Gateron switches offer an extensive array of options to cater to your preferences. Known for their smoothness, durability, and competitive pricing, Gateron switches have gained popularity among keyboard enthusiasts worldwide.
Durable, customizable, and smooth as butter, these little powerhouses can drastically change your keyboarding game. Whether you're a light typist, a heavy-handed gamer, or somewhere in between, there's a Gateron switch tailored just for you.
From the light-touch Gateron Clear to the gamer-preferred Red and Black, and even the premium Ink version, the options are vast. But don't worry, this guide's got you covered. We'll help you navigate the world of Gateron switches, ensuring you find the perfect match for your specific needs and preferences.
Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Gateron Switches.
What are Gateron Switches?
Gateron switches are a type of mechanical keyboard switch manufactured by the Gateron company. They are designed as a key component in mechanical keyboards, providing the user with a different typing experience compared to traditional membrane keyboards. Mechanical switches, including Gateron switches, have gained popularity among keyboard enthusiasts due to their superior durability, tactile feedback, and customizable features.
A Brief History of Gateron
Gateron is a manufacturer of mechanical keyboard switches and related components. The company, which was founded in 2000 in Zhongshan, China, and has since become a prominent player in the mechanical keyboard market. Gateron is known for producing high-quality switches that are compatible with various keyboard layouts and have gained popularity among keyboard enthusiasts and gamers alike.
As a company specializing in switches, Gateron's primary focus is on designing and manufacturing mechanical switches for use in mechanical keyboards. The company offers various types of switches, including linear, tactile, and clicky switches, each catering to different preferences and needs of keyboard users.
Over the years, Gateron has gained a strong following within the mechanical keyboard community due to their consistent quality, affordability, and the wide range of switch options they offer.
Advantages of Using Gateron Switches
Gateron switches offer several advantages that have contributed to their popularity among mechanical keyboard users. Here are some characteristics of the Gateron switch that makes this product a favorite one:
Gateron switches are known for their smooth keystrokes. The switches' construction and design contribute to a buttery-smooth key press, enhancing typing and gaming experiences for users.
Compared to some other high-end mechanical switches, Gateron switches are generally more affordable. This makes the Gateron switch one of the best switches for those with a tight budget.
Gateron offers a diverse selection of switch types, including linear, tactile, and clicky switches. Users have the flexibility to choose the switch that best matches their typing or gaming preferences, providing a more personalized experience.
Many recommend the Gateron switch for its noticeable bump or audible click at the actuation point. This tactile and audible feedback enhances typing accuracy and can be satisfying for some users.
Gateron switches are built to withstand a high number of key presses. The keystroke lifespan for each switch is typically rated for tens of millions of keystrokes. This durability ensures that the switches remain responsive and reliable throughout their lifespan.
Some Gateron switches are designed to be hot-swappable, allowing users to change switches without soldering. This feature makes it easier for users to experiment with different switch types and customize their mechanical keyboards.
The Gateron switch lineup is compatible with various keyboard layouts, including full-sized, tenkeyless (TKL), 60%, and other custom layouts. This compatibility makes it easier for users to find and use Gateron switches in a wide range of mechanical keyboards.
Gateron offers silent or "silent" variants of their switches, such as Silent Red, Silent Black, Silent Brown, and Silent Yellow. These switches provide a quieter typing experience, making them suitable for office environments, libraries, bedrooms, or situations where reduced noise is preferred.
Gateron mechanical switches are commonly used in custom mechanical keyboard builds. Users can tailor their keyboard to their specific needs and preferences, enhancing the overall typing or gaming experience.
Gateron has gained a devoted following within the mechanical keyboard community. The brand's popularity and reputation continue to grow as more users recognize the quality and value of Gateron switches.
Drawbacks of Using Gateron Switches
Just like any product, Gateron switches are not without some potential drawbacks. Consider these disadvantages when choosing the right switches for your mechanical keyboard:
While Gateron switches have gained popularity, they may not be as readily available as some other well-established switch brands such as Cherry MX. This can limit your purchasing options.
Some users have complained about occasional issues with inconsistent quality control in Gateron switches. While most switches work flawlessly, there have been instances where a batch of switches may exhibit minor variations in smoothness or actuation force.
