Best Linear Switches For Your Hot-Swappable Mechanical Keyboard

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Nov 29, 2022

Mechanical keyboards are awesome. They provide a tactile feedback and response that gamers will never experience with any other type of keyboard.

Linear switches for mechanical keyboards are probably the most popular among the three main keyboard switch types. They are some of the smoothest switches you can find, ideally for both work and gaming.

The best linear mechanical keyboard switches in the market right now are:

These 7 linear switches are the best in the market right now. So if you have a custom mechanical keyboard and want to equip them with satisfying and smooth switches with just the right amount of tactile feedback. One of These options is your best bet.

However, if you are new to the world of mechanical switches and customizable keyboards, you may want to read up on the following information before choosing your next set of mechanical keyboard switches.

What are linear switches and why do you need them?

Out of all the 3 main types of switches, choosing linear switches is the best option if you are just getting into customizing your mechanical keyboard.

Because these switches are highly similar to regular keyboard switches, they are more straightforward than tactile or clicky switches. They are the perfect mix of both options, making them ideal for most applications like gaming, typing, working, editing, and more.

If you are used to using a regular keyboard or a MacBook keyboard for work and other applications, switching to a linear switch will make transitioning much easier by making only little adjustments.

Why should I choose linear switches?

Linear switches are some of the quietest keyboard switch options in the market, which is why gamers and people who work prefer them. These mechanical keyboard switches allow them to game and work at night without producing a lot of noise– which can be disturbing and even annoying to other people when they are trying to sleep or focus.

Aside from being quiet, linear switches respond fast with little travel time and reaction time, making them an ideal choice for people who type fast or use command buttons fast for competitive gaming.

If you are a speed-focused gamer or keyboard user, linear switches are the right choice for you since they were created to respond quickly. Professional eSport gamers highly recommend linear switches because of their high level of intensity, quietness, and convenience for fast typists and fast-paced PC games.

Linear vs Clicky and Tactile switches

There are three popular switch types that are being used in the world of mechanical keyboards. If you are new to keyboard customization, here is a table that will help you see the difference between these mechanical keyboard switches.

Type of SwitchLinearClickyTactile
DescriptionLinear switches are quiet, smooth, and straightforward.

They offer a smooth typing experience with a shorter travel distance than most mechanical keyboard switch options. They are also popular in the gaming community.

Clicky switches are somewhat similar to linear switches. However, they are purposely built to produce an audible click and bassy sound whenever you press them.Tactile switches are all about the feel and excellent spring resistance. Its medium resistance makes it very satisfying and you would feel every click go through successfully when pressed.
Best forLinear switches are excellent for gaming and fast-paced typing, thanks to their quick response and silent profile.Most writers look for the clicky sound when typing to emulate the feel of a typewriter.

This type is the perfect switch for writers.

Aside from linear switches, tactile mechanical switches are recommended for users if they are customizing their keyboards for the first time because of their pleasing feel.

The best linear keyboard switches

Now that you have a good idea of the differences between mechanical keyboard switch types, here is a more detailed look at the best linear mechanical keyboard switches you might want to consider getting for your new keyboard setup:

1. Gateron Black Ink (The most durable option)

Gateron Black switches offer the best feel. Aside from offering the best feel for keyboard users and gamers, Gateron Ink Black switches are very popular for durability.

However, many mechanical keyboard enthusiasts swear that these switches are quite scratchy with stem wobble at first. In order to get the best feel out of them and to maximize their capabilities– lubing them up and filming them before using them is the best way to enjoy and appreciate them.

Once lubed up, these switches offer smooth travel,

If you are looking for a reliable and durable option that you will be using for a long time, Gateron Black Ink switches are definitely the way to go. Another good thing about these switches is that they are always available at most switch retailer shops online and in stores.

These are the types of switches that would have been the perfect option for beginners. However, you will need to prep them to get the feel you are looking for.

