Tips for Increasing the Lifespan of Your Mechanical Keyboard

April 12, 2024

How long do mechanical keyboards last? A well-maintained mechanical keyboard can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years or even longer with proper care. Some users have enjoyed using their mechanical keyboards for decades, not having experienced significant issues.

A sturdy mechanical keyboard is a great investment. Let's understand why. Let us also give you some tips on how to maintain their durability so you can add more years on gaming, typing, encoding, browsing, and more!

Why Are Mechanical Keyboards Tough

Did you invest in a mechanical keyboard? Or are you planning to get one? Then you made the right decision or plan! A mechanical keyboard is a worthy investment, a device that will last for years with proper care. How? Well, mechanical keyboards are known for their solid build quality.  Your mechanical keyboard is built to last!

  1. Build Quality: Mechanical keyboards are built with higher quality materials, making them more durable compared to cheaper membrane keyboards.
  2. Switches: Individual mechanical keyboard switches are used for each key, which are more robust compared to the rubber domes used in membrane keyboards. These switches are rated for 50 to 100 million keystrokes (or even more) before needing replacement.
  3. Resistance to Wear and Tear: The mechanical switches can withstand constant pounding over long periods without losing their responsiveness or tactility. 
  4. Repairability: Mechanical keyboards are modular, which makes them easy to repair. If a switch fails, it can often be replaced individually without having to replace the entire keyboard.

Getting the Most Out of Your Mechanical Keyboard's Durability

Mechanical keyboards are tough; yes, we know that. But there are ways to take advantage of its durability so that it will serve you even past its published lifetime.

  1. Regular Cleaning: Dust, dirt, and debris can accumulate in the key switches and between the keycaps over time. Regularly clean your keyboard to remove any build-up.
  2. Avoid Spills: Liquids can fry electronic components, including the switches and PCB (printed circuit board) inside your keyboard. To prevent serious damage from spills, keep drinks and other liquids away from your keyboard.
  3. Use a Protective Cover: Use a keyboard cover to protect it from dirt, dust, and UV light when the keyboard is not in use.
  4. Invest in a Quality Keyboard: High-quality mechanical keyboards are built to withstand heavy use and are often more durable than cheaper alternatives. 
  5. Be Gentle: Mechanical keyboards, while robust and durable, still require careful and gentle handling. Avoid slamming or pounding on the keys excessively as this can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the switches and keycaps.
  6. Customize with Care: If you enjoy customizing your keyboard with aftermarket keycaps or switches, handle them with care to avoid damaging the delicate components. 
  7. Keep It Dry: Moisture can cause corrosion and damage to the internal components of your keyboard. Store your keyboard in a dry environment and avoid exposing it to moist or high-humidity environments.
  8. Regular Maintenance: Periodically inspect your keyboard for signs of wear or damage such as worn keycaps or loose switches. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage and maintain the overall durability of your keyboard.

Choosing the Right Mechanical Keyboard for Durability

a man typing on a mechanical keyboard

When choosing a mechanical keyboard, here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Build Quality: Look for keyboards made with high-quality materials such as metal backplates and sturdy plastic or aluminum frames. A solidly built keyboard is less likely to flex or break under pressure.
  2. Switch Type: Different mechanical switch types offer varying levels of durability. Opt for switches from reputable brands known for their longevity, such as Cherry MX, Gateron, or switches with similar reputations. Switches rated for a higher number of keystrokes are generally more durable.
  3. Keycap Material: Keycaps made from durable materials such as PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) or double-shot ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) are more resistant to wear, and shine compared to cheaper keycap materials like thin ABS. Consider keyboards with keycaps that have UV coating or dye-sublimated legends for added durability.
  4. Water and Dust Resistance: Some mechanical keyboards have water and dust resistance ratings such as IPX ratings. These keyboards are designed to withstand spills and exposure to dust and debris.
  5. Customizability and Repairability: Keyboards that are modular and allow for easy customization and repair tend to have a longer lifespan. Look for keyboards with swappable switches, removable keycaps, and readily available replacement parts to ensure that you can maintain and repair your keyboard as needed.

Care of Your Mechanical Keyboard 

Maintaining your mechanical keyboard in tip-top shape involves routine cleaning and appropriate care. Let's check out some general tips for having a well-maintained mechanical keyboard.

  1. Regular Cleaning: Keep your keyboard spic-and-span. Regularly clean your keyboard using compressed air, a soft brush, or a vacuum cleaner. Concentrate between the keys and under the keycaps.
  2. Keycap Cleaning: Remove the keycaps periodically and clean them separately. Remove them from the keyboard and wash them with a gentle cleaning solution of soap and water. Let them dry thoroughly before reinstalling them.
  3. Avoid Eating and Drinking Near the Keyboard: Food crumbs, spills, and liquid splashes can cause damage to your keyboard's electronics. Don't eat or drink near the keyboard.
  4. Be Gentle: Avoid excessive force when pressing keys or rough handling when typing as this can shorten the switches' lifespan.
  5. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: When cleaning your keyboard, avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents that could damage the keycaps, switches, or electronics. Stick to mild cleaning solutions and gentle cleaning tools to ensure the longevity of your keyboard.
  6. Use a Keyboard Sleeve or Case for Transportation: Use a keyboard sleeve or case to protect it from scratches, bumps, and other damage during transit.

Conclusion

You made a great investment when you decided to get a mechanical keyboard. It has a long lifespan. It is a sturdy computer peripheral that will provide you with many years of gaming and typing. With proper care, you can even extend its lifespan for many more years!

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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