Are Membrane Keyboards Good For Gaming?

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Jun 18, 2022

Are membrane keyboards good for gamers? Do they make keypresses faster or slower? Will a membrane keyboard have a negative effect on my performance?

Membrane keyboards are just as good for typing and gaming as a mechanical keyboard. They are comfortable to use and will get the job done. However, most gamers prefer mechanical keyboards over membrane ones because of the feel, speed and accuracy.

But do they work as well as a mechanical keyboard?

Now that’s a different question and that’s what we’re going to talk about in this post.

Real quick, before we get too far into it here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and want to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

Are membrane keyboards good for gaming?

Yes, you can use a membrane keyboard for gaming just as easily as you can use a mechanical keyboard.

It’s highly unlikely, unless you’re an elite level professional gamer, that the keyboard you use is going to have any real difference in your performance in any given game.

Even then, it’s subtle differences that are making the difference for those people.

For gamers, it’s all about the experience you’re having.

It’s about keypress accuracy. It’s about auditory and tactile feedback.

And those things are characteristic of mechanical gaming keyboards.

So what does that mean for a membrane keyboard?

It doesn’t really mean anything.

You can still be an epic gamer and use a membrane keyboard.

The biggest factor that contributes to your gaming success is your skills – not your equipment.

What are membrane keyboards?

A membrane keyboard is one where the keys are activated by a flexible membrane made from plastic or rubber that registers keypresses by establishing a connection via an electric switch instead of using a spring-loaded mechanism like mechanical keyboard use.

The actuation force needed to register a keystroke and operate a membrane keyboard is comparable to that of a mechanical keyboard and the distance that a key on membrane keyboard has to travel to register the stroke is quite a bit less too (although there are now a wide selection of shallower low-profile and ultra low-profile mechanical switches available).

Membrane keyboards are known for being a good deal quieter than their mechanical counterparts.

In addition, membrane keyboards are less expensive than mechanical keyboards.

How do I know if a membrane keyboard is better for me?

Some users prefer the feel of membrane keys while others prefer the feel of mechanical keys. If you are interested in trying out a membrane keyboard, here are a few tips to help you decide which type is right for you.

The best way to find out if a membrane keyboard is right for you is to try it out and see how well it works for you.

  • How does it feel?
  • How well do keypresses register?
  • Is it giving you the tactile feedback you want?
  • Are you having problems with N-key rollover in gaming situations, or not?

If it feels good, and operates they way you want it to work, then you’re in a good place and using a membrane keyboard can work well for you.

What’s the difference between membrane keyboards and mechanical keyboards?

Membrane keyboards are the most widely used type of keyboard today. You may not realize it, but there are actually three types of membrane keyboards.

Most of us are familiar with the standard membrane keyboard, which looks similar to any laptop keyboard.

Another common type of membrane keyboard is the USB keypad, which is commonly found on older mobile phones. This type of keyboard uses an array of small rubber pads that cover the keys.

And there are even membrane gaming keyboards available now for those who prefer the feel of the shorter key-travel and don’t want the noise associated with a mechanical keyboard.

The HyperX Alloy Core is a good example of this kind of membrane gaming keyboard.

Mechanical keyboards are quite a bit different.

Mechanical keyboards operate completely differently than membrane keyboards because each individual key requires its own moving piece.

This makes them much more durable than membrane keyboards. For example, the actuation point on the key on a membrane keyboard is located under the surface of the key itself.

If you press too hard on the key, it could potentially cause damage to the plastic membrane inside of your keyboard.

On the other hand, the distance a key has to travel to register a keystroke is much shorter in most instances, making them a bit easier to use – especially if you’re used to using a laptop style keyboard.

Mechanical keyboards take a little time to get used to using if you’re not familiar with them.

In addition, the switches themselves are made out of different kinds of plastic and metal, so they are far more durable than rubber membranes.

However, when compared to membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards tend to be heavier and bulkier. Because of their size, these keyboards are best suited for desktop computers.

Mechanical keyboards are often referred to as “gaming” keyboards, but they’re not just for gamers.

Many companies market these keyboards specifically towards gamers. Gaming keyboards are designed to provide a better typing experience for those who spend long periods of time playing video games.

The design of gaming keyboards favors ergonomics over aesthetics.

For example, instead of using regular, standard style keycaps, some gaming keyboards feature RGB backlit keycaps, double-shot transparent keycaps, black plastic knobs and a variety of different colored buttons.

As mentioned before, these keyboards are bulkier than other types of keyboards.

However, they are extremely durable and can last longer than regular keyboards.

