In the world of mechanical keyboards, many different types of mechanical switches are on the market today. Knowing which mechanical switch is the most suitable for you, depending on your field of use, is crucial for all the right reasons.
Clicky, linear and tactile are the three main switches known out there, but even though they are the main types, differentiating and choosing between them can sometimes be challenging, especially for those new to this space.
Among mechanical keyboards, Cherry MX switches are among the most widely used. The Cherry MX Red and Blue variants are the two Cherry MX switches most in demand. They come from the same family and have similarities, such as their actuation force and travel distance.
Still, some subtle differences can make or break your gaming experience. We will compare them to see which is better for you so you can make a wise decision.
In this post, we’ll compare Cherry MX Red switches vs. Blue switches so that you have a better understanding of each and, more importantly, know which one should go into your next keyboard purchase.
What Are Cherry MX Switches
Cherry brand is one of the top manufacturers of mechanical switches used in mechanical keyboards. Since their introduction to the market, Cherry MX switches have made a huge statement and built a solid reputation.
They are highly ranked and regarded as top-of-the-class mechanical keyboard key switches. It is backed up by general feedback regarding factors like comfort, durability, and performance output from the broad community, including professional gamers, writers, and programmers.
Cherry MX switches are the most widely known vital switch, and many variations and designs are available. Undoubtedly, anyone looking to decide on one might become overwhelmed by the many choices available.
Types of Cherry MX Switches
Linear, clicky, and tactile are the general categories in which the cherry MX switches are classified.
Each variety of switches portrays different characteristics and significance on the feeling associated with pressing the mechanical switch and the sound output from the controller.
One can identify the difference straight out of the bat through the color of the switch.
Cherry MX Linear Switches
During a keystroke, linear switches descend smoothly throughout the entire press of the key. Cherry linear switches glide straight to the bottom smoothly when pressed; they don’t have any bumps midway, giving it the title linear. No click sounds are heard or bump or push-back felt during keypress, making them quieter than the other tactile and clicky switch types.
The cherry MX linear switches are perfect for those who prefer smooth typing and minimal sound output. Also, because it gives more consistency during fast keystrokes, most gamers prefer this type of switch as they place them far ahead of their competition. Various linear Cherry MX switches like the Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Black, and Cherry MX Speed Silver exist.
Cherry MX Red switches are the most widely used and popular on pre-built gaming mechanical keyboards.
Cherry MX Tactile Switches
Tactile switches refer to precisely what they sound like; when you press down the switch, they give tactile feedback to your finger. The input is described as a small notch or bump that gives a gratifying pop feeling with each keystroke. They aren’t as smooth as linear switches, but the tactile feedback makes the typing experience more satisfying. Tactile switches are preferred because this feedback helps you know when the keystroke is registered or initiated.
The sound profile on tactile switches is quieter than clicky switches but is still a bit louder than linear switches because of the bump. Various tactile Cherry MX switches are mainly associated with brown, clear and grey switches. Cherry MX Brown is the most popular when it comes to tactical switches because of their universal use in most mechanical keyboards and ready availability.
Cherry MX Clicky Switches
Compared to the rest, these are the loudest switches; they produce an audible click noise, and a small bump feels upon actuation. This noise gives excellent satisfaction when typing, for it, in collaboration with the tactile feedback from the bump, makes it ideal for typing.
Clicky switches can become destructive and annoying in some environments, especially during typing or fast-paced gaming. They mainly come in blue, green, and white switches.
Cherry MX Blue switches are the most widely used click mechanical switch in typing because they have both a click and a tactile bump feedback that is satisfying and gives the feeling of progress and reward to the effort, especially if working alone or in an isolated environment.
Cherry MX Red Switches vs. Cherry MX Blue Switches
There has been great rivalry and discussion on the difference between these two types of cherry mechanical switches and which might be better.
Although both are from the same family and have similarities, this debate has never cooled down.
We’ll compare the Cherry MX Red switches and the Cherry MX Blue switches so you understand each better and, more importantly, know which one should go into your next keyboard purchase.
Cherry MX Red Switches
Cherry MX Red Switches
Cherry MX Red switches are the most demanded and standard mechanical switch in today’s market, all because of valid reasons. The MX Red switches have a spring-loaded stem in one piece, allowing a smooth and consistent keystroke with no audio click noise or tactile feedback. This switch is commonly used primarily for gaming and light typing for those who prefer its low actuation force, and they are usually installed as the standard switches in pre-built keyboards.
The Cherry MX Red switches respond fast while they require moderate force to actuate, making them great for gamers who need a fast response time and ease in double tapping. They also can be great for typists who want to maintain low noise levels. They are well-made and crafted, giving them a long lifespan and an excellent choice for those needing durable keyboard switches.
