Linear vs. Tactile Switches: Which One Reigns Supreme? Discover the Answer!

Mechanical keyboards have become a favorite among users due to their efficiency and quick switch actuation. The most common types found in the market are linear and tactile switches. For first-time buyers, deciding between these two can be daunting since the choice often boils down to personal preference.

In this article, we’ll dissect the key differences between linear and tactile switches. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of which type suits your needs best.

Introduction to Linear and Tactile Switches

Linear and tactile switches are integral components of mechanical keyboards, designed to provide an excellent typing experience, yet differing in their characteristics. Linear switches are renowned for their smooth keystrokes and are generally more popular.

On the other hand, tactile switches offer a bit of resistance, delivering a more tactile sensation when typing. The preference for either switch type largely depends on what the keyboard will be used for.

Key Differences Between Linear and Tactile Switches

To help you make an informed decision, let’s explore the various differences between linear and tactile switches:


Sound level is a crucial factor when selecting a keyboard, especially for use in quiet environments like offices and libraries. Linear switches are quieter and produce smooth keystrokes, making them ideal for such settings.

If you prefer audible feedback while typing, tactile switches are the better option. The slight bump in these switches generates a moderate clicking sound every time a key is pressed.


The tactile sensation provided by the switches significantly impacts the typing experience. Linear switches ensure a consistently smooth typing experience, which many users find desirable.

Tactile switches, with their built-in bumps, give noticeable feedback that signals when a key is fully pressed. This feature can enhance the typing experience for some users.


While the speed difference may seem negligible, it becomes apparent during extended typing sessions. The bump in tactile switches can slow down typing speed slightly, whereas linear switches allow for faster key presses. This speed is particularly crucial for gamers, where every millisecond counts.


The lifespan of mechanical switches largely depends on their build quality. Mechanical keyboards typically last between 10 and 15 years, with switch lifespans ranging from 50 to 100 million clicks. Linear switches often outlive tactile ones due to their simpler design.

Actuation Point

The actuation point refers to the distance a key travels before it registers. Generally, linear switches have a shorter actuation distance compared to tactile switches. This means less force is required to type, resulting in faster response times.


Tactile switches offer more resistance due to their bump, providing tactile feedback with each keystroke. Linear switches, with minimal resistance, require less spring force, making typing more comfortable over long periods.

Color Coding

Mechanical switches are color-coded for easy identification. Red switches are completely linear, offering smooth and effortless keystrokes. Black switches, also linear, have a slightly higher actuation point but remain quiet and efficient.

Tactile switches are represented by brown color and have a medium actuation force. Blue switches are tactile as well but include a clicky element, producing a distinct audible feedback.


Tactile switches tend to be more expensive due to their complex design and additional features, such as adjustable actuation points. Linear switches, being simpler and more straightforward, are generally more affordable.

Which is Better?

Choosing between linear and tactile switches ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. For gamers, linear switches offer rapid response times and quieter operation, facilitating clear communication during gameplay.

For those typing in public spaces, linear switches provide a silent experience. However, some users prefer the sensory feedback and enhanced typing experience provided by tactile switches, despite the potential for slower typing speed and increased fatigue.

In conclusion, your choice between linear and tactile switches should align with your individual requirements and personal preferences.