In recent years, the popularity of PC gaming and Esports have steadily increased. Gaming manufacturers, such as Razer, Steelseries, Logitech G, and Corsair, have also taken the spotlight. And in recent years, they have innovated the gaming keyboard market by creating specialized gaming switches.
Gaming switches are specialized keyboard switches designed for faster response time. They are usually based on the mechanical key switch design. However, there are also companies that have created gaming switches using other forms of keyboard technology. They are usually manufactured by gaming brands and are proprietary to their keyboards.
In this article, we will be discussing more about gaming switches. We will be going through several things such as their differences compared to traditional mechanical keyboard switches. We will also be talking about some of the common gaming switch manufacturers as well as their gaming switches.
What are Gaming Keyboard Switches?
View this post on Instagram
Before tackling gaming switches, let us quickly go through what keyboard switches are. Switches can be found underneath the keycaps. They are directly responsible for accepting keystrokes.
There are various iterations of switches. These include mechanical switches, optical switches, analog switches, hall-effect switches, buckling spring switches, membrane switches, hybrid switches, and many more. Over the past couple of years, mechanical keyboards have become extremely popular in the gaming peripheral market.
Mechanical switches were initially exclusively produced by Cherry. However, when their patent expired in 2014, brands were able to freely modify the MX style switch design. This led to a number of different switches.
Given their popularity, gaming companies decided to create their own switches. These switches are what they refer to as “Gaming Switches.”
In a nutshell, gaming switches are modified versions of mechanical switches. They usually feature a higher actuation point. For those unfamiliar with the term, actuation point refers to the distance needed to be depressed before a key registers. What this means is that gaming switches usually actuate faster.
All gaming switches are engineered to give users an advantage in gaming. Of course, they can still be used well in regular tasks. However, they will shine the most in gaming.
In recent years, manufacturers have also explored other switch types. Razer has been experimenting with optical switches and analog switches, while Steelseries has been playing around with hall-effect switches.
Gaming Keyboard Switches vs. Standard Mechanical Keyboard Switches
View this post on Instagram
Regular mechanical keyboard switches are perfectly fine for gaming. In fact, gaming keyboard brands have utilized Cherry MX switches such as Cherry MX Blue, Red, Black, and Brown for years. Lots of professional gamers have also won world championships using these keyboards.
However, it is undeniable that these switches aren’t the most suitable options for gaming. Most modern gaming switches usually have a faster response time and are considerably more durable. But, of course, everything will depend on the user’s personal preferences.
Gaming Keyboard Switch Brands
Razer has been one of the leading brands in manufacturing switches. Razer designs and manufactures switches that can cater to the different needs and demands of their consumers. Razer ensures their consumers that their gaming switches are far more superior in every aspect than the regular mechanical switches.
Razer is said to be the first company ever to release a mechanical gaming keyboard, and until now, they continue to innovate. Razer’s mechanical gaming keyboards are said to be very vast and very accurate. Here are some of the gaming switches that give rise to the different gaming keyboards of Razer.
Razer Green Switch
The Razer Green Switch is the quintessential gaming switch of Razer. The Razer Green switch has a tactile bump and a unique clicking sound. It is said to provide the user with excellent gaming and typing experience. It has a travel distance of 4.0 mm and an actuation force of 50 g. It has an actuation point of 1.99mm and an actuation vs. reset point of .4 mm.
Razer Yellow Switch
The Razer Yellow Switch is said to be the quickest and most silent among the razer switches. The Razer Yellow Switch is highly recommended for gamers that play face pace games and for games that require quick-fire keypresses. The Razer Yellow Switch feels linear and silent. It has an actuation force of 45 g and a travel distance of 3.5 mm. It also features an actuation point of 1.2 mm and an actuation vs. reset point of 0.0 mm.
Razer Orange Switch
The Razer Orange switch has a tactile bump, but it does not emit a sound. It has less actuation force than Razer Green Switch and offers a silent gaming experience. The Razer Orange Switch provides a tactile and quiet feel. The Razer Orange Switch features an actuation force of 45 G and a travel distance of 4.0 mm. It has an actuation point of 1.9 mm and an actuation vs. reset point of 0.05mm.
A lot of different types of games have been emerging throughout the years. With that said the HyperX created gaming switches that can cater to the different needs of the players in their games. The gaming switches made by HyperX use LEDs for the colorful and bright RGB lighting.
The HyperX Gaming switches also feature actuation force and distance that cater to the players. They are also said to be very durable, with a lifespan of 80 million keystrokes. The HyperX Switches ensure that gamers feel satisfied when they are being used and provide a better gaming experience. It has a variety of switches that can cater to the needs of every gamer. Here are the gaming switches made by HyperX and a brief description of each one. Read more about the quality of the HyperX brand here.
The HyperX Red is a linear type of mechanical switch. The HyperX Red is recommended for users who love speed and will use double taps or more. It has an operating force of 45g and an actuation point of 1.8mm. It has a total travel distance of 3.8 mm and has a lifespan of 80 million keystrokes.
The HyperX Aqua is a tactile type of mechanical switch with an operating force of 45g and an actuation force of 1.8 mm. It has a total travel distance of 3.8mm and a lifespan of 80 million keystrokes. The HyperX Aqua is very appealing for users who love being precise with their keypress.
The HyperX Blue has the same operating force, actuation force, total travel distance, and lifespan as the HyperX Red and HyperX Aqua. HyperX Blue is recommended for users that like to hear that delightful clicking sound when you are typing.
