From customization to community, there are plenty of reasons mechanical keyboards have such a dedicated following.
It's no secret that mechanical keyboards are gaining popularity, particularly among tech enthusiasts. Whether being used for gaming or work, mechanical keyboard benefits are plentiful, and fans are very vocal about their preferences. Mechanical keyboards can be pricier than membrane keyboards, leading those on the fence to ask: “are mechanical keyboards better?”
The truth is, there are many benefits of mechanical keyboards that you might not know about. To that end, we've rounded up some of the biggest reasons to go mech. Read on to find out why mechanical keyboards have such a dedicated community of die-hard fans — and where to get started on your own mechanical keyboard journey.
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Mechanical Keyboards for even more expert advice and information.
Top 5 mechanical keyboard benefits
If you only know one thing about the best mechanical keyboards, it’s likely that they’re ripe for customization. Whether you like bright colors, pastels, minimalism, clicky keys, or some heretofore unseen combination of aesthetics, mechanical keyboards’ interchangeable keycaps make it easy to customize to your heart’s content.
The options don’t stop at aesthetics, either. Mechanical keyboard users can customize the functional elements too, like key height, keymaps, and more. Even beginner keyboard enthusiasts can change the feel and sound of their keyboards almost as easily as their board’s looks, as many mechanical keyboards are built with hot-swappable PCBs. That means no soldering or heavy construction required.
Of course, your level of commitment to customization is totally up to you. Depending on the brand, you can order a pre-assembled keyboard with the switches and caps of your choice, then swap them out later if your heart desires. Or you can grab a DIY kit and start from scratch, if you’re feeling especially handy. Plus, if you’re not sure where to start, there’s no shortage of videos from mechanical keyboard experts detailing their own builds, so you’ll have plenty of inspiration.
Aesthetics aside, another benefit of mechanical keyboards is how satisfying they are to use. Unlike membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards may use a range of key switches to provide different types of tactile feedback and actuation noise. This makes for a springy, responsive typing experience that increases speed and accuracy, which is one of the reasons mechanical keyboards are popular among heavy typers.
If you want audio feedback as well, you can install the clicky key switches mentioned above for a delightful typewriter-esque sound with every push of the key. That clackety-clack sound can be immensely gratifying, given it doesn’t bother your office mates or pets (for the work-from-home crowd). Audio feedback doesn’t have to be loud, either. Some mechanical keyboards are quiet, and will have a smooth “thock” when typing that many find to be just as — if not more — enjoyable.
Many of us spend eight hours a day at the computer, and that heavy keyboard usage can lead to health issues like swollen tendons, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. When it comes to keyboards, ergonomics aren’t just a luxury — they’re a necessity. Generally, mechanical keyboards have several ergonomic benefits, with the responsive keys making for a more comfortable typing experience than that of membrane keyboards.
Some mechanical keyboards take ergonomics even further, with split designs, palm and wrist rests, and other features that put user comfort at the forefront. If you’re prone to achy wrists and fingers after hours of typing, the ergonomic benefits of mechanical keyboards alone may make them worth the price of admission.
Did You Know? In addition to the ergonomic benefits, the unique layout of the HHKB layout makes it especially well-suited for programmers. Click here to learn more.
Mechanical keyboards often come at higher prices than standard keyboards, but given how long they last, the cost is more of an investment. Even with heavy use, mechanical keyboards can last well over a decade, more than twice as long as other models. High-quality parts and durable materials extend their longevity, and hot-swappable switches make it easy to fix damaged parts without tossing out the whole device.
So while you might pay more money upfront, the quality of mechanical keyboards justifies the higher price. Plus, if you find yourself craving visual variety, you can just get a new set of keycaps rather than having to buy an entirely new keyboard kit.
If you decide to make the jump to mechanical keyboards, you’ll never be alone. From forums to YouTube channels to subreddits, there’s no shortage of enthusiasts who are more than happy to offer advice, share their latest builds, and even organize meetups for mechanical keyboard fans. Looking for the best kit for beginners? Trying to sort out the differences between types of switches? Need inspiration for your own builds? There is a wealth of content already out there, and if you can’t find the answers to your questions, the community will be happy to help.
Finding the best mechanical keyboard for you
Tactile feedback, customization, ergonomics, and other features we’ve listed above are just a handful of the many mechanical keyboard benefits over a traditional membrane keyboard, with plenty more to discover. Give the mechanical keyboard experience a chance, and it just might transform the way you view keyboards, evolving your typing from a routine activity into a full blown hobby.
Did You Know? Hosted by keyboard enthusiast and influencer Huey Hoang, the annual NorCal Mechanical Keyboard Meetup draws fans from all over the United States and around the world. Click here to learn more.
Getting started can be overwhelming, but HHKB can help! Our premium mechanical keyboards are thoughtfully designed to merge comfort, minimalist style, and satisfying tactile feedback. Whether you’re choosing your first mechanical keyboard or just looking for your newest project piece, our selection is ideal for starters and enthusiasts alike. Take a look!