The 8 Best Mechanical Keyboards for Quiet Typing

Photo: Durgod Fusion Mechanical Retro Keyboard
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If you’re a casual computer user who only ever uses a desktop for work or to check your email, you’ve probably not given much thought to your PC’s peripherals. If you’re a coding freelancer, digital designer, or hardcore gamer, however, you might pore over every part of your computing experience to make it as satisfying and streamlined as possible. And for those who fall into that latter group, mechanical keyboards are almost a must-have.

The biggest downside to mechanical keyboards is undoubtedly their noise. The clicking of the keys can be so loud and annoying, you might find yourself hearing it in your sleep. And if you work around other people, it’s almost certainly worse for them. Thankfully, there’s an answer to be found in quiet mechanical keyboards. A much smaller sub-category, the options are fairly limited. But there are still a few that stand out amongst the pack. You’ll find the winners here on our list of the eight best mechanical keyboards.

Photo: Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Keyboard

Mechanical Keys Made Quieter

Switch Types and Where to Find Them

There are a few major keyboard switch manufacturers — with Cherry being the most prominent and often considered the industry standard — but the names of their offerings can be a bit confusing and aren’t actually related to their functionality most of the time. What’s important to know, however, is that mechanical switches fall into two larger categories: linear and tactile. Tactile can also be separated into two smaller sub-categories: quiet and clicky. We’ve outlined these categories, large and small, below.

Linear: These switches offer a consistent level of resistance when pressed, allowing for reliable keystrokes. But they do not offer the same satisfying “click” as found with tactile varieties. They are, however, the most consistently-quiet offering.

Tactile Quiet: Made to offer the feel of a click but without the associated noise, tactile quiet key switches operate with spring-loaded resistance that offers a non-audible bump when pressed down fully, but at a far lower volume than traditional “clicky” switches.

Tactile Clicky: Using the same spring-loaded resistance as their quiet brethren, tactile clicky switches are the original type of mechanical switch and are also probably the most altogether satisfying both physically and audibly to the user. Unfortunately, for those in close proximity to the keyboard user, they’re often considered exceedingly loud, distracting, and annoying.

Topre Switches: While the Topre switch’s use of a rubber dome has brewed up many arguments amongst Reddit regulars and chatroom debaters, it still offers a trusty tactile feel that you’d expect to find on most high-end mechanical keyboards; plus, this rather unconventional element in its composition pave the way for much quieter performance.

It’s important to note that of the following varieties, none of the offerings on our list are considered “clicky,” as that defeats the purpose. Rather, the selections are either linear or tactile quiet — which are noted beneath each description — as these are the only ones that can be considered quiet enough to make the cut.

Photo: Keychron Q1 V2 Keyboard

The Fun Part

How To Go About Customizing and Sizing

Now that you’re familiar with these important variations, you’re closer to selecting the perfect option for you. After all, finding the right keyboard suitable for your niche needs is where things begin getting tricky, as much of this choice will come down to your personal preference as much as it does legitimate function

ABS Plastic: A softer form of plastic that produces less sound than the typical PBT keyboard’s clickiness.  

PBT Plastic: The common alternative to ABS. While this material promotes a louder result and is harder on the fingers, they tend to be far sturdier.

Hot-Swappable Switches: Ideal for people aiming to make the most of their device with ease, hot-swappable keys can be removed using no more than a simple tool, shedding the need for full-on dis-and-re-assembling. Best of all, these appear on several of our best choices.

Full Size: While this is self-explanatory, a full-size keyboard offers all the characters you can ask for. They are equipped with your standard collection of letter, number, and arrow keys but also feature a full suite of functional keys and a dedicated numpad. Ergonomically, it is incredibly convenient, although it’s bound to make a larger dent price-and-space-wise.

Tenkeyless: For a more traditional, laptop-like typing experience, the tenkeyless keyboard offers all the common characters and arrows, barring the additional numpad.

60 Percent: Ideal for portability and oddly small desks, the 60 percent keyboard does away with precisely 40 percent of the typical option, shedding the numpad, arrow keys, and function keys.

