Informal Silent Switch Comparison

Hey, folks! Here’s a somewhat quick-and-dirty comparison between a few silent switches, because that’s what I felt like doing with my evening.

First, some sounds. I recorded all of these some time ago on my kitchen table with an old iPhone, a foot or two away from the keebs sitting on a folded hand towel:

Cherry Silent Blacks (KBParadise V80)

  • Cherry profile thick PBT caps, lubed but crappy Costar knockoff stabs. Steel mounting plate with plastic case.

  • Notice the almost metallic rattly sound. These switches feel sandy and mushy at the same time, pretty unpleasant and not worth the price IMO.

Gateron Silent Blacks (GMMK Fullsize)

  • OEM profile pudding caps, lubed clear plate-mount stabs. Thin aluminum mounting plate / upper shell.

  • These have a dry, “plocky” sound and feel much more smooth and crisp than their heavier, crunchier Cherry counterparts. Still some slight texture in the key travel, but it’s minimal. Low-key one of my favorite switches considering the modest price.

Gateron Silent Browns (Durgod Hades 68)

  • Cherry profile GMK caps, factory-lubed stabs, band-aid modded. Thick aluminum mounting plate and case. These have a dry, metallic, “snickity” sound, and are easily the loudest “silent” switches I’ve tried so far, though much less so than un-silenced switches of any kind.

  • I think the contact leaves against the stems are where most of that noise is coming from. They’re alright, and juuuust quiet enough for the workplace - but they feel a bit un-refined next to their linear cousins. (Excuse the background A/C and awkward typing on this one, for some reason.)

“Tactile Gazzewlos” (Massdrop CTRL)

  • [Outemu] silent tactile stems (v2 or 2.2, can’t remember) in Halo housings, no lube other than what might be left over in the housing from the factory. OEM profile Ducky PBT caps. Lubed GMK / Cherry plate-mount stabs. Medium thickness aluminum plate / top shell.

  • Fairly quiet and more tactile than the Gat browns, but far less crisp and a bit wobbly. Even the sound has a “floppy” quality to it, as if I’m wearing oversized fat rubber gloves. These sound and feel a bit like rubber domes, minus having to bottom them out to register a key press.

“Silent Silver Sky Pandas” (Massdrop CTRL)

  • The actual reason I made this post, [Outemu] silent linear stems (v2 or 2.2, can’t remember) in YOK Trash Panda housings, lubed with Gazzew’s “#2 blend” grease. OEM profile Ducky PBT caps. Lubed GMK / Cherry plate-mount stabs.

  • Extremely quiet - more-so by a long-shot than any silent I’ve tried so far, and I’ve tried almost all of them except for the new Silent Inks. (Next in line would be Aliaz switches, but they’re kind of “meh” IMO.)

All these were recorded under very similar conditions, and I’m hammering on the keys with enthusiasm for good measure.

Next, a few fuzzy images comparing some of the switches and stems:

Silver Silent Sky Panda (The really quiet one):

Zilent | Gat Silent Black | Outemu Silent Sky Linear (v2-ish):

Notice how different the [Outemu] stem is. The dampening material is completely distinct, as is the shape of the lower “foot” area that impacts the bottom housing. The dampener is much softer, and can also be easily removed / replaced if need be.

It’s a more simple design, but it works. Note also the taper at the back of that stem - this presumably prevents the occasional “tick” sound that happens when the bottom-back-side of the stem sometimes hits the housing in other silent switches on hard or off-center key-presses.

One other detail - notice the dampeners on the [Outemu] stems extend out more both at the top and bottom of the slider - I presume this has an effect on the feel, but it also eliminates an issue I’ve noticed with many other silent switches…

Resting Position:

See above a Zeal PC Zilent next to a “Silent Silver Sky Panda” - notice how much higher the Zilent stem sits, while the slider of the [Outemu] stem is flush with the housing.

A Zilent and Zealio (both V2) for comparison:

The Zealio is essentially “normal” - that is, most MX style switches I’ve seen have the slider juuust peeking above the housing as it is in this photo. Compare that to the [Outemu] above which is almost totally flush, and the Zilent next to it which sits much higher.

