A mechanical keyboard has switches underneath each key. These have mechanical switches that respond to each keypress, whereas ordinary PC keyboards have an entirely different setup. You can easily identify a mechanical keyboard by the clicking noise they make when registering a keypress.
An ordinary keyboard, better known as membrane keyboard are more common. These keyboards have domed switches made of polyurethane on top of a rubber or silicone pad.
So what are the differences between them? Is one better than the other? We will try to answer these questions below, judging them based on Cost, Performance, and Durability.
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Membrane keyboards are cheaper compared to mechanical keyboards. Low price is what makes these types of keyboards so common that they are often packaged together with new PCs for free.
However, low price in this case also means cheaper quality. Although, having a higher price-point than membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards have a significantly longer lifespan, making them a worthy investment in the long run. Not to mention that the price difference isn’t that big.
Most gaming keyboards are mechanical keyboards. When it comes to performance, mechanical keyboards are a class above the other.
Having a mechanical switch allows for tweaking the keypress to suit your style. Some switches have a detectable actuation point, while some offer additional acoustic feedback. Something that is not possible in rubber domes of membrane keyboards.
Mechanical keyboards have switches optimized for typing, like Cherry MX blue switch, they are much heavier and harder to “accidentally” press while typing, giving you more accuracy and control while typing.
While the Cherry MX red switch is very sensitive and has a low actuation point, meaning you can pretty much glide over them, making it ideal for gaming.
Overall, mechanical keyboards are very responsive and accurate, and they allow you to type at a much higher rate than an ordinary keyboard.
When it comes to durability, a mechanical keyboard can outlast a membrane keyboard by as much as 7 times!
An average lifespan of a membrane keyboard can vary. Some extremely cheap keyboards do not even last longer than 1 million keystrokes without encountering a problem. Some better quality membrane keyboards can last up to 10 million keystrokes.
Can you guess the number for mechanical keyboards? It is a jaw-dropping 70million keystrokes on average, making it last significantly longer than some of the best membrane keyboards.
The build quality of mechanical keyboards are also much more superior than a membrane keyboard. You will hardly see them wear down as much, or encountering problems like keys getting stuck or malfunctioning.
The only advantage a membrane keyboard has when compared against mechanical keyboards is its low price. Mechanical keyboards reigns supreme in terms of performance and durability.
However, there are some downsides you need to keep in mind before purchasing. Mechanical keyboards are louder than membrane keyboard, which is not ideal for a quiet working place. Although there are quieter alternatives available for you to choose from as well.