Keyboard Cherry MX Switches

By Xah Lee. Date: .

Cherry Corporation of Germany makes a series of mechanical key switches called Cherry MX.

Cherry MX series of switches are first introduced in 1983. They are the most well known switches. There are several different models, with different feel to them. These models are color coded.

Cherry MX Switchtypeforcepre-traveltotal travel
β–© Speed Silverlinear45g1.2mm3.4mm
β–© Redlinear45g2mm4mm
β–© Silent Redlinear45g1.9mm3.7mm
β–© Blacklinear60g2mm4mm
β–© Browntactile55g2mm4mm
β–© Blueclicky60g2.2mm4mm
cherry mx switch tester 08767 s
Key Switch Tester
Cherry MX keyswitch
Cherry MX key switch, disassembled. Notice the spring. It is the spring that determines resistance of the key.

Linear Action: Red, Black, Silent Red, Speed Silver

All these are linear switches.

Cherry MX red MXStd Red v004 4v8ss
Cherry MX Red. Smooth linear action. Popular in gaming keyboards.

MX Red requires the least pressure to activate the key. It's really nice. Typing on it is effortless.

CHERRY MX Red switches

Cherry MX Black is same as Red, except more force is required. I don't like MX Black at all.

Tactile Action: Brown, Blue

The Brown and Blue types have a tactile bump. When you press down, after certain point, there's a bump feel, then after that the pressure is reduced.

The Brown and Blue types are often preferred by programers and writers.

Cherry MX Brown v004 j3qr3
Cherry MX Brown Switch mechanism. Light bump.
Cherry MX Blue v004 62b6w
Cherry MX Blue Switch mechanism. Sharp bump, with audible click.

The difference between Brown and Blue are:

Cherry MX Blue switches Cherry MX Brown switches

cherry mx switch contact 45337
animation showing Cherry MX switch's electric contact mechanism
Max Keyboard Premium PCB mount Cherry MX Switch, O-Ring and Keycap Sampler Kit

Key Switch Tester

There are many other color-coded Cherry MX switches, but less common.

Key Switch Topic

Xah Keyboard Guide