Switches form the basis of mechanical keyboards, creating the ‘mechanical’ component that characterizes these devices. Without them, these keyboards wouldn’t be the same. Despite being largely concealed, these components are just as distinctive as keycaps and cases, making it vital to recognize how they operate to fully grasp how keyboards work.

Complete List of All Mechanical Keyboard Switches

ImageSwitch NameSwitch TypeMounting TypeActuation ForceFactory Lubed?Low Profile?Housing MaterialStem MaterialSpring TypeCostBuy
AEBoards BlaeckAEBoards BlaeckLinear5-pin63.5gTRUEFALSENylonPOM$0.45Cannon Keys
AEBoards Naevy R1.5AEBoards Naevy R1.5Tactile3-pin58gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonMPE$0.65Cannon Keys
AEBoards Naevy R2AEBoards Naevy R2Tactile5-pin63.5gTRUEFALSENylonPOM$0.45Cannon Keys
AEBoards RaedAEBoards RaedLinear3-pin58gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonMPE$0.65Cannon Keys
AEBoards Raed R2AEBoards Raed R2Linear3-pin58gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonMPE$0.45Cannon Keys
Cherry MX BlackCherry MX BlackLinear5-pin60gFALSEFALSENylonProprietary Thermoplastic$0.60Cannon Keys
Cherry MX BlackCherry Black VintageLinear5-pin60gFALSEFALSENylonPOM$2
cherry mx clearCherry MX ClearTactile5-pin65gFALSEFALSENylonProprietary Thermoplastic$0.60Cannon Keys
Cherry MX RedCherry MX RedLinear5-pin45gFALSEFALSENylonProprietary Thermoplastic$0.60Cannon Keys
Durock AnubisDurock AnubisTactile5-pin65gTRUEFALSENylonPOMGold Plated$0.65Cannon Keys
Durock Blue MacawDurock Blue MacawSilent Tactile5-pin65gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOM$0.75Cannon Keys
Durock CeruleanDurock CeruleanTactile5-pin65gTRUEFALSENylonPOMGold Plated$0.65Cannon Keys
Durock Cherry BlossomDurock Cherry BlossomLinear5-pin65gFALSEFALSEPOM-P3$0.70Cannon Keys
Durock CoralDurock CoralSilent Linear5-pin65gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOM$0.75Cannon Keys
Durock Dark Amber T1Durock Dark Amber T1Tactile5-pin65gTRUEFALSENylonPOMGold Plated$0.65Cannon Keys
Durock Korbs by TinyDurock Korbs by TinyLinear5-pin62gTRUEFALSENylonPOM$0.65Cannon Keys
Durock LavenderDurock LavenderLinear5-pin65gTRUEFALSENylonPOMGold Plated$0.65Cannon Keys
Durock LilacDurock LilacTactile5-pin65gTRUEFALSENylon/PC, NylonPOM$0.55Cannon Keys
Durock Makanisk Ultramarine V2Durock Makanisk Ultramarine V2Linear5-pin65gTRUEFALSENylon, PolyamideP3$0.66Cannon Keys
durock piano pomDurock Piano POMLinear5-pin48gFALSEFALSEPOMMysteryGold-Plated Spring$0.66
c3 bananaEQUALZ C3 Banana SplitLinear5-pin62gTRUEFALSENylon, PolyamidePOMGold Plated$0.7Cannon Keys
EQUALZ C3 Tangerine SwitchEQUALZ C3 TangerineLinear5-pin62g/67gTRUEFALSEUHMWPEPOMGold Plated$0.7Cannon Keys
gateron azure dragonGateron Azure DragonTactile5-pin63gTRUEFALSETop PC, Bottom PA66POM$0.5
Gateron BlackGateron BlackLinear5-pin60gFALSEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.23Cannon Keys
Gateron Black InkGateron Black InkLinear5-pin60gFALSEFALSEProprietary InkPOM$0.75Cannon Keys
Gateron BrownGateron BrownTactile5-pin45gFALSEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.23Cannon Keys
Gateron Brown lowGateron BrownTactile3-pin55gTRUEPC, Nylon PA66POM$0.33Keychron
Gateron Cap Golden Yellow V2Gateron Cap Golden Yellow V2Linear5-pin50gTRUEFALSEProprietary YellowPOM$0.48Cannon Keys
Gateron Cap Milky Yellow V2Gateron Cap Milky Yellow V2Linear5-pin50gTRUEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.30Cannon Keys
Gateron CJGateron CJLinear5-pin50gTRUEFALSEInk, POMPOM$0.65Cannon Keys
Gateron Full Nylon YellowGateron Full Nylon YellowLinear5-pin63.5gFALSEFALSENylonPOM$0.23Cannon Keys
Gateron Milky YellowGateron Milky YellowLinear5-pin50gFALSEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.23Cannon Keys
Gateron Milky YellowGateron Milky Yellow ProLinear5-pin50gTRUEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.3Cannon Keys
Gateron Mizu MinkGateron Mizu MinkLinear5-pin50gFALSEFALSEProprietary Milky, Proprietary InkPOM$0.77Cannon Keys
Gateron Oil KingGateron Oil KingLinear5-pin55gTRUEFALSENylon, Proprietary InkPOM$0.65Cannon Keys
Gateron Pro North PoleGateron Pro North PoleLinear5-pin50gTRUEFALSEPCInk v2Gold Plated$0.68Cannon Keys
gateron pure berryGateron Pure Berry x SwagkeysLinear5-pin62gTRUEFALSEPC & Nylon MixPOMLong Spring$0.4Cannon Keys
Gateron RedGateron RedLinear5-pin45gFALSEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.23Cannon Keys
Gateron Vermilion BirdGateron Vermilion BirdLinear5-pin50gTRUEFALSETop PC, Bottom PA66POMTwo-Stage 18mm$0.5
