Gaming keyboards often lean towards clicky and tactile. For many, that solid, audible click is part of the appeal. For others, hearing that click through a microphone is distracting at best and annoying at worst. Luckily for those who fall under the second category, there are silent keyboards.
Clicking comes from switches under the keycaps. They are usually referred to by their color (brown, cherry red, etc.). Some companies have their own system, like Razer, while others follow a standardized metric. Cherry red switches tend to be considered quiet, although they are not silent. Cherry brown are quiet but tactile, and blue switches are very loud and clicky.
There are others, such as the Cherry MX Silent, the black, and the Cherry MX Speed. The Silent and the black are very quiet, while the Speed sounds the same as the red.
Another important note is the type of keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are fast and responsive and are especially suited for gaming. They are often very loud, as any Razer owner can attest. But for those looking for a totally silent experience, consider membrane keyboards. Membrane keyboards are softer and quiet. They however may take more force on the keys before the computer registers the input. They may not be rated for as many keystrokes as a result of the added pressure.
Finally, “quiet” is a somewhat loose term when it comes to keyboards. Nothing is totally silent. Cherry MX Red switches are considered quiet, but there is still a click to them. Even the dampened membrane keyboards will have a soft click.
The Corsair Strafe RGB Mk 2 offers two types of switches, the somewhat quiet Cherry MX Red and the Cherry MX Silent. The Cherry MX Red switches are considered quiet and the Cherry MX Silent sound similar to the MX Red. If you want a silent mechanical keyboard, this is the best option for you. The silent switches dampen much of the sound, up to 30 percent, according to SteelSeries’ listing.
The Corsair Strafe is compatible with Corsair’s iCUE software. The iCUE software enables customization of macros as well as full control of the RGB backlighting on each and every key. It has a USB port, making up for the slot it has to use in the back of the PC.
Corsair’s K55 RBG Gaming Keyboard is a dust and water resistant membrane keyboard. Because it’s a membrane keyboard, any and all clicks are dampened by the membrane, keeping your keystrokes quiet. Membrane keyboards do not have the lifetime of a mechanical keyboard, so you will need to balance your audio needs with the knowledge that you’ll need to replace it earlier.
The Corsair K55 RGB Gaming Keyboard is compatible with Corsair’s iCUE software. Owners can adjust the light settings and program macros. The Corsair K55 has space for up to six macros.
SteelSeries makes several gaming keyboards, some with their own adaptive switches. Most of them stick to the usual blue, red, or brown keys in terms of audio and tactile feedback. The SteelSeries Apex 3 has “whisper quiet” switches. It’s not a mechanical keyboard, but closer to a membrane keyboard. The keys are quiet but tactile.
A major selling point for the SteelSeries Apex 3 is that it’s water proof. The keys are sitting on top of a rubber dome for the switch. Liquids roll right off the keyboard, even if they get under the keycaps. If there’s a daily risk of spills around your keyboard, or you just want to feel secure that you won’t lose it to some water, this one has your back.
The Apex 3 does have the same downsides, like all membrane keyboards. This one is only rated for 20 million clicks. Most mechanical ones are five times that amount. You’ll need to replace it sooner than a mechanical keyboard.
Razer products can be loud. But the company has its own categories for keyboard switches. Razer switches come in mechanical and optical. Optical is faster, using light, and comes in red and purple. Both of Razer’s optical switches are loud. It does not yet offer a silent version.
Razer’s mechanical switches are green, orange, and yellow. Orange and yellow switches are silent. The different clicks can be heard on Razer’s page on mechanical switches. Orange is tactile. While it lacks the click of the green switch, it does have some audio to it. Yellow is quiet. There’s still a little sound when pressed, but nothing compared to the tactile and clicky keyboards that aim for maximum volume.
The Razer BlackWidow Elite can come with green, orange, or yellow switches, depending on your preference. If you are trying to minimize sound, yellow is your best bet. It has programmable macros, a padded wrist rest, and links to Razer’s Chroma profile. The colors can change to mimic the game you’re in, turning red when low on health, for example.
The main draw of the yellow switch in Razer products isn’t that it’s quiet, although that helps. Instead, it’s fast. The yellow switch is Razer’s fastest mechanical switch for a rapid response time and multiple keyboard presses.
Razer Cynosa V2 is a membrane keyboard. All of the keys are cushioned, muffling sound. There is a slight click to the buttons, but it is virtually silent. If you’re looking for the quietest possible keyboard, membranes are going to be the best option for you.
There are downsides to membrane keyboards. They require more pressure to get through that thick membrane cushion. The extra pressure can make them less durable overall. It may also be tiring for the user, but that is a personal benchmark that will vary per user. The Razer Cynosa V2 is rated for 80 million clicks. While that is a high number, consider the mechanical keyboard counterparts that are rated for 100 million clicks. If that extra 20 million is negligible to you, then you’ll be glad to know that the Razer Cynosa V2 is Razer Chroma compatible, has up to 10 programmable macros, and all the keys are backlit.
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