The type of linear switches, should you choose one, is a vital factor in how you set up your mechanical keyboard.

Whether you’re a gamer or need it for some typing jobs, you’ll want something to boost your speed and accuracy and enhance your gaming experience.

This is why we have come up with this review to help you select which linear switch is best for you and your mechanical keyboard.

Linear Switches Comparison Table

Switch Brand Specifications
Kailh Cream KAILH
  •  Clicky sounds
  •  RGB Backlit

 

Gateron KS-15 GATERON
  •  RGB
  •  Optical switches
Cherry MX Red Keyswitch CHERRY
  •  RGB LED
  •  Nice spring
Kailh Box Switches KAILH
  •  SMD
  •  Water-resistant
  •  Dust resistant

A Comprehensive Review of the Best Linear Switches for your Keyboard

  1. Kailh Cream Switches

  • Pros

  • Clicky
  • Decent value for money
  • Consistent
  • Fast actuation
  • Cons

  • A bit average
  • Might wobble

Kailh is a valid brand that’s come up with excellent switches fit for a vast range of keyboards. This linear switch has an operating force of 50g and is very different from the speed switches due to its stems.

Also, with the burgundy, there’s a smooth feeling and a little curve when you get things started.

Most users have compared it to the Zealio 65g. Perhaps this is because of the decent but strong and smooth bump. This makes it very comfortable for users who want to get some downtime with their favorite game or get some work done with their computer.

This Cream Speed is also clicky with some good sounds. No doubt, you’ll have some fun pressing them. They actuate very quickly, and immediately, the stem starts to depress. Depending on what you like, this is cool, but if you like bottoming out, this won’t go all the way.

  • Overview

Great linear switch fit for gamers and users who have tons of work to do in a really short time. The responses are simply that good.

  1. Gateron KS-15

  • Pros

  • RGB enabled
  • Optical switches
  • Smooth and reliable
  • Durable
  • Cons

  • Not as fast

The Gateron KS-15 is an optical switch. This probably means you need an optical switch PCB, much like other linear switches. Also, this transparent switch is much smoother. It has a slight edge over its Cherry MX counterparts in terms of the actuation point.

Further, it’s a long-lasting switch and will go as far as 100 million cycles. The higher actuation leads to faster responses which users who game and type will only be proud of. What’s more, this switch won’t fail or malfunction because of corrosion or even metal lead bending.

What you have is a great linear experience. The tactile feel, small bump, and good resistance are enough to keep you happy.

  • Overview

This switch is great for people who don’t want something loud but need little assurances like small discernible bumps and clicks. What’s more, a hot-swappable PCB will bring out the best in this switch.

  1. Cherry MX Red Keyswitch

  • Pros

  • Doesn’t cost much
  • Fast and accurate
  • Quick feedback
  • Cons

  • Needs more quality

The Cherry MX switch family is a renowned switch that’s right up there with the best. Each switch in their lineup is unique and offers features according to their colors and characteristics. The MX Red Keyswitch is one of them and truly delivers with linear-type switches.

Their travel path doesn’t come with that noticeable bump which produces tactile feedback. However, they are fast and do not have to reset past that bump to register a repeat press.

This means a gamer wouldn’t have to stress about double-tapping or triple-tapping keycaps to capitalize on speed. It comes a bit natural with Cherry intending to give the best to its users.

As a result of its makeup and specifications, it has a smoother movement that makes it quieter than tactile and clicky switches.

  • Overview

Do you have a mechanical keyboard that doesn’t seem as fast or responsive? This linear keyswitch will help you achieve the speed you want while typing or gaming.

  1. Kailh Box Switches

  • Pros

  • Water and dust resistant
  • Fast actuation
  • SMD compatible
  • Springy feel
  • Cons

  • Could get loud

Do you have a hot-swappable mechanical keyboard already? The Kailh Box Switch will complement it just fine. It has an actuation grade of 50g and will bottom out at 60g. With an IP rating of 56, dust and water won’t damage it either.

If you’re looking for linear switches good for typing and gaming, this is a good choice.

This Kailh Box Switch is fast with a 3.6mm actuation point. This seems low in comparison to other Kailh switches, but for a linear variety, this is fast. To that end, expect to have a rather fast experience while you type, program, or play some games.

While gaming, you want all the split-second decisions and moves going your way. Well, with the reaction time after a downpress of the keycaps, you hold the advantage.

  • Overview

The sounds and clicky feel when you press on the key is pleasant. It promises a crisp auditory response while you game or do some programming.

Buying Guide

To get the best linear switches, it’s important to learn why they are highly beneficial. Also, the most important specifications or features to look out for will help you settle for the best.

Benefits of Linear Switches

  • Faster rebound

If you love gaming, then you are probably familiar with the term “hysteresis.” It takes place when the reset point on the switch is higher than the actuation point and leads to faster rebounds.

This is one of the main advantages of linear switches that games love. Further, they help with effectiveness when you have to perform rapid and repeated keystrokes.