Kailh Silver Speed
Kailh isn’t a gaming brand. However, they have helped develop many of the switches on this list. Some of the companies that they have worked with include Razer and Logitech G. They have also created their own switches, which are widely used for gaming.
The Kailh Silver speed is another linear type of switch that has an operating force of 40 g. And for the actuation point it has a 1.1 mm actuation point and a total travel distance of 3.5 mm. The Kailh Silver Speed has a lifespan of 70 million keystrokes.
The mechanical gaming keyboards by Logitech offer a variety of choices that can complement the player’s needs and playstyle. The varying mechanical keyboards of Logitech pride themselves on their high-quality performance and dependability.
The people at Logitech also claim that all of their keyboards have undergone meticulous testing so that their products can provide the best quality, caliber, consistency, and great performance. Logitech also ensures its consumers that their mechanical switch keyboards can provide one of the best, if not the best, gaming and typing experience.
Just as stated earlier, Logitech offers a variety of mechanical switches, some of which are clicky, tactile, and linear. Logitech’s Low Profile GL Switches offer speed, precision, comfort, and dependability that common mechanical switches cannot compete against. Here are a few descriptions for Logitech’s Low Profile GL Switch.
The GL Tactile offers a discernible or detectable tactile bump feedback. The feedback feels accurate and instantaneous, making it very appealing for gamers who like to play FPS games. The GL tactile has an actuation distance of 1.5mm and a total distance of 2.7mm. The GL tactile also has an average force of 50 gf and a tactile force of 60 gf.
The GL Linear offers polished and effortless feedback and keystroke. The GL Linear is notable for double-tapping and consecutive keystrokes, which makes it ideal for players who love to play MMO type of games. The GL linear switch has the same actuation distance, total travel, and average force as the GL tactile.
The GL Clicky is known to emit audible clicks and has great tactile feedback. This type of mechanical switch is often favored by players who like to hear that familiar clicky sound and feel. The GL Clicky has the same actuation distance, total travel average force, and tactile as the GL tactile.
Logitech also got your back covered for some players who like the familiar feel of a quintessential mechanical keyboard. Logitech’s GX + Romer-G series offers the classical feel of a mechanical keyboard, but it’s far more durable and quicker than that of a normal mechanical keyboard. Here are a few descriptions for Logitech’s GX + Romer-G series switches.
The GX Blue offers a recognizable audible click and tactile feedback, a common feature for mechanical keyboards. This type of switch is heavily favored by users who like that clicky sensation. The GX Blue has an actuation distance of 2.0 mm and a total travel distance of 4.0 mm. It also has an average force of 50 gf and a tactile force of 60 gf.
The GX Brown has silent and minimal feedback. With its silent and minimal feedback, accuracy without the disconcerting sound is assured for the user. According to some users, The GX Brown is popular among FPS gamers. The GX Brown has the same total travel, average force, and tactile force as the GX Blue, but its actuation distance is 1.9mm.
The GX Red offers an effortless and smooth keystroke. The GX Red is said to be incredible for double-tapping and consecutive keystrokes. The GX Red is said to be very optimal for players who love to play Action and MMO types of games. The GX Brown has the same actuation distance, total travel, and average force as the GX Brown.
The Romer-Tactile has minimal feedback and discernable bumps. The Romer-G Tactile is said to be very popular for FPS gamers. The Romer-G tactile has a 1.55 mm actuation distance and a total travel distance of 3.2 mm. It has an average force of 45 gf and a tactile force of 50 gf.
The feedback on the Romer-G Linear is the same as on the GX Red. They both provide natural and smooth feedback. The actuation distance, total travel, and average force are all the same as the Romer-G tactile.
Despite all the new options in the market, Cherry switches are still some of the most reliable switches. Many brands, including Corsair and Ducky, still utilize Cherry switches in their keyboards. Some of the most popular Cherry switches include Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Brown, and Cherry MX Blue.
Cherry MX Red/ RGB Red
The Cherry MX Red/ RGB Red is a linear switch with an operating force of 45 g. It has an actuation point of 2 mm and a total travel distance of 4 mm. This switch is said to have a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes.
Cherry MX Brown/ RGB Brown
The Cherry MX Brown/ RGB Brown is a tactile switch with an operating force of 45 g. It has an actuation point of 2mm and a total travel distance similar to the Cherry MX Red/ RGB Red. Again, similar to the Cherry MX Red/RGB Red, it also has a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes.
Cherry MX Blue/ RGB Blue
On the other hand, the Cherry MX Blue/ RGB Blue is a clicky type of switch that has an operating force of 50 g. It features an actuation point of 2.2 mm and a total travel distance of 4 mm. The Cherry MX Blue/ RGB Blue also has a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes, similar to the two mentioned switches.
Glorious is one of the fastest-growing brands in the gaming peripherals market. They have popularized many trends, including the honeycomb shell design that is seen in many of today’s lightweight gaming mice. However, they have also branched out of their gaming roots and are now also serving the needs of enthusiasts.
In the keyboard enthusiast market, Glorious sells the Glorious Panda and Lyx switches. Unlike many of the switches featured on this list, these switches are advertised both for gaming and productivity. They are also one of the only brands that sell individual switch packs, meaning they can be used on non-Glorious mechanical keyboards.
The KBE team is dedicated to sharing our knowledge and creating useful resources about computer keyboards. This article was written as a team collaboration, combining our knowledge and years of experience using, building and modding keyboards. Meet the team here.