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Cherry Red vs Brown: Comparing Switches

switch types

If you’re shopping for keyboards, you’ll likely come across Cherry MX Reds and Browns as common configuration options for a lot of popular keyboard models. Which one is better for you?

Cherry MX Browns and Reds are pretty similar, same actuation point, total travel, durability and similar actuation weight. Cherry Reds are better for gaming, since the tactile bump doesn’t get in the way of faster actuation. While Cherry Browns have a subtle bump that acts as feedback for typing. I’d recommend Brown over Reds, they’re better for typing, but they’re not so heavy that you can’t use them for gaming.

Specs comparison

You can see how these MX switches compare to the great world of mechanical switches in our switch comparison table.

 Cherry MX BrownCherry MX Red
Actuation Force55g45g
Actuation Point2mm2mm
Total Travel Distance4mm4mm
Rated Lifespan>100 million actuations >100 million actuations

The major difference between Reds and Browns is the actuation force difference and that browns have a designed bump in its travel, hence tactile, while Reds are completely smooth, hence linear.

Red vs Brown Switches for Gaming

I’d choose red switches for shooters and high reaction games. The faster response time and lighter switches will be better for responsiveness. If you need more precise button presses for MOBA or Strategy games, then Brown is a better choice.

Red vs Brown Switches for Typing

Brown switches are going to be better for almost all typers. Since the tactile bump gives some feedback, it’s much easier to touch type without making errors.

Cherry MX Red in Detail

  • Type: Linear
  • Acutation Force: 45g
  • Actuation point: 2mm
img graph

Cherry MX Red switches are a linear switch, there is no interference from the top of the switch to the actuation point. Key presses are faster to execute and there’s no physical feedback until the switches bottom out. 

MX Red fans love the switch because they feel faster in-game, key presses are more instantaneous without any fatiguing elements. Cherry MX Reds are also smooth, they feel satisfying to game and type on and they produce a thoccier sound than tactiles.

If you’re looking at purely gaming, Reds are great for that, a linear WASD cluster and faster key presses often make for faster reaction times and smoother gaming in general. Here’s a typing test with Cherry MX Red switches:

YouTube video

Cherry MX Brown in Detail

Tactile | 55g | 2mm actuation point

Cherry MX Brown Force Curve

Cherry MX Browns are great for people who wants more feedback from their keyboard, so they know exactly when a key has been pressed. Cherry MX Browns have a tactile bump right before the actuation point, signaling that the key has been pressed.

Cherry MX Browns are going to be better for people that do more typing, there’s a smaller learning curve to type with Browns, while with Red’s you have to get used to a lighter touch typing style to avoid accidental actuations. 

If you need your keyboard to do a lot of typing and a lot of gaming, Cherry MX Browns are a better versatile fit. The switches are still plenty light and fast to do stand up to rigorous gaming, but also gives enough feedback to satisfy typers.

YouTube video
Raymond Sam

Raymond Sam

Raymond is the founder and editor TheGamingSetup.com. He's has reviewed hundreds of mice, keyboards, controllers and other gaming peripherals over the last decade. He's been gaming for even longer, playing all kinds of games on all systems with a several thousand hours of DOTA 2, Starcraft , Street Fighter, Smash Bros, Overwatch, Apex Legends and Call of Duty under his belt with the intention of adding several more thousand going forward.

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6 Responses

  1. Very helpful, thanks. I’m about to buy a Kinesis Pro split keyboard, and this helped me to decide to go with the Brown vs. the Red switches.

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