As far as hot-swap switches go, a pair of our go-to retailers in the space are Drop and Dangkeebs, either of which offers a surfeit of keycaps, switches, cables, and accessories in a bevy of configurations. If you’re a newcomer to the world of mechanical keyboards, keep in mind that many of these additional keycaps can sell out quickly and that it’s best to keep an eye out for their releases ahead of time.

Before you go about purchasing things you’re unsure of, we recommend opting to buy a switch tester; however, if you know your preferred feel like the back of your hand, then you can ignore this step.

Make The Switch

Why Are Mechanical Keyboards Convenient?

Let alone their fully-configurable composition, mechanical keyboards offer enhanced performance across the board. Thanks to their typically faster response time, it paves the way for a far better computer-using experience, and that goes for whether you’re typing up guides about mechanical keyboards or simply searching for a video on YouTube.

While these functions often go hand-in-hand with optimal gaming performance, they provide parallel utility for the average typer. Whether that’s because users prefer the refined acoustics or like to truly feel each letter they press, the benefits of using a mechanical keyboard are genuinely based on the user at hand. Nevertheless, the difference between a standard and mechanical option is often noticeable immediately, showing the gap between them truly is significant, and beginners will come to learn that with help from our thorough guide to the best mechanical keyboards for quieter, more precise typing.

The Best Mechanical Keyboards on the Market

Photo: Drop

Drop + OLKB Preonic Keyboard

Remarkably tiny and conveniently portable, this collaborative, ortholinear keyboard from Drop and OLKB pays homage to an icon. It is encased in CNC aluminum for virtually unrivaled durability, but its interior is even more impressive. The keyboard’s enhanced processor promotes more power to the USB-C connector.

To make life even easier, it features Kaihua hot swap sockets, so you can switch buttons out — in 2×1, 1×2, 2×2 layouts — as quickly as ever. The design itself takes after OLKB’s Planck, but features an extra row of keys for your choice of easier number access.

Recap

Drop + OLKB Preonic Keyboard

The most convenient option to tote around between work and home.

Pros
  • Tiny and portable
  • Fully customizeable
Cons
  • Assembly can be difficult
  • Lights are lackluster

Photo: Filco

fILCO Majestouch 2 TKL Mechanical Keyboard

Proof positive that not every mechanical keyboard has to be some over-the-top, rainbow-colored gaming device, Filco’s Majestouch 2 TKL Mechanical keyboard is a much more toned-down offering that still boasts top-of-the-line features otherwise. It’s also the only one on our list that gives the customer their pick of the litter in regards to which switches are built into it. While the offerings are specific to Cherry, you can choose between five different options.

We really like the MX Silent Reds — which are an even quieter version of Cherry’s fan-favorite offering. It’s also worth noting, this particular offering doesn’t feature a 10-key pad, but those keyboards are available for a slightly higher price.

Recap

Filco Majestouch 2 TKL Mechanical Keyboard

A simple choice that still keeps work impressively quiet.

Pros
  • Gimmickless, office-appropriate design
Cons
  • Lacks a 10-key pad

Photo: Matias

Matias Quiet Pro Mechanical Keyboard

One of the few brands that have their own proprietary key switches, Matias has made some bold claims — like that their Quiet Pro switches are actually quieter than Cherry’s Blue and Brown offerings. But you can be confident in that claim, as they’ve actually done a sound test that’s posted on their site.

On top of their keys being as quiet as dome-switch varieties, this keyboard is also available in Windows or Mac editions, desktop and laptop varieties, and offers some of the best tactile feedback in the industry.

Recap

Matias Quiet Pro Mechanical Keyboard

This keyboard is as quiet as a whisper and was sound-tested to prove it.

Pros
  • Pre-purchase sound test — yes, it’s quiet
  • Seamless connectivity to Mac or PC
Cons
  • Considering its mid-tier price, there are no flaws to name

Photo: Durgod

Durgod Fusion Mechanical Retro Keyboard

Thanks to its 40-day battery life and seamless connectivity across all major devices, Durgod’s trusty Fusion Mechanical Keyboard is one of our favorite options. Of course, much of that also hinges on its undeniably cool, retro-inspired design, but its Cherry MX switches only add to the equation. Of course, with its nostalgia-inducing look comes a pair of complaints, including its plasticky look and feel, deeming it a bit less sturdy than some of our other picks.

