When it comes to mechanical keyboards, achieving optimal performance and feel is a top priority for enthusiasts. One essential aspect that significantly impacts switch and stabilizer performance is the choice of lubricant.
In this article, we will explore some of the best lubes to use for your keyboard switches and stabilizers, highlighting their features, specifications, and how they can improve the overall performance and feel of your mechanical keyboard. Whether you prefer linear, tactile, or clicky switches, finding the right lubricant lube that will work can make a world of difference in the performance and satisfaction of your keyboarding experience.
The Best Stabilizer Lubes
Generally, stabilizers need a thick lubricant. Here are some popular stabilizer lubes used in the mechanical keyboard aficionados:
Krytox 205g0: This thick grease is commonly used for stabilizers. It offers excellent smoothness, reduces rattling, and provides a consistent feel. With a high viscosity, it ensures long-lasting lubrication and is suitable for both tactile and linear switches.
Permatex Dielectric Tune-Up Grease: Dielectric greases, such as Permatex Dielectric Tune-Up Grease, can be used for stabilizers. They offer good lubrication and reduce stabilizer noise and rattle. Dielectric greases are typically thicker and provide long-lasting lubrication.
Tribosys 3203: This thinner grease has a lower viscosity compared to Tribosys 3204. It is often favored for tactile switches, maintaining good tactile feedback while reducing friction and noise in stabilizers.
DuPont Krytox GPL 106: This thin oil provides smoothness and consistency. It is used for reducing friction and noise in stabilizers, enhancing the overall typing or gaming experience.
RO-59 Mechanical Keyboard Stabilizers Lubricant: This lubricant is specifically designed for stabilizers and offers smoothness and noise reduction. It is available in a convenient applicator bottle for easy application.
Nyogel 767a: This medium-thick grease offers excellent dampening properties and is popular for reducing stabilizer noise and rattling. It provides good smoothness and consistency.
GHv4 Dielectric Grease: This dielectric grease option offers smoothness and helps reduce friction and noise in stabilizers. It provides long-lasting lubrication and is often used successfully in keyboard stabilizers.
The Best Switch Lubes
Choosing the best switch lubricant can drastically enhance your typing experience and improve your mechanical keyboard. Whether you're dealing with tactile, linear, or clicky switches, the right lube can make all the difference. Let's dive into the top-notch lubricants for each type of switch. Note that you only need a small amount of lube to lubricate your switches.
Best Lubricant for Tactile Switches
Here are a few popular lubricants commonly used for tactile mechanical switches, along with their features and specifications:
Tribosys 3203: This medium-thick grease is known for its excellent smoothness and consistency. It is specifically favored for tactile switches, enhancing tactile feedback while providing a smooth and consistent keystroke experience.
Krytox 205g0: This thicker grease offers smoothness and reduced friction for tactile switches. While it is commonly used for linear switches, it can also enhance the tactile feel of switches by reducing any scratchiness or inconsistencies.
Krytox GPL 104: This thin oil provides smooth operation, reducing friction and noise for tactile switches. It maintains the desired tactile feedback and is compatible with various tactile switch types.
Tribosys 3204: This medium-thick grease is well-regarded for its smoothness and consistency. It is a versatile lubricant suitable for tactile switches, providing enhanced smoothness while retaining the tactile bump.
Oil-based mixtures: Some keyboard enthusiasts prefer creating their custom blends by combining different thin lubricants, such as GPL 105, with specific additives or modifiers. These mixtures can be fine-tuned to achieve the desired feeling and response for tactile switches.
Best Lubricant for Linear Switches
Here are some commonly used lubricants for linear mechanical switches to improve the sound and feel of your tactile switches:
Krytox 205g0: This thicker grease is widely used for linear switches. It provides excellent smoothness and reduced friction, enhancing the overall typing or gaming experience. It is known for its consistent performance and long-lasting lubrication.
Tribosys 3204: This medium-thick grease is a popular choice for linear switches. It offers smooth and consistent operation, reducing friction and noise. It provides a balance between smoothness and maintaining the linear switch's characteristics.
