Keyboard Key Switch Loudness Comparison
Ranking of Key Switch Noise Levels
Here's rank of noises of keyboard key switches. The ranking is based on practical use, not from pressing a single key. The ranking is from my own experience of using of keyboards since 1991 plus watching many internet videos.
- Buckling Spring Key Switch. Loudest.
- Cherry MX Blue switches.
- Cherry MX Red switches. MX Red is silent if you press it slowly. But the noise came from key hitting bottom.
- Cherry MX Brown switches.
- Cherry MX Black switches.
- Gateron Red switches.
- Topre Switch 45g. e.g. HHKB
- Logitech Romer-G Tactile Switch. [see Romer-G Switch].
- Topre Switch silent. e.g. HHKB Pro HYBRID Type-S
- Cherry MX Silent Black switches.
- Cherry MX Silent Red switches.
- Niz Switch topre clone.
- Chicklet key rubber dome scissor switches. e.g. Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard
- linear Kailh Choc Switch
- Laptop keyboards. [see Evolution of Laptop Keyboard]
Where Does the Key Noise Came From
Some switches intentionally make a noise, such as Cherry MX Blue Clicky and Buckling Spring Key Switch
Most switches do not make any noise at all if you press them slowly.
The noise came from:
- The key hitting bottom. (try hit a key hard and fast, and hear the sound hitting bottom. This sound is similar if you hit desk with your finger fast. Try it. You get knocking sound.)
- Key bouncing back. (try this: press down the key slowly all the way, then move finger side way off suddenly. The key pops back by spring, “hits top”, makes noise.)
- Key housing. For example, the spacebar. The spacebar make the loudest noise, especially those from cheap rubber dome computer keyboards. e.g. Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
- Friction noise. The spring, stem, keycap, together makes noises. Especially on cheap rubber dome computer keyboard.
Reduce Key Noise by Rubber Ring
One way to reduce noise is to buy those rubber ring switch dampeners. You put them in each key yourself.
I do not recommend it. Too much trouble, also it doesn't help much.