Membrane or mechanical keyboard?  What is the difference and which is better?

Membrane or mechanical keyboard? What is the difference and which is better?

Do you play on a membrane or mechanical keyboard? Do you know how they differ from each other and what are their main advantages?

If there’s one thing we can’t dispute about the gaming market, it’s the versatility and endless customization potential. If we delve into all the different switches, buttons, and RGB lighting, the possibilities for customization are truly enormous. Before that, we always decide first whether we are going to type on a membrane or mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards and their direct alternative – membrane keyboards – are the two main types of keyboards on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. There are also hybrid keyboards of some sort, such as semi-diaphragm or semi-mechanical, but they rarely appear on users’ radars.

Tech-savvy users or gamers who want a competitive gaming experience will opt for mechanical keyboards, but they are not the best choice for all user profiles. Basically, comparing the two types of keyboards is down to what type of keys you want and whether you want to spend a lot on a computer keyboard.

There are other models that influence the buyer’s decision: the possibility of add-ons, macro keys, typing volume and adjustment space … Whether a mechanical or membrane keyboard is better for you will depend on all of the above and the feeling you want when you type.

Below, we’ll look at the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of each type of keyboard and explain which one is best for you.

mechanical keyboards Membrane keyboards
⌨ More sturdy and durable ⌨ Silent Typing
⌨ adjustable ⌨ More affordable
Feeling more fulfilling and tangible ⌨ Smoother typing
⌨N key pass support ⌨ Lighter and more portable
⌨ Often includes macro keys

Mechanical and membrane keyboards. What is the difference?

There is only one design difference, and that is the type of key used to record keystrokes. Mechanical keyboards use a spring-loaded mechanism to depress a physical key, while membrane keyboards use rubber domes that press down each time a key is pressed to contact small electrical contacts.

  • Mechanical keys: pressing the mechanical switch on the keyboard retracts the plastic plate, allowing the two electrical contacts to meet.) The switch then detects when a switch has been pressed, and the spring on the bottom allows the switch to quickly return to its original position.
  • membrane keys: When keys are pressed, the user actually pushes a small contact at the bottom of the key into a receiver located along the keyboard floor.

The effect is very different. The high precision of the mechanical keys makes typing faster and with a higher level of feedback. Mechanical switches are available in several different versions: linear, tactile and « click ». Each offers a different sense of operation. The membrane keyboard, on the other hand, gives a sense of lightness, as this rubber-domed panel under the switch creates softer feedback.

Mechanical keys are generally faster, which means typing or gaming is more responsive. Due to the complexity and more durable materials, the keys on a mechanical keyboard have a guaranteed long service life. Mechanical switches are typically rated between 20 and 50 million keystrokes, while membrane switches are rated at 5 million or less. The greater control of key activation that mechanical switches provide means that mechanical keyboards are often also equipped with N-key rollover support, which allows you to press multiple keys at the same time which are also registered. This is not often found in membrane keyboards.

All those moving mechanical parts aren’t for everyone, especially if you share work or play with others. Mechanical keyboards are usually much superior to membrane keyboards, because they click and malfunction every time you press a key, no matter how soft your keys are. There are some mechanical switches (Cherry MX Silent Red, Gazzew Boba U4, ZealPC Zilent V2…) that handle noise well, but they usually cost a few more. In most cases, regardless of selection, a membrane keyboard will generally be less noisy.

Membrane keyboards have another advantage – ease of use of the wallet. Mechanical keyboards are slowly dropping in price due to competition and development, but more expensive ones can still cost you a hundred or two hundred euros or even more. Membrane keyboards have always been affordable, you can get them for a few dozen euros or less.

Who Should Choose Mechanical Keyboards?

Mechanical keyboards are a better long-term investment, but the initial cost is much higher. When it comes to speed, durability and customization, they are the clear winners. Mechanical keyboards are recommended for users who type on the keyboard for a long time every day, don’t mind the higher price, like playing competitive games and want to customize their keyboard.

Who Should Choose Membrane Keyboards?

Although they are the losers in this match, membrane keyboards still have their place among some users. The switches are cheaper, which means that membrane keyboards often have additional functions built in, such as media control, RGB lighting, and the like. If you are looking for something cheap that still does the job well, then the membrane keyboard is for you.

Regardless of your choice, you will be satisfied with a membrane or mechanical keyboard. The first membrane is more affordable but less durable, while the mechanical one is more expensive and provides a deeper feel while writing.

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