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Cherry Switch Guide: the Standard, Silent, and Speed Switches

Mechanical keyboards are defined by one of the most important factors, the switches. In this blog, we’ll look at the many different kinds of Cherry switches on the market and see how they compare to one another.

As one of the world-famous switch manufacturers, Cherry has a long history of producing both keyboards and mechanical switches. Particularly, their most popular line of switches, the Cherry MX series, was introduced in the mid-1980s. They are designed to fulfill the ergonomic requirements of data input workers, by offering a product with a lifespan of up to 100 million keystrokes and a variety of different key switch feels (linear, tactile, and clicky). Plus, they also have plenty of other different MX-switch types, too.

Here’s a quick overview of different Cherry switch variations and features.

Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard Silent and Speed switch features

Cherry MX Switch Sound Test

Comparing Two Types of Cherry Switches

Before we dive into the details, let's take a look at Cherry MX switches' signature design.

Keychron Cherry MX mechanical RGB and normal switches
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical RGB and normal switches

As the pictures above show, the normal Cherry MX and MX RGB switches are both plate-mounted. However, the Cherry MX RGB switches have a transparent base/housing for RGB compatibility, which is SMD-LED compatible. A normal Cherry MX switch has a jet black housing blocking the keyboard backlight from shining through. The Cherry MX Switches and Cherry MX RGB Switches are available in several variants, though the most popular ones are their Cherry MX Standard Red, Blue, and Brown. 

Cherry MX Standard Switches

Cherry MX Red

Actuation force45+15 gf
Pre-travel2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.6 mm
BehaviorLinear
Suitable forGaming/office
Feel/SoundQuite smooth with a bit of resistance. Comparatively quiet.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard red switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard red switches GIF

Credit: cherrymx.de

Cherry MX Red works much in the same way as the Black variant except that it has a quicker actuation due to its low actuation force of 45 gf. The smooth-running Cherry MX technology is favored by lots of KB users, who appreciate its quick key registration rate over other switch types. 

Cherry MX Black

Actuation force60+15 gf
Pre-travel2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.6 mm
BehaviorLinear
Suitable forGaming/office
Feel/SoundA bit more resistance. Relatively quiet.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard black switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard black switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

The Cherry MX Black resembles the Cherry MX Red, but they do have a higher actuation force (around 15 gf more than reds). Each keystroke will feel heavier due to their different spring designs.

Cherry MX Brown

Actuation force45+15 gf
Pre-travel2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.6 mm
BehaviorTactile
Suitable forMidway gaming/office
Feel/SoundIt has a tactile bump but no audible click. Gentle sound level.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard brown switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard brown switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

The most common tactile pick, the Cherry MX Brown offers a slightly louder sound than the linear red/black switches, but not as loud as the clicky blues. 

Cherry MX Clear

Actuation force55+20 gf
Pre-travel2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.5 mm
BehaviorTactile
Suitable forMidway gaming/office
Feel/SoundIt's bumpy and takes more strength. Moderate sound level.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard clear switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard clear switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

Often referred to as the 'stiffer' browns, the Cherry MX Clear is the sister model to the MX Brown. The Cherry MX Clears are perfect for heavy typists who want extra support to keep them from bottoming out and limiting finger pain.

Cherry MX Grey (Tactile)

Actuation force80+15 gf
Pre-travel2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.4 mm
BehaviorTactile
Suitable forMidway gaming/office
Feel/SoundIt is bumpy with heavy finger pressure required. Moderately loud.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard grey tactile switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard grey tactile switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

 It is another that deviated from the tactile brown, but it is quieter and feels scratchier and bumpier. The Grey switch has an actuation force of 80 gf, nearly twice as much as the browns (45 gf), and is perfect for those heavy typists.

Cherry MX Grey (Linear)

Actuation force80+15 gf
Pre-travel2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.4 mm
BehaviorLinear
Suitable forGaming/office
Feel/SoundIt is smooth, but takes a bit more pressure to actuate. Rather quiet. 
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard grey linear switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard grey linear switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

 It is almost identical in color but has a different mounting style. The linear Grey switch is 5-pin with two prongs that aid stability with the switch mounted directly to the PCB. It is much more like the Blacks but with 20 gf more of actuation force, and is specially designed for those who want a linear and heavy keystrokes feel.

