Membrane Keyboards and Rubber-dome keyboards have received a bad rep in the keyboard community, and they are considered the bare minimum and are useable. However, most users would recommend upgrading to higher-end keyboard types such as mechanical keyboards in nearly all instances.
Membrane keyboards are not considered the best for typing, and lower-end models can make you type slower. However, some membrane keyboards are decent enough to type on. These higher-end membrane keyboards have been used for years, and many fast and efficient typists use them.
But the reality is not all membrane keyboards are bad. Manufacturers have spent years to try and perfect membrane keyboards. And while the results are still not as good as mechanical keyboards, they are certainly useable for typing.
In this article, we will be discussing the different kinds of higher-end membrane keyboards that can give a better typing experience. And hopefully, by the end of this article, users should have a bit more appreciation for more basic membrane keyboards.
Why Enthusiasts Dislike Membrane Keyboards
Before we proceed, let us first discuss why many users do not prefer membrane keyboards. Membrane keyboards were originally made as a cheaper alternative to the first-generation mechanical and buckling spring keyboards. While this allowed them to be more accessible to users, the downside is that it made the entire keyboard feel a lot cheaper. Here is a summary of the things that enthusiasts dislike about membrane keyboards.
Inferior Typing Feel of Membrane Keyboards
Compared to more advanced keyboard types, membrane keyboards feel mushier. Each keystroke is not well defined, meaning the user will not be able to identify whether or not their keystrokes are being registered. The most basic membrane keyboards that come bundled with computers are most notorious for being extremely bad for typing.
The keys of these keyboards fail to register, which can certainly affect typing speed, which is one of the reasons why many users who use membrane keyboards struggle with typing speed.
Typing Sound of Membrane Keyboards
Another aspect disliked by many keyboard enthusiasts is the sound profile of membrane keyboards. With their cheaper components, it is expected that they will also have a cheaper sound. And while this may not matter to casual users, this is something that serious keyboard users will always take into consideration.
The typing sound of a keyboard will affect the user’s satisfaction. Many also claim that great-sounding keyboards help inspire users to be more productive. Unfortunately, cheaper membrane keyboards neither feel good nor sound good.
Membrane Keyboards Durability
Lastly, membrane keyboards are not known to last, and many tend to break within the first few years. And while they are easy to replace, having to replace them now and then is incredibly inconvenient.
In comparison, other types of keyboards are way more durable. Mechanical keyboards, for instance, are rated to last for up to 50 million keystrokes. And to put these numbers into perspective, many of the mechanical keyboards manufactured in the late 1980s and early 1990s are still useable today. In comparison, many vintage membrane keyboards went straight to the scrapyard after they stopped working.
Why Membrane Keyboards are Still Viable For Typing
While many membrane keyboards are still usable for typing, they are not as good as more expensive mechanical keyboards. But they will certainly get the job done. Here are some of the higher-quality membrane keyboards that are good enough for typing.
In summary, rubber dome keyboards are higher-quality versions of standard membrane keyboards, and they are still based on membrane keyboard technology. However, the difference is that they use rubber domes to simulate having actual switches.
Rubber dome switches have more well-defined keystrokes than basic membrane keyboards, which means that the accuracy of rubber dome keyboards is significantly increased. And since they are good enough, they have been used by entry-level gaming keyboards, and they were also notoriously used by the first-ever HHKB keyboard before they moved to Topre Switches.
Another keyboard type based on membrane keyboards is chiclet keyboards found on most laptops. In addition, there is a special type of laptop keyboard called the Scissor-Switch keyboard. Again, while these keyboard types are based on membrane keyboards, they are significantly better to type on.
Thanks to their fast actuation and low profile design, many typists enjoy laptop keyboards. Many students could master these keyboards and have developed fast typing speeds. Again, this isn’t the most satisfying keyboard to type on.
Lastly, keyboard manufacturers like Razer have played around with hybrid membrane and mechanical keyboards switches. As its name suggests, these switches aim to combine mechanical keyboards’ tactile and satisfying feel with the simple and relatively easy to manufacture nature of membrane keyboards. The result, while not perfect, is significantly better than standard membrane keyboards.
Verdict – Are Membrane Keyboards Good For Typing?
Nothing will change the fact that mechanical keyboards, and other more advanced keyboard types, are far superior to membrane keyboards and all their variants. However, that does not mean that all membrane keyboards are bad and unusable for typing, and many more advanced membrane keyboards aim to create a better typing experience.
So ultimately, what this means is that typists do not have to spend a fortune to get a decent typing experience, and they can compromise a bit and still get decent performance. So for those who are on a tighter budget, we highly recommend checking out high-end membrane keyboards to see what works best for your typing style.
Stephen is the head content creator of Keyboardsexpert. His mechanical keyboard journey began in 2014 when he got his Razer Blackwidow. Since then, he has been fascinated with all things mechanical keyboard-related. He later discovered the custom keyboard hobby and fell in love with the vast customization options. He is currently searching for his endgame and is very excited to share his journey and educate other keyboard enthusiasts.