Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard, I own both mechanical and membrane keyboards, and although they are very different in nature they typically both have their own strengths when it comes to the gaming experience.
I’ll share some of my favorite features so you can get a better idea about the difference between the two and which would be best for your own setup.
Mechanical keyboards provide any gamer with some of the best customization Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard (including colors and sounds) you can get from a keyboard.
On the other hand, membrane keyboards are generally cheaper and most people prefer their sleek and slim design.
Let’s break down the more ‘technical’ aspects of the three keyboards by searching for information on each of their specifications.
Mechanical Vs. Membrane Keyboard
What Keyboard Is Better For Typing?
It can be highly subjective when it comes to what type of keyboard will work best for you and your product. However, I prefer the mechanical option as it offers several distinct advantages while being less expensive.
Mechanical keyboards are great because they don’t require you to press down on the entire key to make a letter appear on your screen.
This makes it possible for users to be more productive because only their fingertips have to touch the keyboard, which means less hand strain over time.
You might also enjoy being able to perform keypresses in rapid-succession; something not typically possible with normal keyboards.
An added bonus of mechanical keyboards is that they usually have much longer lifespans than membrane keyboards and are quite durable for long-term use.
When typing, each keystroke is like lifting weights that get heavier with each movement and this slows me down greatly. One thing I can do to increase my speed is to lessen the force I use from pressing down on each key.
It isn’t as difficult as it may sound. It just is a matter of getting used to pressing the keys. Type slowly, and take care not to type too heavily as this can strain your fingers
Some people may be put off by the mushiness of membrane keyboards but when it comes to typing, I actually like the feel.
For a long time I only used laptop computers with keypads that are not mechanical but membrane, so I became quite accustomed to the feel of typing on them.
But you should know that not all keyboards are created equal. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard The rubber dome ones might look and feel really cheap, but they outperform the dreaded mechanical or even scissor switch ones.
Mechanical keyboards also tend to come with a higher price tag than other kinds of keyboards, but the features are well worth it, especially if you have a high-paced job that relies on typing.
The nimblest thing about mechanical keyboards is using the one that have acclimatized properly to the temperature of your environment.
While mechanical keyboards are super sensitive, and great for gamers, it’s not always clear weather or not you struck a key twice fully even when you were supposed to only strike it once.
On a membrane keyboard, none the keys of which are made up of individual parts, it is likely that many users will not be able to register letters quickly.
This makes the forceful key pressing more of a benefit if you find yourself frequently annoyed by this on membrane keyboards.
Optical keyboards generally function just like regular keyboards, with the only difference being that they have some form of light mechanism built into them so as to offer visual feedback in addition to auditory feedback whenever users register a keystroke on the keyboard.
Optical keyboards register keypresses at a lower actuation point, which means that you don’t have to press them as hard to get them to be recognized.
Though some people prefer a slightly quicker response time for gaming, it can be rather annoying for anything that requires less instant feedback like typing because the delay can throw off the rhythm or make something difficult to interpret at first if you’re used to pressing a key and seeing the character immediately react.
Each keyboard has its pros and cons. I can type much faster on a mechanical keyboard because of its responsiveness to my touch, but if typing is all you’re doing, a membrane keyboard might do better for you.
It really is up to the individual in this case, but I prefer using my Mechanical Keyboard over the membrane one at my day job for this reason.
Which Keyboard Is Better For Constant Transport or Travel?
I would be thankful to say that membrane keyboards seem to have the advantage here.
I have frequently found myself in situations where I had difficulty typing because several of my keys hadn’t been fitting properly onto my mechanical keyboard and some were falling off.
Membrane keyboards are built with a membrane layer constructed with a variety of polymers that sits between the keycaps and your fingertips.
The dimpled cover keeps liquids away from the keys you press, ensuring quicker travel times and avoiding annoying spills during your coffee break at work.
Now, although I did mention the keycaps can get pulled off, I have yet to damage my mechanical keyboard by transporting it in a way that removes functionality from the board.
