The world of mechanical key switches is vast, with so many different switch types and sizes. With clicky switches in my experience, you either love them or absolutely hate them.
I personally find a sweet satisfaction from the clickety-clack of my Gateron Blues that I can’t find anywhere else.
I’ve picked out what I think are the best 7 clicky switches available right now in 2022. But before we get to that, I’d like to explain what Clicky switches are exactly if you’re not yet convinced.
What Are Clicky Switches?
While the name is quite self-explanatory, there’s more to clicky switches than meets the eye.
Clicky switches are a group of mechanical key switches that are designed to produce a distinct tactile bump as well as a “click “sound when pressed.
Clicky switches are purposely designed to be loud—mainly as added feedback when typing. The audible clicks let you know that the keys actually get pressed when you type.
Most of us who like clicky switches love the feel and sound that they make.
Why Use Clicky Switches?
It’s best if you test out some clicky switches first before buying them to make sure you actually like the feel and sound of them.
The other side of the clicky switch coin is how it affects those around you. If you work in a public workspace, your co-workers probably won’t be the biggest fans of your fancy new clicky keeb. Trust me, you really don’t want to be that person.
If you game with your friends on Discord, your microphone can easily pick up the clicks of your switches, which can be super irritating to anyone listening on the other end.
But if you work at home or in a closed-off space, and if you aren’t going to be spamming a voice chat with your clicks, feel free to buy some clicky switches and type to your heart’s content!
Linear vs Clicky Switches
Linear switches are the polar opposite of clicky switches when it comes to feeling and sound. These have a very smooth keystroke that is very consistent and doesn’t make much noise at all.
Linear switches mostly focus on producing a buttery smooth actuation without any tactile feedback. These are great for people who want consistent keystrokes without any of the tactile bumps or noise that clicky switches bring to the table.
The quiet, smooth, and consistent keystrokes are especially appreciated by competitive gamers who want all of the precision and none of the sound. So linear switches feel completely different from clicky switches.
Click Bar vs Click Jacket Switches
Truth be told, this is not something your average Joe who’s shopping for clicky switches should know. There’s a sub category for clicky switches, the click bar types and click jacket types.
1. Click Bar: These switches are designed to produce a click sound on both actuation and release. This means that click bar switches produce a satisfying “double-click” when pressed that makes them the true champions of tactile feedback.
Kailh blue switches are famously known for using a click bar design, which is why they have become quite a staple among clicky switch fans.
2. Click Jacket: click jacket switches are designed to only make an audible click during the actuation, and none on release. This half-click design is preferred by people who love the satisfying tactile bump of clicky switches but aren’t the biggest fans of the double-click of click bars.
Most of the mainstream Cherry MX clickys (Blues and Whites) as well as Cherry clones tend to use click jacket switches.
Best Clicky Switches in 2022
1. Kailh Box Jade
If going by sound decibel level alone, the Box Jades can easily be crowned the best switch on this list. These produce a very audible click that’s one of the loudest among the switches listed here and it’s exactly why they’re considered a staple among clicky switches.
The click is sharp, consistent and pointy. Box Jades produce some of the most ideal click sounds of all switches.
The key feel is equally sharp and crisp with clean tactility. There is a little bit of scratch, so it’s not the absolute smoothest click switch.
The Kailh Box Jades have a pretty middle-of-the-road actuation force of 50g and 60g truly bottom out.
2. Kailh Box White
Kailh Box Whites are smoother and a little faster than the Box Jades, they’re more suited for lighter fingered-gamers, which.
Kail Box Whites utilize the same click bar style has the Jades.
They have a respectable actuation force of 45g with a bottom-out force of 55g. The Whites sport a key travel distance of 3.6mm, and it’s complemented by its position as a light clicky switch.
3. Kailh Box Pale Blue
The Box Pale Blue switches are famous for their heavy-set build.
These provide an insanely smooth keystroke with a tactile bump that can be truly satisfying to type with. If you’re coming from a lighter switch type like Gateron reds, you will need some time to get used to how heavy these switches feel. With an actuation force of 60g and with 80g of bottom out, the Box Pale Blues are heavy.
Sound-wise, the Pale Blues have a lighter click compared to the other switches on this list, but it’s still plenty audible.
The Kailh Box Pale Blue is easily the best heavy clicky switch out there, it’s the best switch for people that want a heavier click.
4. NovelKeys Sherbet
The NovelKeys Sherbet is a pretty different feeling switch compared to the rest of the clickys on this list.
It has a longer travel distance when compared to your average Kailhs. What makes the NovelKeys Sherbet stand out is how its springs are tuned.
These springs have a lot of resistance as you come close to bottoming out the switch—which gives the switch a much thoccier sound than what you’d find in a clicky switch.
The actuation force of the Sherbet is pretty low at 45g, but its unique spring design sets the bottom-out force at 70g.
The NovelKeys Sherbet is a good alternative to the Kailh Box Whites if you want a switch with a higher bottom-out force with a nice thocky sound.
5. Kailh Box Pink
The Kailh Box Pinks are pretty similar to the Box Whites, albeit being less light.
The typing feel is pretty similar to Kailh Pale Blues, so if you’re a fan of them, you’ll pretty much love the Box Pinks. The click bar on the Box Pinks is larger than the Pale Blues, making its tactility higher.
The Box Pinks have an actuation force of 60g, with 75g or bottom-out force, which makes sense when you think about how they’re supposed to be closer to the Box Whites while being slightly heavier.
These have a quieter click compared to most clickys, which is actually preferred by some enthusiasts.
6. Kailh Box Navy
The Kailh Box Navy switches immediately became a community favorite upon release a few years ago. These are quite easily the heaviest clicky switches out there, and they wear that brand proudly. They feel extremely tactile and are also very loud.
The Box Navys have an actuation force of 60g, no wonder they’re considered the heavy clicky king!
When it comes to sound, the Box Navys are indeed very loud. While they’re not the loudest on this list, they still have a distinct (slightly higher-pitched) sound that is relatively easy on the ears and allows you to easily register each click.
7. Gateron Blue
The Gateron Blues are a wildly popular line of Cherry MX clones that are quite possibly one of the best out there.
Since they mimic the Cherry Blues, it stands to reason that the Gateron Blues are click jacket switches.They offer a moderate amount of spring resistance when typing, and offer quite a nice tactile bump.
The Gateron Blues are quite middle-of-the-road in terms of lightness, with an actuation force of 45g that bottoms out at 62g.
If you’re looking for the distinct feel and clickiness of the Cherry MX Blues at a much lower price, give the Gaterons a try—you might even end up liking them more than the originals!
That about wraps up our list of the best clicky mechanical switches out there. It goes without saying, it’s always best to order one of each and feel it out for yourself before placing a bulk order. With a little experimenting, you will definitely find your match with one of the above switches as your go-to clickys!