Are Mechanical Keyboards Better for Gaming?

Oh, boy. This question, huh?

Lots of people want to know the answer to this; unfortunately, it’s usually more complicated than they expected.

But don’t worry! Once you’re given some more information on mechanical keyboards, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether or not you’ll benefit from using one during your gaming.

Are Mechanical Keyboards Better for Gaming? by Das Keyboard

 

Understanding Mechanical Keyboard Key Presses

Let’s start with some background information.

First of all, it takes less time for a mechanical keyboard’s key contacts to register that they’ve been pressed. This is called their actuation point.

As an example, if it normally takes other types of keyboards 4mm to actuate, it only takes mechanical keyboard keys about 2 mm to actuate. Note that it also takes a certain amount of force, measured in centiNewtons (cN), to press these keys until they reach actuation point.

Additionally, key switches are also either tactile or linear. Tactile means that you feel a slight bump to indicate when the key has reached its actuation point; linear means you don’t feel this, and just experience one, smooth action. This bump or lack thereof affects how quickly you type, because once you get used to how the keys work, you generally learn to type faster.

And you should also note that different types of key switches have different reset points. A reset point is when the key’s contact is no longer registering. This may or may not happen at the same time as the actuation point, so it can also affect how you type.

 

Applying These Facts to Your Gaming

So what does this mean in terms of your gaming experience?

Well, a lot actually. All those specific things about pressing keys (actuation points, force, tactile vs. linear, reset points) are what cause opinions to fly about whether or not mechanical keyboards are better for gaming. (Seriously, just check out this forum thread about the topic.)

Some gamers prefer mechanical keyboards because they truly feel they improve their gaming. For example, these gamers prefer using Cherry MX black switches or red switches, because they are linear and are “easier” to know when the keys have been pressed. These gamers also claim that it’s easier to double-tap faster with black switches (and sometimes even with brown switches).

However, other gamers think mechanical keyboards inhibit their gaming. Many of these gamers like to mash their keys as hard and fast as they can; though mechanical keyboards last longer and can handle this mashing, often all the little nuances that make typing easier (like those actuation and reset points) just get in the way when you’re gaming.

 

So what’s the best solution for you?

It’s actually quite simple: test out as many mechanical keyboards and switches as you can. You can order key switch testers, head to your local electronics store, or ask to borrow your friend’s mechanical keyboard for a week. You might even want to consider purchasing a used mechanical keyboard off eBay or Craigslist for cheap to see how it affects your gaming.

Every gamer is different. Your best bet in figuring out if mechanical keyboards are better for gaming for you is to try them!

Have you found in the past that you game better with a mechanical keyboard? Why do you think it helped you?

24 Comments


  1. A great summary, thank you.
    I’m deciding if I’m gonna purchase a mechanical or not, and I think i’m gonna go for it, and return it if i don’t like it!


  2. “Many of these gamers like to mash their keys as hard and fast as they can” -based on what? This sounds to me like someone heavily biased towards mechanical keyboards, trying to make those who prefer the regular kind out to be dim-witted barbarians, smashing their keyboard to bits because they don’t know any better. Feh!


  3. Probably the street fighter button mashers.


  4. I think it should be more like “many of these gamers prefer not to spend $100-$200 on their keyboards and instead prefer to invest this money in hardware that matters more to them.”


  5. i saw good post about all best keypads here . I hope it will help you!


  6. I don’t really like the feel of the mechanical keys boards and there big buttons


  7. Amen. I don’t want to spend 100 dollars on a keyboard when a 20 dollar dell quiet key can do the same job and not sound like crap overriding the game’s sound. Not to mention the cost of quality RAM, CPU, and video card for gaming PC.


  8. Answer is No! Keyboard is too bad for gaming, when you install games on PC, you need to setup for controls for keyboard which is difficult, also, for gaming console terms, controller is good for gaming, its easy and convenience, also, not just keyboard is bad for gaming, mouse also bad for gaming too, its not good as accurate gameplay, many new controller comes with analog sticks compared to keyboard, I think analog stick is better for gaming, without analog sticks for gaming, the gameplay is too hard to play with keyboard, also, many gaming keyboard are too expensive compared to gaming controller,even with wireless keyboard because gaming keyboard are premium but its overpriced due gameplay PC experience. Its not good feel for keyboard to play games, also, keyboard is for typing documents but not good for gaming…..I think controller is good, also, to use real controller on PC, you need to download any software as well the driver install file to setup which is not easy.


  9. As for me, i think mechanical keyboard the ebst for gaming! I use it during few monthes and i love it, easy to push buttons, etc pluses! I want to advice one more poduct, gaming keypads, i think they well suited for gaming, more comfortable then keyboards, they are http://www.gadgets-reviews.com/review/138-review-of-the-best-keypads.html make few reviews bout it. It’s my opinion, maybe someone don’t agree with me, but I’ll stay with my opinion, because i use it now, and i happy that i buy it (in particular Razor)! Thanks! 😀


  10. With all due respect, you haven’t done any research whatsoever, have you? While a controller may be nicer to use for some games, it isn’t anywhere near better. Mouse and keyboard allow for way better accuracy and speed. Also, most games don’t use controllers. They have controller compatibility, but are not specifically designed for it. Also, I can name so many games you can’t play if you don’t have a mouse and keyboard, whereas there are very few that you can’t play if you don’t have a controller. Read up on your facts, dude.


  11. I guess I should consider one of these


  12. The buttons are the same size and they have a much less squishy feel


  13. You can get a good-quality mechanical keyboard, complete with back-lit keys for around $50 or less.


  14. hashahaha thats legendary


  15. No? Mouse users almost always tend to do better than Controller users in games, because a Keyboard and Mouse setup gives you far more control and accuracy. Not to mention, most games do use a standard control setup on PC, but it’s nice to be able to tailor it for how YOU play. It’s all about giving players options and freedom.


  16. Maybe not to you. People prefer keyboards and mouse over a controller. Fact is a mouse and keyboard is way more accurate than a controller. You can plug and play with a controller in a pc, if you have windows 10. Retarded?


  17. This comment sounds like a advertisement with horrible grammar. It’s ok though.


  18. I’m a console player and I know the fact that mouse and keyboards are superior, just a fact.


  19. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion,but this is completely incorrect.
    This is coming from someone who is new to mouse and keyboard, and as much love as i have for my xbox elite controller, it is absolutley nowhere near as good as kb and mouse.

    none of your rambling sounds like it is based on anything other than impromptu thoughts.

    For the price of a controller like the xbox elite or scufs, you can get an incredible mouse and keyboard setup.
    I got a corsiar strafe keyboard and a Deathadder elite mouse at a comprable price, and it will last wayyyy longer than my elite controller will.


  20. haha i use an old ibm mechanical keyboard


  21. I just tested out the Corsair Gaming K63 Mechanical Keyboard recently ( I test tech products for a certain company)
    The keys DO have a more solid feel to them, and the thing is built like a brick.
    The cherry red light is adjustable to a point but I find at any setting it is annoying.
    The thing is heavy, and very loud when in use, which is also very annoying.
    Yes it is easier to clean, and has some fun little features, but in reality, they do not work any better then a standard keyboard, which are way cheaper and lighter.
    Gamers may like them because they are cool and more durable, but for the average PC user, it is a waste of money…unless you are one of those geeks that just HAS TO HAVE the latest tech toy.

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