14 Best Linear Switches for Mechanical Keyboard 2022

linear switch

Linear switches have the most satisfying feeling when typing. It boils down to personal choice, as with everything else relating to keyboards. Linear switches are suited you if you want smooth switching. You’re undoubtedly also aware that mechanical keyboards can be equipped with one of three types of switches: linear, tactile, or clicky mechanical switches.

If you’re a professional typist, you’re well aware that mechanical keyboards can provide you with a smooth, flawless typing experience that will make other typists envious. If you’re a gamer, you’ll understand why mechanical keyboards have become so popular. These keyboards feature exceptional responsiveness, durability, and adaptability that are hard to come by in other keyboards. 

Distinct switches have different strengths and weaknesses. We’ll look at the finest switches for your mechanical keyboard setup in this post.

What is a linear switch?

Naturally, some linears are more rapid than others. Higher spring or actuation weight switches may need more power and time to fully push down. Less resistance means faster reaction times, letting your fingertips to slide around the board with ease. There is no tactile feedback with these switches.

Linear switches have the advantage of providing a quiet, smooth, and seamless typing or gaming experience. Users who utilise their mechanical keyboards for high-intensity gaming or fast-paced typing will appreciate the rapid and accurate actuation. When a tactile switch is tapped, it produces a bump. After finger pressure is applied to the key, it bumps out before it bottoms out.

These have a smooth activation with no tactile feedback and are noiseless. As a result, you must press down on these switches to activate them. Some users want their switches to “bottom out,” allowing them to strike the keyboard’s plate, while others enjoy the pillow-like feel of heavier switches. If you are easily distracted by loud, repeated noises, linear switches should be your first choice because they produce very little noise.

Linear switches are among the most often used mechanical switches. Linear mechanical switches, unlike their tactile cousins, provide a smooth action. When you press down, the glide is smooth and unhindered until it hits the keyboard.

Linear switches are a wonderful option if you don’t like the loud noises made by clicky switches or the rough rise tactile switches provide.

Whats so good about Linear switches?

If you plan to use your mechanical keyboard primarily for gaming, you might want to look at Cherry MX and Kailh’s speed switch choices. In the gaming world, linear switches, and more especially speed switches, are frequently employed to gain a competitive advantage over their opponents.

However, if this is your first mechanical keyboard, we don’t recommend these switches due to the risk of bottoming out. Once you’ve gotten used to typing, you’ll find that they’re a lot of fun to use.

The move from tactile switches to digital switches might be tough since you may bottom out the switches at first. This might cause minor discomfort and soreness in the fingers. While linear switches are easy to operate and enjoyable to use, there are a few things to consider before hopping on board the these switches.

How do you identify a linear switch?

Because it differs from tactile and clicky switches, it’s easy to spot a switch. The sound and tactility are the two main distinctions.

Sound

While there is a little click sound beneath the switch, it is barely perceptible in comparison to other switches. If you bottom out your keys on a frequent basis, the cap may make a noise as it hits the plate.

Others in a tight place may find the click and clack of a mechanical keyboard unpleasant, so they’ll be grateful you didn’t use a tactile or clicky switch! These switches operate quietly and smoothly.

Installing O-rings to minimise the severity of a bottom out, on the other hand, may make even the most heavy typers’ keyboards whisper quiet. Tactile switches are rough and silent, but clicky switches are noisy and bumpy. In the office or at school, where loud noises might be distracting, a quieter keyboard is beneficial. When pressed, linear switches make no sound, unlike their clicky relatives. This is what sets them apart from tactile and clicky switches.

Tactility

Mechanical keyboards provide a smoother and quicker typing experience due to the lack of tactile feedback. If there is no tactile bump when you tap on your keyboard switch, it is most likely a linear switch. When you tap on a switch, it bottoms out. As a result, there is no bump in these changes. 

Ways to make your linear switch feel better

You can always take your switches to the next level if you’re ready for a little project.

You can increase the smoothness and quality of your switches with some fantastic DIY ideas that need very little equipment. It doesn’t matter what kind of switch you have; you can improve it!