Gateron XGateron XLinear5-pin50gFALSEFALSENylon-blend, NylonPOM$0.49Cannon Keys
Glorious Panda LubedGlorious Panda (Lubed)Tactile3-pin67gTRUEFALSEPC, Nylon PA66POM$0.69Glorious
Glorious Panda LubedGlorious Panda (Unlubed)Tactile3-pin67gFALSEFALSEPC, Nylon PA66POM$0.69Glorious
Gopolar Azure DragonGopolar Azure DragonTactile5-pin63gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOMTwo Stage$0.70Kono
holy pandaDrop x Invyr Holy PandaTactile5-pin67gFALSEFALSEPC, NylonHalo switchTwo Stage$1.5Drop
holy pandaDrop x Gateron Holy Panda XTactile5-pin60gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOMTwo Stage$1.5Drop
jelly strawberryJelly Strawberry V2Linear3-pin52gFALSEFALSETop PC, Bottom NylonPOMLong Spring$0.3Drop
jelly strawberry v3Jelly Strawberry V3Linear5-pin52gTRUEFALSENylonPOMLong Spring$0.3
JWK JWICK BlackJWK JWICK BlackLinear5-pin58.5gTRUEFALSENylonPOM$0.24Cannon Keys
JWK JWICK YellowJWK JWICK YellowLinear5-pin65gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOM$0.24Cannon Keys
JWK MauveJWK MauveLinear5-pin65gTRUEFALSENylon/PC, NylonPOM$0.55Cannon Keys
JWK SealJWK SealLinear5-pin78gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOMGold Plated$0.60Cannon Keys
JWK Taro BallJWK Taro BallTactile5-pin65gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOMGold Plated$0.60Cannon Keys
JWK Wuque OnionJWK Wuque OnionLinear5-pin63.5gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOM$0.70Cannon Keys
JWK Wuque Original AspirationJWK Wuque Original AspirationLinear5-pin67gFALSEFALSEPC, UHMWPEPOM$0.65Cannon Keys
Kailh BOX Crystal PinkKailh BOX Crystal PinkClicky5-pin62gTRUEFALSEProprietary ClearMX$0.45Cannon Keys
kailh box jadeKailh BOX JadeClicky5-pin50gTRUEFALSEProprietary ClearMX$0.45Cannon Keys
Kailh BOX Jellyfish V2Kailh BOX Jellyfish V2Linear5-pin50gTRUEFALSEPCPA$0.72Kinetic Labs
Kailh BOX Jellyfish V2Kailh BOX Jellyfish V2Clicky5-pin50gTRUEFALSEPCPA$0.72Kinetic Labs
Kailh FLCMMK Ice MintKailh FLCMMK Ice MintLinear5-pin40gTRUEFALSEPOMPOM$0.65Cannon Keys
Kailh NovelKeys Box RoyalKailh NovelKeys Box RoyalTactile3-pin45gTRUEFALSEPC, Nylon PA66POM$0.50NovelKeys
KTT GrapefruitKTT GrapefruitLinear3-pin45gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOM$0.27Kinetic Labs
ktt kang whiteKTT Kang WhiteLinear3-pin60gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOMProgressive Spring$0.15
ktt mintKTT MintLinear3 pin45gFALSEFALSETop PC, Bottom NylonPOM15mm$0.2
ktt matchaKTT MatchaTactile3 pin40gFALSEFALSEPCPOM$0.4
ktt roseKTT RoseLinear3-pin43gFALSEFALSETop PC, Bottom NylonPOMProgressive$0.2
ktt peachKTT PeachLinear3-pin45gFALSEFALSETop PC, Bottom NylonPOMProgressive$0.2
ktt strawberryKTT StrawberryLinear3/5-pin43gTRUEFALSEPCPOMProgressive$0.4
Momoka FrogMomoka FrogLinear3-pin54gTRUEFALSEPC, NylonPOM$0.50Cannon Keys
Novelkeys x Kailh Cream SwitchNovelkeys x Kailh CreamLinear3-pin55gTRUEFALSEPOMPOM$0.50Novelkeys
Kailh Cream ChocolateNovelkeys x Kailh Cream ChocolateLinear3-pin55gTRUEFALSEPOMPOM$0.50Novelkeys
Outemu Gazzew Boba U4Outemu Gazzew Boba U4Silent Tactile5-pin62gTRUEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.65Ringer Keys
Outemu Gazzew Boba U4TOutemu Gazzew Boba U4TTactile5-pin62gTRUEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.65Ringer Keys
Outemu Gazzew Boba U4TOutemu Gazzew Boba U4TTactile5-pin68gTRUEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.65Ringer Keys
Outemu Gazzew Boba U5Outemu Gazzew Boba U5Silent Tactile5-pin68gTRUEFALSEProprietary MilkyPOM$0.65Ringer Keys
SP Star SacramentoSP-Star SacramentoLinear5-pin62gFALSEFALSENylonPOM$0.58Cannon Keys
SP Star Meteor WhiteSP-Star Meteor WhiteLinear5-pin57gTRUEFALSENylonPOM$0.58Cannon Keys
Tecsee Coffee Chip CreamTecsee Coffee Chip CreamTactile5-pin68gFALSEFALSEPMEPOM$0.47Cannon Keys
Tecsee Neopolitan Ice CreamTecsee Neopolitan Ice CreamTactile5-pin63.5gTRUEFALSEPCPOMTwo Stage$0.70Cannon Keys
Tecsee Purple PandaTecsee Purple PandaTactile5-pin55gTRUEFALSEPMEPOM$0.50Keebsforall
TTC Bluish WhiteTTC Bluish WhiteTactile3-pin42gTRUEFALSEProprietary Clear, Proprietary BlueProprietary Blue$0.48Cannon Keys
TTC Gold PinkTTC Gold PinkLinear3-pin37gTRUEFALSEProprietary Clear, Proprietary GoldProprietary Pink$0.48Cannon Keys
ttc wildTTC WildLinear5-pin55g/42gFALSEFALSETop PC, Bottom PA66POMTTC gold spring$1Cannon Keys
ttc matrix 1TTC Matrix-01Linear5-pin45gTRUEFALSENylonPOMDouble stage gold spring$1Cannon Keys
ttc matrix tactileTTC Matrix TactileTactile5-pin63.5gTRUEFALSENylonPOMDouble stage gold spring$1Cannon Keys
Mechanical Keyboard Switches

