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.
This post is here to help you make an informed decision on what Cherry MX switch you should choose for your preferences.
You can see how these MX switches compare to the great world of mechanical switches in our switch comparison table.
|Cherry MX Brown||Cherry MX Red|
|Total Travel Distance||4mm||4mm|
|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.
Cherry MX Red
Linear | 45g | 2mm actuation point
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:
Cherry MX Brown
Tactile| 55g | 2mm actuation point
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.
Which is better?
Cherry MX Browns and Reds are pretty similar, same actuation point, total travel, durability and similar actuation weight. If you’re going into mechanical switches blind and you don’t have any preference or experience, I would go with Cherry MX Brown’s first, they’re a safer option.