Let’s go through some of the many enhancements.

How to lube a keyswitch

Check out the video lesson above for a step-by-step guide on how to grease your linear switch. It’s time to get started once you’ve gathered all of your supplies and set aside some time. Basic tools and equipment, such as lubrication, a switch puller, and a keycap puller, are also required.

Keep in mind that lubricating your switches is a time-consuming task, so make sure you have an hour or two available. You may get rid of the scratchiness by lubricating the switch, leaving just a smooth switch. This easy modification will enhance all types of switches.

When you get your switches straight from the factory and put them on your keyboard, you can end up with a scratchy linear switch. The scratchy sensation is caused by friction between the switch’s housing (on the exterior) and the stem (on the inside) (long narrow part).

Switch film

You may solve this problem by installing switch film, which will make your switches more sturdy and silent than ever before. Because of these flaws, the pieces may not fit together completely, causing a minor wobble or shaking when typing. Small defects in the tooling and production process of a switch and keyboard components are common.

The 14 Best Linear Switches 

Lubing switches is a little less complicated and precise than lubing tactile or clicky switches if you get into altering switches.

Their calm nature, as previously said, makes them suitable for a variety of settings.

Linears are the switch equivalent of a Swiss army knife, ideally balanced for both typing and gaming.

When switching from a membrane keyboard to a mechanical keyboard, the vast array of switch types, manufacturers, materials, and other considerations might be intimidating.

For your mechanical keyboard, these are some of the greatest linear switches you can find:

1. Cherry MX Red

The Cherry MX Red offers a number of advantages, including a low price and high-quality clicks. A Silent version of the Cherry MX Red is much quieter than the ordinary version. Before a switch is finished, it goes through around 100 million actuations.

It takes 45 grammes of effort to activate them. That isn’t only because manufacturers have the ability to flood the market with switches. It’s also because these switches provide excellent value for money.

The Cherry MX Reds are among the most widely used linear switches. Cherry MX has long produced some of the highest-quality switches available.

2. Cherry MX Speed Silver: Best Linear Switch for Gaming

When it comes to gaming, a linear switch is your best option. A trustworthy gaming experience will be provided by the smooth and constant actuation. The Cherry MX Speed Silver takes the best features of a switch and makes them even better for gaming.

The switch will be somewhat faster than the other alternatives on the list due to its shorter actuation distance. This can provide you a millisecond or two of a competitive advantage.

You trade up the convenience and enjoyment of a typical switch for a 1% advantage in a game. Purchasing an ultra-specialized gaming switch does come with a cost. However, if you type a lot, this type of changeover has a lot of disadvantages.

3. Kailh Black

It features a 60 cN force actuation point. It records a pre-travel distance of 2.00mm and a post-travel distance of 4.0mm. The Kailh black is a linear switch that works well for both typing and gaming. Some of the unfavourable reviews claim that if used over an extended period of time, it might cause tiredness.

4. Kailh Red

It has a 5ocN actuation force and records a pre-travel distance of 2.00mm and a post-travel distance of 4.0m. This is due to the fact that they have considerably improved their switches after they were criticised. Previously, there were rumours and reviews about the poor quality of these switches, but they have decreased and are practically gone. This is a Chinese knock-off of the Cherry Red MX.

5. Durock Linear Switches

The Durock POM switches have a reasonably smooth, almost pre-lubed quality to them. At the same time, it does not come with any pre-lube.

The switches have a very solid and firm feel even under increased typing speeds when bottoming out. When typing at higher speeds, you might notice a slight spring ping and a wobble.

This switch has a mild resistance, which makes it suitable for many people who are new to these switches. Look no farther than the Gateron Yellow switch for the most bang for your buck switch that still gives an excellent typing experience.

The travel distance is 4mm, which is the industry standard for these switches. It also features a smaller stem, which makes typing much more comfortable.

If you’re new to linear switches, the Gateron yellow is a good choice because it has a medium resistance. It has a low actuation point, which is a drawback. It provides smooth, noiseless clicks, making typing with it a pleasant experience.