Aliaz and other Gateron-manufactured silent switches all appear to do this, and on the more tactile ones, this actually creates what I perceive as a fairly annoying amount of pre-travel before the “actual” (or maybe intended) feeling of the switch kicks-in. While I’m not the biggest fan of the tactile [Outemu] stems, they do not suffer from this issue at all due to their longer dampeners up top.

A quick side note: While they are buttery-smooth and certainly more quiet, the lubed “Silver Sky Pandas” still can’t beat Helios when it comes to that super silky smooth feeling.

Alright! That’s all I have for you today. I thought this was pretty fascinating - and I think there’s enough still to explore here to make a more in-depth video overview on the subject at some point. I’m fairly new to switch science and switch modding, so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Edit: Changed “Gazzew” to “Outemu” for clarity. If you are interested in these stems and their related parts, you can get them from hbheroinbob on reddit, who (apparently?) also goes by “Gazzew”. (Thanks @Laughmaster !)

Cheers! :beers:


Really enjoyed this write up! Add the silent inks!


Thanks much! Inks are next on my list, so whenever I get my hands on some I certainly shall.

Ahoy! Quick little update for the curious ( @EJDeBruin ) - I’ve been using a board full of silent Inks for a few weeks now. I don’t have a good recording to share just yet, but here’s what I can tell you:

Inks are noticeably more smooth and quiet than a standard Gateron silent black, but still not as quiet as a switch with the silent Sky linear stems. The Inks do feel significantly more crisp, smooth, and less wobbly than the “Sky Panda”, however. So:

If your goal is to have the most quiet switch possible, build something around the silent Sky stems.

If you want a balance between modest sound and satisfying mechanical feel, I’d currently recommend the Inks over any other silent I’ve tried, including Helios.

What’s that? Alpacas you say? Well then… to be continued.


Nice :slight_smile: What about the most silent, smooth, less wobbly, tactile switch ?

1 Like

I’ve actually been having this conversation with some other folks over the past few days.

I don’t think any silent tactile is quite “there” yet, as even the best ones seem to have some kind of not-so-small flaw - so in this case, it’s even more a case of picking your priorities. What I have to recommend there is getting a small sample pack of the ones you are considering and see what works for you.

That said, here’s my quick thoughts on a few silent tactiles I’ve tried:

  • Gateron Silent Browns: feel decent if a little scratchy, but just sound bad

  • Aliaz (made by Gateron): probably the most quiet, but not very tactile and otherwise unremarkable

  • Zilents (made by Gateron): satisfyingly tactile but oddly enough seems to have some QC issues not present in other Zeal switches - see above, and another user mentioned twistiness in the travel on their (still gorgeous) Tealio teal things. Moderate sound; more quiet and refined than the Gateron silent brown, louder than the Aliaz

  • Outemu Silent Sky Tactile (stem): tends to be on the wobbly side, and is in the middle sound-wise; louder than an Aliaz but less harsh sounding than a Gateron silent brown - has a rubbery sound and feel due to extra fat and mushy dampeners, but also has a less scratchy travel

At the moment I’d probably recommend Outemu Silent Sky tactile switches overall - however I know that Zeal are perfectionists and I’d be surprised if the issues with their current switches aren’t on their radar for a revision - and after that happens, I think it’s likely that other Gateron-made silent tactiles (most on the market!) will benefit from the trickle-down knowledge.

So far, all silent switches except the Outemus occasionally seem to “tap” some way or another on an off-center press or some other reason, which mostly seems to relate to the bottom shape of the stem. I also wonder if this is where some of the stability might be sacrificed, though.


Thank you for the update. I was just looking at this thread last night for options because I don’t feel comfortable spending $80-$90 on zilents anymore. Ordered the Aliaz because Outemu Sky Silents seem like a lot of work and the (only?) way to get them seems to be through one person on reddit/DC. Still want to try them some day.

Thanks for the detailed answer. I’ll take it into consideration when international shipping is unfrozen and may get to build further stuff in the future :wink:

I have been experimenting with tactiles and silent tactiles recently, so maybe I will be able to help out a little later.

I have an Aliaz [60 gr] TADA68 coming soon, so I’ll be able to test it on a fully-built, soldered keyboard.

I’ll be testing lubed OUTEMU Silent Skies with stock 62 gr springs, and also a few with 63.5 Spirit springs hopefully in a few weeks.

