Noticing a slow-down in your typing speed after switching to a mechanical keyboard?
If you’re used to spending most of your typing time on a low-profile membrane keyboard, scissor switch keyboard, or Apple’s butterfly switch keyboard, it’s probably a bigger difference than you thought you’d experience.
Here’s the reason why:
Laptop keys have a lot less travel than mechanical keyboards and this takes some getting used to. It could also be that you’re used to flat keys and using a sculpted key is a big jump. It could also be that your poor typing skills are being exposed, especially if you’re a hunt-and-peck typer. Finally, a mechanical keyboard just may not be the right fit for you.
Mechanical switches are a unique experience, but that’s why they’re so popular!
However, if you’re struggling to get acclimated still after a few weeks of regular use it could be something else.
I’m going to cover each issue below, and how to solve it.
Real quick: before we get too far along here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Battle Station Setup here.
Why Do I Type Slower On A Mechanical Keyboard?
When you use a mechanical keyboard for the first time it’s virtually guaranteed that your typing speed will slow down.
Don’t let this discourage you though!
With practice, you’ll be able to get used to them.
Let’s talk about why this happens.
Laptop Keyboards Have A Lot Less Travel
The key switches on a “normal” keyboard is a big difference from what you get with a mechanical board.
This is especially true if you’re used to doing most of your typing on a laptop keyboard, or an Apple keyboard.
The reason why is that the key switches on laptops (and other types of keyboard) are built to be slim and simply to get the job done.
The low-profile is great because it can make a relatively ergonomic keyboard for your daily driver, but the response and feel isn’t considered as being as vital a part of the typing experience as it is for mech keyboards.
Mechanical keyboard switches are built with these things in consideration, and the mechanical nature of the key switch itself, that the tactile feel and sounds that mech keyboard users love is much taller mechanism than a laptop keyboard, and most other types of switches too.
So because you’re having to get used to a different process of actually getting a key to register when you’re typing, this can definitely slow you down.
To fix this, as long as you have a hot-swappable keyboard, you may want to look at getting a set of tactile switches which will enhance the physical feedback you get, helping you to get back up to speed.
Most Other Types of Keyboards Use Flat Keycaps
The tactile sensation on your mech keyboard is designed to be a different kind of experience than other types of keyboards.
You might find it difficult to get used to sculpted keycaps because they can feel different from traditional keyboards.
The feel on your fingertips is probably something that you completely overlooked prior to switching to your new keyboard.
The reason for this is because the keycaps are flat on this type of keyboard.
They may either be relatively flat, or completely flat, depending on what type of keyboard it is.
When the feel of the keys is different you need to retrain your muscle memory to get used to the sensation of working with sculpted keycaps.
If you want to ease your way into the mech keyboard life, getting a different set of keycaps that represent a different shape.
Flat keycaps are, unsurprisingly, flat and smooth.
Spherical keycaps are fully rounded, front to back, and left to right.
Cylindrical keycaps are rounded top and bottom but not left to right.
It might help to get a shape you’re accustomed to to start with to help your transition from a non-mechanical keyboard to a mechanical keyboard.
The best thing about mech keyboards is that they’re so versatile and flexible that you can customize it any way you choose!
Your Typing Style Needs Some Work
If you’re someone who never learned how to touch-type, it could be that your keyboard skills are lacking and having a mechanical keyboard now is just exposing that.
Don’t worry – there are a multitude of people who don’t know how to touch-type. It’s not a prerequisite to use a mech keyboard by any stretch of the imagination.
However, if you combine poor typing skills with a completely new typing experience it should come as no surprise that your typing speed would slow down.
And not only that, but also it’s likely that accurate typing is a problem too!
I learned how to touch type as a kid on an old-fashioned mechanical typewriter and it was one of the best skills I ever committed to learning!
Get some tactile switches and spend a little time working on your typing skills – you’ll be glad you did.
When your typing skills improve, your speed and accuracy will skyrocket.
Are Mechanical Keyboards Hard To Type With?
If you’re used to typing on a rubber dome keyboard, or basically any different kind of keyboard other than one with mechanical switches, it’s going to be a new experience for you.
However, that doesn’t mean that they’re hard to type with.
In fact, a lot of people report that they’re able to type faster on a mech keyboard than they are on other types of keyboards.
Is Mechanical Keyboard More Comfortable?
People prefer using mechanical keyboards over regular keyboards because they provide better tactile feedback.
They prefer, not only the sounds that a mechanical keyboard provides, but the feel of the key on their fingers, the feel of the movement of the switch – whether it’s a linear switch, clicky switch or a tactile switch – and the action to produce the key register.
Mechanical keyboards are great for gaming, but they’re also great for productivity work.
There are many reasons why people prefer them over traditional keyboards.
Maybe A Mechanical Keyboard Just Isn’t For You
If at first you don’t get the experience you’re looking for, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea.
If your typing speed and accuracy are down, you’re not feeling it (no pun intended) with the way the keys travel and work, it could be that you need to either go back to a more traditional keyboard, or start exploring the options you have for switches and keycaps.
What works for your gaming friends doesn’t necessarily have to work for you.
You have to find a switch and a keycap that works for you.
In the end, if you’re still struggling with the mechanical keyboard experience after a couple months of using it, it could be that a mech keyboard just isn’t for you.
And that’s ok!
Because whatever it is that you got to begin with clearly isn’t working!
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