Article no. 5

My Top Keyboard Switches

I’ve been in the hobby of custom mechanical keyboards for over a year now and this was my first full year dedicated to trying new things in the hobby as well as participating in the community. Over this time, I have had the pleasure of giving input on prototypes, doing commissions for clients and getting an early look at some products. If you wanted to read more about getting started in keyboards, please check out this article!

In this article, I am going to go over some thoughts and opinions I’ve come to over the year, as well as some of my personal favorites switches and what I consider my top keyboard switches. Please note these are all my opinions and I encourage you to always try these things on your own and make your own opinions.

Some notes before the list

Hi, my name is Alex! I get asked a lot what my favourite switches are, or what the best switches are. So I figured, why not make a list with some quick thoughts. So, here is my personal top mechanical keyboard switches!

I want everyone to know that these are not ranked in any order and is only based off what I’ve tried and have had success with. There are a lot of good switches, some of which aren’t covered here. To lay some foundation about my personal tastes, lately I’ve been preferring linear switches and have been leaning towards Durock/JWK. Typically, I mod them with GS2 or 205g0. Most JWK/Durock switches I will also film. I pick up all my modding supplies from Kinetic Labs.  Anyways, enjoy the list and if you ever have questions about things, feel free and join our Discord or catch me live on Twitch!

Durock / JWK Switches

This is slowly creeping up on my most used switch at this point, if it isn’t already. The reason why? Well, easy, I like the sound and quality of the switch. I’ve built many boards using variants of Durock/JWK switches and usually I find it leaves me with a gorgeous higher pitched clack, which I adore. 

Also here are Apiary’s thoughts! 

A great switch manufacturer that has been a community go-to for the year of 2020! 

Switch stats: These switches come in a variety of colors and spring weights. From my experience, most come lightly pre-lubed unless stated otherwise. You can pick some up here!

Tangerine Switches

Tangerine switches from TKC are my go to linear switch of the year.  I personally prefer the 67g springs of the two offered weights, but this is completely personally preference. The housing is made of UHMWPE and come lightly pre-lubed from the factory. Please note that I highly encourage applying your own lube and even films. I have used these in a variety of builds and these switches tend to be clackier in most builds, which I love.

Switch stats:

  • Dark Green stem 67g.
  • Light Green stem 62g.
  • Housing is UHMWPE.
  • Gold Spring.
  • Linear MX Switch.
  • PCB Mount.
  • Pre-lubed in factory – very light application.
  • Made by C³Equalz.

gateron ink black v2 Switches

Ink switches are a go to for really any board, provide a nice sound signature, and are pretty smooth! The v1’s of the ink switches had some issues with the leaf either coming right out when attempting to mod them or leaf ticking, however it was fixed with the new v2 iteration. These do not need to be filmed, in fact I recommend against it as they can be difficult to seat into plates when filmed. I do recommend lubing these with 205g0!

Switch stats

  • Linear
  • Actuation force: 60g
  • Bottom out force: 70g
  • Total travel: 4mm

KIWI Switches

The Kiwi Switch is not only very pretty but also a great tactile switch! It uses the same stem as the T1 switch, the only difference between this and the T1 switch is the housing. Which TKC states is a “proprietary” blend of plastic. I prefer these over the T1 switch. These have a slightly deeper and even sound profile, which is pleasant. I did lube these with 3204 and highly recommend filming these. I actually did a blind test of these in stock, lubed and lubed/filmed live on Twitch and viewers all voted on the filmed and lubed variant.

Switch stats:

  • 67g Tactile with a T1 stem
  • Lightly factory lubed
  • Translucent bright green housing with N9 Grey stem
  • Same housing material as Tangies
  • Proprietary C³Equalz top housing design
  • Gold-plated internals

Marshmallow Switches

These switches are from Thic Thock and are pretty unique stock switches. They feature a 68g MP (progressive) spring. What’s a progressive spring?

Progressive springs allow you to feel the weight difference when travelling the keypress. From lighter weight from the tip top of the keypress, to gradually increasing the weight till the bottom of the keypress. It encourages user to not bottom out that easily as well as providing a unique typing experience.

Overall these felt great! I actually wish I had picked up more of these when I got my first batch. They did take a while to ship out due to world wide events (pandemic) but was worth the wait. They are also such a cute color! I did lube these and film them, but filming these is completely optional. They sound pretty much identical to the JWK switches mentioned earlier just with a custom spring in them.

Switch stats

  • Custom Switch by Thic Thock and JWK
  • Thic Thock MP Series 68g Springs
  • Actuation Force: ~50g
  • Actuation Distance: ~1.4mm
  • Not lubed
  • Linear

Milky Yellow Switches

This is my favourite bang for your buck switch. Period. Gateron Yellow Milky switches feature white translucent housings and also provide a pretty nice sound profile when modded. I do recommend modding these with either Krytox 205g0 or GS2 grease.

Switch stats:

  • 50g Operating | 60g Bottom.
  • Travel Distance: 2mm Actuation | 4mm Bottom.
  • Linear MX Switch.
  • PCB Mount.
  • Made by Gateron.

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