Understanding the Difference Between Mechanical and Optical Switches for Keyboards

If youre in the market for a new keyboard, you may have come across the termsmechanical switch andoptical switch. While both switches provide excellent tactile feel and response time, there are a few key differences between them. In this blog post, well cover the main differences between mechanical switches and optical switches, as well as their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Mechanical Switches

Mechanical switches are the more common type of switch, and they use physical components to register keystrokes. These switches are composed of a spring, stem, and metal contacts. When a key is pressed, the stem pushes down on the spring, which then pushes down on the metal contacts, completing the circuit and registering the keypress. Mechanical switches are generally considered to be more durable than optical switches, and they offer a distinct tactile feedback.

Optical Switches 

Optical switches, on the other hand, are harder to find and use infrared light to register keystrokes. When a key is pressed, an infrared light is emitted from the switch, which is then detected by a receiver. This allows for quicker reaction time and more accurate keystrokes. However, optical switches are not as durable as mechanical switches and may wear out faster over time.


When deciding between mechanical switches and optical switches, it comes down to personal preference and the type of gaming or typing experience youre looking for. Mechanical switches offer a more tactile feel and are generally more durable, while optical switches offer faster reaction time and more accurate keystrokes. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
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