Mechanical keyboards are now more popular than ever. Everyone from streaming personalities to casual gamers is now rocking mechanical keyboards. However, gamers and casual users who have not used a mechanical keyboard are still not convinced why they should spend that much on a keyboard.
Mechanical keyboards have lots of perks over other keyboard types. They are more durable, more customizable, and more reliable than your regular keyboard. And while they accomplish the same tasks as any other keyboard, they allow you to actually enjoy the process of typing on the keyboard.
If you are someone who still needs to be convinced or if you want to convince someone to purchase a mechanical keyboard, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will be giving you some reasons as to why you should spend your hard-earned cash on mechanical keyboards. We will also be answering some of the commonly asked questions in the keyboard community.
Reasons to Buy a Mechanical Keyboard
If you wish to know more about the components of a mechanical keyboard, head on to our Custom Mechanical Keyboard Guide.
For those who are on the fence about getting a mechanical keyboard, we’ll give you three simple reasons as to why you should buy a mechanical keyboard.
Better Feel and Reliability
What makes mechanical keyboards special is their unique feel. Compared to most consumer-grade keyboards, mechanical keyboards feel a lot better because you can feel each individual key being actuated. This is because each key is composed of mechanical switches.
And depending on which type of switch your keyboard is using, the feel can change. Mechanical keyboard with tactile switches will give you tactile feedback on each keypress, while linear switches will feel a lot smoother. You can learn more in our dedicated mechanical switch article.
It is this unique sensation that non-mechanical keyboards have been trying to replicate for years. But even with mecha membrane hybrid switches and other switches that try to emulate the mechanical keyboard feel, there is still nothing that will compare to genuine mechanical keyboard switches.
In addition, since each key is handled by individual switches, you will be getting a significantly more reliable and consistent typing experience. You will no longer have to guess whether or not your keystrokes are being registered.
Another perk that you will be getting with mechanical keyboards is better durability. The mechanical switches alone will last longer than most consumer-grade keyboards.
Cherry and Gateron’s switches, for instance, are rated to last for up to 50 million actuations. You will probably be upgrading your keyboard first before these switches ever fail.
Additionally, since most mechanical keyboards have a complex build, they are guaranteed to be more durable than most regular keyboards. Several parts that add rigidity to mechanical keyboards, such as the plate, are commonly absent on membrane keyboards.
Even the plastic used for the housing is higher-quality than most keyboards. And if you go with the custom keyboard route, you will be getting access to even more high-quality materials such as an aluminum case, brass weights, brass plate, etc.
But to truly prove that mechanical keyboards are built to last, we simply have to look at the mechanical keyboards from the late 80s and 90s. Most vintage keyboards, such as the ones from Cherry, are still working.
Even the IBM Model M, which is regarded as the first modern mechanical keyboard, is still being used today. With all the modern tech and the advancements that have been made in manufacturing, modern mechanical keyboards are guaranteed to last for a very long time.
Better Customizability and Diversity
The previous two points are only the tip of the iceberg. The biggest reason why the mechanical keyboard hobby has captivated lots of individuals is because of the immense customizability and diversity that you get.
In terms of diversity, there are tons of options both from the custom keyboard market as well as the consumer-grade gaming space. For instance, when it comes to gaming keyboards, you are already getting different flavors from different companies.
Brands such as Logitech G and Razer offer tournament-grade wireless keyboards that offer virtually zero noticeable latency. You also have brands such as Steelseries that are offering mechanical keyboards with OLED displays.
And if you move to the custom keyboard scene, you are getting tons of unique designs and small form factors. There are custom keyboard kits that mimic certain designs and colorways from popular TV shows and movies. Others have a completely unique design that cannot be found with a retail keyboard.
When it comes to customization, you can do a lot with your mechanical keyboard. You can change the keycaps to fit a certain theme or tinker around with the internals to tune the acoustics of your keyboard. You can even swap out the internal components such as the plate material to get a different typing feel or sound.
The possibilities are endless with mechanical keyboards. The fact that you can cater these keyboards to your needs is already enough to justify getting yourself a mechanical keyboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Mechanical Keyboards Expensive?
There are several reasons why mechanical keyboards are significantly more expensive than general consumer-grade keyboards. The biggest reason is their complex build.
Mechanical keyboards are made up of several parts. These include the case, the switches, and the plate. This means that the manufacturing process for most prebuilt keyboards will be significantly more expensive than membrane keyboards.
This is the reason why companies stopped producing mechanical keyboards in the late 90s. Of course, the premium tax associated with all the high-end brands will still come into play. However, the manufacturing process is the primary reason for their price.
As for custom keyboards, they are more expensive because of the quality of the parts used. Most custom keyboard kits usually use aluminum or polycarbonate for the case material. These do not come cheap and command a premium price tag.