What is the keyboard switches?

Every keyboard needs switches to make it function, and nowhere is this more true than on a mechanical keyboard. These little components, which sit underneath the keycaps, are the connection between the keyboard PCB and the keypressed.

While you may not see them, the manner in which they feel, sound, and look have great bearing on how your keyboard feels when you type.

Most of the available switches on the market right now is Cherry MX style switch, so from now on in this article, if we don’t mention anything specific, “switch” will stand for “Cherry MX style switch”.

mechanical keyboard switches

Switch Types

Switches are typically divided into three distinct varieties, which are based on their design: Tactile, Linear, and Clicky.

  • Linear switches are the simplest type of switch. They are consistent, with no tactile feedback or noise when pressing the actuation point, usually located in the middle. This means that most key presses will typically bottom out.
  • Tactile switches, however, offer a bump at the actuation point, providing feedback that the key press has been registered.
  • Clicky switches provide a click sound at the actuation point; this type of switch benefits users by allowing them to release the key quickly after feedback has been received.

Switches currently used are based off a design from German company Cherry. This patent has since expired, meaning other companies have been able to create their own versions of the design. Cherry MX is the term given to the switches still produced by Cherry, such as the MX Brown and MX Red.

MX-compatible refers to being compatible with the Cherry MX-style switch, characterized by its ‘+’ shaped stem; an example of this is Boba 4U switches:

boba u4t switch
Boba 4U

Keycaps are also typically available in this style. However, they are not suitable for other switches such as Topre, which feature a different stem.

