Computers, Laptops & Tablets Accessories & Hardware All About Mechanical Keyboards If you're thinking of switching, read this by Lisa Johnston Writer Lisa Johnston is a former Lifewire writer and an editor who covers computer peripherals and other consumer electronics since 2004. our editorial process LinkedIn Lisa Johnston Updated on October 20, 2020 The Ultimate Guide to Keyboards The Ultimate Guide to Keyboards Introduction Keyboard Basics Common Keyboard Symbols How to Copy & Paste With Your Keyboard Typing Grave Accents on Any Keyboard How to Change Keyboard Language How to Use a Windows Keyboard With a Mac All About Mechanical Keyboards Keyboard Maintenance How to Clean a Computer Keyboard Keeping Your Mac Keyboard & Mouse Clean How to Clean a Mac Keyboard How to Clean a MacBook Keyboard How to Fix a Broken Keyboard Best Keyboards The Best Computer Keyboards The Best Mac Keyboards The Best Gaming Keyboards The Best Bluetooth Keyboards for Smartphones The Best Bluetooth Tablet Keyboards The Best Ergonomic Keyboards The Best Mechanical Keyboards The Best Wireless Keyboards The Best Keyboard Wrist Rests Tweet Share Email Mechanical keyboards have physical switches beneath the keys that recreate the experience of typing on a typewriter. Press a key, and you press its switch. Although different types of switches are used in mechanical keyboards, these keyboards generally result in more accurate typing. Mechanical keyboards may seem like clunky relics of a bygone era of computers. Still, for many people, newer membrane keyboards don't have the same satisfying sound or feel. Becky Stern / CC By 2.0 / Flickr Membrane vs. Mechanical Keyboards Today, most laptop and desktop keyboards are membrane keyboards. This means the keyboard is composed of a set of three plastic membranes, with dome-shaped rubber switches underneath each key. Press a key, and the rubber switch pushes through a hole in the middle membrane to connect the top and bottom membranes, creating an electrical circuit that causes the keyboard to send the input to the computer. This design is inexpensive and spill-resistant, but it doesn't give as much tactile or audible feedback when you press a key, which can change the way you type. In comparison, the membrane keyboard may feel flat or mushy. If you spend a lot of time at a PC keyboard, it may be worth your while to switch to a mechanical keyboard. Some manufacturers make mechanical switch keyboards that feel like the classic IBM Model M. These designs usually help you type more quickly and accurately. Plus, mechanical keyboards last longer than the standard PC pack-in keyboards. It may also deliver a more satisfying writing experience. Those who may find a mechanical keyboard to be a sound investment include office workers whose jobs depend on speedy and reliable data entry, gamers, and professional writers. Mechanical Keyboards: Pros and Cons Advantages More tactile and auditory feedback. Generally more accurate than membrane keyboards. Durable construction. Disadvantages Noisy. More expensive than membrane keyboards. Heavy. There are several advantages to mechanical keyboards, including longer key life, improved accuracy, and sturdier designs. Apart from being more expensive than most Bluetooth and wired membrane keyboards, the biggest drawback is that mechanical keyboards are loud. While the volume depends on what kind of switch the keyboard uses and your typing technique, mechanical keyboards are louder than other types of keyboards. This may not be a problem for office workers or in environments with coworkers who wear headsets. Mechanical keyboards are heavy—usually around three pounds—and tend to last longer. Mechanical switches are certified to outlast rubber-dome switches almost across the board, regardless of manufacturer—unless you spill a drink on it. Mechanical keyboards may force you to type differently. Membrane keyboards require you to press the key down as far as it will go to complete the electrical circuit. With mechanical keyboards, you only have to press until you hear the click, which means that the key travels a shorter distance.