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Why is my mechanical keyboard so loud?

Yes, your roommates hate you.

mechanical keyboard on table
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

You’ve done it. You finally broke down under the incessant gamer-focused advertising push and bought your first mechanical keyboard. Welcome to the promised land. Or is it? You might be wondering why your new, snazzy, RGB-festooned keyboard is so dang loud.

Nobody talked about this on the reviews… they just mentioned how pleasing the sound was, not the fact that your neighbor can hear it when you’re typing in the middle of the night. You might be wondering if you were sold a dud, or if there is something that the in-crowd of keyboard fans knows that you didn’t get the memo on.

So, why is my mechanical keyboard so loud and what can I do about it?

Short answer: It might be down to the combination of the keyboard model and switch type you bought

The longer answer here is that almost every part of your new keyboard affects the sound you hear when typing. Open-plate designs like those favored by gaming brands to show off the RGB lighting effects mean that the noisy switches are open to the air, with nothing to deaden the sound before it hits your ears. Even enclosed designs might have noise issues, as the increased air inside can amplify the clicking noises, just like an echo inside a cave.

Switch types also make a marked difference, with those marketed as “Silent” switches having different materials in their construction to dampen the sound so you clack more quietly. You can also add o-rings to the stem tops, which stop the key switches from bottoming out (hitting the keyboard plate). If you prefer, you can put GMK’s Switch Clips over the whole switch which also insulate the sound somewhat, but they do start to get expensive.

READ MORE: Which mechanical keyboard switch is best for gaming?

The rattling sound on your spacebar or other longer keys is from what’s known as the stabilizer being hit by the small steel bar that helps the spacebar down. Silicone grease is your friend here, with a small amount going a very long way to quieting down that noise.

What do you think? Plan on using any of these tips to help with your loud keys? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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