Mechanical vs Membrane keyboard: 7 Key Differences

Skyloong Switches

Last Updated on January 31st, 2022

The true Gaming experience is always way more exhilarating when you have excellent gaming keyboards and mouse.

But did you ever give attention to the typing sound and performance of your keyboard?

As you search on the internet, you’ll quickly run into a debate: mechanical vs membrane keyboards.

So what’s the key difference between a mechanical vs membrane keyboard and how does it impact your typing and gameplay?

Do you think all traditional keyboards and gaming keyboards perform basically the same?

According to thoughtco.com:  At first, the keyboard is only used for typing and some other essential computer work but now-

The computer keyboard evolution has changed everything from wireless keyboards, flexible keyboards, specially designed gaming keyboard to advanced mechanical and membrane keyboards.

So, Are you eager to know which is a better keyboard for you in between mechanical vs membrane keyboard?

If yes, you will be please to know we have an in-depth comparison article for you, so after reading this you will be able to decide which one is the best suited for your requirement.

First, take a brief look at this comparison table if you are in hurry and don’t have much time to read our complete article.

Difference between Mechanical Vs Membrane keyboard

Mechanical Keyboard

Membrane Keyboard

1. The mechanical keyboard has mechanical switches for working.

1. The membrane keyboard has a rubber layer for working.

2. It produces more noise and clicky sounds.

2. Membrane keyboards are generally quieter.

3. In mechanical keyboards, the keystroke is registered with a gentle push.

3. In the membrane keyboard, the keystroke is usually done with a little hard push.

4. For passing input, it has a spring under each key so the spring is stretched down to the bottom and connected to the circuit.

4. In a membrane keyboard when you press a key with little force, a rubber layer touches the circuit then generates output.

5. The mechanical keyboard provides Super fast, stable, and error-free typings.

5. Membrane keyboards are a little bit slow compared to mechanical keyboards.

6. Most Mechanical keyboards are programmable.

6. Membrane keyboards are not programmable.

7. A big drawback of these keyboards is it is expensive.

7. Membrane keyboards are economical.

Here is the video from Tech By Matt, you should watch it to get a better understanding of the Mechanical Vs Membrane keyboard differences and their working mechanism.

Source: Tech By Matt

 

Now, let’s dive into all specific details for these 7 points one by one which we have studied and researched for these keyboards.

What is Mechanical Keyboard?

The Mechanical keyboard is the computer keyboard that has an individual spring and switches called ‘mechanical switches’ under each key instead of a rubber membrane.

Mechanical keyboards generally produce a distinct clicking sound when the user presses a key.

mechanical keyboard womier k66

Mechanical keyboard Womier k66

Mechanical keyboards are designed to feel better on the fingers and provide accurate typing with minimal strain to the hand.

It was first launched in the market in early 2000 when a basic keyboard was generally used in the market by computer users.

There are plenty of switches, but the metal spring switches are the most durable and usually preferred by gamers for their unique mechanism.

How Mechanical Keyboard Works?

There is a broad difference in working mechanism between a mechanical vs membrane keyboard.

Because these mechanical keyboards don’t use rubber dome systems like membrane keyboards so they are quite different from conventional keyboards.

There are switches under each key and have spring in them so when you hit a key, the spring stretched down to the bottom and connect to the circuit.

Now the circuit sends information to the CPU and shows output on the display screen.

Skyloong Switches
How-mechanical-keyboard-works

Mechanical Keyboard working mechanism

Switch Types keyboard

There are three types of switch types of mechanical keyboards and each switch has its different properties.

This switch-type mechanism has created the main difference between mechanical vs membrane keyboard and has its own idiosyncratic working technology.

different mechanical switches

Different Mechanical Switches {From Left: Linear, Tactile and Clicky}

Linear Switches

Linear switches keyboard is especially used by the gamer for its consistent keystrokes when it is pressed.

It is allowed users to offer more precision and accuracy when highly competitive games are played. This type of switch is preferred by gamers who don’t want ticky and clicky sounds from the keyboard.

Linear switches generally produce less noise, offer more consistency and smoothness.

