The world of gaming has grown exponentially over a few years. Many gaming competitions have reached global levels. Gaming, especially on a professional level, requires quick reflexes, a clear head, and reliable Peripherals.
A keyboard gives gamers an unparalleled advantage in gaming. Multiple actions can be assigned to keys on the keyboard for speed and accuracy.
As a gamer, you need a keyboard that pairs perfectly with you. You need a stable and reliable keyboard that is quick and responsive and still feel great while using it. A good gaming keyboard must also be very durable.
Mechanical vs. Membrane Keyboard: Which is Best for Gaming?
Let us take a quick look at the membrane keyboard. We will compare mechanical and membrane keyboards and see how well suited they are for gaming.
- Membrane keyboards.
Membrane keyboards are commonly found on laptops and computers because they are cheap and easier to mass-produce.
As mentioned earlier, the switches in membrane keyboards are very different from those in mechanical keyboards. Just like the name suggests, these keyboards have layers of membrane underneath them.
There is a non-conductive layer that separates two membranes. When you push down on a key, the two layers connect and complete a circuit. This how the keys are registered on a membrane keyboard. The two main types of membrane keyboards are the rubber dome keyboard and the flat key keyboard.
Membrane keyboards with the flat key design are less desirable than rubber dome keyboards. The rubber domes try to mimic the feel of a mechanical keyboard. These domes are elastic, so when you press down on them, they naturally return to their position like the mechanical switches’ springs.
- Mechanical keyboards.
Mechanical keyboards differ from other keyboards because of the type of switches in them. They work very differently from other switches found on other keyboards. These keyboard switches have moving parts, and they are called mechanical switches.
The switch can also be attributed to how the keyboards feel while typing and gaming. Their design and quality give mechanical keyboards an edge over other keyboards.
Mechanical keyboards are more durable, have faster response and, tactility. These are a few of the advantages they have over regular keyboards. Also, we are going to delve deeper into how these qualities of mechanical keyboards affect gaming.
Which type of keyboard is the best for gaming
Before we make the verdict of which keyboard is better for gaming,
We will use the following criteria to judge how good they are for gaming.
- Typing feels.
The feels provided by these two keyboards vary greatly. Mechanical keyboards offer a more comprehensive range of typing feels from linear to tactile and clicky. Most membrane keyboards have what can be described as a mushy feel. The feels from a keyboard are not as solid as those from a mechanical keyboard.
Membrane keyboards do not produce as much noise as mechanical keyboards. This makes them more desirable in some spheres. However, the unbeatable typing feels from mechanical keyboards have made them more popular and more utilized in the gaming world.
- Speed and responsiveness.
Speed is a very crucial factor in gaming. Gaming computers are fast and even have high refresh rates on their display, and you need a suitable keyboard to match your speed. A millisecond can make the difference between second place and victory. When it comes to speed on keyboards, there is a clear winner.
Mechanical keyboards are faster than membrane keyboards. They leave membrane keyboards in the dust when it comes to speed. Many things account for this disparity in speed.
Mechanical gaming keyboards actuate keys much faster than membrane keyboards. Average mechanical keyboards take about 6ms to registry keys. Keyboards that use other technologies like the Electrostatic Capacitive are faster. The Impressive EC mechanical switch uses less than 5ms to actuate keys.
The type of mechanical switch present in a mechanical keyboard can also affect the speed and performance while gaming. Some switches are smooth to allow for a quick and easy keypress, while other switches give feedback to let you know when you have successfully actuated a key. We will talk more about switch types later in this article.
Mechanical keyboards also have shorter actuation distance than their membrane counterparts. Other keyboards typically have a travel distance of 4mm, while mechanical keyboards have about 2mm.
- N-key rollover.
Many games require that you combine multiple keys when playing. An excellent keyboard for gaming must be able to accommodate high key rollovers.
The maximum number of keys a keyboard can register when pressed together is an N-key rollover. Having a keyboard with good key rollover for gaming is a must. Both types of keyboards have a rollover, but you will get the most key rollover with mechanical keyboards.
Owning a keyboard that has been fully customized to your taste can improve your gaming. It also makes the keyboard more convenient to use and reduce strain.
Membrane keyboards do not usually allow for much customization. If you want style and reliability for a gaming keyboard, it is best to go for a mechanical keyboard.
Hot-swappable mechanical keyboards allow you to change the keys and the switches. You can choose switches for dedicated keys such as the arrow keys or the functions keys.
Some manufacturers let you customize the backlighting on individual keys on their keyboards. You can also opt for more durable keycap materials on your keyboard. This can create a more wholesome gaming experience.
You may have noticed that many gaming keyboards come in beautiful colors. Keyboards with customizable keycaps give you the option of creating beautiful layouts. Some manufacturers like Varmilo also make beautifully themed keyboards.
Another great thing is, many of the best mechanical keyboards for gaming have dedicated keys for gaming.
