Are you a fan of a crisp tactile bump paired with a nice, sharp click? Clicky switches are a favorite of many but are often not talked about.
A clicky switch is a keyboard switch that produces a bump at some point in the travel, paired with a higher-pitched click. Clicky switches pair the tactility that is popular with tactile switches with additional audio feedback.
With the abundance of clicky switches in the custom keyboard market, it can get extremely confusing to find the right switches for you. Today we are going to discuss the best clicky switches from our testing.
Whenever switches are mentioned, there are always some confusing terms involved, so let’s go through them.
Click Jacket: A system that makes a loud click sound when pressed down but no click when the upstroke. This system functions by having a collar around the stem of the switch that is pushed downward and actually causes the clicking sound and activates the switch. Click jackets are the system used in Cherry MX Blues and clones.
Click Bar: A system in which a metal bar is placed and when pushed it creates a click. The click bar plays no role in the switch actually being activated but simply makes a sound and provides a tactile feel. The stem of the switch then makes contact just under the contact from this bar to activate the switch. This system is preferred by enthusiasts who like clicky switches because it allows for a more satisfying experience with stronger tactility.
Box Switches: Although there are box switches for all types of switches, they are especially popular among clicky switches. Box switches don’t get the word box from the shape of their stem but rather a different internal mechanism for activating the switch that is surrounded by a small box within the switch. This structure allows these switches to be dust-proof.
Tactile Event: The bump in the switches travel.
Pre-Travel: Any linear or smooth uninterrupted travel before the tactile event.
Post-Travel: Post-travel is the linear travel after the tactile event.
Actuation: Actuation is when the switch activates and outputs to the device.
Bottom Out: When the switch finishes traveling and hits the bottom housing.
Leaf: The metallic contacts in a switch, these themselves actually actuate the switch. The leaf is in the bottom housing as the picture shows.
Ping / Spring Ping / Leaf Ping: This is a metallic reverb produced by the sound of the spring, leaf, or both. In most cases it can be fixed by lube.
Disclaimer… Please Read!
This review is largely preference, my rankings will likely be very different from yours. Do not base your opinions solely based on mine.Use this guide to gain a general understanding of the switch and where enthusiasts like me stand on these switches. Guides like this, sound tests, and opinions of content creators like Teaha Types are good ways to find switches that you believe are interesting and worth trying. Ultimately we recommend you to just hit up your local vendor and buy a pack of whatever switch your fingers and ears desire to try them out. That way you can find the best switch for you.
Also, note we will not talk about the feel of these switches after lubing. Typically clicky switches do not require lubing and can even take the clickiness or even tactility away from the switch. If you do want to lube your clicky switch then we would suggest lubing the spring with Krytox GPL 105 oil although this truly isn’t needed.
1. Kailh x NovelKeys Box Jades: Thick Clicks, Nice Weight
The NovelKeys Box Jades are a clicky switch designed by NovelKeys and manufactured by Kailh. Box Jades feature a thick clickbar for peak tactility and a click that is probably the loudest of any switch I have tested.
The Jades activate with a force of 50g at a travel distance of 1.8mm and bottom out at 3.6mm with a force of 65g. NovelKeys states they are IP56 water and dust-resistant.
We have put them at the top of this list as they feature an extremely sharp tactile bump paired with a very crisp click. Additionally, the weight does not get too fatiguing after typing for long periods.
2. Kailh x NovelKeys Box Navys: Strong Click, Heavy Weight
If you think you would like the Box Jades then NovelKeys’s Box Navy switches are the same switch except with a heavier spring.
The Box Navys have the same IP56 rating, thick clickbar, 1.8mm actuation distance, and 3.6mm total travel. The only difference is that they actuate at 75g and bottom out at 90g.
We do like the thick clickbar of the Navys and Jades but because the spring is heavier we find that they can get fatiguing more easily.
3. Kailh Box Whites: Jades Younger Cousin
Kailh’s Box Whites are a fantastic clicky switch utilizing a clickbar for a strong tactile bump and thick click. Unlike the Jades and Navys, the Box Whites do not use a thick clickbar meaning the tactility will be less sharp and they will not be as loud.
Box whites still utilize the box mechanism, hence the name, so they are rated for IP56 dust and water resistance. The switches activate at 1.8mm with a force of 45g and bottom out at 3.6mm with a force of 55g.
If you want a sharp tactile bump and a crisp click but you find that your finger gets fatigued easily, the Box Whites may be a better option for you over either the Jades or Navys.
4. Kailh x NovelKeys Sherbet: Long Travel, Strong Bump
NovelKeys’s Sherbet switches still provide a clickbar like the previous options on this list but have a few key differences. The Sherbets feature the standard MX switch design rather than the shape of box switches.
The NovelKeys Sherbets feature a 45g actuation force at 2mm and bottom out at 4mm with a force of 85g. For those that prefer a longer travel and may be looking for a slightly quieter click. The Sherbet will provide that over the Jades, Navys, or Whites.
The clickbar allows the Sherbets to still have a very satisfying click and makes them a very solid option for clicky switches.
5. Outemu Phoenix: Solid Clickjacket
Typically we find that clicky switches with a clickbar mechanism feature the best experience but there are a few clickjackets that are quite solid. The Outemu Phoneix features a clickjacket, the same system as switches like Cherry MX Blues.
Unlike Blues, Outemu Phoenix’s have a strong tactile bump, albeit less than the Jades, and feature a click both when activating the switch and on the return. You also get two different weight options with either a 62g or 68g option.
Although there are many clicky options to consider the Outemu Phoenix’s provide a unique take on the clickjacket system that is worth trying if interested.
All of these switches are great option to make your keyboard clicky. We do recommend that before you make any decisions you consider multiple different options and maybe watch some reviews or listen to some sound tests as it is hard to fully describe the experience of a switch in just a few paragraphs.
If you are also looking at tactile and linear switches, check out our best linear and best tactile switch articles. When you are ready to try or buy any of these switches then a great place to start is by looking at your local vendor. Take a look at our vendor list. A compilation of tons of keyboard vendors sorted by region.
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