Coding: are mechanical keyboards good for coding?

Coding: are mechanical keyboards good for coding?

Spoiler: Long story short, no.

The best keyboard for a programmer is where the programmer could code for an entire day without feeling tired and commit fewer mistakes.

Type of keyboards

Mechanical keyboard

  • Mechanical. And it is divided into different subcategories depending on the kind of keyboard, such as blue, yellow, etc.

  • Leopold FC900R Yellow/Blue PD Double Shot PBT Black Case Mechanical ...

So, what is the difference? There are many, including the quality, but in short, it is separate in the weight of the keys and the noise. And is when mechanical keyboards are not fit for programming, they are heavy and noisy. There are some keys that are less heavy and noisy but they are still consistently noisy in comparison with the other kind of keyboards.

As I mentioned, there are different kinds of keys, such as yellow, brown, etc. Some of them are more silent however, they consistently more noise than membranes or scissors, i.e. they are silent in comparison with other mechanical keyboards, not other types of keyboards.

Also, they are aimed at gamers, so they are focused on lights, macros, and other features that a non-gamer will not enjoy it. Several of them have fewer keys so they use less space. It is ok for gamers but bad for coders. You don't want a short keyboard.

A Complete Guide To Mechanical Keyboards — Smashing Magazine

It is amazing how some coders recommend this kind of keyboard. They are noisy and heavy and even the best type of mechanical keys are not for hours of coding.

Membrane keyboard

Should I Choose a Flat-Panel or Full-Travel Membrane Keyboard? - Nelson ...

Membrane keyboards are lightweight and consistently less noisy. Also, they are cheaper. However, it brings some problems:

  • Since they are lightweight, then it is easy to commit mistakes because (and it depends on the kind of membrane), they are too lightweight and there is little feedback.

  • Some people say the feedback feels mushy but it depends on the kind of membrane.

  • Other membranes are too lightweight and they register every touch like this one:

Custom Membrane Keyboard: The Sourcing Checklist | 2020

Also, membrane keyboards have another problem, they are cheap, so the market is for cheap keyboards, i.e. disposables. It is hard to find a premium membrane keyboard, and when you find one, they are absurdly expensive.

Optical keyboards

There is a new variety of mechanical keyboards: optical. In short, they are mostly a "gimmick", they are far more durable than a mechanical keyboard but they are noisier and they are similarly heavy. They are also more expensive than a mechanical keyboards. They are not for coders unless the coder prefers duration over anything else.

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Scissor keyboards are a mix between a membrane keyboard and some light profile mechanical keyboards. They are mostly used in notebooks. They are less noisy, and lightweight but it has feedback.

Apple calls it "butterfly" but it is the same technology with a small change. However, the duration could be bad, and they are reserved commonly for notebooks. Currently, they are the best keyboard for coding. However, they are not as popular for desktops and only a few companies make them.

And another one: Mechanical Keyboard low profile

There is a new set of mechanical keyboards called low-profile. They are less noisy and more lightweight than their other counterpart. However, they are still "experimental" so you only find a couple of companies doing it. They are expensive.

How We Designed the Low Profile Optical Switch Differently

In resume

  • Scissors if you don't mind duration. It has feedback and they are silent and lightweight.

  • Mechanical keyboards "low-profile", they are the future but I hope the big companies will start adopting it.

  • Membrane keyboards are cheap and easy to find however it is hard to find a premium model.

  • Mechanical keyboards, they are expensive, heavy, and noisy but they have feedback and are long-lasting

  • Optical keyboards, they are even more expensive and noisy but they are long-lasting and they have a feedback