Remember when you were younger and you would sneak to your parents’ computer to quickly tap random keys on their old IBM keyboard just to hear the satisfying click each key made? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could relive those memories and use a keyboard that has “clicky” keys whenever you want?
Fortunately, many manufactures still develop mechanical keyboards alongside the more frequently used membrane keyboard, so if you wanted to grab yourself a mechanical keyboard to either relive your childhood memories or to replace your old membrane keyboard, you can do so right now.
…But should you really? Are mechanical keyboards worth it, or are they simply outdated nowadays? To find out, we’ll need to go through some pros and cons of mechanical keyboards compared to the traditional membrane keyboards to find out if you should actually use mechanical keyboards with your PC, either for gaming or general computer use.
What Are Mechanical Keyboards?
Before we go through their pros and cons however, it’s probably best to tell you what exactly is a mechanical keyboard if you aren’t too familiar with them.
Mechanical keyboards basically have switches at the bottom of their keys, which are made from separate moving parts: a stem which contains two metal contacts and a spring underneath. When a key is pressed, the stem pushes the spring down to make the two metal contacts connect with each other, ultimately registering your key press to your computer.
This is basically what makes a mechanical keyboard… well, mechanical, and not like what the other types of keyboards on the market have to offer. But are mechanical keyboards better, and should you use them?
Let’s find out right now, shall we? 😉
What Are Their Benefits?
Let’s start off with the benefits of mechanical keyboards first of all to find out how they may be better than other types of keyboards out there on the market.
- Mechanical Keyboards Will Last Longer Than Other Keyboards
If you still have a Model M keyboard from IBM somewhere up inside your loft or attic, chances are it’ll still work without a hitch if you plug it into a computer.
Mechanical keyboards are built to last thanks to their durable key switches which incidentally have been tested to withstand up to 50 million presses, something which would be very unlikely with other types of keyboards.
If you want a keyboard that will last you a very long time, especially if you’re somebody who plays key-mashing video games frequently on your PC, then consider getting a mechanical keyboard.
- Mechanical Keyboard Keys Register Quicker Than Other Keyboard Keys
If their durability wasn’t enough to impress you about mechanical keyboards, maybe this next benefit will…
Membrane keyboards take around 4-5 milliseconds after a press of a key to register that key press to your computer, where’s mechanical keyboards would only take about 2-3 milliseconds to register a key press to your computer.
As you can probably tell, this is an incredible difference, and will serve as a huge advantage for when you might want to use a mechanical keyboard for gaming instead of a membrane one. The controls will be more precise, and may as a result make you play much better than if you were using a membrane keyboard.
And Their Cons?
With benefits, of course, comes cons; here are the unfortunate cons of mechanical keyboards which may decide whether they’re a suitable kind of keyboard for you or not.
- Mechanical Keyboards Are Incredibly Heavy
If there was a zombie apocalypse happening outside where you are right now, I’d tell you to grab the nearest mechanical keyboard as they’d be the perfect weapon against the walking corpses.
Mechanical keyboards are extremely heavy, and take a lot of effort to lug around with you; even sliding it a little across your desk takes a stupid amount of strength to do. Membrane keyboards by comparison are so much lighter and easier to move around or slide across your desk to reposition them.
If you were going to take a keyboard with you to a friend’s house or to your workplace, for example, I personally would not recommend a mechanical keyboard because you may just drop down to the floor in exhaustion on the way there.
- Mechanical Keyboards Are More Expensive
While a typical membrane keyboard would cost around £30-£40 to buy, a mechanical keyboard of the same variant – especially if it allows you to customise its LED lighting – will cost you well over £100.
If you’re on a budget and want to buy the cheapest keyboard possible, you won’t be going anywhere near a mechanical one; their durability and faster response time account for their higher price tag as well as their fancy lighting.
Whether this makes the hefty price tag worth it or not, however, is entirely up to you…
- Mechanical Keyboards Are Loud
Finally, let’s talk about the elephant in the room… mechanical keyboards are incredibly loud; good luck trying to press a key down without it making an audible click…
A membrane keyboard would be a far better option if you want to type as subtly as possible at your computer; perhaps you’re writing a secret novel and don’t want people to know about it until it’s done. 😉
Additionally, maybe you want to do some late night work at your computer… have fun using a mechanical keyboard then because chances are you will receive a lot of complaints from the people you live with or even your neighbours…
Basically, if you don’t want to make a lot of noise while you’re at your computer, skip getting a mechanical keyboard because they are loud.
So, Should You Use a Mechanical Keyboard?
Whether you choose to purchase a mechanical keyboard for your PC all boils down to how you feel with their pros and cons. Are their pros beneficial to you and what you use your computer for? For example, if you’re a gamer, you may find the faster register time and durability of mechanical keyboards to be more suitable for you than membrane keyboards.
Of course, those pesky drawbacks should be accounted for as well as they may just very well be a big deciding factor for some people…
If you have a budget-oriented PC, a mechanical keyboard may not be the best option for you due to their hefty price tags. Alternatively, if you’re one to carry around keyboards with you in a bag wherever you go, a mechanical keyboard may give you some trouble due to their heavier weight compared to other types of keyboards.
Should you use a mechanical keyboard? It honestly depends on your circumstances, so ultimately only you can answer that question. 😉
In conclusion, mechanical keyboards are entirely different to other keyboards. Their constant clicking may be music to some people’s ears, and the equivalent of scratching a chalk board to others.
Thank you for reading this post, and I hope it’s shed some light on mechanical keyboards for you. If you have any questions or personal experiences with mechanical keyboards that you would like to speak out about, please feel free to visit the comment section down below. 😉
Jamie – the PC Gaming Nerd