If you have or consider having mechanical keyboards, ‘how long does a mechanical keyboard last’ is something you need to know for sure. Well, no one wants to waste money on something that cannot be with them for a good long time anyway. In this article, we will guide you through the average lifespan of […]
How Long Does a Mechanical Keyboard Last and How to Make it Last Longer?
If you have or consider having mechanical keyboards, ‘how long does a mechanical keyboard last’ is something you need to know for sure. Well, no one wants to waste money on something that cannot be with them for a good long time anyway.
In this article, we will guide you through the average lifespan of a mechanical keyboard and how to maximize the time it lasts with you. So, stay tuned.
The lifespan of a mechanical keyboard
As an obvious fact, the more expensive the mechanical keyboard is, the longer the time it can last.
For a price within $10 - $20, the keyboard lifespan is around 3 - 5 years.
For a keyboard made of high-quality materials and key switches like Cherry MX, it can withstand 50 million keystrokes, making the keyboard longevity 10 - 15 years.
The above figure makes you wonder ‘how long do mechanical keyboards last?’ if it reaches 80 million keystrokes. And, our answer is a mechanical keyboard lifespan of up to 20 years. It is almost like a lifetime guarantee!
Apart from that, how long keyboards last can lessen or extend based on the way you use them. Whether or not you are a heavy typist? Or, do you use your mechanical keyboard with care?
It’s worth mentioning ‘how long do backlit keyboards last’ because many of you enjoy the beautiful lighting effects. Unfortunately, keyboard led lifespan is less than normal by a whisker but the led lights are much shorter, from 4 - 6 years.
What makes mechanical keyboards last so long?
It’s time to explore the inside building, hence, we can unfold the mystery behind mechanical keyboard longevity.
First, we will take a look inside the mass-produced membrane keyboard. Every keycap is connected to a silicone rubber dome whose elasticity can degrade after a short amount of use time. Therefore, the membrane keyboard tends to wear off very soon, meaning a short keyboard lifespan.
Then, we will turn to what makes the mechanical keyboard longevity different from a membrane senior. Instead of a rubber dome, each keycap of the mechanical keyboard will work separately thanks to its mechanical switch.
Since mechanical switches operate due to activated circuits caused by the contact of metal parts, they can work for a decently long time until the metal abrase. 100 million keystrokes will be the answer for ‘how long do Cherry MX switches last’. Thus, that is the reason why mechanical keyboards last so long.
How to Make Mechanical Keyboards Last Longer?
As we have mentioned how you care for them can decide ‘how long do the keyboards last’, here are the significant factors you should know to lengthen your time together.
Regular check-ups and cleanings are sure to make your mechanical keyboard live like a senior turtle. Once a month is an ideal number but it could be quite a hassle. Therefore, we recommend you do the maintenance every 6 weeks or 8 weeks. Try not to be lazy and postpone longer than the number 8, alright?
How to do the checkup:
- Select Control Panel -> System -> Open Device Manager -> Scan for hardware changes.
- Wait for the scanning done.
- If there is an error, right-click the error to see the detail.
How to do a quick cleaning:
- Unplug the keyboard.
- Remove the dust and dirt by holding it upside down and shaking it gently.
- Or, you can get rid of the filths with a handheld vacuum or a slime.
- Use a microfiber towel to remove stains and return the keyboard to its shiny.
We have more tips for you to be a clean fairy for your keyboard longevity. Care to read? Check out this step by step keycap and keyboard cleaning guide.
Do keyboards wear out after a long time? Yes, definitely, like any other device. Hence, there would be some problems waiting for you.
But, don’t worry. If your keyboard meets some minor issues, you can fix it yourself or have technicians do the job for you. Here we will mention some easy fixes that you can perform at home.
Your keyboard does not respond? Try to unplug and plug in for once. If this does not work, maybe it’s time to update the firmware or change the battery.
Typing on the keys results in a weird sound or abnormal feelings? There is a high chance that dirt or small things are stuck under your keyboard. Take them out or perform a whole cleaning.
These problems are not very difficult but require a lot of work to do. They are mostly related to the keyswitches so you need to have some skills.
Does a keycap get stuck or not work? Pull that keycap out to see what causes the problem. Something gets in-between? Then, removing it is enough. If there is dirt, blow it out.
The switches are just broken? Hah, a worst-case scenario for you since you need to find the replacement and learn how to change them.
If you need to press the keycaps very strongly to register, maybe the PCB (printed circuit board) has built up a thick layer of dust. To solve it, you have to make the PCB clean. And, it means disassembling the whole keyboard just to reach that part.
Easily Replaced Parts on your Mechanical Keyboard – Make it Last Longer
A good thing about a mechanical keyboard is you can alter the problematic part with a new one. Below is a quick preview of components that can be found a replacement, leading to prolonging the lifespan of mechanical keyboards.
|How to replace
|Key Cap - Easy
|A small cover above a keyswitch where you place your fingers to type.
|Keyswitch/ Switch - Medium
|A small box with a stem and pins that triggers the keyboard.
|Stabilizer - Easy
|A component is placed under large keypresses like a spacebar to keep it stable.
|PCB - Difficult
|A large metal sheet that holds everything.
|Case - Medium
|The physical part that you have contact with.
As they are the secret behind ‘how long do mechanical keyboards last’, you can feel relieved that there is no need to change the switches often.
First, make sure to check the design, pin’s size, and mount type of your mechanical switches to get the right ones.
Second, see whether your keyboard is hot-swappable. If then, check out this article ‘The Secret of Mechanical Keyboard Switches’ for a detailed guide.
If not, then things will get quite difficult. You will have to desolder the old one, then will mount and solder the new one. Here is a video for you to watch the steps.
- What are the best keycap pullers and how to make one?
- How to Film Switches on a Mechanical Keyboard?
- How to Lube Keyboard Switches: A Step-By-Step Guide
Keycaps are likely to wear off faster than anything since they are made of plastic. For example, faded characters or thinner plastic. You can learn more about them and their problems by reading ‘An Inside Look At Keycaps’.
But, don’t worry as they are very easy to replace.
First, you check out the specs of your keycaps to place the right order. The good thing is there are places receiving custom-keycap orders.
Second, you just need to pull the old cap out and put the new one on until you hear a ‘click’. And yes, it’s done.
If you have a habit of pressing strongly or in the wrong place, the stabilizer inside the large keys such as the spacebar, enter, and shift will gradually bend over after a long time.
But, it’s easy to buy the new one and replace it. You just have to unclip the broken stabilizer and clip the new one. After that, everything is good to go.
To change the case, you first and foremost have to find the screws to take them out. Then, you can remove the PCB, the plate, and the switches from the old case.
After that, put them on a new case and secure everything before closing it. Tah-dah! Your keyboard now has a new appearance.
You can watch the video for virtual instruction. Enjoy!
This is the hardest part that requires you to dismantle everything, from the case to the switches. And then, you have to put everything into its place. If you are not confident, you can ask for pro and that goes with the money.
But, if you still want to give it a try, try to follow this tutorial on how to remove and assemble PCB on a Keychron keyboard.
Upgrades to increase the longevity of your keyboard
To ensure the mechanical keyboard longevity is the longest as possible, you should consider these parts before making any purchasing decision.
Detachable Power Cable
If your keyboard’s cable is detachable, you can change the broken one with a new-bought cable or simply have them fixed. That results in a mechanical keyboard lifespan lengthening.
For a mechanical keyboard with a non-detachable cable, say hello to your new-bought keyboard in case the cable goes wrong one day.
Splash-resistant or Water-resistant keyboard
Do you know who the deadly enemy of a mechanical keyboard is? Water. Once the water or high moisture touches the vulnerable PCB or switches, it will slowly ‘gnaw’ your keyboard’s life.
And, are you confident that you will never spill any liquid forms on your keyboard? Or, do you believe in yourself to never drink coke or place a cup of water near your keyboard?
I know you now know the importance of having a splash-resistant keyboard. Let us impress you with a cool water-resistant demonstration from Corsair K68.
Aluminum Keyboard Case for Max Protection
The case is what protects the inner parts like sensitive PCB from rough use and potential threats. Hence, there is no doubt that a solid case can lengthen the mechanical keyboard's longevity.
Usually, you can find affordable keyboards mostly made of plastic. On the good side, they are cheap, light, and flexible. On the downside, they can bend or scratch quite fast.
That is why most high-end keyboards out there are made of aluminum. The highest-price ones are marketed with ‘aircraft-grade aluminum.
This material is amazingly sturdy and durable. It can take physical threats from outside and handle abuses very well, resulting in your keyboard and its components being safe and long-last.
Same as the case, the higher the keycap quality is, the more durable it is. So, don’t hold back to choose good materials. As a suggestion, you can check out ‘Best keycaps to upgrade your keyboard’ to know where to come for trustworthy keycaps.
Some most used materials for keycaps are ABS, PBT, and resin.
ABS is cheap and allows the RGB lights to shine vividly. However, they tend to wear off very fast.
In contrast, PBT keycaps are more expensive but the durability is not deniable What’s more? They will not be greasy after a long time as ABS keycaps are. For a thorough comparison, read this ‘ABS vs PBT keycaps: which is better for you?’
Unlike the misconception, the resin is a fairly durable material for a good keycap. Moreover, you can shape it easily to have your own custom keycap if you have a proper mold.
The apparent benefit of having resin keycaps is the aesthetics. Your mechanical keyboard’s look will be upgraded with the beautiful craftwork that has your personal mark.
Less RBG Lighting
RGB lighting is genuinely beautiful when the light’s out. It gives you more chill and excitement to tap on the keyboard throughout the night.
Nonetheless, the issue of ‘how long do backlit keyboards last’ will be affected by the extra light bulbs.
The first reason is that with more things added to your keyboard, more things need to be taken care of. Hence, more problems for you and your keyboard led lifespan.
Secondly, when the light bulbs die out, they will die sooner than other components. This leads you to a choice between leaving them be or disassembling everything just to introduce the new lighting.
To learn more about the issue, you can watch the video below as it explains everything thoroughly.
Summary table on upgrades for a longer-lasting keyboard
What To Upgrade
|Able to replace the good new one
|Protective from liquid threats
Protective from rough use or potential physical harms
|PBT keycaps/ Resin keycaps
|Less RGB lighting
Annoying to replace the broken lights
Wrapping things up
In conclusion, a good mechanical keyboard can be with you for about a decade or two. Additionally, you can change the damaged part with a new one easy to make it last longer.
Also, you may want to consider the case and keycap materials, power case, and no RGB light for an ultimate lifetime.
If you want to make a note for later references, use our summary table to remember important aspects related to mechanical keyboard longevity.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does a Mechanical Keyboard Last?
Mechanical keyboards can last from 5 to 20 years based on the prices and some other elements such as how you use them.
Do RGB keyboards last longer?
Unfortunately, an RGB keyboard cannot last very long. Once the lights wear off and they tend to do that soon, you need to open everything to revive the RGB effects or just forget they were once there.
How long does a gaming keyboard last?
A gaming keyboard is basically a mechanical keyboard so the lifespan will be the same. However, they usually have RGB effects and are the subject of intense use. Thus, the longevity is likely to be shortened compared to other mechanical keyboards.
How long does a Logitech keyboard last?
With good maintenance, a Logitech keyboard can last between 5 - 10 years.