Are you looking for a mechanical keyboard for your work or games? Try one with clicky switches. Clicky switches stand out for their tactile feedback and satisfying audible clicks. These keyboards not only cater to the preferences of enthusiasts and professionals but also offer an engaging and precise typing experience for everyday users.
You've hit the jackpot with our 2023 top picks for clicky mechanical keyboards. They're satisfying to use and give you a competitive edge.
Our exploration goes beyond mere specifications; we unravel the unique attributes of each keyboard, the distinct characteristics of their clicky switches, and the practicality they offer to users from various walks of life.
Whether you want compact design or budget-friendly options, we've got it covered!
What is a Mechanical Keyboard?
A mechanical keyboard is a type of premium keyboard that uses mechanical switches for each key. Unlike standard membrane keyboards that depend on a rubber dome or membrane beneath keys to register keypresses, mechanical keyboards utilize physical switches composed of multiple components to detect and transmit keystrokes. These switches provide tactile feedback, clear actuation points, and often an audible click sound when a key is pressed.
Mechanical keyboards are particularly popular among enthusiasts, gamers, programmers, and anyone who types extensively due to their tactile feedback and enhanced typing experience. The distinctive feel and sound of each keypress can contribute to increased typing speed and accuracy. Furthermore, mechanical switches generally exhibit greater durability than the rubber dome switches found in many traditional keyboards, often lasting for tens of millions of keypresses.
In this article, we'll focus on mechanical keyboards with clicky switches.
What is a Mechanical Switch?
The heart and soul of mechanical keyboards are their mechanical key switches. A mechanical key switch facilitates the process of registering individual keypresses. Unlike traditional membrane keyboards that utilize rubber domes or membranes for activating and registering key switches, mechanical keyboards use these individual mechanical switches for each key.
The key components of a mechanical key switch include:
Housing: The outer casing of the switch that provides structural support and protection.
Stem or Plunger: The movable part of the switch. When a key is pressed, the stem moves downward, causing the switch to activate.
Spring: Responsible for generating resistance and determining the force required to press the key. Different switches have varying spring weights that influence the feel of typing.
Contacts: Located within the switch, these metal contacts come into contact when the stem is pressed, completing an electrical circuit and registering a key press.
Mechanical key switches are available in various types, each characterized by distinct attributes such as actuation force, tactile feedback, and noise level.
What is a Clicky Switch?
A clicky switch is a type of mechanical switch commonly used in mechanical keyboards. It is named for the distinct "click" sound it produces when a key is pressed and the switch actuates. This sound provides audible feedback to the typist or user, indicating that the keypress has been registered. Clicky switches are known for their tactile feedback as well, which means that the user can feel a physical bump or resistance at the point of actuation, enhancing the typing experience.
The mechanism behind a clicky switch involves a few key components:
Stem and Actuation Mechanism: When a key is pressed, the stem of the switch moves downward, passing over a bump in the actuation mechanism. This bump is responsible for creating tactile feedback, giving the user a sense of the key being activated.
Click Bar: The click sound of a clicky switch is produced by a click bar or a component with similar functionality. This click bar is a small metal piece that moves within the switch housing, and it interacts with other components to generate the audible click when the key is pressed.
Leaf Springs: Clicky switches often use metal leaf springs to create resistance and tactile feedback. When the stem moves downward and reaches the actuation point, these leaf springs press together, creating the bump and the audible click sound.
Due to the audible and tactile nature of clicky switches, they can be advantageous for typists who prefer a tangible indication of key activation. This can potentially lead to improved typing accuracy and speed. However, one significant consideration with clicky switches is the noise they produce. The distinct click sound can be loud, which might not be suitable for shared or quiet environments.
Some well-known examples of clicky switches include Cherry MX Blue switches and Razer Green switches. These switches have become popular choices for individuals who appreciate the satisfying typing experience and audible feedback that clicky switches offer.
What are the Advantages of Clicky Keyboards?
The advantages of clicky keyboards make them an excellent choice if you prioritize tactile and audible feedback, want an enhanced typing experience, and don't mind the audible sound associated with each key press.
Tactile feedback: Clicky keyboards provide tactile feedback, meaning that users can feel a noticeable bump or resistance at the point of key actuation. This tactile sensation informs users that a keypress has been registered, enhancing typing accuracy and speed.
