What Is The Best Cherry MX Compatible Switch?

What Is The Best Cherry MX Compatible Switch?

The best Cherry MX switch for gaming, typing, or any given task is the one that you prefer. That may seem like a silly answer, but we promise it isn’t. Keep reading this page to find the best mechanical keyboard switch for your needs -- not someone else’s opinion about what you should use.
 
Random people on the internet will pass along all sorts of advice about the best Cherry MX switch for a given task. Some of them are knowledgeable, but none of them have your fingers or exact typing preferences. Our team of enthusiasts and engineers will help you develop your own opinion and act on it. We’ll also list some of our favorite switches (sorted by type) at the end of this article.

Cherry MX Switches Aren't The Only Good Option

 

Cherry MX switches aren’t alone in the market. Objectively competitive alternatives from Kaihua (Kailh) and Gateron went mainstream in the past few years. In fact, our measurements show competing switches outperforming Cherry MX models in a number of ways. Cherry makes solid switches, to be clear, so there’s nothing wrong with buying into their brand.

How To Choose A Mechanical Keyboard Switch

 

Choosing the right switch for your needs doesn’t need to be complicated. You can pick the best switch for your needs by following the steps below:
 

Identify What You Like

Pay attention to your keyboard use for a day (or less -- we won’t judge). Answer the following questions:
 
  • Do you like clicky noises? (Consider your coworkers / family too.)
  • Do you like feeling a "bump" while you're pressing down a key?
  • Do you like pressing keys all the way down?
 
Mechanical keyboard switches fall into three categories: linear, tactile, and tactile clicky. Compare the following table with your answers to bullet one and bullet two. The column that best fits your answers is the switch type you should try first.
 
Linear Tactile Tactile Clicky

Noise

Minimal
Minimal
Loud

Bump

No
Yes
Yes

 

Certain switches are tougher to press down all the way, or bottom out. Typists who want to avoid bottom out may want switches with special springs (like Hako Trues and Clears) and / or stronger springs. Most common Cherry switches fall into a light resistance range that encourages bottom out. There are also a few special switch models with features like early activation points and sound reducing pads. You can learn more about individual switches and their weight ratings by viewing the Input Club Comparative Switch Guide.
 
View the switch list at the bottom of this page to see some of our favorite options.

Try Switches And Buy A Switch Tester

Once you pick an interesting switch type, you should try it out. Here are the best ways to go about it:
 

Try Them In A Full Keyboard

 

 

It’s best to try switches in a full keyboard. Some stores, like Fry’s Electronics, have keyboard samples out. You can also meet with keyboard forum members, go to keyboard meetups, and try out mechanical keyboards that belong to people you know.
 

Buy A Switch Tester

 

 

Kono switch testers provide a solid base, translucent keycaps, and a variety of switches. They’re an excellent way to get a general feel for your likes and dislikes. It can be hard to get a good read on individual switches, though. They aren’t soldered in or exposed to your typing style, so a full keyboard could feel very different. If the Kono Switch Tester doesn't have the options you want we recommend buying one from NovelKeys, as they offer immense variety and customization.

 

Buy Multiple Keyboards / Keypads And Gift / Resell The Ones You Don't Like

If you have lots disposable income, buying multiple keyboards is an option. Mech enthusiasts tend to collect a stable of keyboards, which make great collectibles and gifts. Resale is also common on keyboard forums.

Find And Buy The Best Mechanical Keyboard For Your Needs

 

A standard full size keyboard or tenkeyless compact model is fine for most people, but those options may not fit your typing style perfectly. Read our “How to Choose a Mechanical Keyboard” page (once it's published) to learn more.

Cherry MX Switches And Some Alternatives

 

Linear - Light - Cherry MX Red

Cherry MX Red switches are the marketplace standard for light linear switches. Learn more at this link.
 

Linear - Light - Kaihua Box Red

Kaihua Box Red switches use a different slider design and contact system to improve several performance metrics. Learn more at this link.
 

Linear - Medium - Cherry MX Black

Cherry MX Black switches are a heavier version of the MX Red switch. Learn more at this link.
 

Linear - Medium - Kaihua Box Black

Cherry MX Black switches are a heavier version of the MX Red switch. Learn more at this link.
 

Linear - Heavy - Cherry MX Grey

Cherry MX Grey switches are a heavier version of the MX Black switch. The color was reused for a tactile switch. Learn more at this link.
 

Linear - Heavy - NovelKeys Box Heavy Dark Yellow

Box Heavy Dark Yellow switches are a heavier version of the Box Red switch. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile - Light - Cherry MX Brown

Cherry MX Brown switches are the marketplace standard for light tactile switches. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile - Light - Input Club Hako Violet

Hako Violet switches (which use the Kaihua Box architecture) are Input Club's flagship light tactile switch. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile - Medium - Cherry MX Clear

Cherry MX Brown switches are the marketplace standard for medium-heavy tactile switches. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile - Medium - Input Club Hako Clear

Hako Clear switches (which use the Kaihua Box architecture) are Input Club's flagship medium-heavy tactile switch. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile - Heavy - Cherry MX Grey

A second variant of Cherry MX Grey switches are a standard heavy tactile switch. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile - Heavy - Input Club Hako True

Hako True switches (which use the Kaihua Box architecture) are Input Club's flagship heavy tactile switch. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile Clicky - Light - Cherry MX Blue

Cherry MX Blue switches are the marketplace standard for light linear switches, but they have several flaws. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile Clicky - Light - Kaihua Box White

Kaihua Box White switches use an improved slider and a revolutionary click bar mechanism. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile Clicky - Medium - NovelKeys Box Pale Blue

Pale Blue switches use an improved slider and a revolutionary click bar mechanism. Medium-heavy clicky switches are rare. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile Clicky - Heavy - Cherry MX Green

Cherry MX Blue switches are the marketplace standard for light linear switches, but they have several flaws. Learn more at this link.
 

Tactile Clicky - Heavy - NovelKeys Box Navy

Box Navy switches use an improved slider and a revolutionary extra-thick click bar mechanism. They are extremely tactile. Learn more at this link.
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