A mechanical keyboard is an essential element for most avid PC gamers, but not all mechanical switches. And choosing the best mechanical switches can make the keyboard your trusted buddy when commanding an army in Starcraft or striking your rivals in Counter Strike.
No matter the kind of switch you choose, they offer unmistakable tactile feedback when pressed, quicker actuation and are durable unlike the rubber dome boards. However, with the market flooded with a huge array of switches, it can be baffling picking one that perfectly matches your needs.
That said, below is a comprehensive guide on the comparison between Gateron vs Cherry switches, explaining the differences and similarities between them.
But before we dive right into our article, it’s important to understand what a mechanical switch does.
How mechanical switches work
Mechanical switches have a lot happening under the hood with lots of benefits. For example, they have different actuation levels, different feedback levels, as well as the force needed to press a key.
Regardless of make of the switch, the feedback level can be categorized into three including linear, tactile and clicky. Linear switches have a smooth and consistent keystroke; tactile switches have a bump around the actuation point right in the middle of travel, while clicky switches have a bump in the middle and produce a sharp clicking sound.
If using either tactile or clicky switch, you can be sure that every key stroke you make is registered on your PC, with the click feedback or the bumpy feeling when the actuation point is hit. This means that you don’t have to depress the keystroke fully for it to register, which results in faster typing. These two switches are ideal for games such as RTS where Action Per Minute is the winning factor.
For faster-paced gamers, linear switching can give an upper hand because they don’t have a click to overcome or a dome to compress, thus you press and register keystrokes faster.
Gateron vs Cherry
Gateron and Cherry are firm players in the mechanical keyboard industry. While every individual is different some ardent gamers prefer Cherry switches because of their impressive quality and innovation. Others prefer Gateron, which unlike its competitors makes smoother and cost effective switches.
Gateron switches are manufactured by a Chinese-based company known as Huizhou Gateron Electronic Technology. Since its inception back in 2000, the company has also been producing high-quality batteries, keycaps, as well as other items.
The company has gained reputation for their vast range of quality MX-stem mechanical switches that are classified using their stem colors. Gateron switches have become some of the most sought after by mechanical keyboard enthusiasts and hardcore gamers from all over.
Founded in 1983, Cherry began to make MX switches in 1980s and released the first in 1983 and has ultimately become the reigning champion of the mechanical switch industry. Cherry MX is inarguably the gold standard for mechanical keyboard switches. This standard is the reason why it is possible to use most keycaps across a wide range of brands of keyboard switches.
Each Cherry switch type has a distinct color that reflects its features. Although there has been an increased competition over the last decade, Cherry still stands as the dominant brand that’s so comfortable, versatile and responsive with the old-fashioned German engineering.
The difference in features between Gateron and Cherry keyboard switches are subtle. Simply, both brands remain at the top of the pack in the industry. As a rule of thumb, you can never go wrong with Cherry Keyboard switches. They are certainly highly reliable and the best go-to switch for both high-end and mid-range keyboards.
On the other hand, if Cherry switches are not your best option, you are more likely to go for Gateron switches as your first choice. Sometimes, Gateron switches are better than Cherry MX since they are quite similar they feel smoother making Gateron a great option for people who love linear over tactile keyboard switches.
For its wide range of switches, Gateron mainly focus on producing switches that are comfortable and smooth to ensure the keys travel with minimum scratch or resistance.
On the other hand, Cherry switches tend to be stiff and scratchy although some enthusiasts claim that the scratchiness reduces with more use.
When it comes to quietness or loudness of a mechanical keyboard, there are several factors that highly contribute and the most significant is how you type.
Gateron switches are designed to use a slight actuation force when striking the key. This means that if when typing you press the key till it hits the keyboard’s baseplate or bottom-out, you are likely to be a loud typist even with tactile or linear switches.
On the other hand, Cherry switches require more actuation force at the bottom of the keystroke, which helps you to avoid bottoming out.
