What Are The Quietest Keyboard Switches

What Are The Quietest Keyboard Switches?

Some of the quietest mechanical keyboard switches are MX Cherry Silent Red and MX Cherry Silent Black. Cherry MX Browns are also said to be a quieter selection of switches with the use of O-rings. There are also many varieties of clones of said switches, such as Zealio created by Gateron, that are noted as quiet.

There are so many different kind of switches available now-a-days. It can be overwhelming when trying to find a switch, whether you are making your own keyboard from scratch, or just trying to find the right one for you. 

What Are The Quietest Keyboard Switches

Cherry MXs are typically the most popular switch. But other big brand companies are coming out with their similar switch. For instance, HyperX and their HyperX Red and Aqua. Also, there are websites, such as mechanicalkeyboards.com, that provide you with straightforward switches that you can trust to perform well. That's pretty awesome. 

Popular brands are a great place to start because you know who they are. If you have had their products before, it may add to their credibility for you, too. That doesn't mean all switches and brands are created equal, however. Don't be afraid to try out the up and coming. Eventually, you will be the judge and you can provide guidance to others.

The Silent Facts

A lot of our decisions when it comes to a mechanical keyboard switch changes from person to person. Really, just about any switch can become "silent” with the application of O-rings – to an extent, anyways. Using a blue switch with an O-ring will reduce the sound, but it won't make it silent enough to compare to switches purposely made for a quieter experience. Silence is subjective. No mechanical keyboard is going to be exactly silent. There's still going to be a 'thunk', it just may be more dampened than others when it bottoms out.

As mentioned in my 'What is a semi-mechanical keyboard?' article, I explained how I used Cherry MX reds on my Ducky. My friend used to playfully laugh at me and smack his hands on the desk, trying to imitate (jokingly of course) what I sounded like in chat. I type fast and my mic happens to be over my keyboard, which is pretty common. 

 

Cherry MX Silent Reds

What Are The Quietest Keyboard Switches


Cherry MX Silent Red

Operating Force

45cN

Pre Travel (Actuation Point)

1.9mm

Total Travel

3.7mm

Switch Type

Linear

 

Cherry MX Silent Reds are a wonderful combination of two desired things about switches: that smooth linear feeling and silence. If you're a fan of the red switches and you want something that is considerably lower in audible volume, the Cherry MX Silent Reds are something to consider and invest in. 

The characteristics of the silent reds are slightly different from the typical reds. The actuation force is the same, but the pre travel and total travels are ever so slightly lower.
 

I love mechanical keyboards (if you haven't found that out yet) and I've had my fair share (not afraid to admit it). I have my favorite brands and new brands that I want to try. I've been a huge fan of Ducky; though, this time around I got a Varmilo, with – yep you guessed it – Cherry MX Silent Reds

Now it's not loud enough to be picked up and my friends have no reason to make fun of me, well for my loud typing anyways. I just make up for the lack of noise now by cussing at the game we're playing, for instance Left for Dead 2, because you know, those dang zombies.

The only complaint that I have is that I do experience finger exhaustion after a while of typing. I type very fast, so it's like a workout when I'm speeding through keypresses with the Silent Reds. 

These silent Cherry MX Reds have a mushy feel to them since they have a dampener, which almost makes them feel like they need more force than a normal Cherry MX. (Well to me they feel sort of mushy squishy.) When I go from my work keyboard (no silents), to the home keyboard with silent reds, there's quite a change. I am sure by the end of this year my fingers will look like the Hulk's (if I don't end up succumbing to a new limited edition Ducky before then).

 

 

Cherry MX Silent Blacks


What Are The Quietest Keyboard Switches


Cherry MX Silent Black

Operating Force

60cN

Pre Travel (Actuation Point)

1.9mm

Total Travel

3.7mm

Switch Type

Linear

 

The other variety of the 'silent' Cherry MX switch is the Silent Blacks. These have a much higher operating force, meaning you are going to have to push down a little bit harder than what you would with your reds. The Silent Blacks have a different sound, as well, resonating a bit deeper than what you would encounter with other linear switches. Cherry MX Silent Blacks are supposed to be some of the best typing switches for mechanical keyboard users, as well. 