Audible feedback: The distinct "click" sound produced by clicky switches offers auditory confirmation of key activation. This auditory feedback can be particularly helpful for touch typists who rely on muscle memory and sound cues to verify successful keypresses.
Enhanced typing experience: The combination of tactile and audible feedback creates a more satisfying and engaging typing experience. Many users find that the tactile bump and audible click provide a sense of rhythm and assurance while typing.
Increased typing speed: Due to the tactile and audible cues, some users experience improved typing speed on clicky keyboards. The feedback can help users avoid accidentally pressing keys and provide a clear point of actuation, aiding in faster keystrokes.
Key rollover and N-Key rollover: Clicky keyboards often come with advanced key rollover capabilities, allowing multiple keys to be pressed simultaneously without any missed inputs. N-key rollover ensures that every keypress is accurately detected, which can be beneficial for gaming and rapid typing.
Distinctive aesthetic: The mechanical nature of clicky switches adds a unique visual element to the keyboard. The housing and stem design often differ from other switch types, contributing to the overall appearance of the keyboard.
Customization options: Many clicky keyboards allow users to replace individual switches, providing a level of customization that can cater to personal preferences for feedback, actuation force, and sound.
Durability: Mechanical switches, including clicky ones, are generally more durable than the rubber dome switches found in membrane keyboards. This durability ensures a longer lifespan for the keyboard and consistent performance over time.
What are the Disadvantages of Clicky Keyboards?
Clicky keyboards are not perfect. They have some disadvantages that users should consider before making a decision.
Noise level: The most significant drawback of clicky keyboards is the noise they produce. The audible "click" sound generated with each keypress can be disruptive in quiet environments, shared workspaces, or communal settings. This noise factor can be a significant consideration, especially if you need to use the keyboard in close proximity to others.
Distraction: The audible feedback from clicky switches can be distracting to others around you. It can draw attention and potentially disrupt coworkers or family members who are trying to focus.
Limited usage environments: Due to their noise level, clicky keyboards are not well-suited for libraries, classrooms, offices with open floor plans, or any situation where noise is a concern.
Reduced privacy: In situations where confidentiality is important, such as when typing sensitive information, the audible sound of a clicky keyboard could potentially reveal what you're typing to nearby individuals.
Longer learning curve: Users accustomed to membrane or scissor-switch keyboards might find the transition to clicky switches initially challenging. The tactile bump and sound could require some adjustment in typing technique.
Higher cost: Mechanical keyboards, including those with clicky switches, tend to be more expensive than traditional membrane keyboards. This cost factor might be a consideration for budget-conscious users.
Which is Better? Wired or Wireless Clicky Mechanical Keyboard?
If you're looking for mechanical keyboards in the market, you would notice that there are wired and wireless options. Whether a wired or wireless clicky mechanical keyboard is better depends on your specific needs, preferences, and usage scenarios. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Wired Clicky Mechanical Keyboard Advantages:
Stable connection: Wired keyboards offer a consistent and stable connection, virtually eliminating concerns about signal interference or latency.
No battery concerns: Wired keyboards don't require batteries or recharging, ensuring uninterrupted usage.
Instantaneous response: Wired connections provide minimal input lag, making them ideal for competitive gaming or tasks that require rapid responses.
Simplicity: Setup is usually straightforward—just plug and play.
Potentially lower cost: Wired keyboards generally cost less than their wireless counterparts due to the absence of wireless technology components.
Wired Clicky Mechanical Keyboard Disadvantages:
Cable management: The wired connection requires managing and routing cables, which can lead to clutter.
Limited mobility: Wired keyboards are physically tethered to your device, reducing mobility and flexibility.
Wireless Clicky Mechanical Keyboard Advantages:
Flexibility and mobility: Wireless keyboards offer greater freedom of movement, making them convenient for presentations, couch gaming, and situations where you need to move around.
Clean aesthetics: The absence of cables can contribute to a cleaner and more organized workspace.
Less cable clutter: The lack of wires reduces cable management concerns.
Easier portability: Wireless keyboards are easier to transport and use with different devices.
More desk space: Without a wired connection, you have more desk space to work with.
Battery life: Wireless keyboards require batteries or charging, which means you need to manage battery life to avoid interruptions.
Potential latency: While modern wireless technology has minimized latency, there might still be a slight delay compared to wired keyboards.
Signal interference: Wireless keyboards can be susceptible to signal interference, leading to occasional connectivity issues.
