Linear vs Tactile Switches | Which One is Better? Revealed!
Mechanical keyboards are popular among consumers for their productivity and speedy switch actuation. The two most common types of mechanical keyboard switches you’ll find in the market are tactile and linear. Is it your first time getting a mechanical keyboard for yourself? Then, it can be difficult to pick linear vs tactile switches, as they vary based on personal preferences.
So, in this article, we’ll break down all the key differences between linear switches and tactile switches. By the end, you’ll know which type is more suitable for you.
What are Tactile and Linear Switches?
Tactile and linear switches are the two common types of switches used on mechanical keyboards. Both serve to provide a comfortable typing experience, but there are some differences. Linear switches are more popular and known as the smoother type of mechanical switch.
Tactile switches, on the other hand, offer more resistance when typing, providing a more sensory experience. User preference for each switch mainly depends on the application for which you’ll be using the keyboard.
Difference Between Linear and Tactile Switches
For better understanding, let’s discuss the differences between linear and tactile switches:
Linear vs Tactile Switches: Sound
One of the major things people consider when buying a keyboard is the sound. You don’t want your keyboard to make noise when working in public environments like libraries, offices, etc. For such situations, it’s better to go for linear switches. They make no sounds and offer smoother keystrokes.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who enjoys getting audible typing feedback, you should go for tactile switches. These switches are a bit bumpy, which causes them to make a moderate noise when clicked.
Linear vs Tactile Switches: Feel
Another major difference between linear and tactile switches is their feel. The keystroke feel of the switches plays a big role in determining your typing experience. Linear switches are great if you want a consistently smooth typing experience.
In comparison, tactile switches are purposely designed with bumps. These bumps serve to provide interference when you’re typing. This way, you receive sensory feedback whenever a key hits the bottom of the board.
Linear vs Tactile Switches: Speed
The next difference on our list is speed. The speed difference between linear vs tactile switches is not that much. But, if you are used to typing for long periods and prioritize typing speed, you will notice it.
The interference in tactile switches caused by the bump in their structure makes them slower. On the other hand, linear switches are faster. The faster response also makes sure you get a quicker response. This feature is really important in gaming because a delay in response can be the reason you lose.
Linear vs Tactile Switches: Long Lastingness
How long mechanical switches will last mainly depends on their build and material. On average, mechanical keyboards last between 10 and 15 years before switch issues. Usually, the click count for each switch is mentioned on the packaging by the manufacturer. On average, mechanical switch switches have click counts between 50 to 100 million. So they work for many years even after continuous use.
Between linear vs tactile switches, tactile ones tend to have a smaller life span. This is because linear switches have a seamless design and require less processing.
Linear vs Tactile Switches: Actuation Point
The actuation point is basically the distance a key will have to travel downwards until registered by the keyboard. The actual actuation point depends on the model for both linear and tactile switches. Generally, though, linear switches have less travel distance than tactile ones.
A lower actuation point means a lesser actuation force will be required to type. This will also mean you will get faster processing and quick response.
Linear vs Tactile Switches: Resistance
The interference structure of tactile switches offers more resistance than linear switches. This is so you can receive significant tactile feedback for every keystroke. Since linear switches have little to no resistance, they also require less spring force.
Due to having a higher spring force and resistance, tactile switches are likely to tire you out. The seamlessness of linear switches offers more comfort.
Linear Swtiches vs Tactile Switches: Color
Different types of mechanical switches come in different colors. This makes them easy to identify when choosing them for gaming or typing. Red switches are completely linear switches that you can count on for effortless keystrokes. Black switches are also linear but have a higher actuation point. They are still pretty fast and quiet, though.
Tactile switches, in comparison, are represented by the brown color. They have a low to medium actuation force. Blue switches are also tactile, but they are also a bit clicky. This means you get prominent audible feedback with each keystroke.
Tactile vs Linear Switches: Cost
Generally, tactile switches cost more than linear ones because they have a more complex structure. Also, these switches are considered a more sophisticated type of keyboard. So, as a pricing strategy, they are considered high-end.
In addition, mechanical keyboards with tactile switches also sometimes offer customization features. For example, you can change the actuation point of your key. Linear keys are pretty basic, so they are the more affordable mechanical keyboard option.
Which is Better Between Linear and Tactile Switches
The better option between linear vs tactile switches differs from person to person. It also highly depends on what you will be using the keyboard for the most. For example, if you mainly want to use the keyboard for gaming, you want linear switches for a quick response. They are also less noisy, making it easier to talk to other players without distortions.
Linear switches also work great for silently typing in public spaces. But sometimes, people prefer tactile switches. The sensory feedback you get from them makes the typing experience more enjoyable. That being said, tactile switches will slow down your typing speed and can tire you quicker.
Knowing all the differences between linear and tactile switches, you can now decide which one is better. If you prioritize silent typing and fast speed, you should go for linear. But if you want a more sensory typing experience, tactile switches will work better.
For high-quality tactile and mechanical switches, check out Goblin Techkeys. We offer a wide range of mechanical switches for you to choose from. We can also help you if you’re looking for a ready-to-use keyboard.