In the world of mechanical keyboards, enthusiasts are constantly seeking ways to enhance their typing experience. From customized keycaps to unique switches, there are countless modifications to explore. One often overlooked but crucial element in optimizing your keyboard’s performance is the use of keyboard lubricants. These lubes can make a significant difference in the feel and sound of your keyboard. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of keyboard lubes and explore some of the best keyboard lube available.
Why Lubricate Your Keyboard?
Mechanical keyboards rely on various components like switches and stabilizers to function properly. Over time, friction between these moving parts can lead to an unpleasant typing experience, including scratchy or gritty key presses and a louder, less pleasant sound profile. Keyboard lubricants address these issues by reducing friction and providing a smoother, more refined typing feel. Here’s why you might consider lubing your keyboard:
- Smoother Typing Experience: Keyboard lubricants make key presses feel smoother and more consistent, reducing the scratchiness often associated with mechanical switches.
- Improved Sound: Lubing switches and stabilizers can dampen the clattering noise of key presses, resulting in a quieter and more pleasant typing experience.
- Extended Lifespan: Reducing friction between moving parts can prolong the life of your keyboard’s switches and stabilizers, ultimately saving you money on replacements.
- Customization: Keyboard enthusiasts can fine-tune the typing experience to their preferences by choosing the right lube and applying it selectively to achieve the desired feel.
Types of Keyboard Lubricants:
Before diving into the best keyboard lubricants, it’s essential to understand that different types of lubes are designed for specific keyboard components. Here are the primary categories:
- Switch Lubricants: These are applied directly to the moving parts inside the mechanical switches. They are crucial for achieving a smoother key press and reducing scratchiness. Popular options include Krytox, Tribosys, and Permatex.
- Stabilizer Lubricants: Stabilizers are responsible for keeping larger keys (like the spacebar and Enter key) level when pressed. Lubbing stabilizers can reduce rattle and noise. Dielectric grease and Super Lube are commonly used for this purpose.
- Topre Lubricants: For Topre switches, a unique type of lube is needed due to their unique construction. BKE, TechKeys, and Elite Keyboards sell lubes specifically designed for Topre switches.
- Accessories: In addition to lubing agents, you’ll need brushes or applicators to evenly distribute the lubricant on your keyboard components.
The Best Keyboard Lube:
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s explore some of the best keyboard lubricants available:
Krytox is a trusted name in the mechanical keyboard community. The GPL series offers various viscosity grades suitable for both switches and stabilizers. GPL 205 Grade 0 is particularly popular for switches due to its ideal balance between thickness and smoothness.
- Temp Range: -36C thru 204C: Viscosity 18cSt/100C, 160cSt/40C; Stable in a wide variety of operating conditions/environments
- Nonflammable: Krytox Grease contains only carbon, oxygen & fluorine, (no hydrogen or silicone); Will not burn or support combustion; Passes impact standards with LOX, Nitrogen Tetroxide, Nitric Acid
- Chemically Inert: Resistant to oxygen and inert to most all chemicals; Inert nature allows Krytox Grease to outlast/outperform hydrocarbon products; Chemically insoluble in nearly all solvents
- At operating temps and pressures Krytox Grease is highly resistant to attack by gaseous and liquid oxygen; The preferred choice in oxygen; use and manufacturing industry
2. Tribosys 3204:
Another favorite among enthusiasts, Tribosys 3204 is a thinner lubricant that works well for switches. It provides a silky smooth typing experience and is relatively easy to apply.
While not specifically designed for keyboards, Permatex Dielectric Grease is widely used for stabilizers. It’s readily available, cost-effective, and gets the job done effectively.
- Products with electrical plugs are designed for use in the US. Outlets and voltage differ internationally and this product may require an adapter or converter for use in your destination.
For those who prefer a slightly thicker lubricant, Krytox GPL 205 is an excellent choice. It’s known for providing a more substantial, cushioned feel to your keypresses.
- This 2ml (~4g) jar includes enough lube for an entire TKL keyboard and stabilizers, or 104+ key switches (enough for a standard full-size keyboard).
- Makes a new mechanical keyboard feel “broken in” and elongates the life of the switches. Also improves the sound of the keyboard when applied to stabilizers.
- Easy to apply and more consistent wear of the Keyboard switches; use a size 00 brush to apply a small amount to the bearing surfaces of each key switch.
Made by the mechanical keyboard community itself, HONKID Thin Lube is a favorite for enthusiasts who appreciate a super-smooth switch feel. It’s often used in combination with thicker lubes for a customized experience.
- KEY SWITCH LUBE-Precision instruments lube grease.205GPL G0 grease can be used on satellite and balance bar.Nonvolatile nonflammable and stable synthetic grease
- CONVENIENT:The design of the new packaging is convenient for every use and ensures that the lube oil is not contaminated.
- SELECTED LUBE BRUSHES: After many experiments, choose a lubricating brush with a smaller brush head to better lubricate your switches
- WEIGHT:0.35oz. Apply only a very thin layer of grease. This 10 gram jar should last for about 300-400 switches if applied correctly
Applying Keyboard Lubricant:
Proper application is key to getting the most out of your chosen lube. It’s crucial to follow tutorials and guidelines specific to your keyboard and the type of lubricant you’re using. Generally, here are the steps to follow:
- Disassemble Your Keyboard: Take apart your keyboard to access the switches and stabilizers that need lubrication.
- Apply Lubricant: Using an applicator or brush, apply a thin layer of lubricant to the relevant components. Be careful not to over-lube, as this can lead to a mushy feel.
- Reassemble: Put your keyboard back together and test it to ensure the lubing process has improved the typing experience to your satisfaction.
In conclusion, keyboard lubes can significantly enhance the feel and sound of your mechanical keyboard, making it a worthwhile investment for enthusiasts and professionals who spend hours typing each day. The best lube for you depends on your preferences and the components you wish to lubricate. Remember that the key to a successful lubing experience is patience and precision, so take your time and enjoy the process of fine-tuning your keyboard to perfection. You can also check “How to clean a greasy keyboard” for further guidelines.