Kinetic Labs Hippo Linear Switches
Gateron has made a ton of keyboard switches over the years, and it is hard to tell which one is right for you. Today, I will be attempting to hopefully make your lives a little bit easier by going over the most popular Gateron linear switches that Kinetic Labs has to offer.
Gecko Silent Linear Switches
While this switch is under our brand name, the manufacturer of the Gateron silent switches is Gateron. This a medium-weight silent linear switch that is pretty smooth as well due to its factory lube. Here are the specs:
I might be biased here as green is my favorite color, but this would be my go-to recommendation for anyone looking for a silent linear switch. This is great for those who want a smooth switch but also don’t want to annoy everyone around them when typing. If you are building a keyboard for work, I would also recommend checking these out as well. They are a favorite among programmers and professionals due to their comforting feel and quiet sound. See our post on why mechanical keyboards are great for programming.
Hippo Linear Switches
The Hippo linear switch was a collaboration project between Kinetic Labs and Gateron to bring you a very smooth and muted-sounding switch that is perfect for you if you like “thocky” keyboard builds. Here are the specs:
This is Gateron’s first-ever switch to use a UMWHPE stem. This material is known to add smoothness to the switch and also make the keyboard sound more on the muted side, which is perfect for thocky keyboard builds. For the best experience, though, I would recommend lubing them as they get even smoother and deeper sounding when compared to their stock performance. Just note that applying lube to these switches makes them very silent (not as silent as a silent switch, but still very silent for a non-silent switch). I'd go with Krytox 205g0 for lubing this switch if you want to go down that route.
Milky Yellow Pro Linear Switches
The Gateron Yellow switches have been around for quite a while now and are very popular due to their great performance. These have a deeper sound signature and are a very popular switch if you are looking for thock on a budget. There are three switches apart of this line and they share many of the same characteristics. Here are their specs:
While these three switches might be very similar in terms of specifications, they do have some differences that are worth mentioning. The first one would be that the only switch that comes factory-lubed in this line are the Pro switches, such as the Gateron Yellow Pro switches and the Gateron Milky Yellow Pro switches.
The Non-Pro Milky Yellows and Gateron Yellows have no factory lube, but people still say that Gateron Yellows are very smooth right out of the box. I would still recommend lubing them as their performance and sound signature will improve because of it. Another thing worth mentioning is that the sound of the switch might differ slightly due to the fact that the Milky Yellows and Milky Yellow Pros have Gateron’s proprietary milky housings while the standard Gateron Yellows have nylon housings.
When it comes to the Black-Bottom Milky Yellow Pros, the only real difference is that these switches have a different material for the bottom housing (Nylon PA66) that makes the switch slightly smoother but does also alter the sound signature a bit, so it is worth checking out a sound test comparing the two before deciding which one to get.
Gateron Ink V2 Switches
The first thing I wanted to review was the differences between the box ink and standard ink blacks. The only two differences between the two are that the Box Ink features a Box Stem, hence the name, which helps reduce stem wobble, and has a longer 20mm spring, which makes the switch feel snappier to type on. Other than these two features, the switches are basically the same. If you already have lubed & filmed Gateron Ink Blacks, there is no real reason to purchase Box Inks.
Gateron Ink Reds are very similar in terms of sound and materials, but the major difference here is that they have a lighter actuation and bottom-out force, making it a better pick for those who might not like the higher weight of the Ink Blacks. All of these three switches are great, and it is no surprise why they have been such a popular pick over the years.
Gateron Oil King Switches
When the Gateron Oil King switches first got announced, they took the mechanical keyboard world by storm as everyone was talking about them. As the name suggests, these have an amazing factory lube job that makes them very nice to type on right out of the box. Here are their specs:
As I mentioned before, the reason why these switches were so popular when they launched was because of how good they were stock. You did not need to modify them to make them smooth or sound better, as they already were very smooth and had a deep sound signature. This was perfect for those who did not like to lube switches or just didn’t have the time to lube in general. I would definitely recommend these if you are looking to save time and just want a great out-of-the-box experience.
