Are Red Switches Good for Gaming? Why?

If you’re a PC gamer, there are a few things you’re CONSTANTLY on the lookout for…

  • A competitive edge
  • A comfortable gaming experience
  • To get that satisfying SOUND from your keyboard

So when it comes to mechanical keyboards, red linear switches are by FAR the preferred choice.

But why??

Let’s get into it 😉

Are Red Switches Good for Gaming?

Yes, but there are other switches that work great for gaming, too, and it really comes down to personal preference. Linear switches (like the Cherry MX Reds) are often preferred for gaming due to their smooth, fast, and responsive keystroke.

Red switches also have a lower actuation force than heavier linear switches like yellow or black–meaning they require less force to activate each keypress (generally preferred for fast gaming).

To be clear, you can game with any switch in any mechanical keyboard!

Sound test of my Cherry MX Red switches (on my Ducky One 3 keyboard)

And depending on what games you play and how much of a competitive advantage you NEED, which switch you choose might not make that much of a difference.

But generally speaking, yes, red switches are the go-to for most gamers.

The Three Types of Switches, Explained

While there are thousands of different switches you can buy (we refer to switches in terms of colors, by the way)–they generally fall within three broad categories:

  • Linear switches – smooth, no bump on keypress, softer
  • Tactile switches – bump during keypress, slightly more “clack” sound
  • Clicky switches – bump during keypress, with an additional “click” sound

Read also -> Are blue switches good for gaming?

How Do Red (Linear) Switches Work?

Linear switches feature a smooth keystroke all the way down and back up. There’s no “tactile bump” during the process (see below).

You press down the stem (on a spring), and it goes straight down to make contact with the copper (or gold alloy) “leaves,” which sends an electrical signal to your keyboard that the switch was pressed.

cherry mx red
Courtesy of Cherry!

Red switches generally have a lighter spring than black or yellow switches, which makes them slightly easier to press down and activate (and therefore faster)!

Linears are often softer in sound.

Unlike linear switches, tactile switches feature a tiny little “bump” during the keystroke that sends feedback to your fingers to let you know the keypress was activated!

tactile switch bump
Tactile switch on the left, linear on the right

They’re slightly louder, and often preferred for work & typing (though you can absolutely still game on them!)

Click here to see our best tactile switch recommendations.

Clicky switches are just tactile switches–but with the addition of a small mechanism that produces an audible “click” noise.

Cherry MX Blue switch sound test
  • Cherry MX Blues – high, sometimes annoying clicking sound
  • Kailh Box Jades – deep and crunchy, the “click box” clicky switches are generally preferred.
10 Pack Kailh Box Switch Jade RGB SMD for Mechanical Gaming Keyboard 3 pin Switches IP56 Water-Proof Compatible...
  • 【Box Jade】Operating force: 50 gf (+/-10 gf) Tactile force: 55 gf (+/-10 gf) Pretravel: 1.8 mm (+/- 0.3 mm) Pressure point: 1.7 mm Total travel: 3.6 mm (+/- 0.3 mm) Reset point: 1.8 mm
  • 【Easy to Use】Utilizing the already popular Cherry MX form, Kailh switches provide an easy transition so you don’t have to let go of your existing keycap collection. The MX-compatible stems...
  • 【IP56 Water-Proof and Dirt-Proof】Kailh Box switches are IP56 rated to keep dust and moisture out.

You can game on clicky switches as well, but the clicking sound might annoy you after some time. You have been warned.

Different Linear Switch Colors, Besides Red

There are dozens (or hundreds) of linear switches available for your mechanical keyboard. The big color choices are…

  • Red = most common and readily available
  • Yellow = heavier and harder to press down than red switches. (We call this “Actuation Force,” and it’s generally referred to in terms of grams. “50g actuation force,” for example
  • Blacks = heavier than yellows (60g-ish)

The Gateron Milky Yellows are one of the most popular yellow switches. They’re much deeper and slower than red switches.

The Cherry MX Black (or Gateron Ink Black) are amazing black switches, and they’re also heavier and slower (but deeper and more buttery) than red switches.

Click here to see our full list of the best linear switches.

What About “Speed Switches?”

You will also see “speed switches” available for gaming, like the Cherry MX Speed Silvers, or Akko Speed Silvers.

Speed switches usually have an extra short travel distance to activate, as well as a lighter spring.

And while speed switches might technically be a bit faster than other, normal linear switches (like reds), the difference is tiny!

You might be able to notice a difference, but maybe not.

That said, the Akko Silvers are my all-time favorite linear switch, for gaming OR typing. Read my full review here.

What Are Some of the Best Switches for Gamers?

Here’s a list of the switches I prefer for gaming (I have typed and gamed on all of these, and can recommend them for both speed and comfort).

Cherry MX Redthey’re a bit expensive, but Cherry MX switches are the OG for mechanical keyboards!See these in action on my Ducky One 3 keyboard.
Cherry MX SpeedThe MX Speed silver switches do have a slightly faster activation time, but I find it’s not very noticeable
Akko SilversThey’re a similar “speed switch,” but FAR more comfortable to play on, and they sound SO satisfyingRead our review here.
Kailh Speed CopperThese are a speed TACTILE switch, for those of you who like the faster activation times–but also like the tactile bump!Read our review here.

But the truth is–you don’t NEED red switches for gaming. They might be preferred by many gamers, but you can absolutely find a mechanical switch that sounds and feels great to you–and just use that!

Don’t choose a red linear switch just because other people do. Choose a switch (and mechanical keyboard) that makes you happy.

Red Switch F.A.Q.s

Is red or blue better for gaming?

Most gamers will prefer a linear red switch for their softer sound and fast & smooth keypress. Blue switches are clicky switches. While you can absolutely still game with blue switches, you might be annoyed with the additional clicking noise in long gaming sessions! If you don’t mind that, blue switches can work just fine for gaming.

Are red switches good for FPS?

Yes. Red switches (and all lighter linear switches that have a smooth, fast keypress) will work great in fast-paced gaming like FPS shooters! You might also look into “speed switches,” (like the Cherry MX Speeds of Kailh Speed Copper switches), as these are specifically designed for fast gameplay.

Are red or brown switches better for gaming?

Although most gamers prefer linear switches (like reds), there’s no one answer here. Tactile switches can absolutely do fine for gaming (especially for casual gamers not looking for every competitive edge). Also, while red switches are generally smoother and a BIT faster, the differences are very subtle. If you prefer the feel of a tactile switch, go for it!