What Makes A Mechanical Keyboard Last Longer Than Other Keyboards?

By Rob Orr / Last updated: Nov 30, 2023


Most mass market keyboards are made from cheap plastic and rubber and designed to be pretty much disposable and easily replaceable. These inexpensive materials wear down pretty quickly over a relatively short period of time, making the whole keyboard itself a toss-and-replace commodity.

However, that’s not the case with mechanical keyboards. In fact, it turns out that mechanical keyboards are far more durable than most people realize.

Mechanical keyboards last longer than other keyboards on the market because they are built with physical switches, metal casings, and high quality plastics that are chosen for performance and endurance over time. 

Mechanical keyboards are great because they offer a lot of tactile feedback as well as audible acoustic feedback.

The benefits of a mechanical keyboard vs. other keyboards are far more extensive than just the tactile experience, precision typing experience, auditory and physical feedback, and RGB lighting features.

They’re built for performance and long life. The mechanical switches alone are built to endure hundreds of thousands of keypresses, and that’s just the switches themselves!

In this guide we’ll be going over everything you need to know about mechanical keyboard lifespan and maintenance. We’ll cover what makes mechanical keyboards different from other types of keyboards, why they tend to have better durability, and what you should look out for when buying a new keyboard.

By the way – 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, Battle Station Setup here.

Do Mechanical Keyboards Last Longer Than Regular Keyboards?

Do Mechanical Keyboards Last Longer Than Regular Keyboards?

Mechanical keyboards last a lot longer than traditional membrane keyboards.

Membrane keyboards tend to wear down after just a couple years of use.

As an example, my Macbook Pro, which I regularly use to build this site and is only a 2-3 years old, is already having substantial problems with input quality from its laptop keyboard.

On the other hand, mechanical keyboards, like my Keychron K10 that I use with my iMac, are engineered for heavy usage and can easily last 10-20 years.

It’s worth noting that mechanical keyboards aren’t usually cheaper than membrane keyboards, but it’s the type of keyboard you want when you’re looking for something that will deliver quality, consistent performance over a period of time.

Mechanical keyboards are built using individual switches rather than membranes, which means they’re less susceptible to wear and tear and don’t get worn out like membrane keyboards do.

This means you’ll spend less money replacing them and they’ll last longer. If you’re looking to buy a new keyboard, consider buying one with Cherry MX switches instead of those made by other companies. These switches are known for standing up well under heavy usage, being durable and reliable.

Why do Mechanical Keyboards Last So Long?

Why do Mechanical Keyboards Last So Long?

Mechanical keyboards last much longer than other keyboards because they’re designed to withstand heavy usage and abuse.

The keyboard manufacturer specifically endeavors to create the type of keyboard that’s built to be durable,  and high-performing so they don’t break down easily like cheaper models.

Mechanical keyboard design along with the mechanical switch itself have evolved greatly since the “dark ages” of buckling spring keyboards of the 70s and 80s. Today, there are several different designs available, each with their own unique features and benefits.

They’re also made out of materials that are resistant to wear and tear, so they don’t require frequent replacement.

Mechanical keyboards are also built to be ergonomic, meaning that they fit comfortably in your hands and give you a good typing experience.

Because of these factors, mechanical keyboards tend to last a lot longer than other keyboards.

In addition, to all these things, mechanical keyboards are highly modular which means that if something actually does wear out or break you can replace it, or upgrade it if you don’t like the way it currently works.

Let’s talk more about that.

What Parts Can You Replace On A Mechanical Keyboard?

What Parts Can You Replace On A Mechanical Keyboard?

When you’re buying a mechanical keyboard, there are several parts that are easily replaceable.

That is, if the mech keyboard you have is a hot-swappable keyboard.

Want to learn more? Click here to learn more about what is a hot-swappable keyboard and why it’s so important to know the difference.

Among the things you can switch out or replace are include the mechanical keyboard switches and keycaps.

Switches are the mechanical parts that connect the keys to the keyboard circuit board. And to get the greatest life from them, they need to be lubricated at least somewhat regularly to prevent them from sticking when pressed down.

Another part that you can change out on your mechanical keyboard are the keycaps. Keycaps are the plastic pieces that cover each key and display the character on top.

Many keyboards use black keycaps, but some manufacturers offer colored options, and some options, like some double-shot keycaps can be illuminated with an RGB key switch.

In addition, one of the great things about many keyboards is that many are available with detachable cables.

