Looking for advice to move away from Cherry MX Blues to tactile switches

I’ve been using Cherry MX blues for a while, and I think it’s time for a change. The noise is part of the issue (not for myself, but for others nearby), so I’m looking at tactile options. I bought a switch tester, which primarily has Cherry, Gateron and Kailh switches on it, and this has given me an idea of what I’m liking.

The ones I’ve gravitated towards are:

Kailh BOX brown

Gateron Silent brown


Zealios 62g

The Zealios in particular have the more satisfying tactile bump, though may be a bit too difficult to press. The other aspect that worries me (I’m not testing these on an actual keyboard) is whether the large distance between bump and actuation point will be frustrating.

The ALIAZ and the Silent browns seem to have a further travel before the bump, compared to many others, and I suspect I like them because that more closely resembles the MX blues in that regard.

The Box browns have little in the way of bump, but I like the smoothness of the travel overall. Maybe it’s just got less wobble than others. Maybe others would benefit from lube. Hard to say.

Overall, I am looking for some opinions and recommendations. Perhaps one of these switches is right, or maybe there are other varieties I should test out. The thing of course that makes this difficult is that I imagine it’s hard to really know until you have a whole keyboard kitted out with them. I am pretty newbie when it comes to this topic, though I like to think I’ve done enough research to get me started at least.

Couple other things I can mention. I use my PC for various things, both typing and gaming, though nothing competitive. I also don’t like the Cherry MX browns, as they aren’t tactile enough. Linear switches are out of the question.

Any advice is much appreciated!


Have you tried Zealio V1 Redux switches or just the newer V2 Zealios? The V1 Redux have a smaller bump, but nowhere near as small as MX browns. They’re made to be ergo clear competitors & might be right in the sweet spot for what you’re looking for from the sounds of it. Alternatively you can also give Durock medium tactiles a try, they are similar to the V1 Redux Zealios. Welcome to KT by the way!

@HungerMechanic @Deadeye, any good recommendations for medium tactiles for OP? (OP these guys have a ton of experience with tactile switches)


Thanks for the welcome and the reply! From what I can see the tester came with V2 Zealios, so it sounds like I’ll definitely have to consider the V1 Redux you mention. Durock is a new name for me, but I’ll add that to my list too.

I don’t suppose there are any good resources to get force graphs for these? I’ve seen a few brands have their own ones on their websites, and RTings has a few, but it seems pretty hit-or-miss.


Our resident switch goat @ThereminGoat has a great website where he reviews switches & has force curves for all the ones he has reviewed https://www.theremingoat.com/. Then Haata has a pretty decent collection of force curve graphs too, Plotly | Make charts and dashboards online. There are some other resources for force curves, but these are the most comprehensive off the top of my head.



It’s interesting to read your post, as I can see that tactiles are new to you.

You are describing some core features of various tactile ‘archetypes.’

I don’t think you are necessarily trying out the latest and best tactiles, but they are well-known switches that serve as a good starting point.

First, let me say a few things about the switches you tried:

Kailh BOX Brown

These are interesting switches, no doubt. More tactile Browns in a ‘dustproof’ housing that is theoretically more stable.

However, in practice, these are a flawed and outdated design. The thick early stems destroyed some keycaps. More important, the tactile BOX switches eventually become ‘clicky,’ kind of negating the point of your endavour.

That being said, I received a good batch one time, and enjoy typing on it on occasion.

Gateron Silent Brown

These were an early attempt at a silent tactile. The tactility is not very memorable, but they do function. They are swishy or scratchy unless you lube them.


Similar to Gateron Silent Brown. These are actually pretty decent silent light-tactiles, but you need to replace the springs. 60 - 70 G 14mm TX springs should work well.

Zealios 62 G

Based upon your description, it seems as if those are V2. Zealio V1 is a light/medium-tactile that are fairly easy to press.

Zealio V2, on the other hand, is a beast of a tactile [by 2019 standards] that indeed is harder to press.

Now let me say a few things about where to go from here.