Krytox GPL 105: This thin oil provides smooth and fluid movement for linear switches. It offers reduced friction and improved overall performance. It is compatible with various linear switch types and helps to reduce any scratchiness or inconsistencies.
Nyogel 767a: This medium-thick grease is favored by some for linear switches. It provides smoothness and consistent keystrokes, reducing friction and noise. It offers good dampening properties and is known for its longevity.
Super Lube Multi-Purpose Synthetic Grease: This versatile, synthetic grease is suitable for linear switches. It offers long-lasting lubrication, reducing friction and noise. It provides smooth and consistent keystrokes for linear switches.
To lube your clicky switches, check out these lubricants.
Krytox 205g0: Though it is more commonly associated with linear switches, Krytox 205g0 can also be used to reduce friction and provide smoother operation for clicky switches. It helps to improve the overall switch feel while maintaining the distinct clicky sound.
Tribosys 3203: This medium-thick grease is known for its smoothness and consistency. While it's mainly popular for tactile switches, it can work perfectly with clicky switches. It can be used to enhance the smoothness of clicky switches without compromising their tactile feel or audible clicks.
Thin Oils: Various thin lube oils can be used to lubricate clicky switches, such as GPL 104 or GPL 105. These oils help to reduce friction and provide smoother operation while preserving the clicky feedback and sound.
Homemade Mixes: Some keyboard enthusiasts prefer to create their own lubricant blends by combining different oils or greases to achieve the desired level of smoothness and click sound for their specific clicky switches. These blends can be tailored to personal preference and typing feel.
Manufacturer-Specific Lubricants: Some switch manufacturers offer their own lubricants tailored for their clicky switches. These lubricants are specifically designed to provide smooth operation while preserving the intended clicky feedback and sound. It's worth checking if the switch manufacturer provides any recommendations or lubricant options for their clicky switches.
The Basics: Lubing your Mechanical Keyboard Switches and Stabilizers
"Lubing" is a slang term commonly used in the mechanical keyboard community. This involves applying a lubricant to the moving parts of switches and stabilizers to reduce friction. The reduction of friction improves smoothness and potentially enhances the overall typing or gaming experience.
Lubing is also used to minimize or eliminate the scratchy or gritty feeling that can occur when using unlubricated switches and stabilizers. By applying lubricant, the friction between the plastic components is reduced, resulting in smoother key presses and a more consistent key feel.
The lubricating agents used can be in the form of oils or greases that are designed explicitly for keyboard switches and stabilizers.
Lubing is typically done by disassembling the keyboard switches and stabilizers, applying a small amount of lubricant on specific areas or parts, and then reassembling them. The process requires precision, attention to detail, and patience to ensure even distribution of the lubricant and to prevent any potential issues such as over-lubing or contaminating other parts of the keyboard.
Why Lube Switches and Stabilizers
Why should you lube your switches? Well, lubing keyboard switches and stabilizers can bring various benefits and improvements to your mechanical keyboard experience.
Smoother Key Presses:Keyboard switches and stabilizers may have friction between their moving parts, causing a scratchy or gritty feeling when typing or gaming. By applying lubricant, this friction is reduced, resulting in smoother key presses. The keys will feel more fluid and effortless to press.
Noise Reduction: Lubricating switches and stabilizers can help reduce the noise generated during key presses. The lubricant acts as a dampening agent, minimizing any rattling or clicking sounds that may be present in unlubricated switches and stabilizers.
Improved Key Feel Consistency: Lubrication ensures a more consistent key feel across all keys on the keyboard. It helps to eliminate any variations or inconsistencies in the smoothness and operation of switches and stabilizers. This consistency enhances the overall typing or gaming experience, making it more enjoyable and satisfying.
Prolonged Switch Lifespan: Lubrication can help protect the internal components of keyboard switches and stabilizers from wear and tear. The lubricant creates a protective barrier, reducing friction and minimizing the potential for damage over time. This can extend the lifespan of your switches and stabilizers, ensuring they perform optimally for a longer period.
Customization and Personalization: Lubing your switches and stabilizers allows you to tailor the keyboard's feel to your preference. Different types of lubricants can provide varying levels of smoothness, sound, and tactility. By experimenting with different lubes and application techniques, you can find the perfect combination that suits your typing or gaming style.
