Silent vs. Clicky: Exploring Different Mechanical Switch Sound Profiles

by The Article City

Mechanical keyboards have gained immense popularity among enthusiasts and professionals alike for their tactile feedback, durability, and customizability. One crucial aspect that differentiates mechanical keyboards is the sound profile of their switches. Two prominent categories of mechanical switch sound profiles are “silent” and “clicky.” In this article, we’ll dive into the world of mechanical switches, explore the differences between silent and clicky switches, and help you decide which one might be the best fit for your typing preferences and work environment.

Mechanical Keyboard Basics

Before we delve into the world of switch sound profiles, let’s briefly review the fundamentals of mechanical keyboards. Unlike traditional rubber dome keyboards, which use a membrane under each key, mechanical keyboards employ individual mechanical switches for each key. These switches are responsible for the distinctive feel and sound of mechanical keyboards.

The Anatomy of a Mechanical Switch

A mechanical switch consists of several key components, each contributing to the overall typing experience:

  • Keycap: The top part of the key that you press with your fingers. Keycaps can be made of various materials and come in different shapes and profiles.
  • Stem: The central part of the switch that moves when you press a key. It’s connected to the keycap and is responsible for registering a keypress.
  • Housing: The outer shell of the switch that encases the other components. The housing can affect the sound and feel of the keypress.
  • Spring: Located beneath the stem, the spring provides resistance and determines the actuation force required to press the key.
  • Contacts: These are responsible for registering a keypress when the stem is depressed sufficiently.

Silent Switches: The Quiet Typist’s Dream

Silent mechanical switches are designed to minimize the sound produced during typing. They achieve this by incorporating several noise-reducing features:

Dampened Stem

Silent switches often have a dampened stem that reduces the impact noise when the key is pressed and released. This results in a much quieter typing experience compared to traditional mechanical switches.


Some silent switches are factory-lubricated to reduce friction and noise further. This makes the keystrokes smoother and quieter, enhancing the overall typing experience.

Reduced Actuation Force

Silent switches often require slightly less actuation force compared to their clicky counterparts, making them easier on the fingers during extended typing sessions.

Pros of Silent Switches

  • Quieter Typing: Silent switches are perfect for shared workspaces or environments where noise is a concern.
  • Smooth Keystrokes: The lubrication and dampened stems result in a smoother typing experience.
  • Reduced Fatigue: The lower actuation force can be gentler on your fingers during long typing sessions.

Cons of Silent Switches

  • Less Tactile Feedback: Silent switches may lack the tactile bump that some typists prefer for better typing accuracy.
  • No Auditory Feedback: The absence of audible clicks may lead to uncertainty about keypress registration.

Clicky Switches: The Old-School Typist’s Delight

Clicky mechanical switches are known for their distinct and satisfying audible click sound when a key is pressed. Here’s what sets them apart:

Audible Click

Clicky switches produce a loud, clicky sound when the keycap is pressed and actuates. This auditory feedback provides a sense of assurance that the keypress has been registered.

Tactile Feedback

In addition to the audible click, clicky switches typically have a tactile bump that can be felt when the keypress actuates. This bump gives typists a physical indication of when the key has been activated.

Pros of Clicky Switches

  • Satisfying Sound: The audible click is immensely satisfying for many typists and can enhance the typing experience.
  • Tactile Feedback: The tactile bump can improve typing accuracy by providing physical feedback for key actuation.
  • Nostalgia: Clicky switches harken back to the typewriters of old, offering a sense of nostalgia for some users.

Cons of Clicky Switches

  • Noise: The clicky sound can be disruptive in quiet environments or shared workspaces.
  • Fatigue: The increased resistance in some clicky switches may lead to finger fatigue during prolonged typing sessions.
  • Not Suitable for All Environments: Clicky switches may not be suitable for open offices or situations where noise is a concern.

Choosing the Right Switch for You

When deciding between silent and clicky mechanical switches, consider the following factors:

1. Work Environment

Consider where you’ll be using your mechanical keyboard. If you work in a shared office or a quiet environment, silent switches may be the more considerate choice. On the other hand, if you have a private workspace or enjoy the audible feedback, clicky switches could be more suitable.

2. Typing Preferences

Think about your typing style and preferences. Do you prefer a quiet, smooth typing experience, or do you enjoy the satisfaction of an audible click and tactile feedback? Your personal preference should play a significant role in your decision.

3. Noise Tolerance

Consider your own noise tolerance and that of those around you. Clicky switches can be quite loud and may disturb others in close proximity, while silent switches are designed to minimize noise.

4. Typing Speed and Accuracy

Some typists find that the tactile feedback and auditory cues of clicky switches improve their typing speed and accuracy. Others may find silent switches more comfortable for extended typing sessions.


The choice between silent and clicky mechanical switches ultimately boils down to your personal preferences and work environment. Both types of switches have their own unique advantages and drawbacks. As you explore the world of mechanical keyboards, take the time to test different switch types to find the one that best suits your typing style and needs. Whether you’re a quiet typist seeking a serene workspace or a clicky enthusiast reveling in the nostalgia of typewriters, there’s a mechanical switch out there that’s perfect for you.


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