What Are Silent Mechanical Keyboard Switches and Do They Actually Work?

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Mechanical keyboards person surged successful fame successful caller years, prized for their durability, customization options, and responsive cardinal feel. But nan familiar, large "click-clack" sound of typing connected mechanical cardinal switches isn't perfect for each users and environments. This has driven request for "silent" mechanical switches designed to clasp nan benefits of mechanical keyboards while reducing sound levels significantly.

But really are immoderate mechanical keyboard switches silent? What creation factors trim mechanical keyboard move noise? And are silent switches bully for gaming?

What Makes a Mechanical Keyboard Switch Silent?

Every mechanical keyboard personification has been there. You're tip-tapping distant connected nan keyboard, past abruptly recognize your thunderous cardinal presses and noisy mechanical switches are causing a disturbance passim nan office. Or nan library. Or waking up your sleeping kids, and truthful on. That's wherever silent mechanical keyboard switches measurement in.

cherry mx reddish and reddish silent switches successful move testing toolImage Credit: Gavin Phillips/MakeUseOf

Silent switches don't really do arsenic they opportunity connected nan tin; they're meant to importantly trim sound, but you'll ne'er person a genuinely silent move owed to nan mechanical workings and nan very truth you're hitting thing down pinch force. It'll ever create a sound. You'll still person to choose betwixt thocky and clacky move sounds.

Several halfway creation elements lend to a hushed typing sound connected mechanical keyboards:

  • Integrated sound dampeners: Specialized switches for illustration Cherry MX Silent, Gateron Silent Ink, and Aliaz incorporated rubber dampeners wrong nan move lodging to sorb sound connected nan downstroke and upstroke. This is 1 of nan astir effective methods for reducing sound astatine nan source. The dampeners are precisely engineered not to interfere pinch move consciousness and performance.
  • Softer move materials: Switches made pinch softer plastics for illustration POM (polyoxymethylene) make little sound than those made pinch harder materials for illustration nylon. The softer POM integrative amended absorbs vibrations and resonance.
  • Shorter recreation distance: Low floor plan switches pinch reduced full recreation region thin to nutrient little sound since location is little wide cardinal movement. The cardinal presses person a shallow, muted sound signature.
  • Lubrication: Lubing nan moving parts wrong nan move lodging pinch specialty oils aliases grease reduces clash and plastic-on-plastic noises. Both nan move stem and outpouring tin use from master lubrication.
  • O-rings: These soft rubber rings placed beneath nan keycaps cushion nan cardinal arsenic it bottoms retired connected each cardinal press. This prevents a harsh integrative effect sound.
  • Case design: Mechanical keyboard cases made pinch soul sound-dampening foam aliases heavy polycarbonate integrative sorb much sound compared to hollow, open-design cases. A coagulated lawsuit reduces echoes.

By combining respective of these noise-reducing creation elements, nan astir precocious silent switches connected nan marketplace coming execute awesome reductions successful sound levels compared to standard, non-silent mechanical switches.

However, if you can't aliases don't want to bargain silent switches, location are respective other ways you tin soundlessness your mechanical keyboard.

How Quiet Is "Silent"?

No azygous decibel (dB) standing universally defines a move arsenic "silent." The sound levels alteration depending connected nan circumstantial move design, materials used, keyboard case, keycaps, and different factors. However, we tin look astatine approximate sound levels produced during typing for immoderate celebrated quiet move options:

  • Cherry MX Silent Red: Around 45dB erstwhile typing normally. This is 1 of nan much celebrated and accessible silent linear switches.
  • Gateron Silent Ink: Around 40dB during typing. The integrated rubber dampener makes these an highly quiet choice.
  • Topre Silent: Approximately 45dB sound level. Topre uses a unsocial electrostatic capacitive dome creation that is inherently quiet.
  • Zilent Switches: Around 43dB while typing astatine mean speed. Known for being highly quiet yet retaining a tactile feel.
  • Aliaz Silent: 40dB sound level. Notable for its integrated 60g rubber dampener wrong nan housing.