Higher cost: Wireless keyboards are often more expensive due to the added technology.
If stability, low latency, and a more cost-effective solution are crucial, a wired keyboard might be the better choice. On the other hand, if flexibility, mobility, and a clutter-free setup are more important to you, a wireless keyboard might be preferable.
Also think about your usage scenarios, your workspace setup, your preference for cable management, and whether you're willing to manage battery life when making your decision.
Best Clicky Mechanical Keyboards
Discover the top clicky mechanical keyboards that have captured enthusiasts' attention in 2023. From tactile feedback to satisfying audible clicks, these keyboards provide an exceptional typing experience.
Best Mechanical Keyboards
Here's a list of 10 of our favorite mechanical keyboards with clicky switches along with their specifications and key features:
1. Keyboard: Corsair K70 RGB Mk.3
Switch: Cherry MX Blue
Backlighting: RGB per-key backlighting
Features: Aircraft-grade aluminum frame, dedicated media controls, customizable RGB lighting, USB passthrough.
Clicky mechanical keyboards come with---you guessed it---clicky switches. These are just a few examples of the best clicky switches available on the market. Make sure that these switches are compatible with your mechanical keyboard.
1. Cherry MX Blue: Cherry MX Blue switches are among the most iconic clicky switches. They offer a tactile bump and a distinct "click" sound when the actuation point is reached. These switches are widely used and well-known for their satisfying feedback.
2. Razer Green: Razer Green switches are designed for gaming and typing. They provide a tactile bump and an audible click, making them suitable for both work and play.
3. Gateron Blue: Gateron Blue switches are often seen as alternatives to Cherry MX Blue switches. They offer similar tactile feedback and a click sound, but some users find Gateron Blues to be smoother in terms of keystroke feel.
4. Outemu Blue: Outemu Blue switches are commonly found in budget mechanical keyboards. They provide a tactile bump and an audible click, making them a cost-effective option for those seeking a clicky experience.
5. Kailh Blue: Kailh Blue switches are another alternative to Cherry MX Blue switches. They offer tactile feedback and an audible click, and they are known for their affordability and variety of keycap compatibility.
6. Kalih Box White: Kailh Box White switches provide a distinct click sound and tactile feedback. They are part of the Kailh Box series, known for their water and dust resistance due to the box-like stem design.
7. Razer Clicky Optical: Razer Clicky Optical switches use infrared light beams to register keypresses, resulting in extremely fast actuation and response times. They provide tactile feedback and an audible click.
8. Havit Blue: Havit Blue switches are commonly found in budget mechanical keyboards. They offer a tactile bump and an audible click, similar to Cherry MX Blue switches.
9. Content Blue: Content Blue switches offer a tactile bump and an audible click. They are designed to be compatible with Cherry MX keycaps, making them a popular choice for custom keyboard enthusiasts.
10. Gazzew Boba U4: While not a traditional clicky switch, the Gazzew Boba U4 is a tactile silent switch with a distinct "thock" sound. It's known for its tactile bump and a unique typing experience.
How to Choose the Best Clicky Mechanical Keyboard?
In the quest to find the best clicky mechanical keyboard in 2023, you'll need to think about a few key factors.
What are the important factors to consider when choosing a clicky mechanical keyboard?
By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the best clicky mechanical keyboard that enhances your typing experience, fits your preferences, and meets your needs.
Switch type: Start by considering the type of clicky switch you prefer. Cherry MX Blue is a classic choice, but alternatives like Gateron Blue, Razer Green, and Kailh Blue offer similar clicky experiences with subtle differences in feel and sound.
Tactile feedback: Decide on the level of tactile feedback you want. Clicky switches provide tactile bumps along with an audible click, enhancing typing accuracy. Make sure the feedback matches your typing style and comfort.
Noise level: Consider the noise level of the keyboard, especially if you'll be using it in shared or quiet environments. Clicky keyboards can be quite loud, so assess whether the sound is acceptable for your surroundings.
Layout: Choose a keyboard layout that suits your needs. Options include full-size, tenkeyless, compact (60-75%), and ultra-compact layouts. The layout affects the number of keys and their arrangement.
Build quality: Assess the keyboard's build quality. Look for durable materials like aluminum or sturdy plastic. A solid build enhances longevity and typing experience.
Backlighting: Determine if you want customizable RGB backlighting. Many clicky keyboards offer RGB lighting that can be adjusted to match your preferences and aesthetics.
