First things first, what exactly are hot-swappable switches, and why do gamers want them?
For many gamers, customizing their setup is the ultimate form of expression, and allows them to achieve exactly the build they want. While this may seem odd for a keyboard, it isn’t! For many years now, gamers have been building their own gaming PCs, so why not the keyboard as well? As you may know, mechanical keyboards have actual switches for each key, and there exists many different switch types on the market, ranging from smooth and silent, all the way to clicky and tactile.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could easily swap out the switches on the keyboard to create your own custom feel, which matches your mood?
Well, now you can do that!
Simply put, a hot-swappable keyboard allows users to easily change the switches using a switch puller, so they can literally pull out the switch and plug in another. No engineering or soldering DIY skills needed, as the socket/mount that holds the switch allows for them to be easily changed.
Hot-Swappable Switches – 3 Pin vs 5 Pin
Let’s first get into 3 Pin vs 5 Pin switches.
Hot-swappable keyboards allow for most switches (which are actually designed to be soldered) to be simply popped into place without any tools into the “Hot-swappable Socket/Mount”, aside from the switch puller. However, two variations of switches exist, which are 3 pin and 5 pin switches.
Interestingly enough, even though the two variations are based on pin count, the difference between them has nothing to do with any electrical based pin/connector.
Instead, the simple difference is that 5 pin switches have 2 more plastic “legs” (pins), than a 3 pin switch. The addition of 2 extra “legs” (pins) allow for more stability when inserted into the keyboard. This ensures that the switch is less likely to come out of the keyboard when using it.
However, every hot-swappable keyboard that supports 5 pin switches, WILL support 3 pin switches. Although, it is worth noting that 3 pin switches may be less stable, due to the design of them having 2 less plastic pins.
Additionally, what most people don’t know is that it ISN’T the switch that is hot-swappable, it is actually the socket/mount, that the switch connects to on the PCB that is hot-swappable, as it the switch isn’t soldered in place.
Different Switches – Common Types (Red, Brown, Blue etc)
As you can see above, there are different types of switches! Each switch type has its own purpose. Some are soft and silent, while others are clicky and tactile! Each brand has their own individual standard, which would be simply too many to list here. When choosing a switch, it’s all up to the individual preference of the user. Some people prefer to mix switches on their keyboard, to have different feelings on different keys (for example, soft switches on WASD), while some prefer the same feeling across their entire keyboard.
For this, there is no right or wrong answer. The best tip, is to try different switches and see what works for you. Some switches may provide a better feel for typing, while some may feel better for gaming.
What gamers should look for when buying switches!
However, some important points to look for, when choosing a switch, are: Switch Type, Actuation Force, and Actuation Point and Travel Distance.
- Switch Type usually refers to the switch color, which directly refers to the feeling of the switch itself. Usual keywords are “clicky”, “silent”, “soft”, etc.
- Actuation Force refers to the amount of pressure that you need to use on the key, when pressing it, to get the key to register as a key press.
- Actuation Point refers to how far down the key needs to be pressed before it reaches the point where it will be registered as a key press.
- Travel Distance refers to the distance between the key when it’s at rest (not being pushed), to when it is pressed all the way down. Actuation point (for example, the click sound in clicky switches), may happen before the switch is pressed fully.
SHOULD YOU GET A HOT-SWAPPABLE KEYBOARD?
MAXFIT61 – The perfect hot-swappable keyboard for you!
If you’re looking to amplify your gaming setup, and grow your skills, then a keyboard with hot-swappable switches could be the biggest addition to your build! Not only can you build the exact feel of the keyboard that you want, you can also change it on-the-fly, depending on your mood! Essentially, you will have the ability to create the exact keyboard and feel, that you want. No more needing to buy multiple keyboards, instead you can just upgrade yours forever! Well… unless you’re a hot-swappable enthusiast, and that’s another rabbit hole for another day.
A hot-swappable keyboard really allows gamers to reach their full potential and comfort when gaming. Looking to buy one? Check out our MAXFIT61 Hot-swappable keyboard below!