None of the keys on my keyboard are not switching on or these are broken.
So, there’s really not much one can do about it. This is more of an inconvenience issue than anything else.
The one benefit I’ll give to wireless keyboards in this situation is that they can be easily packed into a variety of bags without as much worry of them being damaged.
Most membrane keyboards are a full 108-key design with a number pad and all the function keys at the top, but I have yet to see one that is not.
When it comes to mechanical keyboards, there are tenkeyless keyboards and 60% keyboards which are much smaller than regular desktop keyboards.
Tenkeyless keyboards don’t come with the number pad on the right side. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard This design is called 10keyless . Most mechanical keyboards are tenkeyless since having a number pad isn’t necessary for most users.
Either of these is better for smaller desks or smaller backpacks; one does not need the number pad when traveling. I would rather have the desk space back and a tenkeyless keyboard is more convenient for me to take as it’s less bulky in size.
Which Keyboard Is Quieter?
One thing about membrane keyboards is that they tend to make less noise than those with mechanical switches.
Mechanical keyboards tend to conjure up images of the noob on the IT team who’s always banging away on the keyboard. But they are great because they can last a long time, and type faster and more accurately than others.
Many keyboard users even like the clicky sound because when they hear it, it signifies that their keypress has been successful.
Nevertheless, if you live with other people who aren’t fans of the keyboard’s loudness or are uncomfortable with its sharp clicking sound, that’s a good enough reason to go for membrane keyboards featuring low-profile switches.
Some streamers use keyboards that are louder than necessary in order to be heard over the sound of the keys.
A clicky membrane keyboard can be ideal so they can still have mechanical quality, but not announce themselves above the crowd.
A word of advice, though, mechanical keyboards won’t be so popular with those who demand silence from their keyboard.
We’ll talk in more detail below, but mecha-membrane keyboards were built to have a keyboard experience that bridges the gap between membrane and mechanical.
Which Keyboard Is Better For Gaming?
Mechanical keyboards are going to be excellent for gaming because the boards usually have an unlimited number of functions per key; a feature known as n-key rollover.
Many membrane keyboards do not have N-key rollover, which is crucial for a competitive gamer who’s got to press multiple buttons simultaneously.
N-key rollover is the ability to be pressing multiple buttons at once and having them all registering.
So, for example, say you’re playing Battlefield and you’re trying to run diagonally as quickly as possible while reloading your primary weapon.
In this situation, you are pressing about four buttons (white) and three buttons (black) at once. So you would want a keyboard that can register all of them at the exact same time.
This seems simple, but it is often overlooked by many people who want a keyboard and don’t know to look for it. Manufacturers of these keyboards apparently don’t make this information available on their websites.
Incidentally, mechanical keyboards are better for gaming because you can make a button press happen with a light touch instead of rapping keys out as hard as you can to get a response. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard For many, lighter presses register faster than harder ones.
With many switches, you can press them consistently without bottoming them out and have that button press registered.
Some people even eschew the keyboard altogether and only play games with a gamepad to gain a speed advantage.
Personally, I like mechanical keyboards for gaming because they’re easy to find in local stores and there are many different styles to choose from.
The force it takes to hit the bottom row of keys on a membrane keyboard can make my fingers quite tired after a few hours of gaming.
Where I can go without feeling it in my hands after nearly three times as long with a mechanical keyboard.
My recommendation for gaming is to use a mechanical keyboard. However, if you’re still on the fence, try going to a store such as Best Buy and trying out each one for yourself so that it can be easier to decide which one will work best for you.
Which Keyboard Is Going To Last The Longest?
The average lifespan of a mechanical keyboard is more than 50 million keystrokes, while the typical life expectancy of a membrane keyboard only lasts until five to ten million keystrokes.
Nevertheless, we are still talking about millions of keystrokes and how long a keyboard lasts can vary depending on the unit.