Examples of Linear Switches- Cherry MX Black, Cherry MX Red, Cherry MX Silent, Cherry MX Speed

Tactile Switches

Tactile Switch is most suited for typing, you get tactile feedback when a key is pressed.

Tactile feedback with the small bump indication of every keystroke is logged or you can be sure every key is working fine or you hit the actuation point successfully.

Tactile switches are relatively quiet audible and satisfying with each keystroke.

Examples of Linear Switches- Cherry MX Blue, Cherry MX Brown

Clicky Switches

Clicky switches are designed to work efficiently and offer you a satisfying click sound when a key is pressed.

It basically produces a textile bump with a little high noise and the main benefit of using clicky switches is that you don’t have to press a key till it bottoms.

You can move forward and do the next action when a key is logged. So you will get a very high speed of typing from the clicky switches.

Pros and Cons of Mechanical Keyboard

The mechanical keyboard might be the right choice for gamers as well as for home usage because of its durability, even after extreme usage it can last for years.

Apart from advantages it has some drawbacks as well, we will discuss later in detail below.

There are many positive aspects for mechanical keyboards and let’s breakdown them in-depth one by one: 

Pros of Mechanical Keyboard

Longevity

There is no doubt to say mechanical keyboards are a little bit expensive compared to other type keyboards but you got a keyboard that will be super-durable along with steady build quality.

These types of mechanical keyboards are tested for 30 to 70 million keystrokes so they offer great value for your money and are highly reliable.

Other switches are relatively provided less no. of keypresses around 5 to 10 million and stop working hastily.

Excellent Feedback

When a key is pressed on a mechanical keyboard, you are offered great and satisfying feedback along with an excellent typing experience.

In mechanical keyboards, there are some switches that are specially made for high-quality gaming while some are built for essential tasks and computer typing.

Users are free to choose a keyboard based on their requirements. However, hardcore gamers can opt for this mechanical keyboard without a single thought, thanks to its exceptional mechanism.

High Stability

If you are a robust typer or habit of aggressively typing then this mechanical keyboard is definitely made for you.

A mechanical keyboard is designed to provide super stability as well as excellent grip on the keys, so this is not gonna slide even if you do very fast and aggressive typing.

It’s always a good idea to type smoothly and take care of the keyboard.

Accurate and Responsive

One of the best advantages of using mechanical keyboards is they are more accurate and responsive while typing.

So the typing errors would be very less and typing speed would be sensational fast, Thanks to the high response rate and precise accuracy features of a mechanical keyboard.

You can move forward as soon as you pressed a key, it will automatically successfully log the key and your work will be done.

Programmable

Mechanical keyboards usually support programmable functionality, which means a user can assign a function to any key and take output accordingly.

In Simple words- ” A user can program any key and get an output of any key they want.

Just take a simple example, if the ‘Backspace’ key is not working on your keyboard and you certainly want to use it, you can simply assign ‘Backspace’ to any certain key to work as the ‘Backspace’ button.

Programing a key is really an outstanding feature of the mechanical keyboard that you can program any key and get the output accordingly.

I really loved that feature, Do you?

RGB Backlight

RGB Backlight is not that as handy as the other features but it gives a stunning appearance to your keyboard along with RGB backlighting also helps you to type better at the night or in the darkroom.

RGB backlight is also considered being useful for improving user PC interactions.

Made for Gamers

As far as the express-fast, clear movement, chat on messenger, and accuracy is concerned in gaming, Mechanical keyboards are considered to be most suitable for Hardcore gamers.

Since the actuation of the key pressing on the mechanical keyboard is quite fast than the conventional keyboards so you will always have an edge over your opponent during your gameplay.

The sensitivity, accuracy, and fast movement can create a huge difference for any game enthusiast, so in between mechanical vs membrane keyboard, they will prefer mechanical keyboard any day.

We have had a look over the benefits of a Mechanical Keyboard, now, let’s have a look at a few Disadvantages of a Mechanical keyboard as well.

Cons of Mechanical Keyboard

Expensive

Mechanical keyboards are much expensive due to premium switches and some best-quality elements.

