How Long Do Mechanical Keyboards Last? – 2021 Guide

If you’re a gaming geek, you don’t only need to spend hours to improve your gameplay, but you should also have good quality and durable equipment. Mechanical keyboards are expensive and thus it is imperative that you know how long they will last before making an investment.

A keyboard can make or break your gaming performance and thus it is important to have a keyboard that is equipped with all the features that make you comfortable while gaming. Mechanical keyboards are equipped with ergonomic features and they are designed to give the user a superb gaming experience. Professional gamers like you often want to know whether the mechanical keyboard they are going to invest in, is long-lasting or not. We have jotted down some important points in this post to solve this query.

How to determine the longevity of a mechanical keyboard?

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The lifespan of keyboards are rated in millions of keystrokes. You might not understand this at first when a keyboard manufacturer says that the keyboard is rated for 50 million keypresses. The 50 million keypresses rating indicates that the mechanical keyboard can last for 10 to 15 years easily. Some of the popular mechanical keyboard manufacturing companies like Logitech, Razer, and Kaihua have designed keyboards with a rating of 80 million keypresses too.

50 million keypresses means that you’ll be able to press 50 million keys in the lifetime of a keyboard. The lifespan of a mechanical keyboard also depends on the type of key switches used. The rubber dome key switches are designed for around 5 million keypresses while the Cherry MX switches can provide around 30 to 70 million keypresses. Apart from this, if a keyboard is spill-proof and is easy to clean, it adds to the lifespan too.

What makes the mechanical keyboards last so long?

Mechanical keyboards last longer than other keyboards because each and every component of them is made up of high quality materials. If we look at the cheap traditional keyboards, they are mass- produced and then sold in millions of quantities. The cheap keyboards are equipped with membrane switches and are made up of cheap plastic material.

A rubber dome keyboard doesn’t last long as it wear out easily while the key switches in a mechanical keyboard are quite durable. The mechanical keyboards have a high standard when it comes to quality. Each of the switch is designed to last for millions of keystrokes which is nothing as compared to the membrane keyboard. Mechanical keyboards are tough and are designed to last long.

Which mechanical keyboard switch is best in terms of durability?

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The life of a keyboard depends on the switches used. A switch is the piece located below the keycap which moves when it is pressed. The switch is connected to a circuit board through an internal leaf, which when pressed, completes the circuit to register the electrical impulses. There are a variety of key switches available for gaming that allow repetitive and fast actions for PC gaming.

Linear VS. Tactile?

A mechanical switch can be linear or tactile. To use a linear switch, you have to press it all the way down; it acts similar to a membrane key. To use a tactile switch, you just need to push it half way and the job is done. According to some, linear switches are good for gaming and tactile switches are better for typing. However, it also goes to the personal preference of the user because of the ‘feel’ that the key switches offer.

No matter which key switch you choose, a mechanical keyboard is designed for PC gaming. This type of keyboard gives accurate feedback when pressed. The tactile and clicky switches give you confirmation with every single keypress as you feel the bump or click when you pres the switch. However, if you’re more into FPS games, then linear switches will help you as they allow you to press the key faster so that they are registered asap.

What if a mechanical keyboard gets damaged?

The membrane keyboards need to be discarded once they are damaged but luckily the situation is not the same for mechanical keyboards. If you’re a hard-core gamer then the keys will certainly wear out after some years. The key switches of the mechanical keyboard are replaceable and you can have it repaired easily.

The key switches are soldered on the printed circuit board of a mechanical keyboard. If you know how to handle the solder iron, you can also DIY. You just have to pull out the key switches from the circuit board and then solder the new switches on it. If you think it’s hard to solder yourself, you can seek the help of a professional.

How to increase the lifespan of a mechanical keyboard?

Mechanical keyboards can last more than 10 years but that doesn’t mean you should handle it roughly. In fact, if you take care of your mechanical keyboard properly, you’ll manage to increase its lifespan. Yes, you got it right, if you constantly maintain your mechanical keyboard, it will last much longer. Following are the components of a mechanical keyboard which you can pay attention to if you want to maintain it properly:

Keycaps

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The keycaps of a mechanical keyboard are easy to replace. You can do it yourself without using any tools. Sometimes the alphabets on the keycaps get dimmer due to continuous pressing and strokes, when it happens, you can replace them with the new ones. Keycaps wear out easily because they are made up of plastic. Plastic material can deteriorate with time and it can become fragile as years pass by.

You can pull the keycaps yourself but if you have a keycap puller, it would do the job smoothly. Once you’ve got the new key switches with you, you can either use your hand or a keycap puller to pull those keys that are damaged. After you’ve pulled the damaged key switches, you just have to attach the new ones in their place.

Stabilizer

Stabilizer is used in larger keys such as enter key and the space bar key. Its function is to stabilize the keys. The stabilizer gets damaged due to misuse or too much use of the keyboard and it can bend too if you type too hard, but it is easy to replace it. Following are the steps used to replace a stabilizer:

  • Remove the keycap that covers the stabilizer.
  • Now unclip and remove the damaged part.
  • Put the new part in place
  • Fix the keycap back into place

Key switch

img source: mechanical-keyboard.org

Replacing the key switches of a mechanical keyboard is not an easy task, and you shouldn’t do it either because there is no need. The mechanical key switches last very long and they don’t need to be replaced very soon. However, if they get damaged due to any reason, you shouldn’t worry as they are replaceable. This process will also allow you to clean the switches as the dirt gets accumulated under the keycas. Follow these steps for replacing a key switch:

  • Desolder the switches from the circuit board.
  • Take out the mount of the switch from the board.
  • Mount the new switch in place of the old one.
  • Solder them into the PCB using a solder iron.
  • The soldering process isn’t required if the keyboard is a hot-swappable one.

PCB

Replacing the circuit board is the most difficult process and it isn’t worth it either. To increase the lifespan of your mechanical keyboard, it is only recommended to clean the PCB. However, don’t use acetone for cleaning the board as it is unsafe. Acetone is a strong chemical and it can dissolve and change the solder masks or silk screens on the PCB.

Case

img source: tomshardware.com

If the case of the mechanical keyboard has been damaged, it’s easy to replace it. You just have to remove the screws that hold the PCB and the switches together, for this you’ll have to remove some switches too. After you’re done removing the case, you just have to move all the components into the new case. Also, make sure you put the caps back on.

Conclusion

If you’re concerned about how long your mechanical keyboard will last, you must look for some factors before buying a keyboard. However, if you have already got one, you can go through the tips above to increase the lifespan. Some features such as liquid protection, stainless steel frame, and ABS housing add more value and durability to the keyboard.

A mechanical keyboard is sturdy and classy-looking keyboard that is equipped with high quality plastic switches beneath the keycaps. Apart from this, these keyboards are designed in such a way that they can be easily repaired if damaged. Mechanical keyboards are designed with highest standards and thus they are of the best quality. Better keycaps, removable power cable, harder case, and water repellence are the features that you must look for if you want your keyboard to last long. Hope this post helped you to solve your query and enjoy your gorgeous mechanical keyboard.

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