There are a lot of people who have had the same keyboards for ten long years and plenty of people who have thrown away the expensive mechanical keyboards within a couple of months.
We have a liquid resistance test, which is also called a spill test. This test involves being able to withstand the force of spilling liquids such as soda, juices, and water.
Both membrane and mechanical keyboards can be fully customizable. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard In fact, some may even advertise it as a unique feature.
Even the most basic of keyboards have this feature, so it’s a good chance that scanners have this as well. However, if you feel like you’ll need this particular security feature, then it is also useful to know that many ultrasonic scanners offer this.
Lastly, if you want your keyboard to last, it’s best to go with a mechanical keyboard.
Mechanical keyboards are primarily made up of aluminum or very sturdy materials that don’t bend easily, as this is a measure to ensure an improved impact tolerance.
While membrane keyboards might be made of plastic, they often are less fragile than other types of keyboards.
I think that the mechanical keyboard is heavier because of the way it was constructed, which gives me more comfort when moving around my desk and accidentally hitting it against something.
This can be considered less important than in some other scenarios.
However, if you plan to be using yours while travelling or shifting it around on a regular basis, you can be a bit more confident that they will not get scratched easily with their rigid surfaces.
Which One Has More Customization Of Looks And Performance?
The keyboard on your phone or computer has received a lot of negative criticism for taking so long to do what it does. With the help of many Kickstarter campaigns, people have created keyboards that can be easily updated or changed.
The switches are different colors but have differing noises, feels, and performance when it comes to typing.
The standard options are
- Cherry MX Red,
- Cherry MX Brown,
- Cherry MX Blue,
- Cherry MX Black,
- Cherry MX Green,
- Cherry MX Silver,
- Cherry MX Clear,
- Cherry MX Yellow,
- and the list goes on.
The two most common reasons for changing switches are when they break or when you buy a keyboard.
If the keycaps have switches installed, and those switches do not match your preferred style, you may want to replace them with another kind.
When you don’t have time to deal with the keyboard’s low-quality caps, ordering new switches online can be your ideal choice especially when replacing them becomes possible through a unique tool.
One thing to remember is that some keyboards cannot be hot-swapped with their switch mechanisms.
If you’re unsure if you can swap one out, it’s usually a selling point when they advertise the ability to easily replace them in case of wear and tare.
Hot-swappable keyboards make it much easier to repair broken switches and don’t require any soldering which regular keyboards might if you wanted to use different keys than originally installed.
Not all keyboards allow you to simply pop the switches out and pop them back in when they get dirty. Some will require a more laborious process, involving special equipment and connections, as well as soldering knowledge to handle.
Mechanical keyboards are cool and all, but what if you have the opportunity to try them out first to get an idea of which kind of switches you might like most?
A switch testing kit can help with that. It’s a great idea to pick one up before you spend too much money on a mechanical keyboard that doesn’t necessarily fit your needs.
Switch testing kits are a fun tool, and it helps with finding the type of mechanical keyboard switch you prefer to use on your new PC gaming keyboard.
We recommend our switch tester kit (link to Amazon). This is a great, cheap way for you to try out absolutely every Cherry MX switch imaginable before making your purchase. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Besides changing the switches to fit your typing style, Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard many mechanical keyboards also offer several different types of keycaps you can change out and customize to your liking.
Keycaps are created with two materials, ABS or PBT for instance. PBT is a typically thicker keycap material known for providing great ergonomics and comfort as it has excellent tactility in the fingertips.
ABS is the more commonly used, cheaper keycap material that’s not as refined or ideal, but it allows for light to shine through in a glistening anime sort of way due to translucent properties.
Of course, there are various color options available for individuals who wish to personalize the keycaps on their keyboards.
Sometimes, this is done to make the product stand out or even to portray how you feel depending on what kind of keycaps you purchase. In some instances, special editions may be released.
Lastly, there are some really cool customizable key caps for your keyboard that will add some flair to your typography.
