If you’re kitting out a home office, you may want to grab a new keyboard to go with your setup. The question is, do you pick a membrane or a mechanical keyboard?
Let’s break down each one so you can choose which one suits you best.
What Are Membrane Keyboards?
Membrane keyboards are the most common kind. They’re called this because the keys on the keyboard don’t use individual mechanisms to register a keypress. Instead, a large membrane is placed underneath the keys that can detect pressure changes. When you press down on a key, it’s detected via this membrane.
Because membrane keyboards rely on you pushing down on a mushy material, the “typing feel” isn’t as good as a mechanical keyboard. There’s an element to mechanical keyboards called “tactile feedback,” where the feel and sound of a keypress gives a subconscious signal that the key was typed. Membrane keyboards don’t have much tactile feedback, making them not great for serious typists.
However, their lack of clicking parts is also a forte. Mechanical keyboards tend to be quite loud and “clacky” when typing on them due to their mechanisms. With a membrane keyboard, you’re typing on a rubbery material, which makes it a lot quieter.
Also, making a membrane for the entire keyboard is a lot cheaper than individual switches for every key. You’ll find a top-quality membrane keyboard is much more affordable than an excellent mechanical keyboard.
What Are Mechanical Keyboards?
Instead of using a rubber membrane, a mechanical keyboard does things the old-fashioned way. Each key on a mechanical keyboard has its own, individual mechanism underneath it. This does bump up the price, but many a typist would argue that it’s worth the money.
For one, mechanical keyboards come in a variety of different ‘flavors.’ Each one focuses on something specific. For example, one kind of mechanical keyboard will focus on typing, while others will be best for gaming. This makes them great for choosing the ideal keyboard for your needs.
You can also get “tester kits” for mechanical keyboards, which have a key of each style of mechanism for you to try. Even if you have no idea if you want cherry blue or cherry black, you can pick up one of these kits and see which you prefer.
Because mechanical keyboards have superior tactile feedback, there’s a much better typing feel to them than membrane keyboards. As such, serious typists will often swear by a mechanical keyboard over membrane.
Which Is Best for You?
Ultimately, when it comes to settling the membrane vs. mechanical keyboard debate, there are several factors. First, membrane keyboards are pretty quiet to use, which makes them the best at not annoying those around you. Mechanical keyboards do come in a range of different clicking noises, but the mushy nature of the membrane definitely deafens keypress sounds.
Second, if you want a premium typing experience, mechanical always wins. With the customizability and individual attention each key gets, you can get a keyboard that feels great to type on.
Membrane keyboards are the cheaper of the two, so if you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to stick with them. On the other hand, if you’re a serious typer, it’s worth spending the extra money for a premium product that uses mechanical keys.
The Key to a Good Keyboard
When it comes to membrane vs. mechanical keyboards, the latter is by far the most luxurious option. However, don’t count out membrane keyboards; they’re the quieter and the cheaper of the two.
Which do you prefer? Let us know below.