Mechanical keyboards are loved by many for the typing experience they offer. However, there is a large group of people who could find the loud clicks and clacks of mechanical keyboards irritating. These keyboards aim to tackle that problem.
What to Look for in a Quiet Mechanical Keyboard
While any mechanical keyboard could be made quieter through the use of O-Ring dampeners and swapping out key switches, this article is solely focusing on the keyboards as they are out of the box.
- Key switches: Switches are located under each keycap and largely determine what kind of noise the keys make (and how loud that noise is). Mechanical switches will always make some sound, but we sought out the ones that keep the noise down.
- Size and layout: There is a wide range of keyboard sizes available today. Many of these alternative sizes require adjustment periods for users not used to them and should be carefully considered before purchasing.
- Features: While they may not directly enhance the typing experience, RGB lighting, macros, and further customization options can be useful to have. As such any keyboard that has them will be noted.,
Best Overall: iKBC Table E412 (With Cherry MX Silent Red Switches)
iKBC’s E412 is a great keyboard; it sports a minimalist and classy design that could fit into any setup. The Cherry MX silent red switches it utilizes makes for a typing experience that has the mechanical feel many people love without that potentially irritating noise.
The simple design does hold some additional features. You’ll see a row of buttons on the top of the board that allows you to lock the keyboard and requires a custom password for it to be unlocked, disable the Windows key (or swap it out with the Function key), and reset the keyboard to factory settings. Three media keys are located above the Numpad, along with a large scroll wheel. White LED backlighting is also included.
Measuring in at 19.8 x 12.1 inches, the E412 is not a small keyboard. However, for those that don’t mind sacrificing the Numpad, a tenkeyless variant is available.
Best Premium: Ducky Shine 7 (With Cherry MX Silent Red Switches)
If you’re looking for a high-end mechanical keyboard, the Shine 7 is for you. Ducky is a well-known and respected brand in the mechanical keyboard community, and the Shine 7 continues that reputation. The keyboard is available with different switches, including the Cherry MX silent reds, which, as previously stated, are great for those seeking a quieter keyboard.
The body of the keyboard is made out of a zinc alloy, giving it a durable and solid build. Following that theme of durability, the keycaps are made out of a double shot PBT plastic, which is more resilient than the standard ABT plastic you commonly see. RGB backlighting and macro functionality are built into the keyboard, both being controllable either by Ducky’s software or through a combination of button presses explained in the user manual.
The Shine 7 is designed with a reasonably thin frame, which helps cut down on the size (17.7 x 5.1 inches). The unique gunmetal coloring of the body gives it a far more industrial feel than that of most keyboards, which is fitting, considering its durable nature.
Best for Office Workers: CHERRY G80 3000 (With Cherry MX Silent Red Switches)
While the keyboards highlighted so far would work fine in a home office, they might not be entirely appropriate for a corporate setting. If you’re taking a keyboard into your office, you not only want it to be quiet, you also don’t want it attracting a lot of attention. This is where the G80 comes in.
The design of the G80 is very subdued, with an all-black design there’s nothing eye-catching about this keyboard. The G80 will easily fit in with the other pieces of equipment standardly used in offices. And with Cherry’s silent red switches, your co-workers won’t grimace with every keystroke. While there are no additional features, this helps keep the keyboard’s design simple. Measuring at 18.5 x 7.7 inches, it should fit onto most desks or cubicles with little issue.
Cherry G80 3000 Silent Keyboard - Red MX Silent Switch - USB - PS/2 - Retro Look - Black (G80-3000LSCEU-2)
The G80 is quiet both in noise and looks. It won't be attracting any attention to itself, which is perfect for a more professional setting.
Best for Travel: Vortex POK3R (With Cherry MX Silent Red or Black Switches)
Vortex’s POK3R (or Poker 3) 60% keyboard will be odd for many at a first glace. 60% keyboards cut out some keys, such as the Numpad and arrow keys, then compact everything that’s left into a small space. Keys that are removed are still accessible though through the use of other shortcuts, such as holding FN + I, J, K, and L to serve as arrow keys. Each key’s alternative function is printed on the side of the keycaps, and while this will help, it will still take time for many to adjust to this layout.
When purchasing the POK3R, you will have many key switches available to choose from, including—and, most importantly, for quieter typing—the Cherry MX silent reds and silent blacks. With these switches, the POK3R is a keyboard that’s small enough to fit into a backpack (11.6 x 4 inches) while still giving you a satisfying and quiet typing experience. Great for those seeking more desk space or a keyboard that can be easily transported.