Difference between membrane and mechanical keyboards

When it comes to choosing a keyboard, there are two main types to consider: membrane and mechanical keyboards. Students use keyboards extensively for typing assignments, research papers, and online communication, making the choice of keyboard crucial to their productivity and comfort. In this article, we will explore the differences between membrane and mechanical keyboards, including their construction, advantages, and disadvantages, to help you make an informed decision.

What is a Membrane Keyboard?

A membrane keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses a thin layer of rubber or silicone to connect the keys to the circuit board. When you press a key on a membrane keyboard, the keycap depresses the membrane underneath it, which completes a circuit on the keyboard’s PCB (printed circuit board). Membrane keyboards are common in laptops and low-end desktop keyboards because they are inexpensive to manufacture.

Pros and Cons of Membrane Keyboards Pros:

  1. Affordability: Membrane keyboards are typically cheaper than mechanical keyboards, making them a more budget-friendly option for students.
  2. Quietness: Membrane keyboards are usually quieter than mechanical keyboards because they do not produce as much noise when the keys are pressed.
  3. Dust-resistant: Membrane keyboards have a sealed design that makes them more resistant to dust and debris than mechanical keyboards.


  1. Limited tactile feedback: Membrane keyboards are known for having a mushy feel and limited tactile feedback when a key is pressed. This can make typing feel less satisfying and make it difficult to determine if a key has been activated.
  2. Shorter lifespan: Membrane keyboards tend to have a shorter lifespan than mechanical keyboards because the rubber or silicone membrane can wear out over time.
  3. Inaccuracy: Membrane keyboards require more force to register a key press, which can lead to typos and inaccurate typing.

What is a Mechanical Keyboard?

A mechanical keyboard is a type of keyboard that uses individual mechanical switches for each key. The switches consist of a stem, spring, and metal contact point that is activated when the key is pressed. The switches can vary in terms of actuation force, tactile feedback, and noise levels depending on the type of switch used.

Pros and Cons of Mechanical Keyboards Pros:

  1. Tactile feedback: Mechanical keyboards offer tactile feedback when a key is pressed, allowing for more accurate typing and a satisfying feel to typing. This can help to reduce typing errors and increase typing speed.
  2. Durability: Mechanical keyboards are built to last and can withstand heavy use for years, making them a great investment for students who want a long-lasting keyboard.
  3. Precision: Mechanical keyboards require less force to activate a key, making them more precise and accurate than membrane keyboards.


  1. Expensive: Mechanical keyboards are generally more expensive than membrane keyboards, which can be a significant barrier for students on a budget.
  2. Noisiness: Mechanical keyboards can be louder than membrane keyboards due to the clicking sound that the switches make. However, quieter switch options are available.
  3. Prone to debris: Mechanical keyboards are more prone to dust and debris because the switches are exposed.

Which Keyboard Should You Choose?

The choice between a membrane and a mechanical keyboard depends on your personal preferences and needs. If you are on a tight budget, a membrane keyboard may be the better option. However, if you are a student who prioritizes accuracy, durability, and tactile feedback, then a mechanical keyboard is the way to go. Mechanical keyboards may be more expensive, but they are a worthwhile investment for anyone who spends a lot of time typing.

When choosing a mechanical keyboard, it is essential to consider the type of switch that is best for you. There are many different types of switches available, each with its own unique feel, sound, and actuation force. Some popular switch types include Cherry MX Blue, Brown, and Red switches. Blue switches offer a tactile bump and an audible click, while Brown switches offer a tactile bump without the click. Red switches have a linear feel without the bump or click and require less force to actuate. It is important to try out different switch types to find the one that feels the most comfortable and efficient for your typing style.

Tips for Using a Keyboard

Regardless of whether you choose a membrane or mechanical keyboard, there are some healthy habits to keep in mind to prevent discomfort and injury while typing:

  1. Sit up straight: Good posture is essential for reducing neck and back strain. Keep your shoulders relaxed, your feet flat on the ground, and your keyboard at elbow height.
  2. Take breaks: Frequent breaks can help prevent eye strain and wrist fatigue. Stand up and stretch or walk around every 30 minutes to improve circulation.
  3. Use proper typing technique: Typing with the proper technique can reduce stress on your wrists and fingers. Keep your wrists straight, your fingers curved, and use your fingers to strike the keys rather than your wrists.
  4. Adjust your keyboard settings: Adjust your keyboard settings to your comfort. For example, adjust the key repeat rate and delay to your liking, and increase the font size on your screen to reduce eye strain.

Difference between membrane and mechanical keyboards: Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the choice between a membrane and mechanical keyboard depends on your personal preferences, budget, and typing needs. While membrane keyboards are more affordable and dust-resistant, mechanical keyboards offer durability, precision, and tactile feedback. When choosing a mechanical keyboard, it is important to consider the type of switch that is best for you. Regardless of which keyboard you choose, healthy typing habits are essential for preventing discomfort and injury. Remember to sit up straight, take breaks, use proper typing techniques, and adjust your keyboard settings for optimal comfort and productivity. Happy typing!

You can check “What are the different types of keyboard switches“, and “How to choose the right keyboard for your needs“.

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