What’s The Difference Between A Mechanical And An Optical Keyboard?

Mechanical and an Optical Keyboard

So, What’s the Difference Between a Mechanical and an Optical Keyboard? The main difference between a mechanical and an optical keyboard is the way in which the keys are actuated. Mechanical keyboards use physical mechanical switches to actuate each key, while optical keyboards use light-based technology to detect key presses. Mechanical keyboards generally provide a more tactile and precise typing experience, while optical keyboards tend to be quieter and require less force to actuate.

Optical switches have recently become a popular option for those looking for faster and more reliable switching performance in their devices. With the ability to actuate more quickly than mechanical switches, optical switches offer greater speed and longevity, with some brands offering up to twice the lifespan of mechanical switches. Furthermore, many mechanical switch brands are now providing comparable lifespans to those of optical switches, making them an attractive choice for users who want the best of both worlds.


 Mechanical” and “optical” keyboards are the two main types of keyboards used in computing today. Mechanical keyboards use physical switches beneath each key, while optical keyboards use lasers to detect key presses. Mechanical keyboards offer better tactile feedback and customization, but optical keyboards are more durable and provide a smoother typing experience.

Mechanical Keyboards


Mechanical keyboards are the original, traditional type of keyboard. They use physical switches beneath each key to register a key press. This means that each keypress is more tactile and responsive, and allows for more precise typing. Mechanical keyboards are also more durable than other types, as the individual switches are designed to last for millions of keystrokes.

Optical Keyboards

Optical keyboards are a type of computer input device. They use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and photodiodes to detect key presses instead of the traditional mechanical switches found in most keyboards. This makes them significantly more durable and resistant to wear and tear. Additionally, optical keyboards are generally much quieter than their mechanical counterparts.

Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Mechanical keyboard switches are the most common type of switch used in mechanical keyboards. They are typically made of a combination of metal and plastic and consist of a stem, spring, and two metal sliders. The stem is part of the switch that is depressed when a key is pressed, triggering the switch to fire. The spring provides resistance and helps return the stem to its original position after pressed. The two metal sliders act as contact points and short out when the stem is depressed, causing the key to register a press.

Benefits of Mechanical Keyboards

  1. Mechanical keyboards are the preferred choice of many avid gamers, typists, and writers due to their superior durability, tactile feedback, and customization options. 
  2. Mechanical keyboards offer a variety of features that make them ideal for long gaming sessions, typing quickly and accurately or simply writing for long periods of time. 
  3. With mechanical keyboards, users can customize the type of switch used for each keystroke to make typing or gaming more comfortable and enjoyable. 
  4. Additionally, mechanical keyboards offer enhanced tactile feedback that makes it easier to accurately identify each keystroke without requiring excessive force.
  5. The superior durability of mechanical keyboards also makes them ideal for long-term use in any environment.

Benefits of Optical Keyboards

  1. Waterproof

Optical keyboards are waterproof, meaning they can exposes to spills and splashes without any damage. This makes them ideal for use in environments where liquids may be present.

  1. More Responsive

An optical keyboard is more responsive than a traditional keyboard because it does not require physical contact between the keys and the circuit board. This means that when a key is pressed, it sends an immediate signal to the computer, allowing for quicker input. Additionally, because the keys do not need to be pressed down physically, the keys can be lighter and easier to press.

  1. Low Profile

Optical keyboards are low profile and offer a sleek look. They are much thinner than traditional keyboards and take up less space on the desk. This makes them perfect for those who have limited space or want to keep their desk looking neat and tidy.

How to Choose the Right Keyboard between mechanical and optical Keyboards?

When selecting a keyboard, it is important to consider your needs and preferences. Mechanical keyboard tend to be more durable and offer better tactile feedback, but they are usually more expensive and louder than their optical counterparts. Optical keyboards are more affordable, quieter, and typically have more features such as RGB lighting or macro keys. Ultimately, the best keyboard for you will depend on what type of gaming or typing experience you are looking for.

Key Differences between Optical Keyboards and Mechanical Keyboards

Optical Keyboards

1. Optical keyboards use light to register key presses.

2. They do not require physical contact between the key and the switch to register a key press.

3. The actuation force is lower in an optical keyboard than a mechanical one.

4. Optical keyboards are generally quieter than mechanical keyboards.

5. They are more resistant to dust and other contaminants, making them ideal for gaming and office environments.

Mechanical keyboards 

  1. Use physical switches for each key that must be pressed down for the key to register.
  2. Generally louder than optical keyboards.
  3. Longer lifespan due to durable switches.
  4. Cost more than optical keyboards.
  5. Mechanical keyboards don’t use a light source; instead, they use physical switches that must press down before the key can register. 
  6. Many mechanical keyboards come with switches that are durable, which leads to a longer lifespan. 
  7. The switches are generally louder than optical keyboards due to the fact that they have metal contact points.
  8. In addition, mechanical keyboards tend to cost more because of their switch choices and typically need less maintenance.

Drawbacks of Mechanical and Optical Keyboards

Mechanical Keyboards: 

1. More Expensive: Mechanical keyboards are usually more expensive than standard keyboards, as they are more complex and require more materials to manufacture. 

2. Noisier: Mechanical keyboards are louder than traditional keyboards due to the mechanical switches used to actuate each key. This may be a nuisance in quiet office environments. 

3. Heavier: Mechanical keyboards tend to be heavier than standard keyboards due to the materials used in their construction. . This can be an inconvenience to some people who are less mobile.

4. No Touch-Bar Functionality:

Mechanical keyboards do not have a touch-bar. It prevents users from being able to use apps that require a touch-bar, such as Photoshop or Microsoft Word.

Optical Keyboards:

1. Fewer features: 

Optical keyboards generally offer fewer features than standard keyboards, meaning they cannot use for everything like mechanical

2. Lack of Tactile Feedback

Optical keyboards lack tactile feedback, which can make it difficult for some users to type accurately. This is because the user cannot feel the keys and must rely on visual cues to determine when each keystroke is registered. Additionally, optical keyboards may require more time to adjust to and master than traditional mechanical keyboards.


Optical keyboards are usually better for gaming, whereas mechanical keyboards are better for general and normal usage.

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