Keyboard Switches Cherry Mx: Ultimate Guide

Explore Keyboard Switches Cherry MX: Dive into the world of mechanical keyboards and discover why Cherry MX stands as a benchmark for quality and versatility.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Cherry MX switches, exploring their history, types, and impact on the mechanical keyboard community.

IntroductionOverview of Cherry MX switches in mechanical keyboards
History & EvolutionOriginated in the 1980s, significant impact on the keyboard industry
Switch TypesLinear (smooth, quiet), Clicky (tactile, audible click), Tactile (noticeable bump, quieter)
Linear SwitchesMX Red (light, fast), MX Black (heavier, stiffer)
Clicky SwitchesMX Blue (tactile, clicky, typist-favored)
Tactile SwitchesMX Brown (tactile, versatile for typing/gaming)
Special VariantsMX Green, Clear, Grey (different actuation forces/feedback)
Specialty SwitchesSilent (quieter typing), Speed (fast response), Low Profile (sleek design)
Use-CasesSilent for offices, Speed for gaming, Low Profile for compact keyboards
Gaming KeyboardsMX Red and MX Speed preferred by gamers
Experience Box & Switch KitHands-on exploration and customization options
Anatomy of SwitchIncludes Upper Housing, Stem, Spring, Metal Contact Leaf, Lower Housing
Durability & LifespanLong-lasting, millions of keystrokes, consistent performance
ConclusionCherry MX switches’ versatility and quality for various uses
FAQsCommon questions and misconceptions addressed

History and Evolution of Cherry MX Switches

Cherry MX switches have a storied history, evolving significantly since their inception. Originating in the early 1980s, these switches quickly became a staple in the keyboard industry, renowned for their durability and distinct feel.

Impact on the Keyboard Industry

Cherry MX’s impact on the keyboard industry is undeniable. They set the standard for what a quality mechanical switch should be, influencing countless manufacturers and DIY enthusiasts.


Understanding Cherry MX Switch Types

Cherry MX switches, renowned for their quality and reliability, come in a variety of types, each tailored to suit different user preferences and applications.

These switches are broadly categorized into three main types: Linear, Clicky, and Tactile. Let’s delve deeper into what each of these types entails and how they differ from each other, especially when it comes to switches for a 65% keyboard.

Linear Switches

  • Definition: Linear switches are characterized by their smooth and consistent keystroke. They do not have any tactile bump or audible click during actuation, which means the keypress is smooth from start to finish.

Key Features:

  • Smooth Keystroke: The absence of any bump or resistance during a keypress makes for a fluid and seamless typing experience.
  • Quiet Operation: Linear switches are generally quieter than their clicky and tactile counterparts, making them suitable for shared workspaces.
  • Ideal Use: Linear switches are particularly favored in the gaming community. The smooth keystroke allows for rapid actuation, which can be crucial in fast-paced gaming scenarios where quick and repeated key presses are common.
  • Popular Variants: The Cherry MX Red and Cherry are two popular linear switches. The Red variant is lighter and requires less force to actuate, making it a top choice for gamers, while the Black variant, being slightly stiffer, is preferred by those who want a firmer feel.

Clicky Switches

  • Definition: Clicky switches are known for their tactile feedback and distinctive audible click sound at the point of actuation. This click sound is intentionally designed to provide both physical and auditory feedback to the user.

Key Features:

  • Tactile Bump: The tactile bump provides physical feedback, indicating that the keypress has been registered.
  • Audible Click: The click sound offers auditory confirmation of each keystroke, which many typists find satisfying and helpful for typing rhythm.
  • Ideal Use: Clicky switches are often the go-to choice for typists and writers who appreciate the tactile and auditory feedback that confirms each keypress. They are especially popular among those who do a lot of typing and prefer a more traditional, typewriter-like experience.
  • Popular Variants: The switch is the quintessential clicky switch, known for its crisp tactile feedback and audible click.

Tactile Switches

  • Definition: Tactile switches strike a middle ground between linear and clicky switches. They provide a noticeable tactile bump during actuation but without the loud click noise.