So it is considered to be a disadvantage for many people who can’t afford expensive keyboards.

However, there are some economical and cheap mechanical keyboards available in the market even though they are a bit costlier on your pocket than the membrane keyboards.

Noise

The mechanism of this mechanical keyboard is very robust so this kind of keyboard makes more noise compared to other category keyboards.

So If you usually play games at night or have a room center of the house where people surround you, prefer the silent ambiance so this can create some problems for you.

You can’t consider a mechanical keyboard if you have to select between mechanical vs membrane keyboard.

if you have all these conditions, you should look for a membrane keyboard instead.

What is Membrane Keyboard?

The Membrane keyboard has a membrane where keys are not separated and it uses a rubber or silicone keypad to register a keystroke.

Membrane keyboard

Membrane Keyboard

Membrane keyboards are characterized into three distinct layers that are:

  1. Top Membrane Layer
  2. Middle Layer
  3. Bottom layer

The first and second layer consists of the membrane layer of the keyboard that contain conductive traces.

The middle layer contains a-holes that work as a spacer for the key and separate the other two layers.

It is very flexible as well as pressure sensitive so users can register a keystroke by applying little force onto a specific area.

These Membrane keyboards have been used in most offices and most computers because of their reliability, value, and ease of maintenance.

Thanks to its simple mechanism.

How Membrane Keyboard Works?

Membrane keyboards work on the principle of an electrical connection between the keyboard surface and the underlying circuits.

For elaboration, Membrane keyboards are equipped with keys or buttons on the front of the keyboard.

Under these keys, a circuit is mounted that is covered by a rubber layer so when a user presses a key the rubber layer stretches to the circuits, and the circuit passes the output to the CPU and after CPU display the output on the screen.

The keystrokes should be done with a little hard push so that the layer of rubber is able to touch the circuit and perform the operation.

how membrane keyboard works

Membrane Keyboard working mechanism

The above illustration image is well enough to understand how keystroke operations are performed from the Keycap, Upper case to generate an output.

The controller detects that a user sends input through typing a key thereafter it sends the output to the Central Processing Unit.

The membrane keyboards are properly sealed and built to resist liquid and dirt so a user can work flawlessly without much care of dropping any eatable pieces of stuff.

Membrane keyboards are generally used by the many commercial organisations from the small handling devices to a big computer system organisations.

Sinclair ZX80 & ZX81 and Maganvox Odyssey2 keyboards is quite loved among the users and a good example of Membrane keyboard.

Switch Types keyboard

Unlike Mechanical keyboards, the membrane keyboard has two different types of membrane design switches like one is flat-key design and the second is Dome switch design.

The below image depicts the structure of a basic membrane keyboard.

membrane-keyboard-switches

Membrane Keyboard Switches

Flat Membrane Keyboard

As the name indicates these flat membrane keyboards are flat in design and usually comes in the small size segment.

Flat Membrane keyboards are usually seen in small tech appliances like Microwaves, printers, and some other tech gadgets.

It is harder to these keyboards as a computer keyboard because there is no significant tactile feedback when the user performs a keystroke even though this membrane keyboard has the same pressure pad.

Dome Switch Keyboard

The Dome switch keyboards are very common and consist of a two-circuit board embedded under the silicone or rubber keyboards.

In technical words, a hybrid of flat-panel membrane and a mechanical keyboard that uses a dome with printed letters on the topmost upper layers of the keyboard.

Dome Switch keyboards are made from metal or polyurethane domes that’s why they produce strong tactile feedback.

This mechanism helps users to reduce typing errors and provide more accuracy compared to flat-switch keyboards.

Pros and Cons of Membrane Keyboard

The Membrane keyboard comes with many advantages such as they are lighter, quieter, and portable compared to a mechanical keyboard.

Membrane keyboards are mostly used in the market because of their day-to-day compatibility usage and user requirements.

Apart from advantages, there are some disadvantages as well but let’s look at in-depth advantages first:

Pros of Membrane Keyboard

Pocket-Friendly

In between mechanical vs membrane keyboard, Membrane keyboards are way more economical as well as pocket-friendly to the users like us. It is more pocket-friendly than the mechanical keyboard.

