Are Optical Switches Better Than Mechanical: Which is Good?

We compared an ASUS mechanical keyboard with a Corsair K65 RGB keyboard with optical switches. Both have pros and cons, so it was a difficult choice. The Corsair has a lot of RGB lighting, but the keyboard felt too heavy and didn’t have a satisfying click. The ASUS had no lighting, but it was much lighter, and the click was much more enjoyable. In the end, Corsair won out.

This is a pretty big deal for us. We are a small company that wants to provide the best products possible, and we take pride in our work. We have spent countless hours and dollars creating the best gaming keyboard you can buy. We have tested our keyboards with gamers and industry professionals and have never been disappointed with the results.

We’ll take a closer look at some of the most common switches today, including their pros and cons and how you can decide which one is right for you.

Many people have asked me about the difference between mechanical and optical keyboards. I’m going to compare the two and then let you decide for yourself.

Are Optical Switches Better Than Mechanical?

Are Optical Switches Better Than Mechanical

Most gamers prefer using an optical switch because they are more responsive. Also, optical switches are usually quieter than mechanical switches. Mechanical switches are not always silent but are more reliable and durable.

Mechanical switches are usually more reliable than optical switches. They are also more durable, and they have a longer life span. They are also quieter and less susceptible to interference from electromagnetic waves. However, optical switches are more sensitive to dust and moisture. The problem with optical switches is that they are costly and can be inquired about installing.

You can use the Razer Mechanical Switch with most keyboards. We have tested it with a Corsair K70 keyboard and the Razer Deathadder Chroma gaming keyboard, and it worked perfectly. It’s good to know that Razer is a company that puts a lot of thought into the design of its products, and we can tell that by the quality of its products. You can also buy the Razer Mechanical Switch for other keyboards, such as the Corsair K60 and the Corsair K70.

What are mechanical Switches?

Are Optical Switches Better Than Mechanical

A mechanical keyboard is a kind of keyboard that operates physical switches and springs to register keystrokes. The keycaps on mechanical keyboards are raised from the keyboard’s surface, creating a “floating” look. This design element provides a unique typing experience often described as “springy.” There are many different types, sizes, and styles of mechanical keyboards. Some feature RGB lighting, which is popular among gamers.

What are Optical Switches?

Optical switches are like mechanical switches in many ways, but they don’t use physical contact to activate. Instead, they use light induction. When you press an optical button, it blocks a light beam in the PCB. When the light beam is blocked, the activated vital registers. Optical switches have some significant advantages over mechanical switches. They’re faster and smoother, and they last longer.

Optical switches don’t need to be directly touched to function, making them theoretically faster. They can also feel smooth without the need for lubrication. In addition, since there are no metal parts inside optical switches, they won’t wear out as quickly as mechanical switches and will have a longer lifespan.

Mechanical and Optical Switches: How Do They Work?

Are Optical Switches Better Than Mechanical

Three main types of switches are listed. These are three of the characteristics that are referred to as linear, tactile, and clicky. Keyboards are getting quieter, require less force, and do not give feedback when pressed. There is a bump on the keyboard when the Tactile Keys are louder. Some keyboards are quiet enough to work without headphones or earbuds.

Optical switches work by inducing light rather than blocking it as traditional buttons do. A laser-emitting diode sends an ultra-high-energy beam of infrared light through an object, heating the molecules within and breaking them. An infrared sensor detects the lack of light from your phone and tells the computer that the phone’s button has been pressed.

Both switches are very similar in mechanical operation. When you push the keycap button, the stem moves down. Then a spring returns it to the starting position.

Optical switches are like their mechanical counterparts in that they are typically more linear and tactile than clicking. However, like their mechanical counterparts, optical switches are often the choice for the high count or large surfaces. “Optical switches are typically more linear and tactile than clicking switches, but they can also be the choice for the high count or large surface areas.

Also Read: Best Gaming Mouse

Optical VS Mechanical Switches: Which is best for gaming?

Are Optical Switches Better Than Mechanical

A few important aspects of mechanical switches that you must consider when deciding which is better for gaming are:

1. Speed

The speed of switches is determined by factors such as the amount of force required to activate them and the distance the key has to travel to start it. Mechanical switches also have a debounce delay of around five milliseconds, while optical switches don’t suffer from this delay at all. This means that optical switches will generally have a response time of about 5 ms, which is slightly faster. However, it’s not yet clear whether or not this tiny increase in speed results in better gaming performance.

The Razer Optical Purple switches are some of the fastest on the market, with a reaction time of around 30ms. This is faster than the most immediate Cherry MX keys, making them an excellent choice for gamers who need the quickest possible response time.

2. Price

Mechanical keyboard lovers rejoice – there are plenty of different manufacturers and types to choose from, so you’re bound to find one that suits your needs. Most mechanical keysets can be adjusted to make them noisier, more peaceful, quicker, or longer.

On the other hand, optical keyboard users may not be as lucky regarding variety and customization options, though recent years have seen a slight increase in selection. Keep in mind that optical keyboards have seen less standardization overall, so modifications and custom keysets are far less available than they are for mechanical keyboards.

Regarding price, mechanical switches are more affordable than optical keys, typically only found on mid-to-high-price keyboards (such as the Razer Huntsman). So if you’re on a budget, mechanical switches are the way to go.

3. Durability

The lifespan of your average mechanical or optical key depends on the manufacturer, with most optical switches on the market having a lifespan of approximately 100 million keystrokes. In contrast, only Cherry MX claims a similar life expectancy for their mechanical switches. Most other mechanical keyboard brands have keys that are only rated for 50 to 60 million keystrokes – half of what optical switches can withstand. However, it’s essential to remember that even 50 million keystrokes still equate to 10 to 15 years of intense gaming or typing, which will probably be more than enough for the average person.

4. Feel

The feel of a mechanical or optical key mainly depends on preference, and the same goes for the noise level it makes. With more options available on the market, you’ll likely find a mechanical keyset that perfectly suits your needs. You can choose linear, tactile, or clicky keys between mechanical switches. This means you can pick keys that are satisfying and quiet or fast or any combination of those qualities.

There aren’t as many options in terms of necessary customization when it comes to optical keyboards. Some people may be happy with the stock keys that come with their visual keyboard, but others find them limiting. As a result, more manufacturers now offer alternatives to stock keys, which is slowly changing.


One of the most common questions we hear from people is if optical switches are better than mechanical switches. Many different factors go into this, so we’ll break down some of the critical components to help you decide. We’ll also highlight some contrasts between the two and some of the pros and cons separately.

Do optical switches work the same way as mechanical switches?

Optical keyboard buttons are the latest technology that uses light for actuation instead of the traditional mechanical connection. This means there is no physical contact when the switch is pressed, resulting in a cleaner feel and longer lifespan. Additionally, because there are no moving parts, optical keyboard switches can be thinner and more compact, making them ideal for laptops and other slim devices.

Are optical switches better durable?

Optical switches are faster than traditional switches because they don’t require physical contact to send an electrical signal. This eliminates the need for a debounce delay, slowing down standard switches. Optical switches are also usually more durable because there is no physical wear and tear.

Is Cherry MX or optical excellent?

Optical switches are usually faster in responding than mechanical switches. They even maintain the possibility to last lengthy, although some high-quality mechanical switches can match this. However, many prefer mechanical switches because they can be more satisfying. They’re also typically quieter, especially linear keys.

Hi! I am Mehran Sohal, the Founder and Chief Editor behind Pick Mouse! I and my team have a single goal in mind – that is to help YOU, the reader in making informed decisions and to help you in troubleshooting issues with your Mouse, Keyboards, and Headphones.

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