How to make mechanical keyboard quieter

How to make mechanical keyboard quieter

Find out how to transform your noisy mechanical keyboard into a silent work companion. Our expert tips guarantee a quieter typing experience.

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How to make mechanical keyboard quieter

The distinct click-clack of mechanical keyboards is more than just a sound; it's a symphony to enthusiasts who swear by their responsiveness, durability, and tactile feedback. However, not everyone appreciates the noise, especially in shared spaces. This comprehensive guide explores the appeal of mechanical keyboards and dives into how external modifications can significantly reduce their auditory footprint.


The Appeal of Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical keyboards have a loyal following, and for good reasons. Their construction offers a typing experience unmatched by membrane keyboards, providing precise tactile feedback that enhances typing speed and accuracy. Each keypress is distinct, making typing more satisfying and less prone to errors. Additionally, the robustness of mechanical switches ensures longevity, making them a staple for gamers, writers, and coding professionals alike.

Understanding the Noise: Where Does It Come From?

The characteristic sound of mechanical keyboards stems from several factors:

The Switch Mechanism: The type of switch (e.g., Cherry MX, Blue, Red, or Brown) affects the sound. Clicky switches, like the Cherry MX Blue, are intentionally loud to provide audible feedback.

Keycap Material and Design: Different materials and the thickness of the keycaps can influence the sound profile of the keyboard.

Contact with the Desk: The force of typing can cause the keyboard to vibrate against the desk, amplifying the sound.

External Modifications

To mitigate noise without compromising the mechanical keyboard experience, several external modifications can be made. These modifications not only reduce sound but can also enhance the aesthetic and feel of your typing experience.

Desk Modifications

Using a Desk Mat: The First Line of Defense Against Keyboard Noise

A desk mat serves as a foundational layer of sound dampening, absorbing vibrations before they can resonate through your desk. Materials like neoprene or thick woven fabric are especially effective.

Isolation Pads: How They Can Help

Placing small isolation pads under the keyboard corners further reduces sound transmission to the desk, minimizing noise from keypresses and the movement of the keyboard.

Keycap Material

ABS vs. PBT Keycaps: A Comparison in Terms of Sound

ABS Keycaps: Short for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, these keycaps are lighter and can produce a higher-pitched sound when typed on.

PBT Keycaps: Made from Polybutylene Terephthalate, PBT keycaps are denser and thus, produce a more muted, deeper sound.

Thicker Keycaps: Do They Really Make a Difference?

Indeed, thicker keycaps can significantly alter the sound profile of a mechanical keyboard. Their increased mass absorbs more vibration, leading to a deeper, less resonant sound upon actuation.

O-Rings and Dampeners

Installing O-Rings: Step-by-Step Guide

Remove the Keycaps: Use a keycap puller to gently remove the keycaps from the switches.

Place O-Rings: Slide an O-Ring onto the stem of each keycap. These rings act as cushioning, reducing the travel distance and the sound of the key bottoming out.

Reattach the Keycaps: Carefully press the keycaps back onto the switches, ensuring the O-Rings are properly seated.

Silencing Clips: How They Compare to O-Rings

Silencing clips attach directly to the switch, offering a dual dampening effect on both the downstroke and upstroke, leading to a quieter typing experience. Unlike O-Rings, which only soften the bottoming out noise, silencing clips provide comprehensive noise reduction.

Internal Modifications


Switch Types

Understanding Switch Types: Which Are Quieter?

Switches are the heart of a mechanical keyboard and a major factor in its sound profile. Linear switches (e.g., Cherry MX Red or Black) tend to be quieter than tactile (e.g., Cherry MX Brown) or clicky switches (e.g., Cherry MX Blue), as they don't have an intentional click mechanism. Silent versions of linear and tactile switches have built-in dampeners to minimize noise.


Lubrication: A Detailed How-To for Quieter Keystrokes

Lubricating switches can significantly reduce friction and noise. Here's a brief how-to:


Disassemble Your Keyboard: Carefully open your keyboard and remove the switches, if possible.

Disassemble the Switch: Carefully open the switch housing. This step requires a switch opener and varies by switch type.

Apply Lubricant: Using a small brush, apply a thin layer of lubricant (such as Krytox or Tribosys) to the moving parts of the switch. Avoid over-lubrication to prevent a mushy feel.

Reassemble: Put the switches and keyboard back together.

Sound Dampening Inside the Keyboard

Foam Dampening: Types and Installation

Adding foam inside the keyboard case is a popular method to dampen sound. Materials vary from neoprene to sorbothane, each offering different levels of sound absorption. Cut the foam to fit the inside of your keyboard case and place it beneath the PCB for an effective sound dampening effect.


Plate Material: How It Affects Sound

The material of the plate onto which switches are mounted can affect sound resonance. Materials like steel amplify sound, while softer materials like aluminum or polycarbonate can reduce sound. Brass strikes a balance, offering a muted, yet crisp sound profile.

