Best Optical Switches in 2022

In the gaming community, “Gaming Keyboard” is a hot topic and a debating point from time to time. Gamers are always concerned about which type of keyboard possesses the potential of improving their gaming performance. This is because keyboards and key switches provide a direct link for gamers to their world of gaming. The type of switch that the gamers are using determines the success of the attack in the game or the speed at which it was shot off. Therefore, the type of switch, whether it is tactile, linear, clicky or optical, is also determinant of the accuracy and speed of your gaming performance and the comfort level of your gaming experience.  

Optical switches for gaming keyboards are gaining popularity gradually due to which in this article our prime topic of discussion would be the best optical switches and keyboards present in the market in 2022. If you are looking forward to gaining a competitive advantage by adopting a type of switch that will cater best to all of your gaming needs, then you have come to the right place. We have already covered a thorough analysis of the tactile switches, clicky switches, and linear switches. Giving them a read will be of immense help to you in making your purchase decision.

Best Optical Switches To Buy in 2022

Optical Switches are somewhat of a newcomer to the market of gaming keyboards but they are slowly gaining ground in terms of budget as well as premium performance due to their ability to give peak performance. Amongst all mechanical keyboards, the optical ones are regarded as the fastest because their actuation is controlled by laser due to which the signal faces zero resistance of any sort.

The buying guide that we will shortly discuss, will contain the features of some of the best optical switches that we liked and did not like. We will also give be giving a comparison of the discussed optical switches with their counterparts. The optical Switches we will discuss in the list have been tested and by the end of the article, we will also give our verdict and recommendation. Do keep in mind that unlike other types of switches, there is not much variety of choices available for optical switches since this is a newly emerging category. Now let’s get down to what are the current best optical switches that you can choose from and how can they be differentiated?

Gateron Optical Black Switches

Best Gateron Optical Switch for Gaming

Brand: Gateron | Actuation Type: Optical | Actuation Force: 60g | Total Travel Distance: 4.0 mm | Dimensions: 0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 inches | Weight: 1.06 ounces

Gateron Optical Black Switches
Gateron Optical Black Switches

Reasons to Buy

  • Much smoother than linear
  • Responsive
  • Highly Durable
  • Long lifespan

Reasons to Avoid

  • No tactile feedback
  • Lack of availability

Although all Gateron switches are clone key switches of their Cherry MX counterparts in terms of imitation of the switch design, the feel of the Gaterons is different from Cherry MX. It is interesting to note that the leading key switch manufacturer, Cherry MX, has not yet expanded their product line into the market of optical switches.

Gateron, on the other hand, has several categories of optical switches that are supported by SK61, 64, 71 AND 68 keyboards including the KS-15 RGB Optical MX Type Key Switch. The variety that the Gateron Opticals come in is also one of the selling points; each colour of the Gateron Optical Switch has different attributes.  In this section, we will be more concerned with the Black version of the above-mentioned key switch.

What did we like about Gateron Optical Black Switches?

The obvious factor that we absolutely enjoyed while using this Gateron Optical Black switch is that they have faster response time owing to their laser technology. Compared to the metal contact point activation of mechanical switches, this is definitely a positive element. It evidently gives an upper hand to gamers when it comes to competitive games where every second plays a deciding role. Other than that, the longer lifespan of these switches is another added characteristic that prompts the users to buy these Gateron Blacks. Due to this lifetime of 100 million keystrokes, the Gateron Optical Black Switches last twice as long as their mechanical counterparts.

The smoothness of the Gateron Optical Black Switches is much better than the linear Gateron Black Switches which makes them ideal for a typist. Gamers are equally obsessed with these Gateron Optical switches because of their faster response rates. We also appreciate the fact that Gateron Optical Blacks cover all the basic needs of an average gamer without being a burden on their bank. The budget-friendly nature of Gateron Blacks coupled with the fact they are popular for their well-known durability.

