A Complete Guide to Cherry MX Switches

July 20, 2023

Are you looking for a mechanical keyboard? Whether it's a full-sized gaming keyboard, tenkeyless keyboard, or ergonomic keyboard, a mechanical keyboard will always have mechanical switches. Many mechanical keyboard brands and models use popular Cherry MX switches.

With a legacy dating back to 1983, this popular line of switches has earned a reputation for their exceptional performance, effectiveness, and durability. Made in Germany, these switches are crafted with precision.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of Cherry MX switches, helping you choose the right switch and providing insights on selecting a keyboard that suits your requirements.

What are Cherry MX Mechanical Switches?

Let's start with an introduction to Cherry MX switches.

For many manufacturers and users, Cherry MX switches are the gold standard. Their excellent performance, comfort, flexibility, effectiveness, and durability make them one of the best switches in the world. Made in Germany, the Cherry MX lineup offers different combinations of resistance, tactile feedback, and auditory feedback.

Cherry MX switches come in different actuation types such as clicky, tactile, and linear, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your typing preferences and needs. Some common Cherry MX colors include blue, red, and brown.

Introduction to Mechanical Switches

Mechanical keyboards and mechanical switches go together. These switches are the heart and soul of a mechanical keyboard.

Each mechanical switch consists of several components: the upper housing, switch guide, gold crosspoint contact, precision coil spring, and housing base. As you press a key, the guide rail travels down the switch guide until a metal component touches the crosspoint contact. This allows electricity to flow through the contact, registering a key press. Electronic components in the keyboard and your computer interpret this signal as a movement, functionality, or character on your monitor. As you lift your finger, the spring pushes the keycap up to its starting position.

Advantages of Cherry MX Switches

Cherry MX switches are among the most popular switches on the market. One of the key reasons why many keyboard enthusiasts swear by Cherry MX switches is because of their exceptional durability and long lifespan. These switches are built to withstand up to 100 million keystrokes---double the lifespan of other switches similar to the Cherry MX. Even after years of heavy use, Cherry MX switches will still be going strong.

Another advantage of Cherry MX switches is the wide variety of options available. For example, check out these common switches.

  • Cherry MX Blue for a noticeable bump and audible click feel per keystroke
  • Cherry MX Green for audible feedback per key press
  • Cherry MX Brown for a more tactile feedback
  • Cherry MX Red or Cherry MX Red for linear and silent typing
  • Cherry MX Clear for a stiffer feel

The different sensations you feel when using a mechanical keyboard make typing and gaming faster, more accurate, and more pleasant.

Cherry MX switches are removable. For example, if you bought a new keyboard, you can easily change its switch rows. You can easily remove a switch that's damaged or malfunctioning.

With colorful LED backlighting, Cherry MX RGB switches can create a more aesthetic and interactive experience when you use your keyboard.

Keycaps are not embedded in key switches. Thus,

With their durability, versatility, and high quality, it's no wonder that Cherry MX switches are the most popular switches in the mechanical keyboard community.

Different Types of Cherry MX Switches

The cool thing about mechanical keyboards is that you can choose switch options that match your typing style and preferences. Here's an overview of Cherry MX switches that are available in the market.

Cherry MX Red

For a smooth and light touch, the Cherry MX Red switch is a great option. It has a low actuation force and quick key registration, making it ideal for gaming and fast typing.

The low actuation force makes these keys easy and smooth to press. The Cherry MX Red switches are perfect for those who prefer a silent linear switch without tactile bumps.

Cherry MX Brown

If you prefer a tactile typing experience so you'll feel that each key press is registered, the Cherry MX Brown switch is for you. It provides a comfortable and responsive feel.

The feeble but noticeable tactile bump assures you that each key press is registered. Despite the tactile bump, the switch dampens the sound. This makes Cherry Brown Switches perfect for quiet and accurate typing and gaming.

With Cherry MX Brown switches, you can easily customize your keyboard with different keycaps and even try out specialty switches for added customization options.

Cherry MX Blue

For those who prefer a Cherry switch with a satisfying clicking sound, the Cherry MX Blue switch is a go-to option. It's commonly favored by typists who enjoy that cool click sound with each key press.

