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Why your next keyboard should be a mechanical one

Razer BlackWidow Mini
Razer BlackWidow Mini (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

There's a reason that most of the best keyboards are mechanical. On a sheer technical level, you can do more with a mechanical switch than you can with the type of membrane keyboard you might find included with a new PC or on a laptop.

And the tech is continually advancing, too. Big brands like Razer and Logitech are pushing their mechanical keyboards to the limits, and away from this, there's a whole world of smaller brands, customizations, and an incredibly addictive rabbit hole to dive down.

Here are just some of the reasons you should make a mechanical keyboard your next.

Mechanical keyboard typing experience is just better

Steelseries Apex Pro

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Unless you're absolutely wedded to your ergonomic keyboard, the typing experience on a mechanical will just be better. That's all there is to it.

A mechanical keyboard has a physical switch under every key — check out the best keyboard switches you can choose from — so you get the best tactile feedback possible. Some, like Razer, have started substituting metal contacts for beams of light, giving instant actuation along with a traditional mechanical feel.

At first, the experience is very different and it does take a little while to get used to. But after that, you'll find that you're more accurate and likely even faster than on your old membrane keyboard. Some membranes you have to press with quite a bit of force and it feels really mushy, not so with a good mechanical keyboard.

Not just for gamers

Razer Proclick Protype

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Gamers use mechanical keyboards for the reasons mentioned above. They're faster and more accurate and provide a definite tactile response to every press. But they're not just for gamers. You aren't required to have a keyboard draped in flashing RGB lights to go mechanical.

There are good quality mechanical keyboards out there from smaller brands and even the likes of Razer that are targeted at the regular, office user. Working all day shouldn't exclude you from having a better keyboard experience just because you don't want to be embarrassed.

Pair a good switch with a keyboard that doesn't have RGB and make your workday much better.

Superior build quality

Hyper X Ducky Mini

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Even a budget mechanical keyboard will boast superior build quality to most membrane keyboards. Mechanical keys are extremely durable and any from a reputable maker will have endured serious longevity rating.

The keyboard surrounding the switches will usually be better as well, and the added bonus is the ability to use Doubleshot PBT keycaps. Regular ABS keycaps and those found on a membrane keyboard will wear, with the print fading and the cap becoming shiny.

PBT keycaps don't do this, and even if your keyboard doesn't have them, on a mechanical, you can substitute them in. And there's no shortage to choose from.

So. Much. Customization.

Razer Huntsman Mini

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

A mechanical keyboard can be an extension of yourself, and the only limit to the customizations you can make is your imagination. There's almost nothing you can't swap on a mechanical keyboard if you know where to look.

The switches is usually the limit, but even then, there are an increasing number of keyboards out there that allow switch changes. Or you could get hardcore and just build your own keyboard from scratch. There really is very little you can't do if you put your mind to it.

For most people, the easiest things to mod are the keycaps and the cable. If you have a color scheme in your head, somewhere you'll be able to buy the keycaps to make it a reality. Likewise, a good cable is an easy change, with coiled cables the latest hotness. Not only do they look good, but they're also almost always of superior quality, are more durable, and they certainly look neater on your desk.

An easy decision

Hyper X Ducky Mini Box

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

It might seem like a big change, but it's one that you'll make and never look back. Mechanical keyboards are just better, and while it can also become an absorbing (and potentially expensive) hobby, for most it'll just be a better way to type.

You'll feel better, be more accurate and with the right switches underneath, typing becomes an absolute joy and never a chore.

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.

8 Comments
  • "Unless you're absolutely wedded to your ergonomic keyboard" This is the main problem I have, typing on a straight keyboard feels so unnatural. The speed and feel of mechanical isn't worth the tendinitis.
  • Been using one for a few years, I'll never go back to a non-mechanic now
  • Uninformed hype like this is not really all that useful. One of the great "mechanical" keyboards of all time, the IBM Model M, was a membrane keyboard. Meanwhile, third-rate switches from Cherry and their knock-offs might meet the Internet's arbitrary definition of "mechanical" but still be scratchy, rough, and needlessly loud - not great for typing at all. I'd take a Surface-branded chicklet keyboard or a Thinkpad laptop keyboard over that crap any day. And do gamers really need N-key rollover and all the dumb lighting effects? For an informed take on what makes a "mechanical" keyboard, see keyboard reviewer Chyrosran22 on YouTube. He has a video on just that. The terminology, brands of the month, switch of the month, the mods, the oddball form factors that look cool but are ergonomic nightmares - 90% of that is Internet-catalyzed hype. Just type with what feels good, whether or not the Internet calls it "mechanical."
  • This a thousand times. It's all a fad.
  • I’ve tried and returned about a dozen mechanical keyboards to Amazon. So far the only one I have been able to keep for the office is the one with the cherry MX brown silent switches. I highly recommend those. Better than the silent reds.
  • "Mechanical keyboard typing experience is just better
    Unless you're absolutely wedded to your ergonomic keyboard, the typing experience on a mechanical will just be better. That's all there is to it." I'm going to assume that Richard Devine has been to a college or university off some sort. It's also not much of a stretch to assume that he has taken a few writing courses. With this out of the way, making the above statement without any evidence of any sort, or providing any reasoning at all is why alot of people have stop supporting, believing or paying for the drivel that journalists put out these days. This statement, as it is written, sounds as if Mr. Devine is making a statement that is common knowledge. Which is not the case. I have bought several mechanical keyboards, all of which, in the first few months, were very nice to type on. Everyone one of them have developed issues with keys that stopped responding or developed double registers or other issues. I finally bought an optical/mech keyboard that has been my primary for the past year. The surface cover keyboard has received twice as much time as it has and I would much rather use either one of these over a pure mech KB. It would be insane to argue that mech KBs dont have their use or that they can have a better feel than most KBs, but to make a quantitative statement without any supporting evidence is just bad writing.
  • I agree, I bought a cheap mechanical keyboard and it is way better than any keyboard I've used in the past. I've used high end keyboards of all types over the years and am amazed by how much better this $29 mechanical keyboard feels for gaming and typing experiences. My teenager likes it as well.
  • A lot more expensive.