Gateron switches, particularly some of their linear switches, may have a lighter actuation force compared to their Cherry MX counterparts. This often leads to accidental key presses if you are used to heavier switches or have a heavier typing style.
Gateron clicky switches (e.g., Gateron Blue and Green clicky switches) do not have a click jacket like Cherry MX Blue switches. This design difference can result in a slightly different tactile feel and sound.
Gateron switches, especially the older versions, may have slight variations in keycap compatibility compared to Cherry MX switches. While these differences are generally minimal, they could be relevant if you plan to use specific aftermarket keycaps.
While Gateron switches are generally smooth, some users may find the clicky switches (e.g., Gateron Blue) to be relatively louder compared to other clicky switches like Cherry MX Blue. This can be a nuisance if you prefer a quieter typing environment.
Certain Gateron switch models may have fewer customization options available such as limited spring options or aftermarket support for modding.
Gateron may not have the same brand recognition or established reputation as some other well-known switch manufacturers like Cherry MX or other prominent names. Some users may prefer to stick to more recognized brands for their mechanical switches.
Different Types of Gateron Switches
Let's dive right in and explore the diverse range of options that Gateron switches offer. Each switch is tailored to meet your unique typing or gaming needs.
Standard Gateron Switches
Some of the common types of Gateron switches include:
1. Gateron Red Switch: Linear switch with a light actuation force, smooth keystrokes, and no tactile bump. Popular for gaming due to its low actuation force.
Gateron Red Switch
Enhance your keyboard with 120 Gateron Red switches: smooth, lightweight, and ideal for fast typing and gaming, trusted by enthusiasts worldwide.
3. Gateron Brown Switch: Tactile switch with a slight tactile bump during keypress. It is a balance between gaming and typing, making it popular for those who use their keyboards for both work and play.
Gateron Brown Switch
Upgrade your keyboard with Gateron G Pro 2.0 switches: lubed, durable, RGB-enhanced, and perfect for most mechanical keys—an enthusiast's essential.
Gateron Ink switches are a series of premium mechanical keyboard switches. These switches are designed to offer a smoother and more refined typing experience compared to some of their other switch offerings. The name "Ink" likely refers to the smoother key actuation and the color of the switch housing, which is typically a deep, translucent black.
The Gateron Ink switches come in several variants, including:
1. Gateron Ink Red Switch: A linear switch with a smooth keystroke and no tactile bump, similar to Gateron Red.
Gateron Ink Red Switch
Upgrade your keyboard with Gateron Ink v2 Red Switches: durable, customizable, and offering a smooth linear typing experience.
6. Gateron Ink Silent Red: A silent version of the Gateron Ink Red, offering a quieter typing experience.
They have become popular options for both typing and gaming due to their enhanced performance and reduced friction compared to standard Gateron switches.
Gateron Silent Switches
Gateron Silent switches are designed to offer a quieter typing experience compared to their non-silent counterparts, making them ideal for shared workspaces or environments where reduced noise is desirable.
The Gateron Silent switches use a dampened slider and other design modifications to minimize the sound generated during keypresses, resulting in a more muted and less noticeable typing noise. These switches still retain the same underlying characteristics as their regular counterparts but with reduced noise levels.
Here's a brief overview of the different Gateron Silent switches:
1. Gateron Silent Red Switch: A linear switch with a smooth keystroke, no tactile bump, and a quiet operation.
Gateron Silent Red Switch
Upgrade your gaming with Gateron Silent Red switches: ultra-responsive, perfect for late-night gaming, and hassle-free to install with a switch remover included!
3. Gateron Silent Black Switch: A linear switch with a slightly heavier actuation force compared to Gateron Silent Red, but still with quiet operation.
Gateron Silent switches have gained popularity among users who prefer the smoothness and responsiveness of Gateron switches but require a keyboard with reduced noise output.
Gateron Low-Profile switches
Gateron Low Profile switches are a series of mechanical keyboard switches designed specifically for low-profile keyboards. Unlike standard mechanical switches that have a taller housing and keycap profile, low-profile switches are shorter in height, allowing for slimmer and more compact keyboard designs.
Gateron Low Profile switches are compatible with low-profile keyboards and come in different variations to suit various typing preferences:
1. Gateron Low Profile Red Switch: A linear switch with a smooth keystroke, no tactile bump, and a light actuation force.