Heavy Tactiles

You find the Zealio (V2?) to be a satisfying tactile. If so, you may be interested in other heavy-tactiles. You are absolutely right that there is a large distance between the bump and the actuation-point. This is somewhat particular to the Zealio V2 switch itself, and less so for other heavy tactiles.

To overcome this problem, you may wish to consider some kind of T1-derivative. The T1 has a bump nearly as large as the Zealio V2, similar amount of pre-travel [low], a closer distance between the bump and actuation-point. Frankly, it is a more forgiving switch.

I can recommend all sorts of T1 switches, but you may wish to purchase a few samples of JWICK T1 as they are extremely cheap.

A more ‘satisfying’ switch are the Holy Pandas. Tactility near the top, big round bump. They are kind of like giant ‘Browns’ if you lube them heavily and use a moderate spring.

Try to pick up some “U4T” [“Thock Boba”] if you can. They are a kind of more refined Panda-like design.

Anyway, that’s enough about heavy-tactiles for now. Try to pick up the cheapest T1, Holy Panda (~62 G), and U4T samples you can. I can recommend some.


On to Medium Tactiles. The BOX Browns were kind of an early light/medium tactile. Unrefined, but more than MX Brown.

There’s so much out there now. There are several “Ergo Clear” style switches, like an Aliaz with a larger bump. [un-silenced.] Is that something you’d be interested in?

Because there are basically three main types of medium-tactile. The first is a traditional Cherry-like stem like in the Aliaz / Silent Browns. So there’s pre-travel, a bump, and then post-travel. Ergo Clears are like this.

The second type of medium-tactile is the P-shaped bump. Where there is a medium-bump at the top, very little or no pre-travel, and then it’s all post-travel.

The third type was less-common, more reserved for heavy-tactiles. It’s a D-shaped bump, where the bump takes up nearly all the travel.


Ok, so what for you?

Based on what you said, coming from MX Blue but wanting quieter, and MX Brown not tactile enough, there are options.

You probably want something crisp.

-TTC Bluish White is a true medium-tactile with a top-mounted tactility. More of a P or D-shaped bump. Crisp and authoritative. You can also get it dampened in the TTC Silent Bluish White.

-Another crisp, dampened switch is the Kailh Deep Sea Pro V3. It’s medium, reasonable, and not as mushy as true silent switches (it is dampened).

-The Kailh Midnight V2 is like the Deep Sea Pro V3, but just over MX Brown in tactility. Like a dampened Brown.

-Gateron Baby Kangaroo is a crisp, smooth and punchy medium-tactile. Almost like a non-clicky clicky.

However, you also like pretravel.

-The traditional solution for your goal is the Cherry Ergo Clear, which is now official. It is more tactile than MX Brown, but quieter than MX Blue. It has as much pre-travel as MX Brown. This is certainly a solution, although Cherry needs lube to reduce the scratch. Stock springs are noisy and too heavy - maybe go with something in the 63.5 - 65 G 14-15mm range.

-The Zealio V1 was a (successful) attempt to make a smoother Ergo-Clear like switch. They are back now, they have pre-travel, they are smooth, quieter than MX Blue, more tactile than MX Brown. They need a little lube for best results. 62 G is more like a Brown, 67 G is more like an Ergo Clear.

-Durock Medium Tactile is similar to Zealio V1 (and cheaper). I’m not sure it has as much pre-travel. But it is definitely a medium-tactile that can be made smooth, it’s non-clicky, and suitable for gaming and typing.

-SP Star Magic Girl (dark) is another attempt to create a switch to suit requirements like your own.

-I personally enjoy Naevy 1.5, a factory Ergo Clear solution. Smooth, even the stock lube is decent. But it’s only a little more tactile than MX Brown.

-Durock Light Tactile has a little pre-travel, and more tactility than a Brown.


If you don’t mind long-pole switches (the stem pole is oversized and collides with the housing), then there are lots of options, too:

-Blueberry Chiffon V2 is just above MX Brown in tactility, one of the more reasonable but light long-poles.