Cherry MX Blue switches provide both tactile and audible feedback. If you love the sound of classical typewriters as you type, then these switches are for you.

If you prefer a quieter option with the same tactile feedback, you might want to consider the Cherry MX Silent switches or the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches.

Cherry MX Black

The linear Cherry MX Black switches are very similar to Cherry MX Red switches. However, this version of the MX has a higher actuation force. This makes them ideal for typists with heavy hands.

For gamers, the higher actuation force gives a heavier feel to the keys, providing stability and precision during intense gaming sessions.

Which of the Different Types of Cherry MX Switches is Right for You?

To choose the right Cherry MX switch for your mechanical keyboard, it's important to understand the differences between Cherry MX switches ----tactile, linear, and clicky switches.

Understanding Tactile, Linear, and Clicky Switches

Tactile switches such as the Cherry MX Brown, provide a noticeable bump when the key is pressed, providing tactile feedback to the typist. These switches are common choices for both regular typing work and gaming.

Linear switches such as Cherry MX Red offer a smooth and consistent keystroke without any tactile bump. These switches are ideal for gaming and fast typing due to their fast pre-travel distance and light actuation force.

Clicky switches such as the Cherry MX Blue provide both tactile and audible feedback with an audible, distinct sound with each key press. These switches are often preferred by typists and gamers who enjoy the satisfying clicky sound.

Understanding the differences between these actuation types will help you choose the right Cherry MX switch for your needs.

Choosing the Right Switch for Gaming

When choosing a switch for gaming, you'll want a switch with a smooth and consistent keystroke that doesn't hamper your movement across the keyboard. For gaming, we highly recommend keyboards with linear switches like the Cherry MX Red. The Cherry MX Red switches are known for their linear actuation and low actuation force, making them ideal for fast-paced gaming.

Smooth keystrokes enable your fingers to move rapidly across the keyboard and quickly register your key presses. Speed and accuracy are crucial factors in gaming competitions. The light actuation force also means that you won't have to exert too much pressure on pressing the keys, reducing fatigue during long gaming sessions.

Whether you're playing competitive esports or enjoying single-player adventures, the Cherry MX Red switches will provide you with the responsiveness and accuracy you need for a great gaming experience.

Specialty Switches for Specific Requirements

If any of these standard Cherry MX mechanical switches don't seem to be the switches you're looking for, then these specialty Cherry MX switches may be for you.

  • Cherry MX Speed
  • Cherry MX Silent
  • Cherry MX Green
  • Cherry MX Clear
  • Cherry MX SilverLet's discuss each in detail.

Cherry MX Speed

Cherry MX Speed switches with their shorter actuation distance are marketed for gaming. Moving your hands around the keyboard and pressing the keys while you play is fast, easy, and accurate.

It's important to note that the actuation distance of 1.2mm and total travel distance of 3.4mm does not have a noticeable impact on reaction time.

Cherry MX Silent

The Cherry MX Silent switches are for people who want a quieter typing experience without compromising on performance. These switches are available in two options: Silent Red and Silent Black.

The Silent Red switches have a light actuation force of 45g and a bottom-out force of 75g. The Silent Black switches have a slightly higher actuation force of 60g and a bottom-out force of 85g.

Both options provide a considerable reduction in sound compared to non-silent switches.

Cherry MX Green

If you enjoy the tactile and clicky feedback of the Cherry MX Blue switches but want something with a bit more resistance, then the Cherry MX Green switches might be the perfect choice for you.

These switches have a higher actuation force, making them ideal for those who tend to type with a heavier hand. Just like the Blues, the Greens are great for both gaming and typing.

Cherry MX Clear

Cherry MX Clears are perfect if you want switches with a stiffer feel than the popular Cherry MX Brown. They provide a more noticeable tactile bump compared to the MX Browns, making them ideal for those who type or play with heavy hands.

With an actuation force of 65g and a bottom-out force of 95g, the MX Clear switch offers a satisfying and precise keystroke.

