How to Choose the Ideal Cherry MX Switches for Your Keyboard


Updated: 27/11/2023

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This image showcases a red and black keyboard with four keys, incorporating Cherry MX red switches.

When it comes to choosing the ideal switches for your keyboard, one option that stands out is the Cherry MX switch. These mechanical switches are known for their durability, responsiveness, and versatility. With a wide range of color switches and characteristics, selecting the right one for your needs can be overwhelming. 

In this guide, we will take a closer look at the different types of Cherry MX switches, compare their key characteristics, and provide you with the best practices for choosing the ideal Cherry MX switches for your keyboard.

A Quick Guide to Cherry MX

Cherry MX ColorDescriptionBest UsageSpeed
MX RedSmooth, linear operationGamingFast
MX BlueClicky sound and pronounced tactile feedbackTypingSlow
MX BrownModerate tactile bumpGaming, TypingModerate
MX BlackHeavy linear switchGaming, TypingSlow
MX ClearLighter tactile switch with a pronounced bumpTypingModerate
MX GreenHeavier clicky switch with a more pronounced click and bumpTypingSlow

What are Cherry MX switches?

Cherry MX switch button, red with clear cover

Cherry MX switches are mechanical switches manufactured by the German company Cherry GmbH. Due to their exceptional quality and durability, these switches have become the de facto standard in the mechanical keyboard community. With a history dating back to the 1980s, Cherry MX switches have consistently delivered a satisfying typing and gaming experience.

The Anatomy of a Cherry MX Switch

To fully understand the characteristics of Cherry MX switches, it’s helpful to know their anatomy. A Cherry MX switch has several components: stem, spring, housing, and contacts.

The stem is the part of the switch that moves up and down when pressed. It is responsible for actuating the key and providing tactile feedback or audible clicks. The spring determines the actuation force required to press the key and helps the key return to its original position. The housing holds all the components together and provides stability.

Understanding the anatomy of a Cherry MX switch can give you a deeper appreciation for its design and functionality.

Different Types of Cherry MX Switches

The Cherry MX switches can be categorized into three major types.

1. Linear Switches

Linear green switch with protective cover.

Linear switches provide a smooth, consistent keystroke without any noticeable tactile bump or click sound. They are favored by gamers who prioritize rapid keystrokes and minimal resistance.

  • Cherry MX Red: The lightest Cherry MX switch, ideal for gaming due to its low actuation force and effortless operation.
  • Cherry MX Black: A heavier linear switch preferred by users seeking maximum control and durability.
  • Cherry MX Silent Red: A quieter version of the Cherry MX Red, offering smooth operation with reduced noise.

2. Tactile Switches

Black and yellow tactile switches on white background.

Tactile switches offer a noticeable bump upon actuation, providing satisfying feedback that enhances typing accuracy.

  • Cherry MX Brown: A versatile tactile switch suitable for gaming and typing, offering a moderate tactile bump and a balanced actuation force.
  • Cherry MX Clear: A lighter tactile switch with a pronounced bump, preferred by typists who desire enhanced precision and feedback.

3. Clicky Switches

Green and white clicky switch on white background.

Clicky switches provide a satisfying click sound and a noticeable tactile bump upon actuation, favored by typists who enjoy the auditory feedback and tactile sensation.

  • Cherry MX Blue: The quintessential clicky switch, known for its distinct clicking sound and pronounced tactile feedback.
  • Cherry MX Green: A heavier clicky switch with a more pronounced click and bump, preferred by typists who desire maximum feedback.

Comparison of Key Characteristics of Cherry MX Switches

The table below summarizes the key characteristics of popular Cherry MX switch types:

Comparison chart of Cherry MX Switches: Blue - tactile and clicky, Red - linear and quiet, Brown - tactile and quiet.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Cherry MX Switches

When choosing Cherry MX switches, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Typing vs. Gaming: Are you primarily using your keyboard for typing or gaming? Typists may prefer switches with tactile feedback, while gamers often opt for linear switches.
  2. Noise Level: If you’re in a shared space or prefer a quieter typing experience, switches with lower noise levels, such as Cherry MX Red or Black, may be more suitable.
  3. Actuation Force: Consider your typing style and how much force you prefer to exert when pressing keys. Lighter switches like Cherry MX Red or Brown may be more comfortable for some typists.
  4. Personal Preference: Ultimately, the best switch for you depends on your preference. Try different types of switches to see which feels most comfortable and suits your typing or gaming style.