  • Faster actuation

All switches are created to demand a certain level of force to depress the keycaps. A tactile switch takes a lot, but with a linear switch, all that fuss is avoided and leads to faster actuation.

  • Better smoothness

Not all switches will guarantee you a great deal of smoothness while gliding over your keyboard. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, either. You will experience a smooth feel with linear switches, especially with the Cherry MX Red switches.

  • Quiet but assured strokes

Linear keyboard switches are loved for their quiet action without any interference from tactility. As such, each keystroke is a direct downward drop with minimal click lead.

Even if they bottom out, they will still be silent or have springy sounds depending on the actuation force required. This makes it perfect for users who don’t want to deal with noise.

Beneficiaries of Linear Switches

  1. Gamers

The fact is that, in terms of gaming, linear switches are considered much better than their clicky and tactile counterparts. There’s nothing quite there to suggest otherwise. Gamers love the feel, speed, and response time of the linear switch. What’s more? There are fewer lags and better performances.

  1. Those who want more typing accuracy

There’s something about doing a keypress, however random, yet receiving the necessary information. This is what makes linear switches good for typing.

Things to Consider When Buying a Linear Switch

What do you want a mechanical keyboard for? When you figure that out and want linear switches, look out for the following:

  1. Specific Features

Some specific features add to the value of a linear switch. Some of them include:

  • Dust and water-resistance

This is like bonus points, especially if you love to eat and drink while using your keyboard. As such, you’d want one with switches that wouldn’t mind the odd spill of liquid or sprinkle of dust.

  • RGB Backlight

This is a feature of many modern-day switches. They add appeal to your keyboard and give you some leverage with customization options. A switch that enables your keys to change colors in different patterns is a keeper. You’ll have the visual effect and color intensity to control.

  • Clicky and springy sensation

Without feedback like that of a tactile switch, a clicky and springy sound helps to add to your experience. Such sounds make the activity you’re performing worthwhile.

  1. Travel Distance

Travel distance is important and refers to how far your fingers travel with each keystroke. Most keyboards immediately indicate their travel distance, which is often based on the type and model of switch involved. In some cases, speed or low-profile switches have smaller travel distances.

If you use one, the compact and light feel will improve your gaming and typing performance. This is because of the faster registration of keystrokes.

  1. Longevity

Spending money on a product means you value it enough. You’d naturally expect it to last for a long time. If you want to know how reliable linear switches are, you can check out how long it’s guaranteed to last for. Some come in at 50 million keystrokes while others exceed that.

  1. Spring Force

Some users are naturally heavy-handed even while typing on linear mechanical keyboard switches. This means heavier springs will make more sense for their fingers and keypresses.

With their fingers slamming down on the keys, they will still be able to type and game comfortably. The same thing is true when you have smaller hands or don’t apply too much force while using your keyboard.

What you should do is test out different linear switches to find out what suits you. Kailh switches are great, though, and offer a variety of springy switches.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are linear switches?

Linear switches are designed to produce a smooth and consistent actuation while using a keyboard. It does this without tactile feedback. If you don’t like small bumps given off by tactile switches and loud notices from clicky switches, linear varieties are best for you.

Linear switches are also quiet, smooth, and offer a seamless flow of keystrokes. This means better precision when typing or playing competitive games.

Should I get linear switches?

There’s nothing wrong with getting them for your keyboard. Since they are nice and easy to use, all you have to do is consider some of the factors outlined above before buying them. With them, you don’t have to bottom out completely.

However, if it’s your first time using them with mechanical keyboards, you’ll have some issues bottoming out.

How different are linear switches from tactile switches?

There are three main switch types: clicky, tactile, and linear. Most users are familiar with linear and tactile switches. There are differences between the two, though. To actuate a tactile switch, you only have to push it halfway down even if you continue to press it after that.

With linear switches, you have to go all the way down to actuate them. This is much like a membrane key while pressing down. A linear switch’s comparison with tactile switches has been on for a while now. However, it all depends on preferences. If you’re solely about gaming, a linear switch is preferable.

How do I clean my keyboard switches?

Whether your linear switch is water-resistant or not, spills happen. This can occur at any moment and could mean changing the switch for a new one or even abandoning your whole keyboard. The liquid in your keyboard can also lead to delayed response and loss of activity.

Clean them this way:

  • Take out the keycaps with a keycap remover.
  • Use a small brush with very soft bristles to brush them.
  • You can then use a softer dampened cloth after brushing the switches to gloss over.
  • Leave the switches to air out until they’re dry.
  • Try to get rid of any leftover particles or dirt.
  • Carefully reinstall the keycaps.

Conclusion

Linear switches are great tools that will fit underneath your keyboard very well. We are sure you don’t want to end up with a switch that will impede your productivity at work.

In this review, we have brought out some great options you can choose from. Whatever the case, go for what you’re most comfortable with.

However, if we are going to recommend any, we suggest you go for the Cherry MX Red switch for your typing and gaming needs. It will complement your keyboard and computer nicely.

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