Mechanical Or Membrane – Which One Is The Best Keyboard For You and What are their differences
Choosing the right type of keyboard for you can be a very difficult task and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, thankfully I have put together this guide that will help you when buying a keyboard that suits your preference the best.
I don’t actually consider either of these styles of keyboards to be better or worse than the other because there are different pros and cons of each style, and of course, there are your personal choices as well.
when I’m talking about membrane or mechanical what I’m referring to is a mechanism that is used to register a keypress.
On a membrane keyboard when you press a key down the keycap is basically just squishing down a little rubber dome that applies pressure to a set of electrical contacts when these two contacts meet It registers a keypress.
That is why membrane keyboards have a kind of squishy feel to them and while they also make a lot less noise.
when you press a key on a mechanical keyboard however the keycap presses down a shaft which has a little spring under it as this key presses down there’s a little gold-plated cross-point contact that clicks into place and closes the connection and that’s what registers the keypress.
That is why mechanical keyboards have a really good tactile and clicky feel to them and having all the precision plastic and metal parts is what gives them their longevity.
There are many different kinds of mechanical key switches from different manufacturers and they all have their own color codes which indicate things like how loud they are and how much weight it takes to activate them, watch the below video for more details about that.
How to Choose the Perfect Mechanical Switch For You
So now that we know what we’re comparing let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both styles of keyboards
Pros and Cons of Membrane Keyboards
Lower Price – The Key Mechanism Is So Basic That a Membrane Keyboard Is Far Cheaper to Produce Which Has Led Them to Be The Most Popular Form of Keyboard In The World
Shorter Life – Most Membrane Keyboards Have a Lifespan of About 5 Million Presses That Might Seem Like a Lot But It’s Only a Fraction of What a mechanical Keyboard Is Capable of
Lower Noise – Membrane Keyboards Are Also Much Quieter Than Most Mechanical Keyboards
Hard to Fix – The Keys Can’t Be Cleaned or Repaired, Generally Speaking, You Can’t Remove The Keycaps On a Membrane Keyboard Without Damaging It If These Keyboards Fault Outside of Their warranty Period You’ll Usually Need to Replace Them As Repair Isn’t Often An Option
Spill-Resistant – There Are Many Excellent Spill-Proof Membrane Keyboards Available Because The Rubber Dome Membrane Covers Most of The Electrical Connections, This Makes It Far Easier For Manufacturers to Develop Water And Dust Resistant Keyboards
Ghosting ( Key Rollover ) – Key Rollover And Ghosting Due to The Way Membrane Keyboards Are Designed, You Can Only Press a Few Keys Down at Once Before Additional Keypresses Stop Being Registered
What Is Ghosting In Keyboards ( Key Rollover )
This might not seem like a big deal but let’s look at a practical example most membrane keyboards will register about three key presses at a time.
So say for instance you’re playing a game and you’re holding the W key to move forward at the same time you might be holding Shift to run, now say you want to jump by pressing SPACE and then throw a grenade by pressing G unless you time your keypresses perfectly to release that space bar.
Chances are that your grenade throw isn’t going to get registered, now you’d be right in saying that this might seem like a minor issue that only pops up every now and then, but it is a valid concern for serious gamers and it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
Pros and Cons of Mechanical Keyboards
N-Key Rollover – Due to The Design of Mechanical Keyboards You Can Hold Down Far More Keys at Once Most Entry-Level Mechanicals Will Have Between 6 and 10 key Rollover But High-End Mechanicals Will Have Full In-Key Rollover This Means That You Can Literally Hold Down All The Keys at Once And They Will All Register
Higher Price – Due to The Design Features a Mechanical Keyboard Is Generally Much More Expensive Than a Membrane Keyboard
Long Life – Due to The Heavy-Duty Switch Design, Mechanical Key Switches Are Built to Withstand 30 to 70 Million Keypresses
Higher Noise – Although Most People Love The Clicky Sound of Mechanical Key Switches It Can Be Really Annoying For Other People If You Share a Workspace or If You Like to Stay Up Late at Night Gaming
High Accuracy – Because of The Tactile Feedback From The Key Switch Hardcore Gamers And Touch Typists Can Reach an Insanely High Degree of Speed And Accuracy
Over Whelming – This Is a Pro And a Con But Because of How Many Different Variations There Are of Mechanical Switches It Can Sometimes Feel Really Intimidating Trying to Decide Which Keyboard Is The Right One For You
Easy to Clean And Repair – If a Fault Occurs Outside The Warranty Period With The Mechanical Keyboard It Can Likely Be Repaired By Someone Who’s Handy With a Soldering, Parts Are Readily Available For Most Common Faults And Replacing a Key Switch Can Be as Simple as Desoldering Two Points On The PCB
So now that you have a general idea of the pros and cons of mechanical and membrane keyboards it’s time to start thinking about picking a keyboard for your own needs and budget
This is where the keyboard debate gets interesting there’s no such thing as the best keyboard there’s only the best keyboard for your situation.
What I mean when I say that is that although say your friend might recommend you to get a super clicky hardcore mechanical keyboard.
If you’ve got thin walls and your roommates or family are light sleepers then they’re going to absolutely hate it when you keep them up all night clicking away while you’re gaming in this case a silent switch mechanical or even a high-end membrane could actually be a better option for your situation.
I know it might seem ridiculous but I’ve seen it happen so many times over the years that it really pays to think about these things before you dive.
Did this blog post help you with your query, let me know in the comments below, and thank you for reading.