How To Make a Gaming Keyboard Quiet
Do you sometimes find yourself struggling with the sound level of your keyboard? While the sound from a gaming keyboard can effectively provide good typing feedback, it may become a source of irritation for those around you, as gaming keyboards can be quite loud. We discuss practical steps that can help you solve this problem and make your gaming keyboard quiet.
To make a gaming keyboard quiet, attend to the rattling of the inner keyboard plastics, install a buffer between the keyboard and the desk, change the switches and keycaps used on the gaming keyboard, sort out the stickiness of the switches, and fix the key stabilizers.
A gaming keyboard may be noisy because of the following potential issues:
Issue 1. The Rattling Effect of the Keyboard Plastics
A gaming keyboard like this may become loud if the space in the keyboard between the keys is big. As we press the keys of our keyboard, the inner keyboard plastics vibrate and rub against each other. This friction produces a sound that is not too loud. However, if the space in the keys is big, the sound gets transformed into an echo, which becomes audible. To fix this issue, just reduce the space inside the keys. This will absorb the friction-induced sound of the keyboard plastics.
Issue 2. The Lack of a Buffer Between the Desk and the Keyboard
Similar to the amplification of sound by empty keycap spaces, a lack of buffer between the keyboard and the desk will usually amplify the sound that comes out of a gaming keyboard. Hence, it is necessary for keyboards not to be placed directly on the work desk. Instead, they need to be placed on a desk mat. A desk mat like this will serve as a cushion, reducing the sound that may be produced due to the friction between the desk and the gaming keyboard.
Issue 3. The Type of Switches Used in the Gaming Keyboard
Switches are mechanisms underneath keycaps that allow the keypresses of the user to be registered. The kind of switch used underneath the keycaps will often determine how silent or noisy keypresses will be. If the switches are silent like these, keypresses will be quiet. However, loud switches like these will often produce loud or noisy keypresses.
There are three different types of switches used in gaming keyboards: Clicky, tactile, and linear switches, as we explain in our guide to different types of gaming keyboard switches. Each of these switches has a different sound and tactile feedback. The clicky switches produce the loudest noise, but they have the best tactile feedback. The tactile switches produce moderate noise and have good tactile feedback. On the other hand, linear switches produce zero noise, and they have the least tactile feedback.
Depending on the type of switches used in your gaming keyboard, you can change them if you dislike their sound and tactile feedback. This is only possible for keyboards with hot-swappable switches, as these kinds allow you to easily change the switches in them.
To learn more about different mechanical keyboard switches, check out our guide on the ten best keyboard switches for mechanical keyboards.
At this point, you may also find interest in gaming keyboard hot-swappable switches. If so, be sure to read our related article to find out more. Also, you may want to learn the differences between a gaming keyboard and a keypad. It could be that the benefits of one outweigh the others.
Issue 4. The Type of Keycaps Used on the Gaming Keyboard
A keycap is a small plastic cover placed on top of the switches, which identifies the letters, numbers, and symbols of a keyboard. Two main types of plastics are used to make keycaps: ABS and PBT. ABS keycaps are cheaper, thinner, and produce more noise while typing, while PBT keycaps are more expensive, thicker, and produce less noise. So, the keycaps can determine how silent or noisy your gaming keyboard will be.
Issue 5. Sticky Switches or Switches with Inconsistent Actuation Force
Dirt and other particles may get stuck underneath the switches of a keyboard. When this happens, the switches underneath the keycaps may become sticky. A switch is considered sticky if it doesn’t return to its original position after being pressed. This can cause a loud sound when typing.
To fix this issue, simply clean and lubricate the keycaps. Check out our article that provides quick fixes if your gaming keyboard is not working for more tips on troubleshooting keyboard issues.
Inconsistent actuation force refers to switches that require varying levels of pressure to actuate or register a keystroke. This can make the keyboard feel unresponsive, leading to increased noise levels as the user types harder or more erratically to compensate. To address this issue, it may be necessary to replace the faulty switches with new ones and make sure that they are of high quality and have a consistent actuation force.
Issue 6. Unstable Stabilizers
Stabilizers like these are mechanisms found under the keycaps of larger keys, such as the space bar, enter key, backspace, and shift key. They ensure that these large keys are balanced and fixed in a firm position, preventing these larger keys from shaking or rattling during typing. If these larger keys become noisy to press, then it may be a sign that the stabilizers have become unstable.
You may also find interest in learning how to optimize keyboard hand placement. Be sure to read our related article to find out more information.
Practical Tips To Make a Gaming Keyboard Quiet
Having discussed some causes of loudness in a gaming keyboard, it is now time for us to consider some practical tips to make a gaming keyboard quiet.
To make a gaming keyboard quiet, add foam inside the keyboard, use a desk mat, replace loud switches, install rubber O-rings, lubricate the switches, and mod the stabilizers.
