An Ultimate Guide to Razer Mechanical Switches

August 22, 2023

Whether you're a passionate gamer seeking optimal performance or a devoted typist striving for comfort and efficiency, this article is for you. It's about other Razer mechanical switches. These popular mechanical switches are used by gamers, typists, writers, bloggers, executives, and other professionals all around the world.

In this guide, we will unravel the unique characteristics, advantages, and applications of each Razer switch type. From the tactile feedback of Razer Green switches to the silent precision of Razer Yellow switches, embark on a journey to find the perfect switch that aligns with your preferences and enhances your gaming or typing experience. 

About Razer Mechanical Switches

Razer switches are mechanical switches designed and manufactured by Razer Inc., a well-known company in the gaming industry. These switches are primarily used in Razer's gaming keyboards, providing tactile and responsive feedback for gamers and typists.

Razer switches are well-regarded in the gaming community, known for their durability and performance. They are a crucial element of Razer's gaming keyboards, contributing to the overall gaming experience and responsiveness of the input device.

What are some popular Razer mechanical keyboard switches?

There are several types of Razer switches, each with its unique characteristics and features. 

  1. Razer Green Switches:
    • Tactile and Clicky: Razer Green switches provide both tactile feedback and an audible click sound when the key actuates. This clicky feel makes them popular among users who prefer a distinct confirmation of each keypress.
  2. Razer Orange Switches:
    • Tactile and Silent: Razer Orange switches offer a tactile bump without the audible click of the Razer Green switches. They are quieter and more suitable for environments where noise is a concern.
  3. Razer Yellow Switches:
    • Linear and Silent: Razer Yellow switches are linear switches, which means they don't have a tactile bump or audible click. They provide a smooth keystroke, making them ideal for rapid and quiet key presses, especially in fast-paced gaming scenarios.
  4. Razer Analog Optical Switches (e.g., Razer Huntsman V2 Analog):
    • Analog Sensing: These switches offer analog input support, which means they can detect the amount of actuation force applied to the key, allowing for more precise control in supported games.

What are the key features of Razer switches? 

Razer switches offer several key features that make them popular among gamers and typists.

  1. Mechanical Design: Razer switches are mechanical switches, which means they use a physical mechanism to register key presses. Unlike traditional rubber dome switches found in membrane keyboards, mechanical switches provide a more precise and consistent actuation. You enjoy a better typing and gaming experience.
  2. Customizable Actuation: Some Razer switches, like the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog switches, support customizable actuation points. This feature allows users to adjust the actuation distance to their preference, which allows more precise control in gaming or productivity scenarios.
  3. Tactile Feedback: Razer Green, Orange, and some other switches provide tactile feedback.  Users can feel a slight bump when pressing the key. This tactile response enhances typing accuracy and gives gamers a sense of confirmation for each key press.
  4. Clicky and Silent Options: Razer offers both clicky and silent variants of their switches. Clicky switches (e.g., Razer Green) produce an audible click sound along with the tactile feedback, while silent switches (e.g., Razer Orange, Razer Yellow) do not produce an audible click, making them suitable for quieter environments.
  5. Durability: Razer switches are designed to be durable and long-lasting, with a high lifespan of millions of keystrokes. This durability ensures that the switches can withstand intense gaming sessions and extensive typing.
  6. Faster Actuation: Some Razer switches are engineered for faster actuation, meaning the keys register input with minimal force and shorter travel distance. This characteristic is particularly beneficial for gamers who require quick response times during intense gameplay.
  7. Razer Synapse Software Integration: Razer's switches are often integrated with their Synapse software, allowing users to customize key functions, create macros, adjust lighting effects, and store profiles. This software enables users to personalize their keyboard and optimize it for their specific needs.
  8. Analog Sensing (on certain models): Razer Analog Optical switches, such as those found in the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog, offer analog input support. This feature allows the keyboard to detect varying levels of actuation force, similar to a controller's analog stick, providing more precise control in supported games.

What are some drawbacks of Razer switches? 