All Switch Parts

all switch parts
All parts of Cherry MX style switches

Switch Housing

The two components of the housing are the base and top housing. The base housing is fitted with two pins which slot into the printed circuit board (PCB) and usually require soldering, unless it is a ‘hotswap’ keyboard where no soldering is required. Switches can either be plate-mount or PCB-mount, with the latter having two plastic legs which secure it to the PCB.


The stem is housed in the switch case, rested atop a spring and ‘+’ extrusion which locks into the base of the keycap. The two legs of the switch mediate the level of tactile feedback when the metal leaf makes contact with them.


The underlying base on which the stem sits is held in place by a spring. Spring weights vary, with stronger springs needing more power for a keypress.

Metal Leaf

When a key is pressed, the switch stem presses against the metal contact embedded in the lower housing. This action triggers the circuit board to register the keypress, resulting in its associated symbol appearing on the computer screen.

modding switches

How to mod switches

Let’s now explore the different ways to modify switches to better fit your individual preferences. After getting up to speed on the key distinctions and components that make up any given switch, you should be able to tweak it to match your desired characteristics.

Lube switches

One of the first steps that modders tend to take, even for their first build, is lubricating the switch components. This can have a dramatic impact on how the switch feels, sounds, and even its weight, depending on the lube used.

Read more: Complete guide to doing switch lube.

Mod springs

You should at least bag-lube your switch springs before using your non-lubed switches to significantly improve your typing experience. If you want to be a bit more advanced, swapping out the stock spring in a switch is an effortless way to alter its response.

There are various springs available in different materials, weights, and in progressive options.

Film Switches

A thin film, known as a switch film, is applied to the base of a switch and positioned between the base and the top housing. This allows for a tighter fit between the two parts, which in turn helps lower any wobble and gives off a better feel and sound.

Read more: How to film switches.

Other Switch Mods

  • Frakenswitches: Putting together different switch parts, known as transplanting, is often required to create a switch with desired qualities. The result can be quite unique, like the Holy Panda Frankenswitch, created by combining a Halo Clear or True stem with a YOK Panda housing.
  • Custom your own color way: Occasionally, designers and vendors will offer alternative colors for existing switches. YOK Polar Pandas, for example, take the standard gray housing and give it a vibrant blue look. This is done to provide visual variety, as well as to coordinate with a particular keyset. Additionally, the spring weight may vary from the original.

Other Less-Popular Switch Types

Low-profile Switches

Low-profile switches are ideal for creating thinner mechanical keyboards due to their flat shape. Compared to standard switches, these switches offer shorter actuation distances, making them perfect for tight spaces.

Cherry MX Low-profile

cherry low profile switch

Since 2018, Cherry has added MX Low Profile Red linear switches to their selection. Ideal for both typing and gaming, these switches have an actuation distance of 1.2 mm.

For those seeking even faster response times, the MX Low Profile Speed linear switch has an actuation distance of just 1 mm, making them the perfect choice for gaming.

Logitech GL

Logitech GL low profile switch

Many Logitech keyboards are outfitted with Logitech’s low-profile GL switches.

These switches feature a height that’s around half that of a traditional switch, and come in three distinct varieties – GL Clicky, GL Tactile and GL Linear – each of which provides its own unique feedback. The actuation point for all three is 1.5mm.

Optical Switches

Optical or opto-mechanical switches are a relatively new development with potential to revolutionize keyboards. Unlike traditional mechanical switches that rely on making metal-to-metal contact to actuate, optical switches are triggered using light signals.

This leads to less physical contact and makes them more durable and less prone to degradation due to usage.

razer optical switch
How Razer Optical Switch works

Razer is one example of a brand that has started producing optical switches. Their versions have been around since June 2018 when they debuted in Razer Huntsman and Razer Huntsman Elite.

  • The Razer Clicky Optical Switch is a tactile and audible feedback technology with a royal purple hue. Its name alone tells you all you need to know about this exciting new switch!
  • Razer’s Linear Optical Switch features a shallow actuation point, needing less pressure to activate than a Cherry MX Red. Although this short travel time is beneficial, it does take some time getting accustomed to. So make sure to give yourself a few days to get used to it.
  • Razer Analog Optical Switch technology brings users a heightened level of control when gaming. Not only does it detect if a key is pressed, but it measures how far it is pressed; the switch can be configured to trigger different actions at various points of a single key stroke. This is similar to a joystick and provides more accurate movement within a game. The first keyboard to use this technology is the Huntsman V2 Analog, released in February 2021. With the Razer Analog Optical Switch, gamers are able to access a more precise gameplay experience.
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