These are tips that could help to make your gaming keyboard quiet:
Tip 1. Add Foam Inside the Keyboard
Adding foam inside the keyboard can help dampen the sound of the switches and stabilize the keycaps, resulting in a quieter typing experience. Adding special foam like this inside a keyboard will reduce the space inside a keyboard and prevent the echo of vibrating keyboard plastic.
According to this article from Switch and Click, some of the best foams that can be added inside a keyboard include Sorbothane, neoprene, and shelf-liner. You just need to unscrew the keyboard and add the foam between the PCB and the bottom case. This process may seem very easy, but it’s important to be careful to avoid damaging the keyboard. Check out this YouTube video tutorial to see exactly how it is done.
Tip 2. Use a Desk Mat
When a gamer hits the keyboard keys vigorously, the keyboard vibrates, producing noise and increasing the overall sound output. To help reduce the noise and vibrations, a desk mat like this or other soft material can be placed between the keyboard and the desk. This will help absorb some of the impacts and reduce the amount of noise produced, even when typing rapidly. When using a desk mat, make sure it covers most of the area where the keyboard will be placed for optimal noise reduction.
You may also be interested in our guide to gaming keyboard installation. If so, be sure to read our related article for more details.
Tip 3. Replace the Loud Switches
The type of switches used in a gaming keyboard can greatly affect the amount of noise produced during use. Linear switches tend to have the quietest sound, while clicky switches produce the loudest sound. Tactile switches fall somewhere in between. If your gaming keyboard has loud switches, replacing them with quieter switches can significantly affect the noise level.
However, it’s important to know that switch replacement is only possible for hot-swappable keyboards. If you're not familiar with the process, it’s best to seek the help of an expert to avoid damaging your keyboard or check our step-by-step guide on how to replace keyboard switches.
Tip 4. Install Rubber O-rings
O-rings like these are made of an elastic material and are normally installed to reduce the noise or sound level of keyboards. They come in different colors and are usually installed on the stem of the switches underneath the keycaps. All you need to do is remove the keycaps and slide the O-rings onto the switches. Since O-rings are very effective in reducing the sound or noise level of your keyboard, you can try them and see how the sound of your keyboard is improved. This article from Glorious Gaming serves as a comprehensive beginner’s guide to understanding and using mechanical keyboard O-rings.
Tip 5. Lubricate the Switches
When dirt and other foreign particles find their way to the switches which are underneath the keycaps, the switches become sticky, and the spring and stem in the switches constantly rub against each other whenever any key is pressed. This friction creates a sound that will often be heard by the user as noise. Hence, the switches need to be cleaned and lubricated with a lubricant like this, as lubing them reduces friction and makes typing smooth and quiet.
While this is one of the most effective ways of reducing the sound or noise of a gaming keyboard, it is also important to note that the whole process of lubricating the switches can be somewhat time-consuming, and this is a technical job. So, you do not want to lube the switches if you are a technical novice.
Tip 6. Mod the Stabilizers
Stabilizers like these are essential components of a gaming keyboard that allow larger keyboard keys to be firmly fixed and properly placed in their respective positions. However, they may become unstable, making these larger keys shake and make noise whenever they are pressed. To fix this problem, you can modify these stabilizers using band-aid, clip, and lube mods. These modifications can improve both the feel and sound of typing and also minimize the amount of rattling that occurs in the stabilizers after each keystroke. This article from Helvetica Forever provides helpful information for anyone looking to modify their keyboard stabilizers.
You can mod these stabilizers by following these three steps:
Step 1. Band-Aiding
This is the application of a small band-aid to the area where the stabilizer hits the printed circuit board (PCB). This band-aid dampens the keystroke and lowers the noise made by the stabilizers.
Step 2. Clipping
This is where you remove the extra bottom part of the stabilizer that is not needed and clip the remaining part to make it stable. When this is done, the stabilizer becomes stable, reducing the rattling noise.
Step 3. Lubing
This is the lubricating of the stabilizer to prevent it from rubbing against its surrounding parts. This is also necessary as it prevents the amplification of the vibratory sound that may be caused by friction.
You may also be interested in learning more about gaming keyboard trainer software and how to use trainers for better gaming. If so, be sure to read our related article to find out more.
Summary of the Best Quiet Mechanical Keyboards
|Good build qualitySupports detachable palm rest
|Corsair K70 Rgb Mk-2
|Customizable RGB backlights Programmable macro keys
|Durgod Taurus K320
|Good build qualityProgrammable macro keys
|Dedicated macro keysCustomizable RGB backlights
|Razer BlackWidow lite Tkl
|Light typing Lightweight and portable
|Arteck 2.4 Ghz wireless
|Good build quality compact design