What is the one switch you HAVE to use on all/most of your builds?

I am getting ready to build a new board for work and I found myself unable to move past Box Pinks. I work solo in an office and the typing experience on them is a little piece of heaven for me.

What switch(es) is your piece of heaven?

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Well I really couldn’t afford to have them in all my builds, but if I could it would be ALPS SKCM Browns for sure! Just a heavenly typing experience that has never been recreated IME.

I haven’t found one that I love yet. I’m a real fan of tactiles, but I also am a fan of quiet boards which don’t always mix. I currently enjoy Box Blacks but I know it’s not the end-all-be-all for me.

Box Navies or Speed Navies. I love the heaviness and their click sound, and have found nothing comparable in the MX switch pool.

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I love me some kailh clickbar action too.

For me its not a specific switch, but I doubt I will ever build another board without lighter/speed switches on the period, comma, forwardslash, semicolon and quotation keys. Since my pinky primarily hits those keys, i find it less straining, but in the way that it doesn’t feel like I am stretching my pinky too far away from home.

Right now I’ve got gat black inks on the alphas and kailh burgundy on the punctuation and they seemlessly blend together, can’t tell that I’m using different switches other than my pinky being less fatigued.

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I HAVE to never use the same switch twice.

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This shall be my first time using the same switch twice. I have gone from Cherries, to Speed Pinks, and now the two time champion Box Pinks.

I always try out new switches especially when something extra tactile comes out. But then I build another board with lubed blacks and the smoothness takes over.

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Categorically, it would be Gateron linears. If I had to narrow it down, lubed Gateron yellows are my go-to in terms of weighting, smoothness, sound (both variants) and affordability. It’s just so much switch for the money, especially when lubed.

Holy Panda.

This is how I feel. Since I’m only just starting out in this community, I’ve only tried 3 different types of switches (MX Reds, then MX Browns, because tactility appealed to me, then Box Blacks because reds are too darn light and I’m still looking for the perfect tactile switch) and I’m always convinced that there’s a better option out there for me. I feel like switch testers are a waste of money, so I always just wing it.

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Switch testers definitely aren’t a waste IMO. Spending an extra $20 before doing a >$150 build to decide on what switches you want to try next (and what switches you might want to try after that) is way more worth it than spending $60 on a batch of switches that you might like.

Though, that might be partially because I’m on team “different switches in every board” with @Nebulant

That said, I wouldn’t get a tester where I couldn’t pick out every switch that came with it. Novelkeys is pretty much the only place I’d buy them. They’re not selling them at the moment but they said they would be bringing them back in one of their recent newsletters.

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I got a og Zeal tester and thought I loved one of the switches. Then I realized that it was not the best way to find out if I would like the switch.

With switch testers, it’s very important to have a switch that is a known quantity to you in the tester to ensure you can translate between how that switch feels in a real build to how it feels in a tester. You’re essentially removing every other variable that contributes to switch feel by using a pre-built/assembled tester, so it’s important to be able to compare switches against something with which you are intimately familiar in a setup you actually use so you can understand the true differences between switches.

This is why I kind of recommend getting some sort of macropad case + plate to use as a tester rather than some of the prebuilt/assembled testers; you can more closely approximate an actual build to understand how switches interact with plates and a mounting system. Obviously this doesn’t help much if you’re planning a build on a new mounting system or what-have-you, but it’s nice if your next build is somewhat predictable.

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Yeah, testers are definitely not a perfect solution. I use them as more of a way to get a very general feel of a switch. E.g. How do zilent v2s compare to the zealio v1s I’ve been using for the past year? Out of these 3 brands which one has the least stem wobble? Etc.

I don’t really use them as a definite “this is what this switch will feel like” tool since I’ve been moving towards modding all of my switches before putting them in a board anyway, but it’s good to be able to see if you really just don’t like a certain switch before buying a hundred of them.

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It’s gotta be Gateron Inks or Cherry MX Blacks for me. When I first got into this hobby a few years ago, I was all about tactile switches (primarily Zealios 78g), but I have made a hard switch to linear (pun intended). Linear switches + 205g0 is bliss IMO.

Same. I think part of it is the focus on extreme tactility these days, the holy pandas and new zeals etc are almost too tactile for me. I enjoy zeal V1s and mod-Ms more to type on than holy pandas or zeal V2s, and find myself much more interest in tealios and inks these days than any new tactile switch.

I feel the same way about the overly tactile switches. I got started with v1 zealios and liked them a lot. I still have a few plancks with 78g v1 zealios in them, but the holy panda and v2 zealios craze has taken tactility to a new level, one that i’m not interested in. Also, i feel like i cant take any of my tactile keyboards into work given how loud they are, so that got me looking into linears. I’m also a much faster typer with linear switches, with my top speed at 154 WPM on my planck w/ cherry mx blacks.

With that being said, i do own 1 planck with holy pandas and 1 planck with v2 zealios but they rarely get used.

While I do always like to try something new, my standby right now is Box Browns - they’re everything I wanted Cherry Browns to be from the descriptions I read when I first started looking into mechanical keyboards.

So far, these hit the sweet spot of sound / feel / price for my tastes - and I like that I don’t need to lube the Box switches for them to feel satisfying. I might not put them on a build that leans towards aesthetics because Box switches aren’t the most consistent when it comes to the resting position of the key, but for actual daily use, I can’t think of another switch I prefer.

Some personal metaphors because I think they’re fun:

  • Holy Pandas are like a craft desert or high-gravity beer; outstanding but maybe a bit rich to daily.
  • Cherry Blues are like potato chips; readily available, but public use is generally frowned-upon.
  • My silenced, lubed franken-switches are like a wheatgrass smoothie; low-key and good for you.
  • In this way, Box Browns are like my favorite deli sandwich, thick with all the good toppings; sustaining, satisfying, and never gets old.
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Your analogies are amazing!