Mechanical keyboards have grown in popularity in recent years, with many people finding them more comfortable and enjoyable to type on than the traditional membrane keyboard. They were primarily designed for gaming but have become increasingly popular for general use as well.
However, one thing that often puts people off from buying a mechanical keyboard is the price tag. Mechanical keyboards can be significantly more expensive than their membrane counterparts, with some models costing over $200. So, why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?
There are so many factors that contribute to the expensive price point of mechanical keyboards. Mechanical keyboards use higher quality components than membrane keyboards, which makes them more durable and longer-lasting. The switches, in particular, are often much more expensive to produce. In addition, mechanical keyboards often have a higher build quality overall, with a better design and attention to detail.
In order to give you a more in-depth answer, we’ve put together a list of the most common reasons why mechanical keyboards are more expensive.
Before I get into the reasons why mechanical keyboards cost more, let’s first take a look at how they work.
A traditional membrane keyboard has three layers. The top layer is a thin piece of rubber or plastic with the keycaps printed. Underneath that is a spongy layer that provides cushioning and, finally, a hard base. When you press a key, you’re depressing the top layer down into the spongy middle layer, which then presses down onto the bottom layer and completes the circuit.
A mechanical keyboard also has three layers, but the construction is a bit different. The top layer is still a thin piece of rubber or plastic with the keycaps printed on it. However, instead of a spongy middle layer, there is a metal plate. And underneath that is a circuit board with the actual switches mounted on it.
While rubber dome and scissor-switch keyboards use a central membrane to register key presses, mechanical keyboards have an independent switch beneath each key. When a key is pressed, the switch activates and sends a signal to the keyboard’s controller PCB (printed circuit board), telling it to register the keypress.
Why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?
Below are five factors that make mechanical keyboards so expensive:
1. High-quality components
One of the main reasons mechanical keyboards are so expensive is the high-quality components used to make them. All these high-quality components make the mechanical keyboards durable and long-lasting.
The outer body of a mechanical keyboard is designed with premium materials like aluminum and brass, which gives them a sturdy and durable feel. And the plastics used for the other parts are also good quality ABS or PBT plastics.
In addition, the switches used in mechanical keyboards are much more reliable than those found in traditional membrane keyboards. They are also rated for a much higher number of keystrokes, which means they should last longer.
For example, the Cherry MX Blue switches used in many mechanical keyboards are rated for 50 million keystrokes, while the membrane keys found in most traditional keyboards are only rated for 5 million. This means that a mechanical keyboard should last you 10 times longer than a regular keyboard.
2. Variety of switches
The switches are the main part of a mechanical keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are called “mechanical” because they come with individual mechanical switches underneath the keys that register each keystroke.
The best thing is that a variety of switches are available for mechanical keyboards to choose from, and each type of switch offers a different feel and sound when typing. For example, some switches give a deep “clicky” sound while others are much quieter. So, you can choose the switch that best suits your needs.
However, all the switches out there fall into three main categories: linear, tactile, and clicky.
Linear Switches: Linear switches are just what they sound like; the keystroke is consistent from beginning to end. There is no tactile feedback or clicking noise with other switches. These switches are best for gamers who need a fast and responsive keyboard for gaming.
Tactile Switches: Tactile switches have a small bump in the keystroke so you can feel when the key has been pressed. It provides tactile feedback each time you press any key that lets you know you’ve pressed the key without being too distracting. These switches are very popular among typists.
Clicky Switches: Clicky switches are similar to tactile switches, but they also make a loud clicking noise when pressed, providing even more feedback than a tactile switch and can be quite loud. Clicky switches are popular among people who want to experience the full mechanical keyboard experience. However, most people, especially gamers, find them too loud for everyday use.
As you can see, mechanical keyboards come with various switches to choose from. This allows you to find the perfect switch for your needs. But mechanical switches are quite pricey, which is one of the main reasons mechanical keyboards are so expensive.
Also Read: North-Facing VS South-Facing Switches
3. Ergonomic design
Mechanical keyboards come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. And one of the best things about them is that they are designed to be ergonomic. This means that they are comfortable to use and won’t cause any strain on your wrists even after long hours of use.
Mechanical keyboards are designed in a way that your hands naturally fall on the keys. This ensures that you don’t have to reach for the keys, which can cause strain on your wrists. And since each key is separate from the other, there is less chance of accidental presses, providing a comfortable and error-free typing experience.
In addition, mechanical keyboards come with a variety of different features that help make them more comfortable to use. For example, some keyboards come with a wrist rest that provides support for your wrists while typing. And some even come with adjustable feet so you can change the height and angle of the keyboard to best suit your needs.
On the other hand, most traditional keyboards don’t include any of these features. Therefore, mechanical keyboards are more expensive than regular keyboards.
4. Additional features
Mechanical keyboards come with a variety of additional features that you won’t find on a regular keyboard. For example, some mechanical keyboards come with backlighting which looks great and can be very helpful when typing in low light conditions.
In addition, some mechanical keyboards come with media controls that let you control the volume or skip tracks without having to go to the computer’s media player. And some even come with a USB pass-through which lets you connect other devices such as a mouse or flash drive directly to the keyboard.
However, not all mechanical keyboards come with these features. And the ones that do usually cost more than those that don’t.
Also Read: Best Keyboard for Transcription
5. Complex mechanism
The thing that makes mechanical keyboards more expensive than any other type of keyboard is that they have a more complex mechanism. Each key on a mechanical keyboard is a separate switch. And each switch has its spring and housing. This means that there are a lot of individual parts that go into making a mechanical keyboard.
The manufacturing process of a mechanical keyboard is very labor-intensive and requires a lot of precision. There are a lot of things that can go wrong during the manufacturing process, and this often leads to a high failure rate.
This is one of the main reasons why mechanical keyboards are so expensive. But it’s also one of the main reasons why they are so popular. Because despite their high cost, people still love them for their durability, comfort, and performance.
It is not a secret that mechanical keyboards are more expensive than regular keyboards. But the performance, durability, efficiency, and customizable options they offer are worth the price. In addition, mechanical keyboards come with various features that you won’t find on a regular keyboard.
So a mechanical keyboard is definitely worth the investment if you’re looking for the best possible typing experience.
We hope that now you know why mechanical keyboards are so expensive. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.