Are Mechanical Keyboards Good for Typing?

Are Mechanical Keyboards Good for Typing

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A ton of occupations these days involve at least some amount of typing here or there. People with desk jobs, content creators, writers, software engineers, gamers, and students among others. But have you ever stopped and wondered how your keyboard affects your typing experience and how easily a better keyboard could improve it?

Mechanical keyboards are probably the best option for typing. They can provide tactile or audible feedback which is invaluable for fast and volume typing. They’re easy to get used to and once you get the hang of it, having a mechanical keyboard can significantly enhance productivity and comfort.

For those of us who aren’t familiar with the keyboard world, lets do a quick intro of what a mechanical keyboard is.

What are mechanical keyboards?

 

The first thing you should know is there are many different types of keyboards. Mechanical, membrane, rubber dome, flexible, ergonomic, even one-handed ones. You name it.

But the main two types that are relatively dominant, at least in the commercial environment, are mechanical and membrane keyboards.

These two can look quite similar but they can be very different in terms of typing experience. Mechanical keyboards are a bit larger than membrane keyboards and are often bulkier as well.

The main difference between these two types is the type of switching/actuation mechanism that they use. Mechanical keyboards use mechanical switches that typically consist of some sort of spring mechanism. Whenever a key is pressed down to its actuation point ( i.e. the point in the keystroke travel where the signal for that key is sent to the system), the system registers a keystroke. Membrane keyboards have a layer beneath the keys and whenever the keys are pressed, the membranes in the layer react by sending the actuation signal of that specific key to the system.

We’re going to look into where the membrane keyboard compares to the mechanical keyboard down below.

 

Are mechanical keyboards good for typing?

 

Let’s look at a few reasons that make mechanical keyboards so good for typing.

 

Mechanical Keyboards provide feedback:

The most significant advantages of a mechanical keyboard are directly linked with this factor. Membrane keyboards are often criticized for not providing any feedback on actuation so they’re prone to missing keys when typing fast and they’re also harder to type on in the sense that you have to press the key all the way down to the bottom of its travel to know that the key has been pressed. This can make accurate blind-typing hard. The keystrokes can also start to feel mushy when they’re pressed. That’s where mechanical keyboards shine.

Two out of the three main types of mechanical switches i.e. tactile and clicky mechanical switches provide feedback on actuation.

  • Linear switches don’t provide feedback on actuation but they’re easier to press.
  • Tactile switches provide feedback by the ‘bump’ in their travel. You can feel when the key tightens up right at the start of the bump and as soon as you traverse the bump, the key actuates.
  • Clicky switches are characterized by their audible ‘clicks’ on actuation although they might provide some tactile feedback as well. There are dozens of variations in these switches since the variety has increased quite a bit since the Cherry MX series was the monopolist among mechanical switches. A table down below can help give you some idea of how different types of switches behave.

For typists, tactile switches might be better than clicky switches especially if you’re planning on typing around other people. Clicky switches can be extremely annoying for anyone who will be listening to the constant click-clock of the typewriter-like sounding switches like the Cherry MX Blues.

 

Switch Type Actuation/ Bottom-out force (g) Actuation force/ Travel

(mm)

 
Cherry MX Red Linear

 

45/60 2.0/4.0 Light switches without any feedback. Good for fast typers.

More prone to typos though. Might be too light for some hands.

Gateron Yellow 50/65 2.0/4.0
Cherry MX Blue  

Clicky

 

60/65 2.2/4.0 Heavier switches with some tactile as well as loud audible feedback.  Good for typists. Less prone to typos.

 

Might be annoying for people around you.

Keystrokes might be a little heavy.

Kalih BOX White 50/ 60 1.8/3.6
Cherry MX Brown  

 

Tactile

55/60 2.0/4.0 Intermediates between linear and clicky switches with relatively less audible feedback and noticeable tactile feedback.

Popular among typists and gamers, etc.

Halo Clear 54/ 100 1.9/ 4.0

 

Mechanical Keyboards are great for Typists

 

They enable you to type faster once you get the hang of it:

So the reason why feedback is so important has to do with speed, ease, and the overall ergonomics of typing. There are a couple of things to know about the keystroke of a mechanical keyboard. The first thing is the travel. A key’s travel is the total distance that the switch or the key travels between its resting positions and its full depression.

The second thing is the actuation point. That’s the point in the travel of the keystroke where the system registers that the keystroke has been made. The force required to press the key down to this point is known as the actuation force.

For membrane keyboards, the actuation point is the end of the travel of the keystroke. But for mechanical keyboards, the actuation point lies right around the end of the total travel.

Now you might be starting to see the picture here. When you’re typing, you don’t want to press a key all the way down every time. It can be tiring, time-consuming, and not to mention, annoying. So knowing that you don’t have to press a key all the way down and you’ll actually know when the keystroke has been registered is a big deal.

That’s why mechanical keyboards can be faster and easier to type on as compared to other types of keyboards that don’t use mechanical switches.

 

Mechanical Keyboards are easier on your fingers:

Pressing keys may not sound like the most tiring thing in the world… but for those of us that have learned just how tedious and tiring, typing away for an hour or more on a bad keyboard can be, comfortable typing can become a very big deal.

Mechanical switches have a bunch of different variations which make different keyboards more suitable for different tasks.

Linear mechanical switches can make typing easier on your fingers since they often feel more feathery and light to press as compared to the other two types of mechanical switches. And once you get the muscle memory down, linear switch keyboards can be a light, fast and comfortable typing experience for you.

The other options are the tactile and clicky switches. Clicky switches can be great for fast typing if they don’t require too much actuation force. This can be achieved by not going for the hardest and the loudest clicky switches out there. There’s tons of variation so look for something in the intermediate clicky-tactile section. Applying a lubricant on the switches can also be great for a less tiring typing experience on a clicky switches keyboard.

Tactile switches might be the best option for beginners and people who don’t want to do any extra work on their keyboard after buying it. They’re loud enough but you don’t need the sound of the keypress to know when the keys have been pressed since they give you that particular tactile feedback. They normally shouldn’t require too much actuation force which is less tiring for the fingers and in any case, you should always try to check out the particular keys used in a mechanical keyboard that you’re interested in.

They’re prevalent in the market and so kept up to date:

Most keyboards these days have mechanical switches. Mechanical keyboards are a major proponent of gaming keyboards. Seems as if all of the newer gaming keyboards whether they’re from Logitech, Razer or Corsair, etc. are mechanical. Ergonomic keyboards use mechanical switches as well. Obviously, the specifics of each type of mechanical keyboard can be different which gives them their own special features. Gaming keyboards have a ton of variety, are characterized by their RGB settings, their dedicated macro keys, and easy programming. Ergonomic keyboards can have the layout split into two with the keys positioned much differently than the normal keyboard.

And in any of these domains, you’re unlikely to find any new keyboard that isn’t mechanical. This just goes to show how mechanical keyboards are being renewed every day through their large variety of products.

Concluding Thoughts:

As far as “Are mechanical keyboards good for typing?” is concerned, mechanical keyboards are great for typing. They’re generally more responsive, can be more comfortable, provide better feedback, and can be faster and more efficient to type with once you get to know your particular switches a little bit. There’s also a ton of variety between different types of keyboards and the switches they use so there’s something for everyone.

Overall, getting the right mechanical keyboard can make your work-flow much more comfortable and productive so those large volume typing sessions can become less of a hassle to face every day.

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