With the 60cN force, it's much more possible to encounter finger exhaustion when typing or playing for longer spans of time. Depending on how often you type and your finger strength, the higher force may not be much of a problem. 


Kailh Silent Switches 

There are other brands that sell silent switches besides Cherry MX. Kailh have their own variety of silent box switches, the Kailh Rose and Brown. These switches are round box switches. Box switches have great advantages in comparison to our normally designed switches. The box around the switch protects it from dirt and dust, providing longevity and care. The Kailh Silent Box switches are noted as 'soft' and the dampening is more noticeable.


Kailh Silent Box Rose/Pink

Operating Force

35cN

Pre Travel (Actuation Point)

1.8mm

Total Travel

3.6mm

Switch Type

Linear


Kailh Silent Box Brown

Operating Force

45cN

Pre Travel (Actuation Point)

1.8mm

Total Travel

3.6mm

Switch Type

Tactile


If box switches are not your thing, then Kailh also offers a variety of silent switches that are not box type.


Kailh Silent Brown

Operating Force

45cN

Pre Travel (Actuation Point)

1.8mm

Total Travel

3.6mm

Switch Type

Tactile



Kailh Silent Red

Operating Force

45cN

Pre Travel (Actuation Point)

1.8mm

Total Travel

3.6mm

Switch Type

Linear


Kailh is not the only switch variety that holds a silent variety in their inventory. Gateron also offer a silent variety, coming in: 

  • Gateron Silent Clear
    • Operating Force: Linear
    • Travel: 4.0mm
    • Actuation: 35cN
  • Gateron Silent Red
    • Operating Force: Linear
    • Travel: 4.0mm
    • Actuation:45cN
  • Gateron Silent Yellow
    • Operating Force: Linear
    • Travel: 4.0mm
    • Actuation:50cN
  • Gateron Silent Black 
    • Operating Force: Linear
    • Travel: 4.0mm
    • Actuation:60cN
  • Gateron Silent Brown  
    • Operating Force: Tactile
    • Travel: 4.0mm
    • Actuation:55cN

Talk about a lot of options! Gateron is known for being a good switch brand that a lot of mechanical keyboard users prefer. Many keyboard enthusiasts use Gaterons to make their own keyboard. If you've experienced any of these in the Cherry MX or Kailh types, you can expect a lot of similarities between them. Although there are reviews that vary, yet that is expected.

The O-ring

If you don't want to bother with the silent varieties and you still want to reduce the amount of click and clack of your keyboard, O-rings are a fantastic option. Cherry MX Browns are a great selection for a keyboard who's sound is reduced by O-rings. 

O-rings are a small ring of rubber which cushion the keycap to mute the impact of typing. There are different sizes to an O-ring, too, so make sure you know what range of thickness you want. The thickness will reduce the key travel, which minimizes the sound.

It is time consuming putting them onto each key, but in the end you'll be happy that you did it. I posted an image of one of my keys with an O-ring to display the proper place to put it.

 

 

What Are The Quietest Keyboard Switches

 

The Rundown

The silent switches are not a bad idea. If you need a silent keyboard, for whatever your reasons may be, you will have more luck with these. I know people's opinions vary and silent switches are not liked by all, but I personally think after using mine for quite some time, they're worth it. If you have the chance to type on one though, take that advantage to feel it out.

There are types of silent switches in several different brands. I named the top three obviously known brands that carry them.

Silent switches have all benefits, in my opinion. I honestly do not know of a disadvantage that comes with a silent switch that isn't also found in it's 'normal' counterpart. The feeling may be dissimilar in some ways, but not by much. And the fact that you can find silent switches in various brands and types is impressive.

Who has the quietest switches out of all of these? Well that's up to your interpretation. I have laid out those that are known as being silent. These are the quietest keyboard switches.

I personally love my Cherry MX Silent Red switches. I have two keyboards with them and besides the Cherry MX Speed Silver switches, I can't say that change any time soon.


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