Mechanical Keyboard vs. Membrane Keyboard | What is better?

 Mechanical Keyboard vs. Membrane - What is better?

A mechanical keyboard uses switches under a keycap. These switches know when a person is pressing on the key because of the mechanisms that make up the switch. Switches contain a hard plastic stem, a coil spring under the plastic stem and two cross point contacts. In a membrane keyboard, the key rests above a rubber or silicon dome. As you press down on the key, the dome will collapse and the graphite below the membrane pad will register that it is being pushed. This finishes the circuitry and sends the signal to your computer.


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As the popularity of keyboards continues to rise, the types and the brands have expanded as well, of course. While this is great that the businesses are booming, it can be confusing or overwhelming when it comes down to picking one out. For those who are entering the gaming world or are curious as the differences between, I will lay it out for you.


Mechanical Keyboards


What is the difference between a mechanical keyboard and a membrane keyboard


Mechs are becoming more and more popular. It's understandable considering the various aspects that it offers.

      1. Mechanical keyboards last longer

      2. They're easier to clean

      3. They're easy to personalize design wise

      4. Gaming performance is greatly increased

      5. There are multiple options for you to choose from

         

Mechanical keyboards last longer

Mechanical keyboards last longer simply because of the way that they are made. There's no membrane that can be worn down after time. The majority of mechanical switches can last up to 30 – 70 million key presses. Depending on the switch, it's even possible to get up to 100 million.


Mechanical keyboards are much easier to clean

One of the best things about the mechanical keyboard is that you can take it apart. You can pull all of the keycaps off with a specialized tool and blow it off with either an air canister or a sweet high powered blower. If you have dirt that won't come off that way, you can easily take some q-tips and go through with some alcohol (not the kind you drink). I suggest getting q-tips that are both round and pointed (like what girls use for makeup) for easy cleaning. It is time consuming, but I find it quite zen like. I also rub down the keycaps with towel that is damp with water to remove any grime that way. I do NOT place the keycaps back on until they are thoroughly dry. And yes, there are videos about putting your keyboard in the dishwasher. To me that is absolutely terrifying and I will do it by hand every time. Something that precious to me will be handled with absolute care.


They're easy to personalize design wise

With a membrane keyboard, you cant pop off a key and change it to a different color or style. You're stuck with whatever you have. This may seem like a very small reason to think that a mechanical keyboard is better than a membrane one. The mech keyboard that you choose can be a total reflection of who you are and what you like. You can buy all sorts of keycaps to replace the basic ones that you end up with, like pudding caps or variations in colors. I personally have a beautifully well done keycap for my escape key that fits my sea theme keyboard. There's no way for you to really personalize your normal membrane keyboard. It's just finding the type of keys at that point that are shaped to your preference and whatever color the keyboard comes in.


Gaming performance is greatly increased

This is a big one. The way that the switches react when we push down the key is imperative. Mechanical keyboards have accuracy and reliability. Switches always actuate at the same point. Most have no key roll over, so multiple key presses can be used at the same time. They have quite the satisfying feel, too.


There are multiple options for you to choose from

There are many switches, too many switches! But each one has a different feel. It's not an 'you only have this option' type of thing. What you want out of your keyboard is up to you. There are Reds, Blues, Browns, Silver, Black, Aqua... what will you choose?



Membranes



What is the difference between a mechanical keyboard and a membrane keyboard


We've all pretty much have written on a membrane keyboard. I used to game on one back in the day. And membranes do have their advantages...


  1. Membranes are portable

  2. They are lighter

  3. They are quieter

  4. Cheaper


Membrane keyboards are portable

Try putting a mechanical keyboard in your backpack (maybe even with other stuff). Just the thought makes me cringe. I'd be worried about my keys, my backpack hitting something and damaging my expensive keyboard... Something happening when it gets to it's destination. Membranes are easier to handle in that sort of event. In their own way they are pretty durable. It's probably one of the reasons why you can find a box of keyboards sitting in a utility closet that still works.


They are lighter

I don't know the exact specs, but depending on the keyboard it has a possibility of ranging from 1 – 5lbs. My Varmilo – a full size – for instance, weights 3lbs. A membrane keyboard weighs significantly less. This also adds to the easier to take with you to different destinations.


Membrane keyboards are quieter

This is especially true if you compare a membrane keyboard to a blue switch mechanical. Though even with Silent Cherry MX Reds, you're going to have noise in comparison to the membrane keyboard. If you're looking for something that requires silence, a membrane keyboard is going to successfully fulfill your wishes.


They are less expensive

Really this speaks for itself. Some mechanical keyboards can be quiet expensive. And if you go the extra route to put specialized key caps from Etsy, for instance, on top of that price – shew! Into the hundreds you go. You are not going to have to worry about that when you get a membrane keyboard. If you are on a tight budget, these are not a bad alternative.



Rundown


For many reasons the mechanical keyboard is a better pick (not saying this just because I love them). Over all performance is increased with the use of a switch. That doesn't mean that it's everyone's choice. Membranes are still in the game and will be for probably forever, let's be honest. Companies love them because they are cheaper and can be handed down from employee to employee. A lot of people don't find it necessary to have one, maybe... don't know what one is. I brought one of mine to work and I had several people ask me 'what kind of keyboard is that?' It's always fun to explain to them what it does, though the majority of them aren't gamers or honestly have any reason to spend that much money on a 'pretty keyboard'. Though, at the same time, that clean performance and that nice feel of a mechanical keyboard speaks for itself. 

 

References: 

1. Photo by Karol D from Pexels
2. Photo by John Petalcurin from Pexels
3. Photo by Khizar Hayat from Pexels

 

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