-MODE Tomorrow is a long-pole medium that kind of meets your requirements. But the long-pole makes it kinda loud.

-MMD Princess is medium-heavy, hilarously cheap, the cheapest way to try a long-pole, in fact.

-There are lots of heavy long-poles, but they may be a bit outrageous for your requirements.

I kind of dislike long-poles for a lot of applications. They are generally noisier, for one. And they have harsh stem collisions, which may mitigate against ergonomic typing and gaming.

Personalized Recommendation

For you, Gateron Baby Kangaroo might be an appropriate solution, but it is not a pre-travel switch. Zealio V1 sounds like it may meet requirements, but it is expensive. I wonder if the TTC Gold Brown V3 / V4 might work, being Cherry-shaped & slightly more tactile than MX Brown.

I think you would be well-served by ordering some cheap samples of the cheapest switches under discussion: JWICK T1, MMD Princess, OUTEMU Silent Yellow Jade and Silent Lime or Silent Tom.* Durock Medium Tactile aren’t that expensive. So maybe order those items right now, or during the next AliExpress sale.

(Zealio V1 is also on sale right now, but too expensive to order samples).

So I wrote a lot of text. But just buy the cheap stuff I mentioned in the above paragraph, it will give you a good idea. Plus Baby Kangaroos.

There are lots of choices, but the cheap stuff will help you narrow it down. I forgot to mention AKKO Cream Blue Pro V3, it is a D-shaped long-pole medium-tactile. But like the others, I don’t think it’s quieter than a clicky switch.

*I didn’t mention them above, but OUTEMU makes very affordable silent tactiles. The Silent Lemon/Lime and Tom are light-tactiles, just above MX Brown. The Silent Jade Yellow is a medium-tactile that you will probably enjoy. Relatively crisp tactility, decent factory lube. Cheap. It could be a versatile switch for you. If you like Aliaz and Silent Brown, these are like next-level.


BTW, check out this tactile switch sample pack:

It’s got:

-Lilac (T1)
-Baby Kangaroo!
-TTC Bluish White!
-Cerulean (a Durock Medium tactile!)
-Naevy 2.0 [probably more tactile than 1.5]
-bunch of other tactiles of all ranges, plus some silents.

It’s missing Zealio V1, the OUTEMU silents, and the AKKO Cream Blue + variants, but otherwise this is a great starter pack.

[You can buy OUTEMU silent sample pack very cheaply from AliExpress]

All of these are missing Gateron CAP Milky Brown V2, which I forgot to mention is an affordable, modern light/medium Brown halfway to an Ergo-Clear. Definitely get ahold of one somehow, as they are actually good for typing / gaming, if you don’t mind LP.

There is a Gateron switch tester on AliExpress that has both Zealio V1 and V2, both CAP Brown types, normal Browns, and Baby Kangaroo.

Also, this place:

allegedly has some kind of “try before you buy” switch-borrowing program. If that actually works [they have T1s and U4Ts and all sorts of stuff] would be highly educational and almost free.


Th essay on tactiles :pray:


That’s why I pinged him, knew he could give way more info than I could!


Holy cow that is so much info. Thank you so much!!!

It will definitely take me a bit to process and digest all of this, but it’s exactly the kind of answers I’ve been looking for. That sample pack sounds like a great idea, so I’ll certainly look into that.

One thing I should clarify, which I don’t think I did a good job of explaining, is about the degree of noise. I am not looking for absolutely silent silent switches; a bit of noise is more than fine. I have people living in neighbouring rooms, and they can sometime hear the clickiness of my current blues. My guess is that most non-clickly options would be fine, so I won’t be limiting my choices solely on its sound profile (or lack thereof).

In terms of the pre-travel topic, it’s something I’m a bit unsure of. On one hand, it’s what I’m already used to, and the prospect of a shorter distance between the actuation point and bottom sounds like a good idea on paper. On the other hand, it may not even matter as I might not actually notice the difference. Either way, I appreciate that you have listed options for both.

