Keyboards, especially high-end keyboards, will use mechanical switches instead of traditional switches. With mechanical switches, the most popular ones are Cherry MX Red and Cherry MX Brown switches which are similar in many ways, but there are some key differences.
If you’re unaware of the high-end keyboard market you’re probably using a Membrane keyboard. While there is nothing wrong with membrane keyboards, they just lose to mechanical keyboards in every way except for the price.
If you’re just getting into mechanical keyboards, we highly recommend you read this post as we will go into detail about the differences between these mechanical switches. You will know what switch is best for you as they definitely excel in different areas.
What Are Mechanical Switches?
If you’ve ever taken keys out of your keyboard, you’ve probably seen some sort of mechanism that registers your keystrokes. That mechanism is called a switch, it’s either a mechanical or a membrane switch, and there are huge differences between the two
The main benefit of mechanical switches is that they have superior actuation times, better lifespans, and they feel better.
They’re more expensive than membrane switches which do make them unobtainable for a lot of people, but if you can save up some money, then the experience is astonishing.
When purchasing a high-end keyboard, the key factors to consider are the actuation speed, tactile responsiveness, and clickiness. If you’ve gotten deep enough into the world of mechanical switches, you’ll know that there are almost unlimited possibilities, there are even hybrid switches such as the Holy Pandas.
Cherry MX Red Vs Brown – Differences & Similarities
To fully understand the differences between these two switches, we must understand how each of them works. With mechanical switches, there are Clicky switches, Tactile switches, and linear switches. The Cherry MX Red switch is a linear switch, and the MX Brown switch is tactile.
As you can see from the table below, the only differences between these two switches are the actuation force and the type of switch. In every other way, they’re pretty much the same.
|Cherry MX Red
|Cherry MX Brown
|Pre Travel Distance
|~100 million keystrokes
|~100 million keystrokes
These slight differences will make each switch feel completely different, essentially making them better at completely different tasks.
Red switches are said to be better for gaming, and brown switches are said to be better for typing purposes.
The lifespan of both switches is practically the same, they’re rated at a huge 100 million keystrokes, and the chances of failure are practically 0%.
Cherry MX Red Switches Overview
Cherry MX Red switches are linear which require little pressure for a keystroke to be registered, it’s a smooth dropdown that is ideal for gamers.
For typists, they could be a great option as they won’t tire your fingers as quickly, but typos will be more common.
|Smooth, best for gamers
|Not great for typing, the higher chance of typos
|Quieter, noise is generally unideal for gamers
Cherry MX Brown Switches Overview
Cherry MX Brown switches are tactile switches which means they will have tactile feedback with each keystroke. The dropdown isn’t smooth like linear switches, it requires some actuation force to register a keystroke.
These switches are louder, depending on who you are, this may be a negative trait.
|Very tactile, great for typists
|May get fatigued when gaming
Which Type of Keyboard Switches Are Used in 60% and 65% Keyboards?
When it comes to keyboard switches in 60% vs 65% keyboards examined, the type used can greatly affect your typing experience. 60% keyboards typically utilize compact switches like Cherry MX Red or Brown for a minimalist design. On the other hand, 65% keyboards commonly feature a selection of switches such as Gateron or Kailh, offering a wider range of tactile and clicky options. Consider your preferred typing feel when choosing between these compact keyboards.
What Switches Are Better For Gaming?
The reason why Cherry MX Red switches are better for gaming is that they’re linear, but what does linear mean?
Linear switches give a more smooth and consistent feel when you press them down, this is everything a good gaming keyboard should have.
Cherry MX Red/linear switches are also pretty quiet, which is good for gaming as loud keystrokes can be quite distracting. The reason why they make almost no noise is that pressing down a key is free from any tactile interference, it’s literally a smooth drop.
Tactile switches, on the other hand, will give tactile feedback which makes them feel quite bumpy. This has negative consequences when you’re in a gaming situation, as it can cause you to not press down a key when you are meant to. These types of switches are better for typing.
Tactile switches aren’t horrible for gaming, they’re definitely possible to game on, but it may take some getting used to. The average user will have to push down harder on each key though, this can cause finger fatigue, this is definitely unideal when gaming.
What Switches Are Better For Typing?
For typing situations, tactile switches are seen as better options because of a few reasons, the main reason is the tactile feedback they offer. The tactile bump will help reduce the chances of errors/typos making typing far more enjoyable on a Cherry MX Brown keyboard.
Linear keyboards will not reduce the chances of errors making typos far more common, they also don’t feel as nice when typing which is a downside. Also, linear switches are known to be quieter, some typists prefer the loud typing sounds their cherry MX brown keys will make.
Generally, it comes down to personal preference, Cherry MX Red switches could be great for typing, but you must get to a point where you make almost no typos for it to be a good experience. Cherry MX Brown switches are more forgiving, accuracy isn’t a huge requirement for them.
If you’re a huge typist, then you may want to go for the Clicky-style switches as they produce tactile feedback and some resistance. They sound the loudest hence their name, but the chances of typos are significantly lower as you must make sure each keystroke is fully registered.
In conclusion, these two different switches (Cherry MX Red & Brown) are similar in many ways, but the few differences make them ideal for different situations.
In our opinion, we recommend Cherry MX Red switches if you’re a gamer, and Cherry MX Brown switches if you type a lot.