Gateron Low Profile Red Switch
Enhance your gaming with Gateron Red switches: ultra-responsive, ideal for speed, and low-profile compatible—switch remover included!
4. Gateron Low Profile Black Switch Switch: A linear switch with a slightly heavier actuation force compared to Gateron Low Profile Red.
These switches are known for their compact design and are commonly used in slim, space-saving mechanical keyboards. They are often used in laptops, ultrabooks, and other portable keyboards, where space is limited, and a lower profile is beneficial for portability.
Gateron Milk switches
Gateron Milk switches are a series of mechanical keyboard switches produced by Gateron. The term "Milk" refers to the appearance of the switch housing, which is milky white and translucent. This allows more light to pass through for improved backlighting effects on backlit keyboards.
Gateron Milk switches are essentially the same as their regular Gateron counterparts in terms of switch type and operation, but they come with the milky white housing for a different aesthetic look. They are available in various types, including:
Gateron Milk Red Switch: A linear switch with a smooth keystroke, no tactile bump, and a light actuation force.
Gateron Milk Red Switch
Enhance your typing comfort with Gateron KS-3 Milky Red switches: designed for endurance and convenience, ideal for long-term computer users.
These switches are popular among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts who want an alternative to the standard black or clear switch housings. The milky white housing diffuses the light from the RGB or single-color LEDs more evenly, resulting in a pleasing and uniform backlighting effect.
Gateron Optical Switches
Unlike traditional mechanical switches that use physical contacts to register keypresses, optical switches utilize light-based actuation. When you press a key on a Gateron optical switch keyboard, an infrared (IR) beam is interrupted, and the keystroke is registered, which results in faster actuation and potentially a more durable switch design.
Here are some key features and advantages of Gateron optical switches:
1. Optical switches generally have a shorter actuation distance and actuation time compared to traditional mechanical switches. This can lead to quicker response times in gaming and typing.
2. Since optical switches do not have physical contacts that wear out over time, they are often rated for a higher lifespan, typically around 100 million keystrokes.
3. Optical switches can potentially reduce key chatter (unintended repeated keypresses) due to the absence of physical contacts that can bounce.
4. Gateron optical switches often offer smooth and consistent keystrokes, making typing and gaming experiences enjoyable.
Gateron optical switches come in various types, offering different characteristics to suit individual preferences:
Gateron Optical Red Switch: A linear switch with no tactile bump and a light actuation force.
Gateron Optical Red Switch
Elevate your gaming with Gateron Optical Red switches: lightning-fast, hot-swappable, and includes a switch remover for effortless customization!
Gateron optical switches are compatible with specific optical switch keyboards, and they can't be used with traditional mechanical switch keyboards unless the keyboard is designed to support both switch types.
Choosing the Right Gateron Switch
Choosing the right Gateron switch involves considering your typing or gaming preferences, as well as your desired level of tactile feedback, actuation force, and noise level. Here's a general guide to help you choose the best Gateron switch for your needs:
Determine Your Switch Type Preference
Linear: If you prefer a smooth keystroke without any tactile bump or audible click, linear switches are the best. Check out Gateron Red, Gateron Black, or Gateron Yellow switches.
Tactile: If you prefer a noticeable bump during keypress to provide feedback, tactile switches are better. Examples of such switches are Gateron Brown switches.
Clicky: If you enjoy both tactile feedback and an audible click sound, opt for clicky switches like Gateron Blue.
Consider Actuation Force
Light Actuation: If you want a light touch and less effort to press the keys, go for switches with lower actuation forces like Gateron Red, Gateron Yellow, or Gateron Brown.
Medium Actuation: If you prefer a moderate actuation force, switches like Gateron Black or Gateron Silent Red might be more suitable.
Heavy Actuation: If you like a stiffer keypress, switches like Gateron Green or Gateron Silent Black may be a good choice.
Quieter Operation: If you need a quiet keyboard, consider Gateron Silent switches, which are designed to reduce noise during keypresses.
Clicky Sound: If you enjoy an audible click sound with each keypress, Gateron Blue or Gateron Green switches are clicky options.
