My First Mechanical Keyboard

For years I’ve been using a basic Hewlett Packard wireless keyboard for gaming on my PC. A keyboard has never really been a priority to me when it came to upgrading my PC.  However, after months of saving money for my wedding and honeymoon, and realizing that the letters and numbers on and around WASD on my keyboard were gone, I wanted to spend some money getting something new, shiny, and fun. Additionally, a mechanical keyboard makes that great tapping sound when you type and are a lot more durable. They are also customizable if you wanted to put some fun keys on your keyboard!

My super worn out current keyboard.

My husband has a Razer model, but I wanted to do some research to find out what I really wanted with all the different options in the mechanical keyboard market. I had no idea what to look for in a mechanical keyboard. I didn’t even know budget-wise what was reasonable for what I wanted. Fortunately, I had a lot of help from some friends in a Facebook gaming group that I was able to choose something based on what was important to me. In case anyone else is interested in buying a mechanical keyboard and wants to know a little more about it, here is what I learned! Obviously, I’m not an expert, but this could help get you started.

Budget

I had no idea how much to spend. I ran a search on Amazon to see how much they were going for and saw the cheapest models going for less than $50. However, for some of the features I wanted, such as RGB as you will read about later, I was going to have to pay more than that. For a top of the line mechanical keyboard, you could pay as much as $200 or more. Budget wasn’t a big issue here, but I wasn’t going to go crazy since I was perfectly happy with my standard keyboard for so long.

Switches

The difference between a “regular” keyboard and a mechanical keyboard is that they have switches underneath each of the keys, which feel and sound differently. This is essentially the most important thing on a mechanical keyboard. On some websites, such as MechanicalKeyboards.com (where I purchased mine!), you can filter their products by the switch type if you know which switch you want to shop for. A lot of mechanical keyboards use Cherry MX switches, and the different types of switches are named by color (Blue, Red, Brown, Black, etc.)!

Blue and Brown switches have a sort of “click/bump” when you press on them, while Red and Black are “linear” and go straight down. I wasn’t sure I liked the “click/bump,” which can help prevent bottoming out your keyboard. That means pressing your keys all the way down. I’m not sure I liked the non-linear switches since I tend to smash my keys, and I didn’t want it to seem like more effort to press down. I’m sure the “force” needed to press down is negligible, but I didn’t want to make it any more difficult for my small, delicate, hands, haha. (Going on a tangent: I don’t know if I can say that I have weak hands since I’m actually pretty strong, but I still have a hard time opening jars!) Additionally, since my keyboard is mainly used for gaming purposes, I liked that the Red switches had faster response times, even if it was minimal (like milliseconds!).

Sound is also important for some people when choosing a keyboard. I like the tapping noise, but I also didn’t want to irritate my husband, with whom I share the office. A YouTube video was linked in my Facebook group that showed how each of the different types of switches sounded when typing. My husband said he didn’t like the “high-pitched sounding ones,” which I think were the Blue and Brown. I actually thought the Black sounded deep, but the Red sounded perfectly. I ended up choosing the Cherry MX Red switch.

RGB

One of the important features for me was to be able to change the backlighting on the keyboard! I like pink and purple. Those weren’t really standard colors for mechanical keyboard backlighting, so getting an RGB keyboard was recommended. They are pricier, going for at least $70 for this cosmetic feature.

Brand

A lot of different brands were recommended to me, including: Razer, Logitech, Glorious PC Gaming Race, Das, Ducky, Corsair, Cooler Master and more. A few people recommended Ducky. Honestly, the name Ducky sounded really cute along with the good recommendations, so I started looking at that particular brand.

Size

I enjoy using a 10-key because in one of my past jobs, I used it frequently to type numbers. I’m pretty fast at it, and I wanted a 10-key! However, most of these mechanical keyboards did not feature one. I realized it’s not as important as having a “petite” keyboard. My husband uses the big, beautiful desk I used to use, but I fit a lot better with the smaller desk I have now. The keyboard I chose has a narrow bezel, so it’s pretty slim around the edges of the keyboard.

What I Bought

I ended up buying the Ducky One TKL RGB LED Mechanical Keyboard (Red Cherry MX) from MechanicalKeyboards.com. It was exactly what I was looking for as far as being a small keyboard with Red switches and RGB. It cost $139.00 with free shipping, and I’m pretty happy with the purchase!

Everyone is different, so what you want in a keyboard is probably a lot different from me. There are a ton of resources online to help you shop for a new mechanical keyboard. Here are some additional links and resources that I thought were pretty useful:

https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/wiki/buying_guide

Mechanical Keyboard FAQ: Pick the Right Switch

The complete guide to mechanical keyboard switches for gaming

I didn’t want to wait a week and a half to publish this blog post since I haven’t received my keyboard in the mail yet, but I’ll follow up with pictures and maybe a review once I get my new keyboard all set up. The next thing on my list for PC upgrades is a gaming mouse. I have also always used a standard non-gaming mouse, and I think I could be happier with something smaller that has more features!

5 Comments

  1. healingspec

    May 27, 2017 at 8:25 am

    So what are you playing now? I am still in swtor, gave up pve for PvP and surprisingly having an absolute blast getting ganked ;p

    1. Heather

      May 27, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Hey! I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim, Star dew valley, sims 4, civ 6. I just installed Dark Souls 3 and Witcher 3 though so gonna play those next!

  2. r2d2arm

    May 27, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Except for the wireless bit, you had the same exact keyboard that I had before switching! Brown isn’t high-pitched with sound. Some of the bigger keys have a more “springy” sound sometimes. I decided to go with it. You can always tell when it registers, which I like!

    Looking forward to your review! I would recommend a mouse with a few extra buttons. Maybe not a MMO mouse if you aren’t into MMOs anymore.

    1. Heather

      May 27, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Yeah I have no idea what I’m gonna do with the mouse. I would at least pick something smaller because small hands lol

  3. Jim

    May 28, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Good choice with the Ducky. I got the Ducky Legend myself. I have had the Qpad MK85 and Corsair K95 but those broke pretty quick. The light switches broke. But the Ducky, is the sturdiest and heaviest keyboard I have ever had. I have the Cherry Red MX switches 🙂 http://www.duckychannel.com.tw/en/ducky-legend/

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