Deciding between the Cherry MX Brown vs. Red switches is not as easy as it sounds, as they both stand tall at the peak of the Cherry lineup. As such, you need to arm yourself with all the necessary details and information before you settle for any of them.

We’ll help you unveil the most prominent features, functionalities, pros, and cons of these two fantastic switches in a bid to help you determine the best for your keyboard.

Cherry MX Red vs. Brown Quick Comparison Table

Properties MX Brown MX Red
Behavior Tactile Linear
Feel Medium Light
Actuation Force 45g 45g
Actuation Point 2mm 2mm
Total Travel Distance 4mm 4mm
Sound Level Quiet Quiet
Rated Lifespan 50 million strokes per key 50 million strokes per key

The Cherry MX Brown and Cherry MX Red Switches: How They Compare

A keyboard is a necessary part of any computer. More importantly, the switch underneath each keycap makes it worth using. A switch is that trusty component to help you keep things stable while you pound away.

The Cherry MX is the foremost brand of switches that rules the market today. Virtually every other switch is cloned from this brand. Notably, we are going to focus on two of the most popular and widely used Cherry MX switches. Those are the MX Red and Brown.

Without mincing words, both Cherry MX Brown and Cherry MX Red stand out in terms of features, performances, and durability. A winner must emerge at the end of the day, so which is the better color out of the two?

Here is what we think:

The MX Brown is tactile in behavior, while the MX Red is linear. However, they’re both quiet in sound level and much of their operation.

They also have the same actuation force and point. That means you’re more likely to get the same results depending on the purpose you put your keyboard to.

Further, both of these switches have durable construction and design. You can put this down to the overall Cherry brand, which guarantees 50 million keystrokes per key for both MX switches. At least you won’t be changing them any time soon.

What’s more, the two switches have almost the same weight. However, MX Red switches are noticeably lighter than their Brown counterparts.

Whether you love that audible click or something much quieter, they’re both great investments. It all comes down to personal preference. In line with that, a look at each individually will reveal more details.

1. Cherry MX Brown Keyswitch

Pros

• Strong and long-lasting
• Quick actuation and responses
• Versatile switch fit for many uses
• Quality bump and silent travel

Cons

• The short actuation can affect certain functions

Cherry MX Brown switches are great switches that are found in different keyboards. You’ll find them in gaming keyboards even though they’re also good for typing. That is because they’re tactile switches requiring 45g of force to activate.

They don’t produce much noise, either, while they spring back very quickly. Further, they’re referred to as the most popular type of tactile, non-clicky switch. Most Filco keyboards have Brown switches in them.

What’s more, if you’re looking to get the best of both worlds in a switch that stands between linear and clicky, this is it. They’re known as the best middle option for gaming and typing. Since they’re mostly quiet, they’re also perfect for office environments.

The bumps occur along the travel path and confirm a registered keypress. For gamers, MX Browns provide accuracy over speed, and this is a feature most users will appreciate because they’ll instantly know when a key is pressed.

  • Overall

Cherry MX Brown is a great investment if you desire a switch that is neither linear nor clicky but a little of each in some ways.

Cherry MX Brown switches are a suitable blend of great features and functionalities that will make your overall typing and gaming experience worthwhile. Also, they are versatile, and there is far less hysteresis than on other key switches.

2. Cherry MX Red Keyswitch

Pros

• Very fast
• Minimal resistance
• Silent with little actuation force required
• Durable

Cons

• Can get too light

Cherry MX Red switches were introduced as far back as 2008. They’re widely known because of the features and specifications they pack. For instance, they only require 45 grams of force to actuate, and they have a light touch fit for both gaming and typing.

These switches encourage quiet keys, which makes them great for serene environments. In particular, the MX Red Silent variant is great for crowded spaces or office environments. This way, there are no complaints since they’re not as loud as their clicky counterparts.

Designed with rapid actuation, it’s no wonder they feature heavily in many gaming keyboards. MX Red switches do not have their travel paths affected by bumps. Also, they do not have to reset past any paths to repeat any action. As a result, gamers can quickly double-tap or triple-tap keys because of the sheer speed.

What’s more, these switches are far smoother than other Cherry’s. MX Reds are just as sturdy and durable, too. With up to 50 million guaranteed keystrokes per key, it’s worth having on your keyboard. With minimal travel distance, it’s best for just about any purpose.

  • Overall

If you’re looking for fast action with minimal resistance, this switch is the answer. It doesn’t have a tactile bump in the middle you need to overcome. This makes it a go-to choice for typists and gamers.

MX Brown and Red Keyswitch: Head to Head

There’s very little to suggest one switch is better than the other. However, there are some details in a head-to-head comparison that are worth mentioning.

Here’s how they compare in different categories:

Behavior

  • Winner: MX Red

Tactility is fast becoming a popular feature on most keyboards and switches. With tactile and clicky switches, there’s always confirmation whenever you press a key. This shows that it’s being registered in the PC. As such, it comes in the form or feeling of a bump as it hits the actuation point.

