It’s 2023, and the gaming scene has changed drastically. New technologies have emerged, and demand for the latest in gaming switch technology is higher than ever.
It can be challenging to identify the best switches for gaming because everything is subjective. Smaller stem length, shorter actuation, and superior software for customization are all features of switches made specifically for gamers.
Everyone is searching for their next gaming edge, but many forget to consider a crucial element: the switch they are using on their keyboard.
In this article, we’ll break down the best switches for gaming, detail the pros and cons of different switch types, discuss why certain switches are best for certain games, and share our overall top pick to help you have the most competitive setup possible. Let’s dive in!
What Are Gaming Switches
Switches for gaming are essentially the “keys” to your keyboard or controller. They control the action of each key press and allow your gaming laptop or console to perform better in the game.
Switches come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors to suit any preference, budget, and play style. You can get mechanical switches for maximum feedback, or membrane switches for a quieter click. You can get linear switches for rapid-fire movements, or tactile switches that require more force but give a satisfying “thunk” when pressed. With so many options out there, it’s important to do your research before investing in any particular switch type.
In this guide, we break down the best switches for gaming in 2023 so you can find the perfect fit for your PC setup—whether it’s an FPS shooter or a MOBA game. We’ll cover different switch types in detail and discuss the pros and cons of each one so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to buy.
Evaluating the Different Types of Switches for Gaming
If you’re serious about gaming, then you know that having the right keyboard switches is essential for success. But with so many types of switches available, it can be difficult to determine which ones are best suited for your needs.
Let’s take a look at the different types of switches and evaluate them based on their characteristics. They include:
- Linear switches: These switches require less effort to press and have no tactile bump or auditory click when pressed. They’re ideal for gamers who need speed and responsiveness, and they tend to be quieter than other types of switches.
- Tactile switches: These have a noticeable bump halfway through their travel distance that lets you know you’ve pressed the key far enough. They generally require more pressure than linear switches and are great for typists who need precision input.
- Clicky switches: In addition to the tactile bump, these keys also have an audible click when pressed. This makes them great for gamers who like to feel and hear their buttons being pressed. However, they may be too noisy for some environments.
Factors To Consider When Selecting Gaming Switches
When it comes to buying a switch for gaming, there are lots of features to consider. After all, you want to make sure your switch is up to the task and can help you get the best of your game. These factors include:
The feel of the keys is very important in finding switches that provide an enjoyable and responsive experience while gaming. Key feel can vary from switch to switch, which makes it even more important to pay attention when selecting a switch. If a key feels too soft or too hard while gaming, it will affect how much you enjoy playing.
Another important factor to consider when purchasing a switch for gaming is its durability. You want one that will last through many rounds of gaming, so it’s important to look for switches that are rated for long-lasting performance. Some switches are rated for up to 70 million clicks, so if you’re looking for maximum durability, this is the type of switch you should be looking into.
3. Customization Options
Finally, consider customization options when selecting a switch for gaming. Being able to customize your setup with keycaps, backlighting, and other options can make your gaming experience even more enjoyable, so make sure you take these into account when choosing a gaming switch.
4. Auditory Feedback
Few individuals find the constant tapping sound their keyboard produce to be quite comforting, while other players find this sound feedback to be very distracting making them lose focus during gameplay and this becomes very irritating to some players. As a result, it’s crucial to consider auditory input when contrasting mechanical switches. It is understandably more difficult to do this when making an internet purchase. We’ll take a deep depth of every item for you so that our recommendations are accurate.
A mechanical switch’s noise level can also be determined by reading customer evaluations posted by other users and gamers who have purchased and used the product.
5. Force Needed to Activate the Switch
Switches are typically rated based on how much force is required to completely depress and initiate the key with your fingers. For faster typing, keyboards with switches that need less power to activate allow your fingers to move swiftly through the keyboard, but there is also a higher likelihood of mistakes or omitted commands where the key switch doesn’t detect your touch.
As you type, your keyboard will likely become louder and more power is needed to activate the switches, which some gamers may find annoying, which brings us to the next point to bear in mind.
It’s time to consider your choices in the context of the setting in which you’ll be working most of the time. Once you’ve decided on what you prefer and understand what you would fancy having for your keyboard as its mechanical switch then the next thing in mind should be the environment you will mostly be in.
If you are an individual who prefers to work alone where you don’t want to be disturbed or disturb others or one who is required to consider the fact that they are working together as a team in making decisions then you should be mindful of others.
You should consider, just because one person likes the tapped-tap-clicking sound of keyboards with loud audio feedback, doesn’t mean the whole workplace will. Fast typists take note that if you make the wrong choice in your preferred switch, you too could become the enemy of the workplace. All of these come down to what one prefers and it’s always a good idea to consider other people’s preferences when selecting keyboards and switches.