Gamers use certain keys many times throughout the keyboard’s lifetime. Like the WSAD keys, these keys may give out much earlier than other keys on the keyboard if they are made with low-quality materials. A gaming keyboard should be durable enough that these keys will still function after a very long time.
Membrane keyboards have a moderately useful lifespan. The keys on membrane keyboards can last for about 5 million keypresses. This may sound like a long time, but extensive gaming can reduce the life span to a few years.
Mechanical keyboards are champions of durability. They easily outlast membrane keyboards. The average mechanical keyboard can last up to 30 million keypresses, with some models lasting up to 80 million keypresses. Electrostatic Capacitance and optical-mechanical keyboards outlast even the best mechanical keyboards for gaming.
The quality of the keyboard also adds to its durability. You should know that membrane keyboards can be terribly difficult or near impossible to repair. It has led to many damaged membrane keyboards ending up in landfills.
However, this is not the case with mechanical keyboards. If a switch on the keyboard stops working, you can quickly repair it by soldering a compatible switch back on the circuit board. After this, the keyboard is good to go for more gaming.
The unbeatable durability of mechanical keyboards makes them an excellent choice for gaming.
- Weight and stability.
It is always nice to have a keyboard that will stay firm on a desk while using it. This is especially useful for gamers who can sometimes be very passionate and move about in the heat of virtual battle. The last thing you need while gaming is a keyboard that wobbles endlessly.
Mechanical keyboards are sturdier and more robust than membrane keyboards. This is due to the use of better materials in the keyboards. Some mechanical keyboards have metal backplates that add to its robustness.
Membrane keyboards have weight to them, but they really can’t compare to mechanical keyboards.
Mechanical keyboards stay firmly on the surface they are placed on. Some people may not like the added weight from mechanical keyboards, especially when they move around.
Everyone considers cost when going for a new item. Generally, the price of mechanical keyboards is higher than membrane keyboards. This is mainly due to the materials and other manufacturing costs.
On the other hand, membrane keyboards are cheaper and easier to manufacture. Rubber and silicon are more affordable than metals and other plastics used in mechanical switches. This is why you may find more membrane keyboards around.
The slightly high costs of mechanical keyboards can be justified, given how solid and durable they are. They are also great for typing and professional work. Irrespective of why you want to buy a mechanical keyboard, they make for a good investment.
How to Choose the Best Mechanical Keyboard in 2020
Although they look the same, the hardware and the manufacturing processes used on mechanical keyboards can make a world of difference in your gaming. Right now, many manufacturers make mechanical keyboards. It can be hard to choose from a sea of keyboards.
If you are new to mechanical keyboards or are already familiar with them, They are the following things to look out for before you buy one.
- Switch type.
The switch is the heart of the mechanical keyboard, and it responsible for the fantastic typing feels and the durability they have. When it comes to gaming, you need to be specific on the type of switch on your keyboard.
The switch type is one of the essential things gamers consider when going for gaming laptops. You will understand why in a few minutes. The switch type affects how the keys feel. There are many switch manufacturers, but before you pick a keyboard switch, you need to know more about them.
Let us take a brief look at these switches and the advantages they have for gaming.
Linear switches: linear switches have been a top pick for numerous gamers because of their smoothness. They provide a uniform resistance when you press down on them, hence the name linear switch.
Having a switch that presses with ease can be very advantageous to use, especially in fast-paced games—gamers like that they can quickly press keys with them. The Cherry MX Red is a trendy linear switch among gamers and professionals. Another great linear switch is the Varmilo EC Sakura.
Tactile switches: tactile switches are very different from linear switches because the resistance they provide is not uniform. They have a bumpy feel along with the actuation distance. This confirmatory feedback lets you know when you have actuated a key. Some love this feedback because it makes them faster.
Clicky switches: These switches provide audio feedback when you have pressed a key. They can be used for professionals and gamers alike. A prime example of a clicky switch is a Cherry MX blue.
Other important things to know when it comes to switches are the:
Actuation distance: This is how far the stem travels until it registers a key. A short actuation distance reduces the time it takes to actuate a key. You can press buttons faster, but it may lead to accidental keypresses.
Actuation force: The actuation force is the amount of force (usually measured in centinewtons) required to actuate a key. This value varies a lot across different switch types.
The actuation force also determines how heavy or light the switch is. For instance, there are heavy and light linear switches. This means that although these switches provide uniform resistance to press them, the heavier one will require more force. Tactile switches are also heavier than linear switches.
Noise level: Mechanical keyboards produce more noise than membrane keyboards. Keyboards with clicky switches make the most noise of all. Like mentioned earlier, some people love the auditory feedback from some switches. However, the noise may be distracting for you. Consider this before you get one.
Find out the switch that suits you best before you buy your mechanical gaming keyboard.
- Form factor.
Mechanical keyboards literally come in different sizes and shapes, from the smallest 40% to the full keyboard to the oddly shaped contoured keyboard. Having the right size of the keyboard can affect your comfort.
