Skip to main content

What's the difference between Razer mechanical switches?

Razer BlackWidow
Razer BlackWidow (Image credit: Windows Central)

What's the difference between Razer mechanical switches?

Best answer: The most common is the clicky green switch, while the orange and yellow switches are quieter and faster. When purchasing a Razer keyboard, you might want to check out the BlackWidow Elite because you can choose between all three.Iconic keyboard: Razer BlackWidow (opens in new tab) ($79 at Amazon)

Green vs Orange vs Yellow

Razer has three different mechanical switches that it produces for its keyboards: green, orange and yellow. In some cases, such as on the BlackWidow Elite, you get to choose which switch you want when you order.

But what's the difference between them?

Green SwitchOrange SwitchYellow Switch
FeelTactile and clickyTactile and silentLinear and silent
Actuation force50g45g45g
Travel distance4.0mm4.0mm3.5mm
Actuation point1.9mm1.9mm1.2mm
Actuation vs reset point0.4mm0.05mm0mm

The green switch is the most common and probably the one you know if you've used a Razer keyboard before. It's what comes on the latest regular model BlackWidow. It's the loudest of the three switches, with the most pronounced click and the firmest action. It requires a little more force to press, but fans of mechanical keyboards will enjoy it and its definite 'bump' action.

The green switch is also loud. That's where the orange and yellow switches come in. The orange switch feels very similar to the green switch when in use, but it's much quieter. You can find it standard on the BlackWidow Lite where you'll also get a pack of O rings that you can use to make it even quieter.

The orange switch doesn't have the same bump as the green switch, but still has a similar tactile feedback. It also feels a little bit faster thanks to the lighter actuation force, even though the actuation point is the same as the green switch.

Outright speed and silence goes to the yellow switch, though. This linear switch lacks the tactility and bump of the green and orange switches, has a shallower travel and actuation distance, and is also extremely quiet. For maxmimum gaming performance, the yellow switch is the one to beat.

Which should you get?

Mechanical switches always come down to personal preference. Some people will flock straight to the green switches simply because it's the most mechanical feeling. It's got that satisfying loud click, which is a very definite action, and feels utterly superb to use.

You wouldn't be making a bad choice if you did just go for green, but the other colors have their own benefits. For example, if you're planning to do a lot of typing as well as gaming, you might be better off with the orange switch.

It's the perfect middle ground of the three, with a similar feeling to the green switch but a noise closer to that of the yellow. In an office environment, or just any heavy days of typing, the noise of the green can get a bit overwhelming.

The yellow switch is probably best if you're just looking for the best gaming performance and don't need to consider typing or regular daily use. It's so much faster than the green, and while the sound is perfect for more regular use or an office, the speed is probably a bit too fast.

No matter how fast a typist you are, using a fast gaming keyboard with something like a Razer yellow switch is probably going to introduce more errors than you care for.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.