Both solid cases and clear cases are available for Gateron Optical Blacks. Clear cases are another great aspect because if you have an RGB keyboard then the lighting from the LEDs will have no hurdle so they can easily penetrate through the key switches. Although to some gamers it may not seem like a big deal, it goes without saying that many find the looks and aesthetics of a switch to be one of the major determining factors. This also makes the Gateron Optical Black Switches one of the best choices for customized keyboards.

What did we not like about Gateron Optical Black Switches?

Even though many gamers prefer the non-tactile feedback of the Gateron Optical Blacks that provide substantial smoothness, some users that are used to tactile switches might find the performance of Gateron Optical Black difficult to adjust to. Another fact that disappoints even those interested in buying the Gateron Optical Blacks is their lack of availability.

Even if they are available, they become out of stock in a matter of a few days only. In addition to that, for those that are particularly fascinated by the sound of the switches, you will not get much out of the Gateron Optical Blacks. The sonic characteristics of Gateron Optical Blacks are not really boast-worthy considering that these are more similar to their linear counterparts than the tactile switches.

Nevertheless, one thing that is for sure, is that you are guaranteed to get faster performance with greater accuracy. Not only that but your Gateron Optical Blacks will also be in working condition for many years. These factors undoubtedly make the Gateron Optical Blacks worthy of your consideration.  

Razer Red Optical Switches

Best Linear Optical Switch

Brand: RAZER | Actuation Type: Optical | Actuation Force: 45g | Total Travel Distance: 3.5 mm

Razer Huntsman Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard Linear Red Switch
Razer Huntsman Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard Linear Red Switch

Reasons to Buy

  • Shorter actuation distance
  • Lightweight
  • Highly durable
  • Stable Keypresses

Reasons to Avoid

  • Noise complaints
  • Key replacements not available

As a result of exhaustive innovation and research, Razer has recently introduced its Razer Hunstman family. This keyboard has been designed to reconceive the limits defined by Razer when it comes to accuracy and speed. Integrated within the said leading-edge keyboard are Razer’s very own Linear Optical Red Switches and Clicky Optical Purple Switches. In this section, we will be exploring the red switches. The Razer Red Linear Optical Switch has an actuation distance of only 1.2 mm and an actuation force of only 45 grams.

What we liked about Razer Red Optical Switches:

Starting with the fact that it is actually a very lightweight switch, Razer has used the best components to make it one of their fastest switches ever. This can be seen from the actuation aspect as well because compared to the linear mechanical switches of Razer, the actuation distance of these Red Optical Switches is 16.7% shorter. As small-scale as it might be, this factor obviously results in saving of time. You just have to press the key and with the assistance of light technology almost instantly actuation occurs.

In addition to this ingenious feature, the Razer Red Optical Switches also have a Key Stabilizer Bar within the switch. This is important because it fringes on both sides of the Razer Switch and further contributes to the minimization of moving parts of the switch.

We would also like to comment on the unparalleled durability of the Razer Red Optical Switches. Even though Razer is already a prominent manufacturer that is known for producing highly durable products, with Razer Optical Switches the durability is even superior now. The depreciation of the switch has been kept to a minimum by cutting back on the physical contact points within the switch. In contrast to the average lifespan of 50 million in the market, the lifetime of Razer Red Optical Switches is surprisingly 100 million keystrokes.

While testing the Razer Huntsman keyboard, we also liked the balanced keypress provided by the Razer Optical Switches. Owing to the shape of the stem and the added feature of the key stabilizer bar, each keypress is much more stable now. You can press whichever part of the switch; you will need the exact same actuation force of 45 grams. This also reduces the wobbly feel of the switch or chances of mistyping like in traditional switches where accidental press on the edges of the key results in the registration of a signal.

What did we not like about the Razer Red Optical Switches?