I have a full board with Zilents (V2) 62 gr, and I can confirm some of what is being said about them. Maybe a little on that later.


Aside from u/hbheroinbob on reddit, there is one more place to get Outemu’s boutique switches and components, and that’s Ali Express. Outemu is a seller on there, and you can order bits and complete switches from them… of course you will wait a very long time and may have to buy in bulk, not to mention current events complicating matters.

Aliaz are a solid choice in the realm of silents, because they do perform their duty of being quiet very well. Honestly, they might be the only silent tactile that deserves the name “silent” right now - the rest I might call “not loud” - but I guess that doesn’t work as well for marketing. :upside_down_face:


Deadeye, could you clarify about the “OUTEMU Silent Linears” used in the Silver Silent Sky Panda?

I am aware of OUTEMU Silent Sky tactile stems, which are part of the Silent Sky tactile switch. Are you saying that there is a separate OUTEMU Sky linear switch that you used in your YOK Panda housing?

I am looking at Skies right now, but the tactile variety. If you are using a linear that is different from the tactile Sky stem, do you think a tactile Sky stem would work in the YOK housing?

1 Like

do you happen to get the new U4 stem from u/hbheroinbob? I’m pretty hyped about it but sadly can’t get one from him due to paypal country limitations. Based from him, it’s full travel t1-like bump silent stem.

I ordered the parts before he started talking about the U4 stem.

Honestly, I’m glad I did.

I received sample of the old Sky 2.2 non-silent stems, produced before the Silent Stems became standard. I found that the Skies were somewhat unique, occupying a niche of their own outside of Zealios / T1s.

If the new U4 stems are like T1s, that is less interesting to me. The Ergo Clear-like stems of Sky 2.2 are good, and I want to use them going forward.


Are you saying that there is a separate OUTEMU Sky linear switch that you used in your YOK Panda housing?

Ahoy! Yes - there is a linear version. It’s just like the tactile ones, except it has straight contact legs and silver plastic, instead of the clear-ish white. I got a bag of them from hbheroinbob - along with some tactile ones, and the free goodies he sends to first time customers.


Thank-you for clarifying that. Yes, the stem does look different from the tactile.

Do you think it would be worth trying the Sky tactile stem in YOK housings? I have the opportunity to get the parts.

If not, is there anything else you would try Sky tactile stems in besides Sky housings? MX Clear housings, maybe?

I am looking to build some decent Silent Sky tactiles.

Good questions.

For the first one, not really. I tried it myself and wasn’t much of a fan - not worth the expense for that combination, anyway. I think those stems would benefit most from tight tolerances. MX Clear housings sound like a good place to start - they’d also probably be decent in filmed Gateron housings.

I’ve actually not gotten to try the Sky housings themselves yet - I just bought the stems by themselves. I’m pretty curious about them - but, one thing at a time. Ha! If you already have some housings of some kind, couldn’t hurt to try them. If not, it might be worth trying Outemu’s housing, since it was (theoretically) designed to go with the stem.


Well, I’ve just found out about a switch called the Keebwerk Tacit - apparently it has dampeners inside the housing which would theoretically eliminate that tapping. All sold out of course, except for the extra fancy groupbuy version… they do look pretty cool though…

It’s my understanding that those are silenced T1s. Since they were expensive to order from Europe when they released, people were waiting for a North American distributor.

They are said to feel almost like Zilent V2s, with the tactility right at the top. Some people think they are fine without lube, and are relatively stable (little wobble). But others plan to lube and film them as with the T1s.

A little louder than Zilents, suppposedly. I imagine we’ll hear more about them if they start shipping in quantity again.

BTW I was wondering, do you know of a good spring about 55 gr in actuation and 65 gr in bottom-out that could be used for Ergo Clears? I’m using gold-plated springs from 1UpKeyboards that actuate at 60 gr, and I find it’s about 5 gr heavier than ideal. I’m about to try out 65 gr Spirit springs.

1 Like

Interesting! I’d definitely be interested in something like that.

As for the spring, I can’t say that I do - probably the aspect of switches I know the least about. I know that has had some decent springs - might want to see what they have.

I have 67g Aqua Zilents and I like them quite a bit; no wobble, scratch, or torquing.They aren’t nearly as quiet as linear Silent Inks or Healios, but a world of difference when compared to their Zealio counterpart.

1 Like