With a 50g actuation force, you don’t have to apply as much pressure before it works. The Gateron Yellow should be one of your top choices if you’re seeking for a low-cost, high-quality switch.

6. Gateron Red

This is one of the quietest switches on the market. The Gateron Red’s contact noise is nearly non-existent, which is a positive. Also, tapping on the keyboard takes longer than normal to activate. If you’re used to typing on the Cherry MX Red, you’ll notice that the typing experience on the Gateron Red is much different.

The Gateron Red features tiny friction areas in its downstroke performance, and its upstroke performance is somewhat different. The performance on the upstroke and downstroke differs significantly. These switches look a lot like Cherry MX Red switches.

7. Outemu Red

Its drawbacks include a low trigger level and a lesser level of stability than many other linear switches. At this point, you’ll need to hit the switch to register the command you’re about to execute. The travel distance of Outemu red switches is 4mm.

Furthermore, it has high-quality, inaudible clicks that are ideal for gaming. They have a moderate actuation force of 50g for a switch. It’s a low-cost, high-quality switch. This is an excellent alternative if you’re seeking for a responsive keyboard. The Outemu Red is a wonderful alternative to the Cherry MX Red from Outemu.

8. Gateron Yellow

For all three, the travel distance is 4mm, which is common for a linear switch. Depending on whether you desire Red (light), Yellow (medium), or Black (heavy) resistance, you may choose from a variety of Gateron linear switches.

Gateron switches are also in the budget category, which makes them very inexpensive when compared to the other switches on the list.

This contains their Red, Yellow, and Black linear switches, ensuring that everyone can find a spring. In fact, Gateron’s whole switch lineup is really smooth and enjoyable to type on. Gateron switches are also noted for having a reduced stem size, which results in buttery-smooth typing.

9. Gateron Ink Blacks

Like the NovelKeys Cream, you’ll have to instal this switch yourself on a custom keyboard or in your favourite hot-swappable keyboard. Not to add, the switch’s smokey black housing and jet black stem give it a really appealing appearance.

For many people, the added smoothness of the already smooth Gateron Black switch makes this a highly desired switch.

The Ink Black, which is part of Gateron’s premium switch line-up, is made of a new sort of plastic, giving in a considerably smoother experience. Gateron Ink Blacks are a well-known alternative that requires little explanation. The interior of the spring is similarly black-coated to match the switch housing. This switch is quite smooth and does not have any spring crunch.

If your style is ink black, you’ll appreciate these switches, which have a translucent smoky casing. The Gateron Ink Blacks are tough and long-lasting. It is black-coated, as the name suggests. It’s because of this smoothness that it’s one of the most popular linear switches.

If you’re used to previous Gateron switches, you won’t be disappointed with the Gateron Ink Black. It’s made of a special sort of plastic that ensures a significantly smoother typing experience than previously.

10. Zeal Tealios V2

The Zeal Tealios V2 switches have been changed to reduce wobbling and increase smoothness. They’re switches that are installed on a PCB. They are more expensive than normal switches, but not as much as other switches.

The switches sound excellent even without any lubricant. When properly lubricated, they may give a smooth ride. Tealios V2 switches have a 67g weight limit. These are some of the most slick switches available. They have a transparent housing and a characteristic teal system, making them ideal for keyboard players.

11. Novelkeys Creams

The switch, in our experience, is very scratchy when fresh, but the self-lubricating mechanism allows the sensation to level out as you use it more. This switch is ideal for making a homemade mechanical keyboard because it is an enthusiast switch.

You won’t be able to purchase a keyboard with this switch pre-installed, unlike some of the other possibilities on the list. Instead, you’ll have to purchase and instal the switches individually.

The switch is made of POM plastic and has a creamy white colour scheme that is guaranteed to thrill many keyboard fans. Because of its very bassy sound on bottom-out, the NovelKeys Cream has been in the limelight for a long.

The feel becomes more buttery smooth with time thanks to the self-lubricating feature. When the switches bottom out, they make a terrific bassy sound. They’re a creamy white hue, which you’ll enjoy if that’s your aesthetic.

