Everyone wants to be the best at a game, but often they overlook a crucial factor: what switches they are using on their keyboard.
To enable you to set up the best possible gaming setup, we will go over the best switches for gaming in today’s post.
All of the switches on this list have been tried and tested by us, so we can tell you our honest opinion of each.
Top Picks For Best Mechanical Switches for Gaming in 2022
We’ll start strong with the Cherry MX Speed Silver to kick things off. It has a short travel distance designed specifically for gaming. It is linearly actuated.
It is actuated linearly, so each keystroke is smooth and consistent, and there are no tactile bumps to distract.
You can also have a quick actuation due to the minimal spring force.
The distance between the actuator and the actuator base is just 1.2 mm, which is 40% shorter than the normal distance.
You may have to pay a little extra to get a keyboard with a Cherry MX Speed Silver switch since it is a bit harder to find.
Many people believe that the Speed switches don’t really improve reaction times and are just marketing devices. Though I’m inclined to believe them, it might be worth the effort to shave milliseconds off your reaction time.
However, the shorter actuation distance may make it uncomfortable to type on your keyboard.
Switches like the Razer Optical Red are extremely fast. Each switch has its own stabilizer bar, which makes every keystroke feel stable as a result of Razer’s trademark design.
As a result of Razer’s launch of the Huntsman Mini, the Switch now has a Gen 2 design.
By lubricating the switches, the Razer Optical Red Gen 2 provides smoother operation, as well as some sound dampening that makes it more conducive to gaming at night.
Those of you seeking a switch purely on the basis of how quickly it actuates should take a look at this one. There is one downside, however. It is only available on the Razer Huntsman keyboards.
As soon as the stem has been pressed past the actuation point, light transmits signals instead of plates touching, which makes optical switches faster than mechanical switches for gaming. Thus, players can react more quickly.
Another benefit is an increased life expectancy. It is common for optical switches to last for 100 million keystrokes and more.
They tend to feel hollow and fake, which is the main negative aspect of optical switches. Because of this, I would only recommend them for high-end gaming.
It makes it easy for mistakes to occur when typing because of the low actuation distance and poor feel.
Razer Huntsman keyboards have this switch, if you’re interested.
Those who are looking for a second speed switch should consider the Kailh Speed Silver. Switches like this are essentially clones of Cherry MX Speed Silver designs, but this one has a more affordable price tag.
Also, the switch’s actuation distance is shorter (0.1 mm), making it theoretically a bit faster.
Then why was it ranked below the Cherry MX Speed Silver? Cherry MX switches are more durable and perform better than Kailh switches.
In order to achieve the coveted 100 million keystrokes, Cherry switches undergo rigorous testing and durability screening. The Kailh switches, on the other hand, are usually good for between 50 and 60 million keystrokes.
Kailh switches are consequently ranked lower. Kailh Speed switches are a great option if you’re on a budget.
Kailh also offers the Speed Copper and Gold switches if you require a linear speed switch.
Gateron Yellow = | Type: Linear | Feel/Sound: Smooth and Quiet | Actuation Force: 50g | Bottom-Out Force: 80g | Actuation Distance: 2mm | Travel Distance: 4mm
Gateron Black = | Type: Linear | Feel/Sound: Smooth and Quiet | Actuation Force: 60g | Bottom-Out Force: 85g | Actuation Distance: 2mm | Travel Distance: 4mm
Although Gateron switches are ranked number four, they are my personal favorite.
Compared to other linear switches, the Red, Yellow, and Black Gateron switches are more smooth and consistent for gamers. The actuation distance is not unusual.
The Gateron switch is an excellent linear switch all around. They’re smooth and affordable, and they’re great for gaming and typing.
While they are not made specifically for gaming, if you need a switch you can both use for typing and to play games, this is probably your best option.
You can adjust the weight of the switch by altering how lightly you touch it. Gaming-wise, the Red option is probably your best option because lighter switches are generally better, although it doesn’t matter too much.
Gateron switches are distinguished by their smooth operation. Reduced stem size allows the switch to move with less friction. Users will find the switch to be really pleasing to use.
For those with extra-light touches, the Gateron Clear switch can also be a great choice.
Cherry MX Black = | Type: Linear | Feel/Sound: Smooth and Quiet | Actuation Force: 60g | Bottom-Out Force: 85g | Actuation Distance: 2mm | Travel Distance: 4mm
Cherry MX Red and Black switches are excellent for gaming and typing if you want a durable switch.
As with Gateron switches, these linear switches have different spring weights based on how hard you type.
If you want a switch that will last you a long time, Cherry MX switches are the way to go.
There is a 2mm actuation distance, so they aren’t incredibly fast. However, for gaming, they provide a good balance between comfort and performance.
Their scratchiness is what makes them ranked below Gateron switches.
For those with lead fingers, Cherry MX Black switches will work wonders.
Mechanical switch components
Before we go into switching types, here are a few lesser-known nuts and bolts. A mechanical switch is made up of several key parts. Let’s look down the rabbit hole and find out what all the bumping is about!
Mechanical switches are composed of the following components:
- Keycap: Printed over the top of the plastic cap is a hollow transparent letter that might be illuminated with a backlight.
- Stem: Mounted and standing on this is the keycap. Different switch types and their enclosing platforms have different stem shapes.
- Switch housing: Snaps onto or is rarely soldered to the keyboard to hold all the components together.
