What is the difference between a membrane keyboard and a mechanical keyboard?

July 21st, 2021

Welcome to the PC gaming world! Are you lost in the vastness of already existing PC accessories? Are you afraid of the terms “mechanical keyboards” and “membrane keyboards”? Do not panic, we will explain the difference between the two.

What is a membrane keyboard?

The membrane keyboard is what would be called a “classic” keyboard, as it is one of the most found everywhere. The membrane is a small rubber part that presses directly on the printed circuit of the keyboard to send the information that the user presses on this key. This membrane is elastic, so it makes the key go back to its initial position by itself. Different types of membrane keyboard exist, but the membrane can be printed in different ways. For example, a double-printed membrane keyboard will be of much better quality than a membrane keyboard printed on only one side. One of the major advantages of the membrane keyboard is that it is quiet and affordable.

What is a mechanical keyboard? 

The mechanical keyboard, unlike a membrane keyboard, is more fluid and less brutal, but above all, faster and more sensitive: in the middle of a game, its reactivity can therefore be a real asset! A mechanical keyboard is equipped with “switches” which are divided into several types, usually categorized by colors. Within this diversity of switches, there are three main categories:

“Linear” switches: the key must be pressed hard for it to be detected (like Cherry MX Black, Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Silent, Cherry MX Speed)

“Tactile” switches: they only need a moderate pressure on the key for the information to be transmitted (like Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Brown)

“Audible tactile” switches: they make a small clicking noise when pressed.

A mechanical keyboard is more elaborate than a classic keyboard (it often comes with a backlight for example), it will be more resistant and will offer a better life span (50 million keystrokes, against only 5 million for a membrane keyboard).

There you go, keyboards have now no more secrets for you! Go buy your next PC gamer heart’s desire!