General Steps in Lubing Mechanical Keyboard Switches
Gently remove the keycaps from the switches. You can use a keycap puller or simply lift them off by hand.
Lubricate the switches.
Hold a switch with the tweezers and apply a small amount of lubricant to the moving parts of the switch.
Focus on lubing the stem, sliders, and contact points. Avoid applying excessive lubricant; this can lead to undesirable effects.
Spread the lubricant evenly across the areas with the brush or applicator, ensuring all necessary parts are covered.
Reassemble the keyboard.
Once you have lubed all the switches and allowed them to dry if necessary, it's time to reassemble the keyboard.
Carefully place the switches back into their respective positions on the PCB or hot-swap sockets.
If you had desoldered the switches, resolder them onto the PCB following proper soldering techniques.
Replace the keycaps.
Put the keycaps back onto the switches, ensuring they are correctly aligned and seated firmly.
Test and fine-tune.
Test each key to ensure proper functioning and smooth operation.
If necessary, make adjustments by adding more or less lubricant to achieve your desired feel.
The specific steps in lubricating your switches may vary slightly depending on the type of switch, your personal preference, or the brand of switches you're using. Always refer to manufacturer instructions for switch-specific lubing guides to ensure the best results.
Lubing your Switches: Clicky, Tactile, and Linear
Lubing mechanical key switches, whether they are clicky, tactile, or linear, can enhance their performance and overall feel. However, it's essential to strike a balance between smoothness and preserving the unique characteristics of each switch type.
Clicky Switches Clicky switches are known for their distinct clicking sound and tactile feedback. When lubing clicky switches, the primary aim is to reduce the scratchiness and friction while preserving the clicky feedback.
Lubricant Application: When lubing clicky switches, avoid applying lubricant to the click jacket and click leaf, as this can dampen or mute the clicky sound. Focus on lubricating the stem and other contact points to ensure smooth operation without compromising the clickiness.
Tactile Switches Tactile switches offer a bump or tactile feedback when the key is pressed. Lubing tactile switches can enhance their smoothness and make the tactile bump feel more pronounced and satisfying.
Lubricant Application: Applying lubricant to the stem, sliders, and contact points. This will help reduce the scratchiness and make the tactile bump smoother and more consistent throughout the keystroke.
Lubing Linear Switches Linear switches offer a smooth and consistent keystroke without any tactile bump or audible click. Lubing linear switches can further enhance their smoothness, reduce friction, and create a more satisfying typing or gaming experience.
Lubricant Application: Applying lubricant to the stem, sliders, and contact points ensures smooth operation and reduced scratchiness.
Should You Lube Your Stabilizers?
Sure, lubing your switches is a game-changer, but have you ever considered the impact of lubricating your stabilizers? Lubricating stabilizers is highly recommended to improve their performance and reduce potential issues. Stabilizers are an integral part of a keyboard's layout and play a crucial role in stabilizing larger keys like the spacebar, Enter key, and Shift key.
When lubing stabilizers, it is generally recommended to focus on lubricating the stabilizer wires, housing, and contact points. Greases like Krytox 205g0 or dielectric grease are commonly used for stabilizer lubing. Applying a thin, even layer of lubricant to the necessary areas can significantly improve the performance of stabilizers.
The specific method and extent of lubing may vary depending on the type of stabilizers. For example, Cherry-style stabilizers require lubing their wires, while PCB-mounted stabilizers might also benefit from lubing the small contact points where the wires make contact with the housing.
How to Pick Out a Lubricant for Keyboard Stabilizers and Switches: Different Types
Now that you've learned about lubing switches and keyboard stabilizers, it's time to dive into choosing the right lubricant. There are different types out there, each with its own unique properties and uses.
Oil vs Grease Lubricants
Do you need to lube your switches? There are several lube options in the market. We'll discuss these types of lubes in more detail.