Cherry MX Speed Silver

Looking for a switch that promises lightning-fast keystrokes? Look no further than the Cherry MX Speed Silver. With an actuation distance of just 1.2mm and a total travel distance of 3.4mm, these switches are designed for gamers who want instantaneous key registration.

The linear actuation type ensures smooth and consistent keystrokes, perfect for rapid-fire button presses.

How to Choose a Keyboard with Cherry MX Switches

If you're looking for a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches, there are several popular brands to consider. These brands include Corsair, Ducky, and Filco---all known for their high-quality keyboards with Cherry MX switches.

If you're interested in customizing your keyboard with RGB lighting, there are also available options.

A Ducky with Cherry MX Switches

One of the most popular keyboard brands that feature Cherry MX switches is Ducky. The brand is known for its lineup of high-quality mechanical keyboards. They're widely popular with enthusiasts and gamers alike. Ducky keyboards are known for their exceptional build quality and reliable performance.

They offer a wide range of options with various Cherry MX switch types to suit different preferences. Whether you prefer a linear switch like the Cherry MX Red for smooth and quiet gaming or a tactile switch like the Cherry MX Brown for a satisfying typing experience, Ducky has got you covered.

Their keyboards also often come with customizable RGB lighting and programmable macros for added convenience.

If you're looking for a top-notch keyboard with Cherry MX switches, Ducky is definitely a brand worth considering.

RGB Cherry MX Switches for Customization

RGB Cherry MX switches are designed to allow you to personalize your mechanical keyboard. You can integrate colorful and customizable lighting effects into your typing experience.

These RGB switches are equipped with clear upper housings that allow the RGB LED lighting to shine through, creating a vibrant and eye-catching display.

Whether you're a gamer looking to enhance your gaming setup or simply someone who enjoys the aesthetic appeal of RGB lighting, these switches offer a wide range of options to suit your preferences. You can program the RGB lighting patterns and sequences through an onboard functionality or an app.

With the combination of Cherry MX's renowned performance and durability, along with the added visual customization of RGB lighting, you can truly make your keyboard one-of-a-kind.

Comparing Mechanical Keyboards with Membrane Keyboards

Mechanical keyboards use mechanical switches (hence the name) instead of membrane switches. Each key has its own switch underneath that registers each key press.

Gamers and typing enthusiasts often prefer mechanical keyboards because they provide a more tactile and satisfying typing experience. Each keypress registers more distinctly, whether by feel or by sound or both, than on a membrane keyboard.

They are usually more durable and longer-lasting than membrane keyboards.

A membrane keyboard consists of a silicon layer that sits on top of a circuit board. The keys are not separate moving parts. Instead, the membrane layer features a printed circuit that connects to the keyboard's PCB. When a key is pressed, that part of the membrane is depressed, touching the PCB. The circuit is then completed, and a signal is sent to the computer to register as a character or action.

Membrane keyboards are considered budget-friendly or low-profile keyboard designs because they are inexpensive and easy to manufacture. They provide good protection from dirt, debris, and liquid.

However, membrane keyboards provide a less tactile and less satisfying typing experience when compared to mechanical keyboards. They're also not as durable.

Factors to Consider in a Mechanical Keyboard

When choosing a mechanical keyboard, there are several factors to consider.

Typing Experience

Consider the switches used in a mechanical keyboard.

Cherry MX switches offer a range of tactile feedback and auditory feedback options to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer a smooth and light keystroke like the Cherry MX Red or a bumpy and tactile feel like the Cherry MX Brown, there's a switch for every typist.

Build Quality and Durability

Mechanical keyboards are more resilient to abuse than membrane keyboards, thanks to the tougher materials being used. In addition, mechanical switches are more resistant to damage than silicon membranes.

Cherry MX switches undergo high standards and rigorous testing processes to ensure that each switch is reliable and can withstand heavy use.

With a lifespan of up to 100 million keystrokes, Cherry MX switches are designed to last, making them a reliable choice for both gaming and typing enthusiasts.

