How to Choose
If you are willing to buy a mechanical keyboard, consider the below essential features to buy the best keyboard for both typing and gaming.
According to pcmag.com a mechanical keyboard is a physical keyboard that uses an individual spring and switch for each key. Mechanical keyboards are very much appreciated by fast typists because they have a springiness and feel that is not the same as the low-cost membrane keyboard accompanying most computers.
Features of a Mechanical Keyboard
Below are some of the features I consider for defining a good mechanical keyboard for typing and gaming.
There are a number of features that defines the value of a mechanical keyboard and most important of them are Stabilizers, Build Quality, Ergonomics and Actuation Point. Other features are also important but do not contribute much on typing experience.
#1 Switch Maker: Defines Quality Of Experience
This is the first and most important point to consider when buying a mechanical keyboard.
Your first preference when buying a mechanical keyboard should always be the company or the manufacturer of the switch. You will find very cheap to very high price key switches, the reason behind their price difference is build quality. If you go for a better key switch, the lifetime of the keyboard will be highly increased.
No doubt Cherry-mx switches are the most renowned mechanical switches, this is because, their switches are perfectly linear (more on linearity later) and also have very high life cycle.
- Below are my preferences for mechanical switch makers
#2 Hot Swappable: Replaceable Switches
This is one of the features of Mechanical keyboard which is very less talked about but I believe this is a very essential to have. This feature makes an owner’s life easy.
For example, suppose 2 keys stopped working, so in that case you can replace exactly those 2 keys and keep using your keyboard. But if the keys are not replaceable or very difficult to replace, then you have to throw the keyboard away and buy a new one 🙁 . This is the reason, I believe replaceable switch is a very good feature of a mechanical keyboard as it increases the life cycle of the keyboard.
Most of the optical mechanical switches are replaceable, so choose wisely.
#3 Stabilizers: Improves User Experience
If you are spending money on a keyboard, make sure that the keyboard comes with good stabilizers. Most of the times we only check switch company and keyboard build quality but we miss to check the stabilizers of the keyboard. Stabilizers helps to keep the switches stable as you type or play games. If your keyboard do not have good stabilizers, then the keys will often get stuck and will give you a very bad experience.
Before buying a mechanical keyboard always search on the internet, check for reviews etc. And most importantly do not believe all the YouTube videos as most of them have used 1 or 2 keyboards and they are giving feedback with that experience. However there are few channels, which are dedicated only to mechanical keyboards, you can check from them. Here are the links of few such channels
1. Switch And Click
#4 Keyboard Build Quality: Feels Good To Use
Build quality is also a very important factor of a mechanical keyboard. Better build quality keyboard feels sturdy while using and also do not move while typing or gaming. Also, better build quality keyboards have less flexing issues and better key stability.
If you are willing to buy a keyboard for desktop setup, then go for aluminum case and not plastic case. But if you are buying an external keyboard for laptop then you can go for a plastic case keyboard as it will be little light weight and easy to carry. However, I recommend a metal casing keyboard.
#5 Keyboard Height: Ergonomics
Height is an important factor if you are going to use your mechanical keyboard for longer time (gaming or writing). Moreover, If the keyboard is little high, then you wont be able to type or game for long and your wrist will start paining. Hence, keyboard ergonomics is a good feature of the best mechanical keyboard for typing.
Anyways, height of a mechanical keyboard depends on two factors
1. keyboard base height
2. keycaps height
If you are buying a high mechanical keyboard, I will suggest you to buy a wrist rest to improve your “experience”. If you are not willing to buy wrist rest, then consider low profile keyboards.
#6 Actuation Point and Actuation Force
Actuation point is the location where the key press is registered and actuation force is the amount of Force that is needed to register a key press.
Lower the actuation point, the easier it is to press. Similarly, less actuation force keys feels very light on the fingers. So choose how you want to type. If you are someone who prefers touch typing then you should go for Gateron Yello (35 gm actn force) which feels extremely light on the fingers.
#7 Key Behavior
key behavior defines how a key press feels in a mechanical keyboard.
- Regardless of make, the behavior of any switch can be divided into three categories:
- Linear. The keystroke is consistent and smooth.
- Tactile. A bump in the middle of travel, usually around the actuation point.
- Clicky. A bump in the middle of travel accompanied by a sharp “click” sound.
If you are willing to buy the best mechanical keyboard for typing, I recommend you to consider linear switches instead of Tactile or Clicky. Although there are several linear switches but Red and Yellow switches are most commonly known.
If want to know more about switches and their properties, check this post.
#8 RGB or Backlit
This is a nice to have feature with minimum effect on typing. However, it has a great user experience if you tend to use your computer in low light environment. In such case, you will be able to see the keys clearly because of the backlit lights.
Additional Features of Best Typing Mechanical Keyboard
Most of the important features of a mechanical keyboard best for typing already has been mentioned above, however there are few more features which you can consider. These features do not directly contribute in typing or gaming experience but however adds value to the product when considered together.
- Some Additional features of a good mechanical keyboard for typing are
- Detachable Wrist Rest – provides additional ergonomic option
- Detachable Cable or Wireless Keyboard – Makes it easy to carry
- Programmable Macro Keys
- USB Pass through
- Finally, some media control buttons
That’s all the points I consider for choosing my own best mechanical keyboard for typing and gaming. However it depends on user perspective as well. So you can buy whichever you wish as per your choice, no doubts.
Thank you very much for reading my writing on finding the best mechanical keyboard for typing and I hope you have all your questions answered. If you still have any questions do let me know via the comments.