Advanced Modifications

Custom Builds

Choosing the Right PCB and Case: For Reduced Sound

The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and case material significantly impact the acoustic profile. A PCB with flex cuts can soften the typing experience, reducing noise. Case materials like plastic or wood naturally dampen sound more than metal cases.


Silent Switches: An In-depth Look

Silent switches, designed with internal rubber dampeners, significantly reduce the noise of both the downstroke and upstroke. Brands like Cherry MX Silent Red or Black, and Zilents, offer high-quality silent switches suitable for quiet environments.


DIY Solutions

Band-Aid Mod: What Is It and How to Do It

The Band-Aid mod involves placing a soft material (like a small piece of a Band-Aid) where the stabilizer clips hit the PCB, cushioning the impact and reducing noise. This mod is particularly effective for larger keys like the spacebar and enter key.


Sorbothane Sheets: Cutting and Fitting

Sorbothane sheets are highly effective for sound dampening due to their viscoelastic properties. To use, measure and cut the sheets to fit inside your keyboard case, ensuring not to obstruct any components. The thickness of the sheet will depend on the available space, with thinner sheets (1-2mm) being suitable for tighter builds.

Maintenance for Quietness


Maintaining a quiet mechanical keyboard isn’t just about the initial modifications; regular upkeep plays a crucial role in preserving its stealthy performance. Below, we explore essential maintenance practices and periodic upgrades that ensure your keyboard remains as quiet as the day you modified it.


Regular Cleaning

Keeping Your Keyboard Dust-Free: Impact on Sound

Dust and debris can affect not just the performance of your keyboard but also its sound. Accumulated dust can lead to scratchier keystrokes, which are louder. Use compressed air or a soft brush regularly to keep the keyboard internals clean and maintain a quiet typing experience.


Keycap Cleaning: Best Practices

Keycaps can gather oils, grime, and dust, affecting the feel and sound of your typing. Remove keycaps periodically and clean them in warm, soapy water. Ensure they are completely dry before reattaching them to prevent moisture damage to the switches.


Periodic Upgrades

When to Replace O-Rings and Dampeners

O-Rings and dampeners wear out over time, losing their effectiveness. If you notice an increase in typing sound or a change in the feel, it’s time to replace them. Typically, replacing these components every year or two, depending on usage, is a good practice.


Upgrading Keycaps: Impact on Sound Over Time

Keycaps can wear down, especially if they’re made of softer materials like ABS. Worn keycaps can change the sound profile of your keyboard. Upgrading to high-quality PBT keycaps not only offers a better typing experience but also maintains the sound quality over time.



Achieving and maintaining a quieter mechanical keyboard involves a combination of thoughtful modifications, careful choice of components, and regular maintenance. The most effective methods for reducing noise include using silent switch types, incorporating internal dampening materials like foam or sorbothane, applying O-Rings or silencing clips, and choosing the right keycap material.


Balancing performance and silence requires attention to detail and an understanding of how various elements like switch type, keycap material, and internal dampening interact. By embracing both the modifications outlined in this guide and committing to regular maintenance, enthusiasts can enjoy the distinct tactile feedback and durability of a mechanical keyboard without the high noise levels typically associated with these devices.




Can I Make Any Mechanical Keyboard Quiet?

Yes, with the right modifications, virtually any mechanical keyboard can be made quieter. While the extent of noise reduction varies based on the keyboard's design and the switches used, techniques like adding O-rings, lubricating switches, installing dampening materials inside the case, and choosing quieter switch types can significantly reduce noise. The effectiveness will depend on the initial noise level and the modifications applied.


How Often Should I Lubricate My Keyboard Switches?

The frequency of lubrication depends on usage, environment, and personal preference. As a general rule, lubricating your keyboard switches every 6 to 12 months can maintain a smooth, quiet typing experience. Heavy users or those in dust-prone environments might need to lubricate more frequently. If you notice an increase in scratchiness or noise, it’s a good indicator that it’s time to re-lubricate.


Do Silent Switches Affect Typing Feel?

Silent switches are designed with internal dampeners to reduce noise, which can slightly alter the typing feel compared to their non-silent counterparts. Some users find silent switches to have a slightly softer bottom-out, which can affect the crispness of the typing experience. However, many find this difference to be minimal and worth the trade-off for a quieter keyboard.


Is It Worth Modding a Cheap Mechanical Keyboard?

Absolutely. Modding a cheap mechanical keyboard can be a rewarding project, allowing you to improve its performance and noise level significantly. It’s a great way to learn about keyboard customization and can transform an entry-level keyboard into something that feels and sounds much more premium. Plus, it allows you to experiment without the worry of damaging an expensive keyboard.


Can Desk Mats Alone Significantly Reduce Keyboard Noise?

Desk mats can make a noticeable difference in reducing keyboard noise by absorbing vibrations that would otherwise be amplified by the desk. While they might not reduce the sound of the keystrokes themselves, they can minimize the overall noise level, especially the sound of the keyboard moving or vibrating against the desk. For the best results, desk mats should be used in combination with other noise-reduction modifications.

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