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The Best Keyboard Switches for FPS Games in 2024

An assortment of 5 keyboard switches sitting on a wooden table.

The Best Keyboard Switches for FPS Games in 2024

Key Points

  • The best mechanical keyboard switches for FPS games are Cherry MX Red, Kailh Box White, Gazzew Boba U4T, Cherry MX Speed Silver, and Gateron x Glorious Linear.
  • Cherry MX Reds are light and quiet switches that provide a balance between speed and ease of use, making them perfect for fast-paced games like FPS.
  • Kailh Box White switches are clicky and provide additional resistance to prevent accidental keypresses, but they can be loud.
  • Gazzew Boba U4T switches are tactile and provide a satisfying ‘thock’ noise, making them great for fast reaction times.
  • Cherry MX Speed Silver switches have a short travel distance and light actuation force, making them ideal for quick reactions in FPS games.
  • Gateron Clear switches have a 35g actuation force and are the most affordable option, but they may struggle to return to the upright position after depressing.

Gaming requires unique computer equipment, especially when playing fast-paced competitive games like first-person shooters. One of the most important things you can get for your gaming rig is a high-quality mechanical keyboard. However, it’s crucial to choose the right keyboard switches when you do. Let’s look at the best mechanical keyboard switches for FPS games!

After reviewing the options, our choices for the best keyboard switches for FPS games are:

Best Overall Keyboard Switches for FPS: Cherry MX Red

Best Overall
Cherry MX Silent Red Linear Switches for Mechanical Gaming Keyboards
$79.99
  • 90 total pieces
  • 1.9mm pre-travel
  • 3.7mm total travel
  • 45g actuation force
  • Includes Ranked premium switch opener
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03/03/2024 05:04 am GMT

Our choice for the Best Overall keyboard switches for FPS players is the ever-classic Cherry MX Reds. Cherry MX Reds are usually the first linear switches new keyboard enthusiasts try out. Their availability and prevalence in the market make them an excellent way to get into using linear switches. You won’t have trouble finding a pre-built keyboard with them!

Cherry MX Reds are light and quiet switches perfect for any usage but are especially good for gamers who need fast and reliable switches. While they may not be as quick as speed-oriented switches like the Cherry MX Speed Silvers, they provide a balance between speed and ease of use.

Linear switches have a straight chamber with no tactile bumps or click sleeves. Thus, they give you a faster, easier click experience. This can make high-speed reactions a breeze. So, fast-paced games like first-person shooters benefit from light, linear switches like Cherry MX Reds.

Cherry MX Red switches have an actuation force of just 45g, making them very light and sensitive. However, they’re not so light that they would feel weird to use for a user coming from membrane keyboards or heavier switches. Check out the Cherry MX Silent Red Linear Switches on Amazon.

ProsCons
These are light switches with a 45g actuation force.They are heavier than some super-light switches.
Cherry MX Reds are linear, which makes them perfect for FPS games.
They are widely available and easy to get.

Best Clicky Keyboard Switches for FPS: Kailh Box White

Best Clicky Switches
Kailh Box White Switch for Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
$34.56
  • 108 total pieces
  • 3-pin plate-mounted switches
  • Great light transference for RGB
  • Total travel 3.6mm
  • Operation force 45±15 gf
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03/03/2024 05:35 am GMT

Clicky switches aren’t usually the favorite choice for gamers, but we love the Kailh Box White switch for gaming and typing. These clicky switches produce a satisfying “clack” when the key actuates, but are still lighter than the average clicky switch with an actuation force of around 50g.

While 50g is higher than most linear switches, they’re among the lightest clicky ones, making them perfect for people who want to use clicky switches for gaming. The click mechanism in the switch chamber makes it harder to press the switch down since it provides additional resistance. Thus, linear switches that don’t have this will typically be favored by gamers who need super-fast reaction speed.

However, the most notable downside of clicky switches is their loud noise. While many people adore the loud “clack” sound, it can be aggravating for people who live in shared spaces. People who live alone in homes with good sound insulation can have a loud keyboard without bothering anyone. Those who live in shared spaces or don’t have good sound insulation might annoy their neighbors or roommates with their keyboards.

