Gateron vs Cherry: A Comparative Guide

Mechanical keyboards are taking over the world, one keystroke at a time. Why? They offer a unique typing and gaming experience that’s a cut above your standard keyboard fare. Two of the biggest names driving this trend are Gateron and Cherry, renowned manufacturers of mechanical switches.

A Tale of Two Switches

When it comes to pedigree, few can contest Cherry. Founded by Walter Kirsch in 1953, Cherry has been crafting quality keyboards since 1973. Originating from Germany, it’s known for manufacturing the best in terms of quality and durability, boasting a remarkable lifespan of up to 100 million keystrokes.

On the other hand, we have Gateron, a fairly recent entrant. Produced by Huizhou Gateron Electronic Technology Co., this Southern China-based company hit the scene in 2000. Despite initially focusing on manufacturing Cherry MX clones, they have begun to introduce their innovative designs.

A Closer Look at the Price Tag and Quality

Cherry’s switches come at a higher price, averaging between $0.50 – $1.00 per switch. Gateron takes the crown for affordability with 10 switches available for $0.50. But does the price translate to the quality? Not necessarily. Cherry MX switches are renowned for their quality and longevity, yes, but Gateron’s smoothness and comfort during typing are significant selling points.

Gateron tends to require an even actuation force throughout the keystroke, making users who bottom out louder typists with linear or tactile switches. However, this isn’t a universal preference. Some users prefer the stiffness of Cherry’s switches, known for their slightly lower actuation point that can help avoid bottoming out.

Switch Designs and Construction: A Deep Dive

A mechanical keyboard switch is an intricate piece of technology, with every component contributing to the overall user experience. Let’s take a closer look at the switch designs and construction of both Gateron and Cherry.

Cherry’s switches are distinguished by their “cross-shaped” stem design. It’s a tried-and-tested architecture that’s proven to provide reliable stability during each keystroke. Their spring design is tailored to deliver a consistent typing experience, whether you’re going for linear, tactile, or clicky switches. This consistency is one of the reasons many prefer Cherry, despite its slightly scratchy feel.

Meanwhile, Gateron has managed to emulate and iterate upon Cherry’s design. They offer switches with a similar stem design but have worked to improve the overall smoothness of their keystrokes. This focus on smooth operation is evident in their spring design as well, minimizing friction and noise during operation.

Gateron also innovates with unique offerings such as the Gateron Ink series, featuring switches with a transparent smoky housing, and switches with milky housing that offers improved LED light dispersion. These products not only contribute to an enhanced typing and gaming experience but also give your keyboard an aesthetic edge.

Interested in exploring more about switch options? Check out this comprehensive guide on the best keyboard switches.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Gateron shines in its vast array of quiet switches, offering products like the Gateron Ink series and switches with milky housings that boost LED light dispersion. However, Cherry holds its ground with a quick swap feature for gaming, which Gateron currently does not offer.

Considering gaming performance, you might want to check out this review on the best switches for gaming. If speed is your ultimate goal, you could benefit from these insights on the fastest keyboard switches.

Sound, Feel, and the Overall Experience

Cherry MX switches generate a marginally louder sound due to less resistance or scratching during key travel. If you like a bit of “click-clack,” this might be your jam. However, if silence is golden for you, Gateron’s quieter switches, including their silent switch products, might be more up your alley.

There’s no denying the classic feel of linear red switches. Cherry MX Reds are world-famous but have a slightly scratchier feel than Gateron Reds. If you love a satisfying bump on actuation without the noise, Gateron Browns are smoother than their Cherry counterparts, providing a more distinguishable bump sensation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Gateron switches as good as Cherry?

A: Both Gateron and Cherry are top-notch brands in the mechanical keyboard switch market. Cherry’s switches are renowned for their durability and slightly louder sound, while Gateron switches are appreciated for their smoothness and affordability. The choice boils down to personal preference.

Q: Which switches are better for gaming, Gateron or Cherry?

A: Both Gateron and Cherry offer gaming-specific features. For instance, Cherry offers quick swap features for gaming, and Gateron has an array of quiet switches for distraction-free gaming. It depends on what aspect of gaming you prioritize.

Q: Which switches are quieter, Gateron or Cherry?

A: Gateron offers a wider variety of quiet switches, like the Gateron Ink series. However, Cherry also has Silent switch products. The volume can be significantly reduced by installing o-rings on each switch.

Q: Can I use keycaps designed for Cherry switches on Gateron switches?

A: Yes, most artisan or third-party keycaps are made to be compatible with both Gateron and Cherry switches. Always check the product specifications before purchase.

Q: What’s the durability of Gateron and Cherry switches?

A: Both switch manufacturers boast a lifespan of 50 million actuations, with Gateron optical switches upping that number to 100 million.

It’s All About Preference

So, who takes the cake in this Gateron vs Cherry showdown? The answer is surprisingly simple: it comes down to personal preference. Some prefer Cherry’s historical legacy and quality, while others swear by Gateron’s affordability and smoothness.

Both switch manufacturers rank among the top in the field and boast a lifespan of 50 million actuations, with Gateron optical switches promising 100 million. When choosing between the two, consider the sound, feel, price, and overall typing or gaming experience that you prefer.

Whether you’re Team Gateron or Team Cherry, we all know that our mechanical keyboards are much more than just tools—they’re extensions of our personalities. The act of typing becomes a sensory experience as we feel each keystroke and make each one count.