What are the pros and cons of membrane keyboards?

Membrane keyboards are going to be the most common type of keyboard you encounter in the mass market for sure.

For instance, when you buy a new PC, the keyboard provided by the manufacturer is almost certainly going to be a membrane keyboard.

So what are the pros of a membrane keyboard?

  • The design is simpler. There are substantially fewer moving parts and they’re overall far less complex tools than mechanical keyboards
  • Even when you’re typing at high-speeds , membrane keyboards make substantially less noise than other types.
  • Because they are composed of primarily of plastic, rather than metal, they are lighter than conventional mechanical keyboards.
  • A membrane keyboard is usually not as large or tall as a mechanical keyboard.
  • You can get a quality membrane keyboard at a reasonable price because it uses materials developed for mass market appeal

Are there any cons to a membrane keyboard?

  • They’re usually not designed with gaming or high-performance in mind
  • N-key rollover can be a problem in gaming situations
  • They’re not nearly as durable as mechanical keyboards
  • Membrane keyboards don’t provide the auditory and tactile feedback that mechanical keyboard users love
  • The keycaps are much more prone to wear and tear
  • They don’t have the life expectancy of higher quality mechanical keyboards

Who should buy a membrane keyboard?

Membrane keyboards are great for people who are concerned about noise levels in the office.

If you sit next to someone who’s using a mechanical keyboard and all you hear all day is the click-clack of a mechanical keyboard coming from your neighbor it could get really annoying, so in a traditional office scenario, a membrane keyboard may be a better option for you.

Membrane keyboards are also great for typists and programmers who prefer to use a keyboard that doesn’t need a long keypress to register. The greater depth associated with most mechanical keyboards can be rough on your wrists, and make for a less than pleasant typing experience if you’re not used to using a mechanical keyboard.

They’re also great for people who are using tablets as their primary computer and need to type a lot on-the-go. This could be a situation where you’re working on your iPad from a coffee shop, or in a library where you need to be very quiet, but still need to use an external keyboard.

Membrane keyboards are also great for people who want something simple and easy to use. Membrane keyboards are typically easier to learn how to use than mechanical keyboards.

They’re also less suitable for gaming than standard mechanical keyboards because they’re not designed to deliver high-performance in the same way the mechanical gaming keyboard is.

Membrane keyboards are great for people who want to type on an iPad but don’t want to use Apple’s on-screen keyboard.

They are also quieter, which makes them ideal for people who are concerned about the noise level that typing will generate, whether in a home office or a traditional office.

Membrane keyboards are great for people who are always on-the-go. They’re ideal for those who need to type quickly and efficiently. However, they’re not as durable as conventional mechanical keyboards.

Who should buy a mechanical keyboard?

Mechanical keyboards are great for anyone who wants to level up their gaming experience and are looking for next-level performance on their work computer.

Gamers, typists and developers love the precision performance that comes from using a mechanical keyboard.

Mechanical keyboards are built to withstand the rigors of heavy usage and abuse.

One of the biggest benefits that mechanical keyboard users experience is that they give you the best possible tactile response and sound. They’re also very durable and long lasting.

Mechanical keyboards come in many different sizes (like a 100%, 65 keyboard, tenkeyless, etc), shapes and colors. You can find one that suits your needs perfectly.

Mechanical keyboards are also far more durable than standard ones, which makes them ideal for professional users. And they’ll provide better performance and feel than a membrane keyboard.

Can you use membrane keyboards for gaming?

You can definitely use a membrane keyboard for gaming.

The gaming experience you’re having is the important factor here.

Playing any game on a membrane keyboard won’t put you at a significant disadvantage just because it’s a membrane keyboard and not a mechanical keyboard.

The major benefit of mechanical keyboards over membrane keyboards is that they provide greater tactile feedback which helps you train yourself for more precision control, knowing by feel whether or not a key has been registered.

With a mechanical keyboard there are also far fewer cases of key ghosting which, in some gaming circumstances can be a big deal.

Mechanical keyboards are available at a wide variety of price points, so if you have the budget, picking up a mechanical keyboard is a great idea.

If you don’t have the budget, a membrane keyboard will not keep you from becoming a great player – thee most important factor is your level of your talent.

Next Steps

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Robert David Orr

I'm an award-winning web designer & developer, creator, an all-around digital marketing guy and, most importantly when it comes to this site, a long-time veteran of the working from home life. My work from home life spans more than 10 years, and I've experimented with just about everything you can think of when it comes to getting the most out of my home office, how to work from home without going crazy, and found solutions to the numerous challenges that those of us who work from home run into in this life.

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