For comparison, galore modular mechanical switches without sound dampening tin scope from 55-70dB erstwhile typing normally. So, successful general, purpose for switches rated astatine 50dB aliases little for an efficaciously hushed typing experience. The case, keycaps, and stabilizers besides effect noise, truthful see nan afloat keyboard system.

Consider nan pursuing move audio comparison utilizing a Cherry MX Red and a Cherry MX Red Silent. The first sound is nan modular Red switch, and nan 2nd is nan Red Silent.

The Cherry MX Red Silent is decidedly quieter than nan original, reducing nan sound by respective decibels.

Lubrication Significantly Reduces Mechanical Keyboard Switch Noise

Lubricating your mechanical keyboard switches' integrative stems, outpouring coils, and interaction points wrong a mechanical move lodging pinch a specialty lubricant tin little sound levels substantially—typically by 5-10 dB. The lubricant minimizes friction, outpouring ping, and different sources of unpleasant noise. For linear switches, due lubrication whitethorn beryllium nan azygous astir impactful sound simplification modification.

The use is little pronounced connected intentionally tactile and clicky move variants, arsenic lubrication could dampen nan tactile feedback those users desire. However, properly lubed stabilizers (for larger keys for illustration spacebar and enter) tin trim rattle and harmonic noises by a coagulated 5-7 dB, moreover connected tactile switches.

Are Silent Switches Good for Gaming and Typing?

Silent mechanical cardinal switches connection a versatile action suitable for some gaming and typing applications, though they cater particularly good to typing:

  • For gaming, nan quiet and soft cognition prevents disturbing housemates aliases neighbors adjacent while still providing precise and responsive inputs. Competitive gamers whitethorn for illustration large switches for nan audible feedback, but silent switches let attraction connected in-game audio cues.
  • For typing, silent switches excel by enabling comfortable, long-duration typing while eliminating sound pollution. The smooth, cushioned keypress whitethorn trim fatigue compared to stiffer, clicky switches. However, typists who trust heavy connected large auditory keypress feedback whitethorn find wholly silent switches disruptive.

Testing different move samples hands-on aliases listening to sound tests online tin find whether a silent mechanical move suits your needs and preferences. Overall, silent switches onslaught an fantabulous equilibrium for mixed gaming and typing uses owed to their versatility.

What Are nan Best Silent Mechanical Keyboard Switches?

The champion silent switches will really travel down to individual consciousness and sound. Given location are truthful galore variables, calling a azygous silent mechanical keyboard move "the best" is, successful my experience, impossible. Everyone likes different factors, and everyone wants a different sound.

That said, present is simply a array detailing immoderate of nan champion silent mechanical keyboard switches to get nan shot rolling successful your quest to quieten down your keyboard.



Actuation Force


Cherry MX Silent Red



Smooth, quiet, linear switch

Gateron Silent Red



Smooth, quiet linear switch, akin to Cherry silent red

Aliaz Silent Switch



Noticeable but muted tactile bump, dampened upstroke

Zilent V2



Large rounded tactile bump, very quiet




Smooth linear, exceptionally quiet pinch silicone dampeners

Boba U4 Silent Tactile



Large rounded tactile bump, silent stems greatly trim noise

Durock Silent Shrimp



Light linear switch, silencing pads trim noise

Silent Switches Won't Annoy Your Neighbors

Silent mechanical switches utilize integrated sound dampeners, specialized materials, lubrication techniques, and observant creation to substantially little sound levels compared to modular mechanical switches by complete 50% successful immoderate cases. While not wholly noiseless, nan astir precocious silent move designs supply a whisper-quiet typing acquisition for gaming, working, aliases immoderate exertion wherever sound could beryllium disruptive.

If you admit nan durability, customization, and consciousness of mechanical keyboards but want minimal noise, silent switches present nan champion of some worlds.

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