In terms of stores, I have to admit it had not occurred to me to look on Ali Express. Is this generally a safe practice, or should I be careful about the sellers in terms of the quality/authenticity of the switches they sell? Also, apart from Ali, are some stores better for different regions? I’m in Canada, though I don’t expect much it the way of stores around here.

The last thing I wonder, as I start to dive into this, is whether I should be looking at acquiring other parts of the keyboard before finalizing my choices. I assume the best test would be on an actually functioning key with visual feedback on screen. Am I correct to assume most switches use the same connectors? There really wouldn’t be much of a reason not to if that is the case.

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I understand what you are trying to do, and it makes sense.

Most of the switches I listed are not “silent” switches, but they should be a little quieter than MX Blue.

The sad truth is, regular MX tactiles are only somewhat quieter than MX Blue.

I would say the sound order goes like this, from loud to quiet:

clicky switches > regular tactiles > dampened tactiles > silent tactiles.

[long-pole tactiles are somewhere in between clicky switches and regular tactiles. Sometimes, they are as loud or louder than clicky switches.]

So, most of the switches I listed should at least be quieter than MX Blues. Except for some of the long-poles.

I agree that the sample packs could be a good starting point for you. Personally, in your shoes, I would order the Cannonkeys tactile sampler pack, plus an OUTEMU silent sampler pack. [I’ll get to that in a moment.]

If you want to spend a little more money, you could additionally order a variety of single-switch samples from a place like Switch Oddities:

[check MechMarket for more things like this.]

You could order the stragglers not in the previously-listed sample packs, like U4T, Cream Blue Pro V3, and Zealio V1. Or borrow them from that “Milktooth” website.

Yes, you can order a lot of the aforementioned switches from AliExpress. Conversely, there are some specialty ‘branded’ switches from US retailers, that tend to be more expensive, not available on AliExpress.

But the cheap stuff like JWICKs, MMD, OUTEMU, some Gateron, AKKO, plus the more expensive Durock / JWK and TTC tend to be available on AliExpress.

It’s like a Chinese Amazon. You need to create an account with a working phone number, address, and credit card. [You don’t have to store the credit card details there.]

It’s really seller-based. So some sellers tend to be reputable, and others are not. As long as they have many sales behind their name, and a rating above 90% or so, they are okay. You’ll quickly get a sense of who the legitimate ones are.

[The illegitimate ones have like 1 or 2 sales for a product, no reviews, ratings of like 84%, they look empty.]

I mention AliExpress because it is pretty cheap in large parts of the world. However, if you are in the US, you can get a lot of the same things on Amazon. That might be a better route for US citizens. [b/c of shipping speed, return policy and such.]

Amazon just front-ends a lot of the AliExpress sellers, a lot of the time. So you’re ordering from the same storefronts on Amazon as you are on AliExpress. But AliExpress has more visible sales.

But for Canadians, AliExpress is the most economical way to get certain items.

Here’s a place where you can get a decent 7 or 16-piece OUTEMU sampler:


Here is a place where you can get TTC Silent Bluish White in various quantities:


Here’s Kailh selling the Deep Sea Pro:


You can establish a dialog with a seller in order to find out more about their products. Keyboard customization would probably be unfeasable for a lot of Canadians without AliExpress.

It is of course best to test switches on a real, functioning keyboard. Fortunately, manufacturers largely managed to standardize on a hotswap socket design. It used to be 3-pin, now it is 5-pin.

5-pin is better, as it can accommodate both 3-pin and 5-pin. But you can clip 5-pin switches to fit 3-pin, so it doesn’t matter much. A 5-pin switch is only a 3-pin switch with two extra plastic pins.

So any MX switch, from any manufacturer, should fit into a hotswap socket. There are few exceptions.

Best thing to do from a cost standpoint is buy a 65% keyboard like a Tester68, which used to be available for $20. Maybe it’s $25 now.*

If you want to get fancy, there are a lot of surprisingly decent $60-70 hotswap boards available now.

