizers that make them slightly more tactile and durable than regular keyboards. However, they don’t have a long lifespan, and it’s easy to make mistakes on them while gaming. For these reasons, mechanical or regular membrane keyboards are considered a better choice for gamers.
For this article, we will be going over what a scissor switch is, how it works, where it is used, and go into the components that set it apart from its competitors. Afterward, we’ll be touching upon their general usage and if they can handle gameplay, and if it cannot, then possible alternatives to the scissor-switch board.
What are Scissor Switches
Despite the usual keyboard looks involving a lot of clunky keys and wide and heavy bodies, if you’ve ever owned or seen a laptop, you’ll see flatter, smaller switches for keyboards. These are scissor-switch keyboards. Scissor switches are a subset of the rubber dome over membrane switches.
However, instead of only using the dome, scissor switches are attached to the keycaps with two stabilizers that are joined with a hinge in the middle, making it look like a pair of scissors. There is a pair of these plastic stabilizers at opposite ends under the keycap. This lets the switches have a low travel distance without the wiggling that ordinary rubber dome and membrane keyboards have.
Scissor-switches are usually the go-to for those who do not want mechanical keyboards for one reason or another but do not want to use purely rubber dome and membrane keyboards. While scissor switches operate mechanically, they are not classified as mechanical switches due to the lack of keycap customization and aren’t spring-loaded.
What Makes Scissor Switches Unique From Other Keyboard Switches
Scissor switches are often seen on laptops – by nature, the dome and stabilizer design for the switches lend them a low profile, nearly flat, that it can sleekly fit inside of a laptop. They’re all fairly svelte and silent. That said, it’s not uncommon to find them on standalone keyboards either. Your standard, small Bluetooth keyboard can use scissor switches, and they have a great likeness to the keyboards already used on laptops.
While it may not be a true mechanical switch, the scissor-like stabilizers make it so that the keys have some tactility to them. Scissor switches are a subset of membrane keyboards, which also use rubber domes in addition to stabilizers. Those stabilizers also decrease the wiggle and creak of keys on normal rubber dome and membrane keyboards.
The keys themselves are more responsive, with a slight snap to them. All of this is along with the switch design where the keys are largely closed off, as they are very close to the body of the keyboard itself, making it nearly impossible to clean and just as hard to get dust within them.
The switches themselves can handle bottoming out – that is, pressing the key until it reaches the end – fairly well and can endure such during its lifespan. This can let a person type fast without much repercussion, as the fingers will be pressing upon a rubber dome switch with scissor stabilizers instead of mechanical parts.
What Makes Scissor Switch Keyboards a Good Option For Gaming
There are several reasons why scissor switches are good for gaming. One of them is their quiet nature. Their structure also lets them have little to no sound when typing, even at fast rates, which enables you to concentrate on your gaming experience, and remains unobtrusive from chatting for both yourself and others. The low profile lets most gamers go smoothly over the keys, lending them little to no obstacles for fast-paced usage.
Also, the low actuation force means little to no issue with ghosting. Those used to operating computers on laptops may also find it easier to use than chunkier, larger models. The low actuation force also means that the keys are fairly easy to use without excessive force that could strain both the fingers and the wrist.
Finally, the sleek look appeals greatly to those who prefer minimalistic styles that don’t adhere to the usual RGB, gaming-influenced aesthetic that other keyboards take after.
Lastly, scissor-switch-equipped keyboards are considerably more affordable than mechanical gaming keyboards. This is because their structure is less complex, making them easier to manufacture.
Why Gamers Should Look For Other Keyboard Switches
The biggest issue of scissor switches is their durability. While manufacturers rate them to last for up to 5 million to 10 million keystrokes, they still do not compare to the 20-50 million keystrokes found on most mechanical keyboards. Also, given how scissor-switch-equipped keyboards are less popular than mechanical keyboards, buyers will not have much variety with switch options.
Also, many scissor-switch-equipped keyboards are not primarily designed for gaming. This means that many features, such as NKRO (N-Key Rollover), will be missing.
This does not mean that scissor-switch keyboards are bad for gaming, but there are plenty of keyboard switches better suited for gaming.
Alternative Keyboard Switches For Gaming
There are more varieties on keyboards today than ever before. More than are listed in this article, as more and more companies have started to throw their hat in the computer parts and peripherals market due to the rapid speed of technology development both locally and worldwide. But for now, let’s see what the most popular types of keyboards are in use:
Mechanical keyboards are taking on the market in a storm. The popularity had surged in online spaces, from articles to influencers, and spreading further by word of mouth. That popularity had come by due to a multitude of reasons.
When a person searches for mechanical keyboards on search engines, you’ll find everything from plain black keyboards to very personally customized and themed artisan keyboards. This is one of the advantages of mechanical keyboards, and it is highly customizable, with many options for whatever aesthetic or needs you want.
But customization is not the main draw for mechanical keyboards. Rather, it is due to durability and weight. They weigh heavier than standard keyboards, and the bodies are often made of metal or high-grade plastic. Moreover, a person can replace individual keys if they so wish. Varieties of switches can be chosen, such as tactile and clicky ones. There are also several options from different brands offering different flavors of tactile, clicky, and linear switches, whether you want a loud keyboard or a quiet one.
And if you cannot find a pre-built mechanical keyboard that suits your wishes, you can build one of your own taste. People can also make their own artisan keycaps or order online pairing with their custom mechanical keyboards. It can range from different colors to outright miniature sculptures on keys.
Membrane Keyboards are considered the standard keyboard used by most household desktops. They use rubber-dome switches to activate and input information into the computer. They have no mechanical parts whatsoever and operate on an electric grid. Membrane boards were made to lower the price of the computer keyboard, as they had been previously all been mechanical, using springs.
As they are the commonplace keyboard when buying a desktop, they can be found anywhere. Because of that commonality, you can buy a membrane keyboard at any shop that carries computer parts, saving most people the hassle of looking for them in other cities or ordering online. This also means that they’re easy to replace if they’ve been used for too long.
They come in various sizes and shapes, ranging from extremely cheap to expensive high-end ones. Membrane keyboards can come with or without RGB and with additional buttons. Buttons like volume, pause and resume, and other multi-media buttons.
Membrane boards can have an incredibly diverse usage, and they are not a bad choice in terms of gaming, should you prioritize your budget over keeping up with the current market. In fact, big named brands manufacture gaming membrane keyboards, such as Razer and Logitech. Although mechanical keyboards are much preferred nowadays, membrane keyboards are also a great choice, especially for those who dislike the feel, height, and sound that mechanical keyboards offer.