Choosing your key switches? 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 key switches?

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 seven different key switches. 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 key switches to see what feels best under your fingers.

Our key switches

Here are the Gateron key switches we currently offer.

Gateron Brown

Gateron brown key switches

Being the most popular choice, Gateron brown switches are tactile and quiet and are great for office use. These are a great choice for programmers, writers, and anyone who works long hours in front of the computer.

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

Gateron Blue

Gateron Blue key switches

Almost as popular as Browns, Gateron Blue switches are everyone's favorite "clicky" switch. Also a great choice for anyone who types for hours, these might not make your co-workers very happy. Gateron blue switches are pretty loud, so go for these if you work from home or have some very geeky co-workers.

Actuation force
60g±15gf
Pre-travel
2.3mm±0.6mm

Gateron White

Gateron White key switches

The lightest key of them all, White switches are linear and require just a feather touch to actuate.

Actuation force
35g±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0mm±0.6mm

Gateron Red

Gateron Red key swtiches

The linear Gateron Red switches are popular among gamers for their relatively light weight. Mash these for all they've got.

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

Gateron Yellow

Gateron yellow key switches

Very similar to Reds, Gateron Yellow switches are just a tad heavier.

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

Gateron Black

Gateron black key switches

The stiffest linear key switch. If you don't like clicky switches but are looking for something with a fairly hefty feel to it, Black is the keyswitch for you.

Actuation force
60g±15gf
Pre-travel
2.0mm±0.6mm

Gateron Green

Gateron green key switches

These heavy, clicky and tactile switches offer a satisfying yet stiff typing experience that will feel a lot like older mechanical keyboards. Beware: The heaviest keyswitch by far.

Actuation force
80g±15gf
Pre-travel
2.3mm±0.6mm

A summary

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

Switch Force (±15gf) Pre-Travel (±0.6mm) Feel Notes
Brown 55g 2.0mm Tactile Quiet, great for office use. Most people go for this. Corresponds to Cherry MX Brown.
Blue 60g 2.3mm Clicky The most popular "clicky" key. Corresponds to Cherry MX Blue.
White 35g 2.0mm Linear Think Cherry MX Red, but lighter.
Red 45g 2.0mm Linear A gamer favorite. Corresponds to Cherry MX Red.
Yellow 50g 2.0mm Linear … think Cherry MX Red, but heavier.
Black 60g 2.0mm Linear Corresponds to Cherry MX Black.
Green 80g 2.3mm Clicky A very heavy clicky switch, corresponds to Cherry MX Green.

Not sure what to choose?

The ErgoDox EZ comes with Gateron Brown switches 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.

If you're still unsure, feel free to contact us with questions and we'll help you choose the switch that's perfect for you.