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How to tell if your keyboard is mechanical?

Checking is a breeze.

Mechanical keyboard
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

Yard sales are often a great place to find cheap electronics. I mean, not everyone knows what they have, or they wouldn’t be selling it from their front lawn. Maybe you found a keyboard for your computer that you liked the look of, and bought it for five bucks.

That’s a steal even if it’s just for a backup keyboard, but maybe you want to know if it was a mechanical keyboard, putting your yard sale find into the bargain of the year category. Is there an easy way for you to tell?

So, how do you tell if your keyboard is mechanical?

Short answer: Take off one of the keycaps

The most sure-fire way to tell if your keyboard is mechanical is to take off one of the keycaps. Does it look like the image at the top of this article? If so, then press the stem down (the colored piece that looks like a cross). If it slides down by itself, it’s likely you found a mechanical keyboard and found yourself a bargain.

Even the fact you could take off a keycap easily is a pointer towards it being mechanical, as membrane keyboards usually have the keycaps stuck to the membrane part.

READ MORE: How are mechanical keyboards different from membrane keyboards?

Of course, you can also turn the keyboard upside down and search for whatever names are on the label (if it still has one) or on the imprinted text on the plastic casing. That might be easier than trying to take off a keycap, but sometimes the labels aren’t always there.

What do you think? Plan on using this knowledge to identify keyboards in the future? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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