*See also the “GMK67” and GAS67.

Yeah, so we’re not talking big money here. Like $10 for Cannonkeys samples, $6-12 for OUTEMU samples, maybe $20 from SwitchOddities or the like, if you want to get fancy. Then get a $25 keyboard to test them in. No soldering or assembly involved.

Since you are in Canada, it might actually be viable to purchase Zealio V1 samples direct from ZealPC, shipping notwithstanding.


Here’s some Canada customization for you:

You can get the cheap 16-switch OUTEMU sampler pack for like $14 CAD, which is very helpful. [Make sure to make use of coupons, if possible!]


(Become a follower of stores like INEDA Digital Store to get discounts on switches like these.)

You could throw in a $10 metal switch opener from that store, and then get a discount for an order over $21.

EDIT: People seem happier with the 27-switch package, which is only a couple of dollars more expensive.

If you can’t find Zealio V1 in sample packs, you can order 10 switches directly from Zeal PC as a Canadian. At least you won’t have to pay import taxes:

You could throw in 10 Zilent switches while you are at it, to make the shipping fee worthwhile. Maybe even some Clickiez to convert to tactile, if you are feeling adventurous. [This won’t be cheap, though.]

Canada has reputable vendors, depending on where you are.

Here is an awesome sample pack, with several helpful tactiles:

You could try their machine-actuated Ergo Clears while you are at it:

Overall, the biggest catalog is in AliExpress. This includes the budget keyboards, as well. [Canadian vendors will stock the more expensive keyboards.]


Dude, you are amazing. So helpful. Looking forward to digging through this and getting some samples.


If you like, I can put together an order list for you over the weekend.

It’s mostly complete, what with the OUTEMU sampler, RNDKB, and Cannonkeys samplers [if shipping is affordable.]

But there are other small samples that could be purchased for outlier switches, depending on what you end up ordering.

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I appreciate the offer, but I don’t want you to feel you have to go that far. So far those three samplers look great, though I’ll have to explore the shipping later. I’ll be busy all weekend and will have to re-visit this come Monday/Tuesday.

Thanks again, and enjoy your weekend!

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Boba U4T are very nice tactile switches.


In addition to what Rob said above @cubethethird, I also have hundreds of more force curves hosted over on my github - ThereminGoat (ThereminGoat) · GitHub. All data files, raw and processed, are available for messing around as well.

I think after the additions I have planned for this weekend I should be up above 800 different switches added to this repo!


Ya I just saw your repository the other day. It’s very detailed and has so much useful info. Awesome stuff there!


I suggest you try Cherry MX Clears with a 16mm+ spring swap (minimun 62g imho). They carry on the reliability and sound profile of Cherry switches and also have quite a similar bump type (significant pre travel, tactile bump and a significant post bump travel).

There are clones of this type of switch on the market as well: Durock Cerulean, Zealio V1 Redux, AE Boards Naevy, etc.

Edit: Cherry offers their own “Ergo” Clears but I find the spring that they use can’t handle the bump really well. Always feels like the spring doesn’t have enough umph to overcome the bump nicely on the upstroke.

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Huh, I was curious if Cherry would use a strong enough spring. Ergo clears can be a bitch to get moving right at about 60g & under.

The sampler packs are in the mail, so I’ll wait and see what they’re like. Looks like I’ll get an Ergo clear or two. Based on my impression of the regular MX clear on my existing tester, I’m not convinced, as it seems to have a rather long travel to it.

Something I’m unsure of is whether I should get a proper testing board for these. From what I can find (at least on Ali) they’re starting at about 45$. I also found a small 10-key hot swap board for like 30$. I’m wondering if I should bother with either of these. I do like the idea of having one extra so that I can lend it to people, but I also will need a proper base as my daily driver anyways.

Also, what do people usually use to hold or organize their switches? I saw some acrylic bases on Ali for 5-10$ ish, but wasn’t sure if that was the best place to get them, and whether there are better options.

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