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Preston S.


5 minutes

Are Mechanical Keyboards Really Loud?

This short blog post by Preston, questions if mechanical keyboards are too loud. Read more to go over the best switch type for your next office keyboard build!

TG67 V3 with Candy Shop KeycapsTG67 V3 with Candy Shop Keycaps

TG67 V3 with Candy Shop Keycaps

When it comes to mechanical keyboards, some people’s biggest complaint can be how loud they are, but are they all really that loud? Let's find out!

TG67 V3 with Whale PBT KeycapsTG67 V3 with Whale PBT Keycaps

TG67 V3 with Whale PBT Keycaps

If you want actual numbers, mechanical keyboard typing usually averages around 50 and 60 decibels, but it can be quieter or louder depending on various factors. The switches will have the biggest effect on sound.

There are so many different switches on the market that it can be quite hard to keep track of, but there are specific types of switches to stay far away from if you are worried about being too loud, like clicky switches. As the name suggests, the switches have an audible high-pitched click that can be heard on every keypress and is very loud or even annoying to some. So, my first suggestion would be to not even think about checking out any switch labeled as “clicky.”

Opened Up Husky Linear SwitchOpened Up Husky Linear Switch

Opened Up Husky Linear Switch

Other things that can make a difference in sound are the following:

  • Lubed/Un-Lubed switches
  • Long-pole stem
  • Switch materials
  • Keyboard Dampening Materials

These factors can have a big impact on the sound of a keyboard as lubing a switch usually changes the pitch or even makes it a bit more muted as it removes the scratchiness and ping noise that may have been heard originally. Long-pole stems are associated with a harsher bottom-out, meaning they have a louder clack at the end of each keystroke than non-long-pole stem switches. Finally, something that is a bit harder to keep track of is that some switch materials can make a switch have a higher pitch. However, this is not really the greatest way to keep track, as this can vary widely even if the switch uses the same materials as another quieter switch.

Keyboard Case FoamKeyboard Case Foam

Keyboard Case Foam

The keyboard you put the switches in can also affect the sound, as each keyboard has a unique sound profile. Denser keyboard plates can result in higher-pitched sounding boards, while more flexible plates give a lower-pitched sound signature. Whether the keyboard is made of plastic or aluminum also plays a big role, and finally, how much dampening foam you use also affects removing a keyboard's hollowness.

Kinetic Labs Gecko Silent Linear SwitchKinetic Labs Gecko Silent Linear Switch

Kinetic Labs Gecko Silent Linear Switch

So, if all that we talked about seems too hard to keep track of when looking to buy a mechanical keyboard, your best bet would be to just resort to buying a silent switch. Silent switches have a mechanism built into them that mutes them and gives them a very quiet keypress, even quieter than your standard office membrane keyboards. This is perfect for those who work long nights and don’t want to annoy everyone around them.

A great recommendation is Kinetic Labs’ very own Gecko Silent Linear Switch, which features the following specifications:

  • Top Housing: Polycarbonate
  • Bottom Housing: Nylon
  • Spring: 57.5g bottom-out, 54g actuation
  • Stem Material: POM + Silicone dampeners
  • Pins: 5-pin (PCB-mount)
  • Travel: 4mm total travel
  • Lubrication: Factory lubed

As we mentioned before, this switch features silicone dampening pads on the stem to help further lower the overall sound. It also has a nice factory lube job for a better typing and sounding experience.

While mechanical keyboards can be very loud, there are many ways to reduce their volume. The easiest recommendation for those looking to lower the noise they might cause drastically is to use silent switches.