Choosing the loudest keyboard switches can be particularly challenging. Typing tests are not enough. Hearing them in person is the best way to determine the loudest option. So, I bought and tested each switch beforehand, ranking them in order of decibel output.
What defines the loudest keyboard switches?
The type of switch (clicky, linear, or tactile) has a massive impact on the sound. Clicky switches are the loudest of the bunch. But did you know that not all clicky switches are the same? Their sound depends on the type of click mechanism they use.
First, we have ZealPC Clickiez, the loudest keyboard switch on this list. Unlike click-jacket switches, they use a click-leaf to generate their tactility and sound. This approach combines the reliability of an MX mechanism with an Alps SKCM click design.
Inspired by the vintage ProWorld Switch, Zeal created the world’s first 3-in-one switch. In its default clicky state, it sounds like an old typewriter—loud and crisp. Moving the click leaf forward will make them tactile, and removing it will make them linear.
Furthermore, they come in 40 and 75-gram options, with the 75 version being louder. Both options feature a POM stem, a PC top, and a PC bottom housing. The bottom uses Gateron’s reverse-stem “CAP” mold, while the top lacks an LED recess.
Next, we have the Box Jades, currently one of the loudest keyboard switches available. Kailh modified the Box Whites by adding thicker click bars. Further increasing their decibel output.
Due to their nature, they generate a crisp metallic sound in both directions. For their weight, they have a 50g actuation and a 3.60mm travel, making them middle of the road. Like other Box switches, they have an 80 million lifespan and an IP56 water/dust rating.
As for their construction, they have a POM stem, a PC top, and a nylon bottom housing. Furthermore, they come in three colors: regular, crystal, and midnight. The main difference is the bottom housing material, which becomes polycarbonate.
The NK Cream Clickies are the most unique, loud keyboard switches available. What stands out about them is the use of Kailh’s new proprietary “Snapple Cap” mechanism. Which feels almost completely linear, which is very unusual for a clicky switch.
Upon actuation, the stem hits the cap, making a “pop” sound that differs from every switch so far. The volume is milder, but it has that sharp click feel you’d expect from a click bar. It’s like a muted Box Jade, without the tactility—only clicking on the downstrokes.
Like other switches in the Cream family, they use POM for their construction. Furthermore, the weight is well balanced, with a 55g actuation and a 3.9mm travel distance.
Then there are the TKC Blackberries, a new addition to their popular fruit family. What sets them apart is their stem-click design, which is quite unusual in today’s market. With the help of Tecsee, TKC brought back the vintage Aristotle switches.
The blackberries are clearer and smoother compared to the originals. Their feel is distinct, featuring two bumps: one clicky and one silent. Their sound differs from your typical click-bar or jacket switches. Falling somewhere between and resulting in a higher-pitched, less-piercing sound.
Like other switches in the TKC family, they have a UHMWPE housing and POM stem. Their weight is on the heavier side, with a 72g actuation and a 4mm travel distance.
Finally, we have the popular Cherry MX Blues. Click-jacket switches have a bad reputation in the mechanical keyboard community. But did you know that Cherry overhauled all their switches, including the MX Blue?
Yes, these are better, but if you didn’t like the old ones, they are not for you. They are still a bit crunchy but smoother, thanks to the Krytox 205G0 applied to the stem. The new barrel-shaped spring eliminates ping, while the added rails improve the wobble.
Their weight and travel remain the same at 60g actuation and 4mm travel. As for their construction, they have a POM stem, a nylon top, and a glass-infused nylon bottom.
In short, this list highlights the loudest keyboard switches. I put the Zeal PC Clickiez at the top of my list. After that are the Kailh Box Jade and NK Cream Clickie switches.
If you’re having trouble deciding, try a switch tester kit. It can help you get a feel for the different switches’ sounds.