While gaming or doing other stuff that involves your keyboard, you don’t have to press down fully to register a keystroke, which is one big difference between Cherry MX switches.

The MX Red features a linear switch, and this makes it great for fast-paced games, especially of the first-person variety. With linear, you don’t have to overcome any click or bump.

Feel

  • Winner: MX Brown

While the light feel of the MX Red has many advantages, we think Browns are more stable. At least, you won’t worry about it getting rattly or wobbly.

Moreover, the light design of Reds means merely touching them can activate a key. What’s more, lighter feel means typos aren’t far off when typing. The same thing happens when you have to be specific about a key while gaming

If you’re used to the light feel of the linear Red switches, go ahead and use them, but we feel that Browns are much adept at providing the best stability.

Sound Level

  • Winner: Both

Every key switch out there has its unique sound, including the top Cherry keyboard switches. Tactile Brown switches give off little, if any, noise. This is followed by a bump, but on the whole, they’re very silent. Even if you bottom out the keys applying force, it’s pretty noiseless.

The MX Red is linear and quietest of the entire Cherry bunch. Further, the lack of bump adds to its noiseless legend. Forcing the keys down to the bottom won’t produce any noise.

Both switches are winners with the kind of sound level they have. You can get a lot done anywhere without worrying about affecting other people.

Actuation Point and Force

  • Winner: Both

The actuation point for both is 2mm, while the force you need is 45g for both. This means you don’t have to do so much before your keypresses register.

Moreover, from the top of the keycap to the middle is often enough. Playing games and typing won’t stress you out with minimal force required. Again, both offer very little resistance so you can quickly move on to the next.

Key Travel

  • Winner: Both

Most gamers prefer keys with a shorter travel distance. Both switches duly oblige with a 4mm travel distance. As a result, it takes less effort to actuate the keys. On the other hand, a large travel distance is great. Each keystroke is more distinct or pronounced.
The MX Brown and Red key switches have the same key travel distance.

Durability

  • Winner: Both

As far as Cherry MX switches comparison go, durability is important. It’s a feature any switch should have. Let’s face it: buying switches all the time will eventually leave you frustrated at some point. This is why both the Brown and Red are 50 million strong per key. Apart from that, Cherry is a brand known for quality constructions and designs.

What to Know Before Getting a Keyswitch

Getting switches for your keyboard takes some doing. You’d have to make the right decision so that your keyboard performs well. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Longevity

This is an important consideration because you’ll want a sturdy and durable switch. Whether you opt for Browns or Reds, guaranteed keystrokes are an advantage. At least you won’t fork out more money to buy new ones.

Moreover, a switch that can withstand a lot of force is worth having.

2. Behavior

There are three main types of behaviors. While they all have their advantages and drawbacks, choosing one to fit your needs is important. If you want linear, you’ll have a smoother keyboard to work with. They won’t give off sounds and bumps either.

For tactile switches, there’s always a slight bump halfway through. For example, Brown mechanical switches are silent but quite fast and fit for many uses. Clicky switches are mostly loud and will get many people pissed off.

3. What you need it for

Getting what suits your needs cuts across all kinds of products and accessories, including a key switch. If you love typing, get a switch that helps with that.

On the flip side, you might need something built for gaming. There are tons of switches for that purpose. Then again, you might want one that performs both functions well. An example is the MX Brown.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which of the two switches is perfect for gaming?

Like most of the explanations here, it’s about what your personal preferences are. This hasn’t stopped Indie from saying that linear switches are best for gaming.

This isn’t true, however, because the Brown and Red MX have fast actuation forces and points. In practice, you don’t have to go all the way down to register a keypress.

Further, they’re both consistent, and their silent design is a nice feature. You’d want to play games at night without waking the whole house. It is our opinion that both of these switches will perform well for gamers. You can use either of them for gaming without sticking to one.

2. How long do Cherry switches last?

It’s hard to come across a manufacturer openly stating how long its products last. This is the case with several switch brands. What we know about Cherry’s switches is that, for the key presses, you’re guaranteed 50 million keystrokes. A careful look at that shows you can use your switch for well over ten years!

The long lifespan of a key switch is important. Even if you’re a bit heavy-handed, MX Red and Browns provide enough durability.

3. What are the differences between tactile and linear switches?

The main difference lies in their tactility or lack thereof. For a keyboard to recognize a linear keypress, it has to go all the way down to be registered. Tactile switches only need to go about halfway down for a keystroke to register. They come in handy when you play a lot of challenging games or type with speed.

Conclusion

Comparing the Brown and Red MX switches shows how close they are. Settling for one is more of a challenge than other comparisons.

In the end, it all boils down to what your preferences are, as they share some top features and functionalities that will appeal to any user.

Both Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX Brown switches are silent and require the same force to actuate. Usually, MX Brown switches are versatile and can act as a middle ground between Reds and others. However, we think the MX Red edges it if we consider all aspects.

Cherry MX Red switches come in handy for a raft of functions, including gaming and typing, with rapid actuation and tactility that will give you a great experience.

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