Closer to silent, yes. There will still be some noise when releasing the key when the switch hits its top travel position (theoretically proportional to the required actuation force since that determines the spring tension). I don’t own any cherry MX switches, so I can’t comment on how significant this noise is compared to bottoming out. Maybe someone who ones a keyboard with cherry reds can do the simple test of holding down a key and releasing it and comment on the noise level.
If your goal is to learn to avoid bottoming out, it may be worthwhile to get some keys with tactile feedback (actuation force increases at the point in the keypress where the switches activate, and there may be a slight audible sound). The marginal sound from the tactility might be offset by being better able to type without bottoming out. An example of a tactile switch would be cherry mx clears or cherry mx browns (the clears require more actuation force which I understand is generally helpful when learning to type without bottoming out).
I will say that my laptop keyboad (scissor switches in some model of Dell elitebook) is far quieter even with bottoming out than the linear-switch keyboard I normally use (I think this is because the much shorter travel distance means less speed is built up). So I guess a good question is: are you trying to get a standalone keyboard at a similar level of noise to a laptop keyboard or something quieter still? I honestly don’t think the latter is going to be possible with mechanical keyboards.
I think @non-jedi knows more about this than I do. But I can at least provide further anecdotal evidence that the silent red switches are the quietest typing experience that I have found. I am a very heavy-handed typist and also got the board to try and develop more gentle typing habits to combat some self-diagnosed RSI, and so especially when I’m able to successfully be mindful of that, I don’t think anybody would hear my typing unless the room were otherwise completely silent.
Here is the board that I use. I can’t quantify any of this, but I think that it is a little bit on the stiffer side compared to some other keyboards that I’ve used, but I personally find it very enjoyable. The linear switches will feel very strange in the beginning compared to even bad laptop switches, but I was able to get into it within a day and now enjoy the feeling of typing as gently as possible on a cloud.
How does the sound generated by simply releasing a key to let it go back to its at-rest position compare to a non-mechanical keyboard?
Yes, this is precisely what I am aiming for.
I appreciate all the suggestions in this topic. Based on them, I don’t think I will go for a mechanical keyboard at this point: I don’t wish to spend hundreds of euros experimenting with mail ordered ones since there are very few of these I can try in person even in a big city with reasonably stocked stores.
BTW, I put a fluffy towel below my current Dell kb and it reduced the noise by about 30%.
I may order a Perixx as suggested by @johnh, the reviews look promising and it is not a big investment.
That makes sense. It is definitely an investment, especially with Cherry MX switches. I think there are competitors to Cherry MX silent reds, though, and there may be some competitively priced boards with those non-Cherry switches.
If you feel like diving into that research a bit, the subreddit for mechanical keyboards is pretty informative. Here is their buying guide. Some entries on the budget list have prices that are very comparable to the Perixx, although I mostly see reds and not silent reds. But maybe with some more research a mech with silent reds could be found at that price point.
Oh, and @non-jedi: To my ear, the release of a fully depressed key/switch is effectively silent. It is more the keycap smacking the actual board that was the secret source of noise, I thought.
I really like the lenovo keyboards so I would recommend those for a quite yet satisfying typing experience:
I’ve been in this exact situation for 15 years: I’m a night owl, my wife isn’t, and our house is small. Here’s what works, to your specifications: (wired, USB, available in EU)
- Flexible single-piece silicone keyboards, typically designed for use in hospitals. The quietest reliable option. Examples: https://www.wetkeys.com/Soft-touch-Comfort-Silicone-Waterproof-Keyboard-p/kbwkfc106-bk.htm, http://www.sealshield.com/Products/Silicone/Seal-Flex-Waterproof-Keyboard.html. Search your country’s vendors for “washable keyboard” and look for terms like “flexible”. Two disadvantages here:
- Some hurt the fingertips. Ensure you’re comfortable coding on one; some people aren’t.
- Needs a flat surface, obviously.
- A slim keyboard with scissor keys, like the Logitech K740: https://www.amazon.fr/Logitech-920-005687-clavier-QWERTZ-Allemand/dp/B00CMB8WWS/. This is my preferred solution; quiet and easy on fingertips. If you place a towel under it, there’s almost no sound.
- Disadvantage: very vulnerable to spills. I’ve destroyed several K740s over the years with only drops of a spilled beverage. Letting them dry out won’t fix it; once they short out, they’re dead. A replacement every few months due to Death by Starbucks gets expensive, even with the “no-fault” warranty.
In my experience, no mechanical keyboard is quiet enough for this use case. “Quiet mechanical keyboard” is only true relative to mechanical keyboards. Even when you train your fingers not to fully depress the keys, they’re always louder than other key styles.
If you are willing to part with the wire, I can recommend the logitech k750. I surely don’t know the level of quietness you are after but for me it was the closest to my laptop experience that I was having and looking for. Never have to change batteries (the keyboard breaks before the batteries run out) .
There is one other from logitech with some knob in one of the sides and its extremely expensive but the typing experience was great (for me).
Slightly OT: I’ve been using my K750 for ~8 years now, and last year the battery ran out! Fairly straightforward replacement, and I think roughly once a decade is okay
@joshua_jones, @Boris, @nilshg: thanks for the suggestion, I can actually try the K740 out in some brick & mortar stores before buying. That said, reviews on Amazon suggest that the model was “cost-optimized” recently, capitalizing on the reputation of this model while relaxing QC a bit.
The K750 is the solar one, right?
Yes, it’s solar powered (but seems to be powered by light coming from lightbulbs as well - I don’t know enough about solar power to understand that!). I agree with Boris that one of the main upsides is the similarity to a laptop keyboard, which makes going back and forth betweenit and my ThinkPad when I’m on the move quite convenient.
Yes, but it’s a totally different style of keys: the K750 is chiclet or island-style. I don’t know if it’s quiet because I’ve never used that model.
Exactly. I had mine in a really dark room without direct sunlight and it never went out of battery before actually me killing it with a drink after 1,5 years of use…
I also played games on it and never had issues with latency, so I was pretty satisfied.
I remember also that for some stupid reason the German layout (QWETZ) was much more expensive (like double) , which might be important for you. The English was available in Germany for 50€, while the German was 89€. Supply and demand I guess.
It’s currently £80 on the UK logitech website, £70 on Amazon. Never seems to come down in price, actually has increased over the last 10 years or so! Always wondered why Logitech never tried to make a new version - mine has actually lost a few keys by falling off a standing desk and I’d happily buy another one.
I like the small Perixx keyboards. Well, I don’t think they are among the top 10 of quiet keyboards, keystroke noise is comparable to mouse click noise. I am satisfied with it. But there are more criteria to consider:
- typing feedback is excellent. I have no doubled/missing keystrokes, and very few typos - MUCH better than many notebook keyboards or keyboards supplied by the companies I am working for
- they are really small - notebook layout, no redundant digit/cursor pad
- USB cable, no batteries
- realiable and durable. I replaced all keyboards for desktops/docking stations in my house with perixx model periboard 407 in 2013, no problems at all.
- price below 20 EUR