Tactile mechanical switches are defined by the small bump you feel when using them. When you press a tactile switch, you'll feel resistance until you apply a certain amount of force to overcome the bump and actuate the key. The resistance to that bump, the force required to overcome it, and even where the bump appears over the keystroke's entire travel varies between switch models and radically changes how they feel. Tactile switches are overwhelmingly popular for typists as the bump they offer isn't just satisfying, but it provides physical feedback. This means you know exactly when you've actuated a key, which can help you type faster and more consistently.
There's also a strong contingent of gamers who appreciate tactile switches, especially for games with complex keybinds. RTS, rhythm games, and MMOs with long rotations are great examples of games where tactile feedback can be super useful to confirm that you're inputting keys successfully, in the right sequence, and at the right time.
We've tested 101 switches, including 30 tactile models. Below are our recommendations for the best tactile switches available. Note that the pricing of keyboard switches can vary quite a bit depending on the quantity you purchase and the website you buy them from. It might be worth shopping around a little!
Personal preference plays a huge role in choosing a keyboard switch, but we recommend the Gazzew Boba U4T (62g) as the best tactile switches for most people. It has somewhat unusual characteristics for a tactile switch, with a very short pre-travel distance before the start of the tactile bump that develops in a very rounded, drawn-out way that you ride almost to the bottom of the keystroke. Altogether, these switches are remarkably stable, and light lube from the factory makes them reasonably smooth traveling for a tactile switch option out of the box. Maybe most importantly, these switches are known for producing that elusive deep and rich 'thocky' sound that so many tactile lovers are hunting for.
You can also buy these switches in several spring weight options depending on the retailer, including with a slightly lighter 62g spring, which is the model we tested, and then more mid-weight 65g or 68g spring versions. Ultimately, this comes down to preference, with lighter spring weights preserving and emphasizing tactile quality. In comparison, higher spring weights add a bit more stiffness and can help cushion out the end of the keypress to avoid an unpleasant bottoming-out sensation for heavier typists. Altogether, these switches come close to delivering what many identify as an ideal tactile experience and sound profile at a surprisingly affordable price point compared to comparatively higher-end picks like the Gateron Zealio V2 below.
If you're ready to splurge on a high-end tactile option, we recommend Gateron Zealio V2 (67g) switches. While the comparatively less expensive Gazzew Boba U4T (62g) switches above are still our recommendation as the best pick for most people, Zealio V2s offer a different experience with a much snappier and unmistakable tactile bump. These switches also have a longer, more noticeable pre-travel, which is great if you appreciate the feeling of depressing a key a bit deeper into the keystroke before ramping up into the tactile point. Like the Boba U4Ts above, these switches are available in different switch weights, including 62g, 65g, 67g, and 78g variants. Lower spring weights tend to feel lighter and preserve as much tactility as possible, while heavier weight options add more resistance and cushion to the end of travel.
Ultimately, these are among the most tactile-feeling switches and are ideal if you're put off by the mushy quality that even most good-quality tactile switches exhibit. However, this unmatched tactility also comes at a pretty extreme price point, as these typically cost around $1 per switch. Additionally, while they're quite smooth and reasonably stable right out of the box, to make these switches feel like the premium-priced switches they are, they benefit a great deal if you take the time to film and lube them before rolling them out in your build.
At a mid-range price point, we recommend Durock Sunflower/POM T1 switches. These switches mix up some of the standout aspects of our top two picks with a relatively immediate pre-travel leading into the bump and a sharp, satisfying tactile action that isn't too heavy-feeling. They also have a widely-liked sound profile that most people find is a bit more energetic and high-pitched, with a 'clacky' signature compared to the deeper 'thocky' Gazzew Boba U4T (62g) switches above.
The only downside for these switches is that while they generally have very little stem wobble, some people find they can be slightly wobbly in switch sockets, and there's a slight metallic spring ping aspect to the overall sound profile. That said, the upper housing is made of POM plastic, which does tend to get a bit smoother over time, but the prevailing wisdom is that these switches need a bit of lube to come into their own.
For a budget pick, we recommend the Akko V3 Cream Blue Pro. These switches are medium-weight tactiles with a very early rise into a satisfying tactile bump. They're more expensive than the previous-generation Akko V3 Cream Blue switches, but we think the small jump in price is worth it. Improvements with this version include a new dustproof stem cover that adds a bit of overall stem stability. These switches are also newly lubed from the factory, making a considerable difference in how smooth these feel right out of the box.
Generally speaking, you can always improve on factory lube jobs yourself, but in this case, we'd suggest it isn't necessary, making this switch a great choice for a laid-back build. Just note that these switches are on the louder side, and they have a slightly higher pitched, tappy sound signature compared to many tactile options, which typically aim for a deeper and more resonant sound.
If you're a gamer looking for a high-performance tactile option, we recommend Tecsee Neapolitan Ice Cream switches. These tri-color switches are heavier tactile with a distinctly crisp and responsive-feeling tactile bump, excellent latency performance, and a surprisingly loud and slightly higher-pitched but pleasant-sounding tactile signature.
They also pack unusually long springs, which lend a slightly heavier feel but ensure a snappy rebound. These switches are a great match if you really like to drive home your inputs forcefully, as the multi-stage spring will prevent you from bottoming out too harshly. The only thing to note is that these switches have a slight reputation for wobble, and they're not the smoothest out of the box, so we recommend taking the time to film and lube them yourself. Also, as fun as their colorway is, the opaque pink top housing tends to dampen any RGB lighting.
For gaming on a budget, we recommend Kailh Speed Copper switches. While these switches offer the same high-end latency performance as the Tecsee Neapolitan Ice Cream switches above, in most other ways, they're opposites. These switches have slightly shortened springs, and while this means they're considerably more lightweight-feeling, they also lack that snappy bump and responsive upstroke the Tecsee switches offer. They may feel sluggish on the return in comparison. In short, these are great switches for a lighter touch. These switches also have virtually no pre-travel, with a more subtle tactile point to overcome right at the beginning of travel.
Unlike linear Speed switches, which are typically very easy to accidentally actuate, these tactile Speed Copper switches allow you to comfortably rest your fingertips on the keycaps, ready to strike at a moment's notice without accidentally registering an input when you don't want to. These switches also have a clear upper housing, which won't interfere with your board's RGB lighting. Finally, while these switches are reasonably smooth-feeling out of the box, a little lube goes a long way to balance them out.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best tactile switches for most people. While no switch is perfect for every person and every use, most will perform adequately in any role.
When choosing our recommendations, we factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability. If you'd like to do the work of choosing yourself, here's a list of all the tactile keyboard switches we've tested below.