Cherry MX Red vs Speed Silver Switches: Which Are Best For Gaming?

What Are Mechanical Switches And How Do They Differ From Membrane?

For those that are unaware, a switch sits underneath the keys on your keyboard. This mechanism registers a keystroke when it reaches its actuation point (the inner components make contact), sending the relevant information to the PC.

Mechanical Switch vs Membrane Switch scaled 1

Switches come in two well-known varieties – Mechanical and Membrane. While mechanical switches feature a variety of different features to cater to everyone’s bespoke needs, such as response time, noise, actuation speed, travel time, and tactility, membrane switches only differ slightly from keyboard to keyboard.

Cherry MX Red Vs Speed

Cherry Red and Speed Silver are very similar switches. Both are linear, which means they have a smooth actuation with no tactile bump or audible noise to indicate a keypress has taken place. In this section, we will first discuss each switch and its properties before finally comparing the Cherry MX Silver against the MX Red, to see which you should opt for with your next keyboard selection.

  Cherry MX Speed Cherry MX Red
Switch Characterstic Linear Linear
Actuation Force 45 cN operating force 45 cN operating force
Key Travel 1.2mm 2.0mm
Full Actuation Distance 3.4mm 4.0mm
Sound Audible – non-clicky Audible – non-clicky

Benefits Of MX Red & Speed Switches:

  • Linear style, great for competitive gameplay
  • Lower noise levels compared to other switch variants
  • Low actuation force required
  • Low pre and post-travel

Cherry MX Red

The Cherry MX Red switch is probably one of the most well-known mechanical switches out there. The Red variant became hugely popular, especially with competitive players thanks to its low actuation force, linear style, and quieter operation.



Cherry MX Speed Silver

Silver Speed switches, much like the Reds, are also linear, requiring the same amount of operating force but with a lower pre and post-travel distance. In theory, the specs you see below mean that these are better suited for competitive gameplay than the Red variant.


Cherry MX Red Vs Speed: Which Is Best?

Before discussing any minor differences between the two similar switch types, it is worth pointing out that you are highly unlikely to notice said differences between the two. As discussed, both are linear-style mechanical switches with the same 45 cN operating force and no audible click. Both the Cherry MX Speed Silver and Red feel very smooth, with the only differences being the pre and post-travel, which is a mere millimeter or two in both instances.

With both switches sharing similar housing materials, linear style, and general inner components, it is unsurprising to see them both produce similar acoustic results. Sound with switches comes down to personal preference and while these are both considered quiet for mechanical switches, they still produce noise when bottoming out. You especially notice the lower audible noise when comparing these to a clicky Cherry MX blue, which is notoriously loud.

So which is best? Well, you could argue that the MX Speed variant is going to be the best, with a lower pre and post-travel time, meaning they are, in theory at least, more responsive. The truth is, you aren’t going to be able to tell the difference between these two, so base your decision on other factors if you are buying a keyboard. If you are looking to replace a current switch in your board, then I would recommend the more responsive Silver switch.

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