Clicky switches can be good for gaming. The extra resistance can prevent accidental keypresses, preventing you from making rookie mistakes because your fingers twitch. Players relying heavily on muscle memory can sometimes find themselves moving without knowing. So, some extra resistance can help them avoid accidental inputs. Check out the Kailh Box White Switch on Amazon.

ProsCons
These switches are light and clicky at the same time.The loud “clack” noise can be difficult to have in shared spaces.
The actuation force is similar to other market-standard linear switches.
Additional resistance can prevent accidental keypresses.

Best Tactile Keyboard Switches for FPS: Gazzew Boba U4T

Best Tactile Switches
Gazzew Boba Black U4 / U4T Keyboard Switch
  • U4T thocky tactile switches
  • 64g actuation force
  • 5-pin configuration
  • Compatible with hot-swappable sockets
  • Switches work with keycaps and stems compatible with MX housing
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

If you want a switch with tactile feedback without the extreme noise, tactile switches like Gazzew’s Boba U4T 62g switches are the best you can get. They’re a little different from most of the switches on this list. However, don’t let the “62g” fool you. Their actual actuation force is closer to 45g.

They’re widely praised for having the best “thock” noise amongst the other tactile switches on the market. This noise is quieter than the typical “clack” from a clicky switch, but still provides a satisfying sound, along with the tactile bump in the chamber to let you know when the key actuates.

These are light, easy-to-press switches that give you a swift response compared to other tactile switches, making them perfect for tasks requiring fast reaction times.

Like clicky switches, tactile switches have more resistance than linear ones since the key has to be pushed passed over the bump in the chamber. Thus, they can also be used to prevent accidental keypresses that might have gotten through with a linear switch. 

Most tactile switches have a higher actuation force. So, they’re a little heavier than the linear ones on the list. However, these fall in line with most standard linear switches, with roughly 59g of operating force and about 45g to actuate. Check out Gazzew Boba Black U4T Keyboard Switch on Amazon.

ProsCons
A 45g actuation force is light for tactile switches and in line with linear switches.The resistance might be too high for some high-speed reactions.
They’re quieter than clicky switches while still providing tactile feedback.
Boba U4T switches have a shorter travel distance before the bump.

Best Speed Keyboard Switches for FPS: Cherry MX Speed Silver

Best Speed Switches
Cherry MX Speed Silver Linear Switches for Mechanical Keyboards
$79.99
  • 90 total pieces
  • 1.2mm pre-travel
  • 3.4mm total travel
  • 45g actuation force
  • Includes Ranked premium CNC machined switch opener
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/03/2024 05:54 am GMT

Speed switches aren’t an actual class of switches, but some switches are made explicitly for facilitating fast inputs, like the Cherry MX Speed Silvers. These switches have the same actuation force as the standard linear switches, 45g. However, their travel distance is shorter, just 1.2mm.

The light actuation force and short travel distance means you can press the key with just a light tap and still register it on the computer. This feature makes high-speed reactions a breeze since you can tap and move on as fast as possible.

However, it can result in some unintended behavior when you haven’t grown used to how light the switches are. When you rely on muscle memory, you often don’t think before you try to press the keys. Thus, your fingers may twitch and move on their own, pressing keys lightly.

On a keyboard switch with moderate to high resistance, a light press won’t register since it won’t be able to depress the switch stem far enough to actuate. Super-light, super-short switches are a different animal, though. A little tap could be a grenade you didn’t mean to throw.

Still, when it comes to reacting in fast-paced environments, you won’t get something better than a speed switch. These are designed explicitly for the chaotic and hurried movements these kinds of games demand from their players. Check out the Cherry MX Speed Silver Linear Switches on Amazon.

ProsCons
The switches have a low actuation force of 45g,They can be harder to find as they’re less prevalent in the keyboard market.
The travel distance is one of the shortest on the market.
They’re linear switches with very little resistance.

Best Budget Keyboard Switches for FPS: Gateron Clear

Best Budget Switches
Gateron Clear Mechanical Keyboard Switches
$34.99
  • 120-pack of clear, linear switches
  • 35g actuation force
  • Ultra-light actuation force reduces finger fatigue
  • Compatible with SMD LEDs
  • Designed for most hot-swappable mechanical keyboards
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/03/2024 05:59 am GMT

Gateron Clear switches are special since they’re the only switches on the market that have 35g springs installed. These springs are ultra-light, giving the switches a delicious 35g actuation force, the lightest you can go before the spring may struggle to return the switch to the upright position after depressing.

The best thing about Gateron Clears isn’t how light they are. It’s how inexpensive they are! A set of 120 switches can run you as much as $150 depending on what switches you buy. Many companies don’t sell their switches in batches that large, forcing you to purchase multiple smaller batches at a higher per-unit cost.

However, Gateron Clears are currently $34.99 for a complete set of 120 switches, giving you enough switches to outfit just about any keyboard with a single batch. The excellent per-unit price is one of the main reasons Gateron switches are so popular.

The fact that these switches are the easiest way to get 35g springs without modifying your existing switches is just the icing on the cake!

These switches are also clear, not just in the stem name, but the housing is clear as well. Clear housing allows PCB-installed LEDs to shine through the housing, letting you get the most out of the RGB backlight installed on your keyboard. Check out the Gateron Clear Mechanical Keyboard Switches on Amazon.

ProsCons
These switches have 35g springs, making them the lightest switches on the market.35g springs can sometimes have difficulty returning the switch to the upright position.
Clear housing allows RGB LEDs to shine through the switch more effectively.
The switches are extremely affordable for a batch of 120 switches.

How to Pick the Best Keyboard Switches for FPS: Step by Step

Choosing switches for a keyboard isn’t easy. There are hundreds of switches out there, and different switches are more efficient for different tasks. Additionally, you must account for the “I just like it” factor. A switch that is not ideal for a certain duty doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy using it for that duty. Some people play games on 185g switches because they like how it feels. It’s a very personal choice. Consider some of the elements that might factor into your decision:

  • Switch type
  • Actuation force
  • Travel distance
  • Spring height
  • Spring weight
  • Spring height

Let’s look at the criteria in more detail.

Switch Type

Linear switches, like the Cherry MX Reds on this keyboard, are ideal for games that require fast reaction times.

You’ll want to consider the switch type when choosing a keyboard for playing FPS games. While some games don’t benefit as much from additional speed in the switch design, FPS games do. So, choosing a switch type that benefits your exact use case will be important.

Linear switches are the most ideal. The smooth travel through the chamber and lack of resistance make them perfect for high-speed reactions since you can actuate the key with less force. However, they can be more susceptible to unintentional inputs since they’re so easy to press with little force.

Clicky and tactile switches provide additional resistance that can prevent unintentional inputs. Since the switches have click mechanisms, travel bumps, or both, the switches are harder to press and are less likely to be pressed by an accidental tap. However, this also lowers the overall speed of the switch and increases finger strain since you’ll need to press the keys harder to get your inputs read.

Actuation Force

One of the top statistics to look at when choosing keyboard switches is their actuation force. That’s the force required to have the keypress register on the PCB, typically measured in grams. The lighter the actuation force, the lighter a press you can manage while still having the computer pick up the keypress.

In gaming, a light actuation force can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows the user to activate the keys with ultra-light presses. This allows for quick reactions and fast key-to-key movement, from which fast-paced tasks like gaming benefit greatly.

However, it can also result in accidental inputs. Veteran gamers often rely on muscle memory to determine their inputs. They don’t have to think “Now I need to move forward. So, I need to press W.” Their brains gloss over that information and they press W when they need to move forward without even thinking about it. 

Muscle memory can result in accidental inputs, when too many different stimuli occur at once, blurring the lines of what the obvious course of action is. If there are enemies on multiple sides, for instance, your brain might react to move in several directions at once at first. If all of those inputs go through, you’ll move in a zig-zag, which would put you in the line of fire accidentally.

Thus, switches with a little more resistance can help prevent accidental inputs since you have to press the keys harder to actuate them.

Travel Distance

Another factor to consider is how far the switch stem has to travel to actuate the key. If two switches have the same actuation force, but different travel distances, such as the Cherry MX Red versus the Cherry MX Speed Silver, the switch with the shorter travel distance will activate faster.

Most standard-height switches have an actuation distance of about 1.5–2mm. However, some ultra-short switches like Cherry MX Speed Silvers have an actuation distance of 1.2mm. Additionally, low-profile switches, which are shorter and flatter than standard ones, also have shorter travel distances, making them easier to actuate by design.

