How to Make Mechanical Keyboard Quieter

Dampen the sound on those clackety keys

What to Know

  • Try a desk mat as an easy way to make your keyboard quieter.
  • Mechanical keyboards can also be dampened by inserting foam into the base or lubricating the switches.
  • If you have clicky switches, the only way to make them quiet is to replace them with linear switches.

Mechanical keyboards are typically louder than other keyboards because the mechanical switches make noise when you press them. Some keys are louder than others, though, and there are ways to make a mechanical keyboard quieter even without replacing the keys.

Is There a Way to Make Mechanical Keyboards Quieter?

There are several ways to make a mechanical keyboard quieter, but they don’t all work in every situation. If you have clicky keys, for example, you can replace them with silent linear keys. If your keys are already designed to be quiet, then noise probably indicates a lack of lubrication, worn-out o-rings, or the switches themselves may be wearing out.

Here are the ways you can make a mechanical keyboard quieter:

  • Press the keys carefully: If you have a specific type of tactile switch, you can prevent making noise by only pushing down on the keys just enough for the press to register but not hard enough to trigger the clicking sound.
  • Use a desk mat: If you have tactile or linear switches, but they’re still too loud, a cushioned desk mat can absorb some sounds.
  • Add a dampener: Take apart your keyboard, and check to see if there’s space to install a thin foam sheet in the bottom. If there is, the foam will help soak up some of the clicking noise from your keys.
  • Install or replace your o-rings: Pop off your keycaps and check for o-rings on the switch stems. If there aren’t any o-rings, install some. If there are old o-rings present, replace them.
  • Modify your key stabilizers: Big keys like your spacebar have stabilizers. If you take your keyboard apart, you can use a soft material like a bandaid to add a cushion, clip off parts of the stabilizer that strike the circuit board, or add some lubrication.
  • Lubricate your switches: Remove each switch from the keyboard, take them apart with tweezers or a switch opener, and place them in a lubrication stand. Apply lube with a paintbrush, then reassemble.
  • Replace the switches: If you have clicky switches, the only way to make them quieter is to replace them. Use linear switches, and choose silent linear switches for the quietest option possible. Hot-swappable switches can be removed and replaced with a puller, but soldered switches need to be desoldered.

How Do You Lubricate Mechanical Keyboard Switches?

Mechanical keyboard switches have to be removed and disassembled to lubricate them. You can take them apart without removing them, but that risks breaking the switches. Hot-swappable switches are easier to lube than soldered ones because they have to be desoldered to remove them.

If you're taking things apart to lubricate your switches, that's a good time to clean your keyboard.

Here’s how to lubricate mechanical keyboard switches:

  1. Remove the switch caps using a keycap puller.

    Removing a keycap from a mechanical keyboard.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

  2. Remove the switches using a switch puller.

    Removing a keyboard switch with a switch puller.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

    You can't remove soldered switches with a switch puller. You need to desolder them to remove them. You can lubricate a soldered switch without removing it, but doing so may damage it.

  3. Take apart each switch using a switch opener or tweezers.

    Taking a keyboard switch apart with a switch opener.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

    Don’t lose any of the internal components. Using tweezers can damage the switch.

  4. If possible, place the switches in a switch lubing station.

    A disassembled keyboard switch in a switch lubing station.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

  5. Apply lube to each switch with a paintbrush.

    Lubricating a mechanical keyboard switch with a paintbrush.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

  6. Reassemble the switches.

    Reassembling a mechanical keyboard switch.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

  7. Place the switches back in the keyboard.

  8. Place the keycaps back on the switches.

How Do You Dampen a Mechanical Keyboard?

There are three ways to dampen a mechanical keyboard. You can place the keyboard on a desk mat, take the keyboard apart and place foam in the base, or install o-rings. If your keyboard already has o-rings, then replacing them may also help dampen your mechanical keyboard.

Using o-rings can make the keys feel mushy instead of crisp. If you don’t like how your keys feel with o-rings, you have to choose between the sound reduction and the different feeling when pushing the keys.

Here’s how to install or replace o-rings on a mechanical keyboard:

  1. Remove the keycaps using a keycap puller.

    Removing a keycap with a puller.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

  2. Remove the old o-rings if any are present.

    Removing an old keyboard switch o-ring.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

  3. Place new o-rings.

    An o-ring installed in a mechanical keyboard keycap.

    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

    If you have an RGB keyboard with keys that light up, use clear o-rings.

  4. Replace the keycaps.

  • What are the benefits of a mechanical keyboard?

    Mechanical keyboards are easier to repair and customize since you can switch out the keys with little effort. Some users simply find mechanical keyboards more comfortable.

  • How do I fix my mechanical keyboard?

    Depending on why your mechanical keyboard isn't working, try unplugging and plugging it back in, using a different cable, or replacing the batteries. For sticky keys, try cleaning the keyboard with alcohol and canned air. If you're still having problems, you might have to replace the key switch.

  • How do I know if a keyboard is mechanical?

    The easiest way to tell if you have a mechanical keyboard is to lift a key cap off the keyboard to see if there is a switch underneath it.

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