Gateron switches usually have a fairly higher actuation point (the distance at which the keystroke or switch depresses to be registered), which allows you to type lightly unlike Cherry, which has a relatively lower actuation point.
When it comes to consistency, most avid gamers can agree that each Cherry switch feels almost the same, while Gateron switches have a slight difference in feel when typing moving from one switch to the other.
Cherry rate their switches for 100 million keystrokes, which is outstandingly higher than Gateron. This means that they are extremely durable and can serve you for a very long time. Unfortunately, Gateron switches do not offer a similar warranty, but their unique feel makes them stand out.
Price is the key determinant for avid gamers and typists when choosing between Cherry and Gateron switches.
Typically, a standard Gateron switch is cheaper than Cherry. On the other hand, Cherry switches are on the higher side in terms of pricing. Moreover, both brands have highly sought-after limited edition or vintage switches that are quite costly for switch collectors.
Types of Gateron vs Cherry Switches
Gateron Brown vs Cherry Brown
Brown tactile switches are the most popular among mechanical keyboard buffs. These switches are the perfect blend and choice for writers, developers, gamers, and anyone who works for prolonged hours on the computer.
Brown switches are not clicky, which makes them quieter. They are also tactile switches, which mean you will feel the actuation point with every keystroke. They require 0.45N actuation force, but the tactile feedback only kicks after applying 0.55N of force.
The silent travel, medium actuation force and tactile bump make the browns versatile switches.
That said, Gateron brown is well known for being smoother than Cherry and also have a fairly recognizable bump feeling upon actuation.
Gateron Red vs Cherry Red
Linear red switches are undoubtedly the most sought-after keyboard switches across the world. They are fast, sensitive with minimal resistance and give a classic feel and don’t give feedback when pressing.
Red switches are also recognized as the best choice for beginners when it comes to mechanical keyboards. However, they lack a tactile bump making them less ideal for typists since they do not have the tactile feedback.
As such, Cherry red switches give a scratchier feel unlike Gateron reds, although the differences are barely noticeable. Moreover, the Cherry MX technology allows balance gaming and writing.
Gateron Blue vs Cherry Blue
Blue switches are widely used by people who love a superior typing speed and have a thing about the feedback. Their distinct click-clack sound produced when pressed beyond the tactile point, which makes them the loudest switches.
The blue’s slider construction offers the highest tactile feedback as well as a pronounced hysteresis, which makes rapid firing more challenging than linear switches. Also, they are ideal for gamers.
That said, the click of cherry blue switches is fairly softer, while that of Gateron blues is louder and sharper. In addition, Gateron blues tend to wobble than Cherry switches.
How Quiet are Gateron vs Cherry Switches
The sound produced by your mechanical switch and how loud it is depends entirely on your keyboard’s body plate and keycap material and the mount of force you use while pressing.
A switch typically produces sound with every keystroke as the key springs back from a compressed state. However, both Cherry and Gateron have silent switches that come fitted with a piece of rubber to ensure a quiet operation.
However, if your Cherry or Gateron switch is quite loud, you can lower the volume by installing O-rings around the stem of the switches. This is an innovative way to significantly reduce noise levels as you type.
Who should use Gateron vs Cherry switches?
If you want the best switch for gaming you may choose the Gateron Red or Cherry Red as its light and faster upon being pressed. For typing purposes, the Cherry Brown is the best option for its tactile plop or even Gateron’s Blue and Green switches.
Which One is Better, Gateron or Cherry Switches?
In conclusion, it’s hard to say that Cherry switches are better than Gateron ones or vice versa as they both come with their own benefits as well as shortcomings. While the choice on which one to use mainly depends on your preference, you may opt for Cherry MX Red if you are after the fastest switch for competitive gaming.
If you’re on a constrained budget, you may choose a keyboard with Gateron’s cheaper switches that deliver outstanding smoothness. The best way to determine that you’re buying high-performance mechanical switches is using a switch tester as it gives you a feel for every switch