Brown switches, a precise pressure point and a space bar that simply makes a wonderful sound (The “thock” is strong in her). The whole thing in a slim TKL form factor and also absolutely affordable – the Keychron K8 is the perfect keyboard for me.
My partner is not at all impressed by the insistent click-clack of my mechanical switches. So I started looking for ways to How do I make my mechanical keyboard quieter? and found a very cheap, efficient and easy way.
How I made my mechanical keyboard quieter
I'm up pretty quickly three solutions for quieter mechanical keyboards bumped.
First approach: More weight, less vibration. I filled the casing of my keyboard with silicone right after unpacking it – so that was a tick for me. The silicone also dampened the volume less and made the sound characteristics duller and more pleasant.
If you want to do this, you should first consider whether and how you can open the housing of your keyboard and where there would be room for silicone. The right mixture for pouring you can then get it cheaply online.
Second approach: maximum effort, minimum return? The second option is to lubricate all moving components in the switches. However, my keyboard has factory lubricated keys soldered into place. For me, it wasn't just the high level of effort that spoke against this approach, but also the likely low level of success. Soldering all the switches out of the keyboard, dismantling them into their individual parts, lubricating them piece by piece, reassembling them and soldering them into the board – that was simply not possible.
Be careful when “spray-lubing” mechanical keyboards
This method involves spraying lubricant in the form of sprays into the assembled switch to reduce the time required. However, you risk the functionality of your keyboard! Many lubricants attack the components in the switch, thicken or stick together over time and can disrupt switch contact. Even though there are advocates of the method on Reddit and YouTube, it is widely used spray lubing discouraged.
Third approach: Minimum effort, maximum return! Simple rubber O-rings are intended to help and make the keys quieter. I wanted to get to the bottom of this idea and quickly ordered a pack of these rubber rings for a few euros on Amazon.
O-rings for mechanical keyboards – are they useful?
To find out, I first made a comparison: How does the keystroke and the noise change with one, two or even three such O-rings under the keycap?
The first sound check with O-rings under the keys. It's best to listen for yourself!
Soundcheck: What are the benefits of O-rings in a mechanical keyboard? Comparison of buttons with no, one, two and three O-rings.
My preliminary conclusion: Two O-rings bring the desired success. Every keystroke is still stable, but with a much more pleasant sound. However, with more than two O-rings, the stop noticeably deteriorated and the stroke became too short for my taste. The difference between two and three rings was also small.
After my little sound check, I was immediately excited about the end result. Equipped with the keycap tool that came with the O-rings, I took action. Remove the button, thread on the O-rings and reinsert the button – the whole thing almost 90 times in a continuous loop. In the meantime, I swept half of a cat's fur out of my keyboard – our cat also seems to really like the keyboard.
Here is a short time lapse of my tuning on the keyboard:
Tuning for mechanical keyboards – installing O-rings in the keycaps in fast motion
Current pimp By the way, I not only use my keyboard, but my entire desk. If you want to learn how I set up the home office and gaming setup of my dreams, check out here:
My conclusion: I am an O-ring fan!
I'm by no means an enthusiast when it comes to mechanical keyboards, but I enjoy typing and gaming with them, as well as their special clicks and clacks. That's exactly why I found it in its unchanged state my Keychron K8 so good.
At the same time, I don't want to annoy my partner in the home office with these keyboard preferences and I fully understand her criticism.
O-rings provided the long-awaited solution for me. I would never have believed how much such a cheap and simple method could bring. The small rubber rings have not only significantly reduced the volume of my keyboard without impairing the typing experience, but I also find it now sounds much nicer than before.
If you want to copy this, experiment with different numbers of O-rings. Depending on how many keys are installed on your keyboard and how many rings you want to use, it may well be that the 200 pieces that I ordered are not enough for you. But you will find plenty of other quantities. Also, make sure to choose clear rings if your keyboard is backlit.
Click here for O-rings for mechanical keyboards
Know-How: Why are mechanical keyboards so loud?
Commercially available, inexpensive keyboards have a silicone mat with small domes under the keys (English: “rubberdome”). When you press a button, the dome folds down and triggers the button contact. The silicone dome then pops back and the button returns to its starting position.
Although this produces particularly quiet keystrokes, it also creates a spongy and inconsistent typing feeling.
Mechanical keyboards work completely differently. Each key has a small, mechanical switch. In it, a stamp moves down in the switch housing, where the stop is triggered, before a spring moves the button back to the starting position.
All of this creates more noise than the silicone dome described above, but also an absolutely precise and consistent typing feeling.
Which mechanical switches are the loudest?
There are many manufacturers of mechanical keys and each of them has dozens of different switches in their range. However, the vast majority of the market can be assigned to one of three categories: linear, tactile and “clicky” switches.
- Linear mechanical switches – With them, the entire stroke of the key is constant and there is no pressure point to overcome. These types, usually referred to as “red” switches, are the quietest mechanical switches.
- Tactile mechanical switches – Here you can feel a small pressure point at the beginning of the key stroke. After it has been overcome, the resistance decreases. Predominantly referred to as “brown” switches, this type is slightly louder than “red” switches.
- “Clicky” mechanical switches – The tactile pressure point of the “brown” switches is combined with a clear, metallic click sound. The pressure point is more prominent and spitzer, but such “blue” switches are the loudest.
I personally need the tactile feeling of pressure from blue or brown switches, especially when playing on the PC. My first mechanical keyboard – this one Logitech G Pro X TKL – was equipped with clicky switches. Since I no longer just play games on my PC, but also work full-time, this background noise has simply become unacceptable. For my current keyboard I chose brown switches from Gateron.
If your keyboard has blue, loudly clicking switches, then you shouldn't expect miracles from O-ring tuning. The clicking noise remains – both when the key is pressed and when it is extended. Only new switches or a different keyboard can help.
Now it's your turn! Are you a real keyboard enthusiast and can only smile wearily at such measures? Have you had good or bad experiences with this and other methods on your keyboard? Share it in the comments!
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