Key Features:

  • Tactile Feedback: The tactile bump helps in determining the actuation point without the need for bottoming out the key.
  • Quieter Operation: While providing physical feedback, tactile switches are quieter than clicky switches, making them more suitable for office environments or shared spaces.
  • Ideal Use: Tactile switches are versatile and can be used for both typing and gaming. They are particularly favored by those who want the tactile feedback of a clicky switch but in a quieter form.
  • Popular Variants: The Cherry MX Brown is a widely used tactile switch, offering a good balance of tactile feedback and quiet operation, making it a versatile choice for various typing scenarios.

Overview of Cherry MX Switch Colors and Characteristics

Cherry MX switches are not just diverse in their types but also offer a range of variants within each type, catering to specific user preferences. Let’s explore some of the most popular Cherry MX switch variants in detail.

MX Red

  • Characteristics: Cherry MX Red switches are lightweight and linear, meaning they provide a smooth keystroke without any tactile bump or audible click.
  • Actuation Force: They require a relatively low actuation force, typically around 45 cN (centi-Newtons), making them easy to press.
  • Ideal Use: These switches are particularly favored by gamers due to their quick and smooth actuation, which is beneficial for fast-paced games where rapid key presses are essential.
  • User Experience: Users often report that the light touch reduces finger fatigue during extended gaming sessions or intense typing workloads.

MX Black

  • Characteristics: The Cherry MX Black switches are a heavier linear variant, offering a stiffer keystroke compared to the Red switches.
  • Actuation Force: They require a higher actuation force, usually around 60 cN, providing a firmer feel.
  • Ideal Use: These are suited for users who prefer a more substantial feel to their keystrokes and are often favored in professional environments where accidental key presses might be more problematic.
  • User Experience: Typists who are heavy-handed or those who prefer a more pronounced resistance in their keystrokes often lean towards the MX Black switches.

MX Brown

  • Characteristics: Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile but not clicky, offering a middle ground between the Red and Blue switches.
  • Actuation Force: They have a moderate actuation force, generally around 55 cN.
  • Ideal Use: These switches are versatile, making them great for both typing and gaming. The tactile bump helps typists avoid bottoming out, while still being quiet enough for shared workspaces.
  • User Experience: Users appreciate the MX Brown for its balanced approach, providing enough tactile feedback for typing accuracy without the noise of clicky switches.

MX Blue

  • Characteristics: Cherry MX Blue switches are known for their tactile bump and audible click, embodying the quintessential mechanical keyboard feel.
  • Actuation Force: They require an actuation force similar to the MX Brown, around 50-60 cN.
  • Ideal Use: These switches are a favorite among typists and writers who enjoy the audible click and tactile feedback, which can improve typing rhythm and accuracy.
  • User Experience: MX Blue switches offer a satisfying experience but can be too loud for some offices.

MX Green, Clear, Grey

  • MX Green: Similar to the MX Blue but with a heavier actuation force (around 80 cN), making them less prone to accidental keypresses.
  • MX Clear: These are a heavier tactile variant, with an actuation force of around 65 cN. They offer a more pronounced tactile bump than the MX Brown.
  • MX Grey: Available in both tactile and linear variants, these switches are less common and have a heavier actuation force (around 80 cN for tactile and 120 cN for linear).
  • Ideal Use: These special variants cater to specific preferences, such as users looking for a heavier touch or more pronounced tactile feedback.
  • User Experience: Users who find standard Cherry MX switches too light or lacking in tactile feedback often turn to these variants for a more tailored typing experience.

Specialty Cherry MX Switches

In addition to the standard lineup, Cherry MX offers specialty switches designed to cater to specific needs and preferences.

These include Silent Switches, Speed Switches, and Low Profile Switches, each with unique characteristics that set them apart from the traditional variants.