While Razer switches have gained popularity and recognition in the gaming community as best switches for gaming, they are not without some drawbacks. It's essential to consider these potential limitations when choosing a keyboard with Razer switches. 

  1. High Actuation Force: Razer switches, especially the Razer Green switches, are known for having a relatively higher actuation force compared to some other mechanical switches. This means users may need to apply more force to activate the keys. This could be tiring on the hand and fingers during extended typing or gaming sessions.
  2. Limited Variants: While Razer offers a range of switches, their selection may not be as extensive as some other keyboard manufacturers such as Cherry MX switches. This limitation could mean that users might not find a Razer switch that perfectly matches their specific preferences for actuation force, tactile feedback, or noise level.
  3. Non-Standard Bottom Row: Some Razer keyboards use a non-standard bottom row layout for the keycaps. This can make it challenging to find aftermarket keycap sets that are compatible with these keyboards. Users who enjoy customizing their keycaps might find this limitation frustrating.
  4. Key Wobble: Some users have reported experiencing key wobble or instability in certain Razer switch models. Key wobble refers to a slight lateral movement of the keycap even when not actuating the switch, which can be distracting for some users
  5. Availability and Pricing: Depending on the region, Razer keyboards with their switches might have limited availability or higher pricing compared to keyboards with more widely used switch types. This could impact the accessibility of Razer switches for some users.

Experience with mechanical switches can vary significantly from person to person. What one user might perceive as a drawback might be a positive aspect for another. 

Which keyboards use Razer switches?

Razer switches were primarily used in Razer-branded mechanical keyboards. Razer offers a variety of mechanical gaming keyboards. Different models may feature different types of Razer switches based on user preferences and requirements. Here are some examples of Razer keyboards that use Razer switches:

  1. Razer Huntsman Series:
    • Razer Huntsman Elite
  • Razer Huntsman Mini
  • Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition
  • Razer Huntsman V2 Analog
  1. Razer BlackWidow Series:
    • Razer BlackWidow Elite
  • Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro
  • Razer BlackWidow V3 Mini HyperSpeed
  • Razer BlackWidow V3 Tenkeyless   
  • Razer BlackWidow V3
  1. Razer Ornata Series:
    • Razer Ornata V2
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  1. Razer Cynosa Series:
    • Razer Cynosa Chroma
  • Razer Cynosa V2

Additionally, Razer has occasionally collaborated with other companies or released limited-edition keyboards. 

Choosing the Right Razer Mechanical Keyboard Switch

What kind of Razer switch do you need? Let's explore some options.

Razer Green Switches

Razer Green switches are tactile and clicky mechanical switches known for their precise actuation, audible click sound, and satisfying tactile feedback, making them popular among gamers and typists alike.

  1. Switch Type: Razer Green Switch
  2. Switch Category: Tactile and Clicky
  3. Actuation Force: 50g (grams)
  4. Actuation Point: 1.9mm
  5. Total Travel Distance: 4.0mm
  6. Switch Lifespan: Up to 80 million keystrokes

Key Characteristics

  • Tactile Feedback: Razer Green switches provide tactile feedback, meaning users can feel a slight bump when pressing the key.
  • Audible Click: These switches are known for producing an audible click sound along with the tactile feedback, which gives users a distinct confirmation of each keypress.
  • High Actuation Force: With an actuation force of 50g, Razer Green switches require a relatively higher force to actuate compared to some other mechanical switches, which may impact the typing or gaming experience for some users.
  • Durability: Razer Green switches have a high lifespan of up to 80 million keystrokes, ensuring they can withstand long gaming sessions and intense typing.

Razer Yellow Switches

Razer Yellow switches offer a silent and responsive gaming experience with a smooth linear keystroke, making them well-suited for gamers who prefer quick and quiet key presses.

