Mechanical Keyboards – Should You Get One?

A lot of computer enthusiasts have come across the term ‘mechanical keyboards’, but it’s a product that not many understand. And given that they’re usually rather expensive, not many try to understand it, either.

But for people who spend a lot of time at their computer, this can actually be an investment, rather than an expense. A mechanical keyboard has a lot of benefits over a conventional one. If this piques your interest, by all means, read on. We will be taking a close look at mechanical keyboards and their benefits.

What’s the difference between membrane and mechanical keyboards?

To understand why mechanical keyboards are so good, let’s take a look at how conventional keyboards work. Below each key, you have a plastic piece that presses down on a rubber membrane. That rubber membrane is the only resistance you have when pressing the key. It makes contact with the electronic PCB that is below. When that contact is made, the keyboard knows you’ve pressed a key, and sends that signal to your PC.

With mechanical keyboards, there isn’t a membrane for all keys. Instead, there is a separate, dedicated switch below each key. That switch is soldered to the PCB below. When you press it past its actuation point, it lets your computer know that you’ve pressed a key.

What are the advantages?

The main thing about mechanical keyboards is the feeling. Each different type of switch has a different feeling. There are really too many, from “mainstream” options like Cherry MX or Gateron to lesser-known options like the Invyr Holy Panda. Seriously, there are too many to cover.

But, whichever switch you decide to go for, the feeling of pressing down on a mechanical keyboard’s key is truly great when compared to a “regular” membrane keyboard. Anyone who has tried one doesn’t want to go back. But versatility isn’t the only thing you get.

Durability is another big factor. Unlike with a membrane, where it’s easy to have something go wrong, here you have high-quality switches. Each one of them is made for millions of clicks. And that’s not all, you also get the usage of more durable materials in the construction. We’re talking metal plates to hold the switches.

Last but not least, most good mechanical keyboards are either fully, or partially programmable. This nets you things like setting up and recording your own macros that help you out in your daily tasks or even switching out the standard key layout to something else. It’s all about customizability, which isn’t something you’ll get with membrane keyboards. Yes, there are exceptions, but not a lot of them.

Are there any disadvantages?

Of course, not everything is perfect, so yes, there are a few disadvantages with mechanical keyboards. The first, and most obvious one, is the price. Mechanical keyboards are expensive, and that’s before you start looking into the world of building your own exotic customs.

The other one is the weight. Many enthusiasts actually take their keyboards with them when traveling, or when going to a LAN party, and mechanical keyboards tend to be heavy. If you’re going to be moving a lot, and want to take your keyboard with you, a mechanical keyboard is going to be a heavy pick.

Should you be looking into mechanical keyboards?

When you weigh the pros and cons, you find that mechanical keyboards aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. The price will be a massive deterrent to many, especially because if you’re getting one, you shouldn’t get the cheapest option.

But on the other hand, the advantages are actually very much worth it, and as we mentioned, once you get used to a mechanical keyboard, you won’t want to go back to a regular one. If you can afford it, by all means, go for it, it’s an investment you certainly won’t regret.  

Also worth reading: the best gaming keyboards you can buy today.

Leave a Comment: