Seeking a silent mechanical keyboard

I am not particular about my keyboard. The only requirement is that the keyboard should be at least TKL or full, have function keys, and be mechanical. I don’t care about the switch type or how they sound. However, other people do care about the sound. I can’t type on a keyboard at a meeting. I can do this using something like a Logitech MX keyboard, which is a domed type keyboard.

I am seeing a way to have my cake and eat it, too. I am trying to set up a mechnical keyboard that is as silent as the Logitech MX keyboard. What could I do to silent the keys. Based on research

  • O rings which can reduce sound to prevent keys from bottoming out but won’t help with the return sound.
  • Lube - which may help with the friction part.
  • gasket mount - I notice that some keyboard has something call gasket mount to improve the sound, but I wonder if this is to improve the typing sound, sort of like people who like to tune their car engine to sound a certain way?

Good start, although your info is a little outdated.

The main way to achieve silencing is through dampening inside the switch, so-called ‘silent switches.’ The use of O-rings, by contrast, is not preferred, as it can increase mushiness.

Lube is typically applied to silent switches as well, although it’s not strictly needed in some cases. It’s sensible to lube the stabilizers, though, as that at least will lower the pitch of their sound.

Mounting styles can be significant. Whatever the IKKI68 Aurora uses, for example, seems better optimized for dampening than some other systems.

So after you get a “silent switch,” you’ll want to put it into a keyboard that is relatively quiet / dampened. Fortunately, there are several ‘hotswap’ boards like this that you can just drop switches into. In my experience, these boards are the Archon AK87/AK89 [TKL and full-size], the IKKI68 Aurora [this is a 70% board, though], and you can also stuff dampening into a RAKK LAM ANG Pro or even a barebones GMMK TKL, there are mods you can do. There are other platforms as well.

With most of those hotswap keyboards that are relatively quiet, you’ll still want to lube the stabilizers. Most of them use ‘plate-mount’ stabilizers which are easy to remove. You can lube them and put them back, or replace them with lubed, high-grade stabilizers. Some of these keyboards can be retrofitted with PCB-mount stabilizers as well, which can be made fairly quiet.

So, for example, you could buy some U4 Boba switches, put them into an Archon AK89 [which you have lubed / replaced the stabilizers for], and then you have a keyboard noticeably quieter than some MX Brown / Red store-bought board.

I mentioned the IKKI68 Aurora, because it’s almost a TKL [have to use function-layer to get function keys, though], relatively easy to assemble, and yes, you can set it up to be dampened.

Other people here can tell you about soldered kits that can be made quiet. I’m not sure which those are, TBH. I’ve seen a silent Tofu (60%) that’s on Youtube. It’s usually a matter of dampening. Maybe a heavily-dampened KBD8X MKII would be a good match for silent switches, for example. I’ve even seen people put them into an NCR-80, an affordable TKL that I always thought was resonant.

We haven’t even gotten into silenced EC boards, which is a whole other can 'o worms but perfectly legitimate as silenced ‘mechanical’ keyboards.

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There are indeed a few ways to quiet a keyboard, and @HungerMechanic is right about o-rings and that the single most effective thing is to have “silent” or “dampened” switches. Some general notes:

  • There’s a similar type product to o-rings called silencing clips that also dampens the up-stroke. The significant downside to these is reduced keycap compatibility and also reduced travel - they’re also not exactly easy to find these days.

  • Lube will at least clean-up the sound of a switch - and depending on the specific switch and your typing style, may be enough to make the keeb office-friendly. That said, I’d probably use this measure alongside another on the list here.

  • Mounting style & case treatment definitely affect the sound. Something like gasket mount will have the effect of more consistency and perhaps less resonance, but generally won’t do a whole lot to quiet the keeb. Case treatments like installing foam layers or silicone inserts can help to mute the sound, but won’t silence an otherwise loud switch - this is another method I’d use in combination with something like lube.

  • Coming back around to the switches, these will have the biggest impact on the sound (or lack thereof). Some silent switches are more silent than others, generally at the proportional cost of a crisp feel. At one end are switches like Gazzew Bobagums - a lubed set of those is about as quiet as a mechanical switch can get right now, but they do feel a little “mushy” in comparison to other mechanical switches. At the other end would be most of the BOX silent line; they make a fair bit more noise (but still aren’t loud) while enjoying a more definitive-feeling bottom-out.

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Yes, there are a lot of silent switches available now. Some of the better ones are:

U4 Boba - heavy tactile that’s actually quiet

Bobagum - as mentioned, this is a very quiet silent linear. Comes in several weights.

Kailh Deep Sea - a new silent linear that’s fairly quiet and less mushy than others.

OUTEMU Silent Sky - put these into a light-tactile housing, you get a quiet light/medium tactile.

Silent Alpaca - you’d want to lube and film these ideally, but once that’s done they’re very smooth and quiet.

There are also several silent variations of the ‘T1’ medium-heavy tactile that have fans all over.

There’s also Aliaz, which is a very, very light tactile, almost linear. It’s quiet once you lube the spring [and it’s best to use lubed replacement TX 14mm springs with these].

Yeah, O-rings were kinda a hack used before silent switches became more common. We just go directly for silent switches now, most of the time.


Definetely a lot of foam will help your cause. if you don’t wanna spend a lot NK87 entry or BM80’s are great options (not for being silent but as starter TKL boards). You can also use silent switches, such as zilents, roselio / helios, or if you don’t wanna go that far you can even use cherry silents like silent reds or silent blacks. Going back to my foam thing, you can find some here. Another thing you can do is to make your own dampener using silicone. You can find a kit here-just pour it into your case and let it cure- that silicone should dampen a lot of the sound.

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Thanks everyone. Since I need this for work, what’s something I can build quickly. Could I order a Archon AK87 and a bunch of silent switches and Keycap? I google ARchon ak87 and got price of about $80 US dollar, so if I get that, switches, and keycaps, I should be good to go?

On another note, I have both a Mac and Windows. What exactly does the Mac and PC switch on many of the mechanical keyboard do?

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The last time I ordered an Archon AK89 was ~2020, so hopefully they are still good and shipping well.

Currently, they seem to go for $80 USD including shipping, which is a good price. [This is for the barebones edition, which is the most sensible edition].

Yes, you would be good to go with the barebones edition [no switches or keycaps] because you would then be using your own from elsewhere. The only issue is that the AK87 / AK89 stabilizers are pretty bad. They are a very basic plastic type and unlubed, so they are noisy.

BUT - they provide lube with the keyboard [at least they did with mine]. So you can just take the stabilizers out and lube them, or I guess send them to a service. I am currently using Zeal PC gold-plated Cherry-style plate-mount stabilizers in my AK89. They are lubed with the Archon lube that came with the keyboard, and are working great.

So the stabilizers need work one way or the other, but that’s often the case. You can get up-and-running pretty quickly if you’re willing to lube the stock stabilizers, but I would ask around for what are some decent plate-mount stabilizers you can lube and put in there.

The other difficulty with this keyboard is that I think most of the instructions were in Korean, or at least a lot of it was regarding the RGB. English translation was thin. There’s additional info on the internet, if you look. Anyway, I got mine working.

I think the reason this keyboard works is that it’s a pretty sturdy frame with dampening that comes with it already inside. It may provide a more ‘muffled’ sound than the ‘thock’ people want, but this is actually a good thing for silent switches. Definitely quieter than my Filco, Leopold, KBD67 Lite, and several customs. Only Aurora is similar.

Another option for you to consider is the GMMK Pro. It is a lot more expensive. But people seem to complain that it muffles switch sound, dampening it instead of elevating it. So it might work well with silent switches, and I think it’s hotswap. But there are build issues with it that irk people here, so it may not be idea;. Plus it’s a 75%, not TKL.

One interesting note - I bought something called a Tester68, which is a board that costs like $25-37 USD. It’s a 65% board, so it’s small. But it proved to be surprisingly quiet with silent switches, probably because of its sturdy construction and included dampening. There are apparently larger boards offered by this company [maker of KBM68, I guess?], so if they have a TKL or something, you might want to check that out as well.

There are a lot of options for building a quiet board, but Archon AK89 was definitely one of the fastest for me. The most fuss will probably be in removing, lubing, replacing the stabilizers, which seems to be an expectation with this board.

Another board for you to seriously consider is the FL ESPORTS MK870.

They are about $58 USD right now, but I’ve seen them go almost $15 lower during sales. Like, maybe after the Chinese New Year festivities end, there will be another sale.

I have one, and they are spectacular value for-the-price. Better than anything you could get at that price even a year ago. South-facing LEDs [which is the best for avoiding weird noises and other problems], pre-lubed stabilizers that are actually decent.

Mine is modded already [polycarbonate plate, PCB-mount stabilizers], I didn’t even test silent switches with the stock configuration.

But I’m getting another one in a week or two, in stock configuration. I could tell you then if silent switches are quiet in the MK870. I already know that clicky switches sound fine in a stock MK870 I customized for a friend. So if silent switches are good in default configuration, it could be even easier than AK87.


If you look at the following videos, you’ll see that some people have ‘built’ the MK870 as a silent keyboard:

It seemed to need some extra stuffing, but judge for yourself:

I don’t know if it’s quite as quiet as my AK89, but this could be competitive. There are a number of videos on Youtube of people taking apart and modifying their MK870. It’s a great board, but uses clips/tabs to open, which is annoying.

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Thanks for the tip. You are saying that the stablizer on the AK87 is not good and will need to be replaced, but the MK870 is mostly ok out of the box. Since it’s cheaper too, this sound like a winner.

Do you have recommendation for a reliable vendor for MK870?

Question, is the consensus that U4 Boba is the quietest tactile switch? How much nosier is it compare to the quietest linear switch?

Don’t know if they’re the most quiet but they’re definitely quiet and regarded as top tier, U4 will be the first switch to be suggested if you’ll ask for a silent tactile suggestion.

Every switch of the boba line is considered top tier imo and one of the best switches you can get.

I’m pretty sure I saw it on amazon. checked and yeah here it is. link

I mean, basically:

-AK89 is good quiet hotswap keyboard BUT they expect you to pull out the stabilizers and lube them, at the very least.

-MK870 is fine out-of-the box, no work for function needed. But not sure how quiet stock MK870 is compared to AK87. MK870 can be made fairly quiet through modding.

Both are choices that will get you there, eventually. AliExpress has been a reliable vendor for me, I am about to receive MK870 #3 from them [okay, one was for someone else]. But the Amazon link should work, also. It is $89, whereas AliExpress is $58 right now, and may go down to $52 during sales.

It’s up to you - AliExpress is almost as reliable as Amazon where I am, but that may not be the case for you.

Real talk: MK870 is a really solid board, it just works and is good. Might not be as quiet, but you can adjust the dampening. Doing so requires opening the tabs, which is a pain. But there are guides on the internet.

Archon should be quiet out-of-box, but you will have to do something about the stabilizers. Either lube them, or replace them. Inserting/removing stabilizers is not difficult, but lubing / assembling them may require skill. Also, little quirks like maybe insufficent English instructions for LED control.

MK870 has great RGB, but it requires installation of Windows software to configure. I don’t think Archon requires software installation, but it’s been a while since I checked.

It’s hard to tell what is the best choice here. I could tell you more in a week or so, when my stock MK870 arrives.

Regarding ‘quietest’ switches, U4 Boba is definitely one of the quietest tactiles. Definitely. You don’t even need to lube them [it helps]. It’s really worthwhile to lube the spring, though, if you can. Definitely try U4 if you can.

They are a tiny bit noisier than linears because of the greater shuffling from the tactile event, and the leaf will make a little noise. The Bobagum linear still makes noise though - there is a faint squishy sound from the dampening. Other people won’t hear it much, but you might. You can actually lube it away. U4 and Bobagum are among the quietest there is, especially when manually-lubed.

The other really quiet switches are Silent Alpaca and variants (lubed and filmed properly), and Kailh Deep Sea. Forget about Zilent V2 [they aren’t as quiet], Gateron Silent Brown suck [not everyone agrees], Kailh Silent Brown and Silent Pink are outdated, so forget them too.

I think the fastest, cheapest solution is either:

-Order AK87, and at the same time, ask a nearby keyboard builder to purchase and lube some decent stabilizers, mailing them to you.

You can get two things done at once - waiting for AK87 while stabilizers are taken care of. Then, when they all arrive, you can insert new, better stabilizers. Done.

[You can mess around with switches in hotswap if the stabilizers haven’t arrived yet].

-Ask a nearby builder to order an MK870. They can take it apart and insert dampening. [They can also re-lube the stabilizers]. Then, they can mail it back to you.

Either of these requires you to spend some extra money with a service, but they should lead to a viable keyboard in short order. The amount of work required from the builder is minimal in the case of the AK87, and modest in the case of the MK870.

EDIT: I have to admit that the MK870 is looking increasingly-appealing in your scenario.

If the stock dampening is good enough, then you can buy and use it without any mods.

Just plug-and-play. Certainly, switches like U4 Boba should in theory sound noticeably quieter even in a stock MK870 than typical switches in a typical MX keyboard.

Thanks, does the keycap contribute to the noise? Does anyone have recommendation on the keycaps. Appearance and looks don’t matter, they just have to last without the letterings coming off after a few years.

This is where things are in-your-favour.

If you are using silent switches, thick PBT is often the best. I find it often muffles the silent switches a bit more.

This happens to be the cheap kind, too. Like those misshapen sets for $35 on AliExpress. But you might be okay with $50 Cherry-profile from AKKO, although the legends might be a bit weird.

If you want to go up a few notches, get any of the “Cherry PBT” sets from Novelkeys. They’re consistent, as good as GMK in practice, and should silence better than GMK.

The two keycaps I like to use for silent switches are thick, cheap PBT [even Artifact Bloom might work, it’s like $39 sometimes], or alternatively ABS MT3, which is surprisingly quiet sometimes for such a large keycap. Goes on sale frequently.

Here are the keycap lettering methods that won’t fade / take a long time: dye-sub, double-shot, triple-shot. Avoid pad-printed / laser-etched.

All of the ones I mentioned use the long-lasting methods.

EDIT: Also, this is a little more obscure, but if you can get the keycaps from any Leopold board with “PD” in the initials (PBT Doubleshot), then they have spacebars at least at have dampening and are quieter.

You can find people on Reddit mechmarket getting rid of their Leopold keycaps because they are using customs instead. You can get them at a greatly-reduced price $30-50, in varying condition. Those double-shot keycaps are near impossible to wear away. They are ANSI-only, but should therefore work with MK870 / AK87.

Also, these would probably work:

I encourage you to watch some Youtube videos of silent MX keyboards, and the ones that are quietest, take note of what keycaps they are using.

If you want to take a bit of a risk, AliExpress PBT clone keycaps of predominantly GMK sets often work pretty okay with silent switches. For about $46 USD you could get something to match any colour of MK870, such as a fake Botanical set for the charcoal variant:

They say the SA profile makes your keycaps louder/thockier so I’d avoid those. Also u/65millionyearsago I’d like to see your keyboard once it’s done.