How to Choose the Perfect Key Switches

When it comes to selecting the perfect key switch, there is a multitude of different options for you to choose from. To make this process easier for you, here at Overclockers UK we’ve compiled all of our expert knowledge about mechanical key switches into one article.  

We’ll be showing you all the different types of key switches from Cherry MX and Glorious, along with some of our favourite mechanical gaming keyboards!  

What is a mechanical key switch?

Without a key switch, you wouldn’t be able to type or engage in your favourite boss battles.  

Every mechanical keyboard consists of keys that utilise a switch mechanism. This is generally constructed from a spring, stem, and some type of housing.  

What are the different types of key switches?

There are four different types of key switches you can choose from. Each has its own use and unique set of characteristics.  

  • Linear  
  • Tactile  
  • Clicky  
  • Low Profile 


These key switches typically don’t feature an audible click or bump. When pressed linear switches have a smooth feel and are extremely light. Linear key switches are ideal for fast typists and gamers, especially fans of FPS titles. The lack of tactile feedback allows for ultra-fast keypresses and better reaction times when you need them most.

Linear switches also don’t make any audible noise when pressed.


Tactile key switches are characterised by the distinct bump you feel when pressed. Since you don’t have to press the key all the way down for it to be registered, tactile key switches are perfect for typists and those who work from home.  

Tactile switches won’t make an audible click. 


Clicky key switches are similar to tactile switches. They have the same bumpy feel but make a distinct clicky noise when pressed. If you prefer silent typing, then clicky key switches aren’t for you! 

Low Profile:

Low profile switches are shorter and instead of sitting inside the casing, these switches are on top of the body of the keyboard. The pre-travel on low profile key switches is much shorter compared to the other types, making them more ergonomic and comfortable to use.  

How to choose the perfect key switch:

Along with the type of key switch, there are two other crucial factors you need to consider when selecting the perfect key switch. These are: 

  • Actuation force  
  • Pre-travel  

Actuation force:

Actuation force is the amount of pressure required to register which key you are pressing.  


Pre-travel is how far down you need to press on the switch before it registers.

Cherry MX Key Switches:

Cherry MX Switches are one of the most popular brands of key switches. Each key switch has been designed with a specific function in mind, such as precision or speed.

MX Red:

MX Red switches are linear and are typically found on most mechanical keyboards. They feature a smooth typing feel with minimal resistance and don’t make any noise when pressed.

These key switches have 45cN actuation force and 2.0mm of pre-travel.

MX Black:

These switches are linear and have an extremely high actuation force of 60cN. MX Black switches feature a smooth typing feel which makes them ideal for both typists and games.  

Along with its 2.0mm pre-travel, these key switches don’t make an audible click when pressed. 

MX Speed Silver:

MX Speed Silver switches have been expertly designed for precision and speed. These switches are smooth and have a 45cN actuation force.  

Thanks to the short pre-travel of only 1.2mm, these switches are perfect for delivering you ultra-fast reaction times and a distinct advantage over your enemies. 

MX Brown:

MX Brown switches are tactile and feature the distinct bumpy feel when pressed. With these switches there is some slight noise when pressed.

MX Brown switches have a 55cN actuation force and 2.0mm pre-travel.

MX Blue:

MX Blue are clicky key switches. These have the distinct bumpy feel whilst producing the traditional clicky noise when pressed. 

These switches aren’t the best choice for gamers, especially FPS titles, since they have a strong tactical feedback and actuation force of 60cN. 

MX Green: 

MX Green switches are tactile and make a noise when pressed. These key switches feature an 80cN actuation force and 2.2mm of pre-travel.

MX Clear: 

Best suited for typists, MX Clear switches are tactile and have an actuation force of 65cN. These switches have a 2.0 pre-travel and don’t make any noise when pressed. Perfect for those working in an office.

MX Grey:

Similar to MX Brown switches, MX Grey are tactile and feature a strong actuation force of 80cN. These key switches don’t make an audible clicky noise.  

MX ULP Click:

These key switches offer extreme precision thanks to the low actuation force of only 65cN. MX ULP switches are tactile and have a 0.8mm pre-travel, along with producing the traditional click when pressed.  

MX Silent Red:

Characterised by their virtually inaudible operation, MX Silent Red switches are linear. Built with patented sound damping technology, these switches have a 45cN actuation force and 1.9mm pre-travel.  

MX Silent Black:

Similar to MX Silent Red, these switches have a smooth, silent operation. MX Silent Black switches feature the same patented damping technology, along with a 60cN actuation force, and 1.9mm pre-travel.  

MX Low Profile Red:

Low Profile Red switches have all of the same distinct features as MX Reds, but with a small form factor. MX Low Profile Reds are linear, with a smooth typing feel and actuation of 45cN. 

