Searching for switches online can be tough. This is especially true if you want to save a couple of bucks. With so many choices available, finding the best budget linear switches can be a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry; to make things simple, I’ve made a list of the most affordable linear switches.
What are linear switches?
Linear switches, as the name suggests, are linear throughout the entire keypress. This makes them smoother and quieter to use. Unlike tactile or clicky switches, they don’t have a “bump” felt upon actuation.
Are budget linear switches good?
In short, yes, budget switches can perform as well as the pricier options. Choosing these budget linear switches has little to no disadvantages. In fact, it can be a smart decision to save a couple of bucks.
Now, let’s dive right in and explore the best budget linear switches!
First, we have the Wuque Studio Yellow, my personal favorite budget linear. Their premium sound and feel, coupled with their low price, make them my top choice. Currently, they beat everyone when it comes to value.
WS Yellows have a medium actuation force with a long stem pole. They are loud, sharp, and high-pitched, producing a “clacky” sound. Also, like other switches manufactured by Haimu, it comes factory-lubed.
As for the materials, they have a full nylon housing with a POM stem. With a double-stage 55g spring and a 3.8mm travel, they are a medium-weight switch. Additionally, there is a 45-gram variant called the WS Red.
The Akko V3 Cream Yellow Pro is a “Pro” version of their popular Cream Yellows, last year’s best budget linear. The Pro version tries to fix some consistency issues with the original. Making the original seem outdated.
What made the original special was how smooth they were; they felt so creamy. But the most notable thing was their sound. Their long stem allowed frequent bottom-outs, resulting in a loud ‘clacky’ sound.
The weight is pretty balanced; the 45g bottom-out and 55g bump hit the sweet spot, fitting a wide range of users. The new molds improve consistency and durability. But they still use the same materials: POM for the stem, PC for the top, and PA for the bottom.
Next, we have the Haimu Heartbeats, the quietest switch I have ever heard. Coming from a young manufacturer that recently made some awesome switches. This time they fixed the common “mushy” feel found in regular silent switches
Instead of rubber dampeners, this design uses small, spring-like feet at the bottom of the stem. This results in a much nicer, less mushy bottom-out feel. When switch collisions occur, they are able to absorb most of the sound of the impact.
They have a full nylon housing and a POM stem. The weight is pretty well-balanced, with a 65-gram bottom and a 3.8-mm total travel. Furthermore, like other modern switches, they come factory-lubed.
Next is an updated iteration of Gateron’s popular G-Pro series. The new G-Pro Yellow 3.0 is the best thus far, fixing most of the issues plaguing the previous versions. They have updated the metal contacts, also featuring a new clear top and a white base.
Like previous versions of the G-Pro, they come factory-pre-lubed. This makes them smooth right out of the box, not requiring any further modding. Also, for alternatives, you can consider the Cap V2 Yellow or the KS-3 Milky Yellow.
They have a PC top housing, a nylon bottom housing, and a POM stem. The weight is pretty well-balanced, with a 65-gram bottom and a 3.8-mm total travel. Furthermore, they have a 76g bottom-out force and a 4mm total travel.
Finally, we have the Jwick Black, made by JWK. You can say that they bring the alpaca switches to the budget market. These switches are great on their own, but lubing and filming them makes them come to life.
Once lubed, they feel very smooth, with minimal scratchiness and spring ping. The filming eliminates all the wobble, gaining a deeper sound profile. Making them great for ”thocky” keyboard builds.
Featuring a full-nylon housing with a POM stem. Like the previous switches on this list, their weight is well balanced. Offering a 58.5g bottom-out and a 4mm total travel. Furthermore, they come in a transparent RGB version, the Jwick Ice White.
In summary, today’s switch market has so many good-budget linear switches. The WS Yellows are the best, followed by the Akko V3 Cream Yellow Pro and Haimu Heartbeat.
The key is to explore your options and decide what works best for you. Don’t let the price fool you; the switches on this list prove that quality and affordability can go hand in hand.