When it comes to gaming keyboards, mechanical keyboards are the obvious choice. However, for many beginners and budget-conscious consumers, mechanical keyboards are just too expensive. This is why many users turn to alternatives such as scissor switch and membrane keyboards.
Scissor switch keyboards are based on membrane keyboard technology. However, they are significantly more durable and have more tactile feedback compared to most basic membrane keyboards. And while they are not as durable or as satisfying to type on as mechanical keyboards, they are a very good alternative.
Most users are already familiar with membrane keyboards. They are decent to type on and get the job done. However, they are certainly not the best option.
Scissor switch keyboards, on the other hand, are not as popular and may sound like a new concept for many users. They have been used by many gaming peripheral companies in the past and are commonly seen on laptop keyboards.
In this article, we will be comparing scissor-switch keyboards and membrane keyboards. We will be comparing them in several aspects such as their typing feel and gaming performance. And ultimately, we will be determining which keyboard type is better.
Brief Introduction to Scissor Switches
Although unfamiliar to most people, scissor switches are the switches that are present in our laptop’s built-in keyboards. They are also featured on some low-profile gaming keyboards and external desktop keyboards.
As its name implies, scissor switches have a dome-like structure that is designed in a “scissor-like” manner that snaps the keyboard and the key itself. Like any other switches, scissor switches still use rubber domes to function.
But since scissor switches are not the typical dome switches, it added a special ‘scissor mechanism’ that links the keycap to a plunger. It is basically two plastic hinges that on top of the membrane.
Brief Introduction to Membrane Keyboards
Membrane keyboards are the keyboards that consumers often interact with. This keyboard is used everywhere because it was standardized and mass-produced back in the 1990s. Despite its poor performance and lifespan, it is widely used and distributed thanks to how affordable they are.
Unlike scissor switches, membrane keyboards have three layers in which two of which are thin membrane layers with conductive layers. And between them are spaces allowing it to function and perform its task.
Given how simple the construction of membrane keyboards is, their performance and feel aren’t very good. Furthermore, they have very limited customizability, making the look of most membrane keyboards quite boring.
Membrane keyboards have a few derivatives, The most popular is rubber domes. These are what most gaming manufacturers use in their entry-level gaming keyboards that utilize membrane keyboard technology.
Scissor Switch and Membrane Keyboard Comparison
Better Keyboard For Typing
Membrane keyboards are infamous for their unreliability when it comes to typing. Aside from its mushy feeling, membrane keyboards are hard to press, thus slowing down your typing speed and messing up your accuracy. While users can get used to them, these keyboards do not inspire focus and productivity.
Scissor switches, on the other hand, are a significant step up over standard membrane switches. Thanks to their scissor mechanism, they are able to produce a tactile feedback making the typing experience feel a lot better. Keystrokes are more accurate, making users type a lot faster and more accurately.
Also, scissor switches do not require too much force to actuate. This allows users to have a more relaxed typing experience which can prevent fatigue or even long-term finger injury.
Better Keyboard For Gaming
Membrane keyboards aren’t the worst options for gaming. Many professional gamers who started their journeys in internet cafes used these kinds of keyboards to reach the top of the leaderboards. But with that said, they are far from the best options out there.
Just like with typing, the poor feedback and inaccuracy of membrane keyboards can lead to a very bad gaming experience. For casual gaming, these keyboards can be decent options. But for competitive gamers who require their keyboards to respond as fast as their reaction time, membrane keyboards are a no-go.
Scissor switch keyboards are also not the most optimized switches for gaming. However, they are way better than standard membrane keyboards. Just like with their typing performance, their faster actuation and more defined keystrokes will allow gamers to respond to situations better.
Of course, they will still not be as good as top-tier gaming switches in terms of feel and response time. But out of these two options, scissor switches are easily the better choice.
More Durable Keyboard
Since membrane keyboards are often mass-produced, their durability and reliability are quite poor. Most membrane keyboards can last up to five million keystrokes. That may seem like a lot. However, when compared to the 20-50 million keystroke figure found on most MX-style mechanical keyboards, membrane keyboards become insignificant.
As for scissor-switch keyboards, they do not have a promised lifespan. But since they are based on membrane keyboard technology, they will most likely have the same lifespan. But since they have a superior construction to regular membrane keyboards, they are guaranteed to slightly last longer and withstand more abuse from angry gamers.
More Affordable Keyboard
When it comes to affordability, membrane keyboards are easily the winner. These keyboards can be easily purchased and replaced thanks to their relatively low asking price. Also, they can be bought in almost any local vendor or online store.
Scissor switch keyboards are also pretty affordable. However, considering that not many manufacturers produce them, their price will be a bit higher. Both options are more affordable than even the cheapest mechanical keyboard.
Which Keyboard Type is Better?
Based on all points discussed, scissor-switch keyboards are easily superior to membrane keyboards. They provide a better feel and feedback, making them a better option for both gaming and typing.
Despite using the same membrane keyboard technology, scissor switches have better implementation and are superior in every way. The only downside to these keyboards is that they are not as widely available as regular membrane keyboards.
As we have mentioned earlier, membrane keyboards can still get the job done. But for consumers who are looking for the best affordable keyboard that can work well with any task, scissor-switch keyboards are the way to go.
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.