One of the hardest things for people to deal with when they are on the computer is unnecessary noise from typing or playing a game with a keyboard. Whether it is a normal keyboard, mechanical keyboard or any other type of set up, they can be pretty loud and distracting if it is otherwise fairly quiet in the room.
The solution is for a person to either learn to deal with the noise, fix it, or find a replacement if possible. Sometimes, all keyboards make a lot of noise simply because they are worn out, but what if it is a fairly new keyboard? There are a few ways to explore options and see if it makes a difference.
Identifying the Issue
Many people need to realize that to make a keyboard as quiet as possible, identifying the current issue is the first step. There might be something that a keyboard is not handling correctly at this time, and when a keyboard is touchy, it makes everyone a little more on edge. Troubleshoot to make sure that it is an actual keyboard problem, and not just one or two keys that need replacing.
Another thing to keep in mind is how the keyboard will be used going forward. If it is for gaming, there will be certain keys that are used quite a bit more than others. If they get worn out quite a bit, it’s important to have them replaced when necessary to prevent further issues.
Finally, the placement of the keyboard could be making some annoying noise. If the keyboard does not lay flat on a surface, it has a chance to bounce around and make noises. One simple way to reduce that sound is the put a pad underneath instead of the keyboard hitting against the wood over and over again.
Making an Existing Keyboard Quieter
Buying a new keyboard should be fun and exciting for anyone who uses the computer regularly. However, nothing can dampen the mood quite like some noisy keys. Maybe they will break in a little bit and quiet down, but for the most part, noisy keys, in the beginning, will be noisy keys later on.
Instead of entirely replacing the otherwise perfect keyboard, there are some easier ways to make them a little quieter. One very easy option is tiny o-rings made of silicone meant for sealing gaskets. To quiet the keyboard, they can be placed around the stem of a key so that hitting the keyboard plate doesn’t make such a loud noise. This works very well for quieting down keyboard operation, but doesn’t address how noisy a switch itself might be.
Due to the success of the simple O-rings, there are some other products out there built specifically for switches. They are also really inexpensive and easy to install, and make sense if they work for people who don’t want to fully replace their keyboard.
If there is one lingering problem for a lot of keyboard users, it is that rattling sound when touching oversized keys. Whether it be the space bar, shift keys or something else, the best way to handle those noisy options is to apply some lube once in a while. Make sure that the lube is safe for plastic, and it’s a simple as dabbing a little bit on before going forward. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it does work.
Tips For a Silent Keyboard
Buying a Keyboard Designed to Stay Quiet
Companies understand that the demand is there for a quiet keyboard. It just doesn’t make sense to have so many advancements in technology without addressing such a simple issue. For that reason, anyone who doesn’t already have a keyboard should be looking for companies that sell virtually silent switches and entire keyboard setups.
How Can a Person Keep a Keyboard Silent?
A standard keyboard is relatively easy to keep quiet without too much additional work. The biggest issues come from people who invest in mechanical keyboards. The reason why a mechanical keyboard is loud is that each switch operates on its own spring, activating the corresponding key input for the computer. It offers a more precise use, but it also is much louder than usual keyboard setups.
For a standard keyboard, make sure that they use rubber to cover all the actuation switches. This can be very beneficial if the sound is a true problem. Just understand that there won’t be that same crisp feel when pressing certain keys that some people look for.
For a mechanical keyboard, companies have developed a new type of design that uses materials inside the mechanical housing to silence the sound as much as possible. Yes, the switch is still going to make noises, but they reduce the normal sound by 30% to 50%.
Cherry is just one company that has this new type of silent key design for people to try out. They have been in the mechanical switch game for decades, and they are always looking for ways to improve the performance and sound of the keyboard.
How Much More Should a Person Expect to Pay for a Silent Keyboard?
The good news is the prices are coming down for silent keyboards overall. People understand that there is still a very high demand, but more companies are starting to offer better technology. It’s still should be expected to pay a bit of a premium, but nothing too crazy that a person feels like they are priced out.
Are electrostatic capacitive key mechanisms significantly quieter?
Some brands use electrostatic positive key mechanisms with their keyboards. This is without question a much quieter set up than standard MX-style switches. It creates a sound that is much more subtle than the audible click that so many people are used to. Prepare to spend a good amount of money on keyboards like this, but it is one option worth exploring.