- Slider: Upon pushing against the slide, the spring disengages the metal contact leaves mounting on the side of the switch.
- Metal contact leaves: When perpendicularly impacted, these register a keystroke.
- Spring: The spring automatically forces the slider into a stress-free position as soon as the switch is released.
Rubber dome switches, on the other hand, operate on totally different principals and infrared components as compared to mechanical switches.
- The keycap
- The silicon membrane layer
- Circuit boards with printed circuit boards (PCBs)
How does the Switch affect gaming?
In order to succeed at gaming, you need to consider a variety of factors. What does the switch mean?
Using the right switch can make a small difference in the game. Razer Optical Red switches can reduce your reaction times by milliseconds, helping you to be slightly faster than the competition.
If you play at the highest level, it may be noticeable even though the speed increase is just 0.01%.
In other words, switching is important. Nonetheless, if you’re a casual player, you shouldn’t be too concerned about the switch. You probably won’t notice any major changes.
Why Linear Switches are Best for Mechanical Switches for Gaming
Did you notice any patterns among all the switches on this switch?
Linear switches are used for a reason.
The switch type of the keyboard will greatly affect how it feels and sounds. Switches come in three different types: clicky, linear, and tactile.
Linear switches are the best mechanical switches for gaming. Their smoothness and consistency make them ideal for gaming. There is no click or bump noise during keystrokes.
You don’t want to worry about the tactile bump disrupting switch operation if you need to press a ton of keys quickly.
Furthermore, chatting with friends in-game can be very distracting due to the clicky sound of the switch. Linear switches do not make a lot of noise, so they can be used silently.
Gamers benefit from linear switches because they provide the greatest change in reaction time.
If you want to get the most out of your mechanical keyboard for gaming, make sure to avoid tactile or clicky switches.
What are the benefits of shorter actuation distances for gaming?
Gaming switches are characterized by their low actuation distance, which is one of their biggest selling points. Does it really matter how far the switch actuates or is it marketing hype?
It is theorized that a switch with a lower actuation point would require less distance to actuate than a switch with a higher actuation point. If you have a lower actuation rate, you can react in-game slightly faster.
We tested out a bunch of switch types on a reaction speed tester to see if they had the potential to improve the reaction time.
Our study did not find a difference between a speed switch and a regular switch in terms of reaction times. As a result, I am of the opinion that the difference in reaction is extremely low, almost negligible.
I suppose it would be worth the effort to eek out a millisecond or two more of speed by using speed switches. I was not able to prove in-game performance was improved.
With a shorter travel distance and actuation distance, comfort is compromised
There is always a tradeoff when typing, so you have to decide if you want that tradeoff or not. For us, a linear switch is always better than a speed switch.
How to choose the best mechanical switches
Which mechanical keyboard would you pick as your privileged one? In fact, there are quite a few products out there that claim to be the best mechanical keyboard for this or that purpose.
Although the choice of mechanical keyboard switches between typists and gamers is generally good, both require some mechanical goodness.
It is impossible for a simple keyboard to provide the most comfortable feel, speed, and precision combined with the correct type of input. In addition, the overall development must also be tough.
As such, we have enabled the fact that gamers and typists need different types of input on a keyboard frequently. In any case, the construction and development of the switch may be the most important factor.
There are a variety of switch designs and types, as well as variants customized by the various manufacturers. For various purposes, devotees consider a number of “best mechanical switches”.
Defining Different Switch Terms
Unless you’re familiar with mechanical keyboards and switches, all of the terms can seem confusing. The terms and lingo used in this section should be easy for you to understand.
- Actuation Type – There are three types of behavior indicated here: linear, tactile, and clicky. It depends on the degree of smoothness, bumpiness, and loudness of the keystroke.
- Actuation Force –
- To register the keystroke, the key must be pressed down with sufficient force to do so. To put it another way: how hard the key must be pressed. Grams are the unit of measurement.
- Actuation Distance – At this point, the switch is pressed hard enough to transmit data to the computer. The actuation point of most switches will be around 2mm unless they are low-profile or fast, in which case it will be shorter. Millimeters (mm) is the unit used to measure this pressure point.
- Travel Distance –
- Whenever a switch is depressed all the way, its travel distance begins at the top of the key (unpressed) and ends when the switch is fully depressed. We also measure it in millimeters.
- Lifespan – The number of keystrokes the switch can withstand before deviating from its factory settings. In many cases, switches last longer than their life expectancy, and many people prefer the feel of well-used switches to brand new ones. It is often the case that a switch that has been well-used has a less scratchy feel and a better sound
There are many different types of switches available. Choosing the right Switch comes down to what you want to get out of it.
Gaming switches are usually the fastest, but they also come with some downsides, such as a higher price, less comfort factor, and a limited range of options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best mechanical switch for gaming?
A few of the best switches for gaming are the Cherry MX Speed Silver, Cherry MX Red/Black, the Razer Red Optical Switch, and the Kailh Speed Silver.
What is the best color switch for gaming?
There are a variety of great color switches available for gaming, including red, yellow, brown, and black.
Is it good for gaming to use mechanical switches?
When pressed, mechanical switches provide unmistakable feedback, making them an excellent choice for gaming.
If you want a switch that is super-fast for gaming, check out Razer’s Red Optical Switch or Cherry’s Speed Silver Switch.
Providing you need a well-rounded switch to type and play video games, Cherry MX and Gateron linear switches are the best choices.