Mechanical keyboard switches have been a long-time favorite, delivering the speed, durability, and responsiveness gamers need.

This article discusses the differences between optical switches and mechanical switches.

How do mechanical switches and optical switches work?

Mechanical switches work by creating contact between a metal pad at the bottom of the key and a pad on the keyboard.

There are three main types of mechanical switches: Linear, tactile and clicky.

In contrast, optical switches use a process called light sensing.

Mechanically, both switches are quite similar.

Compare optical switches and mechanical switches

There are some important aspects of mechanical switches that you must consider when deciding which is better for gaming.

Is an optical or mechanical Switch keyboard better for gaming?

Durability: How many times can the key be pressed?

Speed: How fast can you activate the key?

Satisfaction: How comfortable are the keys?

Noise level: How loud are the keys?

Reliability

The average lifespan of mechanical or optical keys depends largely on the manufacturer.

Most mechanical keyboard brands say their keys have a lifespan of about 50 to 60 million keystrokes – half that of optical switches.

However, keep in mind that 50 million keystrokes is equivalent to about 10 to 15 years of intense gaming or typing, and this number will probably be enough for most people.

Key press speed

The speed of the switches depends on a number of factors, including the force required to activate them and the distance the key must move to activate them.

Mechanical switches also have a delay of about 5/1000 seconds.

In addition, the response speed of optical switches seems to depend largely on the manufacturer.

Feel and noise

The feel of mechanical or optical keys largely depends on preference, and that also affects the noise they make.

When it comes to mechanical switches, you have the option between linear, tactile, and clicky keys.

The optical keyboard doesn’t have many options.

However, this is starting to change and many manufacturers offer at least a few alternatives.

Razer Huntsman offers Razer Optical Reds (a linear option) and Razer Optical Purples (a clicky alternative).

Price and availability

Because there are dozens of manufacturers and types of mechanical keys, you can find something you like quite easily.

Is an optical or mechanical Switch keyboard better for gaming?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options with optical keyboards, although the situation has changed in recent years.

Finally, mechanical switches come in many budget-friendly options, while a good set of optical switches often comes with a mid- to high-priced keyboard (like the Razer Huntsman).

So which mechanical switch or optical switch is better for gaming?

The mechanical Switch still has a certain place in the hearts of gamers.

However, there may be a change in the coming years as more options become available.