That means if your power or charging cable goes bad you don’t have to replace your entire keyboard.

Repairing a mechanical keyboard is fairly simple. All you need is a hot-swappable keyboard, a key-puller tool and your new key switches.

If your keyboard isn’t a hot-swappable keyboard and you still want to change out the components, you will have to solder and desolder them from the PCB.

To replace a switch, simply remove the switch plate and slide off the switch. Then, solder the replacement switch onto the PCB. Finally, replace the switch plate and tighten the screws.

What Features Make a Mechanical Keyboard Last Longer?

What Features Make a Mechanical Keyboard Last Longer?

The answer is simple: mechanical keyboards last longer because they’re made out of durable materials and designed to withstand wear and tear.

The answer is simple. Mechanical keyboards last longer because they’re made of durable materials.

Most mechanical keyboards use metal cases and PBT keycaps. Metal cases are strong and water-resistant, while PBT keycaps are scratch-proof and long lasting.

While there are many different types of mechanical keyboards out there, the most popular ones are the Cherry MX Red switches and the Kailh Brown switches. Both are great choices, but the Cherry MX Red switches are probably the most popular.

If you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard, consider getting a splashed-resistant model. Splash resistance means the keyboard won’t get damaged when accidentally dropped in water.

Another reason mechanical keyboards last longer is because they require no batteries. Batteries wear out over time, causing keys to stop working. Mechanical keyboards don’t need batteries because they work through direct contact between the switch and the key.

Another feature that makes mechanical keyboards last longer is that they use removable cables for power and connectivity. A detachable power cable means that if you lose or damage the cable, you won’t have to buy a whole new keyboard.

Mechanical keyboards are designed and engineered to stand up to a lot of use and for use over extended periods of time.

How Long Do Gaming Keyboards Last?

How Long Do Gaming Keyboards Last?

Gaming keyboards last anywhere from five to ten years depending on the model and the usage.

The most important thing to consider when considering how long your gaming keyboard is going to last is really more related to the number of expected keypresses over a period of time.

As I mentioned previously, the mechanical switch itself is engineered to endure from 50 to 100 million keypresses so it’s unlikely that your keyboard will ever fail due to this factor alone.

Some keyboard switches are designed specifically for gaming, while other key switches are designed to be used by more traditional roles like typing and programming.

A keyboard for gaming can be a little different in its configuration and setup than other types of mechanical keyboards.

That means a gaming keyboard will have different features like dedicated macro buttons, game mode settings, and special lighting effects.

In reality, they can be totally different types of keyboards, but they will use the same basic mechanical keyboard switch, it’s just that the features will be different.

Most gamers prefer mechanical keyboards over membrane keyboards because they feel much better, and they tend to last longer.

Mechanical keyboards require a lot of force to activate, so they don’t wear down easily. Membrane keyboards are cheap, but they just aren’t as good. They tend to break down faster and often fail after only one year. Mechanical keyboards are also quieter than membrane keyboards, which is great for those who play games at night.

How Long Do RGB Keyboards Last?

How Long Do RGB Keyboards Last?

RGB keyboards last anywhere from two years to five years depending on how much you use them. Once again, it’s the switch type you choose that will make the most difference in the longevity of your keyboard’s life.

As with anything, the more you use it the more stress and load you’re putting on it, so it would last longer if you spend a lot of time on your keyboard.

That said, even though nothing lasts forever, they should last more than long enough for you to get all you can out of them before you need to replace anything.

Regular maintenance is always a good idea, so it’s always best to keep your RGB keyboard clean by wiping them down regularly with a damp cloth. You can also try using a cleaning solution like Simple Green to remove any dirt or grime.

Next Steps

Join others who are creating the most amazing home offices and get more tips, tricks and hacks on how to make your home office the best it can be!

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Rob Orr

Rob is a graduate of Florida State University and the founder and Senior Editor of HomeOfficeHacks.com, a website dedicated to helping people navigate the unique challenges of working from home. As a remote working veteran with over 10 years of experience, Rob has developed a deep understanding of the strategies and solutions that can help people thrive in this environment. He is a respected expert in the field, renowned for his clear, engaging, and informative content. An award-winning web designer, developer, and digital marketer, Rob is also the owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties. His dedication, resourcefulness, and creativity have earned him a reputation as a respected leader in the remote work and digital media communities, inspiring others through his work and passion for lifelong learning.

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