Ducky keyboards and the different types of Cherry MX switches
Mechanical keyboards are defined by their switches. In the Ducky Year of the Dog (YOTD) and many others, it is Cherry MX switches that are used. In this article, we’ll look at the many different kinds of Cherry switches used in this keyboard and how they compare to one another.
History of cherry keyboards
The CHERRY Corporation was founded by Walter Lorraine Kirsch (CHERRY) in 1953, producing there first microswitches. Today, CHERRY is the oldest manufacturer of computer keyboards, a pioneer in the computer hardware industry.
In 1983, CHERRY commemorated the development and production of the MX Switch. Billions of MX switches equip millions of keyboards around the globe which rely on this technology. The ‘must have’ for the most professional of all users: CHERRY MX Switches- the best mechanical switch.
Timeless and durable: The savvy, professional user relies on original CHERRY quality.
Cherry MX Black switches were introduced in 1984, making them one of the older Cherry switches. They have a medium to high actuation force, at 60 cN, which means they are the stiffest of the four most common Cherry switches. These switches are used in point-of-sale stations, but typically aren’t considered ideal for typing due to their high weighting. They have found use in RTS video games, where the high weighting can prevent accidental key presses that might occur on less stiff switches. The stronger spring also means that they rebound faster, meaning they can be actuated quite quickly given enough force – although you may also find fatigue becomes more of a factor than with other switches.See Cherry MX Black keyboard here >
Conversely, Cherry MX Red switches were only introduced in 2008 and are the most recent switch to be developed by the company. They have a low actuation force, at 45 cN – tied with Brown for the lowest of the four most common switches. Red switches have been marketed as a gaming switch, with the light weighting allowing for more rapid actuation, and have become increasingly common in gaming keyboards.See Cherry MX Red keyboard here >
The most popular type of tactile, non-clicky switch is the Cherry MX Brown. This switch was introduced in 1994 as a special ‘ergo soft’ switch, but quickly became one of the most popular switches. Today, the majority of Filco keyboards are sold with Brown switches, as the switch is a good middle-of-the-road option appropriate for both typing and gaming. They are also ideal for typing in office environments, where a clicky switch might annoy some.See Cherry MX Brown keyboard here >
The Cherry MX Blue is the most common clicky switch, and was first made available in Filco keyboards in 2007. Blue switches are favoured by typists due to their tactile bump and audible click, but can be less suitable for gaming as the weighting is relatively high – 50 cN – and it is a bit harder to double tap, as the release point is above the actuation point. Blue switches are noticeably louder than other mechanical switches, which are already louder than rubber domes, so these switches can be a bit disruptive in close working conditions.See Cherry MX Blue keyboard here >
Less common Cherry MX switches
While the four switches listed above are found on the vast majority of mechanical keyboards with Cherry switches, quite a few other variants exist as well. We’ll cover these briefly.
- Silent Red (Pink) switches are quieter variants of the linear MX Red switch, with rubber pieces inside that dampen the sound of the switch returning to its default position. The actuation force remains 45 cN.
- Speed Silver is a shortened version of the MX Red switch, actuating at 1.2mm instead of 2mm and with a total travel of 3.4mm compared to 4mm.