Gateron CJ Linear Switch
The Gateron CJ switches were another very hyped up switch upon release as these were very smooth right out of the box despite not having any factory lube on them. Here are the specs:
What made these switches so smooth right out of the box was the fact that the switch stem was polished, leading to a great stock experience. If you do purchase the Gateron CJs and want to lube them, please be careful not to lube the stems, as the polish could get ruined. Because of this, many people suggest you don’t lube these at all, but they do have spring ping, so others suggest only lubing the springs of the switch to remove that noise.
Gateron Luciola Linear Switches
While the Gateron Luciola switches might not seem to have anything special on first look, it does have one unique feature that I really haven’t seen in any other switch before. Here are the specs:
As I mentioned before, the switch specs are pretty standard, but what makes it unique is that the housing material actually glows in the dark! This could lead to a very special-looking keyboard build so I definitely recommend using any type of clear keycap set that you like so you can get the best experience out of these switches looks-wise.
Gateron Cap V2 Linear Switches
The Gateron Cap V2 switch is the upgraded version of the original Gateron Cap switch, but with some much-needed upgrades. Here are the specs:
These switches feature a new housing mold that significantly reduces the amount of wobble in the switch and also comes factory-lubed right out of the box which creates a much better experience over its predecessor. A lot of people say that these switches are buttery smooth and don’t need any modifications done to them, but others say that lubing them makes them even better, so it is entirely up to you.
Gateron KS-9 G Pro 3.0 Linear Switches
TheKS-9 G Pro 3.0 switches is an upgrade over the Gateron KS-9 Pro 2.0. The best part about this switch is that it comes in various different weights so there is practically a switch for everyone to enjoy! Here are the specs:
This switch features some note-worthy upgrades over its predecessor which include a frosted light diffuser for better RGB, the bottom housing pins are upgraded to increase stability, and lastly, the bottom housing has been upgraded to improve smoothness.
A lot of options to choose from when it comes to the Gateron KS-9 G Pros! This is great for customers as some people like lighter switches while others like heavier switches, or you might like a switch weight that is somewhere in between. Thankfully, this line has pretty much has a switch to fit everyone's needs. Another feature worth mentioning that only one of these switches has is that the White variant of this switch features a double-stage spring. What that means is that it basically makes the switch feel snappier when typing and it is my preferred type of spring so I definitely recommend checking it out if a snappier typing experience is what you are looking for.
In my previous article going over the Gateron tactile switches, we talked about the Baby Kangaroo Tactile. The Gateron Baby Raccoon linear switches are pretty much its linear counterpart! Here are the specs:
This switch features a pretty moderate actuation force and bottom-out force which, to me, sits at the perfect sweet spot for those who don’t like light or heavy switches and want something in between. The most notable feature of this switch has to be its long-pole stem. This makes the switch sound more pronounced and might have a bit of a harsher bottom-out sound compared to a standard-length stem. This extra length also makes the switch’s total travel distance slightly shorter as well.
Gateron North Pole V2 Linear Switch
The Last switch on this list is quite a fun one as it utilizes fully transparent material for its top and bottom housing, and stem as well. Here are the specs of the Gateron North Pole V2 switches:
The only difference between the V2 and the V1 of this switch is that the V2s feature a different mold for the stem to help reduce the wobble overall. It goes without saying that this is the perfect switch for RGB since it is entirely made up of clear materials that will help make your keyboard shine. Not only do they look nice, but they also feel nice to type on as well, and just like the Gateron Baby Raccoons, these feature a moderate actuation and bottom-out force that most people will enjoy.
There are so many Gateron Switches to choose from that all have different materials, weights, and unique features to them. One particularly exciting one that is brand new is the Gateron Mountain Top switches, which were designed specifically for gaming. It might seem like a lot to go through, but once you find the switch that's right for you, you will never look back.