Gateron Black Ink v2 Switches 5pin RGB Linear Switch for DIY Mechanical Keyboards (36PCS, Black Ink)

  • Gateron Ink v2 Series Switches.Lifespan up to 50 million times, color transparent shaft cover and base.
  • The Gateron Ink switches feature a transparent smokey housing. Switch is very smooth and has little spring crunch.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on GATERON

2. Gateron Milky Yellow Switches (The best for your budget)

If you are looking for an affordable option, Gateron Yellow switches are definitely it. They are often referred to as the “budget king” option amongst the mechanical keyboard community, and we couldn’t agree more.

These linear switches are straightforward and have all the essentials when it comes to an excellent mechanical keyboard switch. They are quiet, fast, smooth, and offer a satisfying feel with every click– making them perfect for office spaces and people who mostly type all day for work.

If there is one word to describe these switches, is that they are very consistent when it comes to sound and feel. But you shouldn’t really expect a lot from them because they are considered the best for your budget. Comparing them to higher-end switches would be a grave mistake.

You can get these switches for around 20 to 30 cents a pop or cheaper, which is definitely a good deal compared to other high-end switches. If you are a beginner and looking for smooth, consistent, and reliable switches that will give you the full experience without worrying about the terms of price– these switches make a fantastic option.

Gateron Milky Yellow Switches ,Mechanical Keyboard MX 5 pin Switches Shaft for All MX Mechanical Keyboard Support 4 pin RGB (70 PCS)

  • This link introduces the milky yellow switches of the gateron, you have two options (70, 110)
  • This link only contains the switch, not the keyboard.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

Buy on Gateron

3. NovelKeys Cream (Best sound profile)

These switches boast a POM construction that helps with reducing the friction that lessens the noisy clicks when pressed. However, you shouldn’t expect them to sound great right out of the box because it does take some time to break them in and get rid of the scratchy feel and awkward noise.

But once you break these wireless keyboard switches in by lubing them up, the NovelKeys Cream switches sound and feel very good. They are not as quiet as other switches. However, the sound profile is thocky, which is a satisfying characteristic for most people who type all day. It has a deep and bassy sound that is very distinct from other options, thanks to its POM stem and construction.

These keyboard switches divert you from the cheap plastic design and many people say that they feel a lot fancier according to their personal experience with these keys.

If you are afraid that you need to lube them up before using them because you are not like other DIY enthusiasts, don’t worry. Setting up mechanical keyboards with these creams is not as hard as you think.

Novelkeys Cream Kailh MX SMD 5 Pin RGB Switches for Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (68 pcs, Novelty Cream)

  • NovelKeys Cream – Linear | 4mm travel | 2mm operating | 55g actuation | 70g bottom out
  • Featuring housing and stem that is made out of self lubricating POM, this linear is a smooth and unique experience.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

Buy on Novelkeys

4. Cherry MX Black (The best overall option)

If you are willing to spend more in order to experience the best linear switches ever made, the Cherry MX Black will definitely give you a competitive edge in both gaming and typing. These key switches are far from normal switches in terms of design, durability, sound, and feel.

Although some might prefer other Cherry MX switches over the black option, it still gives a smooth experience overall for most users. They last for over 100 million strokes and stay consistent up to the last click in their lifespan.

It is worth noting that the newer versions of the Cherry MX Black switches are not built like the vintage ones, and they do feel a little scratchy at first. However, you can still say that these switches are still one of the best and smoothest stock switch options in the market right now.

Cherry MX Black Key switches (10 Pieces)- MX1AG1NN | Plate Mounted | Linear Switches for Mechanical Keyboard.

  • Products with electrical plugs are designed for use in the US. Outlets and voltage differ internationally and this product may require an adapter or converter for use in your destination. Please check compatibility before purchasing.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

Buy On Cherry

5. Cherry MX Speed Silver (The best for gaming)

If you are into gaming and want to have a competitive edge against most players online and offline, the Cherry MX Speed Silver key switches are highly-regarded as the best of the best when it comes to gaming.