Availability and Price

Due to the higher quality of materials and versatility, mechanical keyboards are generally more expensive than membrane keyboards. Their high-quality mechanical keyboard switches make up a large part of their pricing.

Cherry MX switches are widely available from various retailers, both online and in physical stores. You can purchase them from popular websites like Amazon, mechanical keyboard specialty stores, and even directly from the Cherry MX website.

Prices for Cherry MX switches can vary depending on the type and retailer but generally range from $5 to $10 per switch.

Additional Features

Discover the exciting extra features that make Cherry MX switches the ultimate choice for your mechanical keyboard. Cherry MX switches offer more than just exceptional performance and durability.

A cool feature of Cherry MX switches is RGB lighting compatibility. The clear upper housing allows the vibrant LED light colors to shine through, creating a visually stunning keyboard.

Cherry MX switches are compatible with custom keycaps, giving you the freedom to personalize your keyboard to your liking.

Size and Layout

Mechanical keyboards can come in different sizes and layouts---from full-sized keyboards to compact keyboards. There are some that are ergonomically designed to enable you to type in a healthy, natural, and relaxed position. Some can be split in the middle for even more versatility.

Tenkeyless (TKL) layout and the smaller 60% and 75% layouts allow you to work on your keyboard even in a limited space.

Conclusion

When it comes to mechanical switches, Cherry MX switches are a top choice for their performance, comfort, and durability. With different variations to suit individual preferences, finding the right Cherry MX switch is easy. Whether you prefer a clicky, tactile, or linear feel, there's a switch for you.

Q: What are Mechanical Cherry MX Switches?

A: Mechanical Cherry MX switches are a type of mechanical switch used in keyboards. They are known for their high-quality construction and durability.

Q: What are the different types of Cherry MX switches?

A: There are several types of Cherry MX switches including tactile, linear, and clicky switches. Each type offers a different typing experience.

Q: What is a tactile switch?

A: A tactile switch provides feedback when the key is pressed, offering a slight bump or resistance. It helps users to feel when the key has actuated.

Q: What is a linear switch?

A: A linear switch has a smooth and consistent press from top to bottom, without any tactile feedback. It provides a more fluid typing experience.

Q: What is a clicky switch?

A: A clicky switch has an audible click sound when pressed, in addition to tactile feedback. It provides a satisfying typing experience for those who prefer audible feedback.

Q: What is a linear Cherry MX switch?

A: A linear Cherry MX switch is a type of switch that offers a smooth and consistent typing experience, without any tactile feedback or audible click sounds.

Q: What are specialty switches?

A: Specialty switches refer to the different versions of Cherry MX switches, such as the MX Silent Red, MX Grey, MX White, Vintage MX Blacks, and more. These switches have unique characteristics and cater to specific user preferences.

Q: Can you provide a guide to Cherry MX switches?

A: Yes, we have a comprehensive guide to Cherry MX switches that covers all the different types and their characteristics. You can find it on our website.

Q: What is a Cherry MX Silent Red switch?

A: The Cherry MX Silent Red switch is a version of the MX Red switch with a built-in noise reduction system. It offers a quiet typing experience while still retaining the smooth linear feel of the MX Red switch.

Q: What is the difference between Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX Silent Red?

A: The main difference is the noise level. Cherry MX Red switches have an audible "click" sound when pressed, while Cherry MX Silent Red switches are designed to minimize noise and offer a quieter typing experience.

Q: Is the Cherry MX switch the best mechanical switch in the world?

A: The Cherry MX switch is highly regarded as one of the best mechanical switches in the industry. However, the "best" switch ultimately depends on personal preference and typing style.

Q: Are Cherry MX switches similar to Cherry MX Browns?

A: Cherry MX switches and Cherry MX Browns are different types of switches. Cherry MX Browns are tactile switches with a slight bump in the keystroke, while Cherry MX switches can be tactile, linear, or clicky depending on the specific type.

Erickson, a certified Interior Designer and Ergonomist, has cultivated a unique career blending aesthetics, functionality, and well-being. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Interior Designfrom a prestigious institution, Erickson is well-versed in creating spaces that are both visually pleasing and conducive to human comfort and health.
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