  1. Switch Type: Razer Yellow Switch
  2. Switch Category: Linear and Silent
  3. Actuation Force: 45g (grams)
  4. Actuation Point: 1.2mm
  5. Total Travel Distance: 3.5mm
  6. Switch Lifespan: Up to 80 million keystrokes

Key Characteristics

  • Linear Feel: Razer Yellow switches provide a smooth and linear keystroke without tactile feedback or an audible click, making them ideal for rapid and quiet key presses, especially in fast-paced gaming scenarios.
  • Low Actuation Force: With an actuation force of 45g, Razer Yellow switches require a relatively light force to actuate, making them responsive and easy to use for gamers seeking quick response times.

Razer Orange Switches

Razer Orange switches deliver a satisfying tactile feel with a quiet operation, making them an excellent choice for users who seek a more subdued typing experience without sacrificing responsiveness.

  1. Switch Type: Razer Orange Switch
  2. Switch Category: Tactile and Silent
  3. Actuation Force: 45g (grams)
  4. Actuation Point: 1.9mm
  5. Total Travel Distance: 4.0mm
  6. Switch Lifespan: Up to 80 million keystrokes

Key Characteristics

  • Tactile Feedback: Razer Orange switches provide a gentle tactile bump for a more subtle and refined typing experience compared to clicky switches.
  • Silent Operation: These switches are designed to be quiet during use, making them suitable for environments where noise reduction is important

Razer Analog Optical Switches

Razer Analog Optical switches feature analog sensing capabilities, enabling fine-tuned control in compatible games, and their linear, silent operation makes them versatile for a wide range of gaming and typing scenarios.

  1. Switch Type: Razer Analog Optical Switch
  2. Switch Category: Analog Sensing
  3. Actuation Force: 45g (grams)
  4. Actuation Point: 1.5mm
  5. Total Travel Distance: 3.6mm
  6. Switch Lifespan: Up to 100 million keystrokes

Key Characteristics

  • Analog Input Support: Razer Analog Optical switches provide analog sensing, allowing the keyboard to detect varying levels of actuation force for more precise control in supported games.
  • Linear and Silent: These switches offer a smooth and linear keystroke without tactile feedback or an audible click, suitable for both gaming and typing

Comparing Razer Switches Compare to Other Mechanical Switches

Razer switches are often compared to other popular mechanical switches, such as Cherry MX switches, due to their prevalence in the gaming keyboard market. Here's a general comparison between Razer switches and Cherry MX switches, which are widely regarded as one of the most well-known mechanical switch brands:

  1. Tactile Feel and Actuation Force
    • Razer switches: Razer offers tactile switches in the form of Razer Green and Razer Orange switches. Razer Green switches are known for a more pronounced tactile bump and require 50g of actuation force, while Razer Orange switches have a gentler tactile bump and the same actuation force of 45g.
    • Cherry MX switches: Cherry MX offers various tactile switches, such as Cherry MX Brown, which has a tactile bump and requires 45g of actuation force, and Cherry MX Blue, known for a tactile bump and an audible click with an actuation force of 50g.
  2. Linear Feel and Actuation Force
    • Razer switches: Razer Yellow switches provide a smooth and linear keystroke without tactile feedback or audible clicks. They require 45g of actuation force.
    • Cherry MX switches: Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX Black are popular linear switches. Cherry MX Red is lighter with an actuation force of 45g, while Cherry MX Black is heavier with an actuation force of 60g.
  3. Silent Operation
    • Razer switches: Razer Orange and Razer Yellow switches are known for their silent operation, making them quieter than clicky switches like Razer Green or Cherry MX Blue.
    • Cherry MX switches: Cherry MX Silent Red and Cherry MX Silent Black are variants designed for quiet operation, providing a similar experience to the regular Cherry MX Red and Black switches but with dampened sound.
  4. Analog Sensing
    • Razer switches: Razer Analog Optical switches, found in the Razer Huntsman V2 Analog, provide analog input support for more precise control in compatible games, making them unique in this aspect.
    • Cherry MX switches: As of my last update, Cherry MX switches did not have analog sensing capabilities, making Razer Analog Optical switches stand out in this regard.

Understanding Mechanical Switch Terms

Ready to dig a little deeper into the nitty-gritty of Razer switches? Let's start by understanding some key terms.