Cherry MX Blue

Actuation force50+15 gf
Pre-travel2.2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.6 mm
BehaviorClicky
Suitable forTypist
Feel/SoundA little bump with a high-pitched clicking sound. Very loud.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard blue switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard blue switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

The Cherry MX Blues are the common clicky option and fit normal daily uses. They have a pronounced clicking sound with each keystroke and then rebound quickly with a bit of tactile bump.

Cherry MX Green

Actuation force70+20 gf
Pre-travel2.2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.5 mm
BehaviorClicky
Suitable forTypist
Feel/SoundIt is clicky and bumpy with heavy resistance. Quite loud.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard green switches travel chart

Credit: cherrymx.de

The Cherry MX Green is another clicky pick. It is a heavier version of its MX Blue counterpart with its actuation force higher at 70 gf. A more pronounced bump and heavier feel make the Greens favored by those who press the keys harder.

Cherry MX White

Actuation force80+15 gf
Pre-travel2+0.6 mm
Travel distance4+0.5 mm
BehaviorClicky
Suitable forTypist
Feel/SoundA medium stiffness, a soft click with a subtle tactile feel. Slightly loud.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard white switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Standard white switches

Credit: mechanicalkeyboards.com

Similar to the Greens, the Cherry MX White produces a lighter clicking noise and is great for heavy typists because of its 80 gf actuation force, 10 gf more than the Greens.

Other than the common Cherry MX colors, they also have some really unique offerings, their specialty choices. Let's take a look!

Cherry MX Silent Switches

Comparing the Cherry Silent red and the Standard red

Cherry MX Silents are ideal for extreme quietness and peace. The silent switches are derived from their normal line-up retaining their usual switch characteristics of common switches, but with an elaborate stem design. From the picture we can clearly see that each stem is installed with a tiny rubber dampening in order to lower the decibel output for each keystroke.

The white rubbers (TPE material) vibrate quieter every time they hit the lower housing and the springs bounce back. Watch our Cherry MX Switch Sound Test video at the beginning of this blog to hear the quieter sound compared to the non-silent ones.

The silent ones are quiet and offer an elastic feel and toughness when bottoming out. Therefore, they may sound better, but feel quite different.

Cherry MX Silent Red

Actuation force45+15 gf
Pre-travel1.9+0.6 mm
Travel distance3.7+0.4 mm
BehaviorDampened Linear
Suitable forGaming/office
Feel/SoundSo smooth with no bumps, clicks, or sound. Intensely quiet.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Silent red switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Silent red switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

Similar to the Cherry MX Red, the Cherry MX Silent Red with 45 gf actuation force and 1.9 mm pre-travel is featured designed with linear switching characteristic, but with a shorter travel distance of 0.3 mm less than Standard Red. The operating noises are reliably minimal by patented damping. Its low spring force and soft actuation make it more competitive over its counterparts.

Cherry MX Silent Black

Actuation force60+15 gf
Pre-travel1.9+0.6 mm
Travel distance3.7+0.4 mm
BehaviorDampened Linear
Suitable forGaming/office
Feel/SoundLess scratchy than the silent red, smooth, and quiet.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Silent black switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Silent black switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

It offers quieter keypresses than standard Cherry MX Blacks. They have a shorter total travel distance at 3.7mm compared to 4.0 mm of the blacks. The Silent blacks require a greater actuation force, 15 gf heavier than the Silent Red. 

Cherry MX Speed Switches

Cherry MX Speed Silver

Actuation force45+25 gf
Pre-travel1.2+0.4 mm
Travel distance3.4+0.4 mm
BehaviorLinear
Suitable forGaming/office
Feel/SoundVery easy and comfortable to use, no friction at all and quiet.
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Speed sliver switches travel chart
Keychron Cherry MX mechanical Speed sliver switches

Credit: cherrymx.de

It is another innovation by Cherry and the only available speed option as well. The Speeds are surprisingly amazing! These switches are a shortened version of the MX Red switch, actuating at 1.2 mm instead of 2 mm. This puts the pre-travel 0.8 mm shorter than a normal mechanical key switch, allowing faster key registrations and less responding time.

Cherry definitely provides excellent quality standards with safe and long-lasting switching performance reliability and features. Despite its premium price, it is a popular choice and enjoyed by lots of people. Their two unique variations, the speed & the silent, also cater to a small group of individuals with special needs.

Cherry is the first manufacturer to create and produce the most popular and widely used MX switches. However, there has been a bit more competition in recent years. There are also many other superior switch producers, like Gateron and Kailh that deliver a smoother typing experience with smaller price tags.

But ultimately, the decision is yours. Try some and figure out which you prefer!