Keyboards are an integral part of our digital lives, facilitating our interactions with computers and other devices. When choosing a keyboard, the decision often boils down to two main types: mechanical and membrane. But what’s the difference between them, and which one should you choose? Let’s delve into the fascinating anatomy of keyboards.

Mechanical Keyboards: A Tactile Experience

Mechanical keyboards are often lauded by enthusiasts for their durability, tactile feedback, and audible click sound. But what sets them apart?

The Mechanism Behind the Magic

  • Individual Mechanical Switches: Each key has its switch, which contributes to the tactile feedback and distinctive sound.
  • Durability: These keyboards last longer, often boasting a lifespan of 50 million keystrokes or more.

Variety of Switches

There’s a switch for every type of user:

  • Linear: Smooth keystrokes without a bump or click.
  • Tactile: Offers a noticeable bump mid-keystroke.
  • Clicky: Combines tactile feedback with a click sound.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Longevity, tactile feedback, customizable, and ideal for typists and gamers.
  • Cons: Heavier, bulkier, more expensive, and can be noisy.

Membrane Keyboards: Simplicity and Quietness

Unlike their mechanical counterparts, membrane keyboards use pressure pads and layers of membranes to register a keystroke.

How Membrane Keyboards Work

  • Pressure Pads: Pushing a key compresses the pressure pad beneath, registering a keystroke.
  • Silent Operation: Membrane keyboards are notably quieter, making them suitable for shared or quiet spaces.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Lightweight, more affordable, quieter, and a sleek design.
  • Cons: Less tactile feedback, shorter lifespan, and can feel “mushy” to some.

Making Your Choice: Which One’s For You?

Your choice depends on your preferences and needs:

  • For Typists and Gamers: Mechanical keyboards offer precision and feedback.
  • For Casual Users: Membrane keyboards may suffice due to affordability and quiet operation.
  • Workspace Consideration: In noise-sensitive areas, the quiet nature of membrane keyboards shines.

Taking Care of Your Keyboard

Whether you choose mechanical or membrane, proper care can extend its life:

  • Regular Cleaning: Dust and debris can affect performance. Use compressed air or a soft brush.
  • Avoid Spills: Keep liquids away. If accidents happen, unplug and clean immediately.


Both mechanical and membrane keyboards have their strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the anatomy of a keyboard will help you make an informed choice, ensuring a comfortable and efficient typing experience.


Are mechanical keyboards louder than membrane keyboards?
Yes, mechanical keyboards, especially those with clicky switches, are generally louder than membrane keyboards.

Why are mechanical keyboards more expensive?
The individual mechanical switches and the build quality contribute to the higher cost.

Can you change the switches on a mechanical keyboard?
Some mechanical keyboards allow for switch customization, but not all. Research your specific model for information.