What is actuation force?

Actuation force, also known as actuation weight, is a term used to describe the amount of force required to activate a mechanical switch, such as those used in mechanical keyboards. When you press a key on a mechanical keyboard, the actuation force is the force you need to apply to the keycap for the switch to register the keystroke and send the signal to the computer.

Actuation force is typically measured in grams (g). Different mechanical switches have varying actuation forces, and this can significantly impact the typing or gaming experience for users.

Switches with a higher actuation force may require more effort to press, which can lead to increased finger fatigue during long typing or gaming sessions. On the other hand, switches with a lower actuation force are more sensitive and require less force to activate, making them better suited for users who prefer a lighter touch or require faster response times.

What is actuation distance?

Actuation distance, also known as actuation point or travel distance, is a term used to describe the distance a keycap needs to travel down before the mechanical switch registers a keystroke. In other words, it is the point at which the switch recognizes the keypress and sends the signal to the computer.

For mechanical switches in keyboards, the actuation distance is typically measured in millimeters (mm). Different switches have different actuation distances, and this can affect the typing or gaming experience for users.

A shorter actuation distance means that the key press is registered with less key travel, allowing for faster response times. On the other hand, a longer actuation distance requires the keycap to be pressed down further before the switch activates, which might lead to slightly slower response times.

Advantages of Razer Mechanical Switches over membrane switches

Razer mechanical switches offer several advantages over traditional membrane switches commonly found in standard keyboards. 

  1. Tactile Feedback and Responsiveness: Razer mechanical switches provide tactile feedback, meaning users can feel a physical bump or click when pressing a key. This tactile response enhances typing accuracy and gaming precision, giving users a more satisfying and responsive typing experience compared to the mushy feel of membrane switches.
  2. Durability and Longevity: Mechanical switches, including Razer switches, are known for their durability and extended lifespan. Razer switches, in particular, boast a high switch lifespan of up to 80 million or even 100 million keystrokes, far surpassing the longevity of membrane switches. This durability ensures that Razer mechanical keyboards can withstand extensive use and remain reliable for a more extended period.
  3. N-Key Rollover (NKRO) and Anti-Ghosting: Razer mechanical keyboards typically offer N-Key Rollover (NKRO) or high-key rollover, allowing every key to be pressed simultaneously and registered independently. This feature eliminates the possibility of ghosting, where keypresses go unregistered due to limitations in membrane keyboards, making Razer mechanical keyboards ideal for gaming and complex key combinations.
  4. Customization and Programmability: Razer mechanical keyboards often come with robust software support, such as Razer Synapse, allowing users to customize individual key functions, create macros, and save different profiles. This level of customization enhances productivity and enables gamers to tailor their keyboards to their specific gaming preferences.
  5. Typing Comfort and Ergonomics: Razer mechanical switches are designed with ergonomic considerations, offering various key switch options to suit different typing or gaming styles. Users can choose switches with preferred actuation forces and tactile feedback, leading to a more comfortable and enjoyable typing experience.
  6. Faster Actuation and Response: Razer mechanical switches, especially linear switches like Razer Yellow, enable faster actuation with shorter travel distances. This faster response time can be advantageous in competitive gaming scenarios where quick reflexes are essential.
  7. Improved Build Quality: Razer mechanical keyboards generally have better build quality and more robust construction compared to many membrane keyboards. The use of high-quality materials ensures a premium feel and extended longevity.

