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Tactile vs Linear vs Clicky switches

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The mechanical sound that your keyboard makes as you work on it can be differentiated into three types of noises: tactile, linear, and clicky. They differ according to the environment they are used in, be it for gaming or typing. Some make clicky sounds while some stay silent.

This article will be a useful guide if you are looking for a mechanical keyboard and wish to learn about the three types of switches — tactile, linear and clicky.

Also read: What is a 80 percent keyboard? Benefits and top 5 picks

Tactile Switch

A tactile switch on a mechanical keyboard provides slightly bumpy resistance when you press them. Most users opt out if they feel resistance which is why they are called tactile or something you can perceive by touch.

Tactile vs Linear vs Clicky switches

Tactile keyboards provide clicking feedback which notifies you that the command has been registered. The sound usually informs a user that everything is functional. They are good for use in office spaces, as the level of sound they produce varies.

Linear Switch

Linear switches are smooth, quiet and light for users. It works for people who like to work quietly without sound or distractions. With a bumpless structure, they don’t produce any sounds, providing utter silence. They provide a smooth movement altogether for gamers and typists.

Tactile vs Linear vs Clicky switches

You do not get feedback with linear switches, providing you with a seamless typing experience. They are best for gamers looking to build an edge and precision. You may take time to adjust to a linear switch mechanical keyboard if you use mechanical keyboards for the first time.

Also read: What is a 65 keyboard? Top 5 65 keyboards

Clicky Switch

Clicky switches produce loud clicking noises along with a tactile touch. It is best for people who prefer clicking sound feedback. Practically, click sounds are an affirmation for registered commands. They are louder than tactile and linear keys.

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If you find loud clicking sounds satisfying, clicky mechanical keyboards are perfect. They can be a nuisance to others when used in public spaces but are harmonical for typists. They are perfect for a mechanical keyboard beginner.

Basic Comparison

There are some basic differences between the three types of mechanical keyboards. You should remember that the type to go for varies with every person. There is no better keyboard as it depends entirely on a person’s preference.

Ease-of-useModerateComparatively hardEasy
FeedbackNone; SilentSome clicking and tactile.Large amounts of clicking.
GamingSuitable for fast-paced games and gamers. Used for precision.Moderate experience.Best gaming experience due to the loud feedback; Pressure on fingers due to pushing down on the keys.
Target audienceProgrammers, some typists.Programmers, typists and gamers.Gamers and typists.
ExamplesCherry MX Brown or Clear Switches, Glorious Panda Switches, etc.Cherry MX Speed Silver Switches, Gateron Switches, etc.Cherry MX Blue/White, Kailh BOX White, etc.

Also read: 60 vs 65 keyboards: 5 major differences

Colour coding

The three types of switches come in different colours to help you differentiate between them and choose the correct switch:

  • Tactile switches come in brown and clear colours.
  • Linear switches come in red, yellow and black colours.
  • Clicky switches come in blue and green colours.

Also read: How to change your MSI laptop’s keyboard colour?


Sania Usmani

Always curious, calm, and a little crazy, you can find me daydreaming or studying. An avid reader, traveler, and graduate of Aviation Science, I love gaining new experiences in life and star gazing. You can contact her here: