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Cherry MX Brown vs. Red Switches: Is There a Clear Winner?

Cherry MX Brown vs. Red

Cherry MX Brown vs. Red Switches: Is There a Clear Winner?

In the battle between Cherry MX Brown vs. Red switches, which is your best bet? The world of mechanical keyboards is filled with choices, which can get overwhelming. You have so many different options for keyboards, switches, and stabilizers that it can get a bit daunting to make a choice. Cherry MX switches have been a mainstay in mechanical keyboards for decades now.

The Brown series has also proven to be a popular choice for users looking for a stable and reliable tactile switch. Cherry MX Reds have their fanbase as well, thanks in part to the consistent and silent typing experience. However, the question remains, which of these switches fits your needs better? Today’s comparison will be pitting two of the most popular Cherry MX switches head to head.

Cherry MX Brown vs. Red: Side-by-Side Comparison

SpecsCherry MX BrownCherry MX Red
Switch TypeTactileLinear
Key FeelSmooth but with a perceptible bumpSmooth for the entire stroke
Actuation Force55 grams45 grams
Actuation Point2mm2mm
Travel Distance4mm4mm
LifespanOver 100 million key pressesOver 100 million key presses
Sound ProfileLouder, thanks in part to the tactile bumpNearly silent, there is no bump or click when typing
Popular Tactile Switch
Pack of 20 Original Cherry MX Brown Switches for Mechanical Keyboard
$16.99
  • Tactile switch with noticeable feedback
  • 55 grams actuation force
  • 2mm actuation point
  • 4mm total travel
  • Comes with switch puller
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 11:41 pm GMT

Cherry MX Brown vs. Red: What’s the Difference?

The Brown and Red series of switches are entirely different animals, each with their own strengths and drawbacks.

Noise Profile

There is going to be a very noticeable difference when typing on both of these switches. The Cherry MX Brown switches do make noise, but it won’t be nearly as pronounced as something like the Blues. They are tactile key switches, meaning there is a bump felt with each press of the key. This very same bump is what leads to an increased noise profile as a whole.

Compared to clicky keys, there isn’t nearly as much noise out of a tactile switch. However, when you get down to it, these aren’t completely silent. If you’re looking for a keyboard that has a great typing feel for office work, you might want to adjust to linear switches.

The Cherry MX red switches are linear and subsequently have a minimal noise profile. Part of the adjustment period of linear switches is getting used to the lack of audible feedback while picking up your typing speed. However, the consistently low noise profile makes for a great way to type and keep your neighbors happy.

You could potentially look into dampeners for the Brown series of switches if this is a concern. That said, you might just be better off adjusting to the Red switches.

Feel

The actual key feel behind each of these switches is an entirely different experience. Tactile keyboard switches rely on that bump to give some degree of kinetic feedback when typing. If you’re a particularly fast typist, this helps to let you know when you’ve actually activated the switch.

Tactile keyboard switches are built around consistency. Like their clicky counterparts, there is definite kinetic feedback when pressing a key. You will feel the point when the switch actually activates and there is both a noise and physical bump under your fingers.

The Cherry MX Reds aren’t afforded the same feel. In fact, the entire typing experience is one of smoothness. It takes time to adjust to a linear keyboard switch, thanks in part to that lack of feedback. As such, if you’re a touch typist, you might be in for quite the adjustment period when going for the Reds.

With this in mind, the Cherry MX Red keyboard switch makes for an amazingly consistent typing experience. You’ll eventually get to the point where the lack of force feedback beneath your fingertips is just second nature. You might even notice your WPM increasing significantly after the adjustment period.

Actuation Force

One of the biggest differences between these two switches comes down to the actual force needed to use them. With an actuation force of 55 grams per keystroke, the Cherry MX Brown switches are heavier as a whole. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re a heavy-touch typist. That said, the heavier key feel might prove to be a dealbreaker for some users.

The Cherry MX Red switches require an actuation force of 45 grams. As such, they are far lighter to the touch. This is something you’ll notice with frequent and regular use, especially if you’re using more than one keyboard on a regular basis.

Actuation force is less of a metric for the quality of a keyboard switch and more a matter of preference. Some users are going to prefer a lighter touch when typing. If you grew up in the era when IBM mechanical keyboards were the norm for learning touch typing in school, you might want to shoot for the Cherry MX Brown switches.

Daily Performance

This is one of those areas that will come down more to personal preference than anything. There are people that absolutely rave about Brown switches, and tactile switches by extension. They are a great option for users who have a heavier feel to their typing. As such, they can be the right fit for daily performance thanks to their consistency and feedback while typing.

Linear switches are different from most mechanical keyboard switches. It is easy to get caught in the stereotype of thinking of mechanical keyboard switches as being noisy. Linear switches are arguably the most consistent performers when it comes to a keyboard switch, thanks in part to the light touch and low noise profile.

The Cherry MX Red switches are going to take a while to get used to, especially if you’re coming from something like Cherry MX Blues. However, once you get down the feel for them, you might grow to love them. Linear switches make for great keyboard switches especially if you’re doing a lot of input-heavy work like coding or writing.

A Mainstay for Mechanical Keyboards
Pack of 20 Original Cherry MX Red Switches for Mechanical Keyboard
$19.99
  • Smooth and quiet linear switches
  • 45 grams actuation force
  • 2mm actuation point
  • 4mm total travel
  • Switch puller included
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/11/2024 09:37 am GMT

Cherry MX Brown vs. Red: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • The Cherry MX Brown was introduced in 1994.
  • Cherry MX Brown switches should last over a decade with proper care.
  • Cherry MX Brown switches are the only tactile option available from the manufacturer.
  • Cherry MX Reds are one of two linear choices from the manufacturer.
  • Cherry MX Reds have a longer travel length than Cherry MX Blacks.

Cherry MX Brown vs. Red: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Choose?

Really, when it gets down to it, this is a matter of preference. You’re likely set in your ways when it comes to your typing habits. If you want something that is more akin to the typical mechanical keyboard experience, the Cherry MX Brown switches are a fantastic choice. They are the only tactile switch option available from Cherry MX, which means your options are limited in that regard.

The Cherry MX Red switches are built with speed and consistency in mind. If you do a lot of typing for work, they might be the perfect companion. If you can, test both switch types to see which you prefer. Unfortunately, it is going to be hard to form a complete personal preference without days and days of use behind each switch type.

  1. Pack of 20 Original Cherry MX Brown Switches for Mechanical Keyboard
    $16.99
    • Tactile switch with noticeable feedback
    • 55 grams actuation force
    • 2mm actuation point
    • 4mm total travel
    • Comes with switch puller
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/10/2024 11:41 pm GMT
  2. Pack of 20 Original Cherry MX Red Switches for Mechanical Keyboard
    $19.99
    • Smooth and quiet linear switches
    • 45 grams actuation force
    • 2mm actuation point
    • 4mm total travel
    • Switch puller included
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/11/2024 09:37 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of switch is the Cherry MX Brown?

The Cherry MX Brown is a tactile switch, which is a step below clicky switches in terms of feel and sound.

Are linear switches better?

Not necessarily, it all depends on your own personal preferences.

Are linear switches consistent?

They are, thanks in part to the lack of feedback. You can focus more on the actual act of typing and getting your speed up rather than worrying about hitting the bump for each keypress.

Are the Red switches the lightest available from Cherry MX?

They’re definitely up there in terms of lightness of touch. However, the Cherry MX Black keyboard switches have less travel time and significantly less force needed to actuate the mechanism.

Which switches are more expensive?

The switches are usually close to the same price, although the popular Cherry MX Red can sometimes be slightly more expensive.

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