Silent Switches

  • Characteristics: Cherry MX Silent switches are engineered to offer a quieter typing experience. They are equipped with integrated rubber dampening to reduce the noise generated upon key actuation and release.
  • Types: Available in both linear (Red) and tactile (Black) variants, these switches maintain the respective characteristics of their standard counterparts but with significantly reduced sound levels.
  • Ideal Use: Silent switches are perfect for office environments or shared spaces where keyboard noise can be a distraction. They are also great for streamers or gamers who require a quieter keyboard to avoid microphone interference.
  • User Experience: Users often note the reduced sound does not compromise the feel and responsiveness they expect from Cherry MX switches, making them a popular choice for those needing a quieter keyboard without sacrificing performance.

Speed Switches

  • Characteristics: Cherry MX Speed switches, often referred to as Cherry MX Silver, are designed for rapid actuation. They feature a shorter actuation distance than standard switches, requiring only 1.2mm to actuate compared to the standard 2mm.
  • Actuation Force: Similar to the Cherry MX Red, the Speed switches require a light actuation force, around 45 cN.
  • Ideal Use: These switches are a favorite among competitive gamers where every millisecond counts. The shorter travel distance allows for faster key presses, potentially giving players an edge in fast-paced gaming scenarios.
  • User Experience: Gamers often report improved reaction times and speed, though it may take some time to adjust to the shorter actuation distance. Typists might find them less suitable due to the higher likelihood of accidental key presses.

Low Profile Switches

  • Characteristics: Cherry MX Low Profile switches are slimmer and shorter than traditional switches.This results in a sleeker keyboard design and a shorter travel distance.
  • Types: These switches come in various types, including linear and tactile, to cater to different preferences while maintaining a low profile design.
  • Ideal Use: Low profile switches suit compact, portable, laptop, or minimalist desktop setups.
  • User Experience: Users appreciate the modern, slim aesthetic these switches offer, along with the comfort of a shorter travel distance. Favored by those used to laptop keyboard feel but seeking mechanical switch reliability and performance.

In summary, Cherry MX’s specialty switches offer unique advantages tailored to specific environments and use cases.

Whether it’s the need for a quieter typing experience, a competitive edge in gaming, or a sleek, modern keyboard design, these specialty switches provide options beyond the traditional Cherry MX lineup, ensuring that there’s a perfect switch for every user’s needs.

Use-cases and Performance Analysis

The specialty Cherry MX switches, each designed with a specific purpose in mind, cater to a wide range of user preferences and requirements.

Let’s delve into the use-cases and performance analysis of these switches to understand how they fit into different scenarios.

Silent Switches

  • Use-Case: Ideal for office environments, shared workspaces, or home offices where noise reduction is crucial. They are also beneficial for streamers and content creators who need to minimize keyboard noise during recordings or live sessions.
  • Performance Analysis: Silent switches maintain the quality and feel of traditional Cherry MX switches but with significantly reduced noise levels. The dampening effect reduces the sound of the key bottoming out and the clack on release, providing a quieter typing experience without sacrificing the tactile feedback or responsiveness.

Speed Switches

  • Use-Case: Primarily designed for gamers, especially those involved in competitive and fast-paced games where reaction time is critical. The reduced actuation distance allows for quicker key presses, which can be the difference between winning and losing in high-stakes gaming scenarios.
  • Performance Analysis: Speed switches offer a noticeable advantage in terms of response time. However, they may require an adjustment period for typists or casual users, as the shorter actuation distance can lead to more frequent accidental keypresses. For gaming, they provide a distinct edge with their rapid actuation.

Low Profile Switches

  • Use-Case: Perfect for users seeking a more compact and portable keyboard. They are particularly appealing to those who prefer the aesthetics and feel of a slim keyboard, similar to laptop keyboards, but want the durability and performance of mechanical switches.
  • Performance Analysis: Low Profile switches offer a comfortable typing experience with a shorter travel distance, which can reduce finger fatigue. They also contribute to a sleeker keyboard design, making them a stylish choice for modern setups. However, users accustomed to traditional mechanical keyboards might need time to adapt to the shorter key travel.

