Tell us which switch brand has a crazy collection of many many switches? Kailh switches? If Kailh is what we hear you say, then – ‘bing bong’ you’re right. Well, not a lot of brands, including our ‘great grandfather’ Cherry MX, can have that many lineups under their names. Right now, we count that they […]
A Comprehensive Overview of Kailh Switches
Tell us which switch brand has a crazy collection of many many switches? Kailh switches?
If Kailh is what we hear you say, then – ‘bing bong’ you’re right. Well, not a lot of brands, including our ‘great grandfather’ Cherry MX, can have that many lineups under their names.
Right now, we count that they have 7 collections and each collection has about 3 or 4 or even 7 variants for real. Maybe they try to copy the fashion industry, so we have a new release for spring and another release for winter?
Anyway, we believe the huge number of different Kailh switches can confuse some of you, so here is a comprehensive Kailh guide from us. Unfold them together, shall we?
Warning – this is a wall of text.
What are Kailh Switches?
After the patents of Cherry MX switches expired, a lot of brands from China immediately took part in the race of producing mechanical switches. The company, Kaihua electronics co., decided that it should have not stayed out of the game. Thanks to that, now you may have heard of Kailh switches somewhere as they are very popular Cherry MX’s clones like Gateron or Outemu.
In the beginning, they made dupes of Cherry MX with four different switch types in different colors. As time passed by and technology continuously developed, they soon released their own lineups of different mechanical switches and special versions in collaboration with other brands.
It’s undeniable that the products from Kailh are good and more importantly, affordable. They do not only offer you many to choose from but also a long last switch. Due to their laboratory test, Kailh switches can last from 60 million to 80 million keystrokes. Yes, that is not a high number compared to 100 million keystrokes of Cherry MX, but it is certainly higher than Gateron and Outemu.
With that many different Kailh switches, you may think the sounds released from typing will be diverse. You are not wrong though. Fortunately, Switch and Click have made a video that covers most of the Kailh switches’ sounds, so don’t forget to check them out.
The Main Switch Line-up
|Kailh Red||Kailh Blue||Kailh Brown||Kailh Black|
|Actuation Force||50 gf||50 gf||50 gf||60 gf|
|Key Travel Distance||2 mm – 4 mm||2 mm – 4 mm||2 mm – 4 mm||2 mm – 4 mm|
|Sound||low||loud||slightly louder than Red||low|
If you are a beginner at mechanical switches and do not get what those terms mean, read this article for a comprehensive understanding.
At a first glance, you can see that those different Kailh switches are the exact dupes of Cherry MX with Red-Linear, BLue-Clicky, Brown-Tactile, and Black-Heavy Linear. Besides, their key travel distances are within the same range, 2 mm to 4 mm, so you can expect that they are all fast-response switches.
The problem with those Cherry MX clones is the scratchiness. Moreover, the 50 gf actuation force is not an ideal weight for mechanical switches at the moment so we do not recommend them for you to try out. But, if you are on the path of looking for basic switches that are a little bit heavier than normal mechanical switches at 45 gf, you may want to consider this Kailh lineup.
These Red linear switches ask for more force from your fingers than usual Red switches. In addition, even though they are quite smooth, you can feel the stiffness when pressing down the keys. To conclude, the Kailh Red switch is so-so.
Unlike the Red Linear switches, 50 gf is a normal force for the Blue Clicky switches. Despite being quite scratchy, the Kailh Blue switches have a nice clear ‘clicky’ sound and fulfilling bumpy feedback. To conclude, we think the regular Kailh Blue switches are worth a try.
The Kailh Brown switches offer a great tactile feel with a heavy force. It is smooth and nice when typing. Besides, the emitted sound is low but a little bit louder than the Kailh Red switches. Note that when the key returns, the feedback is not as clear as usual tactile though.
- Gateron Brown Vs Kailh Brown Switches
- Are Brown Switches Better For Gaming or Typing?
- Cherry MX Red vs Brown Switches
- Best Cherry MX Brown Keyboards
The Kailh Black switches are heavy-force linear switches that are designed for gaming. It is nice, smooth, and not loud. However, due to the scratchiness, it is not promising like other Black switches out there in the market or other Kailh lineups.