What people will notice is a different type of sound. It is more of a “thonk” or “thud” sound that is not only quieter, but a little bit more pleasant overall.
How to build a quiet keyboard from scratch
Some people enjoy building things so that they have a fully customized option. Keyboards are relatively easy to build, and picking the right set up can lead to a sound optimized keyboard that is very peaceful.
Building a keyboard allows a person to pick the right casing, the PCP they like, keycaps and more. Not only does this allow a person to change up the color and look, but there are ways to make it very silent as well.
Piecing together a keyboard is much like building anything else at home. Sure, at the end of the day, it might cost more in labor and parts than to just buy something new, but it is one-of-a-kind.
Investing in high-quality switches
A high-quality switch is generally going to be a little more silent. Some brand options, like Zealios switches from Zeal PC(c), have very quiet options. They do tend to run a bit expensive, add about one dollar per switch, but for some people, it’s worth the investment. A keyboard is something that will be used every single day, and even spending $200 on supplies is worth it to some.
Remember, it is not worth building a keyboard and using subpar parts. Investing in something a bit high in quality to feel confident about the purchase in general.
Picking the right strength
It’s important when customizing a keyboard to make sure that the right strength is picked. It might make sense to go with the lightest option available for quiet use, but it still needs to be fully functional. Go with the strength that makes the most sense for what the keyboard is used for. If it’s too light, it forces a person to press a little too hard, and that results in more noise than there needs to be.
Testing out different switches
The price of switches can get up there pretty quickly, so it’s recommended to try a few different manufacturers with a switch tester. This will be the best way to compare directly against each other, trying out the sound and feel in a customized setup.
A person can watch as many YouTube videos as they want to compare sounds, but until it is actually in a person’s home, it’s always going to be a bit different.
Just how difficult is building a customized keyboard?
As long as a person knows a little bit about soldering, building a keyboard is relatively straightforward. It can be a tedious task assembling a keyboard completely from scratch, but some people find it to be pretty relaxing.
It is also worth the hassle if it seems like a true game-changer. So many people want a silent keyboard that they can count on, and keyboards are meant to last a decent amount of time.
If there is ever a time where a person is stuck, they can always look up YouTube videos and other instructions online. There are a lot of people who have built around keyboards and have been more than impressed with the final result.
Not only can it help from a sound perspective, but getting the right feel, the right set up, the right weight of the keys and more can make life so much easier for computer users.
How long should a keyboard last?
It’s very hard to pinpoint the lifespan of a keyboard, because people use them so differently. Those who are light typers and users, in general, can experience millions and millions of keypresses without showing much wear at all.
Meanwhile, aggressive gamers and typers might only get a couple of million keypresses out of a keyboard before they become a little too worn out. Most people don’t care too much about the durability of a keyboard, as long as they get a year or more out of it.
Keep in mind that there are minor fixes that can be done if needed. For example, if one or two keys are messed up, it doesn’t take that much effort to fix them. It sure beats making an entirely new purchase.
Keeping keyboard silent
After doing all the work to ensure that a keyboard is as silent as ever, It would be naïve to think that the keyboard will stay that way forever. A lot of people struggle with keeping their keyboard silent after extended use, mostly because life gets in the way.
Keyboards are notorious for holding onto dirt, grime, food crumbs, germs and more. It is impossible to keep a keyboard completely clean, but doing routine maintenance is going to help a lot.
All it takes is one crumb from food to get lodged underneath a key to make it a lot noisier than ever before. The same goes for spilling just a little bit of a drink. Make sure to handle any issues quickly and efficiently, because no one wants to have them linger around for long periods of time.
Have some basic cleaning supplies available at all times for quick cleanups. Not only do wipes and dust rags help a lot, but so does compressed air to get certain things dislodged. As long as a little bit of maintenance is done throughout the week, things won’t get too bad.
Why a silent keyboard matters
Until a person has a noisy keyboard, they don’t really realize what type of problems they can cause. It’s frustrating for anyone to deal with, and the sound goes away by itself. Usually, there is something that has gone wrong, and it needs to be addressed.
Quiet keyboards can improve day-to-day life not only for those using it, but those around as well. Having a noisy keyboard in an otherwise quiet room will prove to be very distracting. It’s virtually impossible to use a keyboard like this in the library quiet study area without getting some dirty looks from others trying to focus. Put in the time and effort to find a solution, and save hours of frustration later on.