It may take some time to get accustomed to because the feel is not as smooth as it is when it is fresh new. If you want to make your own mechanical keyboard, these switches are ideal. The NovelKeys Cream is a mid-range linear switch that is both cost-effective and easy to use.

12. Cherry MX Black

Like the NovelKeys Cream, you’ll have to instal this switch yourself on a custom keyboard or in your favourite hot-swappable keyboard. Not to add, the switch’s smokey black housing and jet black stem give it a really appealing appearance.

For many people, the added smoothness of the already smooth Gateron Black switch makes this a highly desired switch. The Ink Black, which is part of Gateron’s premium switch line-up, is made of a new sort of plastic, giving in a considerably smoother experience.

Gateron Ink Blacks are a well-known alternative that requires little explanation. The interior of the spring is similarly black-coated to match the switch housing. This switch is quite smooth and does not have any spring crunch.

The main drawback is that the Cherry MX linear switches are slightly scratchy, which might detract from the linear switch’s sensation. Cherry MX is a well-known switch that is recognised for producing switches that are incredibly robust, consistent, and all-around outstanding.

13. Tangerine Switches

Tangerine switches come in 25-packs, unlike most other linear switches, which come in 10-packs. You may still lubricate them before installing them to make typing and gaming even more enjoyable.

The switches are softly pre-lubricated at the manufacture for a pleasant typing experience. The housing is comprised of UHMWPE (ultra-high-molecular-weight polythene), a strong and long-lasting material. Gold springs and a PCB mount are included.

Tangerine switches have an appealing appearance; their hues are similar to those of a tangerine. They also clip to switch plates flawlessly, but not so tightly that they can’t be readily removed. Stock noises, such as a click, are still available. A minor vibration would also be felt on the top-out and bottom-out. When they are at rest or depressed, they show minor wobbles.

The spring weights for the dark green stem are 67g, while the light green stem is 62g. As a result, no crunches or pings should be heard. The C3Equalz X TKC Tangerine Switches have been dubbed the smoothest in the game, and they are not far off the mark. Tangerine switches are available in two colours: dark green and light green.

14. Alpacas

These switches have 62g gold-plated springs and are smooth linear switches.Their entire travel time is the industry standard of 4mm. The quiet variant features the same pink stem as the Alpacas and a dark smoky transparent housing. Both models are LED compatible and weigh in about 62 grammes.

You can practically guarantee a scratch-free switch if you grease them once you acquire them. Instead of merely the legs, the makers apply a thin oil lubricant to three sides of the stem. They are gently lubricated at the manufacturing, resulting in a buttery smooth typing experience.

Based on Minterly’s SA Bliss, these switches have a pink stem. The tops of the switches are made of polycarbonate, while the bottoms are made of nylon casing. POM is also used to manufacture the stem. Durock’s Alpaca V2 switch has been recolored.

If you are a mechanical keyboard beginner

Linear switches are also prefered by those who want smooth typing movements. Gamers like these switches because the steady keystrokes allow for more accuracy in highly competitive games.

The majority of these switches are silent, smooth, and constant throughout their whole movement.

Linear switches are ideal for persons who dislike the slight bumps that tactile switches produce or the loud noises that clicky switches produce. Linear switches are a subset of switches that are designed to provide a smooth, constant actuation without providing tactile feedback.

Each key on a mechanical keyboard has its own dedicated switch, resulting in high-quality, long-lasting keyboards with capabilities like N-key rollover (the ability to press several keys at once).

The switch under each key that supports your finger during the keystroke and registers each entry is referred to as a mechanical keyboard switch. I’ll go through some of the terminology used in the mechanical keyboard realm, because it might be confusing if you’re new to it.

Read more about mechanical keyboards vs membrane keyboards here.

Conclusion

Look for minimum wobbling, not too much noise, and enough lubrication from the manufacturer to offer a seamless, smooth ride. When choosing a linear switch, check out a few to see what you like. Linear switches are a wonderful choice if you like a smooth typing experience. You should select the optimum switches for you and your keyboard to offer the greatest experience.