Having an actuation point of 2mm, which is lower than other mechanical switches, the MX Red switch gives a fast response on keypress. Additionally, only 45g of force can be required on the spring to actuate less than other switches. However, the key hit travel distance is similar in most switches, and the MX Red is among them at 4mm. If you have a light hand and are a gamer, then the MX Red switches are your best bet.
Pros of Using Cherry MX Red Switches
Here are the pros of using Cherry MX Red Switches:
- Comparatively silent: Compared to other switches, the Cherry MX Red switches are relatively quiet due to their design lacking a tactile bump and no auditory clicky feedback. It makes them one of the least noisy switches available because they produce minimal or no sound on the keypress.
- Light touch: We must notice one of the significant advantages of the Cherry MX Red switches: they are light to the touch. They are enabled by a soft spring inside the switch that only requires a small force of 45g to actuate the key. With this small force, the switch will kick out and register at the 2mm point. This characteristic makes it much lighter than other switches in the market, and users don’t have to spend much effort on typing settings apart from other switches significantly.
- Perfect for gaming: If you are a gamer, the MX Red switches are a perfect choice, especially if you wish to become as agile as possible. Nothing will hold you back, guaranteeing you to be in top form.
Cons of Using Cherry MX Red Switches
Here are the cons of using Cherry MX Red Switches:
- Easy to Double-tap: The Cherry MX Red switches are considered linear, and because of their lack of tactile bump or sound feedback, users cannot tell exactly when the keypress actuates, which may easily cause you to press more than once or hold on to the key. It often causes double tapping and also typing of the wrong key.
Cherry MX Blue Switches
Cherry MX Blue Switches
The Cherry MX Blue switches can quickly be graded as the most widely used clicky tactile mechanical switch today. They are undoubtedly the first switch recommended to anyone beginning to use mechanical keyboards as a starting point. They are responsible for the rumors and misconceptions about all mechanical keyboards being loud.
As much as the Cherry MX Blue switches might share similarities with other switches, unique features make them clicky and tactile. These switches have a tactile bump situated midway as you press down; once the tactile bump gets overcome, a slider gets fired downwards, which produces a distinct click sound on impact at the bottom of the switch.
When it comes to actuation, a force of 50g is required to start pushing down the key, this is higher than most other switches making them a bit more difficult to press, but this gives them the ability to provide more tactile feedback. Although they have to travel up to 2mm like most other switches to actuate and bottom out at 4mm, the presence of its bump feel and click sound helps identify precisely when the inputs are registered.
The Cherry MX Blue is reliable and accurate and offers considerable tactile feedback. Some people enjoy the click response, while others don’t like the actuation point below the release point. Also, because these switches make the keyboards loud, you should always consider your environment and avoid libraries and quiet office spaces because you might annoy others.
Pros of Using Cherry MX Blue Switches
Here are the pros of using Cherry MX Blue Switches:
- Tactile and Clicky: The sound feedback and tactile bump are the most significant benefits of the Cherry MX Blue switch. The response is outstanding, sharp, and reliable, assuring you that your input is being registered correctly. Although it might be problematic to some people alone, the experience is smooth and consistent.
- Suitable for Typing: A noticeable unique sound helps typists concentrate more on hitting the right key. At the same time, the tactile bump on these switches gives a vast and enjoyable feel to your typing experience and even makes it feel like using the classic typewriter.
- Good Resistance: High sensitivity brings about a lot of challenges in typing because you might end up causing too many typing errors, but since the Cherry MX Blue switches are less sensitive and require much more force to actuate, they are ideal for typing scenarios. The keys feel more rigid and provide reasonable amounts of resistance, which will only make your typing experience more precise.
Here are the cons of using Cherry MX Blue Switches:
- Tiresome if used for long: A force of 60g is required to bottom out the Cherry MX Blue switches as much as it actuates at 50g. These are relatively strong forces compared to the requirements of other switches and can make typing for an extended period very tiresome. Especially for someone who is used to using other switches like the linear types, the Cherry MX Blue ones will be more challenging to use.
- Loud in Nature: For those who love silence, the Cherry MX Blue switches are not for you. The tactile feedback and click sound produced can be a nuisance to you or others in your environment especially working spaces or even to roommates in an enclosed area. Therefore, users must always consider where and who they are around when using or purchasing these types of switches.
Differences Between Cherry MX Red and Blue Switches
If you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard, one of the most important decisions is which switches to use. Cherry MX Red and Blue switches are two of the most popular choices due to their different user experiences.
So what exactly sets them apart?
Red switches are linear, meaning they don’t require a lot of force to actuate. They are best suited for gamers and typists who want a smooth and quiet experience, as the keypress has little or no tactile bump or sound. On the other hand, Blue switches are tactile and provide a bump as you press them down and then again as they come up.
Red switches have no tactile feedback, so it’s easier to press several keys at once by mistake, while Blues will give a bit more resistance which can result in precise typing. This feedback is helpful because it provides some less debilitating feedback. Additionally, it gives you, the user, the ability to see when a keystroke is registered, which enhances typing speed and accuracy.
