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Choosing your keyswitches? Start here.

Key switches are one of the most important aspects of a mechanical keyboard. Getting to know your options will help you get the most out of your ErgoDox EZ.

What are mechanical keyswitches?

Each key on a mechanical keyboard hides an actual physical switch under it, unlike the squishy rubber membrane you'd find on most keyboards. Typing on these mechanical switches is a very different experience from typing on regular ones. The keys have more travel, and are much more tactile; you don't have to press the keys all the way down to get them to register, which makes typing easier on the fingers; and of course, mechanical keyboards have their own unique sound. They sound like a keyboard.

What are your options?

When buying an ErgoDox EZ, you get to choose from twelve different keyswitches. When choosing your switches, there are several things you should consider:

  • How much noise do you want your keyboard to make? Do you want a clicky switch or a non-clicky switch?
  • Do you prefer a smoother typing experience, or do you want to feel a slight bump when the key is actuated? Do you want a linear ("no bump") or a tactile switch?
  • How much force do you want to use when typing on your keyboard? This is usually measured in grams of pressure.

If you can find some friends with mechanical keyboards, try out different keyswitches to see what feels best under your fingers.

Our keyswitches

Here are the keyswitches we currently offer.

Cherry MX Brown

Cherry brown keyswitches

Our most popular switch. Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile and quiet. Excellent for office use. These are a preferred choice for developers, writers, and anyone who works long hours in front of the computer.

Actuation force
45±20gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm

Cherry MX Blue

Cherry blue keyswitches

Almost as popular as the Browns, MX Blue are everyone's favorite "clicky" switch. Easily recognizable by their signature audible clicking sound. Ideal for people who work from home, or have colleagues who appreciate old-school mechanical keyboards.

Actuation force
50±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm

Cherry MX Clear

Cherry clear keyswitches

A slightly heavier sibling to the Brown switch. The MX Clear has the same qualities of Brown with a bit more resistance, for those who want more pronounced tactile feedback.

Actuation force
55±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm

Cherry MX Red

Cherry red keyswitches

Most popular among gamers for their relatively light weight, and lack of tactile feedback. A solid performer for high-speed keypresses.

Actuation force
45±20gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm

Cherry MX Silent Red

Cherry red keyswitches

These really are silent. A very quiet keyswitch, it’s as close as you’re going to get to the acoustics of typing on a laptop. Ideal for typing during conference calls and next to coworkers. It’s so quiet, people around you might not even realize it’s a mechanical keyboard.

Actuation force
45±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm

Cherry MX Black

Cherry black keyswitches

Think Cherry MX Red, but heavier. Linear, with no tactile or audible feedback.

Actuation force
60±20gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm

Cherry MX White

Cherry white keyswitches

This is a heavier switch with a somewhat muted click. Not a crunchy click -- think about the sound the door of a luxury car makes when it closes. A thud which is backed by some real heft. For people who enjoy typing quite firmly.

Actuation force
70±20gf
Pre-travel
2.2±0.6mm

Cherry MX Speed Silver [SpeedSwitch]

Cherry silver keyswitches

The smoothest Cherry MX Switch there is. Like a Red but lighter and more responsive, springy enough to get that mechanical feedback that you know and love, light enough to type for hours.

Actuation force
45±15gf
Pre-travel
1.2±0.4mm

Kailh Brown

Oh so smooth. At 60gF, this rendition of the classic Brown switch takes a bit of pressing. Compared to Cherry MX Brown, its sound is pitched a little lower and more subdued, and its return action is less pronounced.

Actuation force
60±10gf
Pre-travel
2.0±0.6mm

Kailh Thick Gold [SpeedSwitch]

Popcorn in keyboard form. These are clicky in a way we’ve never experienced before: Clicks once on the downstroke, and clicks again on the upstroke. A high-pitched, crisp click. Light, precise, and utterly unique -- this keyswitch is addictive.

Actuation force
50±10gf
Pre-travel
1.1±0.3mm

Kailh Gold [SpeedSwitch]

An extremely fun keyswitch - we would almost say it’s exciting to type on. Its click is crisp and precise, and its actuation is smooth. Just typing on this switch would make you feel productive.

Actuation force
60±10gf
Pre-travel
1.4±0.3mm

Kailh Silver [SpeedSwitch]

This is an extremely smooth keyswitch. Light enough not to tire your fingers, and quiet, too. You can feel the linear resistance, but it’s not too much -- just springy enough so that you feel you’re actually pressing something. Ideal for soft typing in an office environment.

Actuation force
40±10gf
Pre-travel
1.1±0.3mm

Kailh Copper [SpeedSwitch]

Quite similar to the Kailh Silver, only these are tactile. So even though it’s specced the same in terms of actuation force, to our fingers these switches felt heavier than the Silver. Just as smooth and quiet as the Silver, but a little more muscular. Think “Brown lite”.

Actuation force
40±10gf
Pre-travel
1.1±0.3mm

A summary

Finally, here's a quick table comparing all of our keyswitches:

Switch Force Pre-Travel Feel Notes
Cherry MX Brown 45±20gf 2.0±0.6mm Tactile Tactile and quiet. A preferred choice for developers, writers, and anyone who works long hours in front of the computer.
Cherry MX Blue 50±15gf 2.0±0.6mm Clicky Everyone's favorite "clicky" switch. Easily recognizable by their signature audible clicking sound.
Cherry MX Clear 55±15gf 2.0±0.6mm Tactile A slightly heavier sibling to the Brown switch. Same qualities of Brown with a bit more resistance, for those who want more pronounced tactile feedback.
Cherry MX Red 45±20gf 2.0±0.6mm Linear Most popular among gamers for their relatively light weight, and lack of tactile feedback. A solid performer for high-speed keypresses.
Cherry MX Silent Red 45±15gf 2.0±0.6mm Linear These really are silent. A very quiet keyswitch, it’s as close as you’re going to get to the acoustics of typing on a laptop.
Cherry MX Black 60±20gf 2.0±0.6mm Linear Think Cherry MX Red, but heavier. Linear, with no tactile or audible feedback.
Cherry MX White 70±20gf 2.2±0.6mm Clicky This is a heavier switch with a somewhat muted click. Not a crunchy click -- think about the sound the door of a luxury car makes when it closes. A thud which is backed by some real heft.
Cherry MX Speed Silver 45±15gf 1.2±0.4mm Linear The smoothest Cherry MX Switch there is. Like a Red but lighter and more responsive, springy enough to get that mechanical feedback that you know and love, light enough to type for hours.
Kailh Brown 60±10gf 2.0±0.6mm Tactile Compared to Cherry MX Brown, its sound is pitched a little lower and more subdued, and its return action is less pronounced.
Kailh Thick Gold 50±10gf 1.1±0.6mm Clicky Clicks once on the downstroke, and clicks again on the upstroke. A high-pitched, crisp click. Light, precise, and utterly unique - this keyswitch is addictive.
Kailh Gold 60±10gf 1.4±0.3mm Clicky Its click is crisp and precise, and its actuation is smooth.
Kailh Silver 40±10gf 1.1±0.3mm Linear This is an extremely smooth keyswitch. Light enough not to tire your fingers, and quiet, too. Ideal for soft typing in an office environment.
Kailh Copper 40±10gf 1.1±0.3mm Tactile Quite similar to the Kailh Silver, only these are tactile. Think “Brown lite”.
Not sure what to choose?

The ErgoDox EZ comes with Cherry MX Brown by default. If you're new to mechanical keyboards or just not sure what to choose, these switches are a popular and safe choice you're bound to enjoy.

Also, you can always contact us.