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  1. Since it's sometimes difficult to tell what is what when it comes to mechanical keyswitches now that Cherry, ALPS and Topre are no longer the primary makers of keyswitches, here's a work in progress of all the mechanical keyswitches we know of as well as some of their specifications. Mechanical Keyswitches Cherry Cherry with its Cherry MX switches is the granddaddy of most of the world's mechanical switches. Invented in 1983, the Cherry MX switch has been around for over three decades, but as their patents on the Cherry MX switches recently expired, many companies have jumped in to produce clones of Cherry MX's switches. Cherry MX Blue Actuation Force (g): 50 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump, Clicky Cherry MX Brown Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump Cherry MX Red Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Cherry MX Black Actuation Force (g): 60 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Cherry MX Clear Actuation Force (g): 55 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump Cherry MX Green Actuation Force (g): 80 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Clicky Cherry MX Speed Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Kailh Kailh switches are Cherry MX clones, a result of Cherry's patent on mechanical switches expiring. Kailh Red Actuation Force (g): 50 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Clicky Kailh Black Actuation Force (g): 60 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Kailh Brown Actuation Force (g): 60 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile Bump Kailh Blue Actuation Force (g): 60 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile Bump, Clicky Gateron Like Kailh switches, Gateron switches are also Cherry MX Clones. Gateron Red Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Gateron Black Actuation Force (g): 50 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Gateron Clear Actuation Force (g): 35 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear Gateron Brown Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile Bump Gateron Blue Actuation Force (g): 55 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile Bump, Clicky Razer Razer switches are custom designed and tuned Cherry MX Clones initially manufactured by Kailh, but later manufactured by Greetech after a series of quality control issues. Razer Green Actuation Force (g): 50 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.9 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 80 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile Bump, Clicky Razer Orange Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.9 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 80 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile Bump Razer Yellow Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 3 Lifespan: 80 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Razer Mecha-Membrane Actuation Force (g): Unknown Actuation Distance (mm): Unknown Full Travel Distance (mm): Unknown Other Characteristics: Tactile, Clicky Razer Low-Profile Actuation Force (g): 70 Actuation Distance (mm): 0.9 Full Travel Distance (mm): 1.6 Lifespan: 80 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump, Clicky Greetech Greetech switches are Cherry MX Clones. GT02 (Black) Actuation Force (g): 80 Actuation Distance (mm): 2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear GT02 (Brown) Actuation Force (g): 60 Actuation Distance (mm): 2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile Bump GT02 (Blue) Actuation Force (g): 60 Actuation Distance (mm): 2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile Bump, Click GT02 (Red) Actuation Force (g): 60 Actuation Distance (mm): 2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Logitech Logitech first revealed their Romer G switches when they unveiled the Logitech G910 mechanical gaming keyboard. These switches are a joint development between Logitech and Omron, who manufactures the switches. Logitech's Romer G switches feature short travel distance, short acutation distance and a light guide in the center which provides better, more beautiful lighting than competing designs. The switch also features dual actuation contact points which make it more accurate and higher durability than competing designs. ROMER-G (Omron) Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.5 Full Travel Distance (mm): 3 Lifespan: 70 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump SteelSeries SteelSeries first debut the QS1 with their Apex M800 gaming keyboard. Like the Logitech Romer G switches, the QS1 has a hollow center low travel distance and low actuation distance as well. Unlike the Romer G switches however, the QS1 does not have dual contact points nor does it have a light guide in the middle. The switches are made through a partnership between SteelSeries and Kailh. QS1 Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.5 Full Travel Distance (mm): 3 Other Characteristics: Tactile bump Das Keyboard Like Razer switches, Das Keyboard switches are custom tuned switches based on existing designs. The Gamma Zulu switch is similar to the Logitech Romer G switch except it has longer key travel compared to the Romer G. The Alpha Zulu switch is similar to the Cherry MX design except it features a slightly lower actuation distance. Gamma Zulu Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.5 Full Travel Distance (mm): 3 Lifespan: 100 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump Alpha Zulu Linear (Olive) Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.7 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 60 Million Other Characteristics: Linear (Silent) Alpha Zulu Tactile (Mustard) Actuation Force (g): 45 Actuation Distance (mm): 1.7 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Lifespan: 60 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump Topre Topre switches are manufactured by Japanese company, Topre and are electrostatic capacitive switches. These switches utilizes a rubber dome design, but utilizes a conical spring which makes it both smooth and consistent. Aside from the Cherry MX mechanical keyswitches, many touch typists prefer the Topre switch for its smooth travel and consistent feel. Topre Actuation Force (g): 30, 35, 45, 55 Actuation Distance (mm): 2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 4 Other Characteristics: Tactile bump ALPS ALPS switches are becoming rare these days as they're very complicated, featuring as much as 11 parts per switch making them much more expensive to produce compared to competing designs. White Actuation Force (g): 60-70 Actuation Distance (mm): Unknown Full Travel Distance (mm): 3.5 Lifespan: 10 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump, Clicky Black (Simplified, Complicated) Actuation Force (g): 60-70 Actuation Distance (mm): Unknown Full Travel Distance (mm): 3.5 Lifespan: 10 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump Matias Matias switches are essentially ALPS style switches, except redesigned by Matias to make them more durable and to eliminate the "chorus of springs" sound that many users found annoying about the ALPS switch design. Matias Quiet Click Actuation Force (g): 60 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 3.5 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump, Clicky Matias Linear Actuation Force (g): 35 Actuation Distance (mm): 2.2 Full Travel Distance (mm): 3.5 Lifespan: 50 Million Other Characteristics: Linear Buckling Spring Buckling spring keyswitches are one of the older keyswitches which made many of IBM's keyboards of the 80's and 90's quite famous due to their satisfying click and tactile bump. Unfortunately as cheaper methods of producing keyboards emerged, the buckling spring keyboard was replaced with membrane/rubber dome designs, but many keyboard enthusiasts never forgot about their great buckling spring keyboards. Actuation Force (g): 60-70 Actuation Distance (mm): Unknown Full Travel Distance (mm): Unknown Lifespan: 25-100 Million Other Characteristics: Tactile bump, Click Non-Mechanical Switches Membrane/Rubber Dome Switch The Membrane or Rubber Dome switch is the most commonly used switch in cheap keyboards. These keyboards feature a rubber dome which is pressed down by the switch above to complete the electrical circuit. Due to the use of the dome, the keyboard is notorious for feeling mushy and cheap. Actuation Force (g): 50-60 Full Travel Distance (mm): 3-4 Other Characteristics: Mushy Scissor Switch The scissor switch uses the same design as a membrane/rubber dome switch except the keycap is held up by a scissor style stabilizer. As such, these can be significantly more low profile in design than traditional rubber dome switches making it a better option for laptops and smaller keyboards. As these keyboards also feature a rubber dome, it also feels mushy. Actuation Force (g): 50-60 Actuation Distance (mm): 1 Full Travel Distance (mm): 2 Other Characteristics: Very low profile, Mushy