The tactile bump with Blues generates more sound than Reds. If you’re looking for an ultra-quiet experience, Reds are a better choice, as they’ll produce much less noise overall.
Cherry MX switches come in various sizes and specifications. Red switches have a linear actuation force of 45g and an actuation point of 2mm. At the same time, blue MX switches have an actuation force of 50g, with a tactile bump at the actuation point of 2.2mm.
Red and Blue Cherry MX switches have a total travel distance of 4mm and full activation at 3.2mm.
Cherry MX switches have a rating for up to 50 million operations, so they’ll last a while even with heavy use plus, they won’t wear or degrade over time, which makes them perfect for gaming or typing for long periods. Moreover, their high-quality materials mean you can expect to hear less noise as you press the keys due to the stabilizer dampening associated with each switch type.
Cherry MX Red vs. Blue Switches in Different Categories
Here’s a comparison of Cherry MX Red vs. Blue Switches in different categories:
All gamers can testify that sometimes gaming can get very serious and intense, and when you are intensely concentrated and lost in the zone, any distractions are the last thing you would wish for. Choosing the right switch of your liking and preference is crucial to guarantee an uninterrupted smooth gaming experience. Most gamers prefer the Cherry MX Red switches because of their swift, smooth, and silent features.
The Cherry MX Red switches are predictable and can be depended on when gaming. Whether you feel excited or are calm, when your attention is needed, anything outside the game, like persistent click noises from Cherry MX Blues switches on your mechanical keyboard, becomes distracting and sometimes annoying.
Even though the MX Blue switches give back tactile feedback that helps confirm your commands and keypress, the Cherry MX Red switches have a faster keyboard response speed because of their low actuation force, not forgetting the smooth and consistent keystrokes that make them easier to press.
Well, it all depends on your user preference with all factors considered, but for an ideal gaming experience, you should go for the Cherry MX Red switches as they give an advantage to players who use them.
Since the introduction of the typewriter and computers, typing has established itself as a prevalent career and a skill highly required in most career paths. The click switches have also been there from the beginning because they are made with similar qualities and characteristics to the traditional typewriter.
The Cherry MX Blue switches give the accuracy and satisfaction required for typing. The tactile feedback tells you exactly when the key is initiated, and the click guarantees you the keystroke enabling you to reduce mistakes and even become more efficient in typing.
The Cherry MX Red can also be used for typing, but they require more training because of their lightweight nature and no feedback; you will be prone to double-tapping some keys and sometimes missing others.
The Cherry MX Blue switches are the best choice to archive the speeds and accuracy most typists need.
Your preference will be the determining factor when it comes to the feeling you would want to experience.
The Cherry MX Red switches are linear and feel smooth on the keypress because of the consistent motion throughout the press, and they are mainly liked and preferred by gamers.
In contrast, the Cherry MX Blue switches have a bump that gives feedback on the keypress producing a click sound to confirm actuation. They require more force to start compressing the switches than other linear switches, and typists mostly like them.
So the choice of which is better will entirely depend on your liking.
People are different; some prefer a calm and quiet environment, while others want to hear everything every time and prefer loud environments. Cherry MX Reds are quiet and perfect for a peaceful ambiance. Still, if you want to hear and confirm the initiation of your keypress and feel the satisfaction of the feedback, go for the Cherry MX Blue switches.
Depending on what you are looking for, you can find the perfect switch that suits your needs. Choosing between Cherry MX Red and Blue switches comes down to the type of keyboard you are looking for and what you need it to do.
Suppose you are a gamer looking for increased accuracy or a typist who wants a quieter typing experience. In that case, Cherry MX Red switches are suitable because they provide a fast, smooth, responsive experience while playing. They are relatively quiet and require less actuation force to register a key press making double-tapping or rapid pressing easier.
On the other hand, Cherry MX Blue switches are preferred by typists because of the audible feedback they provide; the clicking sound makes typing feel more tactile and helps with accuracy. Ultimately, your switch should be based on understanding your needs and preferences.
Are the Switches on My Keyboard Replaceable?
Yes, most mechanical keyboards are customizable, allowing users to change or replace key switches.
What Are Cherry MX Green Switches?
These are clicky tactile switches manufactured by the Cherry company, with a more significant bump and a louder click sound than Cherry MX Blue switches. They require a heavier force of 80g to actuate and are mostly preferred for typing.
Do the Cherry MX Red and Blue Switches Have RGB Lighting?
No, they do not have RGB lighting. However, the Cherry company produces the Cherry MX RGB switches, which you can use to customize your mechanical keyboard.
What Type of Switch Is Best for Programming?
Your preference determines the best programming switch. Blue switches are considered the best if you enjoy the audible click and tactile feedback, which helps you type quickly.