Typically these can be found on the ESC key or another key that you don’t use often. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard This is entirely so when you are looking for a specific key, you can easily recall the specific icon since it’s imprinted on your keyboard.
Membrane keyboards can be made in any way that one wants. They do not have this customization, but anyone can make their own by hand.
Which Keyboard Is Best For Wireless Functionality?
Whether you’re an enthusiast or just a regular user, this one’s pretty easy – wireless keyboards give you the added benefit of not having to deal with pesky wires.
Unfortunately, membrane gaming keyboards do not exist which means you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to finding the style and features that fit your lifestyle and preferences best.
However, Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard mechanical keyboards have a large selection of wireless options due to the much more immense popularity.
If you were to look up wireless gaming keyboards anywhere, you would find that most of them are mechanical. There are fewer options for rubber-domed or membrane keyboards due in large part to their failure rates on the market.
What Is The Difference Between Membrane, Mecha-Membrane, and Mechanical?
Membrane keyboards are a compromise between traditional membrane and mechanical keyboards.
The Mecha-Membrane keyboard is a product by Razer and conceptually aims to combine the high durability of mechanical keyboards while providing optimal feedback without sacrificing tactile response.
I have a Razer Ornata Chroma V2, and it does sound and even feel different to a certain extent. However, I don’t think it resembles what a mechanical keyboard is actually like at all.
Membrane-membrane is often seen as a hybrid between regular membrane keyboards and full mechanical switches.
Mecha-membrane keyboards were designed to have louder audio feedback with every click compared to membrane keyboards.
Even though, Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard at the point of making that noise, your keypress may not be registered. On a mechanical keyboard however, you hear the audio feedback when the keypress is registered and this is not always guaranteed on a mecha-membrane.
Don’t assume that what works for one person will work for another.
For example, if you’re the type of person who buys a loud mechanical keyboard to bother everyone else around you, an ultra-quiet membrane keyboard is likely not the best option for you! It would be a lot better to quietly purchase something compatible instead.
Ultimately, we wanted something with an audible click to the sound. We found that others were also interested in this option so we decided to focus on it.
The only downside of the mecha-membrane is that it provides too much feedback, which may be undesirable because of how loud it becomes.
What’s The Difference Between Optical And Mechanical Keyboards?
Chances are if you’re shopping around for new keyboards, you likely see a lot more optical switches out there.
Structurally, Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard mechanical and optical keyboards look very similar and will have large keycaps and a heavier frame. The best way to tell them apart is by looking at the switches that they use.
Optical switches, which are usually found in gaming keyboards, register clicks by using beams of light within the keyboard. Because they do not use electronics to register keypresses, there is less input lag.
Mechanical switches utilize springs, which are similar to those in common pens, to connect to the circuit boards of laptops when the keys are pressed. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard Electricity is like long ribbons that tie many people together.
Touch switches act like an electronic lock for your hardware. When you press the switch, it records that something heavy has pressed down on top of it and in turn, to open up a section of your hardware.
These types of switches are mostly found in elevators, alarms and much more.
The keys on mechanical keyboards have a lower actuation point. This means it takes less force to push the key down and register a keypress, which can help prevent some of the repetitive stress injuries that plagued old day typists.
Although it may seem like you are getting faster input in-game, and having fewer typos, especially on mobile touch devices, it’s a tradeoff – by pausing for each keypress, you’re losing opportunities to execute multiple actions at once.
Typing with an optical keyboard might take some getting used to. It can be fairly easy to accidentally press keys while they’re not meant to be pressed. This is especially true if you are typing rapidly or doing a lot of typing in general.
Unlike most keyboards, Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard the optical ones didn’t bottom out as much. This is due to how the top layer has a less rigid hinge and is loaded with these tiny uneven micro-bumps. It’s almost impossible to tell unless they’re side by side.
The mechanical keyboard allowed me to press down each key much further, whereas the optical keyboard felt like it was short-cutting every keypress.