Comparing Cherry MX Red, Blue, Black, and Clear switches

Now let’s take a closer look at the specific characteristics of each of the popular Cherry MX switches:

1. Cherry MX Red: Ideal for Gaming

Image of Cherry MX Red switch

Cherry MX Red switches are the go-to choice for gamers. With their light actuation force and smooth linear movement, these switches allow rapid and effortless keystrokes. The absence of tactile feedback ensures a consistent and predictable gaming experience, enabling gamers to execute precise movements without the distraction of a bump or click. Whether playing fast-paced FPS games or engaging in competitive eSports, Cherry MX Red switches deliver the responsiveness required for optimal gaming performance.

2. Cherry MX Brown: Balancing Gaming and Typing

Image of Cherry MX Brown switch

Cherry MX Brown switches strike a balance between gaming and typing. They offer tactile feedback that provides a satisfying typing experience while still being suitable for gaming. The slight bump in these switches helps prevent accidental keystrokes, making them a favorite among professionals who spend long hours typing. With their 45g actuation force, Cherry MX Brown switches are versatile and cater to gamers and typists.

3. Cherry MX Blue: Optimal for Typing Enthusiasts

Image of Cherry MX Blue switch

Cherry MX Blue switches are the perfect choice if your primary focus is typing. The distinct tactile feedback and audible clicks make typing a joyous experience. The feedback helps you feel each keystroke and ensures accuracy while typing at higher speeds. However, it is important to note that the loud clicking sound might not be suitable for office environments or shared spaces where noise might be a concern.

4. Cherry MX Black: Smooth and Quiet

image of Cherry MX Black switch

Cherry MX Black switches offer a smooth, linear keystroke without tactile feedback. They require a slightly higher actuation force, making them more suitable for typists who prefer a firmer touch. The quiet noise level also makes them a good choice for shared spaces.

Conclusion:

Choosing the ideal Cherry MX switches for your keyboard boils down to personal preference and specific requirements. Consider whether you prioritize gaming or typing, your preferred noise level, and the actuation force that feels most comfortable. Experiment with different types of switches to find the one that suits your needs best.

Remember, the color of the switch represents its characteristics, and each type of switch offers a unique typing or gaming experience. Whether you opt for Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue, or Black switches, you can be confident in the durability, responsiveness, and versatility that Cherry MX switches provide.

Ready to upgrade your keyboard with Cherry MX switches? Explore our selection of mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX switches and find the perfect fit for your typing or gaming needs.

What are Cherry MX switches?

Cherry MX switches are mechanical keyboard switches known for their durability, responsiveness, and tactile feedback. They are widely used in gaming, typing, and custom keyboards.

Why is Cherry MX popular?

Cherry MX switches are popular because they are durable, responsive, and have various tactile feedback options. They are also compatible with a wide range of keyboards.

What is the fastest Cherry MX switch?

The fastest Cherry MX switch is the Cherry MX Red switch. It has a low actuation force of 45g, which requires very little pressure to activate. This makes it ideal for gaming, where quick reflexes are essential.

Which Cherry MX switch is best for FPS?

The best Cherry MX switch for FPS (first-person shooter) gaming is the Cherry MX Red switch. It is fast, responsive, and has a low actuation force, which makes it ideal for quick reflexes.

Which switch is better for typing?

The best Cherry MX switch for typing is the Cherry MX Brown switch. It has a moderate tactile bump, which provides feedback to the user when the key is pressed. This can help to improve typing accuracy.

Is Cherry good for gaming?

Yes, Cherry MX switches are good for gaming. They are durable and responsive and have a variety of tactile feedback options to choose from.

What is the lifespan of a Cherry MX switch?

Cherry MX switches have a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes. This means they can last many years, even with heavy use.

Which Cherry MX switch is loudest?

The loudest Cherry MX switch is the Cherry MX Green switch. It has a clicky sound when the key is pressed, which can be disruptive in quiet environments.

What is the oldest Cherry MX keyboard?

The oldest Cherry MX keyboard is the Cherry G80-0008. It was released in 1987 and is still in production today.

Are Cherry MX Red switches fast?

Yes, Cherry MX Red switches are fast. They have a low actuation force of 45g, requiring very little activation pressure. This makes them ideal for gaming, where quick reflexes are essential.


Shifa Tariq

Shifa Tariq

Hi, I'm Shifa, the CEO and Co-founder of Best Keyboard Tester, the go-to website for comprehensive keyboard guides, in-depth reviews, and top recommendations. As a huge keyboard enthusiast and tech lover, I created this website to help everyone find the perfect keyboard, whether you're a casual typist or a hardcore gamer. Our unique online keyboard tester tool lets you virtually try different switches and layouts before buying. I'm passionate about helping people discover the joy of an excellent keyboard and always looking for ways to improve our website.

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