Cherry MX Switches in Gaming Keyboards

Best Cherry MX Switches for Gamers

  • MX Red: Ideal for gamers with a light touch and rapid actuation.The linear nature of MX Red means there’s no tactile bump or audible click to overcome, allowing for rapid and smooth key presses, which is essential in many gaming scenarios.
  • MX Speed: Also known as Cherry MX Silver, these switches take the responsiveness of MX Red to the next level with their shorter actuation distance. Designed for speed, they’re top choices for competitive gamers needing quick responses.

The Cherry MX Experience Box and Switch Kit

The Cherry MX Experience Box and Switch Kit are innovative offerings from Cherry that allow users to explore and understand the diverse range of Cherry MX switches.

These kits are particularly valuable for enthusiasts, hobbyists, and anyone curious about the different types of mechanical keyboard switches available.

Unboxing and First Impressions

  • What’s Inside: The Cherry MX Experience Box typically contains a variety of Cherry MX switch types. This can include linear, tactile, and clicky switches, such as the, Blue, Brown, Black, Speed, and Silent, among others.
  • Design & Presentation: Labeled switches are user-friendly. Packaging combines information and aesthetics for keyboard enthusiasts.
  • First Impressions: Unboxing, users often marvel at the array of switches for testing. The ability to physically press and feel the differences between each switch type provides a much clearer understanding than simply reading about them. It’s an interactive way to experience the unique characteristics of each switch, such as actuation force, tactile feedback, and sound.

Variety and Customization Options

  • Exploring Different Switches: The variety of switches in the Experience Box allows users to test and compare the nuances of each type. This is particularly useful for those who are new to mechanical keyboards and are trying to determine which switch type best suits their typing style and preferences.
  • Customization Opportunities: For DIY enthusiasts and keyboard modders, the Switch Kit is a treasure trove. It offers the possibility to mix and match different switches on a single keyboard or to build a completely customized keyboard from scratch. Such customization isn’t just enjoyable but also lets users craft a keyboard perfectly suited to their needs.
  • Educational Value: Both the Experience Box and the Switch Kit serve as excellent educational tools. They provide hands-on learning about how different switches can affect typing experience, sound, and overall keyboard performance. This knowledge is invaluable for making informed decisions about future keyboard purchases or custom builds.

The Anatomy of a Cherry MX Switch

Cherry MX switches, renowned for reliability and performance, are a cornerstone of the mechanical keyboard industry.

Components and Design

  • Upper Housing: This is the outer shell of the switch, which holds all the internal components in place. Made from durable plastic to endure constant key presses and preserve switch integrity.
  • Stem: The stem is the moving part of the switch that the keycap attaches to. Its color often indicates the type of switch (e.g., red for MX Red). The shape of the stem varies between linear, tactile, and clicky switches, which determines the switch’s characteristic feel.
  • Spring: Under the stem, it provides resistance and restores the key after pressing. Different switches have springs with varying levels of tension, contributing to the unique actuation force of each switch type.
  • Lower Housing: This part encases the base of the spring and the metal contact leaf. Designed to align with the upper housing and secure the switch to the PCB.

Durability and Lifespan

  • Longevity: One of the most significant advantages of Cherry MX switches is their durability. This longevity is a testament to the quality of materials used and the precision of the manufacturing process.
  • Consistent Performance: Over their lifespan, Cherry MX switches maintain a consistent feel and responsiveness. This consistency is crucial for users who rely on their keyboards for intensive gaming sessions or prolonged typing work.
  • Wear Resistance: Cherry MX switches withstand daily use without performance decline thanks to robust construction. This makes them a preferred choice for both commercial and personal use.

The anatomy of a Cherry MX switch is a marvel of engineering, combining meticulous design with high-quality materials.

This combo ensures a long-lasting switch with an exceptional user experience.

For gaming, typing, or professional use, Cherry MX switches’ durability and reliability make them a top choice in mechanical keyboards.


Key Points Summary: Cherry MX switches offer unmatched versatility and quality, a top choice in the mechanical keyboard world.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations: Whether for gaming, typing, or custom builds, Cherry MX has a switch to suit every need.

FAQs about Cherry MX Switches

Answering FAQs About Cherry MX Switches: We tackle common queries and misconceptions.

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