Updated: May 22
Are your fingers tired of that mushy keyboard of yours? Do you often miss keypresses and smash your keyboard of the frustration of regular typing mistakes?
If yes then welcome to the membrane gang.
Well there are a lot of different types of keyboards but all these boils down to two basic technologies.
1)Membrane keyboards - A membrane keyboard work by electrical contact between the keyboard surface and the underlying circuits when the keytop areas are pressed.
The membrane keyboard consists of three layers, two of these are membrane layers containing conductive traces. The center layer is a spacer containing holes wherever a key exists. It keeps the other two layers separated. When the top layer is pressed down, it makes contact with the bottom layer. The conductive traces on the underside of the top layer can then bridge the gap, allowing current to flow. And a keypress is registered.
The rubber keypads make the amount of tactile feedback very minimal which allows for easier keypresses, but also decrease the accuracy of the keyboard.
2)Mechanical Keyboards - On the other hand, the mechanical keyboard has separate key switches for every key. Unlike membrane keyboard, mechanical keyboard register keypresses by sensing individual switches, when a key is pressed, the specific switch for that key is closed and a keypress is registered.
These keyboards give the user maximum tactile feedback along with very high accuracy.
Now for the question, "Why should you use a mechanical keyboard?"
A mechanical keyboard will have various advantages over a membrane keyboard such as
Tactile feedback The amount of tactile feedback on a mechanical keyboard is very good, which means there won't be any mushiness on the keys, and also the typing experience will be superior to a membrane keyboard.
Accuracy The accuracy of a mechanical keyboard is also high as compared to a membrane keyboard
Lifespan The lifespan of a mechanical keyboard is very long unlike membrane keyboards which usually break easily.
Easily replaceable switches As it has separate switches for each key when one of them breaks for some reason, you can easily replace the specific broken switch instead of throwing the whole thing away.
Options available There is a wide variety of mechanical key switches available like cherry MX red, cherry MX brown, etc all with a different feel and sounds, and you can choose according to your liking and needs.
Build quality Out of everything else the build quality of a mechanical keyboard always pays off. The build quality is one thing you can rely on, even the cheaper versions are made pretty sturdy.
Although with all these Advantages mechanical keyboards also have few disadvantages
sound Well for some people this is an advantage and for some, it's not, mechanical keyboards tend to produce clicking sounds when you press a key. Though you can easily find a keyboard with different key switches which will produce less sound.
Cost Mechanical keyboards are costlier than a membrane keyboard ranging from $50 and can go up to thousands of dollars, but considering other advantages and usability it pays itself off and is a worthy investment. For a normal person you don't need to get the best available option. Budget keyboards will also give a similar performance and of course, will be way superior to a membrane keyboard.
Weight A mechanical keyboard is generally heavy ranging from 1KG or 2.2 pounds to almost 3KG or 6.6 pounds, considering all the components and individual switches. So it is generally suitable for a desktop setup.
Although mechanical keyboards have various advantages this doesn't mean that membrane keyboards are totally worthless. Sometimes depending on the use cases membrane keyboards can also be very useful, for example, you can't carry a mechanical keyboard in ur backpack with your laptop, mechanical keyboards are generally wired so if you want a portable option membrane keyboard is the way to go. And also if you want a cheap and easy to use keyboard for basic works spending on a wireless membrane keyboard will be a better option.
So, This all boils down to one point that, it's totally upon the user to choose any keyboard based on their personal preference and use case.