Are Gateron and Cherry Switches Interchangeable?

Diving into the world of mechanical keyboards, your switch choice can make or break your typing or gaming journey. Two giants in switch branding that often come up are Gateron and Cherry MX. Each brand carries its own flair and features, sparking a common query among keyboard aficionados: Can we play mix and match with Gateron and Cherry switches?

Before delving into the finer details of interchangeability, it’s important to understand what makes up a switch. The main components include the housing (top and bottom), the spring, the stem (which decides the switch type), and the metal leaf. While most parts between Gateron and Cherry MX are interchangeable, as we’ve mentioned before, there’s a minor hiccup with the leaf springs due to their thickness difference.

Comparing Sound Profiles

Sound is an integral part of your keyboard experience. It can influence your typing rhythm and even alter your mood. Gateron switches are generally quieter than Cherry MX switches, which might be preferable if you’re working in a shared space or simply enjoy a less noisy typing experience.

New Innovations: Gateron Cap Switches

Gateron isn’t just about copying Cherry MX designs; they’re also about innovation. One of their latest introductions is the Gateron Cap switch series that offers customization options not seen in Cherry switches. These new switches have shorter travel distance and lower actuation points for faster response times – great for both gamers and typists!

Feel: Smoothness vs Stability

In terms of feel, many users find Gateron switches smoother than Cherry MX switches due to less friction during keypresses. However, some users find that the Cherry switch housing bottom is more stable, offering less wobble and a more solid feel when typing.

Are Gateron and Cherry Switches Interchangeable?

Gateron vs. Cherry MX: An Overview

Often hailed as the pioneering switch creator, Cherry MX has been a key player since the groovy ’70s. They’ve earned their stripes for their robustness, diverse selection, and pinpoint accuracy. In many ways, Cherry MX switches have become the yardstick by which others in the industry are measured.
Shifting our attention to the East, we have Gateron – a Chinese manufacturer famed for crafting switches bearing resemblance to Cherry MX’s designs. These switches stand out for their smoothness and lower resistance compared to their Cherry counterparts, offering a unique typing sensation. Plus, they’re typically lighter on the wallet than Cherry’s range, making them an appealing choice for budget-conscious gamers.

If you’re interested in exploring other options for keyboard switches, check out this guide on the best keyboard switches.

Interchangeability of Parts

In terms of design and dimensions, Gateron and Cherry MX switches are almost identical. This means they can share the same printed circuit board (PCB), plate, and keycap dimensions. The springs, switch tops, bottoms, and sliders of these two brands are all interchangeable as well.

However, there’s a slight variation when it comes to leaf springs which perform electric switching—Cherry leaf springs can fit into Gateron housings but not vice versa due to the slightly thicker size of Gateron leaf springs.

This wide compatibility allows for significant customization potential. You can mix and match parts from either brand to achieve your desired feel and sound.

The Keycap Question: Can They Be Interchanged?

The good news for customization enthusiasts is that keycaps from either brand are interchangeable too! This means you can use third-party or artisan keycaps designed for either brand interchangeably.

Lifespan Comparison

While both brands’ switches are robust and reliable, there’s a notable difference in lifespan. Cherry MX switches boast an impressive 100 million keystrokes compared to 50 million for Gateron.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Gateron switches compatible with Cherry keycaps?

Yes! Both brands share identical keycap dimensions making them interchangeable.

Can I use a Gateron switch on a PCB designed for Cherry MX?

Absolutely! Both brands have identical dimensions on important parts allowing them to work interchangeably on any PCB, plate or board designed for Cherry MX series.

Which is better: Gateron or Cherry MX?

This largely depends on personal preference. If you prefer smoother keypresses with less resistance and noise at a lower price point, you might lean towards Gateron. However, if you prioritize lifespan longevity and stability, then Cherry MX may be your choice.

What is the lifespan of these switches?

Generally speaking, Cherry MX switches boast an impressive lifespan of 100 million keystrokes compared to 50 million for Gateron.

I’ve heard about new Akko switches, are they good?

Akko switches are rising in popularity due to their quality and affordability. For more information on these relative newcomers check out this review.

Gateron vs. Cherry: A Matter of Preference

Choosing between Gateron and Cherry ultimately comes down to personal preference in terms of sound, feel, price, and overall experience. If you prefer a smoother keystroke with less resistance or noise—Gateron may be your best bet. If durability and variety matter more to you—you might want to stick with Cherry MX.
Keep in mind, the world of keyboard switches is diverse; what’s a game-changer for one person might not hit the mark for you. The joy lies in exploring various switch types until you stumble upon your ideal companion. Happy hunting!

I encourage those interested in keyboard customization to explore other switch options as well—like Akko—for example. Check out this review on Akko switches if you’re interested in learning more about them.

In conclusion, while there may be some minor differences between Gateron and Cherry MX switches—their parts remain largely interchangeable—a factor which opens up endless possibilities for customization.