Tips for Maintaining Razer Key Switches

Maintaining your Razer switches properly can help prolong their lifespan and ensure optimal performance. Here are some tips for maintaining Razer switches:

  1. Keep your keyboard clean.
    Regularly clean your keyboard to prevent dust, debris, and dirt from accumulating on and around the switches. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a keyboard cleaning brush to remove particles and keep the switches and keycaps clean.
  2. Avoid spills.
    Liquid spills can damage the switches and other components of your keyboard. Be cautious when eating or drinking near your keyboard and consider using a keyboard cover to protect it from accidental spills.
  3. Use a keycap puller.
    If you need to clean under the keycaps or replace them, use a keycap puller to safely remove them. Avoid using excessive force, as it may damage the switches.
  4. Store your keyboard properly if you need to store or transport it. 
    If you need to store or transport your keyboard, use a protective carrying case or cover to shield it from potential impacts and scratches.
  5. Regularly update the firmware. 
    Keep your keyboard's firmware up to date by checking for updates on Razer's official website. Updated firmware can improve performance and address any known issues.
  6. Avoid heavy impacts. 
    Avoid striking or pounding on the keys forcefully, as this can cause unnecessary stress on the switches and may lead to damage over time.
  7. Be mindful of key jamming.
    If you notice any keys feeling sticky or not registering keystrokes consistently, discontinue use and clean the affected area carefully. Jammed keys can put stress on the switch and hinder proper functioning.
  8. Use keyboard rests.
    If your keyboard has built-in feet or stands, use them to provide a comfortable typing angle and reduce strain on your wrists.
  9. Adjust lighting settings.
    If your Razer keyboard switches have RGB lighting, consider reducing the brightness or customizing the lighting effects to minimize the amount of heat generated.
  10. Replace worn keycaps.
    Over time, keycaps can wear out due to frequent use. If you notice significant wear on any keycaps, consider replacing them to maintain a uniform typing experience.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your Razer switches remain in optimal condition, providing you with a smooth and reliable typing or gaming experience for an extended period.

Cleaning Your Razer Keyboard with Mechanical Switches

Cleaning your Razer keyboard is an essential part of maintaining its performance and longevity. 

  1. Power off and disconnect.
    Turn off your computer and unplug the keyboard from the USB port to prevent any electrical issues while cleaning.
  2. Remove the keycaps. 
    If you want to do a thorough cleaning, you can remove the keycaps to access the switches and clean them underneath. Use a keycap puller to gently lift the keycaps one by one. Be careful not to apply too much force to avoid damaging the switches or keycaps.
  3. Use compressed air.
    Blow compressed air into the gaps between the switches and around the keyboard to remove dust and debris. Hold the keyboard at an angle to let the particles fall out instead of pushing them further into the keyboard.
  4. Use a soft brush.
    Use a soft brush, like a keyboard cleaning brush or a small paintbrush, to gently sweep away any remaining dirt or dust from the keycaps and the keyboard surface.
  5. Clean with isopropyl alcohol.
    Dampen a soft, lint-free cloth or a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol (70% or higher) and gently wipe the keycaps and keyboard surface. This will help remove fingerprints, oils, and any sticky residue.
  6. Clean the switches. 
    If you've removed the keycaps, you can use a cotton swab lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol to clean the exposed switches. Be careful not to let any liquid seep into the switches or circuitry.
  7. Dry the keyboard thoroughly. 
    Allow the keyboard and keycaps to dry completely before reassembling. Ensure there is no moisture left on the keyboard or keycaps before connecting it back to your computer.
  8. Reassemble the keycaps.
    If you removed the keycaps, carefully reattach them one by one, making sure they are properly aligned and seated on the switches.
  9. Test the keyboard.
    After reassembling, test each key to ensure they register correctly. Typing a test sentence or using a keyboard tester online can help you confirm that all keys are functioning as expected.

Important Notes

  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents, as they may damage the keyboard's finish or keycap legends.
  • Never immerse the entire keyboard in water or any liquid, as this can cause permanent damage to the switches and electronics.
  • If you are unsure about disassembling or cleaning your Razer keyboard, refer to the manufacturer's guidelines or seek professional assistance.

Conclusion

This ultimate guide to Razer switches provides a comprehensive overview of Razer's mechanical switches, delving into the various switch types, their key characteristics, and their suitability for gaming and typing.

It discusses the importance of considering factors like actuation force, tactile feedback, and noise level when selecting the ideal switch for individual needs. It serves as a valuable resource for users seeking to elevate their gaming performance and enhance their typing comfort through the choice of Razer mechanical switches.

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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