Greases Greases are thick lubricants typically made from a base oil blended with a thickening agent, such as lithium, fluoropolymer, or silicone. They provide excellent lubrication and are commonly used for mechanical keyboard switches and stabilizers. Greases have higher viscosity, which makes them suitable for parts that require longer-lasting lubrication. They reduce friction, smooth out switch operation, and help protect the internal components from wear and tear. Popular greases used in the mechanical keyboard community include Krytox greases (such as 205g0 and 205g2) and Tribosys greases (like 3203 and 3204).
Oils Oils used for lubricating mechanical keyboard switches are typically thin and low-viscosity. They provide smoother and more fluid switch operation by reducing friction between the moving parts. Oils can be made from various base oils, such as synthetic or mineral oils. Thin oils are often applied in small amounts to achieve the desired smoothness without interfering with the switch's characteristics or tactility. Some commonly used thin oils for keyboard switches include GPL 104, GPL 105, and switch-specific oils.
Dielectric Grease Dielectric grease is a thick, silicone-based grease that is commonly used for electrical applications. It is made of a silicone oil base with a thickening agent, such as silica. Dielectric grease acts as an insulator and helps protect electrical connections from moisture, corrosion, and arcing. In the context of mechanical keyboard lubing, dielectric grease can also be used to provide some lubrication and smoothness to switches and stabilizers. While not as widely used as greases or oils in the mechanical keyboard community, some enthusiasts find dielectric grease to be a viable option for achieving smoother switch operation.
Homemade Blends Some keyboard aficionados create their own custom blends by mixing and experimenting with different lubricants. These blends are tailored to their specific preferences and can include combinations of greases, oils, or other lubricants.
Viscosity of the Lubricant
Viscosity refers to the thickness or resistance to the flow of a lubricant. It is an essential characteristic to consider when choosing a lubricant for mechanical keyboard switches.
Higher viscosity lubricants, such as greases, are thicker and offer better staying power, effectively reducing friction and providing long-lasting lubrication. They are suitable for parts that require more durability and where lower flow rates are desired.
Lower viscosity lubricants, such as oils, are thinner and flow more freely. Thinner lubes offer smoother and more fluid switch operation by reducing friction between the moving parts. The choice of viscosity depends on personal preference, the specific switch type, and the desired level of smoothness and longevity. It's important to strike a balance between viscosity and the characteristics of the switch to achieve the desired typing or gaming feel.
Consider this: too thin a lubricant might not provide the desired friction reduction, while too thick could impede the switch's motion. Your aim? To find a lubricant with a viscosity that enhances both the feel and sound of your keystrokes.
Other Recommended Keyboard Swtich Lubes
While not specifically for mechanical keyboards, we recommend these lubricants because they're considered top performers in the keyboard enthusiast community.
CAIG Laboratories DeoxIT
CAIG Laboratories DeoxIT is designed to clean, protect, and lubricate electrical contacts, connectors, and switches. It removes contamination, oxidation, and corrosion from metal surfaces, improving conductivity and reducing intermittent connections and noise. It is available in various formulations, including sprays, squeezable pens, and dropper bottles. It is safe for most plastics and rubbers, and it has a fast-acting formula that evaporates quickly. It leaves a thin, invisible film that protects and lubricates the surfaces.
CAIG DeoxIT FaderLube is specifically formulated for lubricating and cleaning electrical contacts and faders, such as those found in audio equipment like mixers and potentiometers. It enhances conductivity, removes dirt and debris, and lubricates for smooth operation. It is available in spray and squeeze tube forms for convenient application. It improves electrical performance and reduces wear and noise. It is designed to be safe on plastics and has a fast-drying formula that does not leave a residue.
Choosing the right lubricant for your keyboard switches and stabilizers can greatly enhance your typing or gaming experience. Greases like Krytox 205g0 and Tribosys 3204 are popular choices for both switches and stabilizers, offering smoothness and reducing noise. Thin oils such as Krytox GPL 104 and GPL 105 can provide fluid movement and reduced friction. Dielectric grease can also be used effectively to lubricate and protect electrical connections. Additionally, exploring homemade blends and manufacturer-specific lubricants can offer customization and tailored solutions.
By properly lubricating your keyboard switches and stabilizers, you can unlock a whole new level of smoothness, consistency, and overall satisfaction in your keyboarding experience.
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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