Typing: For typing-heavy tasks, tactile switches like Gateron Brown or clicky switches like Gateron Blue can be more satisfying due to the feedback they provide.
Gaming: For gaming, many prefer linear switches like Gateron Red or Gateron Yellow due to their smooth and rapid actuation.
Try Before You Buy: If possible, try out different Gateron switches on a switch tester or a keyboard with swappable switches. This hands-on experience can help you get a feel for each switch type and make an informed decision based on your personal preference.
Consider Low-Profile vs. Regular Profile: Gateron offers low-profile switches designed for slim, space-saving keyboards and regular-profile switches suitable for standard mechanical keyboards. Choose the profile that matches your keyboard's requirements.
Comparison of Gateron switches with Cherry MX switches
Gateron switches and Cherry switches, particularly the Cherry MX line, are two of the most popular mechanical keyboard switch brands, and they are often compared in terms of their characteristics and performance. Here's a comparison between Gateron switches and Cherry MX switches:
Smoothness and Feel
Gateron: Gateron switches are often praised for their smoothness, which some users find more pleasant than Cherry MX switches. Gateron switches are generally considered to have less scratchiness during keypresses.
Cherry MX: Cherry MX switches have been the industry standard for a long time and are known for their consistent feel and quality. While some users prefer the Cherry MX feel, others find them slightly scratchier compared to Gateron switches.
Gateron: Gateron offers a range of tactile switches, such as Gateron Brown, which provides a noticeable tactile bump during keypresses. Some users find Gateron tactile switches to be smoother than their Cherry MX counterparts.
Cherry MX: Cherry MX switches, such as Cherry MX Brown, also offer tactile feedback but might have a slightly sharper bump compared to Gateron switches. This can be a matter of personal preference.
Gateron: Gateron clicky switches, like Gateron Blue, provide a tactile bump and an audible click sound during keypresses, similar to Cherry MX Blue switches.
Cherry MX: Cherry MX Blue switches are known for their distinctive click sound, and they offer a tactile bump as well.
Gateron: Gateron switches are available in various actuation forces, ranging from light to heavy, depending on the switch type.
Cherry MX: Cherry MX switches also come in different actuation forces to suit different preferences.
Both Gateron and Cherry MX switches are designed to be durable and are typically rated for a similar number of keystrokes, usually around 50 to 100 million.
Gateron switches are often more budget-friendly than Cherry MX switches, making them an attractive choice for users looking for quality switches at a lower cost.
Cherry MX switches have historically been more widely available due to their established reputation as the standard mechanical switch. However, Gateron switches have gained popularity and have become more accessible in recent years.
Choosing a Gateron Switch or a Cherry MX switch comes down to personal preference.
Installing Gateron Switches in a Mechanical Keyboard
Installing Gateron switches in a mechanical keyboard involves the following steps. Keep in mind that the specific process might vary depending on the keyboard model and design, so always refer to your keyboard's manual or manufacturer's instructions for detailed guidance:
Before starting, make sure you have the necessary tools, such as a switch puller, and the replacement Gateron switches that match your keyboard's layout (e.g., 3-pin or 5-pin switches).
Prepare the workspace.
Find a clean, well-lit area to work on your keyboard.
Disconnect the keyboard from your computer or turn off the keyboard if it's wireless.
Use a keycap puller to gently remove the keycaps from the keyboard. Start from one corner and work your way around the keyboard.
Place the keycaps in a safe place to avoid losing them.
Access the switches.
Depending on your keyboard's design, you might need to disassemble the keyboard to access the switches.
Some keyboards have a removable plate or top cover, while others require you to unscrew the case to access the PCB (printed circuit board).
Remove existing switches.
If your keyboard already has switches installed, you need to desolder the existing switches from the PCB to replace them with Gateron switches.
Use a soldering iron to heat the solder joints on the switch pins, and then use a desoldering pump or wick to remove the solder.
Once the solder is removed, gently wiggle and pull out the old switches using a switch puller.
You don't need to desolder anything if you're using hot-swappable key switches, or if your keyboard has a hot-swappable design.
Insert Gateron switches.
Take the Gateron switches and align the pins with the corresponding holes on the PCB.
Gently press the switches into the PCB until they are firmly seated.
Solder the switches.