It offers the most consistent actuation, making it reliable for gaming– especially if you are competing professionally or just want to win. (which is the point for all gamers)

The Cherry MX Speed Silver combines everything that is great about Cherry MX switches and improves it even further for one purpose, which is gaming. These keys have the advantage over their competition because the speed is two milliseconds faster than any other linear switch– making them perfect for games that require a lot of accurate button mashing. It is all thanks to the shorter actuation distance.

But you should keep in mind that these switches are specifically meant for gaming and you might have a problem with it for typing because of its short travel distance– which makes it uncomfortable when typing for so long.

Cherry Mx Switch for Mechanical Keyboard Replacement Part DIY (10 Pcs, Speed Silver (Plate Mount))

  • Products with electrical plugs are designed for use in the US. Outlets and voltage differ internationally and this product may require an adapter or converter for use in your destination. Please check compatibility before purchasing.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

Buy On Cherry

6. Cherry MX Red (The silent option)

The best linear option if you want to feel uninterrupted travel is the Cherry MX Reds. These switches are the most silent option in the market. They are mid-range price keyboard switch options that are best for gaming and typing at night.

If you are more of a nocturnal gamer and love to work at night while everyone in your house is sleeping, these keys are ideal because they are quiet and won’t disturb anyone’s good night’s sleep.

They may not be as fast as other switches for gaming, but they deserve to be on your gaming keyboard because of their overall performance, comfort, and light actuation. Although some people prefer a more audible sound when typing, you cannot deny the fact that your typing speed could improve with these smooth switches.

Cherry MX Red Keyswitch (10 pack) – MX1AL1NN | Plate Mounted | Linear | by himalayanelixir

  • Products with electrical plugs are designed for use in the US. Outlets and voltage differ internationally and this product may require an adapter or converter for use in your destination. Please check compatibility before purchasing.

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Walmart

Buy On Cherry

7. C3 Tangerine (Best for Typing)

Now if you are a fan of thocky key switches that produce a satisfying sound when typing, the C3 Tangerines are probably an excellent choice for you. It produces a surprisingly satisfying level of thockyness, which will definitely please you.

Despite the thockyness, they are very smooth, even right out of the box. If you get these keys, there is no need to grab your switch puller to lube them up because they are probably the smoothest linear mechanical switch options in the market– even without the self-lubricating design found in other options like the Durock POM switches.

They come in bright orange housing, which gives them a good aesthetic. These orange switches might look pretty but they are definitely durable.

However, these switches are not very cheap, but you are definitely getting what you paid for at almost $1 apiece. Although there is a little bit of stem wobble, it isn’t that noticeable when you are typing– thanks to the satisfying sound it produces.

Kingjinglo 2Pieces EQUALZ Switches Tangerine V2 Linear Switches for MX Mechanical Keyboard 5pins 62g / 67g Transparent Shaft Transparent Switch

  • The housing is orange-red and translucent, 62G light green, 67G dark green shaft. (All background pressure).
  • Supports 3MM lamp beads, RGB SMD light.

Buy on Amazon

Should I get linear keyboard switches?

Before deciding on getting linear switches, there are a few factors you may want to consider. If you are switching from a regular keyboard to a mechanical keyboard that allows you to choose switches, linear keys are excellent because they are highly similar but way better thanks to the feel, the sound, and the speed– especially for gaming.

You also want might note that there could be an adjusting period whether you are migrating from a regular keyboard or any other switch type. But once you get used to linear switches like the Cherry MX Reds, you will find it quite enjoyable and incredibly fun to use.

Robert David Orr

I'm an old school gamer from way back as a kid of the 80s - My first console was the Commodore 64.Since then, I've been gaming on everything from PC games to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to the Xbox One. Learn more.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *