How Durable Are Mechanical Keyboards? How Long Do They Last?
Mechanical Keyboards, apart from their smooth, rich, mechanical typing experience, are well-known for the durability and longevity of their components. A mechanical keyboard usually consists of multiple components including Keycaps, Switches, PCB plate, Sound-absorbing foam layers, etc. Users can completely change the internals of a mechanical keyboard and make it more to their own liking. This DIY factor plays a major role in the marketing of Mechanical Keyboards. Usually, people wonder why do these mechanical keyboards cost so much, are they really worth it? When we go into the market, we find Mechanical Keyboards to be priced quite high in comparison to the standard membrane keyboards. Now the question arises, Are they really worth it? Do they have a long lifespan to make it up for the price difference? Well, we are going to find out with today’s blog.
For starters, a mechanical keyboard can last easily for 10 to 15 years based on your cleaning routines while a rubber membrane keyboard might die after a few months or hardly 1-2 years of usage. The main reason behind this is because, in Rubber membrane keyboards, there are no individual triggers but rather a full membrane for the complete keyboard. If one trigger goes bad, you have to get a new keyboard. Secondly, the mechanical switches in the Mechanical Keyboards can be repaired/replaced at our will. Even if your keyboard doesn’t have hot-swappable PCB sockets, you can always desolder the damaged switches and solder new ones in their place. This easy DIY repairability effectively increases the durability and longevity of any given mechanical keyboard. Now before moving any further, we will discuss what makes Mechanical Keyboards so durable.
Mechanical Switches Have a Long Lifespan:-
The core part of any mechanical keyboard, the heart of any mechanical keyboard, are the switches. The industry is full of mechanical switches with different actuation types from different brands like Gateron, Cherry MX, and Kalih Box, just to name a few. These mechanical switches have a super long life span. They usually get a rating of 50 to 100 million keystrokes. Your legends on the keycaps might fade off, but your switches will keep on working perfectly fine!!
Keyboards in today's market use high-quality materials for their keycaps. They usually adopt PBT material keycaps which are highly durable. PBT keycaps are known for their rich matte finish, their wear-resistance, and oil-resistance characteristics. Even if you use your keyboards for long hours of typing or gaming, you won’t see your keycaps fading off so easily or getting oily. But in case that happens, it is super easy to replace your keycaps by just pulling the previous ones off and pushing the new ones in. In standard rubber membrane keyboards, legends/characters usually fade off easily and they also tend to go oily in just a few weeks of heavy usage.
Specially Tuned Stabilisers:-
Most of the current mechanical keyboards whether it be entry-level ones or premium high-end models come equipped with specially tuned stabilizers. These are usually placed underneath large keys like the spacebar, Shift, Enter, Backspace, Caps Lock, etc. The main purpose of these stabilizers is to keep the keycaps of such long keys in their place and not let them vibrate or wobble upon key presses. Brands specially develop these stabilizers for a smooth, wobble-free typing experience. There are different types of stabilizers used in mechanical keyboards today with the Screw-in type being the most common one. In case they get damaged(which is a very rare case scenario), users will be able to replace the stabilizers by easily following some guides on the internet.
Sound-Absorbing Foam Layers:-
Mechanical keyboards come equipped with multiple layers of sound-absorbing foam usually placed between the PCB plate and the bottom case of the keyboard. The main purpose of these sound-absorbing layers is to reduce the sharpness of the sound produced upon keystrokes. But little do we know, they do this by reducing the pressure applied by the user upon keystroke from reaching the bottom case hence protecting the keyboard and improving its durability.
Gasket Mounted Structure:-
Well, not all mechanical keyboards have got gasket mounted structures but most new keyboards come equipped with a gasket mounted structure for the internal components. This is mainly for the PCB plate and the keyboard plate. Brands mount the PCB plate and the Keyboard plate in between the Top and Bottom case of a mechanical keyboard with the help of poron pads. As a result of this, The keyboards get a cushioned feel because the Plate is not in direct contact with other metal components. This effectively improves the typing experience as well as the durability of the keyboard.
Easy Customizability, DIY, Replacement of Components:-
Mechanical Keyboards are like a PC, if any one or two components go bad, you can replace them easily. Right from the core, the mechanical switches to the keycaps, almost everything on a mechanical keyboard is easily swappable. With some experience, people are also able to create their own mechanical keyboards with the help of premium components from the market. Be it the switches, be it the frame, be it the PCB Plate, everything in a mechanical keyboard is replaceable. This greatly improves their longevity and durability for them.
How Do They Compare Against Rubber membrane Keyboards?
So far we have told you what makes the mechanical keyboards so durable, now let’s find out how do they compare against the Rubber Membrane keyboards and what makes them so much more worth it!!
First off, you can’t replace the components of a rubber membrane keyboard. If any single key goes bad, there’s a little hope you can repair it yourself maybe an engineer might help but that’s also a rare case scenario because people usually end up getting a new keyboard in such cases. For a mechanical keyboard, simply replace the switch and be done with it. In a rubber membrane keyboard, if the legends or characters start to fade, you can’t replace the keycaps. You have to get a new keyboard or simply start painting the characters ourselves on the keyboard. Thirdly, there are only a bunch of rubber membrane keyboards that offer detachable Type-C connections or wireless modes. We are not saying that none of the rubber membrane keyboards support wireless connections or detachable cable, but most of them don’t while in mechanical keyboards you will find most of them with a detachable connector cable and also supporting wireless connection modes. Another key point in the favour of Mechanical Keyboards is its customizability factor. You can’t customize the typing feel or the look by replacing any components on a rubber membrane keyboard. For a mechanical keyboard, you have infinite possibilities to create the perfect one for yourself!!
What Should Be Done To Improve The Longevity Of Your Mechanical Keyboard?
Basically, take good care of your mechanical keyboard and it will serve you for a long, very long time. You don’t have to do much, simply clean your keyboard on a regular basis. Basic dust cleaning should be done 2 to 3 times a week while one should thoroughly clean their keyboards once every two to three months. If your switches start to give you problems, try lubing them for a smoother and better experience. Just these basic things will help you greatly improve the lifespan of your keyboard.
Mechanical Keyboards can be your partner for a long time. With just some basic cleaning etiquettes, you will be able to improve their longevity and durability to a great extent. When cared for properly, they can easily be with you for 10 to 15 years without any major issues. We hope you liked reading our guide on how long do mechanical keyboards last, for any questions or further queries, feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.