With the Gateron switches in place, use a soldering iron to solder each switch pin to the PCB.
Be careful not to apply too much heat to avoid damaging the PCB or the switches.
You don't need solder anything if you're using hot-swappable key switches, or if your keyboard has a hot-swappable design.
Test the switches
Once all the Gateron switches are soldered in, reassemble your keyboard and connect it to your computer.
Test each switch to ensure they are working correctly by pressing each key and checking the keypress registration.
After verifying that all the switches are functioning correctly, put the keycaps back on the switches in their proper positions.
Do a final check.
Double-check all the switches and keycaps to ensure they are securely in place and functioning as expected.
By following these steps, you should be able to successfully install Gateron switches in your mechanical keyboard. However, if you're not familiar with soldering or unsure about the process, it's recommended to seek assistance from someone with experience or a professional technician to avoid any potential damage to your keyboard.
Customizing the Feel and Sound of Gateron Switches
Customizing the feel and sound of Gateron switches can greatly enhance your typing or gaming experience. Here are some methods to achieve different results:
Keycap Selection: The keycaps you choose can influence the sound and feel of your Gateron switches. Different materials and profiles (e.g., ABS, PBT, SA, DSA) can produce varied typing sounds and keypress experiences. Experiment with different keycap sets to find the one that best suits your preferences.
Switch Lubrication: Lubricating the Gateron switches can improve their smoothness and reduce any scratchiness during keypresses. Use a high-quality switch lubricant specifically designed for mechanical switches. Properly lubricating the stem, housing, and springs can make the switches feel smoother and quieter.
Switch Films: Adding switch films can help reduce wobble and improve consistency in keypresses. These thin plastic films are placed inside the switch housing before inserting the stem and can lead to a more stable and refined feel.
Spring Swapping: If you desire a different actuation force, you can swap the springs in your Gateron switches. Replacing the stock springs with lighter or heavier ones can customize the typing experience to match your preferences.
Stem Swapping: Consider trying different switch stems, such as those from other brands, to modify the tactile or linear characteristics of your Gateron switches. However, be cautious as stem swapping may require technical knowledge and could void warranties.
Switch Housing Modification: Some enthusiasts perform housing modifications, like "clipping" the switch legs or opening up the top or bottom housing to fine-tune the sound and feel of the switches. However, these modifications should be done with care, and it is advisable to research thoroughly before attempting them.
Silencing Mods: To reduce the sound of your Gateron switches, you can add O-rings or QMX clips to dampen the keypress noise. These mods can also help with bottoming out and may make your keyboard quieter.
Plate Material and Case Design: The plate material and the design of the keyboard case can also influence the sound and feel of your Gateron switches. For instance, aluminum plates can provide a different typing feel compared to steel or plastic plates.
When customizing your Gateron switches, it's essential to research each modification carefully and proceed with caution. Some modifications, particularly those involving soldering or disassembling switches, require technical expertise and may void warranties. Always follow proper guides and instructions.
Common Issues with Gateron Switches and Troubleshooting Tips
Gateron switches are generally well-regarded for their smoothness and performance. However, like any mechanical switch, they can encounter some issues. Here are some common issues with Gateron switches and troubleshooting tips:
Key Chatter or Double-Keypress: Sometimes, a key might register multiple keystrokes with a single press, leading to key chatter or double keypresses.
Check if the issue occurs with a specific key or multiple keys. If it's limited to a particular key, the switch might be faulty.
Clean the affected switch with compressed air or isopropyl alcohol to remove any debris or dust that might cause misregistration.
If the problem persists, consider replacing the affected switch.
Sticky or Inconsistent Keypress: Keys feel sticky or inconsistent when pressed, leading to an unpleasant typing experience.
Open the keyboard and check for any foreign substances that might be affecting the switch's performance.
Lubricate the switch with an appropriate switch lubricant to improve smoothness and reduce inconsistencies.
Scratchy or Rough Key Feel: Some Gateron switches might feel scratchy or rough during keypresses, impacting typing comfort.
Consider lubricating the switch to reduce friction and improve smoothness.
Switch films can help reduce wobble and make the keypress more stable.
Switch Wobble: The keycaps have a noticeable wobble or side-to-side movement when pressed.
