Free shipping for orders over $150
Kinetic Labs User Avatar

Preston S.


9 minutes

Beginner Mechanical Keyboard Questions Answered

New to mechanical keyboards? Find answers to beginner questions and discover everything you need to know to find the perfect keyboard build for your setup!

Hippot PBT Keycaps and Switches with Pastel Cloud Desk MatHippot PBT Keycaps and Switches with Pastel Cloud Desk Mat

Hippot PBT Keycaps and Switches with Pastel Cloud Desk Mat

Getting into mechanical keyboards can seem like quite a challenge so today we are going to be answering some of the most commonly asked questions beginners have!

“How loud are mechanical keyboards?”

All mechanical keyboards feature a different level of loudness as it mainly depends on what switch you are using in your keyboard. Linear switches and Tactile switches are usually around the medium volume level with some outliers that can tend to be a bit louder, but nothing compares to clickies in terms of how loud they are, so if you are building a keyboard for a work office environment, clicky switches are definitely ones to avoid. They also make silent switches that are super quiet and are perfect for any public environment.

“What is the Best Mechanical Keyboard for Gaming?”

There is no such thing as the best mechanical keyboard or keyboard switch for gaming. Sure some gaming keyboards feature some cool features, but at the end of the day, getting a good keyboard is not going to suddenly make you a better player even if you have something like a Wooting60HE. Wooting keyboards could potentially help you perform better, but it is not a guarantee. At the end of the day, a keyboard that is specifically made for gaming isn’t going to make you suddenly a pro, so just prioritize getting something you enjoy using instead.

TG67 V2 with Seal KeycapsTG67 V2 with Seal Keycaps

TG67 V2 with Seal Keycaps

“What is the Best Mechanical Keyboard Switch?”

The same idea that applies to keyboards also applies to switches as well. Someone may like a certain switch, but you might not like it at all. Switches are all about personal preference so there is no real “best switch” for everyone. If you are new and don’t know what switch to try out or get, there are plenty of switch tester kits you can buy online that feature a bunch of different switch types so you can test out and see what you prefer.

As a rule of thumb, tactile switches tend to be the most popular option for beginners, as well as linear switches. If you're new to mechanical keyboard modding, I also recommend buying switches that are lubed from the factory, such as Husky linear switches. Otherwise if you are planning on lubing switches yourself, the industry standard is Krytox 205g0.

“Are Mechanical Keyboards Worth it?”

This question used to be sort of a yes or a no depending on the person, but nowadays there are plenty of great budget options to choose from when it comes to mechanical keyboards. To me, it is definitely worth it as they provide a much better typing experience and can reduce hand fatigue since they don’t require as much force as your typical office membrane keyboard does.

TG67 V2 with Oasis Desk MatTG67 V2 with Oasis Desk Mat

TG67 V2 with Oasis Desk Mat

“Why are Keycaps so expensive?”

I know the pricing for keycaps can seem unreasonable, but don’t worry, you don’t have to drop 100 to 200 dollars on keycaps to get good quality. Kinetic Labs sells some great more affordable keycaps in plenty of different colorways and materials that will last you a long time before getting shine on them or just going bad in general. The reason why some keycap sets are so expensive like GMK for example, is because they use custom molds and colors and they are also usually in low production runs.

For a more in-depth article on the topic, check out Liam's blog post on why mechanical keyboards are expensive

“It is my first time buying a keyboard, which one do I buy?”

That all comes down to your budget, but at the same time, you don’t want to go too cheap and purchase something that is made out of cheap materials, and just overall isn’t a good keyboard. I would suggest having a budget of around $80 to $120 for the keyboard kit itself so you can have a wider range of options to choose from. At this price point, you can also find some great pre-built keyboards from brands like Akko and Womier if you don’t want to build it yourself. At Kinetic Labs, we have practically every Keychron keyboard kit you can think of, and they are regarded as some of the best for their price point, and we also have the Tiger Lite keyboard kit which is practically unbeatable for its price.

“What lube should I use for switches and stabilizers?”

Krytox 205g0 is the most commonly used lube and it is mainly used for linear switches as tactile switches use a different lube. People also like to use it for stabilizers, but it can be a bit pricey so a cheaper alternative is Permatex dielectric grease, but only use this for stabilizers as it is way too thick of a lube to use on switches. Another great alternative is our new Carbon GS3 Stabilizer lube which is a direct competitor to Krytox XHT-BDZ, but is easier on your wallet. For tactile switches, I recommend using Trybosis 3203 lube as it is a thinner lube and Krytox 205g0 can be too thick of a lube for tactile switches.

Carbon GS3 LubricantCarbon GS3 Lubricant

Carbon GS3 Lubricant

“What should I look for in a mechanical keyboard?”

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to mechanical keyboards, but you just have to figure out what works best for you, but you should create a checklist that goes over the basics.

  • Switches: Do you want linear switches, tactile switches, or clicky switches? Linear switches are smooth, have no bump in them, and are liked for gaming purposes. Tactile switches have a bump usually in the middle of the switch or towards the top of the switch that gives you some nice tactile feedback and is recommended for long typing sessions. Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches as they also feature a bump, but they also make a loud click noise each time you press a key, so I don’t really recommend these if you are building a keyboard for an office work environment.
  • Keyboard Materials: the most commonly used materials for keyboards are either plastic or aluminum. Plastic is a lighter material and is used in cheaper boards as it is a cheaper material to work with and get your hands on, but some people don’t like it due to how light it is as they equate it to feeling less premium overall. Aluminum keyboards have more weight and heft to them and a lot of people like that due to them feeling and looking more premium compared to plastic boards. This does come at a hefty price tag as they can range anywhere from $100 to $500 for the keyboard kits alone. Other people also don’t like how heavy they are to move around and like the weight of plastic keyboards because they need to take their keyboard on the go.
  • Aesthetics: This is of course very subjective, but finding a keyboard you think looks nice is almost as important as it feeling and sounding good as well because who wants to buy a keyboard that they don’t like the look of? Some people like very clean and minimal-looking keyboards like the QK65, TG67, and any of Mode’s line of keyboards. Others prefer more eye-catching designs like any of the collaboration keyboards Akko makes. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer to this question as it all comes down to personal preference.
  • Features: This is important if you are looking for specific things in your mechanical keyboard. You might want to make sure your keyboard has support for both MAC and Windows or that it has Bluetooth/2.4Hz connectivity along with wired connectivity as well. If you change your keybindings a lot, then you probably want to make sure you have support for QMK or VIA. What features a keyboard has can sometimes make or break it depending on your use case, so it is important to think about these things before making a purchase.
Whale PBT Keycaps with Husky Switches and Blue Horizons Desk MatWhale PBT Keycaps with Husky Switches and Blue Horizons Desk Mat

Whale PBT Keycaps with Husky Switches and Blue Horizons Desk Mat

Hopefully, I have answered most if not all of the questions you might have about mechanical keyboards. Of course, most of these questions are subjective so you don’t have to absolutely agree with everything that I said here today, but that is the beauty of mechanical keyboards. There are an endless amount of options to choose from to build the perfect board for you.