Switches like Cherry MX Speed Silvers and Kailh Speed Coppers have a much shorter travel distance than other standard-height switches at 1.2 and 1.1mm respectively. While 0.4mm might not seem like a lot of distance, a keyboard switch’s full travel distance is only 3–4mm on average. So a 0.4mm difference is a 13.3% change in travel distance, a fairly significant amount.

Speed-oriented switches typically have shorter travel distances than standard ones. Since the actuation force can only be lowered so much before the switch starts to experience negative side effects, lowering the travel distance is the only way to improve speed once a switch has reached the lowest actuation force it can have.

Spring Type

Hot-swappable switches are ideal for someone who wants to change the switch springs.

Springs are not all created equal. First of all, each spring has a unique weight—the amount of force required to compress it—which influences the actuation force of the switch. However, switches also have different shapes, which influence how the compression feels under the finger.

The three types of switch springs are linear, progressive, and slow springs. These have a different travel feel as you compress them, influencing how easy it is to actuate the switch. 

Linear switches require the same amount of force to compress the spring increases rapidly as you compress the spring. So, you need to apply more force to the spring the further down the chamber the switch travels. These are the standard springs your keyboard switches will come with and are also the kind of springs people think of when they think of springs in general.

Progressive springs have a very low initial compression force and the force required gets lower as the spring travels. Then in the middle of the full travel, the compression picks up again and increases rapidly.

Slow switches have a rather high initial compression force and the force required increases as the switch compresses, though at a slower rate than progressive or linear springs. Thus, the force to compress the spring feels as though it is consistent throughout the entire travel, even though it increases.

Spring Weight

You’ll also want to consider the weight of the springs in the switches you buy. You can modify the springs in many switches by opening the switch and replacing the springs, but it’s easier just to buy switches with the springs you want.

If you want a specific spring weight, especially one less common than standard 45–60g springs, you’ll need to look for them specifically, and your choices will be much more limited. For instance, 35g switches are limited to Gateron Clears and Kailh BOX Red Pros. You could grab a Topre 35g keyboard, but that’s a whole different switch construction and those keyboards aren’t compatible with other switches.

You can abate the limitations of choosing unusual springs by being willing to modify your switches. However, this task is slightly more technical than just slotting in hot-swappable switches. So, do take care and be sure to buy extra switches if it’s your first time doing it. You can make the task easier by purchasing a switch opener like this one from Ranked.

Switch Height

You can also increase your switch’s speed by decreasing its height. This task is functionally the same as lowering the travel distance except it reduces the whole switch’s height. You can reduce the overall height of your keyboard switches by buying low-profile switches, which are shorter and flatter.

Some keyboards have low-profile switches installed, like many modern Redragon keyboards, such as the K618 Horus. You can also purchase low-profile switches from your favorite manufacturer and swap them in on a hot-swappable keyboard, such as Kailh Choc or Gateron Low-Profile switches.

Best Keyboard Switches for FPS: What It’s Like to Use Them

Switches with clear housing allow RGB lights to shine through them and be more prominent.

Keyboard switches that are ideal for FPS games are a special thing to use. They’re usually very light and have short travel distances, making them feel exceptionally responsive. If you’ve never used a mechanical keyboard before, you might find yourself a bit out of your depth at first since these switches are usually recommended to advanced users.

Since they’re so light, they’re extremely easy to press. You may be able to use the keyboard more often and for long periods because they strain your fingers less, even when performing fast-paced activities. However, if you’re unfamiliar with them, you may also find yourself unintentionally pressing keys, too.

As you use the keyboard more, you’ll get used to how it feels and how much force you need to press the keys. So, don’t give up if you find it difficult at first.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mechanical keyboard?

Mechanical keyboards use a matrix of plastic, spring-engaged switches to determine what keys are pressed instead of an elastic membrane, as seen on most consumer keyboards.

Why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?

Mechanical keyboards require more materials and engineering than membrane keyboards. Additionally, the build qualities are usually better overall, lending to a higher price since they’re premium products.

What are the best keyboard switches for FPS players?

First-person shooter players benefit most from switches are that easy to press and highly responsive, like Speed switches (Cherry MX Speed Silver, Kailh Speed Copper, etc.)

What makes Speed switches so fast?

Speed switches use light springs and reduce the travel distance of the switch stem, making them easier to press and actuate than regular switches.

What are the three types of keyboard switches?

The three types of keyboard switches are click, tactile, and linear.

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