Although light and instant Razer Optical Switches are ideal for gaming, the same cannot be said about their performance for general usage. Many reviews in the past have found the Razer Optical Switches to be surprisingly loud. Even though Razer had claimed that they plan on silencing these noise complaints by introducing these Red Linear Optical Switches, the improvement is not noteworthy. Other than that, another major downside is that you cannot buy the switches separately. To be able to experience the performance of the Razer Linear Optical Switches you will have to buy Huntsman Mini or Huntsman V2.

In fact, Razer does not even sell the replacement key switches for Razer Red Optical Switches despite the fact that the keyboard is hot-swappable. Therefore, if some of the keys on your keyboard start becoming mushy then you will either have to buy entirely a new keyboard or go through the hassle of applying for the eligibility criteria of warranty replacement. Either way, it is either a waste of money or a waste of time.

Nevertheless, Razer Red Linear Optical Switches raise the bar of providing the ultimate gaming experience and cater to the different needs of various kinds of gamers. So if your priority is speed and top-shelf performance then there is no good enough reason that justifies not buying the Razer Red Linear Optical Switches.

Razer Purple Optical Switches

Best Clicky Optical Switch

Brand: RAZER | Actuation Type: Optical | Actuation Force: 45g | Total Travel Distance: 3.5 mm

Razer Huntsman Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard Clicky Purple Switch
Razer Huntsman Mini Optical Gaming Keyboard Clicky Purple Switch

Reasons to Buy

  • Responsive
  • Durable
  • Lightweight

Reasons to Avoid

  • Loud
  • Availability issues

It is praiseworthy that in a market where you rarely come across an optical switch, Razer went out of its way to provide two types of Optical Switches that offer a variety of functions. Other than Red Linear Optical Switches that are light and instant, Razer also provides an option to insert into Huntsman V2 or Huntsman Mini, Purple Optical Switches that are light and clicky.

Unlike the Razer Linear Optical Switch which has a 16.67% shorter actuation distance relative to other traditional linear mechanical switches, Razer Clicky Optical Switch has an actuation of 1.5 mm which is 30% shorter than traditional clicky mechanical key switches. The Razer Purple Optical Switch also has an actuation force of only 45 grams making it lightweight compared to the 60 grams actuation force of a standard clicky switch.

What did we like about Razer Clicky Optical Purple Switches?

Akin to the Linear Optical version of this switch, Razer Purple Optical Switch does not have many moving parts like traditional mechanical switches do. This is because of the logic behind optical switches enabling actuation through light technology. Razer has enabled accelerated feeding of input as the reset point and the actuation point is the same. As a result of this, there is an instant reset for the Razer Purple Clicky Switches.

These Razer Optical switches have a response time of only 0.2 milliseconds compared to the 0.7 millisecond response time of magnetic switches and 2 milliseconds for mechanical switches. The debounce delay of Razer Clicky Optical Switches is only 4 milliseconds which is as small as it gets for a clicky switch. The durability, again, is worthy of admiration. With a lifespan of 100 million keystrokes compared to an average of 50 million keystrokes, you can use your Razer Purple Optical Huntsman Keyboard for years without worrying about its degradation.

What did we not like about Razer Purple Optical Switches?

These Clicky Optical Switches provide users with extraordinary experience when it comes to typing Keyboard, as some users applaud the nostalgia it brings of how it felt to type on typewriters. But are these actually competent for gaming? Aside from speed and precision, its loudness actually becomes a hurdle in gaming. For example, if you are trying to stream your video while playing any game or if you are simply trying to chat with your friends then it can be quite exasperating. I’ve been using these Optical Switches on my Razer Gaming Keypad, but the experience is not for everyone.

In fact, the loud clicking can even cause you to get muted. Another downside to this is the lack of its availability and lack of supply of replacement key switches just like Razer Red Optical Switches. You also have to type precisely by perfectly aligning yourself with the keyboard. Typing from different angles can lead to typing errors. Typing in frenzy, like gamers usually do, can also lead to accidentally actuating the key switch.

Nevertheless, Razer has successfully modified the market of optical switches with these linear optical and clicky optical switches.  To summarize why Razer Optical Switches should be the answer for you: Their lifespan is much longer than standard switches at the same price, they have higher stability and durability, there is no wobbly feel to them, their actuation speed is literally the speed of light thanks to the optical technology and they have instant reset.

Razer Analogue Optical Switches

Best Razer Optical Switches

Brand: RAZER | Actuation Type: Optical | Actuation Force: Variable | Total Travel Distance: Variable

Razer Huntsman V2 Analog Gaming Keyboard - Razer Analog Optical Switches
Razer Huntsman V2 Analog Gaming Keyboard – Razer Analog Optical Switches

Reasons to Buy

  • Adjustable actuation
  • Smoother control
  • Assignable actions for dual-step actuation

Reasons to Avoid

  • Software malfunctions
  • Unavailability

Razer did not stop their venture into the market of Optical switches just with Razer Clicky Optical Switch and Razer Linear Optical Switch. In order to enable a greater extent of control with the help of top-shelf design, Razer has introduced their first-ever Analog Keyboard featuring Razer Analog Optical Switches. These analogue switches allow customizable actuation, analogue input, and dual-step actuation. With Razer Huntsman V2 Analog Keyboard featuring these Razer Optical Switches, you can tail victory the way you want to. The actuation distance range for a Razer Analog Switch is from 1.5 mm to 3.6 mm because of which the actuation force is adjustable and you can experiment with what suits you best.         

What we liked about Razer Analog Optical Switches:

The first thing that we would like to comment on is the versatility that comes with these analogue switches. You, as a gamer, can literally choose how you wish to play. If you are one of those gamers that enjoy fast-paced gaming where reaction time and speed are crucial then the actuation distance of 1.5 mm will be ideal for you as it more responsive with these lightweight analogue switches. If instead, you wish to have more deliberate and deeper keypresses in order to avoid chances of mistyping then there is no issue as thanks to the adjustable actuation of Razer Analog Optical Switches you can opt for a full actuation distance of 3.6 mm.

You can also opt for any actuation between these two points that can assist you in general gaming where you need a good combination of both: speed and weight. This adjustment according to your preference can be done through Razer Synapse. Owing to this Dual Step actuation, within a single keystroke you can accomplish two different functions and combos.

In addition to the added feature of adjustable actuation, Razer Analog Optical Switches provide their users with much smoother movement and control. With level 360-degree movement offered by these Razer Analog Optical Switches, you can conveniently play racing games or First-Person Shooter games that involve WASD motion or precise restricted movement. Another important feature integrated withing adjustable actuation is that you can configure different actions in a single keypress. For example, your one action can be choosing a grenade as a weapon and your second action can be throwing a grenade.

You can accomplish both of the above-mentioned tasks simply in one keystroke. Not only that but you also have the flexibility and control to choose not to do both actions which were not possible before where you get stuck in a series of actions to follow.

What we did not like about Razer Analog Optical Switches:

One of the major drawbacks of purchasing these Analog Optical Switches is that we, along with many other reviewers, have observed that after you press a key, the switch will get activated and it will stay in that state long after the key has been released. The Razer Analog Optical Switches do not really recognize the release of key switches. In order to unlock a key switch, you will have to press it again. Furthermore, many times users have reported that after updating the Razer Synapse, which is an integral part of the functionality of these switches, it stopped working entirely. Some have even complained this switch is too loud and clicky for a smooth Optical switch.

Availability is another issue. An expensive keyboard costing this much should not have this many downsides. In fact, some have reported that the analog Optical keys of Razer Huntsman V2 tend to slam down for which you will have to dampen the O-Rings that are placed under the key switches. Even typing with analogue switches is difficult.

Therefore, if your main concern is having more control over the functions of a key switch then sure you can buy the Razer Analog Optical Switches. Otherwise, there is no point in binary input lovers investing this much money on an analogue system with so many drawbacks.

Gateron Yellow Optical Switches

Best Yellow Optical Switch

Brand: GATERON | Actuation Type: Optical | Actuation Force: 35.7 grams | Total Travel Distance: 4 mm | Weight:  1.6 ounces | Dimensions:  0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 inches

Gateron Yellow Optical Switches
Gateron Yellow Optical Switches

Reasons to Buy

  • Translucent Upper Cover
  • Noise-free
  • Durable
  • Budget-friendly

Reasons to Avoid

  • Low lifespan
  • No instant reset

The yellow optical switches manufactured by Gateron are MX Type Linear Optical Switches that have been popular in the market for a while now. These are part of the KS-15 series with a total travel distance of 4 mm, actuation distance of 2 mm and an actuation force of 35.7 grams.

What did we like about Gateron Optical Yellow Switches?

With translucent upper cover and white lower cover, these switches are also suitable for RGB keyboards. The compatibility of Gateron Optical Yellow Switches is with SMD optical keyboards such as SK61. The durability of these Gateron Optical Yellows is acceptable with a PA66 nylon Shaft base, sus304 stainless steel spring, POM shaft core and a poly carbonated upper cover of the shaft body that is made up of transparent PC material.

Another praiseworthy aspect of Gateron Optical Yellows is the quiet operations. They offer a very smooth sensation that is noise-free and vertical in nature with almost no clicky feel. We would recommend these switches for general gaming or for working in the office. These Optical Switches are suitable for users that find other coloured switches of Gateron too light. The Gateron Optical Yellows provide stronger feedback compared to the Reds.

What did we not like about Gateron Optical Yellow Switches:

The reset point and the operating point are not the same which means there is a lack of instant reset. Keystroke lifespan of Gateron Optical Yellow Switches is something that did not make a good impression on us. These Gateron Optical Switches have a lifespan of only 50 million keystrokes which is too low for an optical switch that is used for fast-paced gaming. We would also not recommend these Gateron Optical Switches if you are looking for switches that are ideal for long term typing.  Also, keep in mind that you cannot replace MX Switches in the GK61/64/68 Keyboard with these Gateron Optical Yellow Switches.

However, if you are looking for a budget-friendly optical key switch that has faster rebound and stronger feedback then Gateron Optical Yellows might just be perfect for you. But if you are in need of a Gateron optical key switch that has instant reset, greater compatibility and will last longer then you might be interested in reading the next section of this article pertinent to Gateron Optical Silver Switches.

Gateron Optical Silver Switches

Best Cheap Optical Switch

Brand: GATERON | Actuation Type: Optical | Actuation Force: 45 grams | Total Travel Distance: 4 mm | Weight:  4.6 ounces | Dimensions:  5.55 x 3.23 x 1.85 inches

HK Gaming - GK61 Hot Swap Keyboard (Black, Gateron Optical Silver)
HK Gaming – GK61 Hot Swap Keyboard (Black, Gateron Optical Silver)

Reasons to Buy

  • Consistent
  • Solid Feel
  • Cheaper

Reasons to Avoid

  • ABS Keycaps
  • Not best sounding

Although Gateron Optical Yellow switches are probably most acclaimed in the market; however, there are even better Gateron Optical switches that are very similar to the Optical Yellows but even better – The Gateron Optical Silvers. Not only are they as fast as the Optical Yellows but they are even smoother.

What did we like about Gateron Optical Silvers?

The compatibility of Gateron Optical Silvers is high as they can be used in different keyboards; we tested the Gateron Optical Silvers in GK61 which is easily available. The reason why we would prefer Optical Silvers anytime despite the increasing hype of Optical Yellows is because of the fact that the Gateron Optical Silver switches specs are better. Even though both have a total travel distance of 3.2 mm and an actuation distance of 1 mm, the difference arises in the actuation force required by both switches. While the Optical Yellows are extremely lightweight with an actuation force of 35 grams, the Gateron Optical Silvers have an actuation of 45 grams.

We found the 35 grams actuation of Optical Yellows to be light. This was a problem because just by resting our fingers on a switch we would activate it unintentionally since the actuation distance is quite short too as we mentioned earlier. With Gateron Optical Silvers mistyping or accidental actuation is not a problem. You will find the Optical Silvers feel a lot more solid and every keypress will be deliberate which is what we loved about them. They are consistent and smooth which makes them ideal not only for general gaming and office work but also for fast-paced games or the ones that involve accuracy.

In addition to that, the users have mentioned that the Gateron Optical Yellows had a cheaper vibe to them probably due to the light spring incorporated within them. The ten grams increase in force is a lot and it places the Gateron Optical Silvers right beside the top of the list of optical key switches and optical keyboards e.g Razer Huntsman mini that we have mentioned above. We tested the Gateron Optical Yellows and Optical Silvers on different games side by side with stock ABS keycaps. We admit that the Optical Yellows were fun to play with; however, the Optical Yellows cannot compete with the heavier and smoother force of the Optical Silvers.

Another reason why we consider the Optical Silvers to be superior to the Gateron Optical Yellows is because of the factor of price. We have been keeping track of the price of both key switches on amazon for the past couple of months and we found the Optical Silvers to have the same cheaper price relative to the Optical Yellows for all of the keyboards these are compatible for especially the GK61. Moreover, we believe that the price is justifiable for a phenomenal performing key switch like the Gateron Optical Silvers.

What did we not like about the Gateron Optical Silver?

One of the downsides of purchasing the Gateron switches with any of the compatible keyboards is the ABS keycaps. If you struggle while using these keycaps then you will need to buy better ones separately. The sound of the stock switches is mediocre but it improves if you lube the switches.

 Overall, if you are looking for a cheap and consistent switch that gives solid feels and performs exceptionally then there is no reason to say no to the Gateron Optical Silvers.

ROG RX Optical Mechanical Switches

Best Sounding Optical Switch

Brand: ASUS | Actuation Type: Optical | Actuation Force: 40 grams | Actuation Distance: 1.5 mm

ASUS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - ROG Strix Scope RX
ASUS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – ROG Strix Scope RX

Reasons to Buy

  • Fast actuation
  • Lightweight
  • Wobble-free

Reasons to Avoid

  • Can’t replace keycaps
  • Tends to accumulate finger oils

Another game-changer in the market when it comes to Optical Switches is ASUS ROG RX. The ASUS ROG Strix Scope RX Optical Keyboard is ideal for gaming that has features that many other top brand keyboards lack.

What we liked about ASUS ROG RX Optical Switches:

With an Actuation distance of 1.5 millimetres, ASUS has cut short 0.5 millimetres compared to the typical Cherry MX Switches which means faster actuation. The initiation force is also only 40 grams and the bottoming out force is 55 grams which makes it an overall lightweight switch. When it comes to durability and the keystroke lifespan, then there is nothing to worry about. If you were to buy these ASUS Optical Switches and used them consistently, they would still last a number of years because they have a keystroke lifespan of 100 million clicks.

Moreover, there are stabilizers installed underneath the ASUS ROG Strix Scope Switches. Owing to the stabilizers, the wobble of the switches has been minimized considerably. We can go so far as to say that ASUS ROG Optical Switches are one of the most stable optical switches currently available anywhere. ASUS ROG Optical Switches provide the users with this steadiness straight out of the box without any modifications. This factor makes the switches ideal for not only gaming but typing as well. ASUS’ stabilizers reminded us a lot of RAZER’s optical stabilizers.

The box design of the switches is quite helpful and keeps you aware of where your fingertips are placed. This way moving your fingers across the keyboard does not necessarily move the switches and avoids mistyping. Furthermore, these are probably some of the best sounding optical switches. Not only are we giving these optical switches this title but many reviewers have done so as well and it will be unfair to deprive the ASUS Optical Switches of a label they have rightfully earned.

All you hear is the slight bottoming out noise, other than that the whole operation is noise-free. There is no need to lube the switches or to use any lubricant because the original stock situation of the key switches is super clean which is further ameliorated through ASUS stabilizers. What’s different about ASUS Optical Keyboard is that it has a special stealth mode key switch which gives you an added benefit of privacy.

What did we not like about ASUS ROG RX Optical Switches:

Even the keycaps, double shot abs keycaps, featured in the ASUS ROG Optical keyboards are unique and you cannot change them according to your preference. These are not one of those keyboards that are compatible with different key switches either. You are stuck with what you get. So for creative people that tend to get bored of looking at a black keyboard from time to time, there is nothing you can do about it. Furthermore, ASUS ROG Optical Switches also seem to accumulate substantial finger oils on the surface which causes you to frequently wipe it off. For people who sweat a lot, especially between fingers, this can be a major setback.

Nevertheless, if you wish to use a wobble-free keyboard that also sounds good then we would definitely recommend the ASUS ROG Optical Keyboard with ASUS Optical Switches.

Kailh Red Linear Optical Switches

Best Kailh Optical Switch

Brand: KAILH | Actuation Type: Optical | Actuation Force: 40 grams | Total travel Distance: 3.6 mm

ABKO Hacker K9200 ARC Premium Kailh Optical Switch
ABKO Hacker K9200 ARC Premium Kailh Optical Switch

Reasons to Buy

  • Responsive
  • Customizable
  • Durable

Reasons to Avoid

  • Mediocre
  • Availability issues
  • Wobbly

Now let’s talk about the Optical Key switches produced by one of the most renowned manufacturers of mechanical switches – Kailh. You will find these switches in ABKO Hacker Keyboards, especially the K511 V2 which is the one we have used. The keyboard itself has received a lot of recognition owing to its hot-swappable waterproof nature, dust cover, Double injection and penetration of ABS keycaps. However, let’s see if the switches are worthy of the same praise and glory or not.

What did we like about KAILH Optical Linear Switches?

Starting with the responsiveness of these Kailh Red Optical Switches, it is noteworthy that the actuation force is only 40 grams and the pre-travel is only 1.8 mm. In addition to the fact that these optical switches are lightweight, the delay response is only 0.2 milliseconds. This means that Kailh Red Optical Switches are ideal for users that are into games that involve rapid movements. As far as durability is concerned, the keystroke lifespan is 80 million cycles.

Now, although it is not up to our expectations of 100 million cycles, it is still longer than a typical lifespan of a traditional mechanical switch which is 50 million cycles. We would also like to mention that creative users would absolutely enjoy combining different Kailh Optical Switch sets and customizing their keyboard the way they want. You can create different zones with different coloured Kailh Optical Switches to get more comfortable with your keyboard. It can also prove effective while you are working or playing games.

What did we not like about KAILH Optical Linear Switches?

Starting with the sound produced by each keystroke, we were a tad bit disappointed. Due to the noise created by the spring of the Kailh optical switches, you will have to lube them or they will become a nuisance where ever you are or whatever job you are performing. Furthermore, we found the switches to be a little wobbly considering that the stabilizers had little to no role to play. Availability can pose a problem too.


Summary of Best Optical Switches

It can’t be denied that despite the constraint of limited Optical Switches manufacturers, there is still a lot to choose from. There are many optical keyboard switches that we still have not mentioned due to complications in their availability. For instance, Keychron Optical Reds are one of the best low-profile optical switches with which you can build an ultra-slim keyboard; these are ideal for gamers or typists who wish to achieve super-fast typing speed as they have a smooth linear feel to themselves. However, their compatibility is quite low as you can only use them with Keychron K3.

Additionally, ROG RX Blue Optical Mechanical Switches are one the best Optical Blue Switches that possess lighting speed actuation and stable wobble-free keystrokes. The best thing about them is their central lighting feature which diffuses the light and causes a remarkable LED effect for aesthetic lovers. If these switches did not have accessibility issues, they can also be a good purchasing decision. Nevertheless, we would consider Razer Huntsman V2 as among the best optical switches keyboards because with it you have to option to combine different Razer Optical switches: you can make the best out of it by using Razer Analog Optical Switches, Razer Clicky Optical Switches and Razer Linear Optical Switches.

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Optical Switches VS Mechanical Switches

To put it straightforwardly, in technical terms Optical Switches are superior to Mechanical Switches. The difference is that the Optical Switches have a longer keystroke lifespan compared to the traditional Mechanical Switches. This factor is due to lesser depreciation of the Optical Switches since they have no contact points which minimizes chances of friction. In mechanical switches, however, two metals must contact so that the switch can activate. This causes wear and tear over a period of time due to which you will have to replace the mechanical switches time and time again. Moreover, Optical Switches are much faster and more responsive than their mechanical counterparts due to the use of laser and light technology.

Nevertheless, mechanical switches have one advantage over Optical Switches and that is the fact that Mechanical Switches are available in a wide variety. Different gamers have different needs and with mechanical switches, you can easily choose a switch that perfectly suits all your needs. But if you are purchasing Optical Switches, you might have to compromise on some factors.

Optical Switches VS Linear Switches

Mechanical switches can be further subdivided into three categories: Clicky, linear, and tactile. Linear switches are known to be smooth and fast because they don’t possess a tactile bump. In comparison to these linear switches, their optical counterparts are even smoother and more responsive. Most of the other features are similar in both except form the emthod of actuation. Some switches contain both characteristics and are known as Optical Linear Switches for example Razer Red Optical Linear Switch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Optical Switches?

These are contactless switches that use light or laser technology to actuate a switch, unlike traditional mechanical switches that require an electrical plate to be activated first.

How do Optical Switches work?

As you might have guessed from the word “optical”, these switches use light to actuate the switches. Every time you press the switch, its stem goes down and it initiates the light sensor which in turn actuates the key.

Are Optical Switches better than mechanical switches?

For the gamers who prefer responsive switches that last longer then Optical Switches are obviously better. This is because optical switches are contactless because of which wear and tear are minimized and they are fast owing to the laser technology.

Can you put mechanical switches on an Optical Keyboard?

It varies from keyboard to keyboard. Some keyboards like Keychron K3 strictly only allow Keychron Optical Switches. The same goes for ASUS ROG RX Optical Keyboard. However, GK61 Keyboard is compatible with mechanical switches as well as optical switches.

Can dust affect Optical Switches?

If the keycaps of the Optical Keyboard offers IP56 dust and water resistance then there is nothing to worry about. However, if that’s not the case then the dust can cause the Optical Switches of your keyboard to become gritty and scratchy.

Can you lube Optical Switches?

Definitely. You can lube the stock Optical Switches just the way you can lube traditional Mechanical Switches. The only difference is that you have to be a lot more careful. We recommend using Krytox 205g0 for lubricating Optical Switches.

How fast are Optical Switches?

Considering the fact that the friction and resistance in Optical Switches are minimized due to their contactless nature and they are operated through laser and light technology, it is safe to say that these are the fastest switches. In fact, the delay response of most optical switches is around 0.2ms.

Can you hot-swap Optical Switches?

Optical switches can be much more conveniently swapped as compared to traditional mechanical switches. This is because Optical Switches are simply attached to the PCB underneath.

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Fakhra Ahmad

Fakhra is an adaptable and articulate content writer skilled in writing critical reviews about PC peripherals especially Motherboards, Mice, and Keyboards. She is a keen researcher and avid reader of news pertinent to tech and science.

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