Most gamers use a mouse while slashing, shooting, and hacking and the mouse placement needs to be just right.
Having a full keyboard gives you the most number of keys. Full keyboards typically come with dedicated gaming keys and other multimedia keys. However, having a keyboard this big can affect the placement of the mouse.
They take up more space on desks and may require that you awkwardly extend your arm while gaming. Some people may be perfectly fine with this arrangement, but this may strain some people.
A more compact alternative to the full keyboard is the 1800 compact keyboard. These keyboards have all the keys, but they are smaller than full-sized keyboards. They aren’t as popular as full keyboards, so it may be a little hard to find.
A prevalent form factor for gaming is the tenkeyless or the 80 % keyboard. This keyboard size ditches the number pad, hence the name tenkeyless. This very compact and gives more room for your mouse.
More compact options include 65%, 60%, and the 40% keyboards. These keyboards offer better portability and compactness at the sacrifice of some things. For instance, on smaller keyboards, the arrow keys, numbers are missing. These keys can only be accessed with the function layer. This may make things a little bit hard when you use your keyboard for other things, such as programming or work.
If you need your keyboard solely for gaming, then you should be okay with smaller options.
Ergonomic keyboards: Ergonomic keyboards are designed to make typing and usage more comfortable. These keyboards are designed to reduce strain and other musculoskeletal problems, and they come in various shapes. The split ergonomic keyboard minimizes your wrists’ strain and some ergonomic keyboards carter for left-hand use and shoulder problems.
Handheld controllers are shaped like gamepads and can be useful for gaming.
- Wired vs. wireless mechanical gaming keyboards.
Believe it or not, how your keyboard is connected to your computer can affect gaming speeds. Both types of connections have their perks.
Wireless keyboards give you a clean set up on your desk, and you can effortlessly move the keyboard around. It is needless to say that your wireless keyboard requires charging for usage.
Most gamers prefer wired keyboards because they are ever so faster than wireless keyboards. You can go for hybrid keyboards to get the best of both worlds.
- USB vs. PS/2 wired keyboards.
It has been established that wired keyboards are faster than wireless keyboards. The two types of wired keyboards are USB and PS/2 keyboards. Mechanical keyboards with PS/2 connections are more responsive than USB keyboards.
PS/2 keyboards also allow for a higher key rollover than USB keyboards. The pins in PS/ tend to damage easily, especially when plugged and unplugged multiple times. Unlike USB keyboards, they are not hot-swappable. This means you cannot plug and unplug your keyboard without turning off your computer. Only a few keyboards nowadays are connected to computers this way.
On the other hand, USB keyboards are more commonly found, and they give you more portability and flexibility.
- Keycap materials.
Mechanical switches can last a good deal of time, but before you buy your mechanical keyboard for gaming, you should consider the materials used in its construction. While gaming, your fingers are in constant contact with the keycaps, and you subject them to different kinds of stress.
Choosing the right keycap material will affect your experience and how long they will last. Common materials used in keycaps are ABS, PBT, and POM. These three materials vary in strength and durability.
ABS keycaps are the cheapest of the three. They are easy to produce, and as a result, they are found on many keyboards. However, they do not last as long as other keycaps. They also tend to yellow and develop a key shine after a while.
PBT keycaps are stronger than ABS keycaps. They have a higher melting point than ABS. They are durable and last longer than ABS keycaps. They tend to have a more slippery feel than other keycap materials.
POM makes for an excellent keycap material. Just like PBT, it is strong and durable. You should know that it is more expensive than other keycaps mentioned earlier.
Keycaps can be made with other materials too. They include PVC, wood, metal, etc.
The keycap material also determines how the legends are printed on them. The printing process used determines how long the legends will remain visible. Legends are made through printing, laser etching, dye sublimation, double shot, and triple shot molding.
As expected, different processes outlast each other. They can slightly affect the prices of mechanical keyboards. You can always find a middle ground for a quality keyboard at a reasonable price.
The world of competitive gaming has experienced a meteoric rise over the past few years. Gamers worldwide need reliable peripherals that will guarantee victory, and one of these crucial devices is the keyboard.
The need for reliable keyboards for gaming has become more evident. Mechanical gaming keyboards have also experienced a similar upward trend and have become the top choice for professional gamers and enthusiasts. There are good reasons for this development.
Mechanical keyboards are super responsive, have unbeatable feels, and they are built to last. It is important to carefully consider important factors like switch type and keycap materials, among others, before buying one for yourself.
Last but not least
If you are need a mechanical gaming keyboard, we highly recommend Varmilo EC mechanical keyboards. Varmilo keyboards come with a variety of switches to meet your needs. Their unique EC switches are more durable and faster than traditional mechanical switches.
Varmilo mechanical keyboards are made with high-quality material, and they offer premium typing at an affordable price. Using one of them is sure to up your game and lead you to victory.
Be it for gaming or professional work; these keyboards will surpass all your expectations.