That said, the Fusion is still fully programmable to your liking and can even be updated on the go. Lastly, it’s even equipped with fade-resistant Doubleshot PBT keycaps to guarantee fade resistance.

Recap

Durgod Fusion Mechanical Retro Keyboard

A nostalgia-inducing keyboard with a modern-day feel.

Pros
  • Cool, old-school design
  • Doubleshot PBT keys
  • Compatible with all devices
Cons
  • People may disapprove of plastic outer shell

Photo: Keychron

KeyChron Q1 V2 Keyboard

This tenkeyless keyboard has a fully customizable layout and is packed with just about every feature necessary. Based around a 6053 aluminum CNC body, the Keychron Q1 is then polished, anodized, and sandblasted, giving it an undeniably sleek look that’s built to last. Best of all, its innovative design promotes an easy assembly operation, allowing you to change every element, including its programmable knob, the only part that requires an additional tool.

Nevertheless, the company’s construction method makes up for this extra work. It boasts a double gasket design composed of 2 silicone pads to lessen the sound of whichever button you’re pressing.

Recap

KeyChron Q1 V2 Keyboard

One of the internet’s favorite options that’ll easily become one of yours.

Pros
  • Comes from one of the space’s most trusted brands
  • Programmable knob
Cons
  • Pre-assembled keycaps are subject to quick wear-and-tear

Photo: Razer

Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Of all our options, Razer’s BlackWidow Elite is easily the go-to choice for gamers — after all, the brand ranks as the country’s #1 gaming accessories manufacturer for a good reason. Razer’s whisper-like Yellow Switch tech uses legacy speed keys that help minimize the actuation distance by as much as 20% — in layman’s terms, the keys are much closer here, allowing players to move their fingers at rapid fire.

Additionally, it is fitted with an RGB-light array that can easily sync with other Razer accessories and Philips Hue gadgets. Lastly, it has an ergonomic, leatherette wrist rest for maximum comfort.

Recap

Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Your favorite Twitch streamer’s favorite keyboard.

Pros
  • Gamer-approved
  • Seamless syncing with other Razer devices
  • Smooth wrist rest
Cons
  • May not operate as well in an office environment

Photo: RealForce

Realforce R2 Keyboard

Thanks to its trusty Topre switches and convenient number pad, Realforce’s R2 is an excellent choice from a comfort, speed, and longevity perspective. Moreover, the R2 boasts a sturdy frame and an oddly enhanced PBT keycap, a material that typically wears down the more you apply pressure; however, the tech brand manages to make it as sturdy as can be.

Nevertheless, you won’t need to apply much pressure (if any) to use the R2 thanks to its capacitive sensor, which can register that the key is being pressed mid-typing.

Recap

Realforce R2 Keyboard

A sturdy investment that’ll hold up for the long run.

Pros
  • Impressively sturdy
  • Topre switches
Cons
  • Pricey

Photo: HHKB

HHKB PFU Professional Hybrid Type-S

This plastic gadget is equipped with Type-S Topre switches composed of rubber and metal, then enhanced using sound-dampening O-rings, assuring peace and quiet for you and any co-workers in a pretty large radius. To maximize your use, Happy Hacker’s flagship model can be connected to 4 Bluetooth devices and easily swapped from one to the other. Additionally, its tenkeyless makeup deems it surprisingly portable, albeit still featuring a suite of function keys.

The Type-S is best suited for people who have gone through other mechanical keyboards that either wore down or were downright disappointing. Moreover, this pick has little room for error, and regulars will recognize that from the first key they press.

Recap

HHKB PFU Professional Hybrid Type-S

The premier pick for keeping your station sleek and serene.

Pros
  • Topre switches for lessened sound
  • Can connect to 4 devices
Cons
  • Pricey

The Best VR-Ready Laptops

Photo: Razer Blade 15 Advanced

While it’s clear that mechanical keyboards are ideal for various people, we can’t understate how convenient they are for gamers. With that in mind, step up your playing-routine with our guide to the best VR-ready laptops.