MX Low Profile Speed:

Just as the name suggests, these switches have been designed to deliver ultra-fast speeds but in a small form factor. MX Low Profile Speed switches have a 45cN actuation force and 1.0mm pre-travel. 

Switch TypeForcePre-travelNoise
MX RedLinear45cN2.0mmNo click
MX BlackLinear60cN2.0mmNo click
MX Speed SilverLinear45cN1.2mmNo click
MX BrownTactile55cN2.0mmClick
MX BlueClicky60cN2.2mmClick
MX GreenTactile80cN2.2mmClick
MX ClearTactile65cN2.0mmNo click
MX GreyTactile80cN2.0mmNo click
MX ULP ClickTactile65cN0.8mmClick
MX Silent RedLinear45cN1.9mmNo click
MX Silent BlackLinear60cN1.9mmNo click
MX Low Profile RedLow profile45cN1.2mmNo click
MX Low Profile SpeedLow profile45cN1.0mmNo click

Glorious Key Switches:

You can also purchase key switches from Glorious. Designed to work with their range of barebones and modular keyboards, the key switches utilise high-quality materials to deliver the best possible performance.  

Glorious key switches are available either lubed or without. If you opt for the lubricated variant, then the switches have been primed for an extremely smooth typing experience. Whereas, if you wish to customise and specifically tailor your key switches to suit you, you can select them to come without and apply the lubricant yourself. To aid you with this, Glorious even have their own dedicated lubing station

Glorious Panda:

Glorious Panda key switches are tactile, meaning they feel bumpy when pressed, and have an actuation force of 67g. These switches will also make a distinct, ‘thonky’ noise. 

Glorious Lynx:

Glorious Lynx switches are linear, providing you with a smooth typing feel. These switches have an actuation of 60g. Similar to the Panda range, these switches will make the same ‘thonk’ when pressed.  

Glorious Fox:

These switches are linear to give you a similar smooth feel and have an actuation force of 45g. Along with this, Glorious Fox switches have a pre-travel of 2.2mm.

Gateron Brown:

Glorious Gateron Brown switches are tactile featuring a distinct bump when pressed whilst still offering you a smooth and silent typing experience. These switches have an actuation force of 45g and a short pre-travel of 2.0mm. 

Gateron Black:

These key switches are linear but require a strong actuation force of 50g. Gateron Black key switches don’t make any noise when pressed and have a pre-travel of 2.0mm. The short pre-travel and actuation force makes these key switches perfect for gamers who enjoy fast-paced FPS titles.

Gateron Blue:

Gateron Blue switches are tactile with a strong actuation force of 55g to deliver that distinct tactile feedback. Along with this, due to the precise switching point, these switches will make that classic audible clicky noise. 

Gateron White:

Gateron White key switches are linear and feature a small actuation force of only 35g, making them perfect for fast-paced gaming or typists. Along with this, Gateron White key switches have no audible feedback.  

Gateron Green:

Glorious Gateron switches are tactile with a strong actuation force of 80g and audible ‘clicky’ tactile feedback.

Kalih Speed Bronze: 

The Kalih Speed Bronze key switches are tactile and include a low actuation force of only 40g. The low trigger height enables you to quickly press multiple clicks. Along with this, it also results in an audible ‘clicky’ feedback when pressed.  

Kalih Speed Copper:

The Kalih Speed Copper switches are tactile, yet provide you with a soft typing experience that is completely silent. These switches have an actuation force of only 30g, low trigger height, and a 1.1mm pre-travel, making them perfect for gamers.  

Kalih Speed Silver:

Kalih Speed Silver switches are linear and have a low switching path. This reduced trigging height allows for multiple clicks simultaneously and ultra-fast reaction times. Perfect for gamers.  

These switches also have an actuation force of 27g, along with a pre-travel of 1.3mm. 

Kalih Box Brown:

Kalih Box Brown switches are tactile, providing you with a bumpy feel and audible feedback when pressed. What makes these switches stand out is the box that surrounds the cross where you attach your keycaps. This helps to keep the keycap firmly in place, even when typing fast or in during intense boss battles.  

These switches have an actuation force of 50g, along with a pre-travel of 1.8mm. 

Kalih Box Black:

These key switches are linear and have a box that surrounds the cross where the keycaps are attached, helping to keep your keycaps in place. Kalih Box Black switches are best suited for gamers, specifically fans of FPS titles, due to the 60g actuation force and 1.8mm pre-travel.

Kalih Box Red:

Kalih Box Red switches are linear and are characterised by the distinct box that surrounds the cross at the centre. These key switches have a very low actuation force of only 45g, making them perfect for ultra-fast multiple clicks. 