Best Switches for Gaming
It can be challenging to identify the finest mechanical switches for gaming because the criteria are almost entirely arbitrary. Linear switches, also known as Reds, are praised by extremely skilled players as the finest. However, finding a mechanical switch that you enjoy using is more crucial for the typical gamer than having the highest possible performance. We won’t be able to cover every switch possible as of 2023, but here are the best.
Knowing more about the various switch kinds will enable you to determine which one will best meet your requirements and will enable you to locate the ideal switch. Below are these switches in more detail.
1. Razer Optical Red Switch
Razer Optical Red Switch
The Razer red switch advanced to an optical with a unique design that lubricates the switches to make them actuate more smoothly and also allows the user to turn on the light sensor making them a great choice for gamers during the night.
The Razer Optical Red switch is lightning fast and comes in Razer’s trademark design where each switch has its stabilizer bars to result in each keystroke feeling stable. Optical switches are faster than mechanical switches for gaming since the signal is sent via light rather than the plates touching.
According to Razer, optical switches have a shorter delay than conventional or magnetic switches. Therefore, these optical switches might be a fantastic option for gamers who require quick and reliable input.
- Extremely responsive
- Macro-programmable keys
- Full RGB backlighting
- Good ergonomics
- Dedicated media controls
- Light optical switches
- Software customization option
- No dedicated macro keys for MMOs
- Slippery keys
- 60% form factor means no dedicated arrow keys
2. Cherry MX Speed Silver
Cherry MX Speed Silver
The fastest model of the Cherry MX switch family in maximum height is the Cherry MX Speed Silver. The silver switch triggers immediately as a result of its linear switching characteristics and minimal spring resistance. This switch is your assurance of a successful gaming experience when milliseconds determine whether you win or lose.
The switch contains linear actuation that enables each key hit to feel polished and firm when in use and its distance is quite short.
The Cherry Speed Silvers and Kailh Speed Silver are very comparable. The Cherry has a few minor variations, such as reduced actuation and bottom-out forces but a marginally longer actuation distance.
We observe that lighter actuation and bottom-out power help to produce actuation more quickly. A competitive gamer should love this switch because it is simple to push and has shorter travel distances.
- Excellent quality build
- These switches are incredibly responsive and fast
- Customizable per-key RGB backlighting
- Spill-resistant design
- Onboard memory for storing profiles
- USB pass-through port
- Detachable wrist rest
- Anti-ghosting and N-key rollover
- Macro recording
- Media keys
- Windows lock key
- No software included
3. Gateron Switches
The Gateron Red, Yellow, and Black switches are all linear options which makes them all incredibly smooth and reliable switches for video games. There is nothing unusual about the actuation distance, which is typical. Gateron switches are superior linear switches all-around. They are very smooth, reasonably priced, and suitable for typing and gameplay.
Although they are not designed particularly for gaming, this is probably your best option if you want a switch for both typing and gaming. Depending on how gently you touch the switches, you can select from a range of weights. As a light switch is typically better, the Red option is probably your best chance for gaming, though it doesn’t matter too much.
Gateron Reds are common on video game keyboards. People like these switches because they are easy to operate, readily accessible on the switch market, and offered as an option by many gaming keyboard makers. The Gateron Red switches are usually quieter than other keyboard switches and are smooth from top to bottom. They can be an excellent option for a gaming switch because of their lighter actuation and bottom-out power.
The Reds could use more customization, for one reason. These switches’ places of actuation distance are fixed, and they cannot be altered through changes to the hardware or software. The creation of novel gameplay switches has made customization a key differentiator.
- They are durable
- Have a unique design
- It comes in great-looking packaging
- The black bases dull the backlight
4. Kailh Speed Silver
Kailh Speed Silver
This is a great alternative preferably for a gamer who is looking for speed in a switch. It is quite affordable compared to other switches of the Speed Silver model. The distance of each key is slightly shortened which theoretically makes the switch transition a little bit faster.
Kailh switches don’t have similar results and longevity guarantees as Cherry MX switches. Cherry switches go through thorough testing and longevity inspection, which contributes to their lifespan of up to 100 million key hits. The typical lifetime of Kailh switches is approximately 50- 55 million key hits.
As a result, Kailh switches have lower ratings. However, if you’re on a limited budget, they are a fantastic option because of their price. Overall, this switch is a great option for gaming and will tick off most boxes for people seeking new switches. People may prefer the Kailh switches for gaming over the Cherry’s since the activation distances are shorter.
- They are way cheaper compared to other switches like Cherry MX
- Durable build lasts 100 million clicks and feels sturdy on keypress
- They are compatible with N-Key Rollover producing excellent feedback for gamers
- Accidental key presses are common due to the low actuation point and operating power
- It takes time for one to fully learn and become a pro while using the switch
5. Wooting Lekker Switch
Wooting Lekker Switch
For gamers, the Lekker switch is fantastic. You can adjust the actuation distance thanks to the Hall effect sensor that is present to the smallest activation distance for a switch which is as low as 0.1mm. The “Rapid trigger” function is accessible on the Lekker switch. It modifies the actuation and deactivation points to rapidly stop the inputs. This is excellent for motion-dependent games like Valorant, CS: GO, and others.