Customization: Check if the keyboard supports keycap customization. Some keyboards have a standard layout, making it easier to swap out keycaps for personalized designs.
Wired vs. Wireless: Decide whether you want a wired or wireless keyboard. Wired keyboards offer stability, while wireless models provide mobility. Consider your usage context and preferences.
Battery life: If choosing a wireless keyboard, look for good battery life. Longer battery life means less frequent recharging or battery replacement.
Connectivity: For wireless keyboards, check connectivity options like Bluetooth versions and wireless range. Ensure it's compatible with your devices.
Software: Some keyboards come with software for customization, remapping keys, and creating macros. Check if the software is user-friendly and meets your needs.
Price: Set a budget range and narrow down options within that range. Keep in mind that mechanical keyboards can vary significantly in price based on features and brand.
User reviews: Read user reviews to get insights into real-world experiences with the keyboard. Look for feedback on build quality, switch performance, and overall satisfaction.
Brand reputation: Consider well-known brands that are recognized for producing high-quality mechanical keyboards. Established brands often have a track record of reliable products.
Try before buying: If possible, try out different switches and keyboards in a store or through friends. This hands-on experience can help you gauge the feel and sound that suits you best.
Things to Avoid when Getting Into Mechanical Keyboards
When choosing a clicky mechanical keyboard, there are certain pitfalls and aspects to avoid to ensure that you make a satisfying and informed purchase.
Ignoring noise level: Clicky keyboards are known for their audible click sound, which can be quite loud. If you'll be using the keyboard in quiet or shared environments, make sure to consider the noise level and whether it will be disruptive to others.
Impulsive buying: Avoid buying a keyboard without thorough research. Take the time to read reviews, watch videos, and try out different switches if possible to ensure that you're making the right choice for your typing preferences.
Overlooking ergonomics: Some budget clicky keyboards might compromise on ergonomic features. Ensure the keyboard's design is comfortable for your typing style, especially if you'll be using it for extended periods.
Not checking compatibility: Confirm that the keyboard is compatible with your operating system and devices. Wireless connectivity might differ between Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.
Neglecting keycap quality: The quality of keycaps can significantly impact your typing experience. Avoid keyboards with cheap or low-quality keycaps that can wear out quickly.
Ignoring durability: Cheaply made keyboards might lack durability. Invest in a keyboard with a sturdy build and quality materials to ensure it lasts longer.
Limited customization options: Some keyboards offer limited or no customization for switches, keycaps, or lighting. If customization is important to you, choose a keyboard that supports it.
Not considering layout: Make sure the keyboard's layout suits your needs. Some compact layouts might omit certain keys or functions that you rely on.
Disregarding software support: If you prefer to customize your keyboard's settings, ensure that the keyboard comes with user-friendly software that meets your needs.
Focusing only on the price: While budget considerations are important, don't solely focus on the lowest price. A slightly higher investment in a well-regarded keyboard can provide a more enjoyable and durable typing experience.
Ignoring switch variants: Even within clicky switches, there are different variants with subtle differences in feel and sound. Avoid assuming that all clicky switches are the same—research and try them out if possible.
Overlooking key rollover: Check the keyboard's key rollover capabilities. Some keyboards might not support full N-Key rollover, which could affect gaming or rapid typing.
Not researching the brand: Avoid unknown or unreliable brands that might not provide quality products or customer support.
Not considering longevity: Mechanical keyboards are an investment. Avoid making a decision solely based on current trends; consider how the keyboard's features will serve you over time.
Skipping warranty information: Check the warranty terms and conditions. A good warranty provides peace of mind in case of defects or issues.
In conclusion, if you're a gaming or typing enthusiast, the best clicky mechanical keyboards of 2023 are the Drop ALT, Ducky One 2 Mini, Durgod Taurus K320, Redragon K552, and Keychron K6.
They offer a satisfying typing experience with their high-pitched, room-filling clicks. Whether you're looking for quality construction or budget-friendly options, there's something for everyone.
Remember to consider factors like keyboard design and keycap shape in your decision-making process.
Chris Greiner, a Mechanical Keyboard specialist, boasts a solid educational background with dual bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Business Management from Lewis University. His additional certification in Mechanical Keyboard Design showcases his dedication to staying on the forefront of keyboard technology. Chris primarily writes for keyboard enthusiasts and has been featured on platforms like Jestik, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader in the mechanical keyboard community.
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