There are an overwhelming number of different switches for mechanical keyboards available. Linear, tactile, clicky, buckling spring, vintage, and each in a wide range of spring weights and crispness.
From Novel Keys I ordered a 25 slot switch tester with a selection of Cherry MX, MOD, Gateron, and Zealio switches along with a Kailh Sample Pack of another 27 switches. Then from Thingiverse I printed out a PLANCK keyboard frame with room for 48 switches. Now I have a switch tester that I can take around and really get a feel for a wide range of the current switches available.
What have I learned from playing with all of these switches? Mainly that many of them are very similar. As in, there are 12 tactile switches that I cannot feel any appreciable difference with. But that is actually good news. It is common for sellers to be out of certain brands and certain switches, but now that I know they are so similar it should be easier to find a comparable switch.
What do I like?
I like the Cherry and Kailh Silver Linear “Fast” switches, they are super sensitive and I my error rate is high with these than with brown or blue switches, but as I get used to them I am getting faster and more accurate.
I have not gotten to try the following switches on a keyboard yet, but hope to soon.
- 67g Zealios tactile for the sharp and crisp break
- Kailh Burnt Orange tactile because the bump is at the very top, really want this one for a space bar
- NovelKeys x Kailh BOX Thick Clicks for the ridiculously loud click, it would make a wonderfully annoying backspace key
What don’t I like?
I don’t like clicky switches so much, my Cherry MX Blue keyboard I am typing this on is driving me nuts. I will be selling or trading it soon. And I don’t like heavy linear switches with the exception of a spacebar and maybe the home keys.
What are my plans?
I put a lot of thought into building a keyboard from scratch, but after pricing the parts it doesn’t make a lot of sense. So my plan right now is to buy a pre-built keyboard with Cherry Silver switches then swap out the switches spacebar, home keys, and maybe a couple others with something more exotic.