If you’re a gamer, I highly recommend the Logitech K750 wireless backlit keyboard. It features a crisp keystroke and generates virtually no sound–great for late-night gaming parties.
However, if I had a choice I’d prefer a mechanical keyboard because it does feel better and more comfortable when typing. With how much time I spend typing, I make far fewer mistakes on the larger keys.
If you game a lot, the speed benefit of an optical keyboard might be worth it for you. However, if you type a lot and do not require such high speeds, Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard I recommend that you go with a mechanical keyboard because it makes writing much more effortless.
The optical switch tech is becoming more mainstream as more and more companies such as Razer, Corsair, Redragon and ROCCAT are producing keyboards that utilize this switch component.
I bought my optical keyboard from the Company. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard An optical keyboard is a special kind of keyboard made by people who also make keyboards.
You can test new optical switches out before purchasing them. The first step should be to go to your local tech store and try the optical switch out. Unfortunately, testing kit for new optical switches are not available at the moment.
Which Keyboard Should You Get?
Although this is an entirely subjective matter, I prefer to make my decisions based on the following:
If you want the quietest keyboard on the market, buy a membrane keyboard. Membrane keyboards are some of the quietest ones found today.
Most membrane keyboards will make very little noise, Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard but at the very least, they won’t be heard even if they are nearby by anyone in a 10-20 feet radius.
If you are bothered by the mushy feel of typing and are willing to compromise your performance in games as well as speed while typing for silence, then membrane keyboards might be for you.
I recommend using mechanical keyboards if you want phenomenal performance while typing and want to get the best experience possible when playing games.
There are plenty of keyboard options for you to choose from so that you can fine-tune your preferred keyboard with only the features and functions you need.
The low actuation point and no need to bottom out the key with every press makes it easier to register keypresses on-screen or when typing.
Which means that you’ll be able to get through your work more quickly (and save yourself some time in the long run).
The significant trade-off here is noise. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard As you’ll be typing, there will be a lot of clicking and clacking against a keyboard.
So as long as you and anyone else that is going to exist near your keyboard are okay with that, that shouldn’t be an issue.
If you or someone you live with can’t handle a mechanical keyboard’s loudness, I wouldn’t recommend getting one because it will drive them crazy.
Lastly, we have two variations of glandular tissue, smooth and irregular.
Starting out with optical keyboards, Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard they are a variation of mechanical keyboards and often provide more sensitivity.
Optical keyboards can actually be used in gaming to give you an advantage over regular mechanical keyboard users.
Although they have the same loudness as mechanical keyboards, they are very sensitive and can take some time to adjust to typing on.
It took me a few months to adjust to my new optical keyboard and get used to the sensitivity.
However, at first, it does take some time to get used more efficiently onto your tools which may be counterproductive for those who spend the most of their writing time doing so.
However, if you play competitively and do most of your gaming in the dark, then it may be best to get an optical. The main advantage of an optical is that there’s a small space between the key and its surface unlike a mechanical.
Finally, we have mecha-membrane keyboards. Membrane and mechanical keyboards are a variety of the former.
I can’t recommend this to anyone but people who like the audio feedback of a mechanical keyboard but finding it difficult to adapt to using membrane keys.
Mecha-membrane keyboards still feel pretty different from a membrane keyboard. There’s a mushiness about them, plus you can clearly hear the click as you type.
They are suitable for typing but are still loud. Mecha-membrane is unique, so this is a style of keyboard that allows you to try out in person before buying for yourself.
I recommend that for all of these keyboard types. Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard If you can find a way to try them out before you buy them, it will be the only way to see which feel and sound right to you.
Keyboards and mice are two of the most subjective things to get used to in any setup. The only way to find one that you are comfortable with is by trying a few out until you find one that works for you.
Hello, My name is Shari & I am a writer for the ‘Outlook AppIns’ blog. I’m a CSIT graduate & I’ve been working in the IT industry for 3 years.