They are more conventional and made with plastic and easily available elements.

So we can say that the cost creates a wide difference between mechanical keyboard vs membrane keyboard.

Quieter

This is the most important reason for the users to prefer a membrane keyboard over a mechanical keyboard as membrane keyboards create very little noise.

Membrane keyboards are quiet even if you do high-intensity typing.

If you work in an environment or live in a central house or you play games often at night everywhere noise level needs to keep low then membrane keyboard is the best bet.

If you are looking for a quieter keyboard between mechanical vs membrane keyboard then pick membrane without a single doubt.

Compact and Slim

Membrane keyboards usually come with a slim design along with delivering adequate performance for the users.

Since the membrane keyboard is smaller in size it’s one of the most compact keyboards in the market.

So if you are a travel companion or move frequently from one place to another and are confused between a mechanical vs membrane keyboard.

Then you should check out the membrane keyboard as it is exceptionally compact so you can carry it inside the luggage bag.

Different Variety

If you compare the variety between a mechanical vs membrane keyboard, certainly membrane keyboards have some edge and offer more variety in terms of accessibility in the market.

You have more options to choose from while purchasing a membrane keyboard.

Having many advantages it has some drawbacks too so let’s look at some disadvantages of a membrane keyboards:

Cons of Membrane Keyboard

Shorter Lifespan

When comparing mechanical vs membrane keyboard lifespan, membrane keyboards have a very little lifespan.

A membrane keyboard can only reach up to 2 million keystrokes while mechanical keyboards have an immense 50 to 70 million keystrokes.

So if you are looking for a durable typing machine between a mechanical keyboard vs membrane keyboard, you should keep in mind that it is not as durable as the mechanical keyboard.

Hard to replace a key

If you are the kind of user who gives most of the time to typing or playing a game or heavy computer users then most probably you must face component failure after heavy usage.

You can replace a component easily in a mechanical keyboard but in a membrane keyboard, you have to replace the entire keyboard.

As far as the replacement or repair of the component between mechanical keyboard vs membrane keyboard, mechanical keyboard far ahead in the race.

Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard: The best keyboards for gamers

I hope you have read all the key differences between a mechanical vs membrane keyboard including the pros and cons.

Either you might be clear or you are still a little confused with which one should you go for gaming?

mechanical vs membrane keyboard

Mechanical vs Membrane keyboard

Our answer is ‘Mechanical keyboards’ because it has immense advantages and functionality for a fast-paced gaming experience.

Most hardcore gamers tend to prefer mechanical keyboards because of their durability, steady performance, anti-ghosting, and fewer typing errors.

Actually, professional gamers who made popular this mechanical keyboard among the people as they had the image like mechanical keyboards are designed to use for the gamers.

Yeah! They are right in the battle of mechanical vs membrane keyboard, mechanical keyboards are the first choice any day for hardcore gamers.

Which one should I use?

A keyboard is just a connection or an input device to your computer system, so you have to see which type of keyboard do you need from a mechanical keyboard vs membrane keyboard according to your work or requirements.

As you read both keyboards has their advantages and disadvantages so you have to keep in mind and pays very carefully considering their difference and your budget.  

You also need to make sure don’t need to stretch your budget too much,  you will have to find the best deals on the top-performing keyboards.

This is our sorted list of the best budget gaming keyboards for you…

Best budget gaming Keyboards in 2021

After all, the keyboard should properly serve your purpose whatever the keyboard is mechanical or membrane.

Conclusion

We can summarize this article that an excellent keyboard can make a huge difference in day-to-day time or if you are a gamer, it can ruin your gaming experience too.

So having the best possible keyboard for your entire computer work or a gaming keyboard for your hardcore gaming is leads to the overall improvement in your typing experience.

I hope this comparison between a mechanical vs membrane keyboard helped to clear all your doubts regarding both keyboards.

Comments below your favorite keyboards from mechanical vs membrane keyboard for gaming, and why you loved that.

Cheers!!

Leave a Reply

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