But with that said, there are now plenty of entry-level options both in the prebuilt and custom keyboard market. So even with a more limited budget, you can still get your feet wet in the world of custom mechanical keyboards.
Are Mechanical Keyboards a Gimmick?
One question that a lot of users may ask is whether or not mechanical keyboards are just a gimmick. We have previously seen tons of premium products that have become trendy at one point in time. However, most of these failed when new products came into the market.
Most people may also ask whether or not mechanical keyboards are just luxury items with no real benefit to the user. This is a pretty valid question, especially given how expensive keyboards can get.
Just to give you an idea, high-end keyboards from big brands such as Razer can cost up to $200. If you go with the custom keyboard route, most entry-level custom builds start from $180-200, while higher-end builds can cost up to $1000.
But to answer both of these questions, no mechanical keyboards are not just a gimmick. They have already proved their worth and are here to stay.
Mechanical keyboards have been relied on by professional Esports players, content creators, and other professionals.
Of course, there may be some mechanical keyboards that are overpriced. But for most mechanical keyboards, they are reliable tools and are worth the upgrade over your regular membrane keyboard.
Are All Mechanical Keyboards Noisy?
Mechanical keyboards have long been associated with the loud noise that they make. But contrary to popular belief, not all mechanical keyboards are noisy. In fact, most high-end custom keyboards are not that loud.
The reason why mechanical keyboards have been associated with noise is that most of the early gaming keyboards that were marketed, such as the Razer Blackwidow had Cherry MX Blue switches. These are clicky switches that were known for their incredibly loud sound profile.
Most modern keyboards today that use tactile switches and linear switches aren’t that loud. Most enthusiasts even mod their keyboards with different dampening materials such as foam to reduce any unwanted pings or vibrations coming from their keyboard.
Of course, mechanical keyboards are still louder than your typical membrane or chiclet keyboard. However, when a mechanical keyboard is done right, it can sound very pleasant without being too loud or annoying.
Will Mechanical Keyboards Make Me Play Better?
Just like any peripheral, mechanical keyboards will not instantly make you a pro gamer. You still have to hone your mechanics and properly learn the game. But with that said, mechanical keyboards can significantly help you achieve the best performance possible.
With mechanical keyboards, you no longer have to worry about the reliability of your keystrokes. You will know that each key that you press will properly register, and you won’t just randomly die midgame because your peripheral failed you.
Additionally, certain switches such as linear switches or “gaming switches” such as the ones offered by Razer can potentially increase your reaction time. Most of these switches are very smooth and do not have any tactile bumps that can slow your fingers down. When you press a key, they will instantly register.
Another great feature for gaming is the ability to have your own custom key bindings. You can also assign custom macros which can be very useful for certain games.
And lastly, most mechanical keyboards (especially the ones designed for gaming) have NKRO (N-key rollover).
This essentially means that all the keys that you press will register in the exact order that you pressed them. You will also not encounter any ghosting issues which occur when a keyboard gets confused on the key that you are pressing.
Will Mechanical Keyboards Improve My Typing Speed?
According to most enthusiasts, one of the benefits of going with a mechanical keyboard is giving you faster typing speeds. This is mostly true thanks to the superior feel of mechanical keyboards.
As we have mentioned earlier, the mechanical switch design of mechanical keyboards allows you to have a more consistent typing experience. Each keypress is more accurate, allowing you to type faster without making too many errors.
But with that said, your typing speed will still depend on your raw typing skills. Mechanical keyboards will allow you to have a higher ceiling, but only if you have already nailed the fundamentals.
Additionally, some mechanical keyboards can even slow you down. This is especially true if you are using heavier switches or switches that you simply cannot get used to. You can learn more about how mechanical keyboards affect your typing speed in our dedicated article.
Custom Keyboard vs. Pre-Built Keyboard
When talking about mechanical keyboards, we are generally referring to either prebuilt keyboards or custom keyboards. The differences between the two are quite simple. Prebuilt keyboards are the ones that come preassembled right out of the box. These are usually the ones offered by large companies such as Logitech G and Razer.
Custom keyboards, on the other hand, are made to be assembled and customized by the user. These are usually the kits sold by companies such as KBDFans<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, Cannonkeys, Graystudio, Rama Works, etc.
Both of these are great options that are targeted towards different audiences. Prebuilt keyboards are for those who want a keyboard that already performs well from the get-go, while custom keyboards are for those with specific needs and users who wish to tinker with their keyboards.
The better option will highly depend on your needs. But with that said, custom keyboards have several key advantages, such as the ability to iron out any issues such as rattly stabilizers, the ability to pick your own switches, case material, and plate material, and many more.
However, custom keyboards may not be for everyone due to their higher price, time-consuming build process, and their availability issues. You can learn more in our Full Guide to Custom 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.