Adding switch films can help reduce switch wobble by creating a tighter fit between the stem and the housing.
Keycap Sticking to the Switch: Keycaps might stick to the Gateron switches, making it challenging to remove or replace keycaps. Troubleshooting:
Use a keycap puller to gently remove the keycap, being careful not to apply too much force that might damage the switch.
Switch Not Registering Key Presses: Issue: A switch may not register key presses or remain unresponsive. Troubleshooting:
Check the solder connections for loose or broken joints. Resolder if necessary.
Ensure the switch is properly seated in the PCB.
Excessive Noise: Gateron switches might produce more noise than desired, especially with clicky switches.
Install O-rings or QMX clips to dampen the keypress noise and reduce the impact noise when bottoming out.
Always remember to proceed with caution when troubleshooting and performing modifications on your mechanical keyboard switches. If you are uncertain or uncomfortable with any repair or modification, it's best to seek help from experienced professionals. Always follow proper guides and instructions to avoid damaging your keyboard or voiding warranties.
Getting the Most out of Your Gateron Switch Experience
To get the most out of your Gateron switches and enhance your typing or gaming experience, consider the following tips:
Lubrication: Lubricate your Gateron switches to improve smoothness and reduce scratchiness. Use a high-quality switch lubricant, and apply it to the stem, housing, and springs for a smoother keypress.
Switch Films: Consider adding switch films to reduce wobble and stabilize the keypress. Switch films can enhance the overall feel and consistency of Gateron switches.
Keycap Selection: Experiment with different keycap materials and profiles to find the ones that best complement your Gateron switches. Different keycaps can affect the typing sound and feel.
Keycap Lubrication: Lubricate your keycaps with a thin layer of silicone lubricant (avoid using too much) to reduce the sound of the keycap stems hitting the switch housing.
Silencing Mods: If you want a quieter keyboard, consider adding O-rings or QMX clips to dampen the keypress noise and reduce bottoming-out noise.
Spring Swapping: Customize the actuation force by swapping the springs in your Gateron switches. Choose springs that match your desired typing experience.
Stem Swapping: Experiment with stem swapping (using stems from other switch brands) to modify the tactile or linear characteristics of your Gateron switches. Be cautious and research before attempting this.
Proper Cleaning: Regularly clean your keyboard and switches to remove dust and debris. Use compressed air or isopropyl alcohol for cleaning.
Custom Keycap Layouts: Consider custom keycap layouts to cater to your typing habits and preferences. You can use custom keysets or individual keycaps for specific functions.
Optimize Keymap: Customize your keymap to maximize productivity and gaming performance. Use key combinations and macros to streamline tasks.
Proper Typing Technique: Adopt proper typing techniques to reduce fatigue and increase typing speed. Practice touch typing for improved efficiency.
Keyboard Stability: Ensure your keyboard is stable and properly positioned for comfortable typing or gaming sessions.
Personalization: Personalize your keyboard with different switch types for different key positions to suit your usage patterns (e.g., tactile switches for typing-intensive keys and linear switches for gaming keys).
You've learned how versatile Gateron switches are, offering a range of options to suit your needs. From the light Clear switches to the premium Ink ones, there's something for everyone.
They're not just durable but also customizable, making them a favorite among keyboard enthusiasts. Remember, the best Gateron switch for you depends on your specific typing or gaming needs.
So, don't hesitate to experiment and find the perfect fit for you!
A designer and outdoor enthusiast, Erickson has a deep passion for human-based solutions tailored to the needs of the modern workplace. He believes that everyone should use ergonomic products to make daily life (and not just work-life) healthier and more comfortable. Erickson regularly writes helpful reviews for ergonomic solutions and brands for a broad range of applications: working, gaming, traveling, sleeping, and more! When not writing, Erickson finds time to trek, hike, or spend the day at the beach.
Pinstack is a dedicated online media platform focusing on selling and reviewing mechanical keyboards. Our commitment is to provide comprehensive reviews, in-depth guides, and much more. With our active presence on YouTube and our website, we strive to deliver top-quality content across multiple platforms, aiming to bring the best to our audience.
Subscribe to our newsletter
We care about the protection of your data. We’ll never share your details.
Pinstack is an Amazon Affiliate. All earnings from this website are from qualified purchases.