Kalih Box White: 

These key switches are tactile and similar to the other ‘box’ switches they feature a box that surrounds the cross where you attach your keycaps. Kalih Box White switches are best suited to typists due to their actuation force of 50g and precise switching point. Along with this, these switches have a pre-travel of 1.8mm and will produce an audible click when pressed.

Kalih Purple Pro:

The Kalih Purple Pro key switches are tactile and feature an actuation force of 50g. Designed for gamers or fast-typists, these switches can handle fast multiple clicks all at once.  

Switch TypeForcePre-travelNoise
Gateron BrownTactile45g2.0mmNo click
Gateron BlackLinear50g2.0mmNo click
Gateron BlueTactile55g2.3mmClick
Gateron WhiteLinear35g2.0mmNo click
Gateron GreenTactile80g2.3mmClick
Kalih Speed BronzeTactile40g1.1mmClick
Kalih Speed CopperTactile30g1.1mmNo click
Kalih Speed SilverLinear27g1.3mmNo click
Kalih Box BrownTactile50g1.8mmClick
Kalih Box BlackLinear60g1.8mmNo click
Kalih Box RedLinear45g1.8mmNo click
Kalih Box WhiteTactile50g1.8mmClick
Kalih Purple ProTactile50g1.7mmNo click

Our Favourite Mechanical Keyboards:

If you want to upgrade your battle station with a brand-new mechanical keyboard, then we’ve selected some of our favourites down below. These keyboards are either barebones or hot-swappable, meaning you can switch between different key switches to find the ones that suit you! 

Glorious GMMK 2 96% ISO Barebones Keyboard:

Completely barebones, with the Glorious 96% GMMK2 you can truly create the keyboard of your dreams. With its 5-pin hot-swappable PCB, you can select from numerous different types of key switches and keycaps to optimise your typing experience. All of the tools you need to switch between them are included with this keyboard.  

Along with this, this barebones keyboard has been constructed with an aluminium top frame for enhanced durability. For an added dramatic touch, it also includes per-key and side RGB backlighting which can customise with the 18 different pre-set lighting effects.  

  • Mechancial gaming keyboard
  • Completely barebones
  • Key switches and keycaps not included
  • 5-pin hot-swappable PCB
  • Per-key and side RGB backlighting

Ducky One3 Matcha USB Full-Sized Mechanical Keyboard:

Built with brand-new QUACK mechanics, this Ducky One3 keyboard comes armed with everything you need to defeat your enemies. Thanks to its hot-swappable PCB, you can choose between a plethora of different key switches to find the one that suits you best! As standard, however, this keyboard comes with Cherry MX Clear key switches. For enhanced durability, this keyboard is armed with true PBT double-shot keycaps in a stylish mix of pastel green and cream. 

  • Full sized mechanical keyboard
  • QUACKY mechanics
  • Hot-swappable PCB
  • PBT double-shot keycaps
  • This model comes with Cherry MX Speed Silver key switches
  • Stylish pastel green and cream design

Glorious GMMK Pro 75% Gaming White Keyboard Bundle:

Build the ultimate gaming keyboard with the Glorious GMMK Pro 75% Keyboard Bundle. Included in this bundle is a 75% Glorious GMMK Pro Barebones keyboard. This keyboard has a 5-pin hot-swappable PCB and has been constructed from premium quality CNC aluminium. Whilst this keyboard comes in white, there is also a black bundle available. 

In addition, this keyboard comes with Glorious Gateron Brown key switches for a smooth tactile typing experience. What’s more, with this bundle, you can choose from a selection of different coloured keycaps that are sure to perfectly match your chosen aesthetic.  

  • Keyboard, key switch and keycap bundle
  • Includes Glorious GMMK Pro 75% barebones keyboard and Glorious Gateron Brown key switches
  • Comes with a selection of four different coloured key caps

Akko 3068B Plus White on Blue USB RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard:

New to OcUK is the incredible range of Akko keyboards. The Akko 3068B keyboard boasts a stylish white and blue colour scheme along with durable PBT shot keycaps. You can even add your own personal touch to this keyboard thanks to the included additional novelty keycaps!  

What’s more, with both a 3-pin and 5-pin hot-swappable PCB, unleash your creativity and switch between a multitude of different key switches. As standard, this keyboard comes armed with Akko’s own Jelly switches. The Jelly Pink switches are linear for a smooth typing experience and minimal tactile feedback.  

  • Mechancial gaming keyboard
  • 65% form factor
  • PBT double shot keycaps
  • 3-pin and 5-pin hot-swappable
  • Equipped with Akko Jelly Pink key switches
  • White and blue colour scheme
  • RGB lighting

Overclockers UK Academy:

Our dedicated Overclockers UK Academy is packed full of in-depth videos and guides all about the wonderful world of PC hardware and peripherals.  

You can find a detailed blog article all about building a mechanical keyboard, which also covers the various types of key switches.  

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