The Kailh BOX Switch
|BOX White||BOX Navy||BOX Jade||BOX Red||BOX Burnt Orange||BOX Dark Yellow||BOX Pale Blue||BOX Black|
|Actuation Force||50 gf||75 gf||65 gf||50 gf||60 gf||70 gf||60 gf||60gf|
|Key Travel Distance||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm|
|Sound||normal- loud||very loud||very loud||low –
|low||normal – loud||loud||
As an attempt at reducing the key travel range, the company wanted to decrease the activation time of keypress to make it faster and more satisfying in this Kailh lineup. Moreover, they calculate carefully every small detail to create high-quality firm switches that tackle the scratchiness and wobble of most Kailh lineups.
To optimize the balance of their BOX switches, they introduced a square barrier around the cross-shaped stem. This design is proved to be useful since pressing on the keys is satisfyingly stable. Moreover, the square box contributes to the dustproof and moisture-resistant ability of the switches in general.
Thanks to that, Kailh Box switches have become very famous among mechanical keyboard lovers and have usually been praised highly as the best lineup of them.
Kailh BOX White
If you want to see how nice the sounds from those BOX White switches are, feel free to watch this video.
Talking about the advantages, the Kailh BOX White produces a better tactile feel than BOX Pale Blues, and some even say that those Kailh switches are greater than Cherry MX Blue. In addition, the sound is loud enough not to be noisy, so this is definitely ideal for those who enjoy clicky type but don’t want to annoy people around.
Kailh BOX Navy
Kailh BOX Navy switch is one of the heaviest switches for sure. At 75 gf, gosh, we need a lot of strengths from our fingers to make those switches work. This is loved by heavy-hand typists but for others, you need to consider it carefully because typing for a long time will probably feel tired. Another thing to notice is that the switches are very loud. Nice sound indeed, but loud.
Like other clicky switches from Kailh, they use a special design called the click bar. This method allows the switches to produce a lower key-return sound than the sound from the first press. Therefore, both the tactile feedback and the clicky sound are unique and enjoyable.
A demonstration of the loudness from those BOX Navy is here. Go and take a look, won’t you?
Kailh BOX Jade
What can I say about the color of Kailh BOX Jade switches besides lovely? The pastel green color like a jade bracelet is very pleasant for the eyes. But putting that aside, the BOX Jade switch is another pretty nice and unique clicky switch from Kailh. At 65 gf, they are just slightly lighter than the above BOX Navy, so those Kailh switches are so heavy that needs to be watched out for hand fatigue.
Overall, the switches are sturdy – so they don’t need to be lubed (and if you want to do so, you can’t lube anyway due to the box around the stem), and have a super-duper satisfying thick click.
Check out this review and sound test of beautiful Kailh BOX Jade switches here.
Kailh BOX Red
Way nicer than Kailh Red switches is the first thing coming to our mind. It is pretty smooth and solid, even though there is still some roughness when you type on the off-center keys. Another plus point is the sound is not noisy at all, or I can say, quite quiet.
Check out the sound of Kailh BOX red switches on the keyboard here.
Kailh BOX Burnt Orange
The Burnt Orange switches are one of the most sought-after Kailh switches and the only tactile type in this Kailh lineup. Their quality is very prominent with a nice sharp bump. Besides, not only these heavy-force switches are stable and firm, they are incredibly smooth and not noisy at all. Some people even think those Burnt Orange are better than the famous Gateron Brown switches.
Mr. The Octopus Dude shares his Kailh BOX Burnt Orange switches’ sound test in this video, so go and take a look if you get curious.
Kailh BOX Dark Yellow
When you think Black is the heaviest linear switch, Kailh introduces you to the Dark Yellow fellow. At 75 gf, you can expect the Kailh BOX Dark Yellow switches will be very heavy. I mean, extremely heavy. If you enjoy typing on heavy-force switches, put those from Kailh lineup on your list fast. Besides, they produce a ‘clacky’ sound when typing so it’s quite fun for us to hear.
The nice thing about those Dark Yellow switches is that typing will feel exceptionally smooth without the need to lube them. Hence, they are good for typing and also playing games.
Bestow to you the video of Kailh BOX Dark Yellow switches’ sound test. Enjoy!
Kailh BOX Pale Blue
The final Kailh Clicky switches of the BOX lineup are right here. The pale blue color is very soft and pretty and we think that it is a hint to you about the actuation weight of those switches.
Remember BOX Navy is the heaviest clicky switch at 75gf? The BOX Blue Pale switches are also on the heavy side but much lighter than the Navy peers – like Pale Blue is much lighter than Navy. Their weight force is 60 gf, a middle-ground number among other Kailh Clicky switches.
The nice thing about these fellows is that they are wobble reduction. You can press anywhere and feel the minimal shaking. If you accidentally press on the edge, the feeling is somewhat like a linear type. Pretty nice!
Watch the below video to discover the sound.
Kailh BOX Black
Talking about the smoothness of the Kailh BOX Black linear switches, it is fine. If you compare it to the BOX Dark Yellow, the Black switches are more uneven and shakier. If you oppose it to Gateron linear switches or Cherry MX, they are nowhere near.
In addition, the sound is clacky, not too high, not too low. To summarize, they are unimpressive heavy linear switches in our opinion.
Want to listen to Kailh BOX Black’s clacky sound? A video for you is below.
Kailh Speed Switches
|Speed Silver||Speed Copper||Speed Bronze||Speed Gold|
|Actuation Force||40 gf||50 gf||50 gf||50 gf|
|Key Travel Distance||1.1 mm – 3.5 mm||1.1 mm – 3.5 mm||1.1 mm – 3.5 mm||1.4 mm – 3.5 mm|
The name suggests it all. This Kailh lineup is focusing on the speed of activating the keys. From the spec table, you can see that Kailh lowers the actuation point to 1.1 mm, resulting in high-sensitive switches competing with Cherry MX Silver Speed.
Why there is a need to increase the speed despite the fact the more sensitive the switches are, the higher chance you get into minor problems? For instance, you can accidentally touch on one key, then the key will register too quickly which makes you have to undo the act.
Well, the answer for that is the increase in key activation will contribute enormously to game competition, where every millisecond matters. The faster your PCU receives your commands from typing, the higher speed you perform the action, so the more advantages you gain over your opponents.
Kailh Speed Silver
Kailh Speed Silver switches are one of the lightest switches of all different Kailh switches, at merely 40 gf. It is very light and outstandingly fast. Moreover, typing on the keys is almost soundless. Therefore, it’s truly suitable for gamers who compete to win.
Kailh Speed Copper
Here comes what makes Kailh more competitive than Cherry MX. Besides the speedy-up linear Silver switches, Kailh adds tactile and clicky types to their Speed collection.
The Kailh Speed Copper are tactile fast switches for those gamers who are not fond of linear feedback. If you want something with a clear bounce-back feel but still fast and smooth as hell, welcome to the Speed Copper. The switches have heavier force than the Silver by 5 gf and also a clear response sound.
Kailh Speed Bronze
The truly good Clicky feedback switches that are insanely fast – yes, they are Kailh Speed Bronze switches. The response from pressing the keys is noticeable, sharp, and crisp. In addition, the ‘clicky’ sound truly inherits the click bar method of Kailh, loud and peculiar, resulting in worthy clicky switches to choose for games’ competition.
Kailh Speed Gold
Another speedy-up Clicky switch from Kailh. What makes Kailh Speed Gold switches different from the Bronze ones is that they actuate at a higher point, at 1.4 mm and the emitted sound is ‘clacky’, not ‘clicky’. Of course, 1.4 mm is more than enough to increase the sensitivity. With a light touch and tad-dah, your key is registered. On the other hand, other aspects of those Kailh switches are the same – precise, smooth, and firm.
Kailh Low-Profile Switches
|ML Choc White||ML Choc Brown||ML Choc Red|
|Actuation Force||50 gf||50 gf||50 gf|
|Key Travel Distance||1.5 mm – 3.0 mm||1.5 mm – 3.0 mm||1.5 mm – 3.0 mm|
Kailh is indeed sensitive to the keyboard market as they fast released the Kailh Low-Profile switches right after the appearance of low-profile keyboards. To describe the low-profile keyboard, just imagine a laptop keyboard that is separated from the screen and the touchpad. Then, you can visualize the short height of the keycap and after that, you will get why those Low-Profile switches are that short.
They are not just short in height. The Kailh Low-Profile switches also have a very short travel distance from 1.5 mm to 3.0 mm, making them the second fast-response mechanical switches after the Kailh Speed lineup. That explains very much why gamers go after those switches. Moreover, they are easy to type on and the results are also more accurate.
And guess what? This Kailh lineup can last to 70 million key activations.
For those who need to listen to the sounds of different Kailh switches for whatever reasons, Mr. Sam Mohr has done you a favor.
Kailh ML Choc White
The best switches in the Low-Profile lineup for sure. Despite struggling to maintain the short height, Kailh managed to give Kailh Choc White switches the click bar technique so we can have here those extremely good clicky ones. They also did a nice job with the typing sound. The switches have a high-pitch ‘clicky’ sound which is as loud as you want from the clicky type.
Kailh ML Choc Brown
We think the Kailh Choc Brown switches do not fulfill our expectations from tactile switches. Those Kailh switches are quite scratchy when we are moving fast with our fingers. Furthermore, pressing on the Kailh tactile low-profile switches is not satisfactory at all if the discernable audible from tactile is what you want. The switches sound rather quiet.
Kailh ML Choc Red
The Kailh Choc Red switches have decent quality. They are as smooth as you expect of a linear type and moreover, they actuate precisely. Talking about the sound, we think these Kailh switches have a low ‘thocky’ sound that is nearly silent.
Kailh Silent Switches
|BOX Silent Pink||BOX Silent Brown|
|Actuation Force||35 gf||
|Key Travel Distance||1.8 mm – 3.6 mm||
1.8 mm – 3.6 mm
Notice that the spec table does not have a sound category? Well, that is because we don’t want to mention silent two times more when the names of those Kailh switches are pretty obvious.
To make the Silent switches produce the least noise when typing, Kailh attached the stem with a damping rubber to isolate the vibration and therefore, minimize the unwanted noise.
But, they think that much won’t make the Silent switches stand out, so they also included a circle-shaped box around the stem. Thanks to that, Kailh BOX Silent switches have a stability boost. In addition, the laboratory test from Kailh public the number of 80 million keystrokes. Thus, we can be sure that those switches can stay with us for a pretty long time.
Kailh BOX Silent Pink
The Kailh BOX Silent Pink switches are super-light linear ones. Normally, including the rubber can make the switches somewhat mushy and squishy, but that is not the case for those Silent Pink. They type evenly, sturdily, and somehow softly (of course since their actuation force is only 35 gf). Good Kailh switches overall.
Or, by the way, they received IP56 rating, which means they are resistant to harmful dust. Nice, right?
Kailh BOX Silent Brown
We dare to say the Kailh BOX Silent Brown switches are better tactile switches than the others in Kailh tactile collection. When you press on the keys, the tactile switches feedback strongly which is a great plus. Moreover, they are quite secure and not as scratchy as other Kailh switches. The smoothness is unexpectedly nice and the feeling when typing is one-of-a-kind.
- Quietest Mechanical Keyboard Switches for You
- Simple tips to make your mechanical keyboard quieter
- Quietest Mechanical Keyboards for the Office
Kailh Pro switches
|Pro Burgundy||Pro Purple||Pro Light Green|
|50 gf||50 gf||
|Key Travel Distance||1.7 mm – 3.6 mm||1.7 mm – 3.6 mm||
1.7 mm – 3.6 mm
|Sound||low – normal||normal – loud||
low – normal
Kailh Pro switches are the company’s attempt to bring out the best switches’ design from their two notable lineups, Kailh BOX and Kailh Speed switches. By doing that, the Kailh Pro switches have a cushioned stroke – to reduce the shock impact of inside parts contacting, and a springy return – increasing the bounce-back rate of the switches.
Since they are an enhanced version, the price is higher than most Kailh switches so our question is – Are they worth it?
Kailh Pro Burgundy
The Burgundy color is very enchanting and the quality of the Kailh Pro Burgundy switches is as good as their color is. People feedback that they love how firm and even those Kailh switches are. Typing on them is awesome as they are incredibly smooth and soft. In addition, the released sound is on the deep side and it is nice to the ear.
Kailh Pro Purple
The response rate of the Kailh Pro Purple switches is superb as we expect from the 1.7 mm actuation point. The switches perform smoothly and are not scratchy like other Kailh switches. The minor problem is that they do not feel strong enough when bottoming out. However, we think the sound is nice and noticeable.
Kailh Pro Light Green
Kailh Pro Light Green switches are once again satisfying switches like other Kailh clicky switches. In our opinion, they are the best among the three Pro switches. They bottom out nicely and are buttery smooth for a clicky switch. Moreover, in spite of keeping the discern ‘clicky’ sound, the noise is muted, making it suitable for the office environment.
Other Switches From Kailh
In this part, we will mention two different Kailh switches that are produced in partnership with other manufacturers. Let’s get into them.
When we look at the outer design, we think this is truly candy for the eyes. They have nice creamy color that fits the name well.
Kailh co-operated with NovelKeys to produce those cream candy. The switches are linear type so they are really smooth despite some scratchy feelings. In addition, they actuate at 2 mm and travel up to 4 mm like the regular line. The actuation force is on the normal to the heavy side, at 55 gf. In short, the Cream switch is a premium heavy linear switch with the usual fast response rate.
Another switch is from the coordination between Kailh and NovelKeys. They are almost identical to the Kailh Cream switches besides the inner legs. As the shape of the legs is unusual, the tactile feedback is one and only. Some even say that they are addicted to it. However, same as the Cream fellow, Kailh Blueberry switches are scratchy when typing, and so is the sound. We suggest you should keep that in mind if considering buying them.
Recommended Kailh Switches for Gaming
To choose a good Kailh switch for playing games, especially those that are fast-paced, you may want to consider the key travel distance and the actuating precision. Here is our list of good different Kailh switches for you to choose from.
- Kailh BOX White
- Kailh BOX Pale Blue
- Kailh Speed Silver
- Kailh Speed Bronze
- Kailh Speed Gold
- Kailh ML Choc White
- Kailh Pro switch lineup
Recommended Kailh Switches for Typing
For a trouble-free typing time, we suggest you need to consider the smoothness and consistency. Moreover, if you are not a skillful typist, you should choose the tactile or clicky types because the noticeably bumpy feedback can help prevent mistyping. Likewise, here is our cherry-pick Kailh switches for your wonderful typing experience:
- Kailh BOX Burnt Orange
- Kailh BOX Jade
- Kailh Speed Copper
- Kailh Speed Bronze
- Kailh ML Choc White
- Kailh Pro Light Green
- Kailh Pro Purple
- Kailh Blueberry
Kailh Mechanical Switch Lineup (Source: Glorious Gaming)
How do you pronounce Kailh?
You can pronounce them like ‘Kale’ – /kāl/.
Are Kailh Switches Good?
Yes, certainly. The Clicky collection from Kailh is fantastic and highly sought-after. Moreover, they have some different switches that even outweigh Cherry MX or Gateron such as Kailh BOX Burnt Orange or Kailh Pro version.
Are Kailh switches better than Gateron?
Not in general. They have some better products than Gateron but just that. Their tactile lines are far behind Gateron in terms of quality, except for Kailh BOX Burnt Orange. However, they have affordable Speed switches which is the lineup that Gateron doesn’t have.
Are Kailh switches better than Cherry?
Cherry MX is at the top and that fact does not change. Therefore, our answer is no. However, we think some different Kailh switches like Kailh BOX Burnt Orange or the three app-up Kailh Speed variants can beat up Cherry switches.
Which Kailh Switch is the best?
Kailh BOX Burnt Orange is the best. After it is the Kailh Pro line. They are truly good and even able to be compared with Cherry MX switches.
Is Kailh compatible with MX?
The Regular lineup is compatible with MX due to the similar stem design. The other Kailh switches are hard to use as Cherry MX’s replacement because of the different stem shapes.
Are Kailh Switches Hot-Swappable?
Yes, they are. You can use the Hot-swap sockets from Kailh for that purpose.
With all the talk, do you notice that we did not mention enough about the price? Well, for a superb quality – not as Cherry MX obviously, their prices are a true bargain. Moreover, they have long lineups with many different Kailh switches to pick from. Not only that, they have longer longevity than other switches within similar price ranges, from 60 – 80 million keystrokes.
The problem is that they tend to be very scratchy. So, you need to keep that in mind. But, some variants have tackled the issue, for example, the Low-Profile lineup, the BOX lineup, and the Pro lineup.
If you want to look for high-quality Kailh switches that are worthy of your money, pay close attention to the BOX lineup. If you want to try out premium mechanical switches, they have the Pro ones for you to pick from. And what’s more? You should not forget Kailh if clicky switches are your one and only type. We highly recommend them.
You have come so far with us. Yay! We hope you are now able to choose your ideal Kailh switches from the different switches they have offered.