These switches function differently from conventional mechanical or optical switches because they record key presses using magnetic Hall Effect sensors as opposed to a metal contact point or a laser. This model, like the Wooting one, has a Tachyon Mode to minimize input latency as well as an Analog Mode that allows keystrokes to imitate joystick inputs. The Wooting two HE, on the other hand, offers noticeable improvements like PBT keycaps in place of ABS and a much broader range to adjust your pre-travel distance.
The switch makes a silent clicking sound that is louder than a Gateron Red. The typing experience is seamless and without any grating. This device is excellent for video games. It has several benefits and features. The fact that it is only compatible with the Wooting 60HE and Wooting Two HE is its lone drawback.
- Many additional features to enhance gaming performance
- Companion software is available on all major operating systems
- Incredibly low latency
- Feels well-built and solid
- Only compatible with the Wooting 60HE and Wooting Two HE
6. Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Reds and Gateron Reds are very comparable. They share a lot of traits in common, including actuation power, sound, and feel. Cherry MX Reds are a fantastic option for gaming as well because of their comparatively lighter spring. They are quick, dependable, and oh-so comfortable to use.
Cherry MX Reds press down like butter but don’t feel mushy like inferior clones because they are linear. Instead, they have a 2.0mm actuation point and operate quietly, which your Discord teammates and real-life housemates will enjoy. They also feel silky smooth but precise. Due to the quick response times to your touch, it is a very popular choice among gamers because it allows you to completely immerse yourself in the action while watching your typed responses play out in real-time on the monitor.
Generally speaking, the MX Red is a pleasant switch for some games but not for others. You would have to think about what games you play and whether you believe a light switch will give you an advantage. Keep in mind that using this swap for typing would be necessary even when you weren’t playing games, which might not be the best option.
- Easy to find; used in many of today’s best mechanical gaming keyboards
- Minimal lag thanks to fast response times
- Easy to install and replace
- Extremely quiet, with a muffled sound that doesn’t bother colleagues or housemates
- Boasts superior quality assurance with precision-machined components
- RGB lighting allows you to personalize your gaming setup
- Lacks the modern tech advancements found in optical and magnetic switches
- Not quite as fast as dedicated MX speed switches
Tips for Finding the Right Switches for Your Gaming Needs
With so many switches on the market, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your gaming setup. Here are some tips that can help make the switch-buying process a little easier.
Research Switch Types
The first step in finding the right gaming switches is to understand the different types of switches available. The most common types on the market include linear, tactile, and clicky switches. Each offers a unique experience and has its advantages and disadvantages. Spending some time learning about each type of switch will help you find which one works best for your gaming style.
Try Before You Buy
It might not always be possible but when it is, try using your desired switch before you buy. Retail stores often have assemblies of various gaming keyboards that allow customers to test out the different types of switches before deciding which one to purchase. This is a great way to get firsthand experience of how each type works with your particular gaming style.
Look at User Reviews
User reviews are a great way to get an idea of how well a switch type performs in real-world situations. Pay attention to both negative and positive reviews and take note of any common complaints or praises regarding particular switch types or brands. Reading customer reviews can give you useful insights into how well a particular switch performs in terms of responsiveness, accuracy, durability, and more.
The tips should help you find the right switches for your gaming needs so that you can choose with confidence.
All in all, when it comes to finding the best switches for gaming in 2023, there are a lot of factors that come into play. From tactile, linear, and clicky switches, to budget, lifespan, noise levels, and more, it pays to know exactly what you’re looking for and which switch will offer the best performance for your gaming needs.
The list above covers some of the most popular and reliable gaming switches currently available, making it easier to choose the perfect one for your specific needs. From budget-friendly mechanical switches to high-end models, you should now be able to find the switch that will provide the perfect gaming experience for you.
Do I Need a Switch for Gaming?
A gaming switch may not be necessary if you play video games occasionally. A gaming keyboard, however, can give you an edge over your rivals if you’re a serious gamer. Additionally, gaming keyboards frequently have functions that are useful for increasing productivity.
How Do Gaming Switches Work?
When you hit a specific switch located beneath each key on a mechanical keyboard, your keystrokes are recorded. A foundation, a spring, and a stem make up a mechanical switch. The sort of switch is determined by the shape of the stem at the base of the switch. This is a result of the stem making touch with the keystroke-registering spring. (the actuation point).
How Long Do Gaming Switches Usually Last?
They can last for decades, however, It’s easy to take light switches for granted. Except for the odd cleaning, the majority are practically maintenance-free. But over time, wear and tear will take its toll, and you might discover that a light switch in your house is beginning to malfunction noticeably.
What Are the Best Gaming Switches Brands?
There are numerous types of gaming switches on the market, each with unique advantages and disadvantages. The most well-known manufacturers of gaming switches are Razer